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April 30, 2009


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Ben Towle

You know... I read a fantastic Mary Fleener story really recently. I think maybe in some of my pre-Eisner readin--but I can't for the life of me remember what it was in. I assumed it was recent, but I could have been wrong.

Kurt Austin

Ahhh, good times. Thanks for posting that, Craig. I can't believe that our "adventure" happened nearly 15 years ago--or that I still live in Champaign, while the rest of you have moved on! I might just need to take a drive over to Paris again one of these days . . .

Rob Clough

In addition to having a story printed in the second volume of Hotwire (and she'll have another one in the third volume later this year), Mary's also had a bunch of stuff published in Mineshift, aka "The Last Great Fanzine On Earth".


Great story, Craig! Sound like a sweet and memorable outing (if disappointing at the time). Just the idea of visiting a small local art museum, where the currents of modernism and conceptualism seem not to have washed up against prevailing tastes for the domestic and picturesque, has, for me, an odd charm. Sounds mostly like artwork caught midway between formal training and some unselfconscious vernacular. So what if it's middlebrow and tame?

Your story is a bit of a time capsule as far as bearing witness to the effect of letter columns and letterhacking in comics, once upon a time.

I had a minor, fitful sub-career as a would-be letterhack in the late 80s, maybe into the early 90s, starting c. 1985-86 when I got back into comics (I don't remember when my first letter saw print). I was on my way to making letterhacking an avocation of mine (damn you, T.M. Maple, etc.) before I gave it up. I had a few letters in DC titles: Swamp Thing ran one or two of mine, in the Veitch era, and I believe I eventually had a letter in Sandman, in response to the "A Game of You" storyline. Sometime later, I had a letter published in Milestone's Static, for which I received a signed copy of that issue. :)

I might have had a letter in Grendel; I don't remember (Comico era? Dark Horse?). I was following a lot of Comico titles in the late mid-80s, before they crashed.

I remember being very happy to see a letter of mine in an early issue of Larry Marder's Tales of the Beanworld.

I wrote a long and probably tiresome letter to DC when they broached the idea of an in-house rating system c. 1987, which Miller, Moore, Chaykin, Wolfman, et al., vociferously opposed. For this I got a polite form letter in reply, on DC letterhead. I argued the Miller/Moore/etc. line about ratings posing a threat to DC's creative revival, etc. I now believe I was wrong about that.

(As an aside, I've long suspected that Vertigo was an attempt to create in-house rating in a positive rather than negative way, by branding the "mature" comics as different and cooler. It created, ipso facto, a place to put the "mature" titles. In time, this proved to be a successful strategy, I think.)

I could have sworn that I had that first issue of FLEENER, yet I don't recall reading your story before -- odd, because I usually pore through everything in the comics I get, including the indicia (with the general exception of the hype pages in the Marvel and DC comics that I buy these days). I will have to go digging!

Dig this online info about Omer Seamon, painter:


BTW, Happy (belated) Birthday, you!

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