Discovery Of Artifacts

By | Sunday, June 10, 2007 Leave a Comment
When I was young and hadn't really established comic book collecting as a hobby yet, I actively spent some time exploring other hobbies that I might enjoy. I even went so far as to get a book about hobbies from the library, in which it noted several different types of hobbies, the benefits of each one, and how one might go about beginning on such an endeavor. For whatever reason, I remember that autograph collecting struck my fancy.

Most of the instructions on how to begin collecting autographs centered on people who were still living and in the public eye. The book, as I recall, provided addresses for a selection of actors, musicians, and authors. (With almost three decades of hindsight, I suspect they were all actually addresses for their respective agents.) I was still pretty young and the book was several years old already, so most of the addresses were for people I had never heard of. One that did stand out, though, was that of Dr. Seuss.

So I sat down, and penned a letter that probably was just glowing with how much I loved his books. And indeed, some time later, I received an envelope that contained a single sheet of paper, folded in half length-wise. On the left was a pre-printed drawing of the Cat in the Hat. On the right was a short, hand-written note in a fine line marker: "Here with one autograph for Sean" with a whimsical arrow pointing down. Beneath that, just the name "Dr. Seuss" printed quite legibly in red crayon. (The image here is NOT the one I uncovered -- my scanner is on the fritz -- but it's not dissimilar to mine. This image I just found online.)

That was, as I said, nearly 30 years ago and I just stumbled across that very same document. And it reminded me of another document which I'm certain must be buried in my files somewhere...

With the success I had with Dr. Seuss, I tried to contact other folks whose work my young mind was interested in. Namely, the authors of many of my favorite newspaper comic strips. I believe I sent about half a dozen letters off care of our local newspaper. I expect it included ones to Charles Shultz and Jim Davis, but aside from the one artist who responded, I don't know who else I would've written.

The artist that did respond was Reg Smythe, creator and then-still writer/artist on the strip "Andy Capp." I recall it as a note written with a blue felt pen on Daily Mirror letterhead. He noted that he was familiar with the newspaper I had sent my letter care of, and answered my question about Andy Capp's licensing, noting that he probably be much more conducive to it if Andy sported four legs, fur, and a tail! (I really do need to track that letter down sometime.)

The noteworthy item I did find alongside my Dr. Seuss autograph was a Crimson Plague print signed by colorist Tom Smith. Several years ago, he had missed the airing of the made-for-TV movie of Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD and was wondering if anyone could send him a VHS tape (remember those?) of it. I obliged and he sent back a package with a couple issues of Avengers that he and writer Kurt Busiek had signed, the aforementioned print, and a short thank you note scratched on the back of some Bristol board.

No real point to this reminiscing, other to say I was pleased to find some loot I'd forgotten I had.
Newer Post Older Post Home