IMPRESSING THE BOSS (part three)

Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 10.22.28 AMOne Fall day in 1983, long after most people with actual lives to live had left the office and gone to the place they called home, I remained behind my drawing table in the Marvel Bullpen and began drawing stick figures. Six years earlier, as an art student at The University of Georgia, I was shocked–and somewhat taken aback– to learn from my very first art teacher at the University, who, by the way, had just returned from New York City that summer, that, “New York is dead”….” If New York was indeed “dead,” and since one, by rights, should listen to one’s college professors and take what they say seriously—and if New York was the center of the art world, it seemed to follow, by implication, that “art” was also dead. If art was dead, then painting and drawing were also dead–or at least very sick. Therefore, since I was in New York anyway, and, as an artist, for me to do my part to bring “art” back to “life”, I had to begin somewhere. Drawing stick figures on a sheet of paper seemed as good a place to start as any. Thus was born Stick-Man® by Skully. I felt much more comfortable using the alias, “Skully”, instead of my real name. That way, if the cartoon strip sucked, and the people I worked with didn’t like it, it was no reflection on me. Here’s how it worked: After most Marvel staffers had gone home for the day, I would draw a three or four panel Stick-Man® cartoon strip and then make a couple of dozen photocopies of it on the copier down the hall. Then I would tape them to the various office doors of my co-workers, who would read them the next morning. To my utter surprise and everlasting delight, most people LOVED them! Well, not everybody. One day, I happened to look up from behind my drawing table in the Marvel bullpen to discover that the editor-in-chief, himself, was standing outside an office door and he was reading my strip! He had his back turned to me and I watched him closely, trying to gauge his reaction. After ten seconds or so, he briefly shook his head as if trying to clear it of some bad thought. Then he abruptly turned to his right and began walking down the hall in the direction of his office. I jumped up from my seat and went after him. “What’s the matter, Jim….?, I asked. “Didn’t you like it….?”  He looked me straight in the eye. And then he said, “You KNOW I have NO sense of humor…” It was as if someone had hit me in the gut. His comment came straight out of the blue. “Oh… my… God”, I thought…. “….the Boss, the man in charge, the HEAD-Man at this company– has NO SENSE OF HUMOR????”  “What chance does a guy like ME have at a place like this….?”

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