Fan Mail From Some Flounder(s)

Fan Mail From Some Flounder(s)
or: Rider in the Rain

We're filing a bit early today because Uncle Smitty's got the flu and I don't know that I'll last until midnight.

I received a couple of E-mails last week from folks whose servers, for reasons unknown to me, will not accept a reply :(  So, I'll print the answers here and then it's back to bed.

Adam is a fan of behind the scenes stories and wants to know if I've any "Untold Stories of the Golden Age."

I got a million of 'em, let's go with this:

Time was running short on Book 4. I asked a friend named Larry Welch to help out with blacks and bgs. Pardon my modesty when I say he was thrilled... until he got to the studio. Turned out his principle job was covering everything up with rain. He took the work home where buddies would see him covering the art with ink, whiteout and razor blades and scream "What are you doing, you're killing it?" Poor Larry could only throw up his hands and say, "Smitty said so."

I had to talk him down a couple of times. Poor guy felt like a vandal. I told him this was comics. Art is worthless, story is everything and the story needs a deluge. Bless his heart, he stuck it out, did a great job and got his pick of the pages he worked on.

Added bonus: The Tigress was my very first girlfriend. James wants Lance (Capt. Triumph) to see Paula (the Tigress) from across the crowded room and suffer the Thunderbolt: Love at first sight. The only way I figured I could pull it off was to draw the moment and girl that did it to me.

Gerry suggests I'm the reason he went into the art of balloon animals. Apparently he saw me showing off at a convention. He asks if I remember where I learned; The name of the book and it's author.

The book was "Balloonacy, the Art of Air Sculpture" written and illustrated by your's truly, with Dennis Forel as my instructor/tech advisor. Denis taught me every animal in the book except for the Brontasaurus (still a real animal at the time) which I "invented" myself.

I place "invented" in quotes because I've no way of knowing if I was truly the first. All I know was that Dennis, the Master Balloonatic himself, was handing my then girlfriend some horrible pun reason he couldn't make a dinosaur when I interrupted, "Elephant head, hippo body, horse tail." 30 seconds later, Dennis had it twisted up, looked at it and said "one more thing." He pulled the knot ever so slightly and... poof... now there was a proper skull at the end of the trunk.

Added bonus: I'd just moved to NY. The balloon thing gets out. People want balloons. I don't have any. I go to some world famous magic shop in Times Square but there's a problem. Outside of a few included inside multi-shaped variety packs, he has no 245's. 265's only.

(For the civilians out there, the 2 refers to the diameter, in inches, when fully inflated. The 45 and 65 refer to the length. I've never touched a 265. What am I going to do with nearly two extra feet of balloon?)

Owner asks why do I want such a small balloon? Can't make anything with a 245.

I can make a Teddy bear.


How's about a Teddy bear riding a tri-cycle?

Owner pulls down a party pack, rips it open, digs out a 245 and says he'll personally pick every 245 out of the pack if I can pull that off.

Guess who went home with a pocket full of 245's?

I was terrified. I "knew" how but, I was never a performer, I'm out of practice, the heat is on... but, I can't let him know that. I kept my cool, held my mud and the balloon gods smiled down upon me and carried me home. I nailed it. I was more surprised than the owner but, of course, didn't let him see.

Happy (sniff)Trails,
(snort) Smitty

I'm going back to bed.


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