The Secret Friends of ‘Ringo!
Or: All I Got Was This Stupid Shirt
Well, the cats outta’ the bag now. Great big cats, tiger cats! Foxes and frogs! Dragons and bears… heck, we even got some humans in there (eek) as the Super Secret Tellos project comes to light.
I’ve been getting requests to share pages. I hope all will understand when I say no. We’ve been working on this thing for nearly three years; I’m not going to pull the rug out from under us now. What I can share are some related images and anecdotes.
Those who’ve visited the secret clubhouse will notice the incredible array of suckers… er, contributors in attendance. We got: old people, young people, gal people, guy people, black people, asian people, white people, American people, International people, established people, new people… all with one thing in common (well, two, if you include their love of Mike); A T-shirt marking them as members of the Secret Friends of ‘Ringo! And before you ask, NO, you can’t have one! Not unless you contributed.
The T-shirt starts out as something of a perverse joke. It’s hard enough to get freelancers to work. Let alone work for free, on deadline, on something they can’t discuss, or share, that won’t see print for years… Multiply this by the number of contributors and you’ve got a real workflow problem.
I tell our ringleader Todd, “We need a carrot.” Something to chase, a reward for completing and turning in the work. A T-shirt! Not just any T-shirt but one in keeping with the mission. A T-shirt you can’t wear, can’t discuss, can’t show! And, best of all… wait for it… a T-shirt YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR YOURSELF! That’ll get their juices flowing.
Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, maybe the project grew faster than I realized but, at the time, I was thinking our club was only a couple dozen strong. I’ll bust out the old squeegee, build a new screen and print these out myself. We can get black shirts for $4-$5 apiece. Postage a bit less. We can keep this under $10 a shirt easy. Todd tells me we’re talking a hundred people (more than twice that eventually), many of whom will want a spare… What was going to be an afternoons work is going to take weeks!
I’m wondering if I’m up to this when Todd offers an alternative plan. The late, great, Nick Cardy had remembered Todd in his will. Todd didn’t want to simply spend it, he wanted it to go to something appropriate. And so the Nick Cardy Memorial Fund is initiated and Nick picked up the tab (hey, I told you he was great!)
Also included in this weeks installment are some sketches I did to get up to speed and in the zone. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that Serra has a profoundly different look than the pinup I did some years ago for a Tellos collection. This is because Serra herself has gone through some serious changes. She starts out, with all love and respect to ‘Ringo, as a Barbie doll. Looking through the sketches in the Tellos Colossal books Todd sent as reference, I notice Serra has undergone a Pinnochio like transformation. She’s now a real live girl! What happened?
I call Todd, pointing out one sketch in particular. Is this modeled on someone? A pop-star I’ve not heard of, a girlfriend, niece, neighbor… who is she? Todd starts to laugh. He tells me that ‘Ringo was as much a fan of my stuff as I was of his. He used to wonder what Tellos would look like if I had done it. It was his rendition of what he felt my Serra would’ve looked like… (insert Twilight Zone theme here.) You can’t make this stuff up folks. No one would believe it.