Almost every year, I go out and buy something for me for my birthday. Usually it’s been music, or occasionally a book. But I’ve been going to my old buddy Steve Bissette’s webpage, and he’s been selling some artwork. The above piece was in my price range, spoke to me visually and had a caption that made me laugh. It’s been a long time since I actually purchased artwork, probably 25 years ago or more.
Steve, along with writer Alan Moore and inker John Totleben, created a tremendous run of the comic Swamp Thing in the mid-1980s. I got to know Steve a little when he’d truck over from Vermont to work on various FantaCo horror-related publications. As I’ve mentioned before, we reconnected in part recently both through his compiling the history of FantaCo publications and our collective efforts – mostly successful – trying to get the writer of the FantaCo Wikipedia post to fix up some egregious errors.
I then went back to the site to buy the 16-page promotional “Sweeney Todd Penny Dreadful” by Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli, edited by Steve, as well as The Comics Journal #185 (March 1996) with a full-color dinosaur-collage Tyrant cover by Steve plus a 50-page interview with Mr. Bissette. Yes, I’ve read the W-H-O-L-E thing.
In each package, he threw in something else. In the first, it was a couple Mars Attacks! mini-comics. As a FantaCo employee, I took MA! writer Mario Bruni to Madison, WI in 1988 to the gathering put on by Capital City Distribution, a then formidable comic book distributor, now defunct, to market the product. I must have had the issues at one point, but certainly lost track of them over time. Somehow, Steve, sensitive Piscean fellow that he is, sussed out that I likely didn’t have copies for myself.
Suddenly on a Bissette kick, I went here and ordered SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING BOOK ONE HARDCOVER w/exclusive signed P2P bookplate, collecting SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #20-27. I LOVED those stories, but I must say the bookplate by Steve makes it almost worth the price of admission all by itself.
Anyway, I thought Steve’s natal day was today. Alas, the Intersnet deceived me, as it was yesterday. Regardless, thanks, my friend, for everything, and a (belated) HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU!