Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Last, Last, Last Minute Changes: Cache Creek vs. Crater Creek?

October 17, 2019
   Okay, we officially closed the Geronimo book yesterday at 12:47 P.M. which is technically 24 hours later than the October 15 deadline. We took this photo to commemorate it:

Rebecca Edwards, myself and Robert Ray celebrate the last change in Geronimo book.

   Notice on the screen in the background is the final page with the final correction on it.

   Well, that proved to be premature as we were catching more corrections all afternoon. In fact, I went home last night with the printouts and discovered three more corrections, which Robert fixed this morning.
   One of the last corrections was what was the name of the creek where Geronimo fell off his horse on the way home from Lawton, Oklahoma? I knew it has been cited as being Cache Creek, but I wanted to double check.

   Got this reply from Michael Farmer:

   "Geronimo’s village was on Cache Creek just above where it runs into Medicine Bluff Creek at Fort Sill. The records I’ve seen don’t name the creek, but if his intention was to work down to the Red River and then follow it west, the maps show the creek was most likely Crater Creek, which he crossed about a 1.5 miles from Star House. Hope this helps."

—Michael Farmer

   So, I went with Crater Creek. And we put a lock on the book. At some point, you just have to let it go.

   So, this morning I was cleaning out from the hurricane of a mess I had made in my studio with all my Geronimo notes and photo reference and as I was refiling everything I found this:

The obit for Asa Daklugue
in the El Paso Times
on April 8, 1955

   This will be in Book Two. I think it's interesting that by the 1950s Ace  is a full-fledged cowboy. Check out that great hat and brim!

"I'm not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing."
—Cormac McCarthy

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Maynard Dixon Show in Scottsdale Is Up And It's A Must See

October 16, 2019
   The new Maynard Dixon show is up at the Scottsdale Museum of the West. Almost every one of Maynard's classic paintings and drawings are in the show, but this little oil painting stole my heart. 

   This painting captures the view from Maynard's cabin in Mount Carmel, Utah, where Kathy and I had the pleasure and honor staying last year. Just a stunner.

   There was a pre-opening showing last Sunday night and I got there an hour early so I could see the show without the crowds pressing in:

The opening panels of the show.

   This photograph in the background shows Maynard painting a large saguaro with the Catalinas in the background. In the foreground is the finished painting on the actual studio easel he painted it on. Note that he chose to take out the clouds in the underpainting (it was a cloudy day).

   I also enjoyed seeing the many magazine assignments like this sweet doubletruck (Maynard is leaving room at left for type.

   And here's another scene, done from life that I enjoyed.

The Gamblers

   This incredible design and execution just melts my heart. Wow! How in the hell did he come up with this?

The Tortalitas north of Tucson

   I love the downward drooping arms (which you rarely see in paintings) and the low angle, the base is obviously off the edge of a ridge.

   Next time you see Mark Sublette, or Dr. Tricia Loscher, or Abe Hays, or Mike Fox at the museum, be sure to thank them for a stunning show.

"Your ancestors outnumber your fears. Feel their power."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Zero Hour on Geronimo!

October 15, 2019
   The day has arrived and believe it or not, we are in good shape. Thanks to Rebecca Edwards, who redesigned multiple pages of the book where I had something weak, I can now say with some confidence that my vision of what I wanted this book to look like has been achieved.

   Of course much credit goes to Robert Ray and Dan Harshberger (who designed the cover and the page layout) who both spent countless hours assuring everything tracks and looks good, as well.

   Not everything I had planned made it into the book. I wanted to do a sidebar on Apache headgear and we just ran out of time and space.

A Good Example of Apache headgear

   This is why it will say "Book One" on the title page. A little trick, Kathy Radina taught me way back when I did my first book on Billy the Kid (1992). I was fretting and moaning about all the things I couldn't get in the book and she finally said, "Here's how you solve that. Go to the title page and type these two words: Book One." And, I did, and it has served me well ever since. So the Apache headgear sidebar will be in Book Two of "The Illustrated Life & Times of Geronimo."

   John Langellier drove up from Tucson this morning to proof the book and he is in the conference room even as you read this, pouring over the layouts, looking for mistakes and typos and military snafus. Hint: he has found plenty of all the above.

Dr. John Langellier proofs Geronimo

   As previously mentioned, I had about a dozen unfinished boards of scenes I wanted to illustrate for the book and just never had the time to finish. Here they are scattered around my studio looking like the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Daily Whip Outs: "Unfinished Geronimos"

    Some of these had potential but they'll perhaps end up in Book Two of "The Illustrated Life & Times of Geronimo"

"From now to the end of consciousness, we are stuck with the task of defending art."

—Susan Sontag

Monday, October 14, 2019

Victorio And The Cockfighters

October 14, 2019
    One day to press. Last day to cull the weak stuff and add in better stuff. For example, Ed Mell had someone drive down from his cabin in Prescott, with this photograph, which Ed took at Janos back in March of 1996.

Victorio III by Ed Mell III

   Imagine the things this Indio Viejo (old In-din) had seen in his long life. I have a close-up on Victorio as well, but this one has much more detail. Robert Ray and I will decide this morning if we should trade out the other version for this one. These are the kinds of decisions we make as the clock ticks down.

   By the way, several people have asked me if Victorio had any good stories, or did I get to interview him about the history of his long life? Well, the truth is, he rode up, he was speaking in Spanish, and our guide was translating and at one point Victorio said something to the effect that his "verga" didn't work anymore. Verga is Mexican slang for penis. I think it was a joke, but the whole conversation was lost in translation, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. At the same time, several locals were working on a wounded rooster and they were trying to get a cockfight going (which is probably the reason Victorio rode into town) and we had two Japanese women in our tour group and one of them came over to me and she was weeping. "Mr. Bob you have to get them to stop this!" So I calmly went over and told those Mexicans to stop the cockfighting business because it offends the American and Japanese people in our tour group, and they meekly handed over the birds and I drove them to the nearest animal shelter.

   Are you kidding me?! I did not attempt to interfere in a six-thousand year old tradition in a country where I was a guest AND a gringo.

   So, that is the true story of what happened when a gringo Zonie tried to get the back story on an old In-din who claimed to be the grandson of Victorio. I should probably add that, in my experience, this is how most history is recorded. Verdad? Or, verga! Choose your poison.

   Yesterday I tweaked a few sidebars that needed it.

The Cowboy President
  There is probably nobody who had more to do with Geronimo becoming a national celebrity than the so-called Cowboy President, Teddy Roosevelt. The well-born, polo-playing Phi Beta Kappa Harvard graduate who launched himself out west after the tragic death of his mother and his wife, became a historian, a leader of the Rough Riders and he even won a Nobel Peace Prize. Oh, and the teddy bear was named after him. He then got elected to the New York State Assembly in 1881, at the young age of 23, and ended up as vice president, and after the assassination of William McKinley, Teddy became the youngest president in U.S. history, at 42. Oh, and he loved Old West history and the characters who made it wild. He appointed Pat Garrett to a post, invited Bat Masterson to the White House and, for his 1905 inaugural, he invited five chiefs to ride in the parade. Geronimo was one of them.

   Teddy Roosevelt got 35,000 people to participate in his inaugural parade, including six In-dins: Quanah Parker who represented the Comanche, Buckskin Charlie of the Utes, Hollow Horn Bear and Amerian Horse of the Sioux, Little Plume from the Blackfeet and the Apache warrior Geronimo.

All Eyes On The Mounted Warriors
   On March 4, 1905 Teddy Roosevelt was about to enjoy his first inaugural parade (he initially took the oath of office after the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley). The parade included West Point cadets and Army regiments, including the legendary 7th Cavalry. After several divisions of these came by, suddenly, and dramatically, six In-dins on horseback came into view and everyone in Roosevelt's box stood up.

   Flanking the chiefs were 350 cadets from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania marching in lockstep. This alignment was intended to showcase the progress that the wild In-dins of America had made and to lllustrate that they had left the old ways behind and had successfully been recast in the image of the dominant culture.

The cadets received a few passing mentions in the newspapers but nobody bothered to photograph them. All eyes were on the six chiefs. And, in reality, Geronimo had arrived on the American scene for good.

"Oh, God, now that damned cowboy is president of the United States."
—Senator Thomas Platt, on hearing that McKinley had been assassinated

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Geronimo And The Vision Thing

October 13, 2019
   Two days to press. This is the last-minute stage where a flurry of things happen, all at once. New things coming in, old things falling out, missing cutlines written and corrected, wrong photo credits corrected. A variety of dedicated people, Rebecca Edwards, Beth Deveny and Robert Ray, are working on the weekend to bring this to the finish line.

   Speaking of new things dropping in my lap, check this out:

Geronimo's Vision Quest

   Wow! Does this give you a different perspective on Geronimo? Man, that guy was a mountain of contradictions, I tell you. One thing you have to admit, is he did have an excellent and unique scarf tie-knot that shows up in quite a few photographs, including this one.

   Thanks to my friend Mort Mortensen for finding this.

   Finishing up the last painting for the project today. I actually have a dozen other semi-finished boards scattered around my studio, but it's time to stop cutting bait and fish. Or, should that be: stop cutting bait, stop fishing, tie up the damn boat to the dock and go home!

Daily Whip Out In Progress:
"Geronimo Is A Cowboy, II"

   Either way, this whale is going to the printer on Tuesday, with, or without another damn painting.

"I like to work very fast, to avoid mental and emotional constipation, which is my way of describing crippling self-consciousness."
—Liana Finck, on "How to Make Comics & Cartoons"

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Chief Rectum and Good Old Toggy Snoggy Revisited

October 12, 2019
   Out to proof, still in for filling holes. Took another crack at Geronimo is a Cowboy:

Daily Whip Out: "Geronimo Is A Cowboy"

Daily Whip Out:
"He Sold The Buttons Off His Coat"

   Yes, he did.

Good Ol' Chief Toggy Snoggy
   It's hard to beat the old time Apache nicknames. For example, for Alchesay, one of his Apache nicknames was tsajn ("swollen one"). Reading between the lines, could it be that someone thought he was "full of himself"? Another chief's name, tcilki ane, translates literally as "Rectum." Another nickname translates to "Angry He Waves Something Long Back And Forth." Not going to touch that one with a ten-foot, well, you know. But, my personal favorite is Hacki-nay, also known as Toggy Snoggy ("Big Nose").

Good Ol' Toggy Snoggy: Hacki-nay

   Wrote half the missing cutlines today, sent out half the layouts to historians who are quoted and studied the remaining documents, looking for last minutes additions and subtractions. There is a reason it says "Book One," on the title page and I have Kathy Radina to thank for that.

"In victory you deserve it, in defeat you need it."
—Napoleon, on champagne

Friday, October 11, 2019

Death Bed Transistion

October 11, 2019
   Four days to press. This is the stage when I start to hear these words in my head: "What the hell was I thinking?! I can't finish this! This is so stupid! I want to run away and never come back!"

   So far, I have not done this, but it doesn't stop the words from ricocheting around my brain.

   We have four spreads hanging out and they are in the last section. I am also fighting a major disconnect which appears at the time of Geronimo's death. I need a transition. Something like this:

Deathbed Request
   Ace Daklugie and Eugene Chihuahua took turns being with Geronimo on his deathbed. For many years they were tightlipped about what Geronimo actually talked about in his final moments. It would take a New Mexico school teacher to unlock that door and find out what Geronimo's last request was.

   Here's another transition that needs work:

When The Apaches Became Cowboys
   While a prisoner of war at Fort Still, Oklahoma, Geronimo and the Chiricahuas received a gift when the U.S. Congress bought them 10,000 head of Texas cattle and encouraged them to become ranchers. They, of course, become cowboys with style and panache and thanks to Ace Daklugie (who had studied animal husbandry at Carlisle in Pennsylvania) developed one of the best herds in the Southwest. 

Daily Whip Out: "Yippy Ti Yi Yatahey!"

   If these elements fall together this afternoon, I can finish the hangout artwork this weekend and we will do proofs and final cutlines on Monday and then Professor John Langellier is coming up from Tucson on Tuesday to proof the entire book looking for historical boo boos and errors.

   If all those things happen, THEN I will run away and hide for several days. Probably Ed's cabin, or somewhere with waves, but you get the idea.

"If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done."
—Old Vaquero Saying