October 24, 2011Finalizing details on a big Tombstone book signing this coming Saturday in the O.K. Corral. Tim Fattig is setting it up. In addition to me signing books in the corral, there will be a funeral for the cowboys going down Allen Street at noon. Loooks like a crowd from here is going along, including our production manager Robert Ray and one of our account reps, Shannon Schwind.
Speaking of Tombstone, the LA Times ran a piece this past weekend on an alleged new photo album with photos of Wyatt Earp as a youth, two of his wives, Calamity Jane and others. Compelling, but very suspicious to me. The idea of having Calamity Jane in an Earp photo album would be like Mundo having a photo of Justin Beber in his family album. No. Wait. That is not a good example.
Here's the link to the alleged Wyatt Earp Photo Album article.
As you may know I have had numerous True West business partners in the past dozen years. The one who has been here the longest is Dave Daiss. A former neighbor and the owner of the True West Building, Dave is a true maniac when it comes to celebrating all things Western. Here he is, front and center, at last week's Helldorado Days in Tombstone:
Love the hat Dave. Photo is by Bradley Risk.
When I first met Kathy in the mid-seventies, she was an eighth grade math teacher at Moon Mountain Elementary School in Phoenix. Last Saturday night she invited four of her former-fellow teachers and their spouses for a dinner party at our house. One of the teachers, George Metro, didn't cotton to me at first and, in fact, got upset when I put my hand around Kathy's waist at our first meeting (Kathy wanted me to meet her fellow teachers and so, after work on a Friday we met at a restaurant at Metro Center). George was quite protective of her (he still is!) as she had just been widowed and anyway, Who was this underground cartoonist-rock drummer who was being "familiar" with his sister? (they are not related, but you know what I mean).
Anyway, George showed up on Saturday evening and gifted me his very own Hopalong Cassidy dinner plate, which he swears he ate off all the while growing up. Here it is:
Not a bad peace offering, eh?
And, speaking of Western icons, Kathy bought me Larry McMurtry's new memoir "Hollywood," which contains scattershot memories and references to many of his movie projects. One of those projects was Honkytonk Sue, a feminist cowgirl "who goes around beating up cowboys in country and western bars," as McMurtry puts it. I created Sue in Tucson in 1977 for an assignment from National Lampoon, but cranked it out to run in the Phoenix New Times in the spare bedroom of our house on West MacKenzie in Phoenix (ironically at about the time I was meeting George Metro and the other Moon Mountain gang at Metro Center).
Here's what McMurtry says about me in the memoir: "Just as films get made for complicated reasons they often don't get made for reasons just as strange. There is, for example, a script of mine called Honkytonk Sue—it surely rests in some archive somewhere. Honkytonk Sue was initially a comic strip by the brilliant Arizona cartoonist Bob Boze Bell; he has even done a graphic novel version of Lonesome Dove."
I can answer one of Larry's questions: the scripts for Honkytonk Sue are sitting in a vault at Columbia Pictures (there are six, three by McMurtry and his writing partner at the time, Leslie Marmon Silko and three more by Jerry Leischling and Arlene Sarner). A producer called me in the nineties and wanted to buy the rights. i sent him to Columbia and according to the producer they had a price tag on the rights at $750,000 which I'm guessing is probably the amount paid for the six scripts)
As for the other assertions, I am from Arizona, I am a cartoonist, I did create Honkytonk Sue but I did not do a graphic novel version of Lonesome Dove. Not sure where he got that, but I am flattered by the praise from the big dog in the Western literary world.
While I am proud of the compliments Larry paid me, I am very aware of my short comings (just ask George Metro). I had a cryptic message sent to me by someone in New Mexico. When I was in Albuquerque a couple weeks ago, I motored down Central Avenue to gander at the fading neon, on my way to meet the Distinguished Professor at the Range Cafe. As I got near the University I saw a billboard with grafitti scrawled along the bottom. It said:
"Your ego is not your amigo."
—Old Vaquero Saying