Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Age of The Gunfighters

August 19, 2017
   We tend to think of all the gunfighters of the Old West as being contemporaries, as if they graduated from the same class in school. That's kind of what I was driving at with this semi-parody:

The Class of Quantrell

   In a certain sense this was true, at least for these Civil War brigands who were all about the same age. But when we spread out the search across the entire spectrum of the frontier West we get some serious spreads. Let's start with the first gunfighter:

Daily Whip Out: Wild Bill In His Prime, 1867

   While Wild Bill Hickok was going up against Dave Tutt here's the age of his fellow classmates.

Wyatt Earp was 19.

Doc Holliday was 16.

John Wesley Hardin was 14.

Billy the Kid was eight.

Tom Horn was seven.

Black Jack Ketchum was four.

Robert Leroy Parker (Butch Cassidy) was one

And the Sundance Kid was six months old!

Daily Whip Out: "The Sundance Kid"

"Be careful Slade. That kid might have a hideout in his diaper!"
—Ernie Cavendish of the Cavendish gang

Friday, August 18, 2017

Doc Holliday Treasure Trove Surfaces

August 18, 2017
   Thanks to Curator Kristi, a treasure trove of Doc Holliday monoprints have surfaced.

Daily Whip Out: "Doc—Dawn of The Dying #3"

Daily Whip Out: "You're A Daisy If You Do!"

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Portrait #13"

Daily Whip Out: "Doc Guards Right Flank"

Daily Whip Out: "The Walk Down"

Daily Whip Out: "Doc [And Crew] Walk to The Gunfight"

   Full disclosure: these are circa 1999, they were printed at Armstrong-Prior in Phoenix and Kristi dug them out of my garage.

"Why worry about history being erased when you're so busy repeating it?"
—Old Vaquero Saying

"Gonna pitch an alternate-reality tv show where the civil war is over."
—Russ Shaw, Jr.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Monoprints Culled From The Crypt: "Apache Power" and "Ghost Night"

August 17, 2017
   Thanks to my new curator, Kristi Jacobs, I got to take a gander this morning at a whole bunch of art pieces I created almost 20 years ago at Armstrong-Prior in Phoenix. They consist of chine colle and monoprints and to be honest, I had forgotten all about them, until Kristi brought them in from the garage and asked me to title them for her. Some were quite lame and I suggested we chuck them, but a few kind of stunned me, like these two monoprints:

Daily Whip Out Monoprint, circa 1999: "Apache Forces"

Daily Whip Out Monoprint, circa 1999: "Ghost Night"

   Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Daily Whip Out: "Don't Touch My Hat #7"

Finding Lost Treasures
   An original daguerreotype of John Quincy Adams, circa 1843, will be auctioned off at Sotheby's. It was given as a gift to a congressman whose descendants "lost track of its significance." Man, that quote says it all. Everything we own conspires to be lost and forgotten.

"So much is considered lost until it's found."
—Emily Bierman, head of Sotheby's photographs department

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

J. Blasco & True West vs. Tiger Beat

August 16, 2017
   Finally got my box of European graphic novels which Kathy shipped for me from Germany over a week ago. I originally thought I'd bring them home in my carry-on, but after I bought my first baker's dozen I knew I needed a bigger container and a bigger shipper. Bought about 15 books and couldn't resist buying this French comic by an incredible artist by the name of J. Blasco:

"Les Guerilleros" which I'm guessing means The Billys?

   Got more to say about these classic tomes, but wanted to share a drawing and a few comments on my Tombstone Chamber speech.

Daily Whip Out: "Red Rocks"

   Here are a few of the reactions to my speech in Tombstone where I mentioned our success of using Val Kilmer and Powers Boothe to boost our newsstand sales:

   "In my opinion, to bring this new generation into the fold you must entice them with some popular culture in order to get them interested in the subject matter. I believe many a young person in the 40's, 50's, and 60's, became interested in the old west after seeing their favorite stars in the western movies. I don't see it as diluting the bulk of the magazine at all."
—Pam R.

   "So true, Pam. Robert Utley's passion for Custer began with a viewing of "They Died with Their Boots On". Future generations were similarly affected, but the movie was "Little Big Man". 
   "I see nothing wrong with how Bob Bell and the True West staff are reaching out, and attracting the younger generation. It's the smart thing to do, and it is necessary in order for TW to survive." 
—Bob Reece

   "You can't find heritage in a movie! Come on 'TRUE west'. Live up to your name. Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell are payed to play make believe. Enough hero worship for Hollywood. Is this True West or Tiger Beat?"
—Jason Goggin

   Ha, Tiger Beat was a cheesy, pop, fan magazine in the 1960s. A clever put down and it made me laugh, but here's the deal: we are a popular history magazine and always have been since Joe Small created True West 64 years ago. We don't do footnotes and we don't demand degrees from our contributors. We are not promoting Hollywood hero worship and we go to great lengths to separate the make believe from the hard facts on every single page of the magazine.

   Thanks to Kristi Jacobs, my new curator, I got to view a very quirky documentary, "Shepard & Dark," which tells a sordid tale of Sam Shepard and his brother-in-law. I watched it with great interest last night and caught the following quote:

"I'm not as fascinated by the history as I am by what creates the history."
—Sam Shepard

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Val Kilmer Kills In Tombstone

August 15, 2017
   Back from my quick trip down to Tombstone. Stayed at the delightful Monument Guest Ranch which was built by some crazy Germans who love the West. They allegedly spent over $5 million on the property which they originally called "Apache Spirit Ranch" which was a tad misleading since they are a stone's throw from Tombstone. Anyway, three years ago my friend Russell True, of White Stallion Ranch fame, took over the property and has been running it ever since. My talk to the Chamber was in the barn on the ranch.

Monument Guest Ranch, outside Tombstone, Arizona, 6 a.m.

   At the end of the frontier main street (the rooms are inside the buildings) you can see the Ed Schieffelin rock tower monument. Thus the name. Here it is in a blown up:

Schieffelin Monument in circle

And here are the highlights of my remarks at the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce:

How Do We Thrive And Keep The Old West Alive?
   "I believe True West magazine and the town of Tombstone are in the same boat. We have to compete in the wider world for customers (in my world we call them "eyeballs"), and, as everyone knows, this wider world is a very chaotic marketplace right now. In my humble opinion, we have to adapt, or die.

   "There was a time when we could merely beckon to the public with the true history of what happened in Tombstone and people would respond, some would even show up, or in our case, subscribe. But those days are diminishing and one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

   "Last weekend's appearance of Val Kilmer in Tombstone, underscores my point. A record crowd showed up to see him. We have had similar results when we put him on the cover of True West. We sell about 25% more magazines on the newsstand when Val, or Robert Duvall, or Hugh O'Brian, or, as in our latest issue, Powers Boothe appears on the cover. 

Val Kilmer on the cover of our April issue has been our highest selling issue of the year.

   These extra sales can mean the difference between thriving and going broke. The simple fact is, we live in a celebrity culture. Now, the trick is, how do we utilize this powerful magnet without appearing to 'sell out'? Well, it ain't easy. We have tried our best to provide solid history inside the magazine, but we tease that history with Val Kilmer on the cover. So far, it's working.

   "My advice for Tombstone is to do more events with popular culture figures to bring in the crowds. I saw a first time event in Ridgeway, Colorado draw 10,000 people with the addition of Angie Dickinson, Kim Darby and Johnny Crawford. Imagine what Tombstone could do with a Kurt Russell next year? One warning: he ain't going to be cheap, but it sure beats dying on the vine.

   "In addition to the early history of Tombstone, I know a few things about the current history. So, good luck with getting any of this done."

"A committee is a group of important individuals who singly can do nothing but who can together agree that nothing can be done."
—Fred Allen

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Goose Flats Gentle Rain

August 14, 2014
   Drove down to Goose Flats today and ran into this guy, the grand old man of Tombstone, Mr. Ben Traywick. He's 90-years-young and still stomping the boardwalks. Great seeing him. 

The Retired Historian of Tombstone Ben Traywick, age 90

   When I asked him how he stays so young, he said, "Because I've got three more books in me!"

A Storm Rolls Through The Dragoons

   Sitting here in the Doc Holliday suite on his birthday. Big storm moving through the Dragoons, as a gentle rain falls. This is the view out my patio door. I'm a guest at the Monument Guest Ranch outside Tombstone, Arizona and tonight I get to tell tall tales to 50-or-so captured guests. So what am I going to talk about?

Daily Whip Out: "Wyatt B.S. Earp"

"The old forget. The young don't know."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fred Nolan In The Sky With Footnotes

August 13, 2017
   Interesting sunset last night. I swear that's Fred Nolan's profile in that cloud.

Fred Nolan In The Sky With Footnotes

Who, exactly is Fred Nolan? That would be this guy:

Fred Nolan at the Ellis Story, Lincoln New Mexico, October, 2014

Revised Edition with a New Foreword by the Author and an Addendum with Corrections
By Frederick Nolan

The letters and diaries of John Henry Tunstall, a young rancher-Englishman murdered in 1878 during New Mexico Territory’s Lincoln County War.

Order from Sunstone: (800) 243-5644

In 1956, Frederick Nolan, then 25, located in the archives of the British Foreign Office a substantial file of original correspondence between the British and American governments, the family of John Tunstall, and many of the participants in the New Mexico Territory’s Lincoln County War. Soon after this he was given unconditional access to Tunstall’s letters and diaries, and three and a half years later—although he had never set foot in the United States—completed a biography based upon the sympathetically-edited letters and diaries of the young English rancher whose brutal murder in February, 1878, triggered the bitter and unrelenting violence that followed.

His widely-acclaimed debut is recognized today as a breakthrough work which completely revolutionized historical understanding of the personalities and events of New Mexico’s Lincoln County War and in the process changed forever the way the subject would be written about. The first book ever to link those events to the shadowy cabal known as the Santa Fe Ring, the first book ever to place Billy the Kid in the true context of his time, the first book ever to make available the letters of such men as Alexander McSween, Huston Chapman, and the hitherto unknown Robert Widenmann, it set new standards for both research and writing in this field and in the process became a classic. It is augmented in this edition with a new foreword and a supplement of corrections to the first edition which incorporates the author’s more recent historical and biographical research.

Frederick Nolan is widely recognized as the world’s leading authority on the history of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War and both he and his work on the subject have been garlanded with honors. He has received the Border Regional Library Association of Texas’ Award for Literary Excellence, the first France V. Scholes Prize from the Historical Society of New Mexico, and the first J. Evetts Haley Fellowship from the Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas. The Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association has presented him with its highest honor, the Glenn Shirley Award, for his lifetime contribution to outlaw-lawman history and The Westerners Foundation has named his The West of Billy the Kid one of the 100 most important 20th-century historical works on the American West. In 2007 the National Outlaw-Lawman Association awarded him its prestigious William D. Reynolds Award in recognition of his outstanding research and writing in Western history and in 2008 True West magazine named him “Best Living Non-Fiction Writer.” Among his other books about the West are an annotated edition of Pat Garrett’s Authentic Life of Billy the Kid; Bad Blood: the Life and Times of the Horrell Brothers; The West of Billy the Kid; and The Lincoln County War, the latter from Sunstone Press in a new edition. He lives in England.

7 X 10
ISBN: 978-0-86534722-9
548 pp., $45.00

Buy the book, enjoy the cloud.

"Wonderful stuff! Boze paints what the rest of us can only imagine."
—Fred Nolan, Chalfont St. Giles, England

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The View From My Breakfast Table This Morning

August 12, 2017
   One of my morning rituals is to take all my works-in-progress and set them on the breakfast nook bench so I can study them while I eat my toast and drink my coffee. Here's the view from my breakfast table this morning. 

   The Dark Tower graphic novel is there because I was curious to study the source material for the new movie and see if I can figure out why they dropped the obvious Clint Eastwood-Spaghetti Western part of the theme. My conclusion is that the people who made the movie are chickenshits. The O.K. Corral salt and pepper shaker, on the counter, at left, was a gift from The Top Secret Writer. And Yes, the Joseph Rosa book is my bible for the current project.

"The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."
—L. P. Hartley

Rain In The Face, Gnats In The Ears

August 12, 2017
   Got out on the road at 5:45 this morning. Caught this sweet little cloud break over Ratcliff Ridge. 

A Break In The Clouds Over Ratcliff Ridge

      Emailed the photo to my far flung family in Germany, Thailand and Seattle. As I was coming back from my morning walk, Ratcliff Ridge lit up with an even cooler view.

No, Wait! This Is Even Better!

   Got some sweet rain at about eight. Unfortunately, the moisture brings out the bugs and gnats, which we normally don't have. All of life is a trade off, isn't it? Blistering heat, no bugs. Nice rain, gnats in the ears.

"It's always something."

—Emily Littella, (Gilda Radner)

Friday, August 11, 2017

France & Germany In The Rearview

August 11, 2017
   Going through my sketchbook done while I was abroad last month. Here are some of the pages in no particular order as I bounced around France and Germany on high speed trains and on foot.

Daily Whip Out: "A German Version of A Vaquero"

   I bought a whole bunch of German Western graphic novels and they are being shipped to me even as you read this (I quickly ran out of space in my carry on). This vaquero is from a comic called "Mac Coy," which had some very cool vaquero drawings in it.

   Of course, we went to the Louvre when we were in Paris and I marveled at the date on a certain armless statue.

Daily Whip Out: "Venus de Milo"

   In the dining room of our hotel in Germany was this dark painting of a knight setting forth in front of a tall cliff top castle and I couldn't resist copping the basic design and putting it a little closer to home, as in my home on the desert Southwest.

Daily Whip Out: "Lobby Knights"

  The German graphic novels lean heavily towards the movie tropes, as in this sequence. I really dug the third panel where the pistol fires and bucks, and the flash is below the barrel as it would be in real life. Very cool and very effective:

Daily Whip Out: "German Graphic Novel Shoot Out"

   In Germany I was struck by how the towns are contained—the downtown is the downtown and the country is the country. They have kept the two separate without the willy nilly urban sprawl that devastates so many American towns. My hometown of Kingman comes to mind. The downtowns in Germany are lively and people are out walking—yes walking—with numerous outdoor cafes. How did they bypass the bypass, I want to know.

Daily Whip Out: "The Schwarzer Bock Hotel in Wiesbaden, Germany"

   Our hotel, above, is very historic. Goethe (pronounced Ger-Teh) took in the bathes in the basement in 1818! The nearby Burger King is on the ground floor of a three centuries old building. Just crazy amazing.

   Meanwhile, the other thing that impressed me so much is that the trains are so clean and efficient and they go everywhere, on time. I don't get it. We OWNED the train, we improved it, we had the tracks, what happened? I know, I know. We chose the car, we moved to the suburbs, we left devastation in our wake. I wish we had that one back.

Daily Whip Out: "Salt Flats Rider"

Daily Whip Out: "The Mojave"

This is from an Edward Curtis photograph.

Daily Whip Out: "Quick As Lightning"

   Loved going, really loved coming home. I dig this desolate country and would be hard pressed to live anywhere else. It's so hot and gritty,  but those are just two of the things I love.

"The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare."
—Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Encounter That Doomed Wild Bill

August 10, 2017
   It's been said that every honest man secretly welcomes a press agent, and in the case of James Butler Hickok he got his wish, and then some.

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill In His Cups"

   Wild Bill was a known carouser and he loved to tell windies. Another frontier saying is, "It takes two Easterners to believe one Westerner," and in that regard Hickok found someone who took it all in.

Daily Whip Out: "Wild Bill Takes Aim"

George Ward Nichols (1831-1885) was a journalist, born in Tremont, Maine. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Nichols joined the Union Army and served on the staff of John C. Fremont and later served under General William Sherman. Nichols rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. At the close of the Civil War in 1865, Nichols wrote and published "The Story of The Great March" about Sherman's march to the sea. After the war, he returned to journalism and on a visit to Springfield, Missouri he ran into James Butler Hickok and decided to write up his exploits on the frontier. The subsequent article "Wild Bill Hitchcock," yes, Hickok was misspelled, appeared in the February, 1867 edition of Harper's New Monthly Magazine. The article made Wild Bill a celebrity but there was immediate blowback from out West as a variety of newspapers, including the Leavenworth Daily Conservative, The Kansas Daily Commonwealth, The Springfield Patriot and the Atchison Daily Champion slammed the stories as inaccurate, especially the part where Hickok claimed to have killed "hundreds of men." Stung by the criticism, Nichols moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and decided to write about music. He died there on the fifteenth of September, 1885.

   All the media attention, both good and bad, fanned the flames of interest and soon enough Hickok graduated from being a regional folk hero, to a national celebrity and then, after the Combination theatrical tour with Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill moved on up to the rarified air of a living legend.

   Unfortunately, at the end of the day this put a very large target on his back and it was only a matter of time before someone took aim at that target.

   "This yere is Wild Bill, Colonel," said Captain Honesty, an army officer addressing me. He continued:
  "How are yer, Bill? This yere is Colonel N----, who wants ter know yer."
—Colonel George Ward Nichol's alleged meeting with Hickok

"Whenever you get into a row be sure and not shoot too quick. Take time. I've known many a feller slip up for shootin' in a hurry,"
—Wild Bill's advice on shooting, as quoted by Nichols

"I have told his story precisely as it was told to me, confirmed in all important points by many witnesses; and I have no doubt of its truth."
—George Ward Nichols

   But the best quote, which I plan on using prominently in the book is this:

 "Pretty near all these stories are true."
—Wild Bill Hickok

   In fact, I love it so much, I may use it in the book advertising as well:

Rebecca Edwards' first run at our roll-out ad for the book.

Note: The book is not even printed yet and this ad is just a rough (note the typo in second graph). So be patient, we'll get the landing site AND the book ready, soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Shadow of The Mojave On The Brain

August 9, 2017
   Still seeking a splash page image that conveys the dark side of Olive Oatman's story. Got up this morning and gave it one more go. 

Daily Whip Out: "In The Shadow of The Mojave #5"

         Still not quite right. Too controlled, perhaps? I have been noodling this idea all summer with varying degrees of success.

Daily Whip Out: "In The Shadow of The Mojave #4"

Daily Whip Out: "In The Shadow of The Mojave #3"

Daily Whip Out: "In The Shadow of The Mojave #2"

Daily Whip Out: "In The Shadow of The Mojave #1"

Daily Whip Out: "In The Shadow of The Mojave Bonus Scene"

   After all that, I met with my production staff this morning and decided to hold off on the story in the next issue of True West (November) until I have better overall coverage. It's a great story and I don't want to rush it. I also hate it that I'm just going in circles with this opening and perhaps, like so many of my peers, it's time to hang it up. But then, I just read this in the paper this morning. . .

"Here's what I have learned, if you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first. Thanks for watching, drive safely."
—David Letterman on his retirement and his new show on Netflix (a six-part series)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Phone Alone

August 8, 2017
   I had a doctor's appointment—a cardiovascular check-up—yesterday, and I always bring a True West magazine with me to put in the waiting room. I do the same thing at my dentist's office. If the wait is long, I enjoy watching who picks up the magazine to read and I have even gone over and asked these waiting room readers why they picked up the issue and what they liked and didn't like about what they saw. It is a wonderful way to do a random focus group and I have gleaned some good feedback from the exercise.

   But,  here is the scene I saw when I came in the door yesterday:

Phone Alone

   Ouch! Nobody reads magazines in the waiting room anymore, because everybody is on their phones! Even Johnny Crawford can't seem to get their attention. And, as Dan The Man pointed out, "The Rifleman" was playing on the TV and I was the only one watching it. 

"I miss the days when we were smarter than our phones."

Monday, August 07, 2017

Five Pages of Airborne Whip Outs

August 7, 2017
   I flew home from Germany last week—14 hours in the air—and drew almost the entire way. Here's a couple pages of Daily Airborne Whip Outs:

Daily Whip Out: "Airborne Sketches #1"

Daily Whip Out: "Airborne Sketches #2"

Daily Whip Out: "Airborne Sketches #3"

Daily Whip Out: "Airborne Sketches #4"

Daily Whip Out: "Airborne Sketches #5"

      Funny what you can do when you are trapped in a plane for a day-and-a-half.

"There are lots of ways to become a failure, but never taking a chance is the most successful."
—Harvey Mackay

Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Best Frank James In A Movie, Ever?

August 6, 2017
   Who has portrayed Frank James in the movies with rugged, bedrock integrity and authenticity? That would be this guy:

Frank James (Sam Shepard) in
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

"Sidekick? You're giving me the willies!"
—Sam Shepard, as Frank James, scoffing at Robert Ford (Casey Affleck)

Saturday, August 05, 2017

BBB Inner Child Channels Dunkirk Dogfights

August 5, 2017
   When I was in the third grade in Swea City, Iowa, a blizzard hit after we all got to school and we couldn't go outside for recess so the teachers herded us all into the gym where they showed us a film. It was a World War II documentary called "Victory At Sea" and it showed actual nosecone footage of American planes shooting down "Jap" Zeroes who were trying to dive bomb into American ships in the Pacific. (imagine getting the clearance to show this film at a school today?!) Anyway, these  scenes thrilled me to no end and I began to draw aerial dogfights morning, noon and night.

1955 Daily Whip Out: "Dunkirk Dogfights"

  Yesterday, I took off from work a little early to catch "Dunkirk" in IMAX format down at Desert Ridge and, I have to say, the aerial dogfights are worth the price of admission, alone. So damn cool. If you can see it in IMAX I highly recommend it.

   Some old-timer complained in the Arizona Republic that the movie was too loud, commenting, "World War II wasn't that loud." Sorry, old geezer guy, you are confusing Glenn Miller with world war. Yes, the movie is extremely loud, just as war with automatic weapons and Spitfires with Rolls Royce engines WOULD BE, and as the planes bank and fly over, the noise is deafening and you can feel it in your chest. It doesn't get much cooler than that! The nine-year-old in me was cheering to beat the band!

   One other selling point. If you need an actor to sell an RAF pilot just with the basic view thru his goggles that guy would be Tom Hardy. Damn that guy is cool as a hotshot flyboy who almost saves the day. Sorry, told you too much. Go see it before I ruin the rest of it for you.

   One more thing: If you are disturbed, or puzzled, by the narrative rhythm of the film, "Stop thinking so hard and instead absorb the emotions and spectacle of it all."
—Christopher Nolan, the director of Dunkirk