Issue #40

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Issue #40


This past weekend was our fifth anniversary, for me and the missus. Friday the 12th was the day we’d been married for five whole years. In my family, this isn’t such a big deal. My parents have been married for forty-one years. Five years is a drop in the bucket. In my family, it takes that long for everyone to sort out which side of the bed you want.

In Mimi’s family, though, we get the trophy. We’ve lapped three of her parents’ five marriages. More, if you count the grandparents. Five years. Man, that’s a while, if you look at it like that.

‘Course, four days later, the 16th, was my birthday. Thirty-eight-years on this Earth. I was six when Neil and Buzz were traipsing about on the green cheese. I graduated high school the year my brother-in-law was born. Not so old as some, but older than others. There you go. Been around. Enough to know what time it is, without looking at a clock.

So I figure me and the missus can go to Yosemite, celebrate the wedding, and the birthday. Take a few days off from the hustle and the bustle. We used to go there quite a bit, nearly ten years ago, when we started dating. Back then, we were kids; we’d stay in the canvas tents at Camp Curry, on the valley floor, and put our food in bear-proof metal shelves, and bring Cheerios and eat ’em dry first thing in a meadow somewhere.

A few years later, when we’d go back, we’d have traded up a bit, and have sprung for one of those heated cabins. No amenities, no bathrooms, even; hot plates verboten and stumble over the raccoons on your way to the john in the middle of the night. But at least the wind’s not whipping the canvas and keeping you awake and it’s warm and dry and there’s no bear problem. So there’s that.

This time, though, a few years later, we’re adults, and have been married a while, and we’ve got that lucrative comic book publishing thing happening, so we shell out for the big room at the ritzy hotel with the fireplace and the jacuzzi and the balcony overlooking the Merced river and the bathroom with the shower in the bathroom the size of a small town in Montana…

…but it’s all a big waste, really, because we’re not those kinda cats.

Naw, Mimi and I are the Adventure Team… we’re not the kind of folks who will sit in a slick hotel and be pampered and whatnot… we like to go out and get our hands dirty, and get into trouble. So, because we were away from the office for a couple of days, I started thinking about the subject matter for this week’s column a little sooner than I would have, ordinarily.

On Saturday, we climbed up around Mirror Lake, which wasn’t so much a
lake at this time of year, as the glacier run-off was slowed down to a

“What do you think I should write about this week, Meem?” I asked the missus.

“What’s going on in comics?” she said.

“Nothing, really,” I said.

“Well, what are you doing?”

“This week, I’m finishing the lettering on Sky Ape: Waiting For
there’s nothing much to write about, there. Put a page of
art into the scanner, assemble the Quark document, describe the word
balloons, input the copy. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s pretty
straightforward. Nothing to write about, there, like I said.”

“What else?” Mimi said.

[Ministry of Space patch]
“Of course, we’ve got the Warren Ellis Available Light hardcover
to put together, and we’ve OK’d the production on the Ministry of
embroidered patches…”

“Nothing there,” Mimi said, “unless people are interested in the
production of ancillary comic book items.”

Of course, I agreed. By this time, we had decided to go all the way up
Bridalveil Falls. At this time of year, what usually is a torrent of
river water and a cascade of spray and mist is just but a trickle of
water, at most, and the adventurous climber can scramble up all the way
to the top of the falls, where one is rewarded with a magnificent view
of the valley below.

So that’s what we did, because we’re those kind of cats.

“What else is going on?” Mimi said. “Nothing,” I replied. “I got
nothing. Anything I could comment on has either been commented on by
other folks in a more straightforward manner than I could manage, or
there’s not a whole column’s worth of stuff, there.”

“What do you mean?” Mimi said, probably trying to be helpful but just
pissing me off at this point. Trying to draw me out in a conversation in
which I have nothing to say just isn’t going to work.

“Well, there’s what Ranger Dick said last night,” I replied. We trekked
up to the top of Glacier Point to see the sunset and talk to the Park
Ranger there, who happened to be from Seekonk, Massachusetts, and since
Meem and I had spent some time in that area, we had got a big kick out
of his accent.

Ranger Dick relayed the story of the first guy up Half Dome, in
Yosemite. It’s quite a sheer granite face, and at some points, it’s
nearly a forty-five degree angle. No way a guy in regular boots can
climb up it.

But as he described the first ascent attempts, Ranger Dick kept
referring to comic book imagery. George Anderson, the valley blacksmith,
first attempted climbing Half Dome with his arms and legs wrapped in
pitch-soaked burlap. “He’d go up a ways like Spider-man,” said Ranger
Dick, “but he’d always slide back down.”

[Mimi Climbs]
Mimi and I paid careful attention to the story after that, not because
of the Spidey reference, but because Anderson finally made it up, after
trying all summer, on October 12th, 1875.

One hundred and twenty-one years before our anniversary, sure, but not a
whole column there. Talking to a crowd of 150 people and referencing
Spider-man only brings to mind my pal Mike Allred’s quote… that everyone
in America knows what a comic book actually is… it’s just that not
everyone ever buys one.

Not a whole lot to comment on there.

Later that night, when we were relaxing in the jacuzzi, we watched a
little of America’s Most Wanted. I have to say, I love that John
Walsh. Not to demean his obviously tragic loss, but he’s a real-life
Batman. Just as Bruce Wayne sees the face of his parents’ murderer, Joe
Chill, every time he nabs a criminal, so, too, I believe, that John
Walsh feels he’s avenging and giving meaning to the death of his
murdered son every time they catch a bad guy for real through the
efforts of the fine folks at America’s
Most Wanted.

“Maybe there’s a column there,” Mimi said.

“Naw,” I said. “I think this latest one’s gonna be the column about
nothing. My Dinner With Andre. Sometimes the commentary is that
there is no commentary.”

“You’re gonna piss off those people on the Internet,” Mimi said.

“Yeah, well,” I replied. “It’s not like they don’t know what the deal is
when they read the title of the column. Never know what I’m gonna write

“Yeah, yeah,” my wife said. “Pass me my wine, ya loose cannon.”

There’s no way I’d give you a hard time on your birthday, but this year,
I said to myself:

While you can get your news and commentary about the funny books all
over the Internet, I usually make it a point to let slip at least one
bit of information at the Loose Cannon Message Board that I post nowhere else.