Thursday, December 31, 2015

Remembering Tim Corrigan

In 2015 we lost our friend and a very funny and talented cartoonist, Tim Corrigan. We here at Five Star Comics did not have an exclusive claim to him of course. Tim touched the lives of hundreds of writers, artists, readers, and fans. They remember him, too.

This is a time of year for remembering. Arnie Fenner, an artist, editor, and publisher, has made a list of cartoonists, illustrators, and other artists we lost during the past year. Tim Corrigan's name is on that list, joining those of Murphy Anderson, Jon Arfstrom, Roger Bollen, Mel Crawford, Alan Kupperberg, Earl Norem, Leonard Starr, Herb Trimpe, and many others. The names of the five cartoonists murdered in Paris in January are on the list as well. You can read Mr. Fenner's list on a posting called "In Memoriam 2015" on the website Muddy Colors: A Fantasy Art Collection, December 28, 2015, here.

Goodbye to 2015 and to Tim Corrigan, too.

Copyright 2015 Five Star Comics

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Novelist of the Silver Bridge Disaster

The Silver Bridge came down on this date in 1967. Forty-six people died because of it, on the bridge and in the waters of the Ohio River. Even now, in the area of Point Pleasant and across the river in Gallipolis, Ohio, there are people who remember the disaster or knew or are related to someone who died there. Novelist, poet, essayist, and book collector Jack Matthews was born in Columbus, Ohio, but had roots in Gallia County, of which Gallipolis is the seat of government. (His father was born on a Gallia County farm.) I don't know that Jack Matthews knew or was related to anyone who died in the Silver Bridge disaster, but he took on the identity of a fictional survivor in his novel Beyond the Bridge, from 1970.

Beyond the Bridge is brief but dense and complex, a much different book than Matthews' first novel, Hanger Stout, Awake! (1967), which is more a song of innocence than of experience. Beyond the Bridge takes the form of a diary of a man who has put his old life behind him and assumed a new one on the other side of the river--beyond the bridge--in West Virginia. The book ends with an entry for July 18, 1968--four days before Jack Matthews' forty-third birthday--as the protagonist sets out to cross another bridge and begin another diary. Jack Matthews lived for another forty-five years and passed away on November 28, 2013.

In Beyond the Bridge, Matthews' protagonist, a dishwasher and diarist named Neil, is friends with a fallen preacher named Harlan and becomes the lover of a local woman, Billie Sue, who knows all the superstitions of Appalachia. Neil writes of himself and Billie Sue:
     Only before we went to sleep, I myself wondered why I should be so interested in these silly superstitions and Harlan's insane theology.
     I couldn't figure it out, except for the possibility that I could feel human breath in them. And I can't help feeling close to people who have long been dead, and have no other voice left. (p. 138)
I like to think that those who are gone still have a voice, even if it's one we can no longer hear. But if Jack Matthews' only remaining voice for us--whether we are vast seas or merely islands of readership--is in his books, then I must share the feeling of his diarist, that of being "close to people who have long been dead, and have no other voice left." His books speak, have the breath of life in them, and, though their author has been gone two years now, still live.

In memory of Jack Matthews and the forty-six people who died on December 15, 1967.

Original text copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Last Show of the Year

Five Star creator Terence Hanley was at the East Elementary PTO Holiday Shoppe again this year, on Friday, December 11, 2015. It was his fifth Holiday Shoppe, and like the others before it, this one was a good show for him. The Holiday Shoppe gives the children at East Elementary a chance to do their own shopping, with the help of their teachers or older pupils if they need it. It also teaches them about handling money, budgeting, and making decisions. Another benefit is that they can buy things from local artists and craftspeople instead of mass-produced merchandise from a chain store. Terence's coloring books are always popular there, especially among future UFOlogists and cryptozoologists. One of the artists Terence met this year is Jessica Held, who uses poured materials to make polished, agate-like surfaces on everyday objects. Some of them look like satellite images of deserts and wastelands, too. You can see her blog at this link:

As it turns out, Jessica has exhibited in Lafayette, Indiana, next door to where Terence went to college. As they say, it's a small world.

Copyright 2015 Five Star Comics