Friday, February 19, 2010

sketchbook: keith's ambush bug in the snow! or the funniest sketch spencer beck has ever seen...


keith giffin rocks! i love everything he does--love him as an artist, love him as a writer, love him as a wacky, wonky satirist taking his ambush bug through the minefields of today's comics landscape...i love him.

keith is the guy who, with paul levitz, made me actually care about the legion of superheroes, made me actually become invested in them--prior to that i just had a very casual relationship with that sprawling team--made me actually race to the comics shop when the next issue was due!
keith is the guy who, according to legend, bugged paul and/or editor andy helfer incessantly until they agreed to let him and jm dematteis--and artist kevin maguire--re-imagine and re-launch the justice league.
keith is the guy who created the irreverent, inimitable, irrepressible ambush bug who parodies the "hot books" of the day, questions the absurd politics of an industry run by, let's face it, a bunch of glorified comic book writers and artists, and who constantly breaks the fourth wall all the while encouraging us to break the fifth!
keith created the heckler and trencher and, it is my firm belief, that keith drew the first nipples on a man (sub-mariner) in a comic book (defenders) back in the mid-seventies finally breaking that unnecessary comics-code taboo that we had all been waiting so very long to see fall... (?)

i have only ever met keith once, years ago, at heroes con. i was, as usual, on full fanboy as my friend, art dealer spencer beck, led me over to his table to meet him--i think spencer represented keith at the time, i don't know... keith was busy chatting with someone but immediately came over, introduced himself, and before i could say anything, he was telling me how much he liked my stuff, liked the humor in it, thought it was fun. i was stunned--i had planned to gush a bit, but he took the fanboy steam right outta me. we had a really nice conversation and i did get to tell him how much i dug his stuff, how he is the one person i can always rely on for at least three or four laugh out louds per issue.
eventually i felt the need to get back to mike at the table and told him i'd like to see if i can get over later get on-line for a sketch, he said cool. shortly after that, spencer appeared at my table again, hand out, telling me that keith sent him over to get my book. i was stunned again. and again when, about an hour later, keith slipped over while i was talking with a reader and slyly handed me back the book, not wanting to interrupt the conversation. not looking at the sketch, i thanked him profusely and said i'd catch him later and buy him a drink. he said great and disappeared into the crowd.

i never saw him again.

spencer came over later, laughing to himself, and begged to see the sketch again, proclaiming that it was easily the funniest sketch he had ever seen and that he wanted a copy of it. and that had been the first chance that i had to look at it--we had had a pretty steady flow of people past the table that day--and i can remember first my laugh, then mike's over my shoulder, and then a steady procession of laughs as then rich came over to look, then cully, then karl, then adam...

yes, spencer--easily...the funniest sketch ever! *
thank you, keith! hope to catch you at a show again real soon and buy you dinner.

* craig's sketch runs a very close second funniest, but that's more of an inside joke and cannot be reprinted here.
or anywhere.

a few years later i was paired with this fun and frenetic new artist named ethan van sciver--maybe you've heard of him?--on the fun and frenetic adventures of impulse! ethan was still quite new and still cutting his teeth in many ways, but we had the same vision for what we wanted to do with the little guy and we soon became good friends! we had lotsa fun on our run and i think it shows.

have a great weekend!
smell ya later!

this is post no. 695


Matt Wieringo said...

Wow! Those are considered "sketches"?!! Beyootiful. And that Giffen sketch was hilarious.

I was always a huge Giffen fan too, starting with the DEFENDERS stuff. I absolutely adored THE HECKLER and AMBUSH BUG and OMEGA MEN.

Heywood Jablomie said...

i hate you....

.....not really of course, but man that sketchbook of yours is frikkin awesome. keith's was great!!

i've been a fan of his on and off thru the years. i luv halloween was great stuff, and i've always loved the lobo work he did.

Brian said...

Very funny Ambush Bug sketch.

Be sure to bring the book to Boston in April as I simply must see the comedy gold that Craig laid down in what you call your sketch book, but what I will here on out refer to as an illuminated manuscript. ;-)

Rich Faber said...

That IS funny. I'm pretty sure I've seen that sketchbook, but don't recall Keith's. I do, however, know the one by Craig. Good that you "saved" it! ;-)


PS: Call me when you have a chance. I have some news to share.

~ Wendy ~ said...

hee, hee... two D's ?
love the sketch.
Great job Keith!

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