Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Me Elsewheres

Thanks to Mighty God King for hosting my longest-ever post on why I love the work of Bob Bolling.

The post quotes from a 1985 Miami Herald article on Bolling by Marianne Constantinou (actually it was less of an article and more of a short profile of a local artist); since it doesn't appear to be available elsewhere online, here's a transcript of the parts of the article that I didn't quote. The piece, while short, gave a pretty good outline of his style, personality, and interests (his stories were frequently inspired by his love of stamps, fishing, and of course, cats).

Born: June 9, in a year he won't reveal, in Brockton, Mass., 20 miles south of Boston. "As a kid, I slept in a huge Victorian bed with enormous, grotesque carvings. I used to cut out comic book covers and paste them all over my bed. It was the only way I could get to sleep."

Education: Attended Vesper George School of Art in Boston.

Home: A "crackerbox" in North Miami Beach, on a quiet street off Miami Gardens Drive. Moved to Miami 19 years ago.

Favorite possessions: His beard, his '67 Mustang fastback and a dent-riddled '71 Volkswagen Beetle.

Family: Wife, Marianne, and five Burmese cats.

Time-passers: Collecting stamps, fishing, reading anything but comics. Just waded through the three volumes of Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative. "The only pleasure I get is reading about death and destruction." Also reads books on reincarnation.

Past and future lives: In his next life, he hopes to come back as anything but a cartoonist. "I don't think I can go through all this again. . . . I don't want to know about an earlier lifetime. I still worry about stuff I did in second grade. I think it's a blessing we don't remember."

Words to live by: "It's best not to take anything too seriously or you'll be a fanatic. Fanatics have no sense of humor. They couldn't write comics."


Devlin Thompson said...

I've got to say that this is the best piece I've ever read in the admittedly narrow field of Bolling Studies. I agree with your charge that his "regular" Archie stories suffer from an overabundance of puns (and I'm a serious paranomasiac, so that's saying something), but I think the real problem with them is that not only is Bolling not as committed to the integrity of the stories, but neither are the characters. It often feels as if the kids are aware that they're acting in some sort of play, but aren't really FEELING it... something akin to Hope and Crosby in the "Road" pictures, but less successfully achieved. Or maybe I'm nuts. I dunno. I could try to clarify my meaning, but it's late and I've got to get home and let the dogs out, if it's not already too late. Anyway, kudos.

Devlin Thompson said...

Maybe a better comparison is not so much the "Road" series, but the "Rat Pack" films... although that seems overly harsh.