The passing of Jeffery Catherine Jones.
It was in nineteen eighty,(four?) five I bought three books from, at least to my experience, a new and wonderful thing: the comics shop. Up until that point in time I had no idea something like that existed. It was as if a bomb was detonated in my head. I simply couldn't grasp it. That day I went a little crazy and spent what for my at that time was an enormous amount of money on three book.
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, and issue of Epic Illustrated, and The Studio.
My world was never the same.
I had to do THAT...what they did. Make beautiful comics and paintings and drawings and anything else that I could manage. From that experience came The Puma Blues.
I think if you are reading this you pretty much know the rest.
It was in the very late nineties that I hit my personal wall and broke into thousands of little bits.
In an effort to work my way back to wholeness, I emailed Jeffery Catherine, basically pleading to help. She did. For a period of about a month I would ask questions about painting and she would write back, sometimes terse, other times with obvious compassion. I valued those emails as a starving man would food. A banquet of new ideas, things undreamed and the possibility that I could indeed be someday even better than I was. I owe a huge debt of thanks to her that I suddenly can never repay, ever. And the thing that really troubles me is I didn't know until today.
How could I not know? Why didn't somebody tell me?
It was through her I had the absolute nerve to write to who is now someone I consider a friend and in an odd, informal way, a kind of offhand mentor, Barry Windsor-Smith.
The more I think the bigger the debt grows.
A sad thing: when I moved out to the Mid West from New England in '03, I had to leave my library behind in what I thought was safe keeping until I was settled. I had an extensive library of Jones's work that I miss terribly some days. You see, moving a house full of stuff is paid for by the pound, and pound for pound books weight a LOT. I only had so much to spend and the books had to stay. I had a lot of books. Well, they disappeared, along with a huge resource of memories and comfort that I cannot replace.
She's dead and there is no replacement. It's rather fitting.
We must go on without a little less light. And damn it to hell, the world is getting pretty dim these days.
I have taken the day off. I should be working. I just keep thinking of that day when I got an answer back.