Sunday, 7 December 2008

I began collecting comics when I was ten or so. Ten years later I was working for comic publishers, mainly as a letterer but also doing all kind of other jobs. My comic collection was within no time to big for our home, so I did a lot of it away. That never really hurt. About six or seven years ago I “only” had one wall of comics left; these were the books that our children might want to read when they are a little bit older: the books by Pratt, Tardi, Giardino, etectera, but also some older stuff by Dutch authors. Because I needed the space, I stored all these books in a box in garage of a friend. I have no idea how the books are doing, but I am afraid that the conditions in that place are not very friendly for comic books.
I rarely buy comic books anymore, but I still get some of the books that I letter. That are about four books a month, or less. Usually I get only one copy of each book that I letter from the publisher. But more than once they didn’t send me anything. I hate to beg for copies of books for which I had done the lettering. It is written down somewhere that translators, who are in similar positions as letterers, have to be given a certain amount of books, depending on the circulation. I cannot remember how much, but I do remember I had to laugh when I heard it. At least ten copies of each book!
Last week I was at the Jack Keuss’ place, where I notice two books that had just been released, for which I have done the lettering:

The books are published by Oog & Blik
I know the situation in the Dutch comic scene, and I know that there is not much money and that the people have good intentions. But when I saw the books in Jack’s bookcase, I felt a bit pissed. Why don’t they send me a copy of these books? And why not ten copies? And why do I never get any money when they re-print a lettering, like is done in one of these books? I have not contacted the publisher yet, and I doubt if I do. This is not an exception in the Dutch comic scene, it is the rule.
The work I do as a painter and a builder is in many aspects not very different from lettering comics. I see the same processes at work. But I have a different attitude towards my new work. I like doing the jobs, people are nice to me, I get paid for it, but usually there the story ends for me. Somehow my relation to flames never die.
Here is another old flame that has not died yet: Hank the Knife & The Jets.

This band had a handful of great hits in 1974-75, and I have them all on vinyl. Last night I discovered that the videos are on YouTube and when I watched them, I realised that this is music from an age that is long gone.
Here is a Dutch rockabilly band, De Rammelaars, who do a very nice cover version of the song:

And again I stayed up much too late, watching all kind of music videos on YouTube…