Moving On From Ker-Chunk – Part 3

It’s unlikely that I would have been able to put together any kind of slideshow at all — ker-chunks or no ker-chunks — without the help of the late David Hutchison, who for many years was the Science and SFX (that’s special effects for that fan-jargon-impaired among you) Editor of Starlog magazine. Dave and I became friends during my eight-month tenure as Starlog‘s Art Director late in the 1970s, and we remained close until he was felled in 2000 by pancreatic cancer.
David Hutchison
in Central Park
Dave was my mentor in all things technical during those years. When I bit the bullet in 1997 by purchasing my first Mac and then set about steering my cartooning career from its "old media" roots into the digital age, "Hutch" guided and reassured me with each baby step I took. He leapt into action as a cheerful trouble-shooter whenever my computer balked or froze, sometimes at a moment’s notice even though he lived an hour’s subway ride from Eddie’s and my apartment in Jackson Heights.

But long before helping me get a grip on digital graphics, Hutch had been my chief slideshow enabler.

Hutch’s availability as a photographer made my first slideshows possible. No way could I have borne the cost of putting together the ambitious series of unendingly-evolving presentations I offered to audiences between 1983 and 2003 had I been forced to pay commercial rates for the photography involved. And God knows I didn’t have the equipment or skills to shoot the damn slides myself!

In the beginning Hutch insisted on shooting my slides for free. Eventually, as the number of images I put together for his camera expanded into the hundreds, he finally yielded to my guilt-induced insistence that he accept small payments of cash or pages of my original artwork in return for his camerawork. With his encouragement I continued to periodically revamp my show with dozens of photocopied panels from my comics that I pasted onto construction paper with lung-rotting spray adhesive. Whenever I had stockpiled enough slide adaptations of my stories to merit a new photo session, Hutch was ready to go.

The reality of how fortunate I had been to have Hutch’s help hit me fully after his death, when I was forced to engage a professional photography service to provide the half-dozen or so new transparencies it took bring my slideshow up to date for an appearance at the Alternative Press Expo. Those few slides set me back a small fortune by comparison to the modest tokens of appreciation Hutch had been willing to accept from me! Minus my friend’s assistance, my slideshow was forced lay fallow for a while: the lack of anything but the most fleeting references to projects that I had concocted subsequent to Stuck Rubber Baby‘s completion made it increasingly, embarrassingly out of date.

Then Arlen Schumer’s illustrated lecture at the New School showed me how to liberate myself from transparencies, slide carousels, and noisy machinery along with the creative limitations they had been imposing on me without my realizing it.

About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
This entry was posted in Yesterday & Today. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.