Unidentified Flying Feline Spotted in the Berkshires

Above: Patrick Rabbit, Eddie, me, and the amazing Phil Yeh. (Thanks for taking this snapshot, Linda Adams.)
Cartoonist Phil Yeh was in the neighborhood recently, painting murals in support of literacy and creativity as he often does (with local artists always invited to grab a brush and join in) and speaking about graphic novels to librarians who have the power to shelve them, hundreds of whom had gathered in Boston for the 2006 Public Library Association Conference.
The Winged Tiger, meanwhile, delivers issue 13 of Phil’s comic book of the same name.
I used the term "in the neighborhood" loosely, of course, since Boston lies at the other end of a fairly long state from Eddie’s and my home in North Adams. Then again, someone from California may balk at any Massachusetts resident’s assertion that his can be termed a "long" state.

But be that as it may, a three-hour drive lies between Boston and our neck of the mountains. Never one to shrink from exerting whatever effort it takes to achieve his goals, however, Phil came a-calling, accompanied by fellow conference-attendee Linda Adams, Young Adult Coordinator of the San Bernadino Public Library.

We had a great time, as Phil and I always do on the rare occasions when we find ourselves within visiting distance of each other. Anyone who has been around Phil will tell you that he is a ball of fire conversationally, and Linda was delightful to talk to as well. Eddie served his delicious chicken stew, Lulu the dalmatian licked faces all around, and I got comp copies of the new issue of Phil’s comic book series The Winged Tiger, which is good for many a chuckle while being awash in the enthusiasm for sheer creativity that makes all of Phil’s comics both perfect for kids and balm for the soul of anyone who’s feeling beaten down by the cynicism of our era.

Phil, of course, is the galvanizer and cartoonist-in-chief of Cartoonists Across America & The World, an enterprise that’s way too little known considering the good it does. Phil boldly calls himself "the Godfather of the graphic novel." (go to his web site to see why), and like the most devoted godfather that any of us could ask for, Phil travels the globe as an untiring advocate for the art form he has helped nurture from his college days onward. Being around him always gets my juices flowing.

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.
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