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Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat Eyeries, Beara, Co. Cork, Ireland An all-inclusive, year-round retreat for those working, individually or in workshop groups, to enhance their creative gifts and skills

Contact: Sue Booth-Forbes, Director +353 (0)277 74441 •


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Open Monday-Saturday 11am-2am Sunday 10am-2am Karaoke Sunday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday @ 9pm Happy Hour 7 days a week from 11am-6:30pm

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Issue 106,Vol. 43, Summer 2016 Copyright Š 2016 by Eastwind Studios - All Rights Reserved. All images copyright 2016 by respective artists, writers and photographers to cover the entire issue. Burr Jerger 1917 - 1982

Stu Weiner 1915 - 1985

Uncle Jam Quarterly is published whenever we get enough people in one room to do it, usually once every quarter by Eastwind Studios.

Quarterly, Volume 43, #106, Summer 2016

Any similarity to any other publication, living or dead, is purely the fault of the other publication. Single issues are available by mail for $10 postage paid in the USA. Subscriptions are $20 for 4 issues in the USA. Order through our website or send a check to Eastwind Studios, P. O. Box 750, San Bernardino, California 92402, USA. For ad inquiries please contact or call (909) 867-5605. Phil Yeh Artist on Facebook Please support our advertisers who made this publication possible. Phil Yeh~Publisher Linda Adams Yeh~Co-Publisher & Editor Linda Amick Puetz~Art Director Tom Luth & Lieve Jerger~Assistant Art Directors Patti McIntosh, Peggy Corum~Copy Editors Edmond Gauthier~Archivist Henry Chamberlain~Seattle Bureau Chief Lim Cheng Tju~Asian Bureau Chief Steve Gray ~ San Bernardino Bureau Chief Michael Carvaines~Film Editor Sarah Carvaines, MPH, RD~Health Editor PJ Grimes~Music & Health Editor CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS & WRITERS Rod Underhill, Theresa VanOrnum, Moonlily Winokur, Bernie Mases, Jennifer Daydreamer, Lim Cheng Tju, Ken L. Jones, Terri Elders, John Weeks, Rory Murray, Roberta Gregory, Miel, Jon J. Murakami, Linda Amick Puetz, MB Roberts, Batton Lash, Al Davison, Tom Luth, Donna P. Crilly, Beth Winokur

Phil Yeh, Te Fung Yeh, and David Yeh My father, TeFung Yeh, passed away June 11, 2015. He was 92 and lived months longer than the doctors thought he would. Toward

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lim Cheng Tju, Lieve Jerger, Tom Luth, Linda Adams, Bruce Guthrie, David Folkman, Greg Preston, Allen Freeman

available online at

COVER ART Detail from Boann Bru Na Boinne By Jim Fitzpatrick Copyright 2016


Uncle Jam with award-winning cover photo by Roman Meyer

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the end of his life, he was ready to leave this planet. We visited him at my parent’s house in Seal Beach as often as we could. I thought about so many good friends who have passed in the last few decades. With the death of my father, I cannot help but think about my own demise more clearly. I do not really believe in death. I have always believed in the eternal spirit that is in each of us. I have often thought about death, simply because I have had so many people leave this planet for so much of my life. I am not afraid of dying, but I know that many people have this fear. Of course, many people also are fearful of dancing, of speaking to strangers, of traveling, of so many things. When I started our campaign promoting literacy in 1985 called Cartoonists Across America (we added & The World after we were invited to paint a mural in Budapest, Hungary in 1990). I told my three young sons that I would be in, say New York on Wednesday, but they should think of their dad going to another state or another country like another mom or dad going to work. I showed my kids all the countries on a globe and showed them where I would be going. I told them that they could go there someday, too.

Editorial continued on page 36

An Interview with

Jim Fitzpatrick On our third day in Ireland, we rode the DART train to the bustling fishing village of Howth, to visit Jim Fitzpatrick. Howth is just outside of Dublin, on the northern boundary of Dublin Bay. Jim picked us up at the station and showed us the Howth Lighthouse and Ireland’s Eye, an island off the coast, before taking us to his house for the interview. It was a rainy, blustery day but very picturesque. Uncle Jam: When did you get started professionally? Jim Fitzpatrick: My first job was in 1962; I was working at an advertising agency. I’d been editor of my college magazine. I did all the covers and the cartoons; I did everything. So I got a job in advertising (a terrible place) and worked my way up. Eventually I was making more money than the president of Ireland. I was writing commercials, doing everything. I packed it all in one day and said “I’m going to be an artist.” And the world crashed. We had what was known in Europe as the petrol crisis and literally overnight the Irish economy Boann Bru Na Boinne changed. It was the same with Britain and we were Cruitne Daughter of Lochlan queuing in the streets for petrol. Luckily I had friends. They became very handy around petrol pumps; they would fill me up with a gallon or two. So I was desperate. I went over to England and went to a couple of artists’ agencies. No one would have me and then I got a letter from Alan Aldridge, a very famous British artist in Ireland. He worked for the Beatles and stuff like that. He asked me to join his agency. He was setting up an agency for artists. I got a great amount of work from that, which was brilliant. I started working for bands. I worked for local bands; the best known was Thin Lizzy. When I started working for Lizzy, Philip Lynott told me he wanted me working with him and nobody else. He said he would look after me, which he did. He got me monstrous fees for artwork and that work made my own work very well known. A lot of the early Lizzy work I did was hugely influenced by Marvel comics. Philip was a fanatic as well. And one of them, Jailbreak, with “The Boys Are Back in Town”, he wanted as a total Marvel comic. He collected War of the Worlds comics called Killraven. So he said, “Do you want to do something like this?” so we did the War of the Worlds tripod on the inside; in America’s edition they just flattened it all down. That was the most Marvel comic of them all; they looked like comic books --comic book rip offs. There were so many influences there, from (Neal) Adams to (Jack) Kirby to everybody. I was in the habit of producing huge numbers of psychedelic posters. I would rip characters right out of stuff. I loved (Kirby’s) Galactus. To Viva Che 1968 me everything was fair game; still is to be honest, and you know I did the Che poster, which was clipped from a photograph by (Alberto) Korda. Korda himself said that I made the photograph famous. There’s a book out called Christ to Coke, How Image Becomes Icon by eminent art historian Martin Kemp, an American art history professor. He’s a world expert on Leonardo as well. He came over to see me; Mona Lisa is number 5 and my version of Che is number 6. When you think number one is Christ—every image of Christ ever created. There’s the coke bottle; there’s all kinds of strange stuff in there.


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UJ: When you did the Che image, did you do it just for the fun of it? JF: Oh, no, I’d done a couple of images of him—I’ve met him. I had worked in a bar for a couple of years; I met him there in 1961. Turned out he was on a stopover from the Russian air base in Shannon. The American troops all use it to fly to Iraq now and everybody complains because we are a neutral country. If Putin decides he wants an airbase there, he’s welcome to it, as long as he pays. They were fog bound so they had a day to kill. He drove maybe 40 miles to this seaside village, Kilkee, which looked like Howth. Richard Harris, the actor, used to spend his summers there. There’s a statue of Richard Harris there; Russell Crowe paid for that and put it up himself. I knew Richard Harris. Guevara was there and he told me he was Irish. I looked at him and he looked like you (looking at Phil Yeh...laughter). I said to him, “Tell me more.” His English wasn’t that perfect, but I could understand him quite easily. He told me Morrigan na Badb his father was Irish. His father was Guevara Lynch. I was with his daughter a few years ago. I found her very hard going, to be honest. They don’t like the Irish connection at all. Guevara Lynch was a womanizer and a drinker. Anyway, long story cut short, I found him charming and interesting. I had a discussion with him about how Ireland had wrecked the British Empire and brought it down. He was on his way back to Havana. He was Minister of Finance at the time. He gave a great interview at Dublin airport as well. He was charming. During the interview, he actually corrected his translator’s English in Spanish at one point. He wrote a letter to his dad when he was in Ireland saying “They asked me if I spoke English and I said ‘Oh no I didn’t’, in case they asked me about my family being cattle rustlers”, which they were. The Lynches are famous for cattle rustling. When he went to Bolivia he was world news; he had disappeared. Everyone thought he had been murdered by Castro. He came to Ireland again, around ’65, I think. He had been to a conference in Algiers where he denounced American Imperialism, which Castro thought was great. Then he turned around and denounced Soviet Imperialism, and that wasn’t good because they (the Cubans) depended entirely on the Russians buying their sugar crop. Without that, they were dead. So Castro told him to go off and do something else with his life, so he disguised himself as a businessman called Ramón; he shaved his head and wore heavy glasses. He lived as Ramón in Cuba for a while and then he went to Bolivia. When he went to Bolivia, it was all over the world news and I did a poster of him; the idea being to celebrate his life. It was originally for a magazine called Scene Magazine in Dublin, but they rejected it. I have a great page from a year later; the editor is interviewing me, saying that the other guy was the one that rejected the Che poster; like the Beatles being turned down by Decca records, which they did. I decided that I would commemorate Che in the magazine. They rejected it, so I turned it into a poster. Then he was captured and murdered. I was outraged by that so I turned it into the black & white poster of him, loosely based on the Korda photograph, of which I only had a small copy. You know when you blow up a photo; you have all the dots; so I did a psychedelic version of it. I was invited then to an exhibition in London called Viva Che. He was murdered in November ‘67 as a prisoner of war. Then in May 1968 there was an exhibition and that’s when I did the red & black poster for that show. But then I ran into some serious

Jim Fitzpatrick continued on page 12


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Nuada of the Silver Arm

Snow Faerie

The Children of Lir, The Enchantment

Exploring Copenhagen & Denmark’s Lake District By Phil Yeh

Copenhagen This story begins a few years ago at Book Expo America in New York City. Two women came up to my booth and told me about their project promoting creativity. Marie Elisabeth Franck Mortensen is a painter and a sculptor. She told me that she had decided to write down her ideas. Helene Franck Mortensen is her partner and helped make the book a reality. They had come to New York to see what the possibilities were in the publishing world. I immediately liked their energy. We made a connection and continued our friendship on Facebook. Naturally, I was excited to learn about their speaking engagement at a Danish church in Yorba Linda in November 2014. My

The heather hill in Gammel Rye


mother-in-law, Peggy, was down from Oregon so we took her with us to hear Marie’s talk on creativity. The next day, we arranged to show them our mural in San Bernardino at the historic site of the first McDonald’s. While they were observing the murals, which we began in 2012 and continue into 2016, they asked me what it would take to bring me to Denmark to create a mural with some Danish students in their town. They explained to me that their town of Ry was about 5000 people. I told them that we had traveled throughout the United States and to 15 other countries with the help of sponsors, but I didn’t know if such a small town could raise the money. They said they would try, and within a few months I got an email saying that the trip was set for August 2015! Funny how small the world is, because shortly after getting their email I was down at the McDonald’s mural with my wife and we met this wonderful couple from Denmark! Bente and Peter live about an hour south of Ry and they told us that they would come see us. Were we surprised when they actually showed up for the event! But I am getting ahead of my story. I had never been to Denmark although I came close once

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while driving in the north of Germany several years ago with my German partner Klaus Leven. We asked Helene and Marie to book our airline tickets to Copenhagen so we could see a little bit of the capital city before we took a train to Ry. I had heard that Denmark was one of the happiest places on Earth and that Bernie Sanders liked their democratic socialism. I lived for many years in Lompoc, California and ate many times at a Chinese restaurant in the Danish Village of Solvang. The bookstore in Solvang actually has a wonderful Hans Christian Andersen Museum upstairs that I would frequent when I was there; but that really was the extent of my knowledge of Denmark. When we arrived in Copenhagen and checked into our hotel, they were serving wine to all the guests, so my wife was happy. Soon, we

Denmark continued on page 14

Helene, Linda, Phil, & Marie Elisabeth

“The Creative Spaces in Between” Marie Elisabeth A. Franck Mortensen By Helene Franck Mortensen

but the two of them seem to have a common, creative connection and understanding. Creative space in Denmark

Blue Flow A chance meeting at the BookExpo America 2013 in New York and a swapping of business cards brought Phil Yeh to Denmark. Marie Elisabeth A. Franck Mortensen is a Danish artist, public speaker and author of the book, “The Creative Spaces in Between”: Being Consciously Creative in Everyday Life. It was in connection with the publication of the digital English version of this book that she met Phil Yeh while meandering through the impressive halls of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. You can call it serendipity or just magic,


Marie Elisabeth has worked with art and creativity all her life. Besides her studio, she has a sculptural garden at her house which she uses both as a place where she gives outdoor talks and as a learning environment for visiting groups from all over the world. She speaks on creativity, passion and personal development. She also has the company CreativeSpaces-fm. com. “The Creative Spaces in Between” is a recurring theme in Marie Elisabeth’s creativity, art, books, talks and company – even in her daily life. These “spaces” are present everywhere. They exist between people – between you and your wife or husband, between you and your boss, or between you and your friends. It is the space where you connect and interrelations develop. “The Creative Spaces in Between” also exists between people and things – e.g. between you and a work of art or any other object you can look at, feel or recognize physically. “The Creative

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Spaces In Between” could even apply to the interaction that takes place between two objects, e.g. between the tiles in a mosaic decoration or between the colors or figures in a painting. As an artist Marie Elisabeth started with, and has always loved, working with acrylics and canvas. Later she also began working with tile mosaic, and she has created a long range of colorful mosaic murals and decorations all over Denmark. Soon she began developing mosaic sculptures which turned out to be a great challenge, because she had to crack the code to making the mosaic weatherproof and frostproof in order to endure the cold Danish winters. This gave her a massive knowledge on suitable materials for the creative process. As her latest challenge, she has taken on creating sculptures in fiber-reinforced concrete; and in the process populating her garden and learning environment with dragons and elephants. Different approaches to working with creativity Marie Elisabeth has different approaches to working with creativity. One way is making

Pineal gland

Marie in the Wishing Corner

“new spaces” by taking something old, breaking it into pieces, giving it new structures, and in this way creating something entirely new. A structure describes the way in which a whole is composed by several, different elements. And the interrelation between these elements has a pivotal role in determining how the whole functions, and thus what the overall structure looks like. If you want to change the whole, Helene & Marie with the Dragon and thereby change the structure, you have to alter the interrelation between the various elements. You can alter your structure – that is your relations, your family, or your specific context – by adding new spaces between the various elements of your whole. That is the essence behind the concept of “The Creative Spaces In Between”. Knowing that everything is composed in structures, and knowing that structures are universal and found everywhere, e.g. cell structures, DNA structures, structures of society, family structures, and company structures, you will always have the possibility to evaluate and alter any given structure by creating new spaces between the elements of the whole, and in this way you can create development and innovation. Another approach Marie Elisabeth uses revolves around how creativity legalizes embracing the whole human being. The most amazing aspect about working with creativity is that anything you hold within is a resource which can be used constructively and be expressed. It makes no difference whether you are happy, sad, angry, upset, or whatever you may feel, because all emotions without exception are applicable resources. In the same respect that you take your car to the gas station and fill up the tank with gasoline, then all your emotions and the strengths and weaknesses you hold within can be used as a kind of fuel on your “creativity-tank”. The emotions and feelings are

The Wave at Gl. Rye School

Phoenix in the garden

600 crocus flowers color our garden each spring when everything else is dark and grey, and we love each and every one - because every flower entails a kiss, so for a while each spring we’re quite busy :) :) With planting the kissing heart, Marie Elisabeth also wanted to emphasize the fact that “sometimes creativity is just about letting the grass grow long and cutting it differently”


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transformed to energy which can be translated in a creative process. Thirdly, Marie Elisabeth makes great use of meditation as well as spending time in nature, both of which give an inner balance, quiet down the mind and cleanse it from disturbing “noises”. When your mind is quiet, you have the opportunity to go beyond your thoughts, feelings and body to get in contact with your inner, creative space. In these situations where you are not thinking, not feeling and not acting, you make room for creativity, art, and ideas to come through. Today, Marie Elisabeth finds that this approach is actually the most important tool in relation to working with art and creativity. Happiness, enthusiasm and passion As an artist, Marie Elisabeth singles out three key words: Happiness, Enthusiasm and Passion. When talking about passion, you are probably familiar with the concept of “the connecting thread of fate” in life. This “connecting thread” is strictly personal and only applies to one specific human being. The “connecting thread” can be seen as the “concert pitch” within one person; the level at which happiness, enthusiasm and passion is felt most intensively to this specific person; where the person’s “inner tone” is tuned for performing at best. Here you have the feeling of an unlimited flow of creative energy, but at the same time also a deep sense of peace of mind and well-being. If you have contact with “the connecting thread of fate” in your life, then you will not be afraid to leave the “Comfort Zone” and step into unknown territory, following the passion in your life. On the contrary, you will be able to work having faith and confidence in being on the right track. This makes it possible for you to let go of all precautions and safety nets; you will have the courage to take on new challenges, and you will work your way towards fulfilling your dreams. And you will be able to “sing your life-song”. To Marie Elisabeth, feeling good and having fun is essential, along with having the courage

Mosaic floor


to follow your passion and the feeling of flow also in a time of crisis, and these are the things that have furthered her creative process, because her art always reflects a part of her own personal development. She also uses the Law of Attraction as an active tool in creating her own life. To remind the guests who visit her sculptural garden of how important it is to allow time every day for using your imagination and setting your dreams free, she has created a Wishing Corner in the back of her garden. Here everyone is invited to sit down and get a free wish. This often causes a lot of joyful situations because the wish-maker has to be prepared for the wish coming true. Playing is another important tool in the creative process, which is why you can find dolphins in the garden, the studio, and even the bathroom at Marie Elisabeth’s house. To her, dolphins are playful and happy creatures which remind us to

Helene, Marie Elisabeth, & Nicolaj to California in the fall of 2014 where Marie Elisabeth gave three talks on creativity. Here they met Phil Yeh again and got the chance to experience his amazing Living Mural project in San Bernardino. Here on Route 66, the germ of an idea took root for Phil coming to Denmark to create one of his wonderful murals together with 90 local school children. This turned into an unforgettable week for all participants. (See the entertaining slideshow of the making of the mural in Denmark by scanning the QR-code) Conscious everyday choices

Mosaic floor always remember to play and have fun doing all the things we do. Playing and having fun gives you energy, and energy is everything. Taking a break also gives you good energy which again makes you more creative, which brings you into a feeling of flow, and thereby you receive more to give to others. Author and public speaker Today, more and more of Marie Elisabeth’s work is centered around communicating her ideas about creativity and imagination. She gives talks and workshops to groups and companies. She writes and creates books. In November 2015, she published her first stress reducing coloring book for adults, Mindful Mosaik, and a second coloring book, Mindful Mosaik II: Hearts, will be out in the spring 2016. She is also working on a new book on HSP (Highly Sensitive Personality) and Newage Entrepreneurs, where she communicates ideas for a combined work-life/daily-life in balance, structured in a way that matches highly sensitive and creative people. Funnily enough, Marie Elisabeth is dyslexic and she had never once dreamed of becoming an author, but again she has this remarkable ability to always follow the feeling of flow. It was also the flow that led Marie Elisabeth and her partner, Helene, to the BookExpo America 2013 in New York, and the flow brought them

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Marie Elisabeth constantly uses creativity as an active tool in her own daily life, and she sees her own life as her greatest work of art. She makes very conscious choices about what to include in her “life painting” and which figures, things, colors and moods to depict. Marie Elisabeth lives by a very positive philosophy of life. To her, mindset is crucial – attitude is all that matters. Focus on what you want more of in your everyday life, and you will automatically attract it into your life. In times of hardship and crisis, by changing your attitude or mindset, you will always be able to look at your situation with fresh eyes and create some new “spaces in between” the various elements of your situation. When focusing on the positive side of your circumstances, you can open ten doors leading to alternative solutions and possibilities. These doors represent ten new roads you can take instead of the well-trodden paths you usually take. In this way you can create a new frame of mind. You can pick your own identity through your attitude to the situation you are in. You can focus your attention on the possibilities you have or you can put the spotlight on the limitations you are facing. So pay attention to and be conscious about the choices you make. You have sole responsibility. Marie Elisabeth has always had the ability to see new paths for her creativity, and therefore she has never been stuck in just one way. She continuously tries to make new creative couplings. Read more about Marie Elisabeth and “The Creative Spaces in Between” at www. 

Returning to Ireland for the First Time by Phil Yeh

We flew to Dublin, Ireland from Denmark for the second leg of our trip last summer. Both Linda and I had never been to Ireland, and since my wife is part Irish, she was looking forward to seeing the land of her ancestors. My mother has Scottish blood and Welsh blood, so I have some Celtic in my DNA too. I have always wanted to see Ireland, and we arranged to interview the Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, who lives in Howth, near Dublin. I had met Jim at the San Diego Comic Convention in the ‘70s and we have kept in touch via Facebook. Jim created the iconic poster of Che Guevara in 1968. I was really looking forward to visiting him in his home in Howth, but first we had a couple days to get settled into our hotel by the River Liffey in Dublin. See more about our trip to Howth in the interview with Jim in this issue. Linda books all our hotels online and The Arlington Hotel seemed like a good place to get to know the city. It is near the statue of Daniel O’Connell, known as The Liberator, or the Emancipator. O’Connell was an Irish political leader in the first half of the 19th century who campaigned for Catholic emancipation and repeal of the union between Ireland and Great Britain. The Arlington is also near Temple Bar, an area of many picturesque pubs and restaurants. That first night, we ate dinner in the pub at the hotel and listened to a singer who was quite good. Unfortunately, for the rest of our stay the singers were not that good in our hotel; but we did enjoy the musicians we heard on the streets. We saw a musician named Malachy in a few different places around Dublin and ended up buying two of his CDs. We also enjoyed a band named Mutefish who we heard outside the Trinity College, and also bought their CD. They played a lively version of rock; playing flute and electric violin along with drums and guitar. The next morning we met Linda’s sister, Barbara, and her mother, Peggy, at the bus stop near the hotel. They had just flown in from Oregon to join us on our trip, which would take us to London, Paris and Amsterdam after Ireland. They had started their vacation with a typical airline horror story, including delayed planes, running for connections, overnight flight, and delayed luggage. Since their luggage wouldn’t arrive until the next day, we made the best of it and were off exploring Dublin right away.


River Liffey at Sunset My knowledge of Ireland was from Frank McCourt’s bleak account of growing up in Limerick in Angela’s Ashes, which I only recently read before we went on this trip last year. McCourt dedicated his Pulitzer Prize winning novel to my friend Rlene (pronounced R-lene) Dahlberg whom I met in New York City in 1982. They were both teachers at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. I met Rlene through Jerry Poynton, who had recently moved to the city from Seattle. Jerry had met Herbert Huncke at the celebration of Jack Kerouac’s classic book On The Road in Colorado. I had made Jerry my agent in Long Beach, California in 1979 before I went to China. When I came back from my trip, Jerry had relocated to Seattle! In 1982, I was having dinner with Rlene, Herbert, and a number of other friends, thanks to Jerry’s networking skills. Rlene published Huncke’s book Elsie John and Joey Martinez under her Pequod Press imprint in 1979. As I listened to his stories, I could see how he had influenced so many of the Beat writers, including Allan Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Huncke had a way of speaking that brought you into his stories. When we went to Rlene’s small apartment, she spoke of her friend, a fellow teacher at Stuyvesant, who was working on his memoir of his childhood set in Ireland. Jerry later got to know McCourt well and I would keep track of his progress every time I was in NYC, which was often during the 1980s and 90s. When Angela’s Ashes finally was published in 1996, it won instant praise, as well as the Pulitzer Prize. Naturally, I didn’t read it right away. I wanted to really wait for the right time. I also tried to read Ulysses by James Joyce but could not get into it at all last year. I had long

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

heard that this book was about Dublin and was a masterpiece, but when I checked the book out from the library, I am afraid it was lost on me. I had all the common stereotypical ideas of Ireland. The pubs, the music and the usual; but what I like most about travel is letting the stereotypes go and just taking a place in for what it is at the time you are experiencing it. Dublin is a big city and as I get older, I find that I prefer smaller towns to big cities. That being said, I could see a lot of charm in the place. There was a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour that we could take to see the sights. The really interesting thing was seeing Trinity College and the churches, and learning that the writer Jonathan Swift was also a Dean at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels, which was a childhood favorite of mine. His satirical writing style, especially as in A Modest Proposal, is also known as Swiftian style. We stopped in Saint Patrick’s and enjoyed the stained glass and the history. Swift lived from 1667 to 1745, so there is a lot of history to take in. One of the best things about being a tourist is doing tourist things. We decided to take a couple of day trips from Dublin to other areas in Ireland. We took Wild Rover Tours for both day trips and the tour guides were fun and very knowledgeable. We wanted to go to Northern Ireland, which is a part of Great Britain. Linda’s family is actually from Northern Ireland, which we would soon learn more about from our Black Cab driver once we arrived in Belfest, by bus. As soon as you enter Northern Ireland, you are aware that you are entering another country. We had our choice once we arrived in Belfast; we could take a tour of The Titanic Experience or we could take the Belfast Black Taxi Political Tour. We laughed when we heard that some tourists had complained about the Titanic Experience,

The Wall in Belfast

Bachelor Inn

Street Musician

because the Titanic wasn’t really there to see. We, of course, chose the Black Taxi tour, which was a tour of the murals painted around Belfast and along both sides of a wall that separates the Catholic neighborhoods from the Protestants. The people of Northern Ireland call the violence between the two sides ‘The Troubles’. It was not really based on religious differences but rather political. The real violence began in the late 1960s and would last more than 30 years. Brian, the owner of the Belfast Black Cabs Tours, was our driver. He is Catholic, but was fair in relating both sides of the history to us. There are over 2,000 murals in Northern Ireland. There are Loyalist/Unionist Murals, Republican/ Nationalist Murals and Social/Cultural Murals. The murals are stunning and also cover other conflicts around the world. One of the most striking things on the tour was seeing the high fence separating the two sides, even though they signed a peace treaty almost 20 years ago. Brian told us that the fence has actually gotten higher since the signing of the treaty! As we neared the end of the Black Cab tour, we passed a wall covered with more, graffitistyle murals, when my wife suddenly cried out, “Stop the car!” Linda had spotted a new mural painted by our friend Mark Bode. He had been to Ireland just a couple weeks before us. He painted on the “Peace Mural”, where people can sign their names and their hopes for peace. We got out of the cab and signed the wall and had our photo taken. Over the years, Mark has painted many murals around the world, and a few with me. We painted a trash truck with

Kevin Eastman’s crew of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Northampton, Massachusetts in the 1990s and a 54-foot truck in the Philadelphia Convention Center, promoting literacy, in 1993. Mark’s use of spray cans really covered a lot of area. We actually brought this truck to finish it with some school kids in front of The Library of Congress in 1994. We left Belfast for the coast. We were on our way to see one of the greatest natural wonders on the planet. The Giant’s Causeway was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1986. It consists of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns going under the sea. It was created by ancient volcanic eruptions. The columns are mostly in hexagonal shapes and look like they were man- made. Standing out here overlooking the sea, you could not help but be taken back in time. There are no words to really capture the amazing sight of these perfectly shaped rocks formed some 50 million years ago. They have inspired legends of giants. There are a few stories, but our tour guide, Siofra (pronounced SHEE-fra), told us this version: The Irish giant, Finn McCool was challenged to a fight by the Scottish Giant Benandonner. Finn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. When Finn realized that Benandonner was much bigger than he was, Finn’s wife disguised him as a baby and tucked him in a cradle. When Benandonner saw the size of the ‘baby’, he reckoned that its father, Finn, must be a giant among giants. He fled back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him

Political Murals in Belfast


St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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Library at Trinity College so that Finn could not follow. This really was a site worth seeing, and although it was raining on and off during the day we were there, it was well worth the trip. We also saw a castle on the coast where they shoot some of the television program Game of Thrones. The next day we took another bus tour to Kilkenny. Linda, Peggy, and I went off to explore the Kilkenny Castle and gardens, while Barbara went off to explore the Dunmore Caves, which are the most historic caves in Ireland. There are a lot of artists in the village of Kilkenny and we had a great time seeing their pottery, jewelry, crafts and painting. The castle has an art gallery that had an animation exhibit of Song of the Sea. This film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2015. After we left Kilkenny, we drove into the beautiful Wicklow Mountains. County Wicklow is not only known as ‘The Garden of Ireland’ but also as the Hollywood of Europe because hundreds of films have been shot there in the last 85 years. Among them are The Tudors, Angela’s Ashes, and Braveheart. We ended up at one of the earliest Christian monastic settlements in Europe. Glendalough is a breathtaking area that includes the last remaining ancient Irish forests. St. Kevin founded the monastery in the 6th century. We walked through an ancient cemetery and saw all kinds of old crosses on the graves. As we walked past the lake, I really felt like I was back in time. The Glendalough Arts Festival was going on where our bus was parked. One of the features was a giant drum (called the Fuinneamh Drum) with 20 or 30 people, old & young, gathered around it, producing reverberating rhythms throughout the area. Our bus driver told us that our tour guide, Kevin, has a master’s degree in history. Kevin gave us a lot of great information about the history of the area. This is what I travel for, to experience the

Ireland continued on page 44

Jim Fitzpatrick continued from page 12 trouble. I was told the copyright was owned by a guy called Feltrinelli. I had heard of Feltrinelli. He couldn’t have owned the photograph. It was owned by a Cuban photographer called Salas actually, because I had made enquiries. Feltrinelli was an Italian millionaire--a radical. If you go to Milan beside the Duomo cathedral, you’ll see Feltrinelli books. He was a member of the red brigade who had just assassinated Aldo Moro--the Italian Prime Minister. He eventually was killed himself. He threatened me--I won’t go into all the details. I’m threatened by ISIS at the moment. I get involved with all these things; I advocate on behalf of Christians in the Middle East and have contacts with all the revolutionary groups there, including Isis. The answer I got back from ISIS was they will no longer persecute Christians. They gave me their word. They will levy them an extra 2.5 % tax though. I’m very proud to advocate on behalf of Christians. Before Bush and the gang, I think there were about a million and a half Christians in Iraq. There are 300,000 now. All these people fleeing are all Christians. I’m trying to convince the Irish government to take them in. Isis is just a symptom of much deeper malaise. There’re two groups of ISIS- one in Syria, which I hate; and the other in Iraq, which is different. They don’t throw homosexuals off towers, you know, but they’re pretty vicious people. There is a document called The Management of Savagery. Here’s a grab from it that explains: In his 2004 online treatise: The Management of Savagery, al-Qaeda strategist Abu Bakr Naji wrote what would eventually become the ISIL strategy. In essence, how to destroy “apostate” Muslim regimes so they fall into a

state of “savagery”, allowing them to be built back up under a caliphate. Naji believed that violence and cruelty were necessary in order to achieve and maintain control and that no mercy should be shown. According to Naji: “One who previously engaged in jihad knows that it is nought but violence, crudeness, terrorism, deterrence and massacring.”  Under ISIL rule there are no options. If you obey, you live. The alternative is unthinkable. For their enemy, there is no quarter. If you read that, then you know all about it. It’s like Mein Kampf; it will make your hair stand up. UJ: You said you quit your job in the advertising agency and then started doing the Celtic work? JF: The Celtic work—I started doing posters. I was doing psychedelic posters, very influenced by the San Francisco artists like Rick Griffin. Rick and I became friends before he died. He’s one of my heroes. UJ: He’s one of mine as well. JF: I was in Petaluma and I met Alton Kelley and hung out with Mouse and all the gang. They had all my work. I thought, “Wow, these are my heroes and they have my work.” This was before the Internet. Nobody knew we were interconnected. So I worked with a beat group. The only beat group, I’ve since found out, outside of San Francisco was in Dublin. Philip Lynott was part of it all. We produced magazines. Yoko and John Lennon had a photo taken of the two of them with one of my works for our poetry magazine, which was called Capella. Lennon, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, and Allen Ginsberg gave us their poetry. I would do illustrations and covers for it. I would do posters with poems on them. That’s when I started getting into the groove of everything like that and that’s when I became more interested in comics. When I saw the work of Jack Kirby, Thor and all these; I collected everything--every work of Kirby. I met him the once. He said he wanted to meet me because I had mentioned him in my book as one of my great influences, along with Beardsley and Mucha. I thought, “Jack Kirby’s heard about me!” It’s cool, you know.

UJ: You were doing rock & roll posters. When did you get into Celtic stuff? JF: I was always interested in Celtic legends and mythology. I spent summers on the farm in county Clare and I just loved the atmosphere of living in the mythological world that they lived in down there. They were obviously Catholic, with total pagan beliefs. They would leave milk out for the fairies at night. My aunt, who I lived with, had these extraordinary powers with animals; she would talk to animals and they’d follow her around the place like dogs. Everything--it was like a parade; the cows, and the pigs, and the geese. Magical lady. So that’s where I got interested in all that, and then I started doing Celtic posters for different publishers. I hooked up with a company called Motif Editions in London who were huge at the time; very art house posters. The whole poster phenomenon was just something I loved, because I could see my work everywhere. I did them for Motif and I did them for all kinds of people; with most of them I didn’t get paid. I’ve just done another poster of an Irish revolutionary called James Connolly. I gave it away to people

UJ: Jack was a down-to-earth guy. I think he had a working man’s approach to comics….he wasn’t pretentious. JF: Yeah, but it annoys the crap out of me when I see a Marvel movie that doesn’t have his…it should say “Jack Kirby” and then whatever the title is. I know history. That’s the one thing I know, that artists do get acknowledged. You can wipe them from history all you like, but people can’t and the studios can’t. That’s not the way history works. Jim in his studio


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Phil Yeh & Jim Fitzpatrick in Howth, Ireland

to recall the Easter Rising 1916. That was the revolution in Ireland when we threw out the Brits. They executed all the leaders. Connolly was wounded, so they stuck him to a chair and blew his brains out. That’s what caused Ireland, which was very loyal to the Empire, to turn and revolt. It took 5 years longer. I also did a huge amount of political work. I worked for a group called The Workers Party. They were a disbanded IRA who were now

working for social issues. All my life I’ve worked with all kinds of political people. Often people want to cut each other’s throats and I just look at them. I’m a pacifist--a Christian pacifist. In the course of doing all the Celtic work and all the album work, I was approached by Roger Dean, who at the time was a very famous album artist. I used to buy Yes albums. I still have them wrapped: I never listened to them. The covers were amazing, though. Roger asked me to do some books. He would love to do some Celtic myths and legends. I suggested two of them, so he thought about it and said “Yeah.” By the time I had the book finished, he was gone (from Paper Tiger). I moved to America and did the Book of Conquests when I was living in Connecticut. I moved back here and then did The Silver Arm, the second book. They’re vast volumes. What happened, and I only discovered this 20 years ago, a girl called Jill Furmanovsky, a Jewish woman whose family was very wealthy, hunted down all the details of what went on under the bankruptcy of Paper Tiger. They had myself and Boris Vallejo and they ran hundreds of thousands of copies of our books; and only declared a certain amount printed in Europe. They ran them in Singapore. I have a list of it all somewhere, but I was out

Warrior Madness of Nuada about 20,000 quid. He was out by about 50,000 I think.

Jim Fitzpatrick continued on page 22

Anam Cara Writer’s & Artist’s Retreat Co. Cork, Ireland By Linda Yeh

We didn’t find out about Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat until we had already returned home from our trip to Ireland last summer, but it is definitely on our ‘to-do’ list for our next trip back to the Emerald Isle. The Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat is located in Co. Cork, Ireland, overlooking Coulagh Bay and the mountains and farmlands of the Beara Peninsula. The name Anam Cara was taken from John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara, which directly translates to “soul friend” in Irish, which is fitting for this retreat that offers support, peace, and friendship. Since its founding in 1998, Anam Cara has hosted over 1500 creative people from all over the world.    At Anam Cara, you can work on your own creative project year-round, or take part in one of the workshops that are offered about 8 times a year. If you want to work on your own, one-week to onemonth residencies are offered. The director, Sue Booth-Forbes, is an experienced writer and editor herself. She has created an ambience and schedule to make it easy to be at your most creative while there.      “The best part of being Anam Cara’s Director is getting to know the writers- and artists-in-residence and their work. They have taught me and each other much about the creative process. Their genre or medium may be similar to someone else’s, but their approach is always unique and inspirational. Anam Cara means ‘soul friend’; our aim is to provide a space for people who, as they work with their creative gifts, will recognize the ‘soul friend’


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in themselves, in their work, and in others. And they do!’ ~Sue Booth-Forbes If you prefer attending a group workshop, here are examples of this year’s workshops. • A Poetry Weekend • ‘Singing Over the Bones’ creative retreat for women writers and artists • “What do I Mean by Creativity?”: A  Proprioceptive Writing Retreat • Creating Works That Rivet Your Readers • Painting the Wild Coast of Ireland: A Watercolour Painter’s Idea of Heaven • Memory, Secrets and Immortality: A Crucible for Creativity - A Women’s Writing and Visual Arts Retreat • Lining Our Thoughts - A Poetry Writing Workshop Retreat • “Memory and Creativity” Visit Anam Cara’s website to see photos of the beautiful area; learn more about the workshops and residencies; and see comments from the writers and artists and samples of their work. 

Denmark continued from page 6

The crowd at Copenhagen pride were exploring the city right in the middle of Copenhagen Pride, which was a great celebration. Everywhere we went in the city, there were thousands of people celebrating and rainbow flags were flying on all sorts of businesses and buildings. It seemed like everyone was in the main square dancing to the music. We were pretty tired after our long flight and decided to go to bed to prepare for the next day of sightseeing. The next morning we took a boat to see the city, with Canal Tours Copenhagen. But before we started for the boat, I had to buy some “I Love Denmark” shoelaces for my new tennis shoes, which came with ultra-cheap shoelaces that broke upon arriving in Denmark. We like to take these tours whenever we are in any new city. It’s a great way to get a feel for the place, especially if it’s your first time. As I get older, I find myself taking these boat and bus trips even when I have been to the city a few times simply because I like relaxing! In Copenhagen, you will see both old and new architecture and as someone who loves architecture, it’s ideal for me. To me, architecture defines a city and it is so nice to see a great variety of styles both old and new. The

sadness for me growing up in California is how much alike our architecture is now. The same old look for endless chain stores. I know that it’s cheaper to just build the same old box again and again these days, but it’s so boring! One of the reasons I like to travel is getting a chance to see different kinds of architectural style. I cannot recall what order we ate our meals in, but I can say that we had excellent Indian, Thai, and Chinese food while we were there. Being half-Chinese, I tend to go for Asian cuisine. I am not very adventurous when it comes to cuisine but I can tell you if you are a foodie, Denmark will not disappoint. Copenhagen had tons of nightclubs and restaurants. On our last day in Copenhagen, we caught a tourist bus down to the seafront where the statue of The Little Mermaid was entertaining throngs of tourists. It’s a small statue in real life but then again it lives up to its name. I bought a t-shirt from a nice guy who had painted the buildings by the water and the mermaid statue onto his shirts. His name was Peter Deichmann, an architect by trade. Each year for many years he took some time off from his “real job” to tend to his stand by the water. But sadly, he was retiring now and moving on to other things. Our hotel was near the world famous Tivoli Gardens and we could see the rides as we walked to and from the train station. Then we caught a train from the island where Copenhagen is located to Jutland, which is a

The Little Mermaid

Students in costume at Copenhagen pride


peninsula connected to Germany. Denmark consists of Jutland and 443 named islands, of which 70 have people living on them. On the 3½ hour train ride we met Lise and Marius, who told us that they lived in Hollywood many years ago. Marius was a musician and they were in Copenhagen planning a wedding for their son. When we told them we had been invited to Ry to paint a mural with some 5th grade students, they said that they would come and see it. The train ride was pleasant, going past Odense, the tiny town where Hans Christian Andersen was born. When you are making friends with new people, 3½ hours pass quickly. We got off

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Danish breakfast in Ry at Skanderborg and Marie and Helene were waiting to drive us to Ry. We knew only what we had read in guidebooks about Denmark, but nothing compares with actually seeing the beautiful countryside in person. The area where the town of Ry is located is called The Gudenå Area, which is Denmark’s longest water course. You can check out the area at This part of Denmark, also called the Lake District, is popular with Danish residents as a vacation spot. We were very impressed with the Dane’s love of nature and outdoor activities, including biking, camping, hiking, canoeing, etc. Many of the yards we saw had trampolines in them. My initial take on this area was farmlands and lakes as we drove from the city of Skanderborg to the tiny picturesque village of Ry, which is pronounced Ru or something very hard for Americans to say! We actually stayed in a small village next to Ry called Gammel Rye (Old Rye). It was one of the main towns in the area in medieval times. You really feel like you have entered another world and another century. We pulled up to the Lyng Dal Hotel & Restaurant, a beautiful and charming place overlooking a beautiful garden and heathercovered hills with horses grazing on them. We could walk out the back door of our room into their backyard garden. The ‘heather hills’ were slated for development, so the whole town bought the hillside so it could remain pristine. The town voted to see what kind of animals they would put in the field to keep it mowed. Marie Elisabeth and Helene suggested elephants, but they settled on horses; so we also got to watch the horses from our hotel patio. The hotel is owned and run by Kristin and Nicolaj, and Kristin’s sister Anita. The breakfast they gave us each morning was unbelievable. We wished we could have stayed longer to experience some of their dinners and events at Lyng Dal. Kristin and Anita are medal-winning waitresses and sommeliers and Nicolaj is an accomplished chef. Lyng Dal was booked for a wedding on our last night in Gammel Rye, so we stayed at

project together with Kildebjerg Ry’s director, Jens Mastrup, and head of communication, Grethe Pihl Jensen, along with support from 15 sponsors in the area. During our day of sightseeing, we went all the way to the top of Himmelbjerget. At 482 feet, it is one of the highest natural points in Denmark! Himmelbjeget means The Sky Mountain or The Mountain of Heaven and from the top you can see the valley below. The hill and surrounding

Lyng Dal Hotel another hotel called Gammel Rye Kro, which is a restored 17th-century village inn. It was very nice, too. Helene and Marie’s house was just up the street from the hotel. We have another article in this issue of Uncle Jam about the incredible work that Marie Elisabeth does. Their house was a true testimony to what art can do to make this a better world. There is art everywhere, including sculptures in the garden. You can see photos in the article. We had two wonderful dinners there: on our first night with Marie Elisabeth and Helene, then again on our last night with Helene, her parents, Marie Elisabeth, and her son Nicolaj. That first day, Helene took us around the area so I could get some ideas for the mural. It was to be painted on an outdoor wall that was constructed just for this purpose in the Pulszonen, or heart rate zone, of the Pulse Park. The Pulsparken, or Pulse Park, is divided into 4 zones. The Pulszonen (Pulse Zone) is the exercise area where the mural wall was built. The Sansezonen (Sense Zone) is a meditation area with a steel pyramid, water, music and yoga classes. The Legezonen (Play Zone) is a large playground for fun and exercise. The Stizonen (Path Zone) is an extensive network of asphalt and forest paths with routes for walking and running. The entire

Outlining the mural area - including the 4 zones, the golf courses, the houses, kindergarten, and business center - all go under the name Kildebjerg Ry. The idea is to combine business, living, spare time, and nature in one area. It is a unique urban area with room for all aspects of life. You eliminate the need to commute, because everything is within walking distance. We live in Running Springs, 6000 feet above the city of San Bernardino. Ours is a town of 5000 people, like Ry, surrounded by a lot of lakes; but couldn’t be more different from the Gudenå Area. Helene had put the whole mural


Budapest in 1990, we added “& The World” to our name. Denmark makes the 16th nation on our tour and Angouleme, France, where my partner Geoff Bevington did a mural at their Cartoon Festival this past January 2016, made it 17 countries. RC Williams and many other artists did murals in 49 states during the first years on the road. I have said that I will continue touring until I am 70, which is another eight years. To date, we have painted over 2000 murals around the world and have reached a lot of students and adults with our message, “Building a World of Readers, Artists & Dreamers” and “Read. Avoid Extinction”. The mural was dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony with Marianne Purup, Tourism

The Pulszonen area has been a center for various gatherings and celebrations for more than 200 years and in 1875, a red brick tower was erected at the top to honor King Frederik VII and his role in giving the Danish people the country’s first constitution in 1849. Close to the top are more monuments, most honoring individuals, but also one to commemorate women’s right to vote in 1915. We had lunch by the water in Silkeborg near the Hjejlen; which is the world’s oldest operating paddle steamer. We loved seeing the beautiful countryside and the picturesque thatched-roofed houses and buildings. Danish painters have captured the beauty of this area through the centuries. The next day and for the next three days, we painted two murals on the specially-built wall at the park. We painted with 5th graders from the local school. Each day we painted with a different class, with about 30 students each, who all rode their bicycles to the park. Danish children are encouraged to ride their bikes as much as possible and it was great to see all these kids getting exercise, and also their love for art. All the kids had a good command of English. One of the students had lived in the United States when she was younger and was excited to talk to us. Since we started our tour in 1986, we have always painted with kids throughout the country under the name Cartoonists across America. When Hungary invited us to create a mural in

The kids biked from their school

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The students beginning to paint Manager at VisitSkanderborg. When they dedicated the mural in Ry, all the kids proudly showed off where they had painted. This is the reason that I believe in the mural-making process. It really can change lives and my hope is that more communities throughout the world will become inspired to paint their own murals.

We have done murals on city buses, trucks, vans, billboards, walls and, of course, smaller murals on canvas and foam core. One evening, after a day of painting, Marie and I gave a talk to a full room of adults at the Kildebjerg Ry Business House. Our friends Bente and Peter, (whom we met in San Bernardino) and Lise and Marius (from

An old mill the train), all came to hear our talk about the importance of creativity and art. After our mural was finished in Ry, we got a chance to do a little more sightseeing in the area. We also saw some classic American cars driving around the lake one evening while at dinner. When we asked the waitress about it, we were informed that they were part of a local classic car club. We had a wonderful visit to

ARoS, the Aarhus Art Museum the Moesgaard Museum in Hojbjeg, a suburb of Aarhus. This museum is built into a piece of land and is quite remarkable. They had an exhibit of China’s Terracotta Army, which I first saw in Xi’an in 1979 on my first trip back to my dad’s homeland. Like I said, it’s a small world. Our new friends, Lise and Marius, joined us at the museum for a picnic lunch on the grass on the roof of the museum, and then Helene took

us to the summer palace of the King and Queen. The Marselisborg Palace is open to the public when they are not there. We walked right in and saw the magnificent sculptures on the grounds. We also saw a deer park in Aarhus and the captivating rainbow view from the top of ARoS, the Aarhus Art Museum. You look through this

Denmark continued on page 45

Secret Teachings of A Comic Book Master The Art of Alfredo Alcala By Heidi Macdonald and Phillip Dana Yeh By Phil Yeh Dover Publications issued this reprint of our book, that was originally done in 1994, in the fall of 2015. Alfredo Alcala was my best friend. We met in San Francisco at a dinner with Alex Nino and other Filipino artists in 1976 or ’77. When he moved to Los Angeles, we just started hanging out. He had a few years on me, but his love of history and painting were natural conversation starters. We kept the conversation going right up to his death in 2000. I had an art gallery in Long Beach, this publication, and my studio as well. I worked at the drawing board at night and Alfredo worked day and night; he seldom slept. He would call me on his phone--we had land lines in those days before the Internet-- and we would talk for hours while we both worked on our respective projects. Alfredo worked for both Marvel Comic Books and DC Comics, as well as other publishers. His titles included Batman, Conan,


Swamp Thing, and many others. We never spoke of comics, but many young artists over the years were excited to meet Alfredo at comic conventions and we had the idea that Alfredo should sit down and get his wisdom and vast experience on paper. Heidi MacDonald did an excellent interview with Alfredo on all aspects of drawing comics. It’s really detailed and lists his three favorite artists as J.C. Leyendecker, Frank Brangwyn, and Dean Cornwell. Alfredo really opens up on the subject of these three favorite painters and also mentions some of people working in comic books he admired like Lou Fine, Alex Toth, and Joe Kubert. He also talks in detail about the tools he uses and the techniques for creating your own style. From breaking down the scripts in an interesting manner to the use of shading, it’s all there. When this book came out last year, I had a chance to reread it and to remember how

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

much thought Alfredo gave to the subject of being an artist. This book is a must for anyone who has ever thought about becoming a comic book illustrator.

Traveling through Thailand By Beth Winokur

Last October, at 36, after saving my tips, I decided to get my passport. The application asked where I was traveling to. It didn’t seem appropriate to write “anywhere” because the truth is, I wanted to travel everywhere. So in the empty space after the question, in my best print, I wrote Ireland. Why not? I most definitely want to go there. I thought if I wrote it on the application then maybe it would happen. It hasn’t happened yet, but I did manage to visit Thailand. A few months prior to getting my passport I had come to a decision; I wasn’t going to wait until I could afford to travel, or when my kids moved out, or when I could get away from my day job. I embraced the saying, “Life is short; don’t wait until tomorrow.” I became determined to travel now. I have to, or so I told myself; I’m a writer, I’m a painter, I need something to write about. I need to experience new places, and people. Steinbeck wrote about traveling with Charley

Phu Phrabat Historical Park across America. Kerouac wrote about, well, the same thing, minus a dog. And for as long as I can remember, seeing the world was almost as important to me as writing and painting. My husband, who is also in the arts (composer/ musician), and I had worked hard to carve out a lifestyle that allowed us the most amount of time to create and still provide for and teach our children to be good people. I’ve felt we were successful at this as our three children are kind, conscious, smart, driven people, and no one has starved. As both a wife and mother, I had no reason to travel without my family other than I couldn’t afford to take them. My desire to go now was purely the result of me answering the demands of my constant nagging companion; wanderlust. My plan to go was straight forward: save my tips; get a passport; pick a place; buy a plane ticket, and find a place to work that will give me some food and a place to sleep. That was it. Since this story is already going back in time, I think I should add that for the past three years prior to this trip I had developed fear. It’s something I never had before--well at least not like this. In my past I had been adventurous;


I was usually up for trying new things (like skydiving). Even when I got sick ten years ago, and the doctors stuck stuff up my nose and cut into my head, I was fine. Fear had never really had much presence in my life, but one day, unexpectedly, while driving home from the local San Bernardino Mountains, I had a panic attack. And just like that, I couldn’t be a passenger. The first attack taught me something I never knew about fear. I think it’s something that most people who haven’t experienced a panic attack wouldn’t know - I didn’t. That is: fear, when it has control, will outrank and win over logic and reason any day. From that first day, it grew. I began to fear more than just taking a ride. I feared small spaces like elevators, airplanes, doctor offices, trains, people who talk at you for long periods of time without giving you a chance to participate (or excuse yourself), basically any space that I felt I was being restricted in. I had all this fear and at times paralyzing panic attacks, but I also had a strong desire to see the world. Like I said, fear usually wins over logic and reason, but when I included my strong will to experience life outside of San Bernardino it took a back burner. The day my passport arrived, I was ecstatic. I had accomplished step one of my plan. Now I needed to pick a place. A longtime friend said she wanted to go to Thailand. I thought, “Okay, I don’t know anything about Thailand but it’s somewhere new.” My family supported me. (I would have loved to go with my husband, but we couldn’t figure out a way to get the kids to school, pay our bills and pay for two plane tickets). I started saving my tips again and more importantly, I started meditating so I could kick this lame fear stuff for good. Through an online site called Workawayinfo. com my friend and I found two places that we could work that would provide both room and board. One was at a hostel in Bangkok where we could teach English. The other workaway was in northern Thailand just outside the city Khon Kaen, called the Mindfulness Project (MP). The MP website talked about the horrible clearcutting that was decimating much of

Phu Phrabat Historical Park

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northern Thailand’s forest. Their goal was to help reforest northern Thailand. I thought, “I can plant trees.” Their website also boasts about living a simple life that includes vegetarian meals (I’m vegetarian), meditation, and yoga in the morning. It sounded perfect to me. I thought this would give me a chance to volunteer and experience both northern and southern Thailand. The only bummer was that MP asked that we stay a minimum of two weeks. I felt it would limit how much I could see, but I thought the experience would be amazing and I liked that we would have free time in the afternoons so I could still write. Having found a place to stay, I crossed one more item off my travel to-do list. Now I just needed to buy my plane tickets. Things were working out. I decided that I should learn a

Phuket Island little bit about Thailand, so I checked out two Scholastic Books from the San Bernardino library. I learned about Thailand’s rich culture and history. I also learned about their islands with lagoons and monkeys and clear waters. I wanted to spend some time on the islands, so my friend and I decided we would indulge a little and spend the last four days of our trip on an island. Given the dollar to baht ratio (0.29 to our $1) I could afford a few nights of paradise. We found inexpensive airfare--$638 round trip to be exact (being a bargain hunter pays off). After much debate and getting overly excited, I booked the return flight for thirty days after takeoff. I was both thrilled and scared. I was going to Thailand! I was going to have new experiences, and I had just sentenced myself to being a passenger for thirty days. My fear took a bit of a back burner during the days leading up to the trip. I still couldn’t go in a car, let alone a plane or a train. So I went to a doctor and asked for something to help me fly. I dislike anything having control over my mind and body, but I reasoned that fear had already been in control for the past

three years. The doctor prescribed Ativan, so I took half a pill, and jumped on the plane. My hope was to use the pills as little as possible. And I’m happy to say that by the third day, I think because of the right mixture of exhaustion, excitement, curiosity, and my desire to be clear headed, I didn’t need them. I practiced breathing exercises and distracted myself with maps and looking out the window. The first third of the journey was spent in Bangkok, where good food from anywhere in the world is usually only a few steps from wherever you are standing. Delicious Thai food of course is abundant, but so is Indian, Korean, and Japanese. Bangkok is a giant metropolitan city with the typical excitement you’d find in any major capital city; but among the giant buildings, sky rails, and constant noise are beautiful temples, a grand palace, the Chao Phraya River, markets, and green lush parks. In southern Bangkok, I rode a bike through The Ancient City, which is a great way to access Thai’s cultural heritage. The Ancient

Khao Phing Kan aka James Bond Island City is a (not so small) miniature park that displays Thailand’s past and present defining structures. It was created by Thai visionary Lek Viriyaphant (1914-2000). He feared the decline of Thai culture and set out to create a place where people can learn and develop a love for both present and past sites. While at Bangkok’s art museum, I met a really nice girl who was working the information desk. She told my friend and I about boat taxis, which turned out to be one of the best and most inexpensive ways to get around the city. They can be a little hard to find as I never saw signs for them, but at ten Bhat you can’t go wrong. The boat dropped us off next to The Golden Mount, a beautiful temple near the center of the city, offering a 360 degree view of Bangkok. Moving away from the big city, I headed north toward Khon Kean where I ate a five star meal at The Wish Motel, which included the best dim sum and coconut ice cream. Khon Kean is the capital of Kohn Kean Province and is one of the “big four of Isan.” The city has a considerable size population of approximately 114,000. Khon Kean is clean and the locals are helpful and kind. My stay here wasn’t long, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere. Because there are few tourists that venture up to this part of Thailand,


Students I felt as though I really got to experience Thai culture. From Khon Kaen I headed farther north to Nam Phong District where I trekked through a small village and Buddhist monastery until I landed at the Mindfulness Project. It was blistering hot, and the area is suffering through a prolonged drought, which was apparent in the plants and trees. I was told that if they didn’t get rain by April they would have to shut off the electricity to the major city, Khon Kaen, and surrounding districts. Yet despite the heat and looming blackout, the nearby dogs and children were friendly and playful. At MP, I participated at a work site where they were busy building a mud brick house for a farmer and his family. Although it was hard work and the sun had turned me as red as the dirt, I felt an overwhelming joy when I stole a few moments to stand still on a hill that overlooked the nearby farms and rolling landscape. I was reminded yet again of Earth’s beauty. Originally, I was scheduled to spend thirteen days at the project, but after three days I was ready to move on. As it turned out, communal living was not for me. Some of the younger travelers enjoyed it. They especially seemed to enjoy the evening “workshop” which was more like group therapy. By the evening I was ready for some alone time to write and sketch, but lights were turned off at around eight. I didn’t care for the workshops or the mandatory bedtime, but the others didn’t seem to mind it. I had also thought I would sleep well at MP (because of the strenuous labor), but the room was hot from both the climate and the twenty-six other bodies that slept on the floor beside me. The people at the Mindfulness project were nice and I think, had I stayed, I would have made lifelong friends with some of the other travelers; but I needed sleep, I needed to write, and I wanted to see as much of Thailand as possible. So I thanked my host, hugged some new friends, and left. I had ten days of extra time to travel, so I ventured farther north to Udon Thani province and stopped in Ban Phue District where I enjoyed meeting locals at the hotel pool. Then I made my way to Phu Phrabat Historical Park. This park has giant rock formations. They’re said to have formed during the previous Ice Age. The rocks were used for meditation and as sculpting material by both Buddhist and Hindus. While exploring the park, an English

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class from the local nearby village happened to be on a field trip. The kids were kind and asked if they could give their presentation about the history of the park. It was great to have so many knowledgeable guides. From Udon Thani, I took a plane south, past Bangkok, to the Island Phuket. My friend thought it would be fun to spend some extra time on the island. Phuket turned out to be a tourist destination and I had learned that I prefer the opposite, but it was still fun. The island, however, is still recovering from the tsunami that devastated the area in 2004. At Patong Beach, which is where I stayed, construction on public areas and apartments are underway. While here, I swam and enjoyed the local markets. I also took a day trip on a speedboat to three nearby islands. I visited Khao Phing Kan Island where the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed. Here the rocky islands shoot out of the sea like green tipped bullets. Then the boat took us to Hong Island, where the water is clear and warm.

The last island on the trip was Ko Panyi, a fishing village that’s built entirely on stilts. This village started with two Muslim families from Java in the 18th century. It now consists of threehundred and ten families. Although the Ko Panyi has daytime tourists during the dry season (the wet season can be very dangerous), I’m told that it’s still predominantly a fishing village. Despite their remote location, they are still home to one of the best youth football teams in Southern Thailand. In 1986, after watching the World Cup, the children became inspired to play so they built a pitch out of scraps of wood and fishing rafts and learned the game. Today a new pitch is used, but I’m told the old one is still floating. After the islands, I headed home. Thailand is filled with beautiful beaches, temples, forests, and mostly people. I had learned from the Scholastic Books that traditionally the Thai people do not use sarcasm—that it is just not a part of their culture. I had thought impossible. But, when I got out of Bangkok the Thai people were kind, peaceful, and generous with their time. I’ve been home now for a little more than three weeks and I haven’t had a single panic attack. I still get little moments of anxiety, but I practice breathing and look out the window or close my eyes and think of where I’m going to go next. 

Gene Luen Yang National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature

Uncle Jam: Let’s start with the big news! In January 2016, you were selected as the fifth National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature by The Library of Congress, Every Child a Reader, and The Children’s Book Council. What are your plans? Gene Yang: It’s been a pretty crazy year so far! The National Ambassador’s job is to get more kids reading and kids reading more. I’ve done a few speaking engagements already, and I’ll be doing more throughout my tenure. I’ll be at the National Book Festival in Washington DC this fall, for instance. I’m also doing a podcast with PBS Reading Rockets, where I talk to authors and cartoonists and other awesome people about how books have impacted their lives. UJ: It’s exciting that they picked an author who writes graphic novels. Can you briefly talk about your history with this form? GY: I started reading comic books in the fifth grade. I started making them around that time as well. As I got older, I got more and more into them. I read Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud in my late teens and that book just blew my mind. It really opened my eyes to what comics could be. Around that time, I discovered

drew heavily from my own life to tell that story. A lot of the things Jin and his friends go through are based on events from my junior high years. Junior high has this way of bringing out the jerk in people, and that was when I experienced the most explicit racism in my life.

Gene Luen Yang “independent” American cartoonists like Lynda Barry, Jeff Smith, the Hernandez Brothers, and Chester Brown. They were all big influences on me. UJ: What advice would you give to young people considering a career as a writer or an artist? GY: In the beginning, focus on a habit of creation. Don’t worry so much about what you’re creating. Don’t let perfectionism get in the way of your growth. Just write and draw on a regular basis, even when you don’t feel like it. Set aside time every week, maybe even every day, and stick to your schedule. UJ: Your own career path started with a career in computer science and then you went into teaching. What suggestions do you have for getting more American students to go into science and math? GY: Science is not antithetical to art .You can love both. There are plenty of people who are good at both. You can use science to create art; you can use art to learn science. Making sure students understand that will encourage more students to pursue science and math. That’s the thinking behind Secret Coders, the graphic novel series I’m doing with cartoonist Mike Holmes. We’re aiming to tell a fun story and teach computer science at the same time. UJ: Your 2006 book, American Born Chinese, won a lot of awards. I know the story is not based on your life, but how much did you draw on your life for this book? GY: American Born Chinese is fiction, but I


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UJ: As someone who grew up in this country in the 1950’s to a father from China and a mother of European heritage, I was excited to see someone of Chinese heritage writing graphic novels with Asian themes. Is your audience from all parts of society? GY: I find that my stuff connects really well with the children of immigrants, regardless of where their parents are from. We all have to navigate cultures. We all have to integrate what we receive from our parents with what we receive from society. UJ: Boxers and Saints was set in China during the Boxer Uprising. Do you find these stories expanding the readership of your work? GY: I hope so--Ha ha. The Boxer Uprising – which is a more accurate term than the more popular “Boxer Rebellion” – isn’t all that well understood here in the West. It was the first global conflict that involved both Eastern and Western cultures. It was the first conflict in the

age of media; the first that people around the world followed through their newspapers. I hope that people interested in history will give Boxers & Saints a try. UJ: Can you tell us about how you came to write The Shadow Hero? GY: I first learned about the Green Turtle from a post on a blog called Pappy’s Golden Age Blogzine. The Green Turtle was created in the 1940’s by a Chinese American cartoonist by the name of Chu Hing. Arguably, the Green Turtle is the first Asian American superhero. Chu never got around to telling us his secret identity or his origin, so I saw a hole in comics history that Sonny Liew and I could fill. UJ: What’s it like working with Sonny Liew? GY: Awesome! Sonny is one of the most talented cartoonists working today. He is able to seamlessly blend humor, action, and drama. His latest solo effort The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is one of the most important graphic novels of the year. UJ: Can you tell us about Avatar: The Last Airbender series you’re doing for Dark Horse? GY: Avatar: The Last Airbender is a cartoon series that ran on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. In my opinion, it was the best animated series America has ever produced. Dark Horse Comics is now continuing the series in graphic novel format. I’m lucky enough to write it. It’s a great gig because I get to work closely with Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the two creators of the original series.

GY: I hope so. Currently, there’s a discussion about diversity in comics. Marvel, DC, and the other comic book companies have been responding. I hope this is just the beginning. UJ: Any plans for getting into writing for TV or movies? GY: Ha ha. Not at this time, no. I’m not opposed to it, but I’m pretty happy doing comics right now. UJ: What do you see for the future? GY: I’m working on four projects right now: New Super-Man, the next volume of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the next volume of Secret Coders, and a nonfiction graphic novel about a high school basketball team. For more about Gene Yang visit http://geneyang. com/

UJ: Your new series sounds really exciting; a Chinese Superman. Can you tell us a little bit about this new project from DC comics? GY: New Super-Man is about Kenan Kong, a teenager in Shanghai who inherits Superman’s powers. It began as an idea that Jim Lee and Geoff Johns had. Artist Viktor Bogdanovic and I were brought on to flesh it out. I’m very excited about it. UJ: Perhaps with a Chinese Superman we will see a whole new direction opening up for graphic novels. Any thoughts? Super-Man Promo Art

Gene Luen Yang, Self Portrait


ABC Awards

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Asian Comics by John A. Lent (University Press of Mississippi, 2015) Review by Lim Cheng Tju

It is fitting that I got the opportunity to review John Lent’s Asian Comics for Uncle Jam. I first met John Lent, then Professor of Communications at Temple University, when he toured Southeast Asia in the early 1990s to research about its comics. He arrived in Singapore in 1992. I was then the comics editor for BigO, a rock-pop culture magazine and John soon tracked me down to interview me. In turn, I interviewed him for BigO and I got him to write for BigO as well. He recruited me for Witty World, the international cartoon magazine he started with Joe Szabo. It wasn’t long before he introduced to Phil Yeh, the publisher of Uncle Jam. The rest is history. Over the years, I have made use of many Lent-edited volumes for my own research into Singapore and Southeast Asian comics. He is a pioneer in this field and books like Asian Popular Culture (1995), Themes and Issues in Asian Cartooning: Cute, Cheap, Mad and Sexy (1999), Pulp Demons: International Dimensions of the Postwar Anti-Comics Campaign (1999), Illustrating Asia: Comics, Humor Magazines and Picture Books (2001), Comic Art in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America through 2000: An International Bibliography (2004) and Southeast Asian Cartoon Art: History, Trends and Problems (2014) are seminal reference books for anyone interested in Asian comics. That would also include the International Journal of Comic Art (IJOCA) which Lent has been putting out since 1999. Now, Lent has finally put together all his research on Asian comics since the 1980s into one oversized hardcover volume that is 342 pages. The book has 17 chapters and is divided into three sections: East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan), Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), and South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka). What is interesting is that there is no chapter on Japan. Lent explains that since there are so many books on Japanese manga, there is no need for a chapter on manga. However, the first chapter, ‘A Lead-Up to Asian Comics: Early Asian Visual Humor and Narrative’, explores the roots of manga in ukiyo-e (woodblock print). Still, the shadow of Japanese manga permeates throughout most of the chapters – the influx of manga titles into the Asian comic market since


the 1980s and the strong influence of manga style among comic artists in countries like China, Taiwan and Thailand since the 1990s. I experienced this first-hand when I conducted comic research trips to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. For more on the impact of manga in global comics, one can look at Comics Worlds and the World of Comics: Towards Scholarship on a Global Scale (Global Manga Studies, Vol 1), edited by Jaqueline Berndt, published in 2010. Lent’s organizing method is the country approach, which he favoured for two reasons: ‘each country is distinct culturally, linguistically, and politically’, and ‘to lump countries together thematically would integrate them in ways that are neither realistic nor appropriate’. However, one can argue that Lent could have used both the country and thematic approaches in this book. There are some countries with similar histories that could have benefitted from a historicalthematic approach such as Singapore and Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Vietnam and Cambodia, or even Malaysia and Indonesia. A comparative approach outlining similarities and differences between these countries would have been enlightening and

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engaging. There is also a need for a chapter on the increasing number of female comic artists in Asia, which, to his credit, Lent has highlighted in his ‘Introduction’. For that, one has to look at International Perspectives on Shojo and Shojo Manga: The Influence of Girl Culture (edited by Masami Toku, 2015). There was also a special issue of IJOCA (13:2) from 2011, which had a series of articles on Southeast Asian female artists, exploring the themes and concerns. Lent’s strength is allowing the artists to speak for themselves – largely a phenomenological approach that emphasizes the life experience of people who are in the comic industry – ‘it is essential to discover directly from those who lived through events what they know, believe and experienced’. Lent conducted about 400 interviews with Asian comic editors, artists, writers, publishers, festival directors, shop owners, critics, academics, officials, comic pirates, and animators. Having read much of Lent’s writings, they are filled with details and what Clifford Geertz has termed as thick description. These interviews were conducted during the 60 trips to Asia that Lent made from 1986 to 2012 – all handwritten down in those A4 yellow writing pads that Lent uses. I remember them fondly when we first met in 1992 and again when he interviewed me in Singapore in 2000. We last met in Singapore in 2011 and he was still using the yellow writing pads. He must have a lifetime supply of them. The mass communications approach employed by Lent focuses on the artists and industry (sales and distribution), which is very educational for any newcomers, as it provides both historical and contemporary overviews of Asian comics such as the two waves of pirated comics in China’s comic industry in the 1990s and 2000s. If there is something lacking about this approach, it is that it could have discussed more about the aesthetics of the different Asian comics, what makes them ‘work’ or to even explore whether there is such a thing as an Asian aesthetics in comics. But as Lent made clear in his introduction, he saw himself as a ‘gapplugger’, to fill this hole in comics scholarship about Asian comics. It is meant to open the door for other comic scholars to go deeper into the topic and explore other areas. In this aspect, his work is groundbreaking and backbreaking Asian Comics continued on page 23

Jim Fitzpatrick continued from page 13 UJ: Roger I think still goes to San Diego. I don’t know him. JF: Yes he’s a lovely guy. UJ:As you progressed into the 80’s what happened? JF: I was earning a living doing a lot of advertising work, doing album work, doing book work; I started my own publishing company. I didn’t like what Paper Tiger was doing, so I published a book called Erin’s Saga, which is a compendium of all my work up to that period. I intended that to be one of a series, but my marriage broke up around that time. Philip Lynott died from drug use, from alcohol abuse, you name it abuse. He just ran himself into the ground. I moved out here—my kids came with me. I managed to buy a house next door to where my kids all lived. It was a long journey to where I am at the moment, because every penny I have has been taken away from me; and then under Irish law, 27 years later she could then come after me for divorce and so she got everything a second time. In the meantime I’ve just been working nonstop. I’m a workaholic and I enjoy what I do. I decided I’d do something with the Celtic myths and legends stuff on the mass level. In 1995 when the whole Internet started, I had a website up. It wasn’t a sales website. Now I’m a member of a thing called the Web Summit. I’m a kind of ambassador. I don’t get paid, but I get to show these guys Dublin. Somebody else stands beside me with a clutch full of money. I would take them on pub crawls. Dublin is booming with tech companies. To wind back, I decided around the period of the Internet that I would get involved because I realized this was really something that I was fascinated with and

interested in. Initially I thought all my work was being ripped off left, right, and center and then I thought, “No, No, join the flow, don’t row against this,” so I made all my work free to download for non-commercial use. It still is. If you want to use prints for yourself, be my guest. That, in turn, spread my work all over the place. It’s just unbelievable. I have a couple of websites up and I have a Facebook page that I use to generate for Jim Fitzpatrick Gallery and then I have my personal page, which you’re on. I have a website that my son has built for me using WordPress. We’re still very basic. He’s the one that got me started getting my work really properly on the Internet. My son does all the marketing and stuff.

JF: When I started on the mostly women path--I say mostly women because I draw my sons and my cats or whatever else—landscapes, I decided I wouldn’t publish them because I live in Ireland. All my friends are very personal. I do nudes of them, I work with them and I don’t particularly want my private life out in the open so much. If I was living in America it would be different…it’s a big country. But even in America it’s all small little places. I found that out when I was living there. I kind of thought that publishing the work would be an intrusion on my life, my private life, and my friends’ lives. It’s a beautiful life I have with these people all the time, so I still work away on a project that’s not going to see the light of day in my lifetime.

UJ: So, besides the Celtic work and all this stuff, you’re also doing portraits? JM: Yeah, I paint and draw; I do mostly women.

UJ: Will it be published after? JF: I’ve no idea. I haven’t even given it any thought. I do commissions. Stuff like that pays the bills. Selling prints pay the bills. I hate selling my work. All the work for the Book of Conquests, all the paintings, all the manuscripts, I’m giving to Dublin City Library so kids like me can walk in there and look at my work and get inspired the way I did from other people’s work. I used to go to museums here when I was a kid and look at the work of an Irish artist called Harry Clarke —a stained glass artist. I loved all that. That inspired me to become an artist. My grandfather was an artist as well. I just brought a book out on him. He was a political cartoonist who died in 1912.

UJ: How long have you been doing the women? JF: I have hundreds of them--hundreds. It’s been going on for 20 years. I started with my best friend’s daughter when she was 15. Her mother brought her out to see me about something else and I started drawing her. She was my muse for about 20 years and then she moved over to England. I put her together with her boyfriend over there. He was in a rock band of all things. She’s in Budapest at the moment. She, oddly enough, was opening for Robert Plant. She’s a musician herself. She’s 40 now; she’s not 15 anymore. She started me on the path and since then…Ireland is full of the most beautiful women anyway. I’m trying to limit myself to Howth now. UJ: We’ve come full circle with your career. What is your next stage?

UJ: Do you do any art on the computer? JF: I like doing it all by hand. I can do computer, probably, but I just love doing it by hand; nothing like having paint on your hands. I do other odd stuff. I have a huge exhibition touring

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the States. It’s been in every major venue. I did the most curious Che poster of all time for the Web Summit, because I did dot matrix of a drawing of Steve Jobs and then painted a Che on top of it and then I used a quotation from Che Guevara that says “The apple does not fall far from the tree. The tree has to be shaken.” So they got it at the Web Summit on the condition that they put it in their headquarters, in public view. UJ: What other projects are you working on? JF: What I’m doing at the moment is a major exhibition commemorating 9/11…mostly an Irish angle on it, because there were so many Irish firemen and cops involved. It’s financed by an Irish guy who’s a police commander, who had 22 of his people killed. A lot of the paintings are related to the Irish aspect of 9/11, because we’re very conscious of it over here. It’s a protest, as well, of what happened on that day. Innocent people were slaughtered and it was a calculated act that I’ve always felt very strong about. At the moment what I’m trying to do is stay out of politics, but we have a huge commemoration coming up for 1916, the year of our revolution. I’m involved in a movement called Reclaim 1916. I could give you a list of all the movements I’ve been involved in…it’s a great way of going broke. UJ: What is the show called in America? JF: It’s called Ground Zero 360. It is photographs taken on the day by the chief commander’s wife, who got inside the cordons and photographed everything that was happening. It’s quite extraordinary; so all my paintings are to complement that. I have 12 paintings, but they usually only show 4 or 6 at a time. It was in the Holocaust Museum in Dallas. It’s a traveling show. It’s been all over America. It’s been in Quantico at the FBI headquarters. It was in the Field museum in Chicago--a lot of big museums. For more on Jim Fitzpatrick and his art visit 

Asian Comics continued from page 21 – an almost 30 years effort that sees a professional in his late 70s (accompanied by his wife-fellow researcher, Xu Ying) flying all over Asia to get the untold stories of Asian comics. Such an approach allows Lent to work fast, literally flying into a country, interviewing people (‘snowball approach’ of meeting one cartoonist would lead to another), visiting studios, offices and shops, and flying to the next research site. Having focused on the comic art of Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines in recent years, my own experience in research shows that repeated visits are necessary, especially to the different cities of a country like Indonesia. The comic scene of Jakarta is very different from the one in Bandung, Jogjakarta and Surabaya. The same goes for the different islands of the Philippines. A single research trip would not reveal the full nuances of a country’s varied comic scenes – there is no one comic scene, but many. Often, Lent was at the right place and right time to interview many of the pioneers of Asian comics such as Tony Velasquez (the Philippines), Hua Junwu, Liao Bingxiong, and Ding Cong (China), many who have passed on. He had managed to save many original art pieces from being thrown away as well, a sad fact about the disposable and ephemeral nature of comics in Asia. It is unfortunate that Asian Comics are printed in black and white. The sample artwork could not show the full diversity and colors of Asian comics. Asian Comics is indispensable as a primer; a route map into the worlds of Asian comics. Long may John Lent run. 


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Right in Our Own Backyard: Seven Top Sites Worth Seeing By Terri Elders

When I left Southern California in 1987, I had no idea that I’d be wandering the world for 27 years before finally coming home again. I had hungered since childhood for other vistas. I’d wearied of setting out for the same familiar sites and sights; the same ocean, the same desert, the same mountains. My homeland was just…California. I always imagined that the world was out there somewhere beyond the horizon beckoning me. That real, genuine, bona fide world must exist someplace else; but now that I’ve finally returned, I relish traveling in the very region that I’d found lackluster before. There’s no place else that offers such an array of sites for exploration. The Southland couldn’t be better for “staycations.” There’s much more to show out-of-state visitors here than just our theme parks. Not, of course, to disparage those wonderlands. I’ve loved Disneyland since it first opened in 1955…and I’m already planning a trip to Sea World for this coming summer.

But the Southland has dozens of other delights to offer a Daytripper. So after a year exploring a few, I now think of my native grounds as “California!!” Try these if you get an attack of itchy feet, and want to wander. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch Too much concrete jungle getting you down? Head towards the rolling hills of North San Diego County to spend a few hours at the Flower Fields, an annual springtime treat. It opened on March 1 this year. You’ll ride through fifty acres of Tecolote Ranunculous, a species of blooms which includes buttercups, on a brightly- painted wagon. Mine was blue and named “Whistle


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a Happy Tune.” You’ll pass by a cymbidium orchid greenhouse and a sweet pea maze, before pausing to admire a gigantic American flag composed entirely of flowers. Later you can meditate in the Artists’ Garden and contemplate why the caged birds sing. A placard explains

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The author at the flower fields

how its design allows visitors to experience the connectedness of bird, plant, sky, earth, shade and sun. 2. Mission San Juan Capistrano Even though the faithful swallows only come home on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day, any day is a good day to return to this historic most famous mission in California. It is open every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving, but it’s wise to phone ahead in bad weather. The cliff swallows have a long commute from their winter home in Argentina. All a Californian has to do is cruise along Pacific Coast Highway. Besides its permanent collections of paintings and artifacts, this past autumn the mission opened a special “Legacy of St. Serra” exhibit, honoring Saint Junipero Serra in the year of his canonization. Additionally, its recurring signature events include The Battle of the Mariachis Festival, the Concerts Under the Stars series, and special Christmas at the Mission attractions. http:// 3. Catalina Island Even before The Four Preps dubbed it the Island of Romance, for those of us who grew up in Southern California in the l950s, Santa Catalina was the number one honeymoon destination for those who longed for a Pacific island getaway, but could not afford Hawaii. But these days your birthday is the right time to pop over, because Catalina Express offers a pass to those who register online and travel on their actual birthdate. Once there, you can wine, dine and zip line, rent a bike or golf cart, or take a glass bottom boat excursion to feed the fish. Birthday celebrators receive a package of coupons with freebie such as coffee and ice cream, and discounts on dinners and even massages. My favorite activity is to sit along the crescent and watch the sunbathers play in the sand before feasting on fish and chips. http://

Catalina Island by Phil Yeh


4. Queen Mary “Diana, the Legacy of a Princess” is still a featured exhibit aboard the venerable ship, serving as a living landmark, hotel, and popular party venue in Long Beach since 1967. You can still dine in royal style at the Sir Winston, or simply sample scones in the Tea Room. If you fancy a few goosebumps, visit at night and join either the “Haunted Encounters” or the “Paranormal Investigating” tours. The newest attraction is a 4-D theater, featuring motion seats and sensual effects such as wind, fog, mist and scents that synchronize with the 3-D on-screen action. Now playing: Planet Earth: Shallow Seas and SpongeBob Squarepants: The Great Jelly Rescue. 5. Laguna Beach Sawdust Arts and Crafts Festivals For twenty-five years the Laguna Beach Sawdust Winter Fantasy Art Festival artists and staff have staged a holiday arts and crafts festival in a three-acre eucalyptus grove. You can enjoy hot cider and baked potato soup in the food court, or visit The Tavern for an adult beverage. Several local musical groups perform daily. This year will mark the fiftieth for the Summer Arts Festival, June 24 through August 28. Artists and craftsmen will offer hand-blown and fused glass, painting, jewelry, surf art, ceramics, clothing and textiles, wood and metal sculpture, Dr. Neon’s beautiful butterflies at the Sawdust Winterfest scrimshaw, photography, and so much more. 6. Hollyhock House, Barnsdall Art Park For one of the most spectacular daytime views of the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Park Observatory, head to East Hollywood to visit Barndall Park and Olive Hill’s stunning Mayaninfluenced Hollyhock House. Extremely wealthy iconoclast Aline Barnsdall, a force to reckon with and a bohemian feminist scrutinized by the FBI for nearly a quarter of a century, hired the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, to design what she initially envisioned as an arts colony. The two were not pleased with one another’s visions, and ultimately Barnsdall fired Wright. She gave the house, which she allegedly despised, to the City of Los Angeles. Though you can tour the house, access to the rooms is limited to views from a roped off hallway. But the guided tours of the grounds by docents full of gossip about the Los Angeles elite of the Roaring 20s is worth the trip. http:// 7. Riverside Dickens Festival It proclaims itself the most celebrated event in the Inland Empire. A Victorian version of The Renaissance Faire, this street fair provides a combination of attractions that cheer up the dreariest February day. Costumed wenches will serve you a tankard of mead, minstrels will stroll by, and high school drama students will enact scenes from Martin Chuzzlewit. When I went in 2015, I attended a lecture by doppelgangers for Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as Dickens himself. You can even attend the trials of Lizzie Borden or Jack the Ripper. Seven more favorites to consider: The Getty Center in Los Angeles; the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino; the GRAMMY Museum in L.A. LIVE; South Coast Botanical Garden in Palos Verdes Hills; the Griffith Park Observatory; Old Town in Orange with its antique shops and the over-ahundred-years old Watkins Drug and Soda Fountain…and the site of the original McDonald’s, with its museum and Uncle Jam publisher Phil Yeh’s Route 66 mural in San Bernardino. This is the world, right here in the Southland. 

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

ArtBeat on Main Street in Vista by Phil Yeh

We have six grandchildren, and three of them live in North San Diego County in a delightful community called Vista, California. As we have gone to their home a number of times in the last year, we have had a chance to explore the downtown area. First of all, Vista is a thriving community for the arts. There are excellent murals on many of the buildings, as well as public art on the street. There are also a number of restaurants in this area and unique boutiques; as well as a great local gallery. ArtBeat on Main Street opened up in the summer of 2012 and is not your normal gallery. In 2014, they added a wine bar that also serves beer and light artisan cuisine to enhance the 3800 feet of gallery space featuring a variety of artists. Check out their website to see the variety of art and read about the backgrounds of these artists. They also have classes, receptions, and special musical events; ArtBeat on Main Street celebrates all kinds of creativity. Our friend, Dean LeCrone, has some cartoon greeting cards for sale there, which is actually what brought us into the gallery in the first place. Dean also plays a Steampunk character named Dr. Peepers, who we have shown in the photographs by Allen Freeman in Uncle Jam #101. We were so impressed by the artwork in this gallery that we want to do more in depth stories on some of the individual artists in future issues of Uncle Jam. What I love to see is that smaller communities like Vista are creating their own local art and music scene. ArtBeat on Main Street is just part of the next wave of revitalizing our communities. It is really worth taking the time to visit Vista. ArtBeat on Main Street is located at 330 Main Street in Vista. Their website is


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Amazing Fantastic Incredible by Stan Lee, Peter David and Colleen Doran Book review by Rory Murray

For better or worse, when most people think of Marvel Comics, one name comes to mind-Stan “The Man” Lee. He was born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922 in New York City. Some consider him the sole creator of the vast Marvel Universe, but this is simply not true. Stan was hired by a relative to assist Captain America’s creators, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Before his first writing assignment,  Stan’s job was to sharpen pencils and get coffee and lunch. When Simon & Kirby left Marvel (then called Timely Comics) for competitor DC Comics, Stan was left in charge until he enlisted. Simon, Kirby and many other comic creators also served. But after World War II was over, the Golden Age superheroes’ popularity slowly began to decline. New genres like Crime and Romance comics were created, many by the hands of Simon and Kirby. Jack Kirby returned to Timely Comics (which became Atlas) in the 1950s. That’s when a nut job named Fredric Wertham blamed all of society’s ills on comic books. The industry went into a tailspin. The Comics Code Authority was imposed, stifling creativity. Comic books became boring. Ashamed of the poor quality of

work, Stan Lee was ready to quit. His wife Joan convinced him to write the stories the way he wanted to. At rival DC Comics, old characters like the Flash, the Atom and Green Lantern received makeovers. The Justice Society became the Justice League, a big commercial success. The Silver Age had begun. Marvel asked Stan to create a team of their own. With Jack Kirby’s great help, The Fantastic Four was born. Kirby also cocreated The Hulk, Thor, The X-Men and many others. Steve Ditko co-created Spider-Man. The Marvel Universe was born. Stan Lee became Marvel’s face and voice, upsetting Kirby and Ditko. Steve Ditko left Marvel for DC around 1966 and Jack Kirby joined them in 1970, creating the Fourth World.  Stan Lee’s bravado has upset many other comic artists and writers over the decades. Just as Bob Kane had writer Bill Finger and artist Jerry Robinson’s great assistance creating Batman, Stan Lee owes his success to his brilliant collaborators, especially Jack “King” Kirby, Ditko and others. I’m glad that in his graphic memoir, Amazing Fantastic Incredible, he acknowledges their contributions.  While I have a real problem with Stan charging $100 bucks a pop for an autograph or a photo with fans, (Kirby never charged a cent!), he does have a fascinating personality. And at age 95, incredible energy! I do recommend this  book, co-written by Peter David and beautifully illustrated by Colleen Doran. There are many more detailed (and factual) histories out there, but this is a very fun, easy book to read. Excelsior!

We Will Rise: A Song of HOPE for San Bernardino by Rory Murray

Not too long ago, San Bernardino was considered an “All American City”. Norton Air Force base provided citizens with many good paying jobs in the area. In nearby Fontana, the Kaiser Steel Plant employed 2,500 workers in its heyday.  Top name entertainers used to perform in downtown SB at The California Theater. Thousands of visitors would flock to our annual events, including The National Orange Show and the Route 66 Rendezvous. The Rolling Stones› FIRST U.S. appearance was here.  But in 1989, the Department of Defense decommissioned Norton. Many jobs were lost. During that same period, Kaiser Steel was deconstructed and moved to China. While greedy elected officials in San Bernardino began making bad and costly moves, the residents of San Bernardino continued working, going to school, and living their lives. On Wednesday December 2, 2015 San Bernardino was rocked by a cowardly act of terrorism when 14 people were murdered and 22 were seriously wounded at the IRC (Inland Regional Center). The “war on terror” was now


If they think that they can stop us, they’re in for a surprise. We’re San Bernardino. We Will Rise!”

Candlelight Vigil (Photo By Micah) on our own doorstep. How did our beleaguered city respond? Brilliantly! Police made quick work of putting an end to the terrorists and their evil plot, and the next day during a candlelight vigil, the people of my city came together as one. This outpouring of love and grief for the victims and families inspired me to write a song. It’s called We Will Rise! “We Will Rise, We Will Rise. And wipe these stinging tears out of our eyes.

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

It’s my sincere hope that something positive for San Bernardino comes from this senseless tragedy. We need to embrace the good, eliminate the bad, scrutinize city politics and most of all, stay vigilant. I hope that my fellow citizens will take my song to heart. It›s a gift to my neighbors, and Freedom Lovers around the world. I thank Dennis Hackett and son James for their production, arrangement, support and friendship. I also thank the other wonderful musicians that donated their time and talent to make my song a reality and intrepid SUN photographer Micah Escamilla for allowing me to use her beautiful pictures. We Will Rise can be heard on YouTube and also on CD Baby, where it’s available for download. Hope you like it. 

Our Mural Project Continues by Phil Yeh

Artists Jan Windhausen, Carlos Saldaña, Lieve Jerger, Phil Yeh, Phil Ortiz, David Arshawsky, Rory Murray, & Sandy Cvar On February 8, 2016, we had some guest artists draw cartoon characters on the murals that we have been painting at the historic site of the original McDonald’s in San Bernardino. Since 2012, we have been working on these incredibly detailed works of art for two mornings a week: Tuesday and Thursday. As I outlined the murals, I started to think about revitalizing the whole street. I started to tell anyone that I met about my vision for a new renaissance for San Bernardino. An art corridor could be created on E Street from Highland all the way downtown. Galleries, artist’s studios – all the arts, both performing and visual, and independent restaurants could be placed on this historic street that is Route 66. My friends, Dotti and Ernie Garcia restored and renovated a 1930’s era Spanish hacienda, that served as the San Bernardino Water Department, as a new cultural center. It is on 11th and E, and looks beautiful. We will have a full story in the next issue of Uncle Jam. This August 2016 there will be a new film, starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, called The Founder. Part of the story actually takes place at the original McDonald’s location in San Bernardino. The original location of McDonald’s on 14th and E Street (Route 66) in San Bernardino has been recreated in Georgia for the filming of the movie. Ray Kroc was a


milkshake machine salesman from Illinois who came out to meet Richard and Maurice McDonald in the ‘50s because the brothers had bought so many machines. He was impressed with their operation and immediately wanted to buy them out. He finally convinced the brothers to sell him their restaurant in 1961. Unfortunately, he didn’t read the small print; the brothers sold Kroc the rights to the name, but not their original restaurant. Kroc was furious when he realized what had happened and made the brothers change their name to the Big M. He then proceeded to open a McDonald’s on 15th and E Street. When the brothers went out of business and their building was torn down, Kroc had his McDonald’s destroyed. It should be a very dramatic film. The building that Mural continues on page 37 was built on the location of the original McDonald’s was a music store and the home of the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera until Albert Okura bought the building in 1998. When Okura learned of the history of this location, he decided to make one half of the building his headquarters for Juan Pollo, his chain of chicken restaurants, and the other half an unofficial McDonald’s museum. The museum has

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Meet Kelly Carlin! By Rory Murray

Rory Murray: Since you began your one woman show and book tour and traveled throughout the country, have you learned anything about your parents, your family or yourself that you didn’t know? Kelly Carlin: Not specifically, but writing about your life is an ongoing journey of discovery. The whole process revealed much about myself, to myself. And I learned to hold my past differently in my heart. That changes everything. 

RM: When and if you and Bob return to the “Inland Empire”, could you give me a heads up? I’d love to give you both a tour of The Living Mural and First Original McDonalds Museum, share a pitcher of beer with you. And get you to sign my copy of your wonderful book! KC: Yes.

Rory Murray: George Carlin was one of the greatest comedians and most insightful thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Along with his RM: You tell very candidly of some pretty friends Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce, he fought heartbreaking events in your book. Were there to defend his great love of words. While his any circumstances that were too painful to battle over censorship went all the way to the reveal in this book? Supreme Court, George had NO respect for KC: Of course.   government or any type of authority figure. He didn’t know his father, Patrick, and rebelled RM: When George Carlin grew his hair and against his mother, Mary. By his early 20’s, made his crucial change from performing in George was kicked out of the Boy Scouts, the stuffy Las Vegas nightclubs to college campuses, altar boys, the choirboys, summer camp, and he it was a time when students were challenged had departed the Strategic Air Command in the to new ways of thinking. It was a time when late 1950’s by “mutual agreement.” different points of view were welcomed. Now, So...have you ever wondered what kind of the campuses seem to be a humorless, dark, and father he would make? It turns out that despite extremely narrow-minded place. Many seem to his aversions, afflictions (and addictions), be filled with self-absorbed “P.C.” crybabies. As George Carlin turned out to be a pretty good you know, it’s gotten to the point that today’s dad, after all! The proof arrived on June 15, finest comedians are now refusing to perform 1963 in the form of Kelly Carlin, born of a there. At this point, if your Dad was alive and loving union with her mother, Brenda Florence well today, I don’t even think HE would be Hosbrook. From “a little sperm, a little egg, a welcomed on campus. What is your take on little weed, a little scotch, and something called this? the limbo”, according to the Carlin family KC: Political Correctness is not the best path legend.      to create more tolerance in the world. Only an   In her wonderful memoir A Carlin Home airing of bad ideas will help people see that Companion (St. Martin’s Press), Kelly Carlin racism, sexism and all the other intolerances of tells the story of what it was (and is) like to our culture are bad ideas.   be the only child of a counterculture icon, and the difficult and painful struggles of the “Three RM: Not really a gave me a great Musketeers” (George, Brenda & Kelly) to find compliment on my activism a few years back. their own voices in the world. It was at a time when I nearly felt defeated. It Uncle Jam’s publishers, Phil & Linda Yeh, and still means a lot, so I just wanted to say “Thank I first met Kelly and her husband Bob McCall You”. when they came to San Bernardino’s Feldheym KC: You’re welcome. Library on December 1, 2009. At the time, Kelly was promoting her father’s posthumous RM: If A Carlin Home Companion becomes a book Last Words (co-written with Tony Hendra movie (and it should!), will you please consider of National Lampoon and Spinal Tap fame and Laura Linney? I think she’d make a great Kelly highly recommended). Carlin, and perhaps Ed Harris as your Dad?  At this point in her life Kelly was working KC: I’d be honored. LOVE her. as a life coach; helping struggling artists, like me, get in touch with their muses, while she RM: What does the future hold for you? Do you was also struggling to put the finishing touches and Bob have any other projects in the works at of her own one-woman show together. It is Showtime? also called A Carlin Home Companion. I was KC: I worked on Paul Provenza’s show, fortunate to see it at the beginning and end of its The Green Room with Paul Provenza when triumphant run. She nailed it! But as great as her it was on Showtime. I wish I could work live show was, it provides just a snapshot of the on another Paul show or my own show, Carlin’s unusual lifestyle. This book provides but TV is not a world that knows me well.  the complete picture.


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

At premiere of “A Carlin Home Companion” at the Comedy & Magic Club Hermosa Beach, CA. From left: Letitia Pepper, Rory Murray, Kelly Carlin, and Steve Biggs Among the many revelations in these pages, you will learn about: *Kelly’s early influences, love of music, and becoming the family “peacemaker”. *Brenda’s valiant struggle for identity, sobriety and ultimate survival. *George’s “special” spice cake and lifechanging use of psychedelics. *His ultimate transition from Las Vegas nightclubs to College Campuses. *Kelly’s survival of abusive relationships, and her search for acceptance. *How Bob McCall becomes her great love (and the hero of this story).           Kelly tells the story of her life in a narrative that is often hilarious and then heartbreaking. Her writing style is very easy and pleasant to read. It feels like you’re hearing this directly from a friend. Because you ARE

Photos: Rory Murray This book is a true labor of love, and a testament to her perseverance. It’s a great comfort to know that this remarkable lady bears both the beauty and grace of her mother and the inherent genius of her father. May this book, which you should BUY TODAY, be just the beginning for her. Bravo, Kelly Carlin! 

Visions of the Golden Age of Graphic Novels: Bryan and Mary Talbot Discuss the Evolution of the Medium By Donna P. Crilly

We are now living in graphic novelist Bryan Talbot’s idea of the future. He says this while sitting on one of many panels at the fourth annual San Diego Comic Fest, where the topic on the program guide is just that: The Future of Comics? Note the question mark. To Mr. Talbot, who has been drawing and writing graphic novels for more than 40 years, there’s no question. Though it’s true that digital comics and new technologies are changing the shape of comics’ distribution and consumption, he’s referring to the evolution of the art form itself. “We’re in the golden age of graphic novels,” Mr. Talbot says. “There’s more and better comics being produced now than ever before.” Mr. Talbot adds that in the ‘70s, ‘80s and up to about the mid-‘90s, you could read every graphic novel coming out. And a lot of them were “rubbish.” Now, it’s one of the fastest growing comic and literary mediums, with hundreds of graphic novels published every month. Dubbed the “Father of the British Graphic Novel,” Mr. Talbot is a titan among giants. It’s hard to describe the breadth of his work without feeling like you left something important out. Chances are you did. Just a few of his notable original works are The Adventures of Luther Arkwright (his magnum opus), The Tale of One Bad Rat, and his recent graphic

novel series, Grandville. The latter follows an anthropomorphic badger detective, who solves crimes in a Steampunk-styled alternate universe, in which France has invaded Great Britain. The notion that we’re in the golden age of graphic novels has been tossed around for close


Brian & Mary Talbot to a decade, give or take a few years. This is not short red hair and petite frame give her a fragile the first time Mr. Talbot has mentioned it at a appearance, and though she speaks in a soft and public event such as San Diego Comic Fest, nor educated British sort of way, you understand is he the only one making the observation. An why she often chooses strong female characters official decree has not yet been made. The elders as the subjects of her creative works. “I’ve been of the comic world have not taken a vote on the a card-carrying feminist for a long time, and matter (that I know of). But when a person who has been called the “David Bowie” of graphic novels, and who was awarded two honorary doctorates for his work, says we’re in the golden age of the graphic novel, one can’t help but take note. Mr. Talbot and his wife, Mary, are the guests of honor at this year’s Comic Fest. They flew in from England to attend the four-day festival, and are busy scurrying off to a long list of panels to discuss the evolution of their art. It’s a chilly mid-February weekend at the San Diego Town & Country Resort, though I use word “chilly” loosely. Out-of-towners might describe San Diego’s late winter weather as somewhat temperate. My introduction to the Talbots is in the exhibitor hall, where they are chatting with some old friends and acquaintances, including comic artists Trina Robbins and Steve Leialoha. Mr. Talbot’s uniform, so to speak, is black: black shoes, black pants, black shirt, and black vest. He wears his silvery-white hair slicked proud of it. I refuse to be embarrassed about black, and has the rakish appearance of a rebel it,” Mrs. Talbot declares at the Spotlight on who’s aged into gothic sophistication. Bryan Talbot panel. I wonder if this statement Mrs. Talbot appears as an academic at leisure has anything to do with a conversation we had in a short-sleeved maroon button-up shirt and a few hours earlier in the dealer’s room. We either blue Keds, or Vans of a similar style. Her were discussing her background as a scholar

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

of language and gender, and how that relates to themes in her graphic novels. She notices my hesitation to use the word feminism. I hesitate, partially because I’m not sure if the term would offend her, or if it’s politically correct enough. “You can say feminist,” she says, laughing, because why wouldn’t I? Mrs. Talbot says she’s still interested in the same things as when she was an academic; she’s just now exploring them through narrative work, rather than writing textbooks. If Mr. Talbot is the father of the British graphic novel, then Mrs. Talbot is the Dotter of Her

stand against colonial oppression in the late 19th century. Though not a well-known figure in world history, Michel was apparently decades ahead of her time. The so-called “Red Virgin of Montmartre” made waves as an anarchist, schoolteacher and poet. Though Mary has worked on a side project separate from her hubby, Bryan did the artwork for all three of her graphic novels. With Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Mary says her husband had much more of a deciding role on the artwork. However, with her latter two books, she started thinking about the way the visuals would appear

have to hold in your hands. As for other books, the Amazon Kindle version serves its purpose conveniently enough. This is not one of them. The way some of the pages are designed would make it impossible to have the same experience digitally. “They’re beautiful artifacts,” Mary says, “They’re sort of tactile experiences.” Artist and panelist Paul Guinan weighs in on this sentiment. “We want physical things,” Guinan says, “We want to be able to interact with physical things.” Guinan sits on the Comics from Life panel with the Talbots. He talks of

Father’s Eyes. Incidentally, her debut graphic novel of the same name won the prestigious Costa Biography Award in 2012. Written by Mrs. Talbot, and illustrated by her husband, the plot interweaves the biography of James Joyce’s daughter, Lucia, with that of Mrs. Talbot’s experience growing up with her father, who was a leading Joycean scholar. She often quips that she grew up with the ghost of James Joyce in her house. “I don’t know about the rest of you,” Mrs. Talbot says, speaking to a handful of people at the Comics from Life panel, “but I don’t necessarily assume that my life story is going to be of any interest to anybody else.” Mrs. Talbot is graceful in her humility, despite having won an award on her first try. She says it was never her plan to “join the family firm,” as she calls it, it just sort of happened. Mr. Talbot explains it simply: “One night at dinner I said ‘Why don’t you write a graphic novel and I’ll draw it?’” The rest - excuse the cliché - was history. By the time Mrs. Talbot was finishing up her debut work, she was already thinking about her next project. What followed was Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, which coincidentally came out around the same time as the movie Suffragette, about British women campaigning for the right to vote. Mary’s newest graphic novel, which is released this May, is called The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia. The book chronicles the “outrageous” life of French feminist Louise Michel, who takes a

on the page itself. “I think I must have acquired some sort of that knowledge just from living alongside Bryan,” Mrs. Talbot said. “It’s a very unusual level of cooperation, because we’re so close.” The Talbots are promoting The Red Virgin alongside Grandville: Force Majeure, which will be released October 2017. Mr. Talbot hands me a postcard with a drawing of the toughlooking Scotland Yard badger looking over his shoulder with a large revolver and Steampunkstyle machine gun in each hand. The bottom of the card reads, “Prepare to be royally badgered!” Later on, I grab a hard copy of Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes. There are certain books you

the death of prose literature and how, in order to survive, books must evolve into visual works of art. The numbers don’t lie. 2014 saw an across-theboard increase in sales in comics and graphic novels in the U.S. and Canada. Not since the mid-‘90s have sales reached such a height. According to estimates by ICv2 and Comichron, the print industry grew to $835 million in 2014, up from $780 million sales in 2013. Likewise, the perception of the graphic novel as an art form is changing. Graphic novels are making their way through the upper echelons of art and literature. Mrs. Talbot’s debut effort is one of them. Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes is not the first of its kind to win a highbrow award. As an undergraduate a few years ago, I remember reading Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prizewinning graphic novel, Maus, in my English class. But with the emergence of more graphic novels worthy of scholarly study, I realize the evolution of the medium echoes examples of the past. There was a time when poetry was considered far superior to traditional novels, as plays were to movies. I’m not sure what amounts to a golden age of anything. That’s for the experts to decide. Perhaps, dear elders of the graphic novel, it’s time to make it official: We’re in the golden age of graphic novels. 


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Make it Happen An Interview with Jeff A. Menges

Uncle Jam: You mentioned that you grew up in a small New Jersey town; which one? Jeff Menges: It was Brick Township as a kid; I lived within a stone’s throw of the Jersey Shore areas, Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights. Already the coastline had begun to affect my work. Later, as a teen, we moved to central Jersey; Woodbridge Township specifically. UJ: I spent the first six years of my life in Wayne, New Jersey. My first grade teacher encouraged me to go into art. Can you please describe how you got interested in art? JM: Creativity was all around me in my family. My dad was a machine designer, but he also dabbled in oil painting—as did his brother, and my grandmother. The simple act of witnessing someone create a picture gives you the idea that it’s attainable. And I had some encouragement there, too, being given oil paint myself at an age that would bristle parents today. On my mom’s side, I have an uncle who spent his career as an architect. Being about 15 years my senior, he was the perfect age to impress a young kid by producing drawings that blew my five-year-old mind.  UJ: You were one of the 25 original artists who worked on the initial release of Magic: The Gathering. Can you tell us how you came to this gig? JM: Fantasy art was a niche I had already been pursuing, with some success. After art school, I found that illustration in the roleplaying game market was within reach. This is role-playing games before the digital age took over. There were many small and midsize companies producing games that needed lots of imaginative illustration. I’d been working at it for about 5 years and getting a foothold, starting to get cover work and color magazine pieces too, when a small company I had done black and white work for presented me with this card game idea at a game convention in the summer of ‘92. There were NO card games like this at that time, and there were doubts even about how the product could be sold in game stores. Wizards of the Coast was very excited about the potential it seemed to have. I was glad to do a few small color pieces, thinking if I did enough of them I could pay my rent for a month and have some small paintings to sell at art shows. I didn’t dare hope or believe it would do what it did, in some ways shaping my illustration career. 


Jeff Menges UJ: I don’t know much about the gaming industry. Can you tell us a little bit about this field? JM: Gaming has changed a lot over the past generation, largely due to technology and interface preference. When I entered, it was all paper and dice, with a few lead figures to add something tangible. That is still there, but new gamers playing in new games look to full visual inclusion. Games like World of Warcraft and Fallout create incredible interactive worlds. And there are new ones every week. It’s also much more accepted. When I began doing illustration for the field, it was a true subculture; and going to a comic or game convention was not something all would wear proudly, outside of your circle of friends. The lynch-pin for the whole discussion on gaming culture is Dungeons and Dragons. The industry grew around its popularity; first under the radar, then becoming more and more popular as fantasy became more and more accepted by the mainstream. Other companies came in competing for players looking for a different experience, so the choices began to vary—science fiction, horror, adventure. When Magic: The Gathering came into play in 1993, it rewrote the book and opened the gates. Card games glutted the market looking for a share of it. Now it’s a mix of all of these things and more. Digital games grew in a parallel way-apart, but attracting a lot of the same crowd. In recent years those divisions have dissolved a bit. There’s a lot of crossover now, and it seems that nearly everyone coming out of school plays games to some extent.

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UJ: Please tell us what other works you have done in your career? JM: Roleplaying was where I got my start, and I still do work for that industry. If the product is right, it can be some great material to work with. Card games when they happen, can be great runs. Other than Magic: The Gathering, some of my other favorites were Chaosium’s Mythos—about Lovecraft’s stories, and AEG’s Doomtown and 7th Sea. Some of the stranger things that stand out… maybe a bunch of watercolors for a guide to the Summer Olympics, or the skull on a book cover for Reconstruction of Life from the Skeleton… I’ve also had a chance to do covers for some of my favorite books: Edgar Rice Burrough’s Pellucidar, W. B. Spencer’s Resumé with Monsters, and Zombie Tales from H.P Lovecraft, to name a few. UJ: Is your artwork for sale on the internet? JM: Not in a “shop” format, but I do sell work nearly weekly on eBay. The files are deep after all this time, and if you did work on a game decades ago, I’ve found that there is someone out there who loved it, and would love to have a tiny piece of it. Even if I only retained 10% of my own work, it would be more than I could ever hang in my house. There are good deals to be had. Once in a while someone contacts me looking for something, and it’s always great when I can make a connection there. UJ: You have also done some wonderful books on classic illustrators for Dover Publications. Can you please tell us about these books? JM: I’ve been working with Dover publications for quite a while now, mostly as a cover designer. But the historian in me would not stay silent, and my own interests in Golden Age Illustration became apparent to the executives at Dover. I pointed them at Arthur Rackham over 10 years ago, and the book Arthur Rackham’s Fairy Tale Illustration came out of that. I select the works, usually arrange the book, and write an introduction and whatever the book might call for.  It did very well, and it set off nearly a whole line of books on classic illustrators. Two more on Rackham, two on Edmund Dulac, W. H. Robinson, Willy Pogány, the brothers Detmold— and some by theme— collections of illustrations for Poe, the Arabian Nights, Alice in Wonderland, and Fairy Tales. This exploration led me further down a path and I’ve

Make It Happen continued on page 43

Book Reviews by Phil Yeh

by Alex and wondered, “How did he do that?” Alex has worked in comic books and also animation. He worked for DC, Marvel, and Heavy Metal to name a few publications. Eventually, his talent would be used in animated films. His design work on Disney’s Mulan was exceptional. I would highly recommend his new book, Art Quest of Alex Nino, and also The Art of Alex Nino, which was published in 2008 by Auad Publishing. You can buy Alex’s books and original artwork at Uncle Jam interviewed Alex in UJ104 which is available online at 

strong stand against drugs. But for my money, I tend to stay away from organizations that seem to get too personal into your life. That is the reason that I left organized religion at the age of 15 and got into Taoism; the philosophy not the religion. I believe that there is good in all religions generally, but when you get into how certain things get translated by certain leaders, it can be anything but good. Remini goes into details about what goes on in the Church of Scientology. It’s eye-opening and I hope instructional for anyone considering joining this group. I believe that all religions should be completely transparent and allow their members to come and go as they wish. I know that many religions do not practice this; that may explain my reluctance to join. We talk about freedom a lot in this country of ours, but the truest form of freedom is the freedom to believe in whatever you like. Reading about all religions will give you a better understanding of which path may be right for you. If people in this world really had this choice, we would have a much more peaceful world. 

Art Quest of Alex Nino “Engulf in this quest since I first picked up a pencil and a paper. There were instances where I was in a desperate situation. In reality, one must use his inner strength to choose the paths and explore the magnificence in life.” So writes Alex Nino in his new book featuring over 130 pages of his incredible art. When you look at Alex’s work, you do not think that he ever had trouble creating it. There is an ease to his art. It always seems to flow from his pen, pencil and brush; like water coming off a cliff in the mountains. It moves in a way that just makes you want to create. I first met Alex in San Francisco back in the early 70s. He arrived in 1974 from his native land of the Philippines. From the moment I first saw his work, it made me want to devote my life to creating artwork; original artwork that would take the viewer to different worlds. Alex made it look easy and I tried to see if there was some kind of trick to his images. But the more I would try and see how he worked, the less I could tell how he created the image. In the end, I learned to just relax and allow the subconscious mind to take over. When you are a young artist, you feel that you will grow if you meet someone who has mastered their craft. I can recall that my friend Steve Leialoha and I visited Alex in San Francisco. We both admired his work. Over the decades, I have often looked at something


Troublemaker – Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

This is an excellent insider story on why actor Leah Remini left the Church of Scientology, that was started by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. Remini really goes into some detail about Tom Cruise and the leader of the Church, David Miscavige. I have to say that over the years, I have had a few dealings with the Church of Scientology. A lot of people I know were members or ex-members. I have always made my position clear that I personally respect your choice to practice any religion you like or not. Scientology has done many good things, like promoting literacy, and they have a

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

This is an excellent autobiography by one of our Supreme Court Justices. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic and the third woman on the court.

She tells a heartfelt story about growing up poor in a Bronx housing project. It should be read by anyone who has ambition to do anything in this life. I love books that inspire anyone from normal circumstances to go to the top of their field. In an age when we too often celebrate pop stars or reality stars, I find it refreshing that someone of substance also gets celebrated. The other day in San Bernardino, I was speaking about this book to two generations from Mexico with their baby girl born in the U.S. I was talking about how inspiring it was to read about someone growing up poor who went on to do great things. I looked at this little baby, not even two, and said, “Who knows, one day you could be president?” This is a book for anyone who wants to see the journey up close and personal. 

absolutely makes the reader feel like one of the employees working in a dead end job. She is perfect in capturing the mind-numbing boredom in doing these office jobs. Powernap #2 is also available. Highly recommended. Go to their website 

that I can make it to 100! I say this because Jack Kirby, the King of Comics, was selling for $50 to $200 back in the 70s. Now the value of some Kirby originals can get $200,000 at auction. For those of you who do not know, Kirby was the creator of much of the Marvel universe. In person, Frank Stack is a humble and nice guy. He retired after 39 years of teaching, during which time he also kept up his cartooning. Foolbert Funnies contains comic strips from 1970 all the way to 2005. His style isn’t like anyone I can easily identify, which to me is a good thing. Robert Crumb says, “Frank Stack is one of those artists whose work I gobble up eagerly whenever I find it.” Crumb is considered the finest cartoonist of our time and that works for me. 

Foolbert Funnies by Frank Stack AKA Foolbert Sturgeon

Powernap #1

written by Maritza Campos & illustrated by Bachan aka Sebastian Carrillo When I ran into Maritza and Sebastian at San Diego Comic Fest 2016, they reminded me that we had met many years ago in Mexico City. Now they are producing their excellent Powernap graphic novel series in English. They told me that they market through the Internet and have a solid following around the world. I can see why because the artwork, the writing and the whole look of these books is first rate. I took the first book to my mom’s house to read in April and had no trouble getting into the story at all. The dream sequences were handled brilliantly by Bachan’s stylized artwork. The pacing in the story was perfect and I could imagine Powernap on the big screen. Campos


One of the first underground comics was The New Adventures of Jesus by Foolbert Sturgeon, AKA Frank Stack. I have never read the comic, but I became friends with Frank on Facebook a few years ago. I knew that Frank had been a professor of art at the University of Missouri since 1963. His posts on Facebook often show his paintings along with some cartoon work. When I heard that he had been invited to last summer’s San Diego Comic Con, I had to meet him. In his introduction to some of his cartooning work, Stack writes; “It wasn’t long before I was thinking that drawing was drawing: no real difference among illustrations, cartoons, and socalled fine art.” I have long believed that there is no difference between cartoons and fine art, but at present time the sums paid for so-called masterpieces by the fine art world can reach the many millions of dollars, while in comic book land we have only started to see some pages reaching the $500,000 mark. I think that this trend will only continue to grow and truly original art will indeed hit the million dollar price in my lifetime, assuming

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The Illustrated Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Paintings by Moebius

My youngest son, Gabe, gave me this book as a gift. I had never read it, but my son swears by it. When I opened up the gift, I was staring at a beautiful painting on the cover by my late friend, Jean Giraud, aka Moebius. The story is timeless and offers the reader wisdom, while encouraging you to follow your dreams. The paintings by Jean are perfect little watercolors that complement this enchanting fable. This edition says the artwork was copywritten in 1995 by Moebius. You may have to search online for this illustrated volume, but for fans of Moebius, it is well worth it. 

Editorial continued from page 3 When someone dies, I believe that their spirit leaves their body and goes into the universe. The best way we can remember them is to celebrate their life. If they were an artist, maybe we can look at or listen to their work. Be it music, a book, a poem, a drawing, a dance, anything at all. If they had a “regular” job, think about something they did for you to make them special. Think about what made them unique. Appreciate what made them really different. Every person on this planet has something to offer us. Most people are good, not evil. I have traveled all over the world and I have spoken to hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life and all corners of this world. Most people are good and not evil. When I was taking my parents for a ride to Palos Verdes one day a couple of years ago, (PV is a very wealthy area near LA) my dad told me something I never knew. We lived in Los Angeles in the sixties, after moving out from New Jersey. I was six. We moved to an area near Watts from Culver City, where we had rented a house for less than a year. My dad revealed that they could not move up to Palos Verdes because my parents were a mixed couple. My mom is from Chicago of Welsh, Scottish and German heritage and my dad is from China. Our good friends, who moved out to California from New Jersey, immediately bought a house up in Palos Verdes. Frank Artusio worked with my dad in New Jersey and they both got jobs in California at the same company. The Artusios had 10 children, so along with the 4 that we had, it was a party when we got together in New Jersey and then in California. Years later, I was working for myself in Long Beach as a commercial artist in our art gallery. We also had started Uncle Jam in Long Beach. One of my clients had a business renting out private planes. We were talking one day and he told me that a plane he rented out was owned by a Frank Artusio. I said that he had worked with my dad when I was a kid and when I called Frank, we got together. I ended up doing some work for Frank’s real estate company. My father knew people of every different ethnic background when he worked as an engineer. Many would come to our house in Los Angeles when I was growing up. My mother was a member of the PTA and had many other friends over to our home as well; so I was used to seeing all kinds of people growing up. My neighborhood was a


complete melting pot and only after the Watts riots in 1965, when I was about to enter the 5th grade, did a few people notice or mention the color of your skin. After the riots, there was a change in some folks and by the time I entered George Washington High School, there was

Phil Yeh in 1980, photo by Roman Meyer more crime and less diversity. My high school experience was rather unusual. I went from an almost all-African American school to an almost all-white school when we moved to Seal Beach. I was almost finished with the 10th grade when we moved. It took me some time to adjust. It was hard for me to fit in the new neighborhood and my friends in LA would come and take me back to the ‘hood where I felt more comfortable. I never did get used to my parent’s new tract house in Seal Beach. I moved out at 17 when I graduated high school. I lived in Anaheim and Huntington Beach before settling down for a long time in Long Beach. I simply liked seeing other kinds of people which unfortunately, you just did not find too often in Orange County in the 1970s. I went to Cal State University Long Beach, where I became a Senator along with a very diverse slate of people from all different kinds of backgrounds. I met many people in college from all over the world. It served as the perfect launching pad for a lifetime of traveling all over the world, meeting all types of people. We are now painting our biggest mural project in my career. It’s located at the historic site of the original McDonald’s at 14th and E Street in San Bernardino. For two mornings a week since early 2012, we have painted the history of the region on these walls. We get visitors to this location from every country in the world and best of all, the locals are starting to notice.

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We always talk to these people and it’s always interesting. I was glad that my parents could attend when Mayor Patrick Morris spoke at the dedication of the first side of the building in 2012. The work continues as I write this in spring of 2016. We have painted more than 2000 murals in 49 U.S. states and 17 other countries under the banner of Cartoonists Across America & The World. Our first mural in Denmark is covered in this issue of Uncle Jam. As I enter my 62nd year on this planet in October, I have announced that I will tour until I am 70. Our six grandchildren are ages 2 to 8 and I would like to keep promoting literacy, creativity and the arts to this new generation. I think in many ways, I owe my love of all people to my father. Neither one of my parents ever showed me any sign of prejudice. My dad never talked to me much, but his way of living set a good example. He worked hard as an aerospace engineer. He also made all our bookshelves and would work in the garage for hours on woodworking projects. He was grateful towards the end of his life when my friend, Jim Snow, gave him a tour of Sam Maloof’s home in Alta Loma. Sam was the world’s best woodworker and my dad said that he would have done this for a living had he thought you could make a living from it. He also loved to sing his Chinese opera. I didn’t follow my father’s passions, but I learned from him in following what I loved. He taught me discipline and he taught me the benefits of hard work. His energy is still out there in the universe. *** A few weeks before we went to press with this issue, I got an envelope from Poland. It said it was from a person called Roman Meyer. I could not believe my eyes! Roman Meyer used to be our photo editor back in 1978 to 1980 when we lived in Long Beach. In fact, for a short time, he actually lived in my home. He was a student from Switzerland going to Long Beach City College and was an imaginative photographer. In fact, a photo he took, that we ran in Uncle Jam, later won first prize in the Los Angeles Times. It was then used as a cover for their magazine! In his letter, he said that he was returning some negatives he developed from my first trip to China back in 1979. He also included his website – I wrote back to him and we will have an article about his work for the last 3½ decades in our next issue. ~ Phil Yeh

Mural continued from page 29 undergone a complete restoration in 2016, as the mural project started by myself and other artists has continued. We started the mural on the south wall in 2012. Artists Rory Murray and Jan Windhausen joined me and other artists in creating depictions of the amazing history of San Bernardino. Sandy Fischer Cvar, my high school classmate from Los Alamitos High actually drove out for a few days to paint portraits of some of the figures who made this town so noteworthy. My favorite is Chester Carlson, who graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1924. He went on to invent dry copying, which enabled a small company named Haloid to transform into a huge multinational firm named Xerox. My good friend from Hawaii, Jon J. Murakami, came and drew his Dragons of Hawaii on the wall in May 2012 when we had the dedication. My friend Dan Romero designed a metal palm tree for the roof of the building. I started painting the trunk of this palm tree with my left hand after I suffered a stroke in 2011. My right hand was completely unable to hold a pencil and I needed massive therapy to get my right hand back. As we continued to work on this mural, my hand started to get better and better. I went from big brushes to using smaller ones. That made me think of doing a massive detailed mural of the entire Route 66 from Needles to Santa Monica Artists David Brown, Phil Yeh, & Rory Murray on the north wall. From 2013-2015, we finished the north wall and also the front of the building. Rory Murray painted classic cars from movies and TV shows on the north wall. He continued this on the front as well. Beth Winokur joined us in 2013, painting imaginative train cars using the city names of San Bernardino County and fruits and vegetables like the old fruit labels. Jan Windhausen was instrumental in adding the sky, mountains, and plants. Guest artists on this side included Mark Nelson, noted for his work on Aliens for Dark Horse Comics; David Brown, award winning editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Sentinel; and Gaby Maya, who came all the way from Mexico City to draw her character Gaby Cat on the mural. In late 2015, I decided to paint my version of San Bernardino: a fantasy cartoon on the back wall. I’m planning for this to be the most detailed black and white cartoon mural in the world. Rory is adding classic American cars below my artwork. February 8, 2016 was our first event for this black and white mural, with special guest artists adding some characters to these cars. Phil Ortiz is one of the principle artists on The Simpsons and an old friend. He came down from Lake Arrowhead to draw The Simpsons on the mural. Phil now draws for The Simpsons comic book series. They were created by my friend Matt Groening and are the longest running animated sitcom on television. We also had David Arshawsky out, to add his own creations. David also did the original sculptures for many of the happy meal toys displayed in the museum. Carlos Saldaña, another old friend and the creator of Burrito, came out to draw on the mural. We hope to have another day for guest artists in the summer. After we get finished with these murals, we will start on the Inland Empire Military Museum next door. 


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View Through a Raindrop Part 1 By Donna P. Crilly

The road to Pai is steep and windy. I hardly possess the vocabulary to describe what I see during the drive up to the small town nestled on the Pai River in Northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Song Province. It’s a three-hour drive from Chiang Mai up the green and fertile mountains. The fifteen-passenger white van, with luggage strapped loosely to the top and stuffed in every available nook and cranny, struggles to carry us upward, defying nature with every sharp turn. I’m seated in the front next to the driver with my legs placed awkwardly in a sort of cross-legged position over the top of my giant backpack. I nearly missed the bus because

become canonical Luk Thung music. A night will not pass in a Thai karaoke bar where at least one Pumpuang song is not sung. She was the daughter of poor farmers in central Thailand, who rose above despite never learning how to read. Sadly, she died at the age of 30 from an incurable disease. The King of Thailand even attended her funeral, which was unprecedented at the time. The music gives me flashbacks of my childhood and the hours spent in front of a karaoke machine with my mom and aunts and uncle. I still have more than a few of Pumpuang’s songs memorized. One of the familiar ditties plays on the radio and I mouth the words. The driver catches wind and nods at me with a huge grin. He says something to me in Thai, which is too fast for me to understand, though I recognize the dialect as Isan.

of confusion over my ticket, and at the last moment, the driver hauls my rucksack into the front seat and points. “Let’s go,” he says to me in Thai, a word that sounds like a combination of “bah” and “bye.” I’m still in a bit of a tizzy by the time the driver takes off, but the anxiety dissolves once we begin our ascent, and the hypnotic undulations of the van combined with the grandeur of scenery takes me to fantastical places in my mind. The driver turns the air-conditioning on fullforce, which blasts at my ankles, and I have to periodically shift positions to give them a break. He’s in jolly spirits, singing along to Thai country songs on the radio. I recognize a few of them. In the northeastern region of Isan, where my mom’s side of the family is from, the music of the late Pumpuang Duangjan has swayed hearts since the eighties. Her songs have


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“No speak Thai,” I say. I don’t know why I say it like this, but I do. “Mae Thai. Pauw, United States,” I add. He gives me a thumbs up and we drift back into our own worlds. We stop a couple of times to let the seasick passengers purge. The sight of two East Asian girls bending over the side of the road to Pai, with their hands on their buckled knees puking their guts out, is nearly contagious. But I don’t let my thoughts entertain the idea. Instead, I sing Pumpuang. *** Swinging in a hammock on the front porch of my rustic bungalow, I breathe deeply, noticing the flurry of butterflies in my chest travel outward. It’s slightly euphoric, but can also be mistaken for the anxiety that originates in my unreliable mind. I realize the energy in my body is what I decide it to be, though this realization is not original, even for me. It’s the constant reminder and occasional revelation that helps me train my thoughts and move apace with nature. It’s a hot, cloudless day. There’s no sign of rain, which is what I slightly hope for here, but either way, life is just fine. The midafternoon sky teaches me stillness. The hills and trees hang over the land, and a slow running river ambles beyond a grassy area adorned with a tree and swing set in front of my row of bungalows. Here at Villa de Pai, I have a bungalow with a bathroom and a queen-sized bed with mosquito

net for about 400 Baht a night. The room number is 101, which I again take as a sign of good fortune. My family is from the province of Roi-Et, which means “one hundred and one” in Thai. I don’t care much about my rational brain right now, only this hammock and bundle of fresh lychees I bought the day before. Pai is a hippie tourist town that was once inhabited by a handful of northerners of Burmese origin. They’re still here for the most part, but now their livelihood depends on tourists. I’m a little conflicted by the westernization of this or any unique culture, but can’t help but enjoy my time here. Pai is another foreign experience within a foreign experience. For me, it’s a vacation from the rest of Thailand. For the true adventure seekers, it’s the gateway town to the North’s untainted gems. The book I’m reading prompts me to close my eyes and observe what images I conjure up. I see flashes of a black shadowy bird flying high westward, a snowy mountainous landscape reminiscent of a Japanese painting, and a widebrimmed fedora cap, still hiding among the shadows. I’m sweating now, just like when I had my delicious nap late this morning. I look up and see an older man walking out onto his porch two bungalows down. He’s stretching and looking out into the hills wearing nothing but grayish blue underwear and a bandana around his salty hair. His arms and legs are relatively fit, but he has a large, protruding belly that seems to come with age. I’m uncomfortable, and quite frankly, a little repulsed by this man’s lack of clothing. Does he not realize that where we are staying merely provides the illusion of seclusion? I try desperately to focus on my book, but am too distracted by this man, who is now


doing lunges with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. At this point it’s too hard to concentrate, so I decide to hustle to the 7/11 to buy a cold one before the two p.m. cutoff time. When I return the man is nowhere to be seen. I crack open a bottle of Singha and take a long swig. Sweat trickles down my forehead and neck from my short walk in the piercing sun. I pull out a pack of loose tobacco and rolling papers from the 7/11 bag. It’s overpriced, fine grain tobacco that’s guaranteed to grow hair in your pits and envelop you in a plume of cancerous smoke. I had long ago quit smoking, but couldn’t resist the impulse to roll my own cigarette out here on the other side of Earth. It’s been tugging at me ever since I reread Dharma Bums and salivated at the descriptions of how they would roll their cigarettes and hike up rocky California mountainsides. The cover of the pack I bought is unsavory. It features pictures of blackened snaggle teeth protruding out of rotting gums. Two puffs and I’m done with the first self-rolled square. It makes me dizzy and nauseous, and I have to lie down on the hammock and close my eyes for a while until the sickness melts away. The old man comes traipsing back to his bungalow carrying a bag full of what appears to be fresh fruits. He’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. We make eye contact and he waves at me. I wave back. “Hello, would you care for some lychees?” He says in what sounds like an American accent, but it could very well be Canadian. “No thanks. I got my own,” I say back. “Thanks though!” “American?” “Pardon me?” He raises his voice a smidge. “Where you from?” “I’m from San Diego, California.” Usually I just say California. For some reason, this time I was compelled to add the city. “Really? That’s where I’m from. I have a daughter about your age. She just graduated from San Diego State.” “That’s where I went. Small world,” I say. “Yes it is. Well, enjoy your stay.” “Likewise.” *** It’s interesting the brief interactions one has while traveling. I haven’t made any lifelong pals, but I’ve had a lot of one or two-day friendships. It’s hard when you’re not exactly the type to waltz up to a random person and introduce yourself. I have a few outgoing friends who can show up anyplace and pluck a new friend from the crowd just like that. It’s not the same for me, perhaps because I’ve been told I give off an unapproachable vibe. It’s not the stuck up kind, more like “whatever she’s doing or focused on seems really important, and I

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don’t want to bother her,” sort. I’ve been getting a lot of practice making small talk lately, but it could just be the comfort of knowing nobody knows anybody, and everybody wants to know somebody. The people I meet here are equal parts strange and interesting. Walking around looking for dinner one night, I notice a youngish couple sitting in front of a dive bar drinking giant mugs of beer. A sign in English advertises 50 Baht Changs on tap and an open mic night. I stop in front of the bar to read the sign closely as an excuse to say hello. They’re the same couple I had seen two mornings in a row exercising on the lawn by the babbling brook in front of my row of bungalows. From the comfort of my porch swing I’d watched the girl doing downward dog right there in the beating sun, and the guy skipping rope underneath the shade of one of the trees. My initial thought was what the devil are these people doing in the blazing heat, but later I began to admire them for not caring a lick about the sun or who was watching. By the second morning, a few others gathered on the lawn to do their workouts and sun salutations. And even after the couple had gone, it seems they had started a mid-morning trend of people exercising on the lawn. I introduce myself to the couple and jest about how I watched their morning workout routine from my hammock. They say they saw me swinging to and fro and wondered if they

should say hi, but I looked so deep in thought, so they didn’t want to intrude. Just daydreaming, I say, and ask if I can join them. “Sure, of course, pull up a stump,” Puja, the girl I saw earlier doing sun salutations, says. She says “pull up a stump,” because the chairs are not actual chairs, but makeshift tree stumps with cushions. Puja’s boyfriend sits atop a cajón and periodically makes percussive sounds to accent our brief conversation. He extends a hand and introduces himself as Immanuel. Both are a year older than me and come from Canada, but Puja’s parents are Indian and Immanuel was born in Mexico. I tell them I’m going to find some dinner first, but if they’re still here by the time I’m done, then SURE, I’ll join in on the fun. After a surprisingly good Italian dinner in a town with surprisingly mediocre Thai food, I rejoin the couple. We get to talking about the politics of India and she tells me all about how Narendra Modi is a genocidal Xenophobe. I don’t have a strong opinion about Narendra Modi, but I’m enamored by their uncensored projections of passion. Immanuel goes back and forth from bopping on the cajón to plucking on the guitar, and we’re all drinking mug after mug of Chang. The bartender, a short dark-skinned man with small black eyes and a backwards baseball cap, commences the open mic night. He pulls out his guitar and harmonica and is a regular Bob Dylan. He keeps pressuring me to sing, smiling and looking at me and pointing at his guitar and microphone from the tiny makeshift stage. I eventually go up and do two god-awful renditions of The Cranberries’ Zombie and Four Non Blondes’ What’s Up. He keeps switching around the key to try to match it to my voice, and I keep switching around my voice to try to match it to his guitar, and then there’s a frog in my throat. Three Chinese girls come in not too long afterward and sing three Chinese songs. One of the girls sings a very beautiful folk song about the moon, or something heartbreakingly poetic like that. Later a guy named Shua, short for Joshua, shows up and gets on the guitar with his frizzy head of hair and beard, and starts strumming away, singing his heart out. He sings these wonderful, soulful ditties he wrote, like some kind of Southern–sounding Jason Mraz, even though Shua says he’s from Maine. I don’t ask his age. He could be anywhere in his twenties or early thirties, but it doesn’t really matter. Anyway, he moves on to some quirky songs he made up with sing-along-type lyrics. One is about a girl who eats nothing but kale; another is about the different types of vaginas. All of a sudden, a whole swathe of people are piled in this little dive bar and spilling out into the streets, listening to Shua. I bond with Puja over our experiences visiting our respective motherlands. She had spent some


time in India and says she got a lot of dirty looks from the natives for being an unmarried Indian woman traveling around with Immanuel. It’s apparently OK for Caucasian women, who are not accustomed to the culture, but for a woman of Indian descent, it’s a definite no-no. We’re all drinking up a storm and having a good time. Shua tells me he’d been to Cambodia and Laos before coming to Thailand, and is planning to hitchhike up and down the West Coast when he gets back to the States. I tell him I’ll pick him up if I see him. I swear I’m sober, but I get it in my mind that I might actually pick him up. I had already been planning my great American road trip along the West Coast anyway. At this point, Shua says he only has about 1700 Baht left to his name, but he doesn’t seem a bit worried about it. Eventually, he pulls out a tattered notebook and crooks his left hand to write something in it before handing it to me. I immediately notice his lefthandedness, as all lefties do, before looking at the word “Skin” sloppily written in the heading. “What’s this?” I say. He says he collects poems whenever he gets around a group of people. So I start it off with “the skin I’m in is brown and thin.” Shua follows up with something flowery and profound, and passes it around the room. It comes back around and I laugh at how sexual it got, ending with “will you flock to my cock? I want to drown in your folds.” He tells me that’s how all the poems end up. I have no idea what time it is when Puja and Immanuel declare they are heading back to their bungalow. Puja is clearly drunk, swaying around and giggling. Immanuel has to hold her steady. They tell me they’ll come and visit me the next morning. I inform them of my plans to depart, but maybe we can get some coffee. They take off and suddenly the whole place is deserted. Only Shua, the bartender, and I are left. “Time for me to go,” I say, and Shua says, “Where you going? Let’s hang.” I consider it for a

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

moment while I look into his blue eyes. When I realize how my eyes have locked onto his, I tell him I gotta get some sleep. I’m leaving tomorrow. “That’s no fun,” he says. When I stand up I realize that yes, I am drunk. We say our goodbyes and I swagger off to my bungalow, feeling like the ground is inching its way up to my neck with every step. In the morning I look out to see people exercising on the lawn. Puja and Immanuel are not among the group. I wait awhile for them to show up before I have to pack up and leave. I assume they’re hung-over and don’t hold it against them. While waiting for the van back to Chiang Mai, I sit at a coffee shop, people watching. A van unloads the next batch of tourists, and another group drives away, back to Chiang Mai, or to further explore Mae Hong Song. We’re an endless stream of arrivals and departures, each of us living out some sort of fantasy for a brief period of time. A lanky redheaded girl, who looks like she skipped 11th grade and ran away to Thailand, walks by with an expression on her face as if she’s searching for something without actually looking. I continue sipping my coffee and a few minutes later, notice the girl walking by again in the opposite direction. She has a bit of a clumsy-looking gait, and slouches slightly as if she doesn’t want people to know how tall she is. Eventually the girl walks by again in the same direction I first spotted her, when my coffee still had a leaf pattern in the foam. I wonder what she’s doing or where she’s going. Probably looking for somewhere to eat. I chuckle out loud to myself, tilting my head back in a public display of amusement. In this moment I realize we are all alone together. Note: This story is 88 percent true. Everything else is compensation for my foggy memory. 


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

“Trip to Thailand,” by Matt Bacher


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Make It Happen continued from page 33 found some truly wonderful artists from that time that are not nearly as well known. These “plate” books were never intended to be studies— they are reasonable references, a library on the work of a given artist or theme, gathered for your convenience at a fair price. I was and am, always looking for those kinds of books for my studio. UJ: In my youth, I can recall seeing books on Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham. I think that these artists had a great deal of influence on many of my fellow comic book illustrators in my generation.  JM: These books were probably the editions from Peacock Press— which were a large influence on the formation of the books I just mentioned. I wanted to make that kind of book available again.

The Ogham Tree

The Reconstruction of the Temple 2015

UJ: What do you think about today’s artists? JM: Artists today: there is a crazy-good field of illustrators working out there right now, working at a higher level than ever before. This is due to the competition for work, the influx and availability of digital imagery, and illustrators working now who were brought up in an even more visual world than say, you and I. I find far fewer with good work ethic, but many can get a lot more from less these days. The ones that have both… well, I just have to get out of the way. UJ: What advice would you give to a young artist today? JM: That’s a tough question--there is so much variance. Any creative employment path will be tough, but it makes for a rewarding career. You may never feel like you’re making it, when suddenly someone else might tell you that you are. A lot of it is persistence— that’s a key factor that often gets ignored. You have to want it bad, and you have to stay at it. Setting goals is incredibly helpful to actually make things happen. Without that thought, which turns into a plan, it will just be something you wanted to do. Make it happen. UJ: What do you have planned for the future, both in books and in your own work? JM: As for future books— I am nearly complete with my biggest Dover project to date, which should be out by year’s end. It’s called 101 Great Illustrators from the Golden Age: 1890-1925. I taught Illustration History for a few years, and was really frustrated that I could not refer my students to any book that was in print, which covered the artists we discussed in class. That started a very lengthy journey. I’m very happy with the result, and cannot wait to see it in print. It’s very different from my other books, with a great deal more information, as well as being very large for a Dover art book— coming in at 256 pages. There are other book projects in early development as well. Artistically, I continue to take up offers that interest me, whether they be for book covers, games, or commissions as well. Magic: The Gathering remains a positive part of my artistic identity, and I’ve continued to be involved in that circuit. One thing about illustration is that the next job that comes in might be something just like what you’ve done, or it might be something to lead you in a whole new direction.


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

The Black Knight Returns 2013 All art © Jeff A. Menges

Ireland continued from page 11 settings that I read about in books. I think in the future I would enjoy renting a car to explore more of these little Irish towns at my leisure. This being our first trip to Ireland, we wanted to get the flavor of the country, so the bus tours were great. We got back to Dublin in time to enjoy a nice meal at a Thai restaurant. Linda tried some Guinness, which is based in Dublin and has a giant factory there. We did try out some pubs during our visit, but Dublin also has wonderful Thai, Chinese, Italian, and Indian restaurants. We also did some shopping in Dublin. Besides the beautiful Celtic-patterned silverware and linen table runner we bought, there were also many stores with Irish souvenirs. Some of the t-shirts and postcards joked about the famous weather that makes possible the many shades of green in Ireland. They say that Ireland gets “four seasons in one day”: the day might start off with light showers of spring-like rain, mid-day would blossom into a brilliant summer’s day, afternoon might bring a sudden dry wind, and evening could settle into a chill that goes through your bones. While we were there, it even changed more often than that sometimes! We also saw The Book of Kells at Trinity College in the center of Dublin. What most impressed me was seeing the library in the college, with long halls of neatly stacked floor to ceiling books. As we walked around the college, we could easily imagine all the students attending Trinity throughout the centuries. After our wonderful stay in Ireland, our journey continued on a deluxe ferry ride across the Irish Sea to Wales and London before we arrived in Paris. We will conclude our trip in France and Amsterdam in the next issue of Uncle Jam. Ireland photos continued on page 46

A Village in Ireland

Mark Bode’s mural on the Peace Wall

Giant’s Causeway


Mural of Bobby Sands in Belfast

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Denmark continued from page 16 glass, which is colored like a rainbow, onto the city below. The museum has everything from amazing classic paintings to modern stuff. I preferred the classic works much more than the modern art. The whole stay in Denmark was very relaxing and pleasant, from the friendly people to the beautiful scenery and culture! We hope to make more trips back there in the future. We flew out of Billund, Denmark bound for Dublin, Ireland and the next part of this journey. Billund is the headquarters for Lego, a Danish firm founded by Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter (1891-1958). They not only have magnificent Lego sculptures hanging from the ceiling at the airport but they also have Legos for the traveler to play with while you are waiting for your plane. No wonder Denmark is one of the happiest places on Earth.

In the Rainbow Bridge on top of ARoS

The students working hard on day 3

Marianne Purup dedicating the finished murals

The finished mural, side 1

The finished mural, side 2


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Mural project sponsors

Ireland photos continued from page 44

Gravestones at Kevin’s Monastery

The Ha’penny Bridge over River Liffey


Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Like a Coffee in Dublin

Dublin, Ireland Unframed 12” x 16” giclee print. Limited Edition of 200 Signed and numbered by the artist, $200 each. Shipped flat. Phil Yeh’s watercolors and prints are on display at Phil Yeh Fine Art inside the Original McDonald’s Museum 1398 N E St, San Bernardino, CA 92405 47

Order online from or

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Ry, Denamark Unframed 12” x 16” giclee print. Limited Edition of 200 Signed and numbered by the artist, $200 each. Shipped flat. Phil Yeh’s watercolors and prints are on display at Phil Yeh Fine Art inside the Original McDonald’s Museum 1398 N E St, San Bernardino, CA 92405 48

Order online from or

Uncle Jam Quarterly, Volume 43, #106 Summer 2016

Uncle Jam 106  
Uncle Jam 106  

Magazine about health, books, the arts, and travel. Est. 1973. Publisher Phil Yeh. Eas twind Studios. Features exclusive interviews with art...