Chuck Meade’s Journal
In the air and heading for Cleveland…horrible traffic almost made me late for the flight, so I’m doing what I’d hoped to do while waiting to board now…
Think I have everything I need for my discussions with A.J. and the letters are in my sport coat stowed above my head. More than a few on this plane heading for the convention, as I counted at least five teens or adults dressed in costumes waiting to board this flight. The person next to me, thankfully, isn’t a costumer, but he’s wearing an old comic-license tie from the 1980’s that proclaims him a member of Corps Cosmica—one of the few books I don’t know well because A.J. and Monty had nothing to do with that comic.
In my final prep and packing, I ran across some old memos from C.K. Gill to A.J. (& others) and must remember to ask him about Gill and their working relationship. This is the potential next book for me—examining Bulwark in the 1930’s and 40’s and mapping/analyzing through its big expansion in book (not periodical) publishing (& the republishing of all the fiction and comics) in the 1960’s and 70’s. If there’s too much material, it can be multiple books to encompass the full history of Bulwark and look at the current spate of repub projects (which, if rumors are true, will even bring back the dime novel materials for the first time in 100+ years).
What do I absolutely need to find out from A.J. this weekend?
- He and Gill were the only two creators from BC’s Golden Age comics to be allowed to do some initial work on the Silver Age when many IPs were rebooted and changed. Was this an internal decision, office politics, or simply a case of who had the time and interest?
- I’m curious as to how much input they had into people altering or tinkering with their older works and character IPs.
- Did they fight to keep control over characters to prevent massive alterations (I.E. Almost no changes with Brass Bradley and other A.J. creations)? Or was it Gill working in-house that protected them from too much altering?
- Might refocus this discussion/project even more tightly only on the comics of the 1940’s and the Soltare/Gill input, then look at all the iterations of two more successive generations of those same characters/IPs…especially if I can get AJ to give me more of an insider’s view than I can already glean from internal company memos et al.
IMPORTANT—Don’t forget that this man is among the last of those with direct knowledge of what Bulwark was like in its formative years, so don’t waste a second on minor or inconsequential discussions!!!
“Excuse me, sir.”
I keep my “Damn!” to myself as I look up at the male flight attendant who’s moving past my seat. Oh yeah, first warning.
“We’ll need all electronic devices turned off before we head in for our landing, sir. Ten more minutes, okay?”
“Fine,” I say, turning my attention back to the screen. No use. Lost the train of thought anyway.
I queue up my checklist, then realize I need a connection to check on my room reservation and all that. Guess it’ll have to wait until later. I close the laptop and stow it in my briefcase beneath the seat in front of me.
When I sit back up, I feel the tension from my fingers all the way down my back. I stretch my fingers to loosen up forearm tendons at least, while I sit. Could really use a massage, if there’s time this weekend and if the hotel has a massage therapist.
The flight’s on time, thank the gods, but I have to hustle if I’m going to get to the hotel in time to meet up with A.J. and his aide for dinner. At least we’re meeting at the hotel, not another restaurant, so there’s that. I hope that doesn’t mean we’ll get interrupted a lot by convention-goers. Assuming he’s okay with discussing them in front of this Sam Herneson, I’d love to go over the letters tonight.
And what’s the deal with this guy, anyways? He’s obviously someone who A.J. and Mr. Kharm trust, but what’s his actual role and job within Bulwark? Anyone who’s actually worked with him say he’s open about not having much publishing pedigree, but he’s running a high-profile (at least internally) project of republishing the dime novels. Most of the Repub team seems relieved to have him in charge, thought it’s probably more relief about not reporting to David Brandt, whose ego is only surpassed by his love of semicolons.
Therese in Archives thinks Sam’s secretly either a son or nephew of Oscar’s, given his levels of access at all Bulwark offices despite a lack of experience, history, or degrees. She did say he’s almost always working directly for Mr. Kharm. While she said she knew more, she kept getting sidetracked telling me her fantasies about the guy. That tells me he’s a long-haired with tattoos and a bad-boy vibe—Therese’s overt weakness—and knowing she’d readily throw herself onto a table for the guy is something I wish I could un-hear. Almost as disturbing as having my drunken boss hitting on my girlfriend at my first Bulwark Christmas party four years ago, but not quite.
Conrad Post is the most buttoned-up cliché of an editor I’ve ever met, and his insistence on professionalism is how said drunk boss got canned before New Year’s (and Conrad liked my background enough to promote me into his job). Conrad fumes if anyone under his watch doesn’t have the requisite training or degrees he thinks they should have. Seemed strange to me that he’s only got glowing comments about Sam Herneson despite his total lack of background or degrees.
Stranger still, he stepped out of his office when I was leaving and whispered, “Give my regards to A.J. and Sam both, but warn them they still owe me eight Januscripts between the pair of them. They’ll know what I mean, hm?” With a rare smile and rather enigmatic chuckle, Conrad waved me off…and I’ve never known Conrad to be amused by anything outside of P.G. Wodehouse.
Well, guess I’ll learn about him soon enough. About two hours before dinner, assuming I get to the hotel in time. I stand up briefly to let my window-side companion out and decide to get my sport coat on. I take it out of the overhead bin, shrug it on, and pat my chest pocket…where A.J.’s letters should be but aren’t.
The fasten-seatbelt chime sounds just as my stomach falls through the floor of the cabin.