Caleb Orecchio here with more on Barry Windsor-Smith, and other news.
It’s just another Saturday morning in the big city. June 9th, 1973. Eastbound 26th Street is blocked by two refrigerator trucks who stalled at the Lexington intersection. Horns resound in fury. Barry Smith looks up from the desk he’s working at to see the commotion. His mind starts to swirl. The window from the apartment looking over New York City becomes a vision of sublime psychedelia. Cosmic phenomena burst forth displaying a beautiful array of heavenly bodies, he can see lightyears away. Smith feels a nudge to his perceived center. This was the second time in 24-hours Smith had experienced this happening. He will have a much more intense revelation tomorrow.
It’s springtime in London, 1966. Barry Smith and a friend are strolling across a field, a couple and their dog walk just ahead. The dog turns and barks. Everyone looks over their shoulder. Above the field hovers a UFO. Smith can just make out the details of the underside’s tubes and ducts, shadowed by the blinding light emitting from the cluster of lights that blazed from the center. The ship rises and eventually disappears to the west. Everyone left the scene without a word. Five years later in 1971, Smith’s aforementioned friend tells our hero about a dream he had recently. He describes the spaceship he and Smith saw in 1966. Our hero is unable to tell him that it wasn’t a dream.
Back to 1973. It’s Sunday, or it was Sunday June 10th, 1973. Smith has had his third vision in as many days. In fact, the encounter lasted into the next morning. It’s now Monday, almost 4:00 am. His body is rendered completely and utterly exhausted. He can hardly stand. He stumbles from the studio, down the stairs and into the streets of New York in 1973 on the corner of 26th Street and Lexington Avenue. Two men are fighting just outside the door. A cop car wails past them, making them scarce. Smith heads for home just a couple blocks down. Every ounce of strength the experience left him with sustains his balance as he heaves one foot in front of the other. Just short of a football field from his destination, two men emerge from the shadows. One brandishes a knife. In an act of sheer survival, our hero emits a barbaric and violent scream—charging headlong towards his foe. The would-be assailants step aside, letting our hero pass in peace.
In the summer of 1973, Smith was no longer the regular artist on the Marvel comic book series he had started with Roy Thomas, Conan the Barbarian; but he was working on an adaption of “Red Nails,” the last Conan story by Robert E. Howard, for the new Marvel magazine Savage Tales. On top of this, he was adapting, for the same mag, Howard’s poem, “Cimmeria.” Not to mention helping his friend and studio-mate with concepts for advertisements for big-name clients.
Stories of June 1973 taken from Opus Volume 1 by Barry Windsor-Smith. UFO story from Streetwise, an anthology of autobio comics; Smith’s story is called “UFO POV.”
if you don’t know, now you know
- Frank Santoro is blind-auctioning a copy of Fantastic Four #52, first appearance of Black Panther, on this very site. It’s for a good cause, follow the link for details.
- Bill Boichel, proprietor of Copacetic Comics here in Pittsburgh, is interviewed on local podcast, The Gross Street Podcast.
- Alex Dueben interviews David Collier at TCJ.com.
- I’ve been going back to this CBR.com preview of the first volume of Inside Moebius until I come up with the funds to hold it in my hands.
Suzy and Cecil – 2-26-2018 – by Sally Ingraham