It’s been fairly evident that I’ve been 2015’s bitch with all of the health issues, internal Inkwell turmoil, the loss of Norman Lee, and recently a summons for me to appear for Federal jury duty for two weeks next month in Boston. This has caused me to lose irretrievable time in the work schedule of my new assignment and this week these Acts of God lead to that project being cancelled. So I am opening up my commission list a LOT sooner than expected and already contacted my regular clients as well as three friends who were waiting to offer me small work jobs before the BIG JOB appeared last month. I regret how things turned out, albeit out of my control, but I’m not worried about the future and appreciate those who have already reached out to lean me a hand of support and work.
Yes, a sign of life! I am indeed alive!
What happened was that I was suddenly and inexplicably unable to access my website’s admin section for doing edits not long after my last article was posted. For many months. And you might recall, if you hav a reeeeally good memory, that I didn’t have a maintenance support person anymore and a well-intentioned someone subsequently offered to help me out but he ultimately got caught up in his own dramatic life. Until finally my buddy Craig Rousseau found the time to fix the problem last week.
The problem is that I do not know HOW to fix the sentence above that says “The Official Bob Almond Website: updated monthly!” But it’s not essential so I’m not going to waste more of Craig’s time. Regular visitors will know that until further notice I am regrettably stuck with that statement.
Anyway, in a nutshell since my last article, my commissions gallery is completely up to date. I just updated my newsflash ‘Public Appearances’ schedule and solicitations. Yes, I know, there’s not much for me to plug these days. But it’s not because of a lack of work. In fact I’m busier than ever. My last gig lasted almost two years but due to a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) I haven’t been able to say much about it. As that assignment slowed down while the ip owners pitched around the property to publishers, I was offered another assignment with yet another NDA! It’s intended as a 6-8-issue series and I start it this week but i can’t say much more than that. Except that it’ll be a more intense production schedule. So, while I may now have access to this website, thank God, tragically my updates will be more infrequent (READ= NOT MONTHLY) and the solicitations will be mostly reprints of my older work. Like the recently announced “Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection” three volume trade collection being released this year of the entire 62-issue run including all of the work I did with Priest and Sal Velluto. FINALLY! From Marvel! And in ENGLISH this time!
I’ll keep you posted when I know something more. But between that, my commission list being closed, and no convention appearances until June, I honestly wouldn’t expect many updates here. But as usual, I_will_try. And you can hear from me on Facebook and the Inkwell Awards site. Things should get interesting for 2015. I truly hope you will join me for all of the fascinating developments.
I wasn’t expecting to be posting so soon….
So much has happened since I first got the wake-up call about it from my pal Craig Rousseau Friday morning on March 6 as I was recovering from the bug that hit me so hard the day before I basically slept for 24 hours. That was QUITE the wake-up call. *Norman was on vacation with his wife Jan at the Cayman Islands and he disappeared while snorkeling; search and recovery had been underway since the day before.* My cellphone had two messages from Erick Korpi and Bob Shaw late the night before. Incredulous and sick, I didn’t even want to go online but hours later I did and saw that the small, tight comic book community had consolidated and taken over Facebook. Hours and days passed. It got worse; I got worse; and the world seemed worse off. It’s been a full week and my emotions and mind are gradually recovering from the shock and trauma. Healthier but sadder it’s hard to not be depressed when industry greats Fred Fredericks and Irwin Hasen pass on in such quick succession. What has helped heal and continue to heal is the passage of time and the emails, texts and calls from friends who knew and loved Norm. I’m trying to get back on top of things now and function like I used to and I’m certainly getting there. But it’s clear things have changed and I’m still missing something.
For those who missed out on details of the tragedy as it occurred, my article at the Inkwell Awards summarizes the story with a statement from poor, dear Jan and a link to the People.com press release. In it it quotes snippets from me from my statement about Norman on my Facebook wall. Here it is in it’s entirety from March 9 below. My Facebook account also has an album dedicated to Norm if you happened to know him or would be interested in checking that out. After that I think you’ll have an idea what kind of good guy Norman was and what you missed. He will never be forgotten.
What can I say about Norman Lee that hasn’t already been said in the outpouring of love expressed in social media this past tragic weekend? It’s all true that he was a larger than life personality, much like the characters he delineated professionally. He was a fiercely passionate person; He was very loyal and loving to the end but on the other hand, were you to have wronged him, you would clearly know it. He was driven in his convictions, which is obvious since he was continuously in demand in a highly-competitive market after a solo career of almost twenty years. He had tolerance, endurance, evident not only from his impressive physical prowess but the fact that he worked closely beside me for some time (not easy, ask anyone who has). He certainly inked quicker than me and could tackle the dreaded all-nighter like a champ (I barely could), allowing him to take on multiple issues within a given time (during a dry slump I ghosted/assisted him on a job later, a case of the ‘master serving the pupil’ role reversal which we both found interesting). He cherished his privacy, as his friends would often not know about huge developments/accomplishments in his life until mentioned randomly after the fact which amused us to no end. He was contagiously optimistic and enthusiastic. This would explain the sheer ease how he could network, build a multitude of working relationships with artists, and build a dedicated fanbase. He was brutally honest and called you on stuff. He did this to me a few years ago and I’m glad he did. Yet I forgot about it until a friend brought it up the other day because he had tact and was so likable that you simply didn’t hold it against him. Ultimately, I can honor him by trying to be an even better person. Norm was hope and inspiration personified. He leaves behind a proud legacy of work to the art form of inking. I miss the early days and wish our lives and careers hadn’t pulled us farther apart over time as it often does, leaving us with only flash greetings at conventions, a sacrifice to our dreams and success. But he will always be my friend.
Bob is the inking half of the Sal Velluto art team collaboration on such projects as Marvel’s critically-acclaimed BLACK PANTHER,’99-’02 leading to a 2003 Comicboards “Ooks” Award for “Best Inker” & two “Squiddies” awards for “Best Inker” (2001 along with “Best Creative Team” win and 2002 tied with Mark Farmer and tied for “Best Multi-Part Story”), and many other projects with Sal since 1997 and other artists at Marvel, DC, Acclaim, Malibu, Penny-Farthing Press, Power Comics, IDW, Kingstone, Thrilling Nostalgia Comics, Harris Comics, Topps, Wildstorm, New England Comics, Valiant and several others. While he’s been primarily an ink artist he’s also been a columnist for Sketch magazine and First Comics News. Bob’s a comic book collector and unofficial historian who has acted as a “Master of the Obscure” at the Marvel Appendix site, been a longtime member of the “Jarvis Heads” and a “group expert” at Facebook groups. He’s the founder/director of the official non-profit Inkwell Awards and advocate since 2008. Bob has been credited with “Special Thanks” along with his “Storyteller” colleagues Christopher Priest & Sal Velluto in the record-breaking film BLACK PANTHER (2018) and BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER (2022).
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