As you know, I made a pilgrimage home to visit family and celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday and my Dad's 93rd. My dad's mind is quite sharp and he asked me a lot of penetrating questions about all of the activities I'm involved in that made me pause and think hard in order to properly answer. He may be older now but he is still as wise as he ever was.
While Cory was in meetings, I roamed North Michigan Avenue neighborhood. I wasn't the slightest bit surprised that virtually every place that I once liked to go was gone. Except for the Billy Goat Tavern (seen below) there was not one place left that I used to lunch at during my decade and a half tenure in the area. Ahhhh, but the Billy Goat was the same. I ended up going down to lower Michigan Avenue (under the street) twice to eat there--indulging on their delicious "dooble-a cheezboorgas.
The Chicago Tribune plaza by the river is where I wrote a lot of Beanworld. The Chicago Public Library had occupied a big ol' old red brick building that was called the Mandel building and it was tucked behind the Trib building. It was a quiet place overlooking the river and the red bricks of the Mandel Building really soaked up the sun's heat and so I was a great place to wander off to and get away from the big city hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue only a few hundred yards away. It was so peaceful to look through the brass rails at the river and the enjoy the way the sunlight reflected off of the buildings across the river. And after dusk, at night, if I tilted my head to the right, I could see Wrigley Building all illuminated and white
The Mandel Building is long gone replace with a modern building and the entire plaza is dominated by NBC's retro-ish Chicago center. The area where I used to write is hardly quiet or hidden any more. It's a thoroughfare for tourists now but the buildings across the river are still more or less the same. It felt great to just observe it all for a while and marvel at how many amazing things have happened to me and Beanworld when I used to jot my notes on this spot three decades ago.
The view across the river I looked at
as as I wrote many pages of Beanworld in the '70s and '80s.
The Wrigley Building that was always on my right as I drew.
The glass monolith to the left of it is the Trump.
I also had had a grand time visiting Gary Colabuono, my old pal and former employer at Moondog's Comicland. Gary and I sort of shared the same brain for a few years and we did some incredible marketing projects together. I would never have gotten my position at Image Comics if it had not been for the attention some of those projects received.
Gary Colabuono and I at Lou Malnati's--my personal favorite Chicagoland pizzaria!
We accomplished a lot of business and had a bunch of fun together. Gary is now a marketing honcho at Incredible Technologies and he brought me up to date on the various projects he is juggling and managing. It's clear we are both still successfully developing the ideas we incubated together in the early '90s. Gary may be in the gaming business, but he is still a true comics guy through and through
Also saw my cousin, children's author, Janet Nolan, and her husband, Bill. I enthusiastically recommend her books A Father's Day Thank You and The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh. We compared notes on the quirks of our respective branches of the publishing field.
Janet Nolan and Larry Marder
Then Cory and I headed home to California, where I stayed exactly three days before heading to Boston. That is a story in and of itself and now I'm in New York and will tell you what's up in my next post.
Stumptown Note: My presentation will be on Saturday, April 26th in the Idaho Room from 1:00 to 1:45. An announcement you've all been waiting for will be made at that time!