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We put on the first anniversary of our By George Lunches like a pair of comfortable shoes. Meeting once again at Shelton's "Heroes" book store, we repaired to another of the surprising number of excellent restaurants that all seem to be just across the street from the store.

L-R Tom Haines, Gerry Mooney, Shelton Drum, Andy Smith, Greg Russell, Marcus Hamilton.

This time it was Caribbean. I had some spicy wings that were so good I didn't really notice what anyone else was eating, but I was dimly aware of a steady chorus of what could only be described as grunting cartoonists.

Our new best friend, Andy Smith, who first joined with the group back in June, then proceeded to knock us out with his work.

What he had brought was a couple of small, modest-looking binders containing some of the most stunning pencil work we have seen in awhile. Andy has been drawing the X-Men for Marvel, and in the binders were scans of his pencil pages for two yet-to-be-printed issues. (I have heard the rumor that Marvel keeps Neal Adams on retainer to come in and personally break all the pencils of anyone whose work is not stellar. Suffice it to say that Andy's pencils are safe.)

Andy at his table at June's Heroes Con

Andy was also able to show us a few issues right on the stands in the book shop of a creator-owned comic he drew, called Armor X, published by Image Comics. He told us a good bit about the economics of this kind of publishing, and what the company will and won't do for a creator-owned property. It was all very informative! If I could remember a scrap of it I'd tell you, believe me.

Join us next month when Andy will answer all my questions so I can finish this article.

Gerry Mooney September 2005