It must be a sign of the success of our monthly "ByGeorge!" lunches that we now need name tags. Nevertheless the badges were a welcome addition this month as we gathered at an excellent Chinese restaurant, Jo Jo China Bistro. Jo Jo is a favorite of our Guest of Honor, Don Sherwood. It's way down at the south end of Charlotte. So far south the far end of our table was actually in South Carolina!
There were once again some new faces joining our group, Brian Leonard and Tom Haines. Also attending were returnees Al Bigley, maestro Marcus Hamilton, Jim Scancarelli, Shelton Drum, Gerry Mooney, and Don Sherwood.
Don is a regular attendee at these lunches, but this month we had the distinct honor of being treated to a cornucopia of artwork from Don's illustrious career. The scope of his work is really quite astounding.
L-R: Shelton Drum, Jim Scancarelli, Brian Leonard (seated), Tom Haines, Don Sherwood, Gerry Mooney, Al Bigley, Marcus Hamilton.
Don is probably best known for his adventure strip, "Dan Flagg", which he both wrote and drew for its entire run from 1963 to 1970. The elegant artwork was strongly reminiscent of the work of Al Williamson and Alex Raymond, and we were all stunned to hear that it was inked entirely with a brush, even the fine cross-hatching. Everyone briefly turned green before returning to their normal coloration.
However, the "Dan Flagg" strip was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Don has worked (and is still working) on so many high-profile projects that it was easy to lose count. He drew the "Flintstones" newspaper strip from '83 to '89, a Sunday page for Dick Clark called "Rock, Roll and Remember" from '90 to '95, the "Sgt. Preston" strip from '80 to '83, and Western portraits for the Roy Rogers Museum and Smoky Mountain Knife Works.
You would think that someone with all these accomplishments would stop to rest now and then, but Don has just completed a graphic novel, "I Love a Mystery", adapted from a classic radio script, and has a couple more graphic novels in the works, as well as having "Dan Flagg" optioned by Dick Clark Productions.
Don discusses a piece with Brian and Al.
Once again everyone had a great time shooting the breeze, on topics ranging from cartooning to artwork to cartooning, eating terrific Chinese food and enjoying each others' company. We also decided as a routine for future lunches that we would meet at Shelton's "Heroes Aren't Hard to Find" comic book shop and then repair to one of the many restaurants in his neighborhood.
The end of the gathering was marked by the ceremonial Group Photograph By The Waiter and the ceremonial Handing Out of Separate Checks, at which point we went our separate ways until next month.
Top photo by the waiter. Bottom photo, Marcus Hamilton