Friday, 3 April 2015

Bill Sienkiewicz: The Alex Raymond Connection

(via Facebook, 31 March 2015)
Small world/Quantum entanglement/ Dept. I tell the realtor I'm working with that I draw comic books, leading to a far stranger conversation than the sort that usually occurs when this info is given (ask any comic pro. the response of most folks these days is 'intrigued/interested' - a far cry from the blanket disdain of decades past).

Turns out he's the son of the woman Alex Raymond was involved with when Alex committed suicide in Stan Drake's Corvette, nearly taking Stan with him. He remembered Alex being a dapper man, who drove a gull-wing Mercedes (Comic Strip Royalty=Scrooge McDuck Money). Alex's wife would not give him a divorce, and the rest of what happened is in my opinion, the defining chapter of Comic Strip Babylon. The realtor recalls his mother's understandably devastated reaction when she learned of Alex's death. She was dressed up to go out for the evening...

NOT the conversation I was anticipating... stretch a metaphor, it's the comic strip equivalent of knowing people who witnessed James Dean's crash first hand (I didn't say it was a good stretch, but mostly in terms of the 'ripple-effect' it had in that world). Alex and Stan were pretty big (Alex probably more so) in NYC social circles. So it was a big deal in NYC let alone Westport. I might've told you Stan was absolutely convinced Alex was trying to take him with him, to make it look like an accident so his widow would get the insurance, an incredibly tortured man. Even more, Westport was definitely a hotbed of strange-ass stuff Artist-wise then; like Woodstock with Lockjaw. And when I would drive the length of road where the accident occurred, it's pretty revealing. The road is tailor made for insane acceleration...

Bill Sienkiewicz is the Eisner Award-winning artist/writer best known for Moon Knight, New Mutants, Stray Toasters and Elektra: Assassin.   

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Originally serialised within the pages of the self-published Glamourpuss #1-26 (2008 to 2012), The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond is an as yet uncompleted work-in-progress in which Dave Sim investigates the history of photorealism in comics and specifically focuses on the work of comic-strip artist Alex Raymond and the circumstances of his death at the age of 46 on 6 September 1956 at the wheel of fellow artist Stan Drake's Corvette.


Jeff Seiler said...

Should this post have come with a spoiler alert, vis-a-vis SDOAR...?

Travis Pelkie said...

Well, it's right in the title of SDOAR that he dies in it... ;)

Didn't Billy the Sink have a studio right near Stan Drake in the '80s or '90s? I think Dave talked about that at one point, and I thought I read some comics thing that seemed to confirm that.

This is the week of entirely too close and too big pictures here on AMOC!