Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Atlanta Aquarium

I was just down in Atlanta for a company function and along with being able to have dinner and a few drinks with my old friend, artist Greg Theakston who just moved down there from the Big Apple. That was really fun, waxing nostalgic about being comics fans in the 70's and discussing the people and events of the time as well as just catching up with each other since the last time we saw each other over thrity years ago. He even gave me a painting that he owed me for some printing work that my parents did for him long ago. Greg did a lot of paperback book covers and had quite a run doing TV Guide covers in the 80's (Brian Kieth said he had the only artist that he wanted to paint him and he did 3 "Hardcastle and McCormick" covers). He is also well
known for being an expert on the life of stripper Bettie Page , and years ago published a magazine called "The Bettie Pages" which re-introduced Bettie to a whole new generation of fans. He actually was a consultant on the film "The notorious Bettie Page" . We promised each other that we wouldn't wait another thirty years before having dinner together again.
This is the book cover of the painting that Greg gave me. It was done in 1978. The painting is square shaped an does not have any lettering. It's a mixed media oil (the portraits) and acrylic (the spaceship and robot). I think I'm going to try to find an old copy of the book to display with it.

The second highlight of my trip was a dinner sponsered by my company at the Atlanta Aquarium. It was really nice. They hired the entire Aquarium after closing time and served cocktails and gave us a guided tour with volunteers explaining all of the exhibits before we retired to the lavish dining area facing the 6 million gallon tank containing two whale sharks that were both well over 25 feet long. To say that they were magnificent would be an understatement. Here we are, sipping drinks while these huge fish several times larger than us are gently gliding by us on the other side of the glass! It was amazing.

This is an Australian Sea Dragon. Much like a seahorse, but very wraithlike.

I don't recall the name of this frog, only that it it's poison is very lethal.

You could actually pet the rays and hammerheads! (no thanks!)

This ray has a wingspan of 10-12 feet.

This whale shark's tail is at least 5-6 feet high and there it is, right in front of me.

Truly an amazing creature!


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Comic books -- man, could I write a thesis about that. I had hundreds of Marvel comics and, when I moved from Sacramento in 1993, I gave them away in a huge footlocker to the kid next door. I could shoot myself for that. I was so tired of three days of moving that I just didn't feel like moving another heavy object. If there are some "material possessions" regrets that I have, that's about the most egregious. I had GREAT comics collected over the years. I first starting reading Marvels in the mid-60s and had early copies of Spiderman, Fantastic 4, Hulk, Iron Man, et al. Some GREAT Kirby and John Buscema and Gene Colan stuff.

It's tough to take photos in an aquarium -- they're generally so darned dark. Thanks for sharing!


Tim said...

I still have two filing cabinets full! Marvel and DC! Jack Kirby Captain America (of course!), Neal Adams Batman, tons of great stuff. Gene Colon Iron Man, I think I even have the first issue of the Avengers in that pile somewhere. Those comics were already "collectable" when I paid 1$ or 2$ (face value 10-12 cents), but now they are worth at least 50 and as much as 1000-2000$ each. I can't bear the thought of selling them though. That's a touchstone to my childhood and all those friends. Many are autographed copies. Tell the truth: the superheroes made you want to be a policeman, didn't they?

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I'm not sure about that; actually, I think it came about when I was working in radio and testing for Reserve Deputy Sheriff came across my desk as a PSA. I made the mistake of mentioning it to my mother, who said "no, you couldn't do that, you don't have the ability. It's too tough." She didn't know she'd hurled the gauntlet, and I picked it up and ran with it, much to her chagrin.

DAMN. I WISH I had those comic books back! What a STUPID thing to have done!! They were part of what made me a kid growing up!


Tim said...

It's funny, but from 1980 until just a few years ago I just sort of put all that aside. Then in 2005 I just happened to think to myself, "I wonder what ever happened to Mike Nasser (now Netzer)? I googled him and found that he had moved to Israel and reconnected with with via the web. A couple days later I was listening to Terry Gross' Fresh Air show and they were talking about The Notorious Bettie Page and mentioned Greg Theakston and it was another name from the past reaching out to me. Soon, I was interested in comics again. I don't really read them anymore, but the friendships forged in the 1970's reawakened and that's wonderful. Comics, in an direct way molded me by the values that they instilled in me as a child. Fair play, good fighting evil, protecting the weak, saving lives. It's part of why I joined the Coast Guard and also why I am in the medical field now. It's why I use Captain America (as drawn by Mike Netzer, and with his permission) as my avatar. To me Captain America embodies not only the things mentioned above, but the promise of what this country can be if we all work together.

Dave Miller said...

So I have this guy with me in Oaxaca for our mens ministry and he is reading James Micheners book about Poland.

After a little while, he tires of that and pulls out a couple of brand new comic books. And we started talking.

Turns out he is a big Marvel guy from the 70's, still collects, and has thousands of first editions.

Sometimes you never know about someone.

If you join us in the near future, you'll get to meet a kindred spirit!

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

How did you find A. E. Van Vogt? He's one of those gold age SF writers.

Tim said...

CSC, I have the ORIGINAL PAINTING to the cover of the book, not the book itself. Greg Theakson is the artist, and a friend of mine from way back whom I had dinner with in Atlanta. This painting was given to me in payment for a debt owed from the 70's. Better late than never, I always say...