Clutch Angel

CLUTCH ANGEL (1994) (RARE BIT FIENDS #4, 1994)

Clutch Angel  pg 1

Clutch Angel  pg 2

Clutch Angel  pg 3

Clutch Angel  pg 4

Artwork: “Clutch Angel” (as featured in 1994’s RARE BIT FIENDS #4, Rick Veitch & King Hell) ©1994 Rick Grimes.

GRIMES:Gave this one short shrift, too, on the old site, due more to writer’s fatigue than indicating the esteem I actually do have for it. So here’s a sort of item-by-item reference…

Driving carlessly {sic}, and, no, not ‘carelessly’, has been a common enuff occurrence in my dreams over the decades. That same sense of moving in & with a car, but, as enjoying the sensation, having the car disappear nearly or altogether. Floatation in motion the ongoing result. Here, Clutch and Boy Wounder, are entirely without the car, and being that they were a part of the dream, I depicted them ahead of myself (the viewer). {See Grogan, below}.

Roads Marie was obviously(?) based on former childhood star Rose Marie, better known to my generation as ‘Sally’ on the Dick Van Dyke Show, or later, Hollywood Squares. She could really belt ’em out as a kid, if you’ve ever seen the old short film they show on TCM, and always wore a signature dark hair bow throughout her career, in memory of someone she seldom, if ever, would specify. She might’ve turned up in the dream due to my seeing a TV Guide pic of her, much older, but still with the bow. I didn’t fill it in because the black ink would’ve stuck in the middle of the panel view like a bug taking five, and besides, it really isn’t her anyway. The same aforesaid pic was likely used as my only reference. The rather frightful result something we all have to embrace as we get older, as we find we’ve become caricatures of our former selves. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will.

Ungle-Frex, the boy on the bicycle, had no name in the dream. Nor do I recall him being that defined. The ‘John Gear’ hat, and Weird Dick T-shirt {See other cameos} were added as spice. His name is by way of my Uncle Rex, my mother’s brother-in-law, and an occasional part of our family as I grew up. He had already passed away before the date of this dream and strip, and had nothing really overt to do with the dream at all. Tho I do dream of him on rare occasions. Note that the bike later becomes a trike, in that way dreams have of counterbalancing various power positions: in this case, the kid has given his message, played his role, and is eager to get ‘home’…he doesn’t care about any of it anymore, and the bike hasn’t the same power or purpose. Thus, it’s ‘neutered’, into something more childish, by an older kid’s standards, and appropriate as another kindergarten level charge of the parody ‘hero’ doofusses.

The deer with the slit throats were a bit more disturbing in the dream itself. The sense of real things happening is ever a struggle to convey for anyone attempting to illustrate them. My apologies I haven’t had any actual experience mutilating real animals. But, the quirks and humor balance out my limits as a nature artist. Unlike some dreams, the culprit is never found, tho’ the fawn perhaps gives an indication.

“Isn’t that all(ey) the escape rou(te), Clutch(?)”, Boy Wounder says. I like the way decidedly more self involved, weepy-worded Clutch overlaps B.W.’s balloon. The latter’s direct, forthright relay of spotting the right-under-their-noses still likely warm trail to an even more likely solution to the crime are not listened to by his higher up. A special bugaboo of mine. I’d like to use that little balloon gimmick some more.

Grogan, unnamed in the story, was NOT a character in the dream. He is a contrived, implanted surrogate, here, especially, to distinguish my own dreamer’s point of view from Clutch and his sidekick, who were in the dream. The parts that pass for narration, and not dialogue, are ‘Grogan’s’ thoughts, as they are approximations of my own while dreaming. By page 2, panel 3, you can begin to see his jutting lower jaw, a handy device to protrude a third party into the frame while not undercutting the superhero duo. With more of him on the following pages, until he is the only one present, finishing things out in undramatic trivia. The ‘heroes’ gone by then. Grogan is on my inner roster of use-‘m-agains’. His name comes from a bullying character in a Daffy Duck comic book story. I also told Rick Veitch at the Kubert School once that it was my middle name. It isn’t. {I have a very few preliminary drawings for this story where you can see Grogan better, and will post them here as soon as I can find them again}.

The woman handing out the chewed up pencil is some very obscure bit player from no more than one or two episodes of The Andy Griffith Show; I could not hope to say which ones, unless I run into them by accident. She had one of those faces like women in the school system of the day. In the show, some natterer or other with a friend similarly nagging. I had no photo reference for her at all. I still have no idea what her name is. But, she really was in the dream, it was supposed to be her. But, of no general interest to anyone else, and to not much purpose but general local color, even in the dream. She came out pretty good, considering I’d not laid eyes on her in years. Anyhow, it made me do a better face than I would have, had I dreamed some vacuity instead.

Fester: It’d be very nice if just knowing TV trivia would get you out of bureaucratic cul-de-sacs. If all a form and queueing up required were the names of some childhood delight to pass you on through.

The talk show sidekick is in reference to Andy Richter, from a period when he had a sort of ‘perm’, in the earlier Conan show NBC days. I didn’t like it either. The perm, I mean.

Dick Cravett is a natural for a caricature. I wasn’t privy to the first airings of his ABC show in the ’70s. Not sure it was even broadcast here initially. But, I watched him often enuff in later incarnations. I like how this page came out. {See here for caricature related material…}

Wooly-WillyWooly Wily magnetic boards. These perennial ‘turn-ups’ in dimestores of my youth are still produced to this day. So, I dropped one ‘l’ from the name. And the ones here are smaller, individual. As tho’ each iron filing ‘hairstyle’ could remain fixed in place, like those absurd posters barbershop patrons are or were meant to choose from. Point and pray.

clutchcargo05Clutch Angel is a possibly obvious conflation of two shows I saw with my sister as a kid. Clutch Cargo, the probably better known of the two* was created by Clark Haas, who had been an assistant on Buz Sawyer and more or less envisioned his show as a sort of animated comic strip. With some random exposure in recent decades on the ill fated Ha channel of early cable, where the same limited number of episodes were shown over & over and its availability (if you look enough) in dvd collections, it’s notorious for its use of actors’ own red painted lips reading the dialogue throo a still frame image. Syncro-Vox. It’s a hoot to watch, still fun today, the little I’ve gotten to see them; and has been spoofed or utilized on shows such as Conan O’Brien’s. It has a flavor of throwback gimmickry to it, almost like nickelodeon films might’ve been had they continued on into the fifties & sixties; pure budgetary expedience; and a loopy, try anything spark that’s almost futuristic. Still. A lot of the characters were voiced by Hal Smith, Mayberry’s ‘Otis’ the town drunk (Andy Griffith again). As an artist I really love the bold lines, vivid colors, and good natured adventure plots. It’s ‘like’, Space Angel was also done in Syncro-Vox, but I haven’t yet had access to it again and only recall the hefty bearded character. Collections of it are available, too. My Clutch’s emblem on his chest is a fist clutching an angel wing, tho it may look more like a hunk of Col. Sanders’ in this story.

Generic Boy Wounder, Clutch’s sidekick, and ugly as a picket fence to sort of get ’round the Batman boinks Robin ‘romantic’ inferences of more recent decades–it being the (untrue) canard that only beautiful people can imply or have sex in media. Tho he might even be 93. Who knows? Any wounding he ever did might only have been verbal, in the schoolyard; before you notify family services. It’s a comic, folks.

~

“Granted this is all rather dense, but, save for the exceptions mentioned above, all of it was there in my sleep. Some dreams are like that.

I have also a Tweety Pie, ‘fat boy’ notebook with nothing but notes for a Clutch Angel story written some months later. But, it’s another that’d be comic book length, so I don’t know when I’ll ever get ’round to doing it. Hope to.” –RG (5/2/’015) +5/6

* “A third cartoon using Syncro-Vox, a submarine adventure called ‘Captain Fathom’ (1965) was also made by Cambria Studios. A new one on me.” –rg 5/’015

<Art/Rare Bit Fiends

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