BOOSHWA (1991/’92; 2009) (CRIMEFIGHTER… 2009)

Booshwah panel pg 3

Artwork: “Booshwa” (as featured in CRIMEFIGHTER AND TWO OTHERS, Jed Alexander) © 2009, Rick Grimes.

GRIMES: “One of many such little experiments in ‘how much is enough?’ For those interested few, the transcribed notes, (since brief), from my initial dream, October 1, 1991:

Too rough with ‘annoying’ kitten…covering (to get rid of), boxing and reboxing…{mostly in kitchen}…Ralph Waite, as ‘John Walton’ doesn’t recommend this…kitten dies…ants will/get on…feel bad…shoulda been nicer.

I didn’t know then just how I would end Booshwa, so was left to solve that this July. The dream itself was no doubt drawing from a childhood incident. Possibly when I was six. Someone on my grandparents’ farm (in Kentucky) found a blue-eyed kitten abandoned by its mother. Not an atypical experience on a farm, no one took special care to feed it, or perhaps it just could not drink anything else yet. We put it in a cardboard box, but without any wrapping, and I left it out on the metal glider seat overnight. After what turned out to be a cool snap,the next morning I found the kitten dead stiff .

Its mother was not a house cat nor a pet, just wild, and my granma was not accustomed to having pets in the house. I certainly didn’t know what I was doing. In case any animal lovers out there are blowing a knob at the neglect of all this. I thought I loved ’em, too.Was my first dead body. ‘Feel bad…shoulda been nicer.’ ” –RG (November 8th, 2009)

Q & A

Booshwah panel pg 4

Artwork: “Booshwa” (as featured in CRIMEFIGHTER AND TWO OTHERS, Jed Alexander) © 2009, Rick Grimes.

RH: “Your story really kicked in to top gear ‘Grimes-wise’ from Pg. 6 on, then topped with the perfect final panel.”

RG: “That’s reassuring, because that’s also when the newer pages kick in. Actually, I possibly had more detail, (if you can call it that), in the ’90s ‘pages’. [The original image areas are only about the size of my palm]. Because of my nearsightedness, I think I un/consciously put in less of that this year, but still hoped it looks good. It’s sort of hard to come back to something after over 15 years and have the additional pages [1, 6-8; inked 4 & 5] blend well with the older ones. But, I’m supposed to set aside such crap and let myself and others take it as a whole and enjoy it.”

RH: “I thought most of the panels were well done too, especially the introductory one and others such as the one with Booshwa playing with his toy train and ‘sick animal’-esque 3rd panel.”

RG: “That did remind me of sick animal when I was doing it. They both have that ‘throw pillow’ shape which is one of the ones I find comforting to draw. Except this cat’s pointed the other way–his sides are the flat part–and it’s originals were too small to get in much detail.”

RH: “The characters, too, I thought were pretty damn cool, especially that of the big lug, Booshwa. Love his lil’ hat! (What do you call those things?).”

RG: “Just a sailor hat, like Gilligan’s or like Huey, Dewey and Louie wore. In fact, it’s probably a Paul Murry sailor hat, or, most probably from a rubber eraser monkey I still have, both fallbacks to my kidhood. Booshwa’s head is extra small, so, so is his hat…’Tee…Hee’.

The other characters were extrapolations in the ’90s phase of the mini-story’s creation. None of them existed before.

At first, on an eensy thumbnail (done on the day after the initial dream), they were a foursome–the one with the fez is some sort of cloud. Another was a sealman, but when I got to page 7 this year he was too expressionless to use so I threw in the earless dog. The skunk was also last-minute; limited space an’ all. Perhaps some of them are just Mousimuss’ boarders. Booshwa had to have someone to live with, to set him straight again on his excesses!”

RH: “Was this a character you’d had for some time or is he/it a new creation?”

RG: “He’s from a childhood drawing, yet again, of a Snuffy Smith-like sea captain with a happy little monkey on his knee; but the way I drew them then it looks like the monkey’s glued on to his pants. (He was saying “BUSHWA”).

So, in ’91, I just lengthened his body, and so forth. Gave him, (via my dream), some accompanying existential angst, as they call it, to go with that simulation of adulthood that such height implies.”

RH: “I could definitely see further stories featuring all five (?) characters of this comic some day down the track.”

RG: “They’re all potentially usable. But, as of now, the main monk an’ mouse guys are the only ones I’m really familiar with–their personalities. And have no plans for them. I just thought it was a good chance to get their old story finished and out somewhere. I’m indebted to Jed [Alexander] for its happening, and, as is the new norm, to you as well for connecting us in the first place. You’re both exceptionally supportive.” — (11/6,7/09).

 <Stories (pub’d)/’09                            Cover strip: Joe Head>

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