Interview With Ernie Colon
Not everything that Ernie Colon said in his Last
Kiss #3 interview appeared in the comic book. Here's
what you missed.
Lustig: Occasionally I hear about some established creators
not being able to get work because editors think they’re
too old. You’re what, 70, now? Have you run into any
of this "age-ism" at all?
Ernie Colon: I think it's a more unconscious thing.
The comic book industry is just like any other business.
There are lots of cronies in it. To put it more gently,
I'd call it "pal-ism." You have a group of
friends you grow up with and go through high school
and college with, and you make these connections. When
you get into a position of editorship, you're going
to call these people [rather than] someone like myself,
or [even] really great cartoonists like Gray Morrow...I
mention him because, before his death, he wasn't able
to get any work at all.
JL: That's insane.
EC: It is insane. And I have to believe that it is
not deliberate. So often these younger people would
look at Gray's work and they didn’t hire him because
they were too busy hiring other people. I've had the
experience of doing a character and having the editor
admit that I did the best version of that character--yet
they won't use me. When I investigate a little further,
I find that they've got some friend in there. That's
the way it is.
JL: I suppose you reach some point where the editors
you know have moved on and retired…but it still seems
a little nuts. Personally, I find that it’s a real thrill
to be working with established talents like you, Dick
Giordano and Dan DeCarlo.
EC: When I was an editor for DC… I hired an artist
that, when I was a kid I admired tremendously. That
was George Tuska.
George walked in the room, I actually got tongue-tied
and didn't tell him I'd read his books, and what a big
favorite he was of mine. I was so happy to hire him.
His age had nothing to do with it. When he walked in,
he was quite elderly then...actually, he was probably
the age that I am now! (Laughter) I'm old, but I'll
be elderly in about fifteen minutes! (Laughter)
JL: [During the interview, Ernie very generously
offered to give me the artwork to the story, "I
Married…Who?" Although I was very touched by Ernie’s
generosity, I initially urged him to reconsider. Ernie
insisted and made the following remark.]
EC: I suppose I can keep the fantasy going until
I drop dead, but my fantasy is that I want to be big
enough so that I don't have to worry about stuff like
that. I often compare that to finding a $100 bill on
the street. It's wonderful, but it doesn't change your
life. There are things that I want to do that will change
my life, whether it's the DoodleMovies
or other things that I have going that I hope to market.
JL: [After some discussion Ernie and I decided to
sell the art to benefit Shanda
Fantasy Arts publishers Mike and Carole Curtis. Between
the two of them, Mike and Carole have gone through three
bouts of cancer in the last three years.]