Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Taps" and Keith Clark

Editor's note: Contributing writer Rebecca Goldfield gives us her story behind "Taps," as well as an actual letter to Keith Clark, as well as some photo references used by artist Paul Zdepski (notice JFK is in one of them).

My husband was in The US Army Band, so I’ve heard lots of stories over the years about that experience. Most of them are pretty amusing, like that of the colonel who displayed his musical naiveté by complaining that while the band sounded fine, he wished the trombones would synchronize their slides so that they all went in and out in unison (much to the merriment of the musicians, who well understood that were multiple parts being played).

The story he related of Keith Clark (my husband was privileged to perform during the funeral of President Kennedy), however, was the most poignant of the tales he told me. There were things I wanted to include which didn’t quite fit: some of the actual letters Keith received from the public--in a true outpouring of gratitude and empathy. One nine year old boy in a grade school band sent a letter of encouragement to Clark. “Anybody is bound to make a tiny mistake in front of millions opon millions of people” he wrote and then confided, “you should here some of the things I play.” Clark’s widow was generous enough to supply me with those letters, along with many photos, family records and her own memories.

I also wanted to include the fact that when Clark died in 2002, he, like JFK, was buried in Arlington cemetery, to the strains of “Taps”. That particular performance was flawless, but of course the bugler suffered nothing of the ferocious pressure and poor conditions Clark had endured.  “A lot of people can sing in the shower”, Clark once said. His extraordinary grace under pressure is at the heart of this story.
In doing the research (and now this is the writer in me, speaking) I was struck by the simple beauty of the verse. I’d heard the words hundreds of times and given them no thought whatsoever. But now, as I read the words, really read them, I found an unexpected sense of comfort in what seemed as much a prayer as a poem. Here are the first 3 verses:

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,
'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Media trifecta!

District Comics got a lot of digital ink these last two days! First, a little write up from the Washington City Paper:
  • The graphic anthology is unconventional, definitely, but above all, it’s ambitious.

Followed by a piece from Scripps Howard:
  • When “The Brewmaster’s Castle” was well received by the Heurich House Museum, Dembicki said he realized there are a lot of other D.C. stories that need to be told.

And ending the day with a Q&A in the Huffington Post:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Signing this Sunday!

Just a reminder that we'll have our first signing for the book on Sunday, Aug. 19, from 3-5 pm at One More Page Books in Arlington, Va. There will be more than 20 contributors on hand to sign (this will certainly be our biggest signing), including:

Rebecca Goldfield
Jacob Warrenfeltz
Tabitha Whissemore
Art Haupt
Jason Rodriguez
Andrew Cohen
Rand Arrington
Mal Jones

Mike Rhode
Rafer Roberts
Gregory Robison
Joe Carabeo
Carolyn Belefski
Jeff Barrus
Michael Cowgill
Dale Rawlings
Michael Brace
Steve Loya
Kevin Rechin
Paul Zdepski
Matt Dembicki
Carol Dembicki

And, as few cherries on top, the Small Press Expo has generously donated FREE day passes to SPX to the first 25 people who buy a copy of the book at the signing! But wait, there's more: I did a few 5x8 sea-related illustrations (see below) that will be raffled off at the signing! (AND I'll have copies of Xoc: The Journey of a Great White on hand, and, perhaps, a few copies of Trickster? :)

What is District Comics, you ask? “District Comics is a graphic anthology featuring lesser-known stories about Washington, D.C., from its earliest days as a rustic settlement along the swampy banks of the Potomac to the modern-day metropolis. Spanning 1794-2009, District Comics stops along the way for a duel, a drink in the Senate’s speakeasy, a look into the punk scene, and much more.”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bonus Army bonus

Writer Michael Cowgill interviewed author Thomas Allen as part of Michael's research for his story "Skip Dillon, Son of the B.E.F."
There was a photograph of two kids in a makeshift boxing ring, and when we tracked those two guys down, they still were around, and we were able to interview them, and again, we got a picture of the family side of the Bonus Army.

Photo: Bonus Army camp, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Library of Congress

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Seventh-inning stretch

Writer Jason Rodriguez sheds a little more light on the 1867 Washington Nationals, focusing on the celebration of an amazing run that was a little tarnished by allegations of throwing a game. In fact, you can read the original newspaper accounts yourself!
Read more....

Jason's partner in the bullpen is artist Charles Fetherolf, who produced one of the single finest images I have ever seen in comics, or anywhere for that matter. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

Below are a couple of character sketches for the "National Pastime" story that Charles has allowed us to share here:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Play ball!

Writer Jason Rodriguez, who penned the story "National Pastime" in District Comics, talks about old-time baseball, particularly the facts surrounding his story:

When I was writing my story for District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington DC, I was asked to recheck my references on the game scores almost every step of the way. What people just don’t get is that baseball games had basketball scores back in the day of no gloves. 

Read more at his blog....

And just to set the mood, here's a photo of an 1885 championship team from Washington, D.C. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Launch signing on Aug. 19

We'll have our first signing for the book on Sunday, Aug. 19, from 3-5 pm at One More Page Books in Arlington, Va. There will be more than 20 contributors on hand to sign! It's gonna be awesome!