On MethSo, after Elayne Riggs pointed out that Clifford Meth was actually someone besides a friend of the Cockrum family, in my last entry (it's odd how Elayne only de-lurks long enough to point out yet another way she has perceived that I've put my foot in something rank and odorous, either here or over on my poli-blog, but still, I say good business is where you find it, and thanks, Elayne, for taking on the arduous task of being my personal Egon), I did a bit of research on Mr. Meth.
I'm not going to pass judgment on some guy I've never met, whose work I've never read anything of, based on a couple of columns, a Wikipedia entry, and several interviews of him I've read. Or, at least, I'm not going to state my judgment in print.
However, if I were going to, well, I'd probably based whatever opinions I stated pretty heavily on a couple of quotes I've pulled from said interviews:
Here we have one of the stated interview with Mr. Meth, and in it, we find the following exchange:
Meth: I love comics -- the industry, fandom -- and I collect artist friends like others collect comics, but I've always considered myself a real writer, if you'll excuse the expression. I don't write specifically for a visual medium. I write stories you can read without visual aids.
McCaw: You consider yourself a real writer, yet are eager for film optioning. Does that conflict in any way? Or do you plan on adapting yourself to the screen?
Meth: I don't see a conflict. I learned to write short stories by reading the great science fiction masters. They'd be the first to tell you that options give you the money -- and thus the time -- to pursue serious projects. Of course, I'd rather do the screenplays myself, and suspect I might get the opportunity. I've spent the last 18 months working on film projects and just finished a stint working with Peter David on Gene Roddenberry's "Starpoint Academy" for IDT Entertainment. I've also adapted Dave Cockrum's Futurians for the screen, also for IDT.
Um... yeah. Knows all these wonderful comics artists, but doesn't write comics because he considers himself a 'real' writer, who writes stories that 'don't need visual aids'. But writing for the movies is okay, because, you know, it pays well.
And then there's this, from yet another interview:
Meth: Jim Reeber, who owns Aardwolf Publishing. From day one, he’s been in my corner and has had more faith in my career than I’ve had. He suggested the money-back guarantee as a vote of confidence on my last book, God’s 15 Minutes. As far as I know, not a single book was returned.
NRAMA: For the publisher this is really a losing proposition, since the distributor and retailer each get a percentage. Aardwolf is really going to give back more money then they receive for the book?
Meth: The guarantee is for books bought directly through Aardwolf. I don’t believe that arrangement was made with Diamond, although I do know that smaller distributors like Bud Plant Comic Art have special arrangements with Jim. Shocklines also lists the book as a guaranteed good read.
Now, one of the things I came across as I researched Mr. Meth was this notion that all his published books (which mostly seem to be published through his own publishing company, but what the hell) come with a money back guarantee. I thought this was a pretty cool idea. But, wellllll... apparently that money back guarantee only actually applies in certain very limited, very specific circumstances.
Not passing judgment. Probably a helluva swell fella, our Cliff Meth. And he doubtless has had more experience with Dave Cockrum than I have, and as far as that goes, Dave could well have changed enormously in the twenty something years that have passed since I interacted with him briefly back in the 1980s.
But... yes, as always, Elayne is most correct. Mr. Meth seems to be a well and widely known person in the comic book medium, and I doubtless should have known this. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
In the end, though, Mr. Dave Cockrum is still dead, and whether Mr. Meth's description of him is more correct than my own experiences with him lead me to believe, it matters not. Mr. Cockrum was a fabulous artist and a wonderfully talented creator and the realm of comics is lessened without him, and I am personally saddened that he is gone.