Yesterday I received an e-mail from my buddy, Wild Bill Black that several of Jim Ivey's friends were getting together to belatedly celebrate Jim's 82nd birthday. Although it was short notice, I worked it out so that I could get over and share in the festivities.
I first met Jim back in the mid-70's [the decade, not his age]. Jim was the owner of The Cartoon Museum in Orlando, Florida and the main man behind OrlandoCon. My buddy, John Beatty and I were still in high school, but would make the trek over to buy our comics and original art from Jim. Jim's shop was an amazing place. At the time there weren't many places that you could buy original art, but Jim's Cartoon Museum was wall to wall art. Kirby, Steranko, Barry Windsor-Smith, Paul Gulacy, John Buscema... and so much more. You never knew what you'd see or who you'd meet while at The Cartoon Museum. I can't begin to tell you how much time I spent there and I wouldn't trade one hour there for a day anywhere else. Beatty and I made the trek to Jim's at least once a week. Usually we'd end up playing cards but always having a great time no matter what we were doing. When I moved to Orlando to attend UCF, I'd go to the shop several times a week [my wife always knew where to find me]. We've stayed in touch over the years, but never as often as I'd like.
So today about 15 of us met to celebrate Jim's 82 birthday. Jim, true to form, had prepared cards for each of us [and true to form -- had enclosed a scratch off lottery ticket. Mine was good for a free ticket!]. Each of us had brought cards and gifts and a story or two for Jim. In fact, Jim looks shocked in the photo above... I hope it wasn't from something I said!