Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy 83rd Jim Ivey

Yesterday, my wife and I joined Jim Ivey and several of his friends to celebrate Jim's 83rd birthday. Long time readers know that Jim Ivey is one of my oldest [as in been a friend the longest], oldest [as in age] and dearest friends. I first met Jim in the mid 1970's when he was running The Cartoon Museum in Orlando, Florida. At the same time Jim was working as a syndicated cartoonist [The Thoughts of Man], a political cartoonist [The Orlando Sentinel], a publisher [CartooNews], teacher [UCF cartooning class] and even a comic book convention organizer [OrlandoCon]. At the time, I was into collecting comic books and later original art. Jim's shop was like heaven.

Going to The Cartoon Museum became a weekly trip [almost always accompanied by my best friend, John Beatty]. When I moved to Orlando to attend UCF, my trips to Jim's became even more frequent. We'd spend the day shooting the breeze and playing cards [blackjack, gin, hearts] and would occasionally stop for lunch or Jim to make a sale. Jim hated it when business got in the way of fun!

You never knew who would come through the store. Sometimes it was other buddies like Bill Black [pictured in the photo above with Jim and I], Mike Kott, Rafael Kayanan, or Robert Smith. Sometimes it was established artists like Mike Zeck, Bob McLeod, Bruce Stark or so many others.
As the years have gone by and we've all gone in different directions, I'm happy to say that most of us are still in touch fairly regularly. Many of us correspond via e-mail, but Jim doesn't mess with computers. So it's snail mail correspondence for us. I love getting my letters from Jim. Just like when we'd go to his shop and you'd never know what would be waiting; it's the same experience opening an envelope from Jim.

But, I digress... back to the party.

Jim was happy to see the number of folks who made it to his party. Jim opened the festivities with a speech in which he talked about everything from the state of political cartoons today to the origins of Aborigines in Australia. We ordered our meals and while we were waiting Jim opened the gifts that had been brought to celebrate his 83rd. He received cigars, lottery tickets, and money -- three of his favorite items -- and more! The meals arrived and as we ate we shared stories... and more stories... and even more stories. Three and a half hours passed in what seemed less than an hour. There was enough laughter and fellowship packed into the short time, that it made me really wish that we could go back to the days of The Cartoon Museum with Jim running the show.

Oh well, if nothing else, we have Jim's 84th to look forward to.


EL GRANDE said...

Thanks for the comment Craig. I've see you around the blogs for some time, and I've been here before. Very cool stuff you share.

Joe y Elio

Craig Zablo said...

Thanks for stopping by Joe!