Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day Trip to Portland

Back when the silver age comic book artist Tom Gill was around, he would not hesitate to pick up the phone to call me. Since we were co-chairs of a National Cartoonists Society Chapter (the Long Island chapter, the "Berndt Toast Gang"), there was usually a reason to talk.

When Tom was in his 90s, he went on well deserved trips out west and abroad, with his loving wife Trish. As the years went by, cell phones became universal. And Tom, who was not only a teacher at the School of Visual Arts (as well as one of the guys who was there at the beginning of SVA), but also an eager learner, acquired and learned how to use a cell phone years before most people I knew.

On days like this, when I am away from the studio, I think of Tom. He would invariably call and leave me a message. I can hear his voice; tough (the guy grew up on Flatbush Avenue, after all), with a bit of a gravelly growl in it. It was distinctive and attention getting. It was said, Tom Gill need no microphone.

When I returned to my studio in years past, I would see the blinking light, press the button, and hear his voice, "Mike!" it would announce. And I always knew what he would say next.

"How the hell are you gonna get ahead if you're not at your board, DRAWING?!?!?!"


Tom, forgive me! I'm having lunch with some cartoonists. I'll be back at the board full time again tomorrow!


Mike Lynch Cartoons: Tom Gill: A Personal Remembrance

Above: Tom Gill on a USO tour. Tom was a member of the National Cartoonists Society from almost the first day of its inception. He traveled with his fellow cartoonists on many USO tours from the early 1950s until 1987. Looking at this photo, I would guess this is the late 50s/early 60s.


Mark Anderson said...

That's a great story, and an even better pic! Wish I'd gotten a chance to meet him!

Mike Lynch said...

The man treated me like a brother. I liked him a lot and think of him often.

Unknown said...

My aunt went with the NCS and Mr. Gill on a USO tour to Korea in 1952. Maybe where that picture was taken. Fred Harman, Al Capp, Jerry Robinson, Tom Gill and a few other members of the NCS went. My aunt played piano while they would sketch and do caricatures of soldiers. I'll send you a great photo of all of them.