June 18 - I've begun this WOMP-Blog entry many times over the last couple of days. Each time, the furthest I've gotten was this...
"Hey there, everyone. Thank you all for your support over the past two weeks since my Dad, Kelly Mundt, died. It's been like a long, terrible dream, but your kind words of concern have made everything just barely tolerable. To know that so many people loved Dad has..."
...beyond which I guess I've not been able to continue, at least not in any way that seems "right" to me. Honestly, even the act of merely thinking about the WOMP-Blog feels a bit selfish, so the concept of further trivializing my Dad's passing with some sort of florid gobble-de-gook blog posting just seems inappropriate. And yet, I really do want to talk about Dad here, especially since for decades he accompanied me to many comics conventions, at which you might have met him. In fact, in every way, and at every step, Dad was instrumental in supporting all of my cartoony ventures. Whether it was sneaking me in to his workplace late one night in 1982 to photocopy my first "real" attempt at producing a comic book (the terrible Premium Comics #1, for which I did purchase the paper at least), or manning the WOMP booth with me at last year's MCBA FallCon, my Dad was right there, making it happen. But, of course, that's the stuff that you all may be familiar with. It's the other stuff - the real Dad stuff - that I'm going to miss most. That's what has been so hard to...ugh. That's the mental hurdle that I just can not jump. Nope, not yet. Somehow, someday, and somewhat soon I will find a way to sum up what kind of guy my Dad was, and what he meant to me, but I'm just not there yet. Thankfully, I'm not dealing with this alone. In fact, my sister and brother-in-law have stepped up where I have not been able to. Both wrote a bit about Dad, and have graciously allowed me to post their thoughts here tonight...
by Kristin J. Mundt
For those who know me, they know I usually never have a problem talking or speaking my mind. However, the emotions and pain I feel right now make it impossible for me to speak these words at this time, so I will write them.
The past few days, when people have consoled my family, have just confirmed what I already knew: My Dad was the kindest person I will ever know. Even when he was upset with me or mad, he still had a way of calming down the situation. I only remember getting one spanking when I was little, and my Dad had tears in his eyes when he disciplined me.
Dad was smart, gentle, funny, thoughtful, intelligent, hard working, talented, loyal, and caring. He was a great artist and singer. Many times on our car travels the whole car would be singing to the radio. Music was always in our lives with Dad playing his LPs, then 8-tracks, then cassettes, and finally CDs so much that Barbra Streisand seemed part of the family! He also enjoyed taking photographs of nature, architecture, and his family, so we always had great records of events in his life.
My brother and I always enjoyed the support of Dad in our endeavors, whatever they might be. While I was in High School, he would come to my track and cross country meets and the whole team could hear him cheering - he encouraged everyone on the teams, not just me. He and John shared a talent of the arts, drawing, and comics, with Dad driving John to many a "Comicon" (comic book conventions to those of you not in the know)
I could talk to my Dad about anything, even stuff I'm sure he didn't want to know! He heard about school, and work, and friends in trouble, and boys, and "teenage girl talk". He always knew what to say and what not to say. My husband Mike and I still called him for advice and help, sometimes he and Mike would talk so long on the phone I just had a chance to say "Love You Dad" before we had to hang up.
One of the very many things I am going to miss about Dad is the "saving the world" talks we would have late at night when I would be staying in PdC at their house. We would start talking about a particular problem in the world, and then just keep going until we thought we had solutions. If John came over, the talks would turn to stories which turned into uncontrollable laughter until my Mom would come up from the bedroom and say,
"It's 3 o'clock!"
When John and I were kids, Dad worked a lot. He was at the hospital many hours every week and vacations were few and far between. The vacations were always "adventurous" in the sense that something always happened to us: getting caught in a tornado, finding bugs in our hotel beds, having our car start on fire, and so on. Dad always drove, and seemed to be able to reassure us that it would be OK and that this was vacation! Maybe it was because of these experiences, or in spite of them, that Mike and I enjoyed spending our vacations with Dad and Mom. We went on a week long houseboat trip on the Mississippi, (even though Dad was not a swimmer); Brewers games, Badger football and hockey games, concerts, parades, festivals, WI Dells waterparks, and our yearly week Up North in Manitowish Waters. We liked spending time with Dad and Mom and after Liam and Aidan came along, it was even more fun.
There are a thousand stories and thoughts that have through my mind in the past few days, but one I wanted to be sure to share is that my Dad was "Dad" to many people. Many times I would hear "You are so lucky Kris to have parents like yours", or "Not all of us have that relationship with our Mom and Dad." My friend Robin called him a father figure and my friend Sarah said "Your Dad is what I always imagined every father should be."
Aidan and Liam miss their Bapa so much already: Aidan wants to know who will drive the minivan now, because only "Grandpa knows how to drive it." Liam said that he will "Look for Bapa in the computer room to play computer games but he's not there now."
The loss of my Dad is going to hurt for a long time. He was such a big part of my world, and the world of those around me. I have a hole inside me that may get smaller over time, but will never by filled. I will think of him every day of my life and feel his hug and hear his laugh and his "Love You" always.
And Kristin's husband, Mike, wrote a poem...
My Thoughts of Kelly
Michael J. Statz
(Kelly’s Favorite Son-in-Law)
I find it impossible to describe Kelly in just one word
There really aren’t enough words.
I find it impossible to determine which were Kelly’s best qualities,
He had so many.
I find it impossible to tell somebody who didn’t know Kelly about Kelly,
Where would you begin?
Which was bigger? His heart? His laugh? His love for his family?
His ability to always find time to help? His inability to say “No”? His ability to always know when
to say the right thing? His ability to know when not to say the right thing?
See, I find it impossible to put in words, who Kelly was. The best I can come up with is,
If I had a to build a Father-in-Law…It would have been Kelly.
Thanks, K & M. You're awesome. As for me and my little bloggy thing? I'll gradually get back into the swing of things, I suppose. What other choice do I have? I, and The WOMP-Blog, will go on. Dad wouldn't want it any other way.
June 3 - Hello, everybody. I don't know how to say this other than to just say that my Dad, Kelly Mundt, has died. He was 66. It happened suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday, June 1st. It has been so hard to...well, to do anything. We are all in shock. We are having a memorial service on Saturday. Here is a link to my Dad's full obituary. I hope you'll forgive me if I am once again absent from the WOMP-Blog for a while. Thank you all for the messages of support.
May 29 - Hola! It's been a busy, busy few days here at WOMP Central. For some mysterious reason, my caricature "business" has really picked up this year. Since the second week of April, I haven't gone a single week without at least one gig. During the week that culminated in my attending SpringCon, I had three caricature events. For comparison, I had two such events total in 2009. I have no gig next week (so far), but I do have two more during the week after that. It's crazy! Earlier today, I drew caricatures at the high school graduation party of the young woman who was, as a kindergartner, the flower girl at my wedding. Fittingly, my bride from that day nearly fourteen years ago (the lovely WOMP Staff) attended the event with me...or, more accurately, at the same time. I was pretty busy, so we didn't see much of each other. Now, hours later, as I plan to continue my SpringCon 2010 report, I have begun to wonder about bringing my caricature drawing equipment to future conventions. I'm not even sure that it would be physically possible. The "end-to-end tables" layout of most cons leaves little room for a gangly jumble of chairs and easels, not to mention a line of waiting people. Still, because of the potential for $$$, I'm mulling it over. Speaking of mulling, let's get back to my report...
Hope SpringCon's Eternal
Part Three; "Three of a Kind...Kind Of"
For those who've never set up at a comics convention, I can tell you that a friendly relationship with your neighboring fellow guests can have many rewards beyond just the pleasantries of conversation and boredom-quelling. There are the practical aspects, like watching over each other's stuff during bathroom breaks, but, more-over, such relationships can enrich the whole convention experience. Some of my best friends in the biz were once "booth buddies" at one con or another. In fact, during this year's show, I met up with (at least briefly) about a dozen past FallCon table-neighbors. Some, like Jeff Rose (keeper of the Official Alex Toth website) and family stopped by our SpringCon table, while others, like Mike Toft (Cartoon Conspirator and maker of Brain Food) were, like me, virtually shackled to their current tables, so we were only able to see each other in passing. Our buddy from the last FallCon, "Mad" Scott Gallatin, and I were actually able to spend some time gabbing at each other's tables. In fact, I purchased one of his awesome sketch cards, an image of "slave Leia" from The Empire Strikes Back. Scott had convinced me to draw my own sketch cards, so a handful featuring WOMP characters made their debut at SpringCon. I had intended to mix in other, more established characters, but, well, I didn't. I don't know why. It just seemed, I don't know...presumptuous? Yes, I'm sure that images of Deadpool and Batgirl would be far more saleable than cards featuring Vladic and Kitty Boy, but I have such fun drawing my own characters that I am reluctant to draw those with which I have less familiarity. Oh, well...at least many of my cards sold, including one featuring stupidly-named Flamehead Toothy...to Scott Gallatin! So, I guess we basically traded art. As for this year's booth buddies? Well, we all had a very good time talking to each other. By the end of the show, there had to be at least six people who manned (or womanned) the Fancy Pants Gangsters table. They were a fun bunch of podcasters, webmasters, artists, and the gal who was not only the designer of that R2-D2 as birdcage T-shirt, but also came dressed as Silk Spectre from the Watchmen movie. Based on our conversations, I drew for them a zombie (OK, again it was my own character, The Zombie) who was wearing their awesome necktie-sticker-business card. Our neighbor to the other side, the incredibly talented Corey Kramer, and I had already met (last year?), at which time we discovered that we'd each attended the Joe Kubert School (he graduating in 1996, if memory serves)! Among other things, he was debuting a new comic strip, Wonder Weenies, with a "Sneak Preview" mini-comic. The storyline is so clever, the characters are so well defined and funny, and the whole thing is so perfectly executed that I will not only enthusiastically recommend it, I will go several steps further by predicting that it will make a great animated TV show some day (remember, you heard it here first). Toward the end of the show, I had also met artist Jim Keefe. As I looked through his amazing Flash Gordon original art (he was the final artist to handle the iconic newspaper comic strip before it was canceled), I just had a feeling that we too had a connection...and I was right! Yup, he was also a grad of the Kubert School (1989)! We had a great conversation, which culminated in my purchase of his beautiful sketchbook and several nifty original drawings from his eight-year-old daughter, Anna! Jim then followed me back to my booth to meet Corey, where the three of us XQBs spent some time laughing, comparing notes, swapping stories, and generally commiserating/reminiscing. What an unexpected bonus that was...and what a humbling experience as well. I was definitely the ugly dog in that little pack. Oh, well.
I'll wrap up my SpringCon report next time, including my opinion of the MCBA's success or failure in switching their big Fall convention in October to a big Spring show in May (I know you can't wait for that). Until then, here is your Comic Book Superpower of The Day - Sorcery/Witchcraft/Magic!
May 27 - Hey there! Back to more convention report with...
Hope SpringCon's Eternal
Part Two; "Both Ends of The Spectrum"
So, what all happened at SpringCon? Well, I have only a slight idea of what everyone else at the convention may have been doing (probably staring at comics legend Jim Shooter....that dude is as legendarily gigantic as he is legendarily, uh...legendary) because I was just busy enough to keep me tethered to the WOMP table for most of it. Oh, I did wander around a little bit as I sought out friends, bargains, and nifty new comics. I found a bit of all of that when I stopped at the 2D Cloud table, where I met Raighne Hogan, who was also one of the artists (he provided beautiful, and intrinsic, coloring) of their excellent Yearbooks graphic...well, it's not a "novel," as such, but it is a great, complete read, so maybe it's a graphic novella? Whatever you'd call it, I bought a copy, and I highly recommend it to anyone else who still believes in the power and potential of the comic book medium, has a mind that looks for deeper meaning, and isn't afraid of uncomfortable discoveries. On the other end of the convention floor (and spectrum), I had the opportunity to speak with "Bronze Age" comics artist Ron Wilson (and his wife, who had the same I-do-this-because-I-love-him-but-I-don't-get-any-of-this look on her face that my wife does when she sits with me at the WOMP table). He said that SpringCon was his busiest show ever, at least in terms of sketch requests. In fact, as I was chatting with Mr. Wilson, a young man (16?) was stopped in his tracks by some of the double-page spreads of The Thing on display. Innocently, he asked if Mr. Wilson would draw something for him, clearly indicating that he had no idea that there is usually a charge for such a thing. Graciously, and without embarrassing the kid, Mr. Wilson obliged, carefully replicating the image that he had drawn for the SpringCon 2010 program cover. The look on the kid's face when held that drawing in his hands was clearly payment enough for the gentleman artist. More tomorrow.
And here is your Comic Book Superpower of The Day - Line-of-Sight Prescience/X-Ray Vision!
May 26 - Heh. Running late again already. Oh, well...at least I'm "back" in some form. So, let's get to it. Here is...
Hope SpringCon's Eternal
Part One; "At The SpringCon, a Young Man's Fancy
Lightly Turns to Thoughts of 'Quarter Box' Comics"
The WOMP Staff and I had actually made excellent time driving to St. Paul, arriving at our assigned SpringCon table well before 9:00AM. While I set up my meager wares, The Staff spied a charity rummage sale elsewhere in the Minnesota Sate Fairgrounds complex, so she snuck over to that for her last few moments of non-geeky freedom. As she was sifting through used purses and old books, I was surprisingly stress free while I was arranging everything. Our neighbors to our left, cartoonist Corey Kramer and his wife, had already set-up their beautiful booth,which made mine look like newspapers piled on the porch of an abandoned house by comparison. Oh, well. I guess I'll have to work on that for next time. Just before the show was to open to the public at 10:00AM, The Staff returned, newfound treasures in tow, including a mammoth book called Dreadnought: Britain, Germany, and the Coming of The Great War. With over a thousand pages of dense, scholarly history, she was set for reading material for the duration of the show. Of course, there was the added benefit of shocking our once-again backyard booth buddy Chad Corrie (and his Dad, Lee), who nearly tripped over the book as he was setting up his table. Our booth-buddies to our right were representing Fancy Pants Gangsters, a loose confederation of Twin City netcasters (oh, and they were sorta nuts...but in a good way). They also had clever T-shirts for sale, including one featuring R2-D2 as a birdcage! Across from us was the retail booth for The Source, legendary Twin City Area comic book and gaming shop. Their tables were always busy, especially as fans were drawn in by box after box of "quarter comics" (that even sucked me in, as I spent an insane $17.00 on their four-for-a-dollar books). Between the fun neighbors, the great location, and the truly beautiful May day, we had one of our best shows ever, both in sales and fun! More tomorrow.
So, let me leave you for now with your Comic Book Superpower of The Day - Telekinesis!
May 25, 2010 - Um...hi. Remember me? Yeah, so...it, uh...it has been a while. Like almost half a year. And this isn't even the first time that I have slunk back to the ol' WOMP-Blog, apologizing for a lengthy absence. In the past, I have tried to explain myself, reveal my circumstances, make light of the situation, ignore it in hopes that no-one will notice, and even - most especially - I have tried (I really have) to post at least something during those lapses. Now, as I have exhausted all of those tactics, not to mention the patience of any one-time regular readers, I can only say that this posting comes at the top of a back-log of ideas and plans that are practically bursting from my skull. Sometime back, I wondered whether I still had any "need" for a blog. Now, after some thought (and another bout of illness...OOPS! I said I wouldn't make excuses....so, uh, ignore that part), I've realized that some of the best things that have ever happened to me have only happened because of the ol' WOMP-Blog. I may have sometimes felt like I was just putting messages in bottles, but, since I began blogging back in 2003, the most amazing people have found those wayward bottles washed up on their shores, and they have responded with interest, information, and even friendship. And how cool is that? SO, long, long story somewhat shortened, I'm back. To kick off this, the "second chapter" of The WOMP-Blog, let me tell you about the comics convention that the beautiful WOMP-Staff and I attended recently, in a report I call...
Hope SpringCon's Eternal
Prologue; "FallCon Leaves"
OK, so I missed posting any report of last year's MCBA FallCon in St. Paul, Minnesota. "No big deal," I thought, "I'll just roll it into 2010's report." Little did I know at the time that 2009 marked the end of FallCon as we've known it! In an attempt to vie for greater crowds and to entice more "big-name" guests, the good folks that comprise the MCBA bit the bullet and moved their big two-day convention to May, replacing their Mini-Con ("FallCon" will continue as the regional one-day show). Now, just to set up my report of attending the first ever SpringCon, I have to try to give you at least a quick synopsis of the last ever real FallCon. In brief, my wife wasn't feeling well, so my Dad came with me. We had great "booth buddies;" the gang from Transylvania TV on one side, and cartoonist Scott Gallatin on the other. We saw lots of old friends, made new ones, etc. and so forth. I also debuted my first ever "for sale" sketchbook, Canon Fodder! For SpringCon, held May 15th and 16th, The WOMP Staff was back by my side as we set up the WOMP table for the first time in 2010. We had a great spot (just four tables from the entrance area) amongst some great people. More about them, and other nifty stuff, when my report continues...TOMORROW!
Until then, let me get another once-familiar feature back on track. It's been so long since I have posted an "...Of The Day" that I had to do research just to find out what I last did. As it turns out, I was focusing on superpowers. So, after much delay, here is your Comic Book Superpower of The Day - Possession (as in "He's possessed!")!