Face it. People ask questions. If we have the answers we often do (answer). I’d prefer not to make up an answer but I “can spin a yarn” because as the spokespersons in the tv ads say “That’s what we do”. But really, I prefer not to misdirect or mislead anyone. Life is confusing and difficult enough to leave people hanging without a helpful answer. Since I went back to college not long ago, I’ve also learned a little about research so, if I don’t have the answer, sometimes I can find it.
Occasionally my beloved wife Lee asks me questions about specific cartoons and I try my best to respond. For instance over the past few months she’s asked me what prompted a particular idea and I try my best to explain. When they come to me when we’re hiking in the forest, more often than not she’s already figured out the impetus of that creative piece. And I ask her about why she picks certain angles, waits a certain amount of time when we’ve seen a deer from afar etc., and the answers, though are usually common sense, are sometimes the instinct of the artist working. And though we have fun hiking in the forest, I always remember she’s working too. She is a top nature and wildlife photographer , designer and artist.
Enter Bob Harley. “You mean Marley”, she corrected. I smiled and wrote it down on my “genius pad”. My first creative writing teacher, the late Elizabeth Bowen-Minn, an amazing person and writer who lived in my hometown of Hattiesburg instructed us (her students) to always carry a pen and pad (this was long before cellphones and laptops). I got into the habit and use it today; even though I’ve got my cellphone with me that has an equivalent typing function. I trust my pen and paper more, and it feels right. Elizabeth suggested we call it our “Genius Pad” and not just a notebook. Therefore if something insightful happened, we wouldn’t be so surprised. So why Bob Harley? It came from a myriad of ideas all gelled into one. As many, okay some of you know, my maternal ancestry was an interesting one. Most were very early America settlers, descendants of Luis Gomez of Portugal. They arrived from Spain and Portugal around 1660 or so; but many of them (big family) made a pit stop in Jamaica, I suppose because they loved Stephen Bishop’s ancestors or some reason. Anyway, they were Jewish and running from Spain, and, being chased. There is a book out about them called “Jewish Pirates Of The Caribbean” (not kidding) by the late USA Today journalist Eddie Kritzler. It’s available @ Amazon, and probably B & N. I have a copy and though it has a slow start, it picks up on about the last 3 pages. If you’re not in my family tree, it’s just a badly written book.
Anyway, there were some interesting parts. The Gomez/Hendricks/Lazarus etc families, all in my direct family tree had remnants of kinfolk who made Jamaica their home. Columbus is thought to have hidden his treasure in Jamaica (and it is still theorized to be there). The Spanish weren’t just out to kill their former residents, they were out to find Columbus’ gold (and anything else they could pilfer. Most of our Gomez family ended up in upstate New York and my family there has bought back the property from the last owner and it is now Gomez House Museum
One of my great great etc. grandfathers negotiated with the governor of Jamaica to work with him to protect the Island and not let the Spaniards take it over, nor touch Columbus’s gold. But in order to do so he had to build an armada. He did so with the Dutch and British. While the small band of ships from Spain and Portugal were not expecting much (in the way of obstacles), the Gomez family helped organize 500 ships of theirs (our family), The British, and the Dutch who chased them back to Spain, and even gave swimming lessons to many of them in the Caribbean…ok, tossed them into the Caribbean and shot them and it was sink or swim. I think they mostly sank.
Anyway, I thought about it, and I imagined Bob Marley’s ancestors, could have easily lived in Jamaica at the same time many of mine did, and I often wondered if any of them knew each other. Bob Marley had been one of my favorite artists for decades and continues to be. On September 4th the Harley Davidson convention will be here in Hot Springs as it has been for the past decade or so. It suddenly hit me, wouldn’t it be wonderful if on a hot humid summer day with the town full of old hippies on bikes, half of whom love Bob Marley’s music as I do (and now we love his son Ziggy), would play at a concert. They won’t of course as Bob is dead (RIP) and Ziggy is probably laying back on Blue Mountain enjoying the scenery or on a world tour. So I combined the two Harley and Marley, and made him a bit of an “outlaw” as bikers tend to have that reputation from the 60s though most of them tend to be retired doctors, lawyers, CPAs etc. today. So he’s singing a line in one of my favorite songs he did, “I Shot The Sheriff”.
And next thing I knew the concept was on my “genius pad”, and within a few hours it was typed into my pc and emailed to the illustrator who I felt could do it best, and bingo. Yeah, I know its silly to string a few words in which one of them rhymes together and “call it art”. But if you didn’t want to know, you shouldn’t have asked. Okay it’s a silly way to make a living, but somebody’s got to do it. So now you’ll know better than to ask questions. But I do hope you enjoy the cartoon. —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- Rick London arrived on the planet too late to be a swashbuckler but he is a designer, writer, musician and cartoonist. He is best known for founding Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts in 1997, “Londons Times” or LTCartoons.com. His site has app. 5000+ cartoons which have lured 8.8+ million visitors. His shops have about 1/4 million products from tshirts to mouse pads to aprons to iPhone and Droid Cases.