You might ask, “So what?” You might also ask, “Who’s Marie Severin?”
Marie Severin is a comic book artist who worked during the peak of her career at Marvel and, in semi-retirement, at DC. She is the sister of better-known Marvel artist John Severin. She is also the lifelong best friend of my wife’s Aunt Ellie.
So that answers the second question. Now back to the first.
When Eileen and I started going steady, her family became aware that I was a comic book fan. I think it was her mom (Ellie’s sister) who asked me if I ever heard of a friend of the family friend named Marie Severin. “Of course!” I replied with the kind of enthusiasm only a geeky fan can muster. From then on, Eileen’s mom and aunt were on a mission to introduce me to “Sev”.
We dated. We moved in together. We got married. We had three kids. It never happened. Every time Sev was invited to a family function, I was out of town. Every time I showed up for something just because she was also expected, she ended up having to punk out at the last minute. Years go by.
Then, finally, we moved into the house we now occupy in Nassau County, New York. After five months of painting and furnishing we start having company over. And we set it up so that, one Sunday afternoon in the spring, Aunt Ellie would drive in from Suffolk along with Marie.
What could possibly go wrong?
Unless I’m traveling, I work from home. It is a very rare occurance when I have to go into the office at all, so it’s truly exceptional when I have to go in on a Sunday. In fact, I can’t think of a time before or since that it’s happened. But it happened that day.
Ellie and Marie show up for brunch. I get to have a fifteen minute chat with Marie, but then I had to catch a train into the City.
Waste of time. We accomplished nothing — at least, nothing that couldn’t have waited until Monday. I come home hours later, long after the company had left, grumbling like an ogre with jock itch.
Eileen greets me with a cryptic smile and tells me to go downstairs.
We had most the basement set up as a playroom for the kids at the time. And there, on the wall, is a Magic Marker rendering of the Batman (true comic book geeks know that “Batman” takes the definite article).
Eileen tells me to look inside my office, which is right on the other side of the drywall from Mr. Wayne.
Staring down on my was a portrait of The Hulk.
I’ve never seen Marie again.
The family curse was quickly reinstituted and we continue to miss each other at every opportunity. Marie was supposed to come to I-Con one year, but ended up not showing and later telling me the organizers put her on the bill without informing her. (I don’t know if that’s completely true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some portion were.)
There was a noted artist on my side of the family as well. George Wexler, my uncle of blessed memory, painted Hudson Valley School landscape oils. His wife, Thyra Davidson, is a remarkable sculptress in her own right who is still working and might have had as prestigious a career had she not curtailed it to support George’s and raise their boys. Shortly after Marie did what she did, we visited George and Thyra at their lake house north of New Paltz.
“This comic book artist drew on my walls,” I told George. “What should we do? Cover it in glass? Coat it with some kind of acrylic?”
My uncle shook his head.
“No. Then it’ll never come off.”
They’re still there. I’ll post photos as soon as I can figure out how.
Are you still asking, “So what?” I don’t blame you. This is the kind of tale that makes for good oral history over a glass of wine if you’re ever over to our house. The only reason I bring it up is that Scott Edelman recently tweeted, “Uh-oh. Won’t be able to attend Capclave this year. It conflicts with Irene’s NJRW conference — and our get-together with Marie Severin.” So I replied and one thing led to another and he tweeted back, “Wow! Have you ever blogged about this? Photos, please!”
So this is for you, Scott!
“Holy microblogging, Batman!”