Escape n. 6, 1985.
31st August, Friday
In the morning I meet Frank Miller and we call up at the Marvel offices, a curious place. The people seem friendly enough, but the atmosphere is very different to the informal cheeriness of DC. The centre of the floor is given over to drawing boards and labouring artisans, while the offices leading off from the main area are apparently the kind that you knock and wait at the door of, before entering. This is probably simple company bias on my part, but with Marvel I did get the impression of a company who make the trains run on time. I don't seem to have an awful lot to say to Marvel and they don't seem to have much to say to me.
Afterwards, me and Frank call in at a bar and down some sandwiches and beer. Talking to him, I feel a strong affinity of approach; he tells me about his forthcoming Batman series for DC, his face contorting into the different emotions of his characters as he describes them. This is something I do myself, and it comes from a near-unbalanced degree of involvement. Frank tells me that Howard Chaykin's approach is totally different. Howard is very cool and calculating in his construction, or at least that's how it looks to me. Frank, on the other hand, has a more personal and idiosyncratic touch. Out in the street, I notice a smouldering manhole cover reminiscent of those which populate the New York of Miller's Daredevil. I point it out to Frank and tell him I thought he'd made them up. We say goodbye and I head back to the hotel to meet Karen and the Limo to take me back to Kennedy airport. We stand outside for half an hour but it doesn't arrive. Eventually, Karen has to flag down one of the killer yellow cabs. The driver is a young Hispanic guy with dripping black ringlets in the style of Michael Jackson. He says 'I'll have him at the airport twenty five minutes guaranteed, I like to move, I don't wanna wait around, you know what I mean?' SLAM! The cab takes off on two wheels and I'm splattered against its rear upholstery by the sudden G-force. Outside, the New York landscape flashes by at an oddly tilted angle. Twenty-five minutes later we screech to a halt outside the British Airways terminal. 'Course my best time is twenty minutes!'
I catch my plane. Later I look out of the window, down upon New York and it looks like either a gigantic bird-eating spider fashioned in fairy lights or a luminous man with antlers. Dinner is served. I drink a Scotch and half a bottle of wine and then fall asleep. I awake hours later, just as we approach Heathrow. We land and I make my way through customs and find Jamie Delano waiting to take me home. He asks what America was like and all I can think to tell him about is a bumper sticker that Steve Bissette saw bearing the legend 'I swerve for hallucinations'. I am utterly blank. I've left my heart in San Francisco, my tie pin in the hotel and my brains all over the back seat of a yellow cab at Kennedy airport. As of this writing, my heart has turned up in the mail and I think I can buy a tie pin just like the old one. Why are there no major comic companies in Bali?