Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ramona Fradon

It's been a running gag betwixt JSH and myself that I've been holding out on a promised "Metamorpho Rant." Metamorpho, in case you don't know, is the Silver Age comic book character created by the esteemed funny book writer Bob Haney. However, I find I really don't have much to say about Metamorpho other than the fact I have enjoyed the breezy, silly, slightly surreal nature of the comic as a Silver Age artifact. I borrowed a collection from Lexington cartoonist Bill Widener, and it's made a fine addition to my bedside reading mix. It ain't exactly high art, but as JSH has said before, there's no distinction between high and low art, anyway. Metamorpho, to put it country simple, is a kick.

What's fascinated me for the longest time up in this Metamorpho thing is the artwork of Ramona Fradon, one of the primary illustrators on board with Haney for Metamorpho. First, she's a she. A woman artist? Doing Silver Age comics? Hot dog. Her style is spot-on for Metamorpho: nimble and expressive. Mrs. Fradon herself has gone on record that she percieves her work on Metamorpho as a pinnacle of her career in comics.

Speaking of "Mrs." her husband is another cartoonist, Dana Fradon, of New Yorker fame. And sorry, Mr. Fradon, I covet your wife. I want to build a time machine and go fetch the young Ramona Fradon. I would do my damndest to make myself her cartoonist husband. Ramona Dockery. Sounds good, doesn't it? As my buddy Joe Turner put it, "Nothing's sexier than a chick who is into comics."

Speaking of time machines, I have yet to track down any photos of the young Ramona Fradon. I wonder how she dressed in the sixties? So, if any of you readers out there can find an archival photo of Ramona (something in a mini-skirt, perhaps? did she wear high heels or was she a beatnik/proto-hippie?), for gawdsakes, forward them to us here at TransyGent HQ.

The whole time travel wife idea of mine may not be too far off the mark. Dig that less well known about Mrs. Fradon is her mystical side. Her book The Gnostic Faustus, analyzes the cryptic 16th century version of the familiar tragic story, finding it a metaphor for a Sophia-centered Gnostic creation myth whose message offers hope and a promise of salvation (she not only draws, she writes! hubba, hubba). So, I was already dreamy about Mrs. Fradon before I knew she was down with Gnosticism. Hell, get me drunk I'm likely to either profess Gnosticism or Anton LaVey-ian Satanism as my religious faith.

The fact that she studied hypnotherapy, energy healing, and Past Life Regression therapy and practices astrology even just makes her start to sound like the actual future Mrs. Dockery, Jessi Fehrenbach. The world's strange, ain't it? It probably ain't even real.

That said, come to me, Ramona of my dream-world. We'll live in love outside of time, discuss Metamorpho and what it was like to illustrate Bob Haney's scripts, we'll talk shop on inking techniques, and philiosphize about Gnosticism. Among other things, baby. Among other things...


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