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George Moody – A Tribute

George pictured with one of his treasured Mystery In Space comicbooks

George pictured with one of his treasured Mystery In Space comicbooks

Indulge me while I take a few minutes to talk about George Moody.

Who?

Hey, come on, now . . . just stick with me for a few minutes.

I met George at a comicbook fair in the Griffin Hotel in Leeds more than 30 years ago. Like me, he was wandering around the stalls with his chum, Paul, drooling over the books pinned to the wall. I watched the pair of them and it was clear they were interested in the same stuff that I was: silver age DC comics, in other words. Perfect!

Perfect? Why’s that, Unca Pete?

Well, see . . . at the time, I had a massive comicbook collection that included every DC and Marvel title (plus most Dell, Gold Key, Harvey, Archie Charlton and many others) stocked solidly from November 1959 through into the 1980’s . . . and also at that time, I was in desperate need of additional income. Thus I had gone to the fair in the hope of finding a potential buyer. And here were two of them!

I approached them and asked if they were interested in seeing my books with an interest in buying some. They said yes and they followed me out of Leeds to my house in Harrogate, about 15 miles northward.
 Nicky provided cups of tea and pieces of cake all round while George and Paul perused the several thousand comics neatly stacked in strict number and title order on the shelves. Paul was pretty shrewd but—

Shrewd, Unca Pete?

Kept his cards close to his chest.

Oh.

—but not so George. Nosirree. Each time George encountered a favourite issue, he kept letting out howls like to put Lon Chaney to shame while, with each such expulsion, Paul gave George a glare or a kick in the shins. Sometimes both. The upshot was they put together a good-sized pile and we agreed a price. Believe me, that transaction lifted Nicky and me out of the mire. And subsequent meet-ups continued in much the same.

Is this going anyplace, Unca Pete?

Yes. Be patient.

The splash page of ‘The Hand From Beyond’ from Strange Adventures #110 (November 1959)

Strange_Adventures_110_03

The splash page of ‘The Hand From Beyond’ from Strange Adventures #110 (November 1959

That collection pretty much went . . . most of it to Paul and George but other stuff finding its way to similar homes. But fortunes do come and go and as things improved, well, I re-bought much of the stuff I hadn’t wanted to let go in the first place. And the main part of that stuff, for the record, was just two titles from DC: Mystery In Space and Strange Adventures . . . which I built up to within just four issues short of full runs (all four, incidentally, being copies of Strange Adventures).
The relationship with Paul and George continued and, as we hope will be the way of all friendships, it blossomed along the way.

So we wind it all up to now—

Is this where it’s going, Unca Pete?

This is where it’s going.

For several years now, Paul and George and I have gone out to dinner once a month . . . just to talk about comics. Oh, plus books and movies and old TV shows . . . but mainly comics.

And then, around three years ago, George started looking a little peeky. I don’t know who mentioned it first between me and Paul but it was mentioned . . . and eventually we decided we had to say something to George. Was he okay? That kind of thing.

Well, as you may have guessed, George was not okay. A particularly unpleasant illness was giving him a tough time but, George being George, he dismissed it and ordered his food as the conversation moved on to the likes of Blackhawk, Superman, Tomahawk, Rip Hunter and, most of all, Adam Strange, who, thanks to the zeta-beam, was the star of the space-lanes, multiple saviour of the planet Rann and the beloved of Alanna. There’s his photo, see . . . and that’s an issue of Mystery In Space. And the lead story is called Menace of the Aqua Ray Weapon’. Hoo hah!

I’ve read some of those stories, Unca Pete.

Yes, you have. I read them to you.

Anyway, George put up a good fight. But, you know, once you step up into the ring with this particular opponent—the one that George was facing, I mean—there’s only so many times you can keep slugging when the bad guy just won’t lie down . . . in fact, the disease actually keeps on getting stronger until, well, it just squeezes all the life out of you.

This what’s happened to George?

Yep. George slipped away with a minimum of fuss a little after 5 am on Monday morning, 30 December. He was just 62 years old.

Are you very sad?

Yes, I’m very sad. And so is Paul—Paul in particular, in fact. Remember, Paul and George have been friends since they were around 5 years old.

Oh. That’s . . . that’s more than fifty years.

That’s right. A long time.

So, we’re going to miss George’s quick-fire test questions about titles and stories in the halcyon long-ago days of DC’s glorious Silver Age . . . and we’ll miss those lycanthropian howls and growls—

Is that a word, Unca Pete? Lycanthropian?

It is now. We’ll miss those howls and growls of pure unadulterated joy each time the talk turned to something that held special interest for George . . . and we’ll miss seeing the expressions of horror on the faces of the other diners in the restaurant when they spun around in terror as they prepared to face whatever creature had snuck in.

But it was just George.

It was just George.

So that’s pretty much all I wanted to say and I’ve said it on behalf of both Paul and me. Cos we loved that nutty guy and we’ll miss the heck out of him. But he won’t care.

Won’t he?

Nah. He’s hanging out with the big guys now . . . Carmine and Julie and all the other writers and artists from the bygone great years of the American comicbook; and they’ll be telling him stories and drawing him pictures and . . . and if you just pull that window open right there, just for a second, and . . . can you hear?

Is it the wind?

It sounds like the wind, sure . . . but, no; I reckon it’s just George getting excited. He’s hopped off of the zeta beam and, for the first time in a few years, he’s okay . . . feeling fit and frisky.

Now I’m sad, Unca Pete.

hand-from-beyond-sketch

George’s reimagining of that page, drawn completely freehand in the fall of 1976.

Hey, don’t be. George wouldn’t want that. Celebrate his life . . . just the way all these other folks who are reading this eulogy are going to do. We’ve all of us—well, we fortunate ones—we’ve all got a George. They make us happy. And it’s been a real pleasure and honour for me to have known him.

George’s reimagining of that page, drawn completely freehand in the fall of 1976.

Well, you can, you know.

How?

Read one of the comics he so loved.

Can I read the one about the aqua-ray weapon?

Well, okay. But take care of it, okay?

Okay G’night, Unca Pete.

G’night.

And good night to you, too, George, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Happy trails, mate.

Pete Crowther

New Year’s Eve, 2013

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