Beauology 101: Lost And Now I Am Found

Your Artful Dodger, Beau Smith

Your Artful Dodger, Beau Smith


by Beau Smith

I’m a creature of habit. A hitman’s dream job. I like my routines. I feel there’s order when you have structure. I’m old, so I have a lotta stuff. I’m somewhat of a “Clutter King”. That being said, I can usually find anything I need. When the chips are down, I’m really good at mentally retracing my steps, time, and habits. I’m pretty obsessive about putting things in the same place all the time, at least in the same room, but I am not infallible. Yes, you heard me, EVEN I MAKE MISTAKES.

This past summer I received a piece of original art from an artist friend of mine. After admiring it for a bit, I went to place it in the large steel credenza where I keep the bulk of my original art collection that isn’t framed (I rotate the framed art).

Art by Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis

Art by Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis


When I went to put the new piece of art in the correct section, I found a piece of Guy Gardner: Warrior original art that was given to me many years ago by the series inker and my friend, Dan Davis. It’s a wonderful Mitch Byrd/Dan Davis piece with Guy fighting Major Force on the interstate. A red flag went up because I keep all my Guy Gardner: Warrior original art in the same portfolio, and it wasn’t there. I usually keep that GG:W portfolio in the credenza. Please note that the reason I have all the GG:W art in its own portfolio is because when I do writing or comic book seminars at schools, universities, and some times signings, I take this portfolio with me to use in my talk. I always place it back in the cabinet once I return home. It wasn’t there.

Art by Brad Gorby, Flint Henry, Mitch Byrd

Art by Brad Gorby, Flint Henry, Mitch Byrd


Needless to say, that began a three day hunt here at The Flying Fist Ranch to find that portfolio with over 30 pages of Guy Gardner: Warrior original comic book art. I have a lot of rooms with a lot of stuff. It took every bit of those three days to go through everything. When it didn’t show up in the first day of looking, I started to panic a bit. Granted, I found all sorts of other stuff that I hadn’t looked at or fooled with in years, but the hunt for the art came first and no rediscovery of other forgotten gems was gonna stifle my panic.

Art by Mark Campos and Dan Davis

Art by Mark Campos and Dan Davis


After three days and no art, I have to say I was semi-devastated. There was a LOT of sentimentality attached to those pages. I wrote Guy Gardner: Warrior from issues #20 through #44 as well as two Annuals and a couple of specials. That’s over two years of being in the DC Comics family and a regular contributor, a childhood dream come true. I worked with wonderfully talented creators that would become life long friends. Talent like Mitch Byrd, Dan Davis, Aaron Lopresti, Phil Jimenez, Joyce Chin, Flint Henry, Brad Gorby, Dan Jurgens, Manny Clark, Rick Mayes, Tony Daniels, Mike Parobeck, and so many more. My editors, Kevin Dooley and Eddie Berganza, gave us almost total freedom to create and play with the DC Comics Universe. Again I say, it was a dream come true. As a child I would never have dreamed that one day I would write for DC Comics and put words into the mouths of icons like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, and personal favorites like Lady Blackhawk, Wildcat, and Tiger-Man.

Art by Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis

Art by Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis


To own original, one of a kind, artwork from a book that I had written with some characters that I created (Buck Wargo And The Monster Hunters, Dementor, Sledge, and Black Serpent-The Pirate King), was beyond words. Now to ponder that I may have lost them was heartbreaking.

I retraced my steps of the last few months and where I had taken the portfolio. There were school talks, seminars, and signings. I noted that I had made sure the portfolio never left my side during those trips. The art is so important that I watched over it like I watched over my boys when they were little. I came up with nothing.

At the end of those three days, I wept.

Art by Mitch Byrd, Dan Davis and Brad Gorby

Art by Mitch Byrd, Dan Davis and Brad Gorby


On the fourth day, I began to think. I couldn’t continue to rehash and replay this over and over. The stress and sadness wouldn’t do me any good at all. I sat and thought, God had given that art to me to enjoy since 1994. It touched me and I took it around to touch others that saw it and heard my stories of creating comic books. For a whole Season, the art hung on the walls of The Huntington Museum Of Art for so many eyes to see and admire. I had the opportunity to showcase my friend’s work to people that truly love art. That was a gift within itself. Now God had decided that I had enjoyed it long enough. There’s a reason for everything. I accepted that. I had to move on. If one day that art would show up, then great. But at that point, I doubted if it would.

Time moved on and so did I.

Art by Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis

Art by Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis


Sure, I missed it every now and then when I would stumble across an issue of Guy Gardner: Warrior, talk to an artist that worked on it, or a fan that read it. I would even check eBay and art sites to see if anyone was selling it, just in case I had lost it or someone had stolen it. Nothing.

Last week I had time after the holidays to get some stuff done here at the ranch that I had been putting off. One of those things was to clean out the closet in the master bedroom and get clothes that didn’t fit anymore, or I didn’t wear, and donate them. Same with shoes. I also wanted to get rid of stuff that had been using the closet as a hideout for who knows how long. I found four ancient cell phones, an answering machine, and a pager in there, along with a couple of cameras that dated way back and a Sony Watchman TV. One shelf was a Tech graveyard.

Art by Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis

Art by Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis


Then I moved a small suitcase. Under that suitcase was an industrial strength binder. In that binder was every issue of Guy Gardner: Warrior that I had ever written, neatly labeled and in chronological order. It caused me to remember that I always took that with me on those talks and seminars. Low and behold, under it was…..The Portfolio.

The Portfolio Of The Lost

The Portfolio Of The Lost


I had to really hold it tight to make sure what I was seeing was real. I opened it and ever page was there, just as I had left it. I let out a holler of joy. My wife Beth came running into the room to see what all the noise was about. She thought I had hit my head or fallen off the step stool. I was sitting on the floor with the portfolio as excited as a kid at Christmas. Beth and Flint Henry were the only ones I had told about the “lost” art. She was really happy for me. She went about her chores as I sat looking through the artwork.

After she left, I wept. Soaring, triumphant music played in my head.

I truly feel that God returned that art to me. I had NEVER placed any art or comic book related stuff in that closet. No recollection at all, and as I mentioned, I’m pretty OC about where I put stuff. This was a pretty huge deal to me. In modern days where fewer and fewer artists work on boards, where they have mostly gone digital, the original artwork carries more meaning that ever. I am so happy to have my friends back.

Needless to say, that art is back where it belongs, locked in the credenza with its clan of other original art. It is even more appreciated than it was, and now it has another story layer added to it.

Art By Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis

Art By Mitch Byrd and Dan Davis


For all of you that write, draw, read, collect comic books, and buy or produce original art, please use this remembrance to appreciate what you have and have possibly been a part of. You can also apply it to other things in life. I have. Most importantly, know that if you do lose something or someone, that you can move on. I don’t mean forget, but remember with fondness and enjoy the time you had. Prepare yourself. Nothing lasts forever. But sometimes you, or something you hold dear, can be lost and found again.

Your appreciative amigo,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch

www.flyingfistranch.com

USER COMMENTS4 Responses

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  1. gary kwapisz Says:

    One of the advantages of getting old and misplacing things is that when you rummage through your piles of ancient stuff every day can seem like Christmas!

  2. Dan Davis Says:

    Beau that was great! I went right down memory lane with you recalling in the early 90’s sweating over every line of Guy Gardner hoping I was getting it right!

    I have my own lost story of misplacing a V.T.Hamlin original Alley Oop daily strip and letter he sent me when I was 10. He was very gracious and wrote a two page letter telling me about an upcoming story on Astrology he was planning. I had pulled it out from its safe spot years later when I was working on the Alley Oop comic book series and Sunday strip for a brief time in the late 90’s and only later realized I had no idea where it was. Unfortunately it never turned up again. And I tore my studio and storage apart several times determined to find it, but no go. The most important piece I ever had or will ever have since it was that letter and strip that sent me on the cartooning path. It took me all the way to working on the very same Alley Oop strip, and everything I’ve done in comics including my current work on Garfield and Crankshaft. But philosophically I decided to “let it go” and reminded myself not to get too attached to material things, but remember the good feelings I had about it. And also I have a Hamlin Sunday and a daily original from the Astrology story he mentioned in his letter framed and hanging on the studio wall!

    Best,
    Dan

  3. Beau Smith Says:

    Dan, Thank you. I can never say that enough. Our time on the book and the amazing folks we worked with will always be a true gem in our vaults of memories. You are and always have been so professional and rock solid through all seas, calm and rough. You, sir were the backbone.

    Your story is wonderful and I’m glad you shared it with me and the others reading this. It’s good to think and know that we are not the only ones.

    Be good, buddy,

    Beau

  4. Beau Smith Says:

    Gary,

    You said it so well and without all the fat. Good steak!

    Beau