Let me paint the scene. I've just returned home after a hard day's work, having stopped by the local comics shop as I do almost every Wednesday, to pick up my cache of new reading (if any). This week the haul consisted of the latest Popeye reprint from YOe Books and issue #137 of Alter-Ego from Twomorrows.
This issue boasts articles on the early work of Jim Shooter on the Legion of Super-Heroes, the last of multi-part look at the chaotic career of Flash Gordon artist Dan Barry, a regular Mr.Monster entry from Michael T. Gilbert, the monthly installment of FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America), two heartfelt tributes to recently the late great Herb Trimpe, and an article on the surviving members of the group that attended the first Comicon way back in those halcyon days of 1964.
But it was in the letters column that I got the shock as I turned the page innocently enough and there before my eyes was the lovely image of the Phantom Eagle seen above. The thing is, this one-of-a-kind item is hanging in my back bedroom where the small mountain of long boxes which contain my still-to-big collection resides. There's my name, the inscription and Herb Trimpe's signature where he made this beautiful portrait of one of his more obscure heroes for yours truly. Also on that day by the way I was able to get both Herb Trimpe and Gary Friedrich to sign my very own copy of Marvel Super-Heroes #16.
It seems that the folks at Alter-Ego, eager to locate images of Phantom Eagle chanced upon this post of mine from five years ago and used Herb's beautiful art in an answer to a question about a recent Trimpe reflection the magazine did.
I was startled to see the picture and to see this blog credited as the source. I'm not someone who is accustomed to seeing his name in print. It was rather a thrill to be honest and I hopped up (as best I could since I'm nursing a mild sprain to my knee) and shared the discovery with my wife and as it turns out my oldest daughter to whom she was then speaking on the phone. That daughter was in fact with me at the convention where I happily met Trimpe and where he produced the Phantom Eagle drawing for me.
It's not big deal, but I have to say it was an exceedingly pleasant surprise.