By Dean Haspiel
I was not prepared for what Arlen was going to do with my words. What started as a candid response to the art and business of making comix turned into this beautiful gift from artist/designer/comic book historian, Arlen Schumer. If you know me, you know that I love The Fantastic Four and, despite my healthy ego, there is no way that I could have conjured this cover concept. It’s a poster, a comic, an homage and a mantra. I’m humbled and grateful that Arlen took his talent and time to create this for me and, possibly, other comix fans to enjoy. Thank you, Arlen, for helping make turning 46 a little bit easier.
(Caught on Camera! My response to Arlen gifting me F46 at Bergen Street Comics on my birthday)
PS – I asked Arlen to describe how “Fantastic Forty-Six” came to be:
“The text in the balloons of “Fantastic Forty-Six” began as a Facebook post Dean had written about 2 months ago; when I read it, I remarked to D that not only was it a heartfelt little piece about growing up with comics (specifically the Fantastic Four), but that I could see it as a Harvey Pekar-esque 1-page comic, in which Dean could address the reader over multiple panels with what he wrote, split up into separate word balloons.
When I began to actually design the page, it came to me that I could really bring the Fantastic Four theme to the fore by picturing Dean at 4 stages of his life–and as all 4 members of the FF! So I asked D to send me enough pix of himself so I could choose the best 4 to use, and voila! After that, the piece just designed itself as a mock FF comic book cover–even the title was meant to be!”