PCOer Clive Collins writes:
Some years ago I received a letter from the USA, from a lad of 14, who loved cartoons. He said he admired my cartoons (sic) and that he would dearly love to be a cartoonist, but that seemed an impossible dream, so might I oblige him with a small drawing, or signature, so he could compile a book of his heroes. I duly obliged and despatched a small signed self-caricature.
A couple of years later, and another letter arrived, from this same boy – who had remained miraculously 14 – with the same request. I ignored this one, and thought no more about it until, a while later, a package arrived containing 100 sheets of C5 blank paper, and a note stating that as I was obviously too busy, could I please pass round the sheets among my fellow cartoonists for them to do a drawing and/or signature for the book of cartoon heroes.
At this point I contacted cartoonist Mell Lazarus in the USA and asked him if he had ever heard of this boy. I could almost hear the acid laughter floating upon the water between us, when he replied that the ‘boy’ was well-known to American cartoonists, and in fact was a middle-aged lawyer who made quite a living, buying and selling original sketches and signatures at specialist auctions held all over the States. The Americans had given this guy the bum’s rush, and he guessed that now it was our turn. There was a son but he had grown up.