A comment was added earlier today that read simply “Max was my father.” For those of you with a Star Wars fetish, forget all that stuff. This wasn’t some crazy plot twist that turned a thirteen-year-old’s world on it’s head!
Max was the inspiration for a local jewelry wholesaler’s comic strip. When I say “Jewelry Wholesaler”, you need to think of something bigger and more impressive than you are just now. Fargotstein and Sons (I believe that was the official name- forgive me if I’ve misspelled or misremembered) was a massive building that employed many interesting people. In the time before computers, they generated a LOT of paper. One of the kinds of paper was a trade newspaper that doubled as their catalog updates. (Their catalogs were truly something, too)
And one of the features that was in their trade newspaper was a comic strip. I, a young cartoonist who had been supplying them with line art of ring findings and similar stuff, had been asked if I could do the comic strip they wanted. Well, of course they hadn’t thought of me as a cartoonist, they’d thought of me as a technical illustrator or that-kid-that-can-draw or something. I said, “Why yes, I can happily supply you with a comic strip.”
And for years, I did. Max was the name they gave me, and I was told that Max was a Bench Jeweler. I was introduced to Fargotstein’s bench jeweler, who showed me how and where he worked. I was given a few personality cues about Max, and was set to work.
All that was years ago. The real Max, of course, had already gone before I started the cartoon, and since then Fargotstein’s is gone, too.
Imagine how strange it is to suddenly hear “Max was my father.” The Max in my head is entirely a cartoon character, drawn mostly on 22″ bristol paper because there was no computer into which he needed scanning. But of course, there are other people who knew the REAL Max. A real Max who never knew there was a cartoon character based loosely on a brief description of how fantastic and talented a guy he was.