How Others See Us (ii)

I’ve been contributing to “The Comics Journal” since 1988, and Fantagraphics, its parent company, has published three of my books. Recently, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, Fanta published an oral history, “We Told You So,” in which its owners, employees, artists, and writers, past and present, shared memories, experiences, and stuck knives into backs. On p. 443, the Journal’s present Managing Editor said this:

“Levin was an excellent, if eccentric writer… I often witnessed editors tearing their hair in exasperation over Levin’s pieces. Assigned to cover a particular creator, Levin would go and have a cup of tea with ‘Ruth Delhi,’ a recurring — probably fictional — figure in his article and write about their conversation. But then Hunter Thompson was known for his metaphorical digressions too.”

All but the “excellent” surprised me. I had always regarded myself, in Henry Higgins fashion, as a most appealing chap. But it was to Ms. — actually Dr. — Delhi’s defense that I sprang.

She might be, I assured the Managing Editor, a “conceit” or even a “device,” but she assuredly was not a “metaphor.” Besides, we didn’t just have tea. Sometimes we had vegetarian Chinese food, and, once, we even had sex.

“Maybe it was the tea that was the metaphor,” he said.