While at Terrificon, I got a chance to meet one of my favorite animators, Bob Camp co-creator of Ren & Stimpy. Before every Comic Con event, I like to do a little research on who will be there doing signings, partly to see if I have any comic’s they worked on, and partly to educate myself a little more on the individual before I meet with them. Come to find out, Bob Camp wasn’t just a storyboard artist for Cow and Chicken, Thundercats and SpongeBob SquarePants, he also worked at Marvel Comics during the 80s working on titles such as G.I. Joe, Savage Tales and one of my favorites, Moon Knight.
The particular issue I had that Bob Camp was actually an inker on, was Moon Knight’s Vol 1 #21. And this is where my Comic Con interview starts. After showing him the issue that I would appreciate him signing, he begins to tell me a story behind this issue
Bob: “This is Moon Knight #21, which I inked. It has a nice Bill Sienkiewicz cover and Vincente Alcazar pencils, nice pencils.” Right there made me raise my eyebrows as Camp wasn’t just blindly signing away prints and covers, but he was familiar with the particular issue and as he would explain, it’s an issue that sticks out in his memory for personal reasons.
Bob: “So this is the first Marvel Comic book I ever inked and I was really nervous about it, and it really isn’t very good.” (His words not mine!) “So I showed it to one of the guys at Marvel, Elliot Brown, who is known for his frankness. And I kid about it to him to this day. So I said, ‘Elliot what do you think of the inks?’ and he goes ‘It looks like you inked it with the corner of a wet sponge’.” I couldn’t help but laugh at that. Here I am with a comic that I acquired some years before because of my Moon Knight love, and the inker is telling me how one of the Marvel staff members thought it wasn’t very good!
Bob: “So this comic book has some history, it has a special place in my heart.”
Wondering how a comic book inker for Marvel evolves into the crude humor of Ren & Stimpy, Bob explains a little more about his early career.
Bob: “Its self-preservation, trying not to starve. You know, I would take any kind of art jobs that I could. I mean, when I started working at Marvel, I didn’t even read comic books. I was a street caricature artist.” It seems the more and more artists and writers I talk to that started in the 80s, got their start in very much the same way. And when the opportunity to work for Marvel came along, they took it for the job and not because they were comic book reader, just doing whatever they can to keep going.
Bob: “And then in the mid 80’s, a friend of mine said ‘I’m leaving Thundercats if you want my job doing character design’. So then suddenly I was doing animation.” From there, Bob Camp would work on many cartoons that were influential to many of us 80s and 90s babies; The Real Ghostbusters, Tiny Toon Adventures and even some film storyboard work such as; How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (2000) and Scooby-Doo (2002).
Ending my interview as he signed Moon Knight #21 for me, we got off topic and sang the “Log” song from Ren & Stimpy. Yes, I sang the catchy tune about “everyone’s favorite snack” from Ren & Stimpy with one of its Co-Creators. That has to be somewhere on my nostalgia filled bucket list somewhere.
*Log, from Blammo