A friend of mine, Steve Groves, was a talented writer and an amazing cartoonist. I think he had a hard time believing it, though.
For a while he drew a weekly strip for a local newspaper, called The Grove, that featured humans and animals in a small town. The main character had moved home from the big city and would often question just why. The humour veered between gentle and biting, as all the best satire does.
A sample cartoon is at the top of this post. I often told Steve that The Grove reminded me, in tone and in execution, of Bloom County. He’d always mumble something in an embarrassed voice about how it “can’t be that good”, but it was.
(He would sometimes tell me that he found my success in writing inspiring, and I’d mumble something in an embarrassed voice, because I know how much rejection I’ve collected, how much further I feel I have to go. So I guess that particular knife cuts both ways.)
Steve died last year after a battle with cancer. A mutual friend, one T. Keith Edmunds, set about on a project to gather some of Steve’s work into a memorial collection. Mine arrived on Thursday, and it’s gorgeous. 96 pages of cartoons, drawings, sketches, and notes for projects that run the gamut from “kid’s book” to “nightmarish monster hunter”.
Thanks, Keith. And of course, thanks, Steve.
Unfinished Stories: The Art of Stephen Groves is available for purchase, as are select prints of Steve’s work.