Saturday, November 12, 2011

Junk Drawer/Sketchbook: Glori Comics And Stories

In the early 90s, I worked as a full-time promoter for an animated film festival. The festival "four-walled" theaters in certain cities, and I was part of a five- or six-person team which would typically arrive in the city three or four weeks ahead of time to promote the show, and then to run the show (the box office, t-shirt and video sales, etc.) once it opened.

Sometimes we rented university halls for our exhibition space, sometimes independent single-screen houses, and sometimes just regular chain movie theaters, like Edwards or Harkins. One of the fun things is that you never knew what kind of weird native staffs you'd have to deal with. Usually they were just the usual assortment of bored and lazy high school students and young college hipsters, but every once in a while there would be a real oddity, a totally memorable employee, whether it was because they were particularly funny or interesting, or because they were bizarre and unfathomable. Glori was an example of the latter.

Glori was a concessions worker at a Southern California chain movie theater with, I think, two screens. I'm not going to name the city or theater, but I've checked to make sure Glori herself doesn't have any kind of online presence, because Glori was her real name, and it's an integral part of what made her such a charming, peculiar character. Poor Glori: she was gangly and awkward, with a curious cloud of frizzy pale blond hair floating above a pair of bulging eyes and a vacant, slack-jawed expression. She was jittery and high-strung, jumpy and skittish. We loved Glori. We genuinely liked her (unlike the rest of the theater staff, who routinely snubbed her), and went out of our way to be nice to her, all the while marveling over her other-worldliness. I know that sounds kind of mean; what can I say?

Soon enough I was drawing pictures and comics starring Glori, some of which featured her in unlikely scenarios, and some of which were based on stories she told us about her own life, her likes and dislikes, etc. I just came across these drawings for the first time in many years, so I'll be featuring them in a couple of posts. Some of them I'm scanning as-is, while others have been doctored up, colored, etc. Here's the basic Glori character design, showing her in her theater uniform:

And a typical page of Glori comics (click for bigger) scrawled in pencil on popcorn-stained paper:

Note: the bottom two panels above are firmly based on reality. Glori LOVED Barney Miller reruns, and profusely thanked us for any and all kindnesses and considerations. Sometimes we imagined that Glori's hairdo led an exciting life of its own:

On the other hand, we always knew that Glori would always be Glori, no matter what:

More to come!


Civic Center said...

Love this, the description, the comics, and of course the Glori hairdo floating off to see if there are Barney Miller reruns somewhere else. The recoloring is great, too. Looking forward to the series.

Rod N OH said...

i LOVE this! No guts, no Glori!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sad Halloween is over because I want to wear a Glori mask.

nixiebunny said...

Dilbert looks just like the "Glori's mad" panel. How dare he copy Glori!

Anonymous said...

That's really fantastic stuff. Keep it coming!