Page 325 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 12                       307


             in that mail-order form, page 70, I can date this Bill Ward first edition as
             1979, after my Son of Drummer (September 1978) which the ad pictured for
             sale, and before Embry’s move of office in mid-1980 from Divisadero Street
             which is listed as the address for the Drummer mail order.
                In what was a campaign of disinformation done with fun-house mir-
             rors, Embry wrote about himself in the third person using doublespeak in
             Manifest Reader 27 (1995), page 79. His special “news” box interview is
             datelined as if reported from “London”:

                British artist Bill Ward admits to a couple of problems. His for-
                mer publisher [DeBlase and Charles] won’t turn loose of his popu-
                lar comic strip, Drum, a feature in [Embry’s] Drummer magazine
                since 1978. And his new/old book publisher [Embry’s Alternate
                Publishing] has signed an agreement to republish much of it in a
                third [large, magazine-like format] book, The Fantastic Art of Bill
                Ward, but [Embry] can’t because someone else [Deblase-Charles]
                has physical possession of the originals. Ward...regularly shipped his
                originals to Drummer’s originators, [Embry himself at] Alternate
                Publishing. When Andrew Charles and Anthony DeBlase, dba
                Desmodus, Inc., purchased the  Drummer  title, they were given
                access to the Ward work. Now, both Desmodus and Drummer have
                been sold to new owners, ROB of Amsterdam, who also can’t shake
                the 450 Drum and Beau panels loose from Messers. Charles and
                DeBlase.... At the time Desmodus, Inc. was sold to Martin [sic]
                Bakker of Robb [sic] of Amsterdam, Charles and DeBlase allegedly
                removed the originals and took the entire collection with them.

                As eyewitness editor-in-chief of Drummer, I can swear again that in
             the 1970s at 1730 Divisadero, Embry did indeed keep a closet, just to the
             left of Al Shapiro’s drafting table, and that closet was a “trash heap” of dis-
             carded artwork, including dozens of three-by-four-foot cardstock boards, all
             original “Bill Wards,” each pasted up by Bill Ward himself with page after
             page of his erotic cartoon art for his continuing feature, Drum. Over the
             years, as people pass on, two of those panels have come into my possession.
             Historically, the majority of Bill Ward’s work that was not sent to Drummer
             was saved, upon his death, from a shed in England by his friend Guy Burch
             who wrote to me about the difficulties of saving Ward’s art work as well as
             finding the copyright owners for other deceased gay artists on November
             10, 2013. Burch’s scholarly essay on Bill Ward, AIDS, and copyright can be
             read at http://www.guyburch.co.uk/?p=2662.


               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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