I wish I could share many wonderful memories with you about my encounters with Jeffrey Catherine Jones, but I can’t, even though I’m pretty sure our paths must have crossed dozens of times from the early ’70s through the early ’80s. I have a couple of scraps of proof of that, too, in the form of autographs I collected when I was one of those annoying kids with a sketchpad you see at comic conventions.
I started attending cons in 1970, started on staff at Marvel in 1974, and burned out on it all by around 1982, but between the beginning and the end, I can picture chatting with Jones many times, even remembering the rooms in which we spoke. I can see her now scribbling her name on the sheets of paper below, and in front of one of her massive paintings at a Phil Seuling con as I said how much I loved it, and at a 1973 Cosmic Con in Toronto, where I bought one of her drawings which had been a spot illo in an issue of Amazing. (Art I’ve been fruitlessly trying to locate for years, BTW, and another quick search today continues to leave me puzzled.)
But as to the content of what we said … nothing. It must have all been inconsequential small talk.
Which bothered me at first, until I started thinking …
In the long run, does it really matter? Because with her art, she moved me. Her paperback covers made me buy books that I would never have otherwise bought. Her comics, particularly a Wonder Woman cover that sticks in my mind, showed me that comics could be done differently. Her career choices proved that a comics creator could expand beyond the limits of the comics themselves, and evolve to encompass greater ambitions. And her bravery regarding gender issues opened minds, spread understanding, and taught tolerance.
And wouldn’t she, wouldn’t any artist, rather I remember all of that than any trivial anecdote of a brief encounter at a con or at a party? I’d like to think that she would.