I was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn in 1946.
When I was a little boy my father moved us to Lock Haven, PA from Brooklyn to be near his parents. We lived on a small farm, my father set up an insurance agency in town.
He rented out the large barn to a pig farmer, and the smaller one to a chicken breeder.
When I learned what was in store for the animals, I turned them loose. Many times, actually, as pigs and chickens don’t run away.
I did manage to drive a few young pigs into the surrounding woods, and they were not caught.
Deer and pheasant hunters would ask for permission to hunt on our land. I prevailed on my father to allow me to post No Hunting signs.
Hunters would often enter without permission.
I would hide in the woods with my BB gun and shoot at the hunters.
My father whipped me for doing so, and took away my BB gun.
I borrowed a friend’s and kept shooting hunters. When that was taken away I fashioned a very accurate slingshot, which actually injured a deer hunter.
We moved back to Brooklyn when I was 9.
I turned my attention to ways I could help animals in the city.
I fed stray cats and rescued baby turtles.
Back then it was stylish for stores like Sears, Roebuck’s to sell little baby turtles whose shells were painted. Painting their shells eventually kills the turtles. I shoplifted turtles from Sears, brought them home, sanded off the paint and freed them in Prospect Park Lake.
I was an Animal Liberationist in 1956!
I fantasized about being an animal avenger, and drew very poor comics of an animal protecting hero I called the Hooded Hawk.
My best friend was Rennie Weinstein. I must have shared my fantasy with him because, on reconnecting after 50 some years, he asked me how the Hooded Hawk was doing!
I related this story to Natasha Sainsbury, my comrade-in-arms, soul mate and graphic design guru. She asked me what the Hooded Hawk looked like in my comics. Although little more sophisticated than a stick figure, I was embarrassed to admit that he resembled a Ku Klux Klansman! She laughed and sent me this graphic:
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