Gray Morrow was the first man I ever saw wearing an ascot in real life. I was as awed by Gray that day in 1969 as I was by him the last time I saw him on August 5, 2001. Gray was that rarity in this profession –- as impressive a person as he was a craftsman. I think part of the reason was best summed up by Larry Hama, who once remarked to Wally Wood, that he thought, “Gray Morrow was the only grown-up,” Larry could name in the comic book business.
There’s a lot to that observation. Because more so than most artists, Gray let his art do the talking. In a world of self-congratulating blowhards, Gray's quiet, unassuming dignity stood him far apart and way above so many of his peers.
In a business abounding with insecure talents (and demi-talents), who mistake being obnoxious for camaraderie and gratuitous insults for wit, Gray observed the game, but he did not stoop to play. Gray knew it was a game for idiots and he ceded the field to the experts.
Besides, Gray could lay waste to legions with the mere elevation of a single eyebrow. An eyebrow deadlier, more acute than a sack full of pundits in full rant. Gray Morrow saved his keen observations for the drawing board.
Because what Gray Morrow put on paper and canvas always was the truth. You'd look at his work and know it was right. He was certainly the master of what Alan Weiss so aptly termed, “romantic realism.”
Adrift in a sea of whiners, Gray bore what life dealt him with a -- that word again -- dignity that was positively regal.
I can only imagine the hurt he was dealt when the syndicate took Tarzan away from Gray after eighteen record years on that feature. If there is no justice in this world, I can only hope for a better place, another world, where Gray has taken up his fencing foil again and he and Basil Rathbone are having a ball playing Robin Hood.
Though Gray and I had never been pals, he’d been a gracious host to me a number of times over a number of decades and in number of his homes. Most recently on the peaceful Pennsylvania “farm” he shared with his beautiful wife Pocho.
When I say that Pocho was an expert and devoted in the care and feeding of an artist –- well, only those in this difficult field can appreciate what a truly daunting task that can be. I'm glad folks are letting the world know how much Gray meant to all of us. And I hope the world knows how much Pocho meant to Gray. I know she means a lot to us who loved Gray and love her.
God must be gathering in the best, lately. And I often feel as though the best of my childhood is vanishing more rapidly than I care to cope with. Luckily we still have Gray’s work and that is a comfort. A masterful comfort.