here are two anecdotes about comic book artist, illustrator, teacher, former roommate, friend, and subject of this portrait, daniel krall.

No. 1

dan signed up for a spy game. i forget the name but here's the idea: a deck of cards was distributed across the city. players had to collect each other's cards by 1) discovering one another and 2) shooting them with a toy gun. i had nothing to do with this. nor did our other roommate, simon. one night though, three masked men kicked open the living room door. they shot me, simon, and his girlfriend with nerf darts. they ransacked our bedrooms but were stymied in the hall. they were playing tug-o-war with dan's door. simon attacked the invaders. i locked the front door. in the hall, i yanked off a mask. the owner covered his face and ran. unaware that the door was now locked, he slammed against the wall. i jumped onto the biggest one. even though i was eventually thrown through a wall, i enjoyed the brawl. when the smoke cleared, dan and his girlfriend wandered in to the living room wearing nothing but a blanket. completely bewildered, he hollered "what the hell is going on?!"

No. 2

on the day that one of my favorite teachers passed away, dan found me crying over a sink full of dishes. he walked directly to me, looked at my face for a second, then hugged me. he didn't ask a question. he didn't say anything. he only saw that i was suffering and did what he could to make it better. i have a hundred fun stories about dan's friendship, but this is the one that makes the others so rich.

No. 3

when dan got serious about his college girlfriend, he asked me to help him stay faithful. "if i even look at another girl, punch me in the stomach." no way, i said. "c'mon," he pleaded. no! a few weeks later, he noticed a cute red head walking under our balcony. "look at that..." before he finished the sentence, i socked him in the stomach. he fell on his butt and began to heave. "thanks," he said, "i think i'm going to barf."

© 2006 rama hughes