Yesterday, I sat down with caricature artist Howard Bender via Skype and gave him carte blanche to draw what he saw on his computer screen.
Bender grew up in Highland Park, did the New York City thing many creatives do, spent 30 years in New Jersey, and now lives with his wife in Mt. Lebanon.
Bender, who's been drawing caricatures for more than 30 years and is a member of the National Cartoonists Society, went to the now-defunct Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh before moving to NYC in 1974.
"I moved to Manhattan to find work and eventually ended up at Marvel and DC comics and Archie [Comics]."
Bender has drawn Superman for Action Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes, Dial H for Hero, and more celebrated comics, so I knew I was in good hands and that he would accurately represent my lean but muscular physique.
But as with any business during the coronavirus, Bender's caricature schedule has taken a hit with many clients canceling their in-person appointments.
"I don't know how I'm going to pay my bills. I was wondering if they were going to stop sending them," says Bender with a chuckle. "That's why I thought of this thing for five bucks for a caricature online."
Coronavirus sucks. It's taking lives and livelihoods. But if there is a bright side, it's that people are interacting outside of their everyday spheres out of both need and desire for normalcy. So, aside from getting an ultra-flattering representation of my already perfect visage, I got to meet a great artist, person, and neighbor. You should get a caricature and meet him, too.