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This page is in remembrance of my great good friend Thomas W. "Raye" Horne, who prematurely departed this earthly plane on June 5, 1995. He was one of my two closest friends for almost 25 years. Our first meeting on the first Sunday of September 1970 was inspired by our mutual interests in and love for comics. For over two decades, a period encompassing three marriages and two divorces, intermixed with the comings and goings of numerous girl friends, the deaths of two fathers, several career changes, heap plenty many business dealings good and bad, one house fire that destroyed a truly awesome comic book collection, the creation of a mutual and off the wall comix curriculum vitae, and some serious falling out, as happens in all families and among the best of friends, we remained just that, friends who were more like family or maybe it was family who were more like friends, or maybe both, maybe more, but never ever ever one whit less. Well, maybe one time!
Too maudlin? Did you ever have a close friend -- no, make that your closest friend in life! -- die, especially suddenly and unexpectedly?
Just to keep the record straight, blood wasn't anywhere near perfect! About as far from it as yours truly and that 's a bunch! We had differences, some serious, some really serious, and some just ridiculous, that could get in the way of creative efforts. Too much to detail here. We finally agreed, though, that similarity is way overrated! The brother was truly one of the funniest people I ever met (even knowing comedians, writers, dozens of dancers, and lots of "creative wannabes" of every stripe), whose sometimes brilliant, and, yes, occasionally dim wit overlooked no target of opportunity, near or far, not the least of which would be yours truly, but more often than not none other than himself. A man of prodigious and diverse reading interests, Raye was a master of humorous self deprecation and could dismiss any complimentary reference with a quick throw away remark, i.e., "He was (sic) the thinking man's baggage handler", my personal favorite.
Brotherman could have some of the worst known luck in the western world with the fairer sex, a fact he used time and again to great advantage in comix, doing everything from contracting fictional exotic diseases to "romancing" the most beautiful and voluptuous women his pencils, pens, or brushes could conjure!
Witness his pen and ink likeness below left by yours truly on his 43rd birthday, as compared with the snap shot above (wherein he spoofs a mutual friend at a bar, though he never smoked or drank a drop his entire life) and compare with his more "idealized" renderings in various series immediately after that and other images in these pages. His alter ego, Wiley Spade, was nothing less than the "best and worst of his worst and best!" His work was more than this, however, and as time permits I will upload examples of his other work, (meaning that not designed for the "adult" market"), of which there is considerable. He did, for example, illustrated ads for a shoe repair store like none other ever. For years after we met we were two of the only three brothers we had ever even seen in a comic book store and until "meeting" another long time friend, Grass Green, the only ones we knew of who were actually making comix, hardcore though they were!
We fell out over everything you can think of, starting with a woman, then money, drawing styles, a comic book cover, deadlines and missed deadlines, more money, and finally a broken promise! This last was the most serious and we didn't meet or speak for almost four years, until one day I drove right past him and my mind's eye only recognized him a block away! And that was in broad daylight! "The fog that clouds men's minds is bitterness and it is very thick!" But "Sometimes the best possible things happen by chance!"
I called him that night and we took up where we had left off, but made a sworn pact to disregard all the things that didn't work for us. In retrospect, that was one of the gladdest days of my life because, in just two short years, he was dead! And only 50 years old! There just isn't a way for me to truly express how deep is the void left by the death of brother Thomas W. "Raye" Horne, aka Wiley Spade, but I make up for it by missing him every day of my life. He just can't be forgotten. Larry Fuller © 2000.