The comic book cover that alerted me to the fact that Bob Larkin was still out there, working his painterly magic.
At the time, I was an editor at Byron Preiss Multimedia, a book-publishing company that had licensed the rights from Marvel Comics to create original novels and anthologies based on their characters. (I ultimately got to write three X-Men novels under that license.) After coming across this issue at the local comics shop, I called my contact at Marvel Licensing.
“Hey, Mike, I just picked up Spider-Man Team-Up six. Was that cover done by Bob Larkin? There’s no signature, but that Dracula face looks like the one on his old Tomb of Dracula magazine covers.”
“It sure was.”
“Holy crap, you mean he’s still painting?” (See, since I used to come across his work all the time on 1970s comics and magazines, I figured Bob must be older than Methuselah—turned out he’s only a little more than a decade older than me. Wait—does that make ME Methuselah?) “Any chance I can get him for one of our book covers?”
“Well, here’s his number. Go ahead and ask him—and he’s approved, by the way, if you do get him.”
So, that’s how this fanboy got to meet —and hire—Bob Larkin, one of his all-time favorite cover artists. And it’s all been downhill from there… :D