A great pleasure in my life was to produce the Bob Marley biography Tale of the Tuff Gong as Editor-in-Chief of the Marvel Music line. We worked closely with the Marley family and estate through Bob's Tuff Gong Records Art Director Neville Garrick, who had painted some of Bob's album covers. I chose veteran Marvel artist Gene Colan (Iron Man, Daredevil, Tomb of Dracula) to pencil the series because of his cinematic layouts, but we wanted the finishes to be true to Bob's Jamaican and Rasta roots.
Neville introduced me to Tennyson, or Jimmy as he was also known, and he was the perfect artist to do the completed art. He did full oil painting over Gene's layouts and gave them a superb look that only a native Jamaican could bring to the project.
We spent a lot of time together and Tennyson gave the books a true Rasta perspective and opened my mind to an intense philosophy. Due to Marvel's distribution ineptitude (the graphic novels were only shipped to comic shops and not record or book stores as intended) only the first two books, Iron and Lion, were released and the final chapter Zion was completed but never released. Ever since then I have been working with the Marley estate to get the three graphic novels packaged as one trade paperback... so far with no luck.
Tennyson painted the three covers himself (plus a cover for the planned paperback edition) along with an incredible 10 page supplement that was a history of Jamaica and the Rastafari. Hopefully this reverent comic will again see print and enjoy the wide audience it truly deserves.
While at Marvel I also commissioned Jimmy to paint some covers for some horror titles. He did some wild covers featuring the muck-encrusted Man Thing and the Zombie from the classic Bill Everett comic.
After I left Marvel, I worked with Tennyson as much as possible and helped him sell some artwork including pieces from a series of African warrior paintings.
Recently I used Jimmy as a voice artist for an animated series about Sadistik, The Diabolikal Super-Kriminal. Jimmy played a character named Vex, who helps the King of Crime procure weapons and gets involved in other shenanigans. His character was inspired by the Rasta 'suffarahs' who faced persecution in the 1960s when the series is set.
Over the last six months of his life he kept painting, though he had switched from oils to watercolor. I miss Jimmy an awful lot and the world is really missing out on a uniquely awesome talent and his potential. I hope we can get the Marley book back in print to serve as a permanent testimony to his amazing skills.
I know with Jah as his guide he is in a place where Bob is able to express his thanks and praise for Tennyson's contribution to the understanding of the Rasta.
R.I.P. Tennyson--- RASTAFARI!