Randall "Randy" Maddox of Savannah, GA
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Another email from Glenn who I knew back in the days of Shuman Junior High School back in Savannah.
. I remember your freind Victor but all I rememeber is his wearing his collar turned up. I thnk he was emulating a vampire . . .
That was Randall Maddox. (Victor was out of town when Glenn knew me.) A Ďbest friendí Iíve never given his own page (except in passing).
Randy Maddox and I were inseparable during Jr. and Sr. high school days. Just as comic books first brought Victor and I together comic books did later with Randy.
I never bought Warren Comics titles, magazine black and white comics, Iíd guess Vamirella, a comic about a scantily clad vampire from the planet Drakulon is Warren Comics best remembered title.
Randall was obsessed with vampires. It was probably knowing him that prompted me to read Bram Stokerís Dracula (a weak novel, sometimes I think Iím the only person nowadays who enjoys it Ė I read it twice and could easily imagine reliving the familiar story a third time). To me vampires meant Christopher Lee in the Hammer Dracula movies. I can easily believe that it was the erotic sideband of vampirism that made it appealing for many (certainly the case with the awful Anne Rice dreck). For me Leeís stern, impassive presence was a perfect embodiment of the superior outsider confronted with the trash of the human race.
Randy and I spent most of our Saturdays together. My momma would take me over to his house and weíd sit and talk. Probably largely about comic books. Randy drew comics about vampires. His hero was a good vampire (this predates Rice and her epigone) who slew evil vampires (predates Angel as well). I think it was mix of Dark Shadows and Doctor Strange drawn after the manner of Jack Kirby.Iím pretty sure Randy was the hero by name.
For a short time I even drew my own comics. Probably not even a hundred pages. (Iím sure the effort influenced the drawings I did for the child psychologist. Big Kirby men and women, although Iíd imagine the melon-sized breasts on the latter looked like proof of heterosexuality.)
We mustíve talked about other things as well. We were really good friends. But two things came to pass.
One day Randall decided that heíd committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. As sins go it is pretty vague. It has something to do with denying Christ. It is the one unforgivable sin. No matter what you do or feel or think Jehovah will cast you forever into hot bubbling damnation if you commit it.
The details are gone. I suspect Iíd passed into atheism (or back then agnosticism) and taken Randy with me. Suddenly his upbringing caught up with him and he felt himself eternally, inescapably damned. The silliness of it aside, how would you feel if youíd doomed yourself to unending, unendurable torment?
Randall had grown up insulated from the world. His parents were kind but ignorant people who lived for Jesus (his mother was the only person I'd met who read the National Enquirer, this back in a time that makes the current edition of the tabloid look like Newsweek). I went to his church once. It made the Bible Baptist Church seem like a happy place. It was dour, spare, all imagination wholly sucked out.
Randy and I remained friends for a time. I did what I could to cheer him. Nothing really.
I was translated from high school to college; Victor and John Belue came to Savannah. I discovered sex, drugs and shrugged off much of my past.
I came out to Randy. He was still deep in my affections. I said Iíd like to meet a gay guy that I liked as much as him. He didnít mistake me: he didnít think that I wanted to have sex with him. He wasnít angry or hateful. He was, as we said back then, freaked out.
Our friendship ended. And I fear I tormented him some. Johnís influence had begun. What exactly we did I donít recall. Call him on the phone, at work maybe. And tell him this was God calling and that he was going to Hell and hang-up. Nothing clever, mere childish sadism.
Last I knew of him he was going to Armstrong State College to get a degree in Business (probably his fatherís influence, dad was a life insurance salesman).
Using Google today I managed to track down a couple of references. His parents died, separately not many years ago.
I donít care if heís still bound by the chains of Christianity. I do hope he decided that heís not going to Hell..