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No.158

WILLIAM WOOLFOLK

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May 2019

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SPOTLIGHT ON GOLDEN AGE GREAT

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REUNION PANEL! With

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Relive The Pop Culture You Grew Up With!

Remember when Saturday morning television was our domain, and ours alone? When tattoos came from bubble gum packs, Slurpees came in superhero cups, and TV heroes taught us to be nice to each other? Those were the happy days of the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties— our childhood—and that is the era of TwoMorrows’ new magazine RETROFAN!

#5: Interviews with MARK HAMILL and Greatest American Hero’s WILLIAM KATT! Blast off with JASON OF STAR COMMAND! Stop by the MUSEUM OF POPULAR CULTURE! Poke fun at a campy BATMAN COMIC BOOK! Plus: “The First Time I Met Tarzan,” MAJOR MATT MASON, Moon Landing Mania, SNUFFY SMITH at 100 with cartoonist JOHN ROSE, TV Dinners, Celebrity Crushes, and more fun, fab features! SHIPS JUNE 2019! #6: Interviews with crazy creepster SVENGOOLIE and Eddie Munster himself, BUTCH PATRICK! Call on the original Saturday Morning Ghost Busters, with BOB BURNS! Uncover the nutty Naugas! Plus: “My Life in the Twilight Zone,” “I Was a Teenage James Bond,” “My Letters to Famous People,” the ARCHIEDOBIE GILLIS connection, the PINBALL Hall of Fame, Super Collector DAVID MANDEL’s comic art collection, Alien action figures, the RUBIK’S CUBE fad, and more fun, fab features! SHIPS SEPTEMBER 2019!

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RETROFAN #1

RETROFAN #2

RETROFAN #3

RETROFAN #4

THE CRAZY, COOL CULTURE WE GREW UP WITH! LOU FERRIGNO interview, The Phantom in Hollywood, Filmation’s Star Trek cartoon, “How I Met Lon Chaney, Jr.”, goofy comic Zody the Mod Rob, Mego’s rare Elastic Hulk toy, RetroTravel to Mount Airy, NC (the real-life Mayberry), interview with BETTY LYNN (“Thelma Lou” of The Andy Griffith Show), TOM STEWART’s eclectic House of Collectibles, and Mr. Microphone!

HALLOWEEN! Horror-hosts ZACHERLEY, VAMPIRA, SEYMOUR, MARVIN, and an interview with our cover-featured ELVIRA! THE GROOVIE GOOLIES, BEWITCHED, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, and THE MUNSTERS! The long-buried Dinosaur Land amusement park! History of BEN COOPER HALLOWEEN COSTUMES, character lunchboxes, superhero VIEW-MASTERS, SINDY (the British Barbie), and more!

40th Anniversary interview with SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE director RICHARD DONNER, IRWIN ALLEN’s sci-fi universe, Saturday morning’s undersea adventures of Aquaman, horror and sci-fi zines of the Sixties and Seventies, Spider-Man and Hulk toilet paper, RetroTravel to METROPOLIS, IL (home of the Superman Celebration), SEAMONKEYS®, FUNNY FACE beverages, Superman and Batman memorabilia, & more!

Interviews with the SHAZAM! TV show’s JOHN (Captain Marvel) DAVEY and MICHAEL (Billy Batson) Gray, the GREEN HORNET in Hollywood, remembering monster maker RAY HARRYHAUSEN, the wayout Santa Monica Pacific Ocean Amusement Park, a Star Trek Set Tour, SAM J. JONES on the Spirit movie pilot, British sci-fi TV classic THUNDERBIRDS, Casper & Richie Rich museum, the KING TUT fad, and more!

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Vol. 3, No. 158 / May 2019 Editor

Roy Thomas

Associate Editors Bill Schelly Jim Amash

Design & Layout

Christopher Day

Consulting Editor John Morrow

FCA Editor

P.C. Hamerlinck J.T. Go (Assoc. Editor)

Comic Crypt Editor

Michael T. Gilbert

Editorial Honor Roll

Jerry G. Bails (founder) Ronn Foss, Biljo White Mike Friedrich

Proofreaders

Rob Smentek William J. Dowlding

Contents

Writer/Editorial: Ghosts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 William Woolfolk Remembered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Donna Woolfolk Cross talks to Richard Arndt about her celebrated writer father.

Cover Artist

For The [Golden Age] Record . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Cover Colorist

The 2002 San Diego Comic-Con Golden Age Panel . . . . . . 29

A brief & illustrated look at Woolfolk’s script-records journals.

C.C. Beck

Glenn Whitmore

With Special Thanks to: Heidi Amash Richard J. Arndt Bob Bailey Alberto Becattini John Benson Ricky Terry Brisacque Bernie Bubnis Mike Burkey Nick Caputo Howard Chaykin John Cimino Shaun Clancy Comic Book Plus (website) Pierre Comtois James Colville Chet Cox Donna Woolfolk Cross Leonardo de Sà Craig Delich Diversions of the Groovy Kind (website) Sean Dulaney Duane Eddy Mark Evanier Justin Fairfax Jean-Michel Ferragatti Melodie Figueroa Shane Foley Four-Color Shadows (website) Dan Friedman Martin Gately Jeff Gelb Janet Gilbert Michael Grabois Grand Comics Database

George Hagenauer Rich Harvey Jim Kealy Paul King Dominique Leonard Mark Lewis Charles Lippincott Art Lortie Jim Ludwig Doug Martin Mike Mikulovsky MinuteMan/ DarthScanner (website) Patrick Moreau Russ Morisi Val Morisi Bill Morrison Mark Muller Joe Musich Ken Nadle Martin O’Hearn Leo Pond Audrey Parente Barry Pearl Paul Power Gene Reed Scott Rowland Randy Sargent David Saunders Sai Shankar David Siegel Louise Simonson Robin Snyder Bryan Stroud Marc Svensson Dann Thomas Steven Tice Boris Vallejo John Wells Ryder Windham

This issue is dedicated to the memory of

William Woolfolk, Russ Heath, Marie Severin, & Gary Friedrich

Mark Evanier moderates the reminiscences of Bill Woolfolk, Bob Oksner, Nick Cardy, Bob Lubbers, Lew Sayre Schwartz, & Irv Novick.

A Century Of Zorro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Audrey Parente & Rich Harvey celebrate 100 years of the first costumed hero ever.

“Squinkers” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Part IX of scripter John Broome’s 1998 memoir My Life in Little Pieces.

Mr. Monster’s Comic Crypt! The PAM Papers, Part 4 . . . . . . 57 Michael T. Gilbert showcases Pete Morisi’s origins of Peter Cannon... Thunderbolt.

Comic Fandom Archive: Jim Warren’s Code-Free Comicbooks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Bill Schelly tells how he came to write a book about the birth of a black-&-white empire.

Tributes to Russ Heath, Marie Severin, & Gary Friedrich . . . 70 re: [correspondence, comments, & corrections] . . . . . . . . . 75 The Star Wars Comics Reunion Panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

40 (or is it 41?) years on, Howard Chaykin, Charles Lippincott, & Roy Thomas reunite to discuss their roles in one of the most important comicbooks ever.

On Our Cover: In late 1939, Fawcett Publications printed a very limited “ashcan edition” of what it called Flash Comics #1 (see p.13 for scan), intended not for general circulation but merely to secure copyright and trademark. The cover art by Charles Clarence Beck spotlighted its new super-hero Captain Thunder, who wasn’t named thereon. When it turned out DC had beat Fawcett to the Flash Comics moniker, there was a second “ashcan,” identical except for being titled Thrill Comics. When they lost that race to Pine/Nedor’s Thrilling Comics, Fawcett launched its now-named Whiz Comics with a “#2,” and with the hero rechristened Captain Marvel. They never utilized the ashcan’s cover art in a regular comic; so this may well be the first time it’s ever seen print as the cover of a magazine actually on sale in stores. [Shazam hero TM & © DC Comics.] Above: As publisher and writer (and probably editor) of O.W.’s Mad Hatter #2 (Oct.-Nov. 1946), William Woolfolk scribed a creepy story in which his oddly named super-hero battled The Gargoyle, who a couple of panels from now will turn out to actually be a gorilla with the transplanted brain of a human murderer. Art by John Giunta. Thanks to the Comic Book Plus website. [TM & © the respective trademark & copyright holders.] Alter Ego TM is published 6 times a year by TwoMorrows, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews, SC 29135, USA. Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: roydann@ntinet.com. Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Six-issue subscriptions: $67 US, $101 Elsewhere, $30 Digital Only. All characters are © their respective companies. All material © their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter © Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in China. ISSN: 1932-6890. FIRST PRINTING.


A WOOLFOLK AT THE DOOR: part one

4

WILLIAM WOOLFOLK Remembered A Conversation with DONNA WOOLFOLK CROSS Conducted by Richard J. Arndt Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck

I

NTERVIEWER’S INTRODUCTION: Donna Woolfolk Cross is the daughter of William (Bill) Woolfolk and Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk. Like her parents, she is a writer and has written a number of nonfiction books as well as one international best-seller titled Pope Joan. We talked with her to gain further insights on her father, who began his comics-writing career working at MLJ (on “Archie,” “The Hangman,” “Steel Sterling,” “Black Hood,” “The Shield,” “The Wizard”) before a prolific period freelancing for Fawcett (“Captain Marvel,” “Captain Marvel Jr.” “Mary Marvel,” “Marvel Family,” “Captain Midnight,” “Ibis the Invincible,” “Spy Smasher”). At the same time, the highly in-demand writer also scribed stories for Timely (“Captain America,” “Human Torch,” “Sub-Mariner,” “Young Allies,” “Blonde Phantom”), Quality Comics (“Blackhawk,” “Kid Eternity,” “Plastic Man,” “Doll Man”), Orbit (Wanted), Hillman (“The Heap”), and others. During World War II he wrote The Spirit scripts while creator Will Eisner was in the Army and, after the war, tried his hand as a comicbook publisher with the short-lived O.W. Comics (Mad Hatter). In the early 1950s he wrote “Superman” stories for National (DC) at the same time he was writing “Captain Marvel” tales for Fawcett. When Fawcett closed down its comics division, he wrote primarily for DC (“Superman,” “Superboy,” “Batman,” Our Army At War) until late 1954, when he left comics altogether and moved on to magazine publishing (Inside Story, Space World), became an Emmy-nominated television writer (The Defenders), and a successful novelist (My Name Is Morgan, The Beautiful Couple). The comments by William Woolfolk referred to in the following interview with his daughter (conducted in September 2017) were drawn from the essay “Looking Backward… from My Upside-Down Point of View” by William Woolfolk (Alter Ego, Vol. 3, #6) and “William Woolfolk: The Human Side of the Golden Age”—an interview by P.C. Hamerlinck (A/E, Vol. 3, #24). RICHARD ARNDT: We’re welcoming Donna Cross, the daughter of comics writer William Woolfolk and comics editor/writer Dorothy Woolfolk. Welcome, Donna! DONNA WOOLFOLK CROSS: Thanks, Richard! I don’t know how much I can help you. My brother Donald was twelve years older than I. So he could have told you more about Dad’s comic book writing. Alas, he died in 2015. I myself was only eight years old when Dad left comics. RA: Knowing that, we’ll do what we can. One of the challenges of interviewing children of comicbook creators is that they often don’t know the minutia of their parent’s work, or the co-workers they associated with,

A Couple Of Marvels (Above left:) William Woolfolk with daughter Donna, circa mid-1960s, during her college years. Photo courtesy of Donna Woolfolk Cross. (Below:) Woolfolk was sometimes called by his Golden Age peers “The Shakespeare of Comics.” Among many other major stories, he wrote “Captain Marvel Meets Mr. Atom,” the tale that introduced that nuclear super-villain, for Fawcett’s Captain Marvel Adventures #78 (Nov. 1947). Art by CM co-creator C.C. Beck. [Shazam hero & Mr. Atom TM & © DC Comics.]


William Woolfolk Remembered

5

unless those people were also friends of the family. CROSS: Professionally, I may not know what you need, but personally I, of course, knew my father pretty well. RA: Well, shall we try a few names and see if they stir any memories? One of the names your father mentioned quite a lot in the interviews I’ve read was Seymour Reit, who co-created “Casper the Friendly Ghost” with Joe Oriolo. CROSS: That was my Uncle Sy! I adored him! Dad and Sy were very close friends. Actually, they were two-thirds of a triumvirate of close friends, with the third person being Reggie [Reginald] Rose. Uncle Reggie wrote [the drama] Twelve Angry Men for Playhouse 90 back in the 1950s. Those three were the closest of friends.

Defenders All! (Left:) When this photo was first printed in Alter Ego, Vol. 3, #6 (2000), in conjunction with an article written by Woolfolk, he said of it: “This is a recent photo of the senescent Four Musketeers. The combined years of our friendship total over 200 years. Reading left to right: Reginald Rose, screenwriter of Twelve Angry Men and many others, also the producer and creator of the once-famous Defenders TV show on which I served as story editor and chief writer; myself; Miles Cahn, owner of Coach Leather, which he sold for $20 million; and Seymour Reitt, who created Casper the Friendly Ghost and wrote two bestselling novels.” Unfortunately, Rose’s name accidentally got rendered as “Ross” back in 2000, but we’ve corrected it here. (Right:) E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed starred in the 1961-64 TV series The Defenders as father-and-son defense lawyers who specialized in socially significant cases. It is still considered by many to be one of the best TV dramas ever. Woolfolk was a writer and story editor on the series from 1961 to 1964.

RA: Seymour Reit was a writer/cartoonist, who also wrote quite a few children’s books. He worked for the Eisner-Iger Studio in the 1930s … CROSS: Sy was a cartoonist, most noted for “Casper,” but he also wrote for adults—one was a well-received book called The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa. In addition, he wrote animated cartoons and for Captain Kangaroo. He was an accomplished writer as well as a cartoonist. RA: Reginald Rose, of course, was one of the leading lights of early television. Besides his dramas for Playhouse 90 and other anthology-type television shows, he was also the creator of The Defenders (1961-1965), still one of the best lawyer dramas to appear on television. CROSS: Absolutely! My father was chief story editor on The

Defenders during that time. Reggie, of course, created and produced the show and probably did all kinds of other things, but my father was story editor for at least, I think, a year and wrote a number of the scripts for the show. One of those shows won an Emmy. The Defenders was known for taking on controversial topics of the day, like birth control—which was a tough topic in the early 1960s—and book-burning. I think both of those issues ended up in scripts written by my father. RA: Other names—do you remember Otto Binder? CROSS: Yes, Otto Binder was definitely a friend. A good friend. I remember him being talked about a lot. I’m sure he was at our house a lot and was included in my parents’ small circle of friends. RA: From what I understand, your father and Otto kind of split the writing on the “Captain Marvel” cast of characters. They also wrote “Superman” stories at roughly the same time. CROSS: That’s interesting. I have a journal in which my father, who was careful in that way, wrote down every single story he wrote for Fawcett, DC, Quality, or anyone else. He wrote down his title, the date he wrote it, the amount he got for it, the number of pages of the story, and then, in the back of that book, he has a few pages of his thoughts on how to tell a good comicbook story… how to craft a good plot. [NOTE: See the following article for more about Woolfolk’s journal.]

Bill & Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk in two photos from the 1950s. The one at left is courtesy of Donna Woolfolks Cross. The one at right was provided circa 2000 by their late son Donald Woolfolk for the first volume of Roy Thomas’ & TwoMorrows’ All-Star Companion book series, since (from 1942-44, before their marriage) Woolfolk’s second wife Dorothy had been story editor on DC/All-American’s All-Star Comics and related titles; she would return to DC from 1971-72 as editor of romance comics and Wonder Woman. In addition, during 1945-46 she was an editor at Timely Comics, then briefly in 1948 for EC Comics, working for Bill Gaines, the son of her old AA boss M.C. Gaines.

RA: What memories, if any at all, do you have about your father’s work at Fawcett? CROSS: I was so young when he left Fawcett that I really don’t have any direct memories. He was


6

FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America]

quite sought-after by various other companies at the time, from what I heard. Mom was editing, although that seems odd to me, since not many women were editors in those days. The story I was told of their meeting was that Dad would keep going by her desk, offering her tickets to Oklahoma or Carousel. He was married at the time, actually, Otto Binder but the marriage hard at work at left—next to a splash page he scripted for Fawcett’s Mary Marvel #16 (Sept. 1947), as drawn by his brother Jack. was on the rocks. Photo courtesy of Bill Schelly. It had been a hasty At right is a splash page scribed by Bill Woolfolk for the “Mary Marvel” story in The Marvel Family #33 (March 1949); art likewise by one, arranged just Jack Binder. Thanks to Mark Muller. [Shazam hero TM & © DC Comics.] before World War II. Like so many other young men, my father thought he was going off to war and likely to die. Anyway, it was at work that Mom and Dad met. I know that the reason they got married was that she got pregnant with me. [laughs] I just don’t know much about the professional relationship except I heard over and over again that he was the writer and she was an editor or something. [NOTE: See caption on p. 5 for information re Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk.] He was forever walking by her desk trying to ask her out. RA: Your father remarked in an interview published shortly before his death that he met your mother when she was working at Timely Comics, editing Captain America, around 1944. This might be because Stan Lee was in the service at the time and Dorothy had taken over some of Stan’s editorial assignments for him. CROSS: Towards the end, my father was already having some dementia. Dad passed away in July 2003. He was having cognitive issues. It was very hard to tell sometimes, because he was still incredibly verbal. Very articulate. Very charming, so most people couldn’t guess that he was having problems. But he could no longer draw the face of a clock, which is one of the key ways they test you for cognitive issues, so his memory of certain things may be questionable. RA: How long did your father serve in the military?

“War’s Over If You Want It!” By late 1945, when Dorothy Roubicek was an editor at Timely, Captain America Comics was actually being published only eight times a year, though the indicia still said “monthly.” Issue #47 (June) was the last with a war-oriented cover. That of #50 (October) featured a bizarre mashup of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (with perhaps a touch of the ever-dependable King Kong). The identities of the scripters within are mostly not known. Art by Alex Schomburg. Thanks to the Grand Comics Database. [TM & © Marvel Characters, Inc.]


William Woolfolk Remembered

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first. Dad was a little disdainful, because Sy had literary aspirations as well. Dad thought Sy had “sold out” because it wasn’t what they’d discussed writing when they were in college. Then Sy told him how much money he was making and Dad was, “Oh, good. How do I sell out, too?” Dad was making something like $300 a week when the average salary of a working man was $30 a week. Writing comics gave him the ability to live a good life for quite a number of years. For that kind of money, I would have sold out, too! [laughs] Dad was, for quite a while, the highest-paid and most sought after writer in comics. You know, I grew up believing, or having been told, that my father created the expression “Holy Moley!,” which was something that Captain Marvel/Billy Batson said quite a lot. Somebody else told me he hadn’t actually invented it but only popularized it. RA: Ken Reynhout, a cousin of yours, provided information about it to slang experts attempting to locate the source of the expression. They weren’t very successful

The Bad And The Beautiful—Not Necessarily In That Order Following problems marketing his novel Opinion of the Court (due to a newspaper strike), Woolfolk wrote two Batman TV tie-in paperback novels for Signet in 1966… under the pseudonym “Winston Lyon.” Thanks to Art Lortie. [TM & c DC Comics.]

then specialize in that sort of thing. Dad was a versatile writer. But that didn’t make him a name brand, where a reader could buy his book and know exactly what they’re getting. I think Dad was a little proud of his versatility, but he was also regretful that he didn’t just stick with one genre. RA: And he was a really good comicbook writer. CROSS: I know. Even today some of his stories stand up really well, while others of that period are just… quaint. I also think he was rueful, to use your word, especially towards the end of his career, when he became aware that his comicbook writing was likely to be the work that most people would remember him for. “Oh, my God, for comics!” That comes from the days when he’d been at NYU and had been a big hot-shot writer in all the writing classes. So much more prestigious than what was considered the “popular writing” of comicbooks. [chuckles] RA: The irony of that is that today some of the best writers, from both television and the literary world, deliberately write comics and see no problem in it whatsoever. It’s good for their careers. CROSS: But who would have thought that in 1940 or 1945 or 1955? Who would have ever thought that the comicbook would become this incredible iconic thing, studied by academics? Nobody thought that back then. It was just a job. If you were an artist, you were trying to get work in comic strips. If you were a writer, you were trying to get work in radio or TV or movies or books. Comics was just a first step—not the step. Dad looked down on comics, and his work there, for a long time. He told me a story once—that Sy [Reit] had gotten into comics

“Hawkaaaa!” The splash page of the lead story in Quality’s Blackhawk #38 (March 1951), written by Woolfolk and drawn by the deservedly legendary Reed Crandall. Thanks to Bob Bailey. [Blackhawk TM & © DC Comics.]


A WOOLFOLK AT THE DOOR: part two

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For The (Golden Age) Record A Peek Inside WILLIAM WOOLFOLK’s Writing Records Journal Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck

Try to discern whether your idea is a beginning, a central conflict, or an ending. Then plot forward or backward from it to include material necessary to achieve an effect. Every story represents a growth from the beginning to the end. This growth or change is the story itself, which is why with beginning and end known it is often easy to plot the intervening growth. —William Woolfolk, on story plotting; excerpted from the final pages of his comics writing journal

Marc Svensson

Martin O’Hearn

W

hen renowned Golden Age comics writer William Woolfolk was a special guest at the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con, he mentioned to videographer Marc Svensson that he had held on to his old ledger whereon he had kept track of his comicbook work for various publishers. It turned out that a notebook with Woolfolk’s meticulously documented sales records of his comicbook scripts did indeed still exist! Soon afterward, his daughter, author Donna Woolfolk Cross, allowed Marc to painstakingly scan each page of the journal. Since those scans were acquired, Martin O’Hearn has translated and transcribed the handwritten pages from the notebook, and added, where he could, information that Woolfolk left out on his entries: namely, where the stories were ultimately published.

Notebook Jottings (Above:) The “Jan.-Feb. 1950” page from William Woolfolk’s writing journal notebook—whose initial entry is the story “Feud with a House” from Fawcett’s Captain Marvel Jr. #89 (cover-dated Sept. 1950). Art by Joe Certa. [Journal image © Marc Svensson; Shazam character & Freddy Freeman TM & © DC Comics.]


26

FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America]

Jerry Bails and Hames Ware’s Who’s Who of American Comic Books. For what it was worth, I noted the sound effects in his two Batman novels as Winston Lyon. I was able to identify stories like “The Terrible Trio” (Superman #88, Mar. ’54) and “The Chameleon Stone” (Captain Marvel Adventures #91, Dec. ’48) in reprint. Years later, I could corroborate my list against a known story: “Jimmy Olsen, Editor” (Superman #86, Jan. ’54). In his History of Comics, Volume 2, Steranko had reproduced the first page of the script for that tale, which had Woolfolk’s name on it. Far later in the future, Marc Svensson had scanned the pages of Woolfolk’s notebook of script sales, courtesy of Donna Woolfolk Cross. I figured that, even without titles listed, most of the descriptions could be matched up with the published stories. Having the comics more easily available or better-indexed nowadays made the project easier than my research from decades earlier. The records confirmed a number of my IDs but also showed where, in my early days at writer-spotting, I’d attributed too many “Superman” stories, for instance, to Woolfolk. On the other hand, I’d credited the reprinted “Mysto, Magician Detective” stories from Detective to one of the usual suspects for the magazine, George

Kashdan, inasmuch as the Who’s Who never mentioned the strip as one of Woolfolk’s. Marc suggested I use the information when I started my blog, Who Created the Comic Books, and for some time I alternated a month from the records with posts on other writers and artists. Blogging the information meant quick feedback from other comics scholars who could help fill in data. The notebook shows how a comicbook writer becomes a prolific one: William Woolfolk wrote an average of 120 pages a month. His case differs from writers like Gaylord Du Bois and Joe Gill, in that he always has a number of different publisher clients per month. He starts the notebook a few years into his career, in late 1944, unfortunately, as his tenure on The Spirit is ending. He sells one last Spirit script in October. Since he doesn’t start putting in story descriptions until 1945, possibly the only notations would have been “7 pgs—Spirit” again and again, which wouldn’t have helped today’s researchers much. The records reflect the comic book industry shake-ups in the late ’40s and early ’50s, as super-heroes begin falling by the

Westerns & Wizardry Woolfolk wrote it all! Here, “Monte Hale Battles The Great Hunger” from Western Hero #94 (Sept. 1950), starring a Saturday-movie-matinee cowboy star, with art by Bob Laughlin, is juxtaposed with “Ibis the Invincible and Davy Jones’ Locker” from Whiz Comics #125 (same month), whose artist is unidentified. [Ibis the Invincible TM & © DC Comics; Monte Hale story © the respective copyright holders.


29

A WOOLFOLK AT THE DOOR: part three

29

The 2002 San Diego Comic-Con Golden Age Panel Starring WILLIAM WOOLFOLK, BOB OKSNER, NICK CARDY, BOB LUBBERS, LEW SAYRE SCHWARTZ, & IRV NOVICK Moderated by Mark Evanier Transcribed by Sean Delaney ~ Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck ~ Videotape © Marc Svensson

A/E

EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION: Actually, this panel from nearly two decades ago really needs no introduction—except perhaps to express regret that all six of the 1940s comics professionals who took part in it have passed from the scene since that day. Our special thanks to Marc Svensson for providing a videotape of this gathering and allowing it to be painstakingly transcribed by Sean Delaney—and to Mark Evanier for giving us his blessing to print it. As the panel begins, on an August day at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2002, one of its prospective members—artist Irv Novick—had not yet arrived, but don’t worry, he’ll make his debut before long… MARK EVANIER: I’m Mark Evanier, and it’s a joy to be able to moderate this panel every year because we get to spend some time with people who built this industry and who invented a lot of things that some of us of a later generation shamelessly plagiarized … but who also inspired us with their fine work over the years. We will hopefully be joined a bit later by Irv Novick, but let me introduce these gentlemen.

Starting on the far end … Over the years on this panel, we have had a vast number of people who at one time or another were “Bob Kane.” We’ve had everyone who was “Bob Kane” except Bob Kane. [laughter] For a period of time, this man was responsible for the work that came out under

Bob’s name. He also did a lot of other things, including some stuff that we will ask him to talk about. For this panel only, we’re going to focus on the seven years you were with Bob. And he was the guy who, at one period, I thought was the real Bob Kane. Would you welcome Mr. Lew Sayre Schwartz. [applause] We are thrilled to have with us on this panel not one, not two, but several of what we call “Good Girl Artists.” They drew real sexy women in comics and comic strips and this gentleman is one of them. He did a lot of work in newspaper strips. The strip I liked the most was a thing he did called Long Sam, which—I don’t know that I even bothered to read it. I just looked at the pictures. [laughter] It was very lovely. He’s had a very long career in comics before and after [it]. Mr. Bob Lubbers, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] The gentleman who, over the years, probably inspired more artists… people of my age bracket became artists with love of the way this man drew Aquaman and the Teen Titans and so many other covers. Especially a comic called Bat Lash. Mr. Nick Cardy, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] There’s a recurring theme here of drawing sexy women in comics, and this gentleman drew some of the sexiest over a period in DC books. Over the years his work we know best is probably Jerry Lewis, Sgt.

A Golden Age San Diego Six-Pack—Plus One A cornucopia-style composite of the moderator and the half-dozen “Golden Age” panelists at the August 2002 San Diego Comic-Con. (Left to right:) moderator Mark Evanier… William Woolfolk… Bob Oksner… Nick Cardy… Bob Lubbers… Lew Sayre Schwartz… Irv Novick. All panel photos © 2002 Marc Svensson. Mark Evanier is a longtime writer for comics and television.


FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America]

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when they worked with the other people on this panel. Bob, you worked next to Nick at Fiction House. Tell us about that. BOB LUBBERS: Nick and I met in 1941. I was hired by Fiction House to be in the bullpen to be one of the cartoonists. So I walked in with my business suit, white shirt and tie, and Panama hat. You all laugh, but that’s how we dressed in those days! And they put me in a chair next to Nick Cardy, and we haven’t seen each other since 1948, so this is a real reunion. I remember, my first day at Fiction House, I was scared to death… some artists had invited me out to lunch. We went up to Roth’s Deli, up on Broadway, I think, and we had a pastrami sandwich and some beer. And that made it an easier opening for me into the world of comics and cartooning. This man, Nick Cardy… one of my oldest, dearest friends and one of the funniest, most droll guys you’ll meet in your life. ME: Do you recall what you were paid back then? LUBBERS: I think about $90 a week. ME: How was $90 a week to live on back then? LUBBERS: No, wait. That was later. Probably $50 a week, maybe. After the war, it was $90. ME: Were you living well? Did you get a good place to live then?

William Woolfolk at a 1952 Christmas party (since we also wanted to show you pics of all six Golden Ager creators back in the day)—plus a gorgeous “Blackhawk” splash featuring the beautiful but sinister Madame Butterfly, from Quality’s Modern Comics #78 (Oct. 1948). Script by Woolfolk; pencils by Reed Crandall; inks by Chuck Cuidera, who had artistically co-created the series in 1941. Thanks to Shaun Clancy & the late Roy Ald for the photo. [Page TM & © DC Comics.]

Bilko, Dobie Gillis, Bob Hope… he drew Supergirl, he worked on Superman, he drew Mary Marvel. Mr. Bob Oksner, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] And one of my favorite writers of comics… you know, writers have not always quite gotten the credit that they deserve over the years. And certainly not enough money. [laughter] But this gentleman was one of the writers others were emulating in the 1940s, and I was very honored for many years to write the Blackhawk comicbook, and my model for what a good “Blackhawk” story should be was all the ones that he did. How many “Blackhawk” stories did you write? WILLIAM WOOLFOLK: I never counted. ME: But he went on to become a well-established, well-respected television writer—I wish they would rerun The Defenders, because I think that was one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Mr. William Woolfolk, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] I want to start by asking each person on the panel

Bob Lubbers in his younger, “Golden Age” days—plus his cover for Fiction House’s post-World War II Rangers Comics #40 (April 1948). Trust us on this—he was already good half a decade earlier than this art! Thanks to Alberto Becattini. See A/E #109 for a short bio-article by Lubbers. [TM & © the respective trademark & copyright holders.]


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FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America]

Irv Novick as a young artist—flanked by Golden and Silver Age work. (Left:) The cover of MLJ’s Pep Comics #18 (Sept. 1941). Novick was the original artist of “The Shield,” a flag-draped hero who pre-dated Captain America by a year and probably partly inspired the Simon & Kirby character. (Right:) He also penciled “The Case of the Purr-loined Pearl” for Batman #210 (March ’69). Script by Frank Robbins; inks by Joe Giella. See A/E #62 for a brief interview with Novick. [Pep cover TM & © Archie Comics Publications, Inc.; Batman page TM & © DC Comics.]

the same thing except for the sound, and Roy Crane gave us sound back in 1926 with “pop,” “pow,” “sock,” and “snag.” The only thing that was lacking, I think, was true motion, but if you look at an old Roy Crane Wash Tubbs or Caniff or any of the old-timers, everything moved. It was wonderful. And we were lucky, I think, the whole bunch of us, because we learned from such great people. And we were blessed. Very lucky. ME: Irv Novick was another man who drew a lot of “Batman” stories in his day. I wanted to ask you about Robert Kanigher, who passed away a few months ago. Can you tell us a bit about working with for over the years?

NOVICK: Well, some people did not like him. ME: Did he discuss the scripts with you in advance, or did he hand you a script and say, “Here, draw this one!”? NOVICK: Well, usually, he would do that. But he always wrote pretty darn good scripts, so I accepted what I got. I’d read them, re-read them, and I never had trouble with him. Some people did. ME: [to Woolfolk] Bill, did you read any other writers who wrote comics or read other people’s scripts? WOOLFOLK: Oh, I read comics on numerous occasions.

IRV NOVICK: He and I were very good friends for almost 50 years. We got along extremely well together. I thought it was easy working with him. Some people did not. But he and I got along very well.

ME: What did you think of the other writers? What did you think of the writing in general?

ME: He liked your work tremendously. You were one of his favorite artists. Did you find that he gave you a lot of input?

ME: Well, did you think the other writers were writing good stories?

NOVICK: Well, he usually let me do what I wanted, and he always wrote pretty good stories.

ME: Yes.

ME: What should people know about him personally? What kind of person was he?

WOOLFOLK: Compared to what? [laughter]

WOOLFOLK: We’re talking about comics?

WOOLFOLK: Yes. I thought they were dangerously good.


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FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America]

another.” Well, what they were doing was picking out individual panels from the daily strip that could be illustrated separately as a work of art. So they stocked these things up, then they hired an artist from Germany to come over, and this guy was paid to blow them up on the wall maybe twenty times their size and copied everything to make a painting out of it. Well, this is what this guy did.

To Capp Things Off Since the panelists went off onto a tangent discussing the great (if somewhat eccentric) cartoonist Al Capp, creator of the oft-wonderful comic strip Li’l Abner, we thought we should at least make a nod in his direction—with the Capp drawing at left showing both of them! [TM & © Al Capp Enterprises, Inc., or successors in interest.]

Later on, I went up to the apartment on Central Park South of the woman who designed this thing. I got off the elevator and right in front of me is a 3’ x 6’ oil painting—a perfect imitation of this one Li’l Abner panel. But I had a habit of putting my Morse code initials in the stuff that I inked and drew. “B” for “Bob” was dash-dot-dot-dot, and “L” for “Lubbers” was dot-dash-dot-dot. Well, here staring me in the face, this guy had copied my initials! [laughter] But there’s more to the story. They wound up with a stack of these paintings that were also sold as lithographs. Well, there was a big show prepared at the Huntington Harbor Museum in New York to show his work, but he hadn’t signed them yet. So they loaded the paintings on a truck and drove them up to Boston and had me pencil in “Al Capp” for him to sign. They propped them in his lap and he signed all of them and then they took them back and auctioned them off, making about $2.5 million. SCHWARTZ: I just want to mention that I was at that opening. CARDY: Did you hear the story that Al Capp once told? He was at

Go Peddle Your Papers! (Left:) One of the Spirit scripts reported to have been written by William Woolfolk for that comicbook-style newspaper comic strip is the one dated Aug. 27, 1944; pencils by Lou Fine, inks by Don Komisarow. [TM & © Will Eisner Studios, Inc.] (Right:) \Splash from Fawcett’s Captain Marvel Adventures #95 (April 1949); art by C.C. Beck. [Shazam heroes & Billy Batson TM & © DC Comics.]


45

A Century Of ZORRO

Celebrating The First True Costumed Hero by Audrey Parente & Rich Harvey

W

ith the swift slash of a blade, a remarkably romantic and clever vigilante in a dark mask and cape became the first super-hero to splash the cover of a pulp-fiction magazine—exactly one century ago this year.

turned to crafting pulp-fiction stories. He created several additional memorable characters in the pulps later, including The Crimson Clown and Thubway Tham, and he wrote under several pen names. But Zorro was his magnum opus.

Zorro, whose true identity is camouflaged by the foppish behavior of caballero Don Diego Vega, made his world debut in The Curse of Capistrano. That novel was serialized in five issues of All-Story Weekly, a popular pulp-fiction magazine, beginning in the August 9, 1919, issue. More than 60 Zorro stories followed in various pulp-fiction magazines through 1959.

McCulley, born in Ottawa, Illinois, on February 2, 1883, designed Zorro from studies of an old Californian mission town, about which he wrote multiple stories, some with and others without Zorro. His Zorro character highlighted a caballero’s spirit while also portraying the difficulties of the lower classes.

To the world at large, Zorro was wise and brave, cunning and clever, and a dashing figure of justice. He protected the downtrodden of Spanish California, punishing criminals and serenading lovely ladies. To his fans, he was the provider of thrills and laughter on the printed page, in a landslide of movies, television series, comicbooks, and licensed merchandise. Johnston McCulley was a writer working in newspapers in several cities for more than a dozen years before he successfully

Prior to Zorro’s debut, the 15th Century do-gooder outlaw Robin Hood frustrated the unjust Sheriff of Nottingham. The Scarlet Pimpernel, a nobleman and savvy swordsman who rescued aristocrats from the guillotine, had first appeared in a novel by Baroness Orczy in 1905. These icons of literature may have influenced McCulley, but his Zorro character added flourish by

Johnston McCulley (1883-1958), creator of Zorro.

“Z” Is For “Zorro”! A two-page spread (what pulp artists and editors called a “double-truck” illustration) from Johnston McCulley’s short story “Zorro Serenades a Siren,” which appeared in the Feb.1948 issue of West magazine. Art by Joseph Farren. “Zorro,” of course, is Spanish for “fox.” [TM & © Zorro Productions, Inc.]


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Celebrating The First True Costumed Hero

The Curse of Capistrano (Left:) That was the name of Johnston McCulley’s first Zorro novel, as serialized in All-Story Weekly, beginning in the edition published for August 9, 1919—one hundred years ago this annum! Cover art by P.J. Monahan; thanks to David Saunders for the ID. (Above:) Dashing silent-screen actor Douglas Fairbanks was the first to portray Zorro in movies, beginning in 1920’s The Mask of Zorro, a film adaptation of The Curse of Capistrano. [TM & © Zorro Productions, Inc.]

adopting a mask to conceal his true identity. Previous do-gooders had no secret identity or, as with The Scarlet Pimpernel, the persona was relegated to a calling card and disguises. With his flamboyance, stealthy personality, and mask, McCulley’s protagonist took center stage—and benefited from humorous interplay as the dandyish Diego with unsuspecting soldiers. In this respect, the swashbuckling Zorro predates modern-day super-heroes, who routinely wear masks to conceal their identities from adversaries. In 1920, The Curse of Capistrano—retitled The Mark of Zorro— was adapted to film by director Fred Niblo. The legendary Douglas Fairbanks portrayed the dual role of Don Diego de la Vega and the masked Zorro, performing many of his own stunts. Continued popularity of the character coaxed McCulley into writing The Further Adventures of Zorro, serialized in six parts in All-Story Weekly beginning with issue cover-dated May 6, 1922. This in turn prompted another film, Don Q, Son of Zorro, also starring Douglas Fairbanks. McCulley would not revisit Zorro again until 1931, with the appropriately titled Zorro Rides Again (Argosy magazine, Oct. 3, 10, 17, & 24). Thereafter, an average of one Zorro adventure (usually a short story) appeared in the pulps each year. All the while, McCulley churned out thousands of words for popular magazines. Notable among his stories were two continuing characters— Thubway Tham, a lisping pickpocket, and The Crimson Clown, a contemporary masked thief who mocked criminals and police

alike. The Clown appeared frequently between 1926 and 1931 (with a final story in 1944). Thubway Tham appeared in nearly 150 stories between 1918 and 1960. Although Zorro had starred in two motion pictures and would star in several more, McCulley’s authorial focus never remained on his Spanish hero for very long. McCulley’s indifference to his success probably arose from his own ground-breaking story. He never imagined Zorro as more than a one-off character. By the conclusion of The Curse of Capistrano, the masked caballero reveals himself before California’s governor, and the pueblo’s residents, as the young nobleman, Don Diego Vega. McCulley, confronted with a masked man who was no longer mysterious, simply ignored what had gone before. In subsequent stories, soldiers and citizens alike conveniently forget Diego is Zorro, even when he unmasks yet again! With years between novels, the author may have assumed readers forgot previous adventures, if they had read them, or banked on the difficulty in obtaining back-date magazines. Finally, Zorro became the star of a continuing series in West, a popular Western-fiction pulp, beginning in 1944. With new Zorro adventures almost monthly, McCulley abandoned the previous inconsistencies and settled upon a conventional format. Don Diego entrusted his secret to the mute manservant Bernardo, the mission priest Fray Felipe, and (eventually) his fire-eating father Don Alejandro, a wealthy, respected ranch owner in Reina de los Angeles. “Zorro Draws His Blade” (July 1944), the first West installment, introduced Sergeant Manuel Garcia, a rotund but loveable soldier who dreams of capturing Zorro—to collect the Governor’s reward. From this point, Garcia became Zorro’s recurring antagonist (the term “frenemy” had yet to be coined).


53

“Squinkers”

Part IX Of Comics Writer JOHN BROOME’s 1998 Memoir

A/E EDITOR’S NOTE: Although I’m pleased and proud to have been permitted, by his daughter Ricky Terry Brisacque, to serialize his “offbeat autobio” My Life in Little Pieces in the pages of Alter Ego (utilizing a Word document retyped by Brian K. Morris), I must admit that I wish John Broome had written more therein concerning his work in comicbooks and pulp magazines. Still, I find it fascinating to read all these pithy anecdotes about life in the U.S., France, and Japan from one of the most talented and important of DC’s Silver Age scripters—even more so because, between 1947 and 1951, he had also been one of the two major scribes of “Justice Society of America” stories. The flow of his book is a bit like what I’d have expected to hear if he and I and his editor/friend Julius Schwartz had gone out to dinner together during the 1998 San Diego Comic-Con that all three of us attended. And, in fact, in this installment, at least, John Broome finally tells what might be considered a couple of tales out of school about a trio of his former DC co-workers: writers David Vern [David V. Reed], France “Ed” Herron, and the aforementioned editor Schwartz.

S

PART THE SECOND

ome dubious encomiums that people have laid on me in the course of the years (but which I have chosen to regard as purely complimentary):

“You seem to believe that anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” At Woodlands, an adult summer camp in the Catskills, long ago: the opinion of another, presently nameless male camper. But did I really deserve this quasi-bouquet? I can’t see how. I was no drinker: weak stomach. And as for women, I didn’t begin to rank with someone like friend Dave Vern who in his forties already claimed to have accounted for 500 of the lasses, by actual body count. (… Saul has slain his thousands but David his ten thousands.) So in what way was I overdoing it? Sorry to say, it beats me now to offer an explanation, especially since the next remark seems to cancel out the first. “You don’t seem to exert yourself the way other men do.” This was Vern himself in one of his rare non-belittling personal sallies made to me about me. The only comment I can make at this ages-later date is that I certainly didn’t exert myself the way Vern did, although with equal certainty, I should have dearly liked to. And now some critical items, probably much better deserved, plus several memorable expressions of ill will:

Squinks, Squinkers, & Scripts (Top left:) John Broome and his young daughter Ricky, on June 9, 1951, with his family’s boat that, according to the handwritten notation on it, had been christened The Squink. For the probable source of that name, see his mention of the term “squinker” in this installment of his reminiscences. Thanks to Ricky Terry Brisacque. (Above:) One of John’s most famous comicbook stories, which introduced his co-creation The Elongated Man, appeared in The Flash #112 (April-May 1960). Pencils by Carmine Infantino; inks by Joe Giella, under editor/friend Julius Schwartz. Thanks to Doug Martin. [TM & © DC Comics.]

“You’re cold. There’s no warmth in your writing. I’m a much better writer than you.” France E. (Eddie) Herron, whose thigh was as big as my waist. We were both writing comics in the Fifties for Julie Schwartz (Herron after a stint as top comics editor for Fawcett). I had such a good in with DC editor Schwartz—who by the way, had started agenting science-fiction stories in the Forties to be soon baptized by writers like Ray Bradbury as the World’s First Interplanetary Agent—that I could travel abroad and send my stuff in and receive return checks by mail. This must have been a matter of some envy on the part of other “squinker” writers who had to stick close to the N.Y. market in order to sell. (“Squinker” was a term of the Fifties for


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(Above:) Thunderbolt and friends from the 1974 Charlton Portfolio (aka CPL #9-10). And say, is that Pete at the bottom, snoozing after a long deadline? [Š2018 the Morisi Estate]

(Above:) Louise and Pete Morisi in 1962. From Charlton Spotlight #8. Photo thanks to Val and Russ Morisi. [Š2018 the Morisi Estate]


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Mr. Monster’s Comic Crypt!

The PAM Papers - Part 4

Birth Of A Hero! by Michael T. Gilbert

I

n the gossip-starved early ’60s, Golden and Silver Age fans rarely got to peek behind the scenes as a new comicbook hero was born. But, in 1964, Glen Johnson got a lucky break. While searching for juicy comicbook scoops for The Comic Reader (an early newszine he was editing), Glen struck up a correspondence with Charlton mainstay Pete Morisi (PAM)—a correspondence that would span forty years! They became friends, and in the course of their letter-exchange, Pete began dropping hints of a new action hero he was working up—a hero eventually revealed to be Peter Cannon… Thunderbolt. For those who came in late, Tibetan monks raised Peter Cannon after his parents died, and taught him to control mind and body to a superhuman degree. Glen’s letters to PAM are presumed lost, but luckily the young fan saved Pete’s voluminous correspondence. With Glen’s permission, we’re sharing some of those letters for the first time, edited for space and clarity (while making sure not to alter the content). We’ve also

added some “Comic Crypt” commentary following each letter to further explain some points. (We’ve left quotation marks, underlining, etc., pretty much as Morisi indicated them in his missives.) Let’s start with Pete’s self-critical overview of his career… and the first mention of a future Charlton hero!

The Letters (Undated, 1965) Dear Glen— You missed your calling. You should have been a lawyer. Let me try to answer your questions in the order you threw them at me. #1 I work for an outfit ‘outside’ of the comic field and they don’t want my name connected with those ‘cheap funny books’ in any way. (That’s their words—not mine.)

Pete A. Morisi in the U.S. Army, 1946. [© 2018 the Morisi Estate.]

#2 Joe Gill does quite a bit of writing for Charlton (I think the quantity of work he does prevents him from turning out better stuff). E.H. Hart, a former ‘Timely’ (now Marvel) man, who is some sort of ‘wheel’ in Charlton’s other stuff, does some good writing now and then. There are others, but the names escape me. #3 Sorry, sorry, Nightmare was published by Ziff-Davis. The stories I mean were ‘Blood Ship’ and ‘The Corpse That Wouldn’t Stay Dead’ in the summer issue published in 1952. #4 Tuska and I shared a studio in NY, while he was working on the above stories, and others. We are friends, tho’ it’s been years since I’ve seen him. You probably know that he did ‘Scorchy Smith’ for awhile, then switched to ‘Buck Rogers’ and is still doing it.

In Tandem With Tuska At Timely PAM illustrated stories for Timely/Marvel’s Arizona Kid, such as “The Raiders of Balancing Rock” from issue #6 (Jan. 1952). That issue also featured “The Avenger,” a tale drawn by PAM’s idol, George Tuska. It was one of the few times they shared a book. [TM & © Marvel Characters, Inc].

#5 All the strips you mentioned were ‘Tuska-done,’ a few Crimebusters, the Headline and Prize group, Pvt. Strong (I think with Mike Peppe inking), etc. #6 I did quite a few strips for quite a few outfits. I hesitate to mention


JIM WARREN’s Code-Free Comicbooks

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Comic Fandom Archive

How I Became A Fan Of Warren Publishing & Wrote A Biography Of Its Fascinating Founder by Bill Schelly

I

didn’t discover EC comics until I joined comic fandom in mid-1964. I was never fortunate enough to run across any of them in the stacks of comics at friends’ houses, and certainly not at our church bazaars. It was in the pages of G.B. Love’s adzine Rocket’s Blast-Comicollector that I encountered strange comicbook titles like Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, and Weird Science. “What are these?” I wondered.

James Warren in earlier days, at left—and, at right, a (more or less) contemporary shot, courtesy of Jamie Colville.

Gradually I came to understand there had been a wild and woolly line of comics published before the Comics Code came along in the mid-1950s. Then my comic-collecting buddy Richard Shields, who always had plenty of spending money (he had a paper route), ordered a bunch of ECs from a mail order dealer, and I got to read some of them. I instantly loved them, both the stories and the art, and bemoaned my fate, being born too late to buy ECs off the stands, and not having enough spending money to collect them in 1964. Imagine my surprise when, in January 1965 (a month before I published my first fanzine), I noticed a copy of something called Creepy (#2) on the magazine rack at a local drug store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The painted cover was highly dramatic, although unusually dark for that era. Browsing through it, I quickly realized that many of the artists had drawn those

Jeepers, Creepy! Bill Schelly reports that the first issue he saw of Warren’s Creepy was #2, which featured the excellent “Wardrobe of Monsters” by Otto Binder and Gray Morrow, behind a Frank Frazetta cover. Pretty much the entire runs of the Warren black-&-white comics Creepy and Eerie have been reprinted by New Comic Company, LLC. [TM & © New Comic Company, LLC.]


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every Saturday night, I’d been following Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine in 1963 and 1964, but Creepy was something entirely different from that title, even if it was from the same publisher. The art was nothing short of spectacular. In certain ways, the work of such top talents as Angelo Torres, Al Williamson, Joe Orlando, and Reed Crandall looked even better than it did in the EC comics. The pages were larger than a standard comicbook, and the monochromatic art wasn’t in any way obscured by the relatively crude coloring of mainstream comics. In addition, it sported a cover by Frank Frazetta, possibly the first piece of fantasy art by the great artist that my young eyes had beheld. “What a great magazine!” I thought.

Name Us Famous Famous Monsters of Filmland #9 and 12, with cover paintings by Basil Gogos. [TM & © the respective trademark & copyright holders.]

Except for the price. Not that it didn’t seem worth 35 cents. It was just that I received a rather small allowance, and I didn’t have 35 cents in my pocket. Therefore, I had to leave the magazine on the shelf (carefully tucked behind some other magazines) and figure out a way to get my hands on some money that night. Suffice it to say that I

great EC comics of the past. (Somehow, I had missed Creepy #1 the prior November, and hadn’t yet seen the Tales from the Crypt paperback book that had come out in late December.) “What this,” I thought. “A new EC?” Not quite. In fact, the stories in Creepy were different from those of EC. They were more geared toward classical Universal monsters, and with somewhat less emphasis on surprise endings. A young writer named Archie Goodwin wrote most of the stories. They were basic, highly effective horror tales that managed to sidestep the Comics Code because they appeared in a black-&-white magazine. Because I loved watching the old Universal horror films like Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and The Wolf Man on our local Chiller Theater TV show

On The Eerie Canal With Eerie #2 (March 1966)—the first issue having been an “ashcan” edition published solely to secure title trademark—Warren introduced a companion to Creepy. In Eerie #3, Steve Ditko made his debut in its pages with “Room with a View,” a fine story written by Archie Goodwin. Covers by Frazetta. [TM & © New Comic Company, LLC.]


The STAR WARS Comics Reunion Panel

79

41 Years After San Diego ’76, CHAYKIN, LIPPINCOTT, & THOMAS Reunited At TerrifiCon 2017 Moderated by Ryder Windham Transcribed by Sean Dulaney

A/E

EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION: In Alter Ego #145, I wrote a lengthy article about my connection with the very earliest days of the Star Wars phenomenon, namely the publication of Marvel’s ongoing Star Wars comicbook—from my initial dinner with George Lucas in early 1975 through my departing the series in late 1977 after scripting and editing its first ten issues. In that piece, I also felt compelled to deal with a few less than pleasant aspects of that relationship, including certain latter-day statements made online about myself (and to some extent about Marvel, Stan Lee, and original series artist Howard Chaykin) by Charles Lippincott, Lucas’ 1970s media projects director, a person with whom I had previously enjoyed an amiable fellowship. Thus, I was delighted when I learned that con host Mitch Hallock and my buddy and manager John Cimino had plans afoot to get Howard and me together for a Star Wars 40th-reunion panel at the August 2017 TerrifiCon, to be held at the Mohegan Sun resort/casino in Uncasville,

The Usual Suspects All smiles, before the panel. (L. to r.:) Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Charles Lippincott. Roy and Charley are wearing Star Wars T-shirts, but only Roy’s was the very same one worn at their San Diego Comic-Con conclave in July of 1976. To see photos of that event, order a copy of A/E #145 from TwoMorrows Publishing! Thanks to John Cimino.

Star Wars—41 Years After San Diego ’76! (Above:) The cosmic cast of the “Star Wars Comics Reunion Panel” held on Aug. 19, 2017, at the TerrifiCon, at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Left to right:) Charley Lippincott, Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, and moderator Ryder Windham. Thanks to John Cimino. (Below:) The cover of Marvel UK’s Star Wars Weekly #1 (dated Feb. 8, 1978) utilized that of Star Wars #1 (July 1977, but on sale that March) by penciler Howard Chaykin and inker Tom Palmer, and was prepared in Marvel’s NYC offices. In this issue, we’ve made every effort to avoid reprinting art or photos seen in Alter Ego #145; hence the Marvel UK cover this time around. [TM & © Lucasfilm, Ltd.]

Connecticut... a reunion I had long considered unlikely, since I knew Howard was no great admirer of the film or the universe it had spawned. I was even more juiced when I heard there was a possibility Charley Lippincott might also be there, since, despite those few less than pleasant exchanges we’d had online a couple of years before, I knew that, around that time, Charley had stated publicly online that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease—and now I was happily given to understand (by Charley himself) that what he has is NHP (Normal Hydrocephalus Pressure), still a serious problem but not as grim as he had originally been led to believe. Therefore, it was with a mixture of enthusiasm and trepidation that I turned up in the big and packed panel room at the Mohegan Sun. I came wearing the very same Star Wars T-shirt Charley had given me in July of 1976 at the San Diego Comic-Con, just before he, Howard, and I had spoken to an eager audience about a film that wouldn’t debut in theatres for another ten months; I was pleased that I could still fit into it, even if it was a wee bit tighter than it had been 41 years earlier, virtually the last time I’d worn it. Howard, Charley (who decided at the last minute to join the panel), and I conversed and were photographed standing around following the end of the previous panel held in that room, and then we were herded to the long, microphone-strewn table on the stage—where Charley parked himself at one end, a bit apart from moderator Ryder Windham


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Chaykin, Lippincott, & Thomas Reunite—41 Years Later

Cover Versions (Left:) Okay, okay, you talked us into it! Here’s the Chaykin/Palmer cover of Marvel’s Star Wars #1—or rather, a reproduction of the original art for same— which is currently owned by David Mandel, who also purchased the poster Chaykin drew for exhibition and sale at the 1976 San Diego Comic-Con, as featured in A/E #145. Thanks, Dave! You’re a true patron of the arts! (Right:) Chaykin also apparently allowed his arm to be twisted into doing this slight reworking of that cover art as a commission drawing, with a somewhat altered inking style. [Star Wars material TM & © Lucasfilm, Ltd.]

THOMAS: [shaking his head ruefully] Awful stuff, awful stuff. CHAYKIN: But my understanding was, George owned a piece of Ed’s store... WINDHAM: Ed Summer, who had Supersnipe Comics... CHAYKIN: The comicbook emporium in the 80s on the East Side, which was a really good comicbook shop back in those days. I mean, I bought from Ed all the time. So I knew Ed pretty well. And I think there’s a certain... there’s an element of a lot of the “Cody Starbuck” stuff that informs a lot of what ultimately evolved into Han Solo. And... one of the things you have to understand is that, for those of us on this side of the table—at least in those days—it was a calling, but it was also a job. So the opportunity to have something that would keep me busy for six issues—it turned out to be ten—was something I couldn’t turn down. Because, you guys think, “Why did he do that job?” Because it was offered to me, and frequently, you take the work you get. It seemed appropriate for

my skill-set, and the script... I did the breakdown on the script, as I recall. One of the reasons guys like Roy liked to work with me as an artist, even back in those days, was that I had a pretty good storysense, and that I understood how to make natural breaks and how to turn material into a viable form of 22-24-28-page long chunks. Which is not a common trait among my generation of talent. Lately, it’s even less common. [laughter] No, it’s true. Most comicbook artists these days are knuckledragging morons who can’t... [more laughter] They don’t read... THOMAS: [to Chaykin] No names. CHAYKIN: No names. They don’t read, so they can’t really deliver narrative. It’s a problem. LIPPINCOTT: They like the pictures. CHAYKIN: That’s exactly right. They’re into sensation as opposed to narrative. WINDHAM: Well, you just said something and I want to pounce on it,


The Star Wars Comics Reunion Panel

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CHAYKIN: [taking the sheet handed to him by Windham] I’m being charged with a crime from forty years back. [audience laughter] Apparently, “I’m not going to break the script for him because that’s his job. I can fight with him after he’s made the decision, after I’ve made mine. It’s going to be a lot of fun to do. There’s a lot of material to work with.” That’s not how it worked out. WINDHAM: I know, but it was something that fascinates me... THOMAS: [to Chaykin] What? You thought we were going to fight about it? CHAYKIN: No. I assumed you’d end up... Who knows?! Who gives a s**t? [laughter] THOMAS: [indicates audience] They do. They’re here.

ALTER EGO #158

FCA SPECIAL! Golden Age writer WILLIAM WOOLFOLK inter-

CHAYKIN: [to audience] haverecords! too much spare time, don’t you? view, andYou his scripting Art by BECK, SCHAFFENBERGER, BORING, BOB KANE, CRANDALL, KRIGSTEIN, ANDRU, JACK [laughter] COLE, FINE, PETER, HEATH, PLASTINO, MOLDOFF, GRANDENETTI, and more! Plus JOHN BROOME, MR. MONSTER,

WINDHAM: My experience a the comicbook editor, justwith based BILL SCHELLY,asand 2017 STAR WARS PANEL CHAY-on what KIN, LIPPINCOTT, and THOMAS! you said, it was like, “Yeah, somebody might write a script and someone (100-page FULL-COLOR magazine) $9.95 (Digital Edition) $5.95 bit.ly/AlterEgo158

And He’s Not Even A Barista! Chaykin’s cover featuring his hero “Cody Starbuck,” done for the “newszine” The Comic Reader #123 (Oct. 1975). Thanks to Mike Mikulovsky. [TM & © Howard Chaykin.]

and it’s about the breakdowns. Because I’ve read some interviews—and I don’t mean to do this—this is my own curiosity. [reads off and on from a page of notes] In Alter Ego magazine, 2016, Richard J. Arndt asked Howard, “Did you do your page breakdowns off the original screenplay?” and Howard responded, “I broke the screenplay down into six issues and then Roy wrote dialogue to accompany that material.” [moving on down the page] Okay, from a transcript of an interview by Charles Lippincott, where he was talking with Howard and with Roy... they’re waiting for Roy to show up for a meeting... THOMAS: Oh, that was the one at George’s office right after the San Diego con. WINDHAM: Okay. Howard said, “I’d like to get Roy Thomas and have him read that script,” meaning the most up-to-date script. “Then re-read it and break it down for me, because I want to get started on the job on the first issue. I have no intention of doing breakdown myself.” Charlie said, “But he’ll need a new script.” Meaning Roy needs a new script. “That’s another reason for coming over here today. He mislaid the script I sent him.” Howard responds... [to Chaykin] You want to..? [Chaykin takes sheet of paper from which Windham is reading]

Another Disney Princess Princess Leia is captured near the start of the 1977 film, as per Star Wars #1. Script by Roy Thomas; art by Howard Chaykin. Thanks to the MinuteMen/DarthScanner online site. The entire opus of Marvel’s Star Wars comics series has been reprinted by Marvel over the past few years in hardcover omnibus editions, now that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm as well as Marvel. [TM & © Lucasfilm, Ltd.]

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Alter Ego Comic Books - #158  

This is a free sample of Alter Ego Comic Books issue "#158" Download full version from: Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id...

Alter Ego Comic Books - #158  

This is a free sample of Alter Ego Comic Books issue "#158" Download full version from: Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id...

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