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BILL EVERETT LEW GLANZMAN ON ATLANTEANS, SHARKS, & FINS! PLUS: PLUS:

Art ©2005 ©2005 Marie Marie Severin Severin & & Estate Estate of of Bill Bill Art Everett; Sub-Mariner, Sub-Mariner, Venus, Venus, & & Fin Fin TM TM & & Everett; ©2005 Marvel Marvel Characters, Characters, Inc. Inc. Other Other characcharac©2005 ters TM TM & & ©2005 ©2005 the the respective respective trademark trademark & & ters copyright holders. holders. copyright

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In the USA

No. 46 March 2005


Vol. 3, No. 46 / March 2005 Editor

Roy Thomas

Associate Editors Bill Schelly Jim Amash

Design & Layout

Christopher Day

Consulting Editor John Morrow

Contents

FCA Editor

P.C. Hamerlinck

Writer/Editorial: “Read Alter-Ego –––Or Else!”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Everett on Everett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Comic Crypt Editor Michael T. Gilbert

Editors Emeritus

The great Bill Everett interviewed by Roy Thomas in 1969-70, from A/E V1#11.

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

Production Assistant

Eric Nolen-Weathington

Cover Artists Bill Everett & Marie Severin

Cover Colorist

E. Nelson Bridwell on monsters as comic book super-heroes, from A/E V1#7.

The Birth of Alter-Ego. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Bill Schelly details the 1961 creation of the first super-hero comics fanzine.

“I Wanted To Be An Artiste!”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Golden Age artist Lew Glanzman—an “Amazing Man” interviewed by Jim Amash.

Comic Crypt: Warren Confidential: Part 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

Tom Ziuko

And Special Thanks to: Heidi Amash Richard Arndt Michael Baulderstone Bob Beerbohm Mrs. Peggy Broome Susan Burgos John Coates Russ Cochran Lynda Fox Cohen Ray A. Cuthbert Teresa R. Davidson Al Dellinges Tim Doyle Mark Evanier Wendy Everett Shane Foley Carl Gafford Janet Gilbert Lew Glanzman Sam Glanzman Scott Goodell Ron Goulart Jennifer Hamerlinck David G. Hamilton Wally Harrington Greg Huneryager

The Tragic Monster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Glen D. Johnson Robert Justice Sam Kujava Robert Knuist Joe Latino Mark Lewis Herb Lichtenstein Jean-Marc Lofficier Don Mangus Matt Moring Brian K. Morris Mark Muller Bill Pearson Alvin Schwartz John Selegue Marie Severin David Siegel Marc Swayze Dann Thomas Maggie Thompson Alex Toth Hames Ware Tom Watkins Robert Wiener Marv Wolfman Dr. Michael J. Vassallo Jeff Youngquist Michael Zeno

This issue is dedicated to the memories of

Bill Everett, E. Nelson Bridwell, Bob Haney, & Irwin Donenfeld

Michael T. Gilbert on future pros’ fan art in Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella.

Tributes To Bob Haney & Irwin Donenfeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 “Blood Was In Both My Eyes” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Alex Toth on his fabled 1952 face-off with Julie Schwartz.

re: [correspondence, comments, & corrections]. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 FCA (Fawcett Collector Of America) #105 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Marc Swayze—and Otto Binder’s unused 1953 Marvel Family/Captain Marvel stories.

About Our Cover: Because the cover of A/E (Vol. 1) #10 had worked out so well in 1969-70, with its wonderful caricature of Gil Kane drawn by Marie Severin, surrounded by a frame of figures done by Gil himself, I decided to continue that style of cover for #11, which was originally slated to come out in 1970. Accordingly, I prevailed upon Mirthful Marie to visually skewer Bill Everett this time, which of course she did beautifully. Bill then framed that art with several of his most famous heroes: Sub-Mariner, The Fin, Hydroman, Venus, Amazing-Man, and Bull’s-Eye Bill (from Novelty’s Target Comics). I’ve kicked myself ever since for not asking him to add Marvel Boy—and even Daredevil. Whether it was Bill or Marie who touched up the caricature a bit, putting Bill in a black sweater and only using part of the drawing, I don’t know to this day; but the cover was a masterpiece, all the same. (And Marie’s entire caricature saw print in A/E V3#3.) Unfortunately, as I got ever busier writing and editing for Marvel, A/E #11 was long delayed… until in 1978 Mike Friedrich, friend, fellow writer, and now alternativecomics publisher, volunteered to take over publication. As co-editors, we utilized the Severin/Everett cover. Still, I’ve always wanted to see it printed in full color, rather than the green-and-white of ’78—and we know that all things come to him who waits, especially if he takes up editing the same mag again, after more than two decades. Thanks to Ron Goulart for advice on coloring Bull’s-Eye Bill. [Art ©2005 Marie Severin & Estate of Bill Everett; Sub-Mariner, The Fin, Venus, & (now) Hydroman TM & ©2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.; other characters TM & ©2005 the respective trademark and copyright holders.] Above: Marie Severin drew a mean Sub-Mariner herself in 1969-70. Here’s a 2002 cartoon she drew for collector Michael Zeno, to explain why she hadn’t done a Sub-Mariner sketch for him yet. [©2005 Marie Severin; Sub-Mariner TM & ©2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.] Alter EgoTM is published monthly 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. Single issues: $8 ($10 Canada, $11.00 elsewhere). Twelve-issue subscriptions: $60 US, $120 Canada, $132 elsewhere. 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 Canada. FIRST PRINTING.


5

Everett On Everett The Classic BILL EVERETT Interview from Alter Ego (Vol. 1) #11 Conducted by Roy Thomas

Editing Assistance by Don & Maggie Thompson

E

ither in late 1969 or in 1970, I finally took my friend, Sub-Mariner creator Bill Everett, up on his long-standing promise to do an interview for Alter Ego, which I had revived with a 10th issue at the end of 1969, after a four-year hiatus due to my hectic writing-andediting schedule at Marvel Comics. I can still recall precisely where we sat—in the fair-size cubicle where Marie Severin and others labored from 9:00 to 5:00, after everyone else had gone home for the night. Bill was amiable and expansive even with my tape recorder running, although I tried without success to get him to repeat a few anecdotes he’d told me when we’d roomed together in New York City—first at 177A Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, and a bit later on E. 87th Street.

The interview lay still untranscribed, I believe, when Bill passed away in February 1973, because, despite good sales of A/E #10, I kept getting busier and busier at Marvel and couldn’t find the time to do all the work needed to put out another issue. In fact, it was only because former DC & Marvel scripter Mike Friedrich, who’d begun publishing the alternative comic Star*Reach, asked if he could take over the magazine that the Everett interview was published even in 1978, in that final 11th issue of “Vol. 1” of A/E. I believe it was only then that I asked longtime fandom associates Don and Maggie Thompson to transcribe the tape. They did a bit of clean-up and editing as they went along—and indeed, the italicized “Ed.” notes in the text below are theirs, not mine. Since the audio tape itself is apparently forever “lost in darkness and distance,” as Mary Shelley once wrote in another context, this is probably as close as we shall ever have to a “definitive” Bill Everett interview. (Even so, there was one other in-depth Everett interview in an issue of Martin Greim’s Comic Crusader fanzine, which hopefully will be reprinted one day—and the long rambling letter Bill wrote in 1961 to the late Jerry de Fuccio, then associate editor of Mad magazine, and which was reprinted in A/E V3#3, is equally informative. Put those two together with the interview that follows, and you have about as clear a picture of Bill Everett as we are likely to have.) Naturally, when Bill Schelly and I

(Top right:) Wild Bill Everett behind the podium at one of Dave Kaler’s New York comicons, in either 1966 or ’67— in a photo supplied by the late Mark Hanerfeld—above Bill’s first and last “Sub-Mariner” splashes. The former, of course, appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. -Nov. 1939)—and, probably a bit earlier, in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1, from whose pristine black-&-white pages we were sent this art by benevolent Bob Wiener. Bill’s last new art of any kind appeared in Sub-Mariner #61 (May 1973), on sale circa February—the very month in which he passed away. Amazingly, he was able to draw (and even ink) much of the art for pp. 1-3 before he went into the hospital for the final time. He also received “story” credit on Sub-Mariner #63 (July ’73), which was dialogued by Steve Gerber. [Art ©2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.]


6

The Classic Bill Everett Interview From Alter Ego (Vol. 1) # 11

edited the now-outof-print trade paperback Alter Ego: The Best of the Legendary Comics Fanzine in 1997, the Everett interview was included. However, being very tight for space, we edited it down very slightly. Also, for that volume, we did not add anything to the relatively few drawings and photos that been printed with the piece in 1978. Ever since I revived Alter Ego in 1999, however, it’s been in my mind that, sooner or later, “Everett on Everett” Photo of Bill as a child. would be reprinted en Courtesy of Wendy Everett. toto in the magazine itself, with many more illustrations added, to document Bill’s talk more fully. I would also correct a handful of typos which made it into previous printings, based on my recollections of what Bill actually said. At last, with the help of several generous collectors, this rereprinting has finally come to pass.

RT: Where did your Merchant Marine career come in here? EVERETT: That went back to when I was back in junior high school. I went away for approximately two years. I was 15 when I went in, 17 when I came out. RT: Not thinking too much about Sub-Mariner, just then? EVERETT: I wasn’t thinking about it. RT: What about some of the influences on your art? Were there any commercial artists, or comic strip artists, whom you particularly emulated when you were first getting started? EVERETT: I can only tell you honestly that there were certain artists that I admired, both in the illustration field and in comics, but I couldn’t emulate them because I never could copy—I couldn’t do anything well enough in those days. I think my favorite illustrators were Dean Cornwell, Mead Schaeffer—and if anything resembled comic work, it would have been Floyd Davis’ illustrations. As far as the comic artists are concerned, I don’t think there were any during my school years that I really admired. There were none that I followed explicitly. I suppose the first comic artist that I truly admired as an artist was Milton Caniff. There were a lot of strips that I liked, that I enjoyed reading, but as far as the artwork was concerned, the ones that I enjoyed the most were the humorous things—stuff like Smokey Stover, but before that, even, there were Salesman Sam and a bunch of others.

For more on Wild Bill, as Stan Lee playfully christened him, see the aforementioned A/E V3#3—as well as issue #22, which utilized one of his Sub-Mariner drawings as a cover, and #35, which examines the revival of Prince Namor (as well as The Human Torch and Captain America) in the mid-1950s. Oh, and special thanks to Brian K. Morris for retyping this interview. —Roy. ROY THOMAS: Bill, of all the comic book professionals that I know, you go back at least as far as any. Could you tell us a little about your career and your life before comics? BILL EVERETT: Before I got into comics, I’d been in advertising and publishing work. I got into advertising right after I got into the art field. After I’d left school, I started in newspaper work in advertising and went from there to magazine publishing. And when I returned from Chicago after my last big advertising job, I was without any work at all. I was looking for free-lance work, and I met a friend who was just starting in the comic business. As far as my experience before that is concerned, it had practically all been in magazine and newspaper publishing. RT: What got you interested in the comics medium? EVERETT: I wasn’t actually interested in it at all; I was talked into it. Not only because this friend wanted me to do it, but because I’d done cartoons just on my own, just kidding, fooling round with them. And I suppose maybe I had dreamed about being a daily comic strip artist, but never had done anything serious about it. RT: Your art training was mostly on-the-job, then? EVERETT: Right. I had two years of art school. [The Vesper George School of Art, 1934-35 —Ed.] I dropped out of that, too, because I was anxious to get to work, and most of what I learned was in actual working.

Some of Bill’s earliest professional work was this cover for Centaur’s Uncle Joe’s Funnies #1, dated only “1938” but apparently published in September of that year. Thanks to Dr. Michael J. Vassallo. [©2005 the respective copyright holders.]


The Classic Bill Everett Interview From Alter Ego (Vol. 1) # 11

8

RT: Were there any particular writers that influenced you? EVERETT: Jack London was one of my favorites. Any adventure. As far as humor was concerned— Thorne Smith (which was a little too sophisticated; then, of course, you couldn’t use anything of his comic-wise). RT: You were in comic books about as early as just about anybody with

characters. I created Amazing-Man with Lloyd Jacquet and John Harley. I don’t remember the circumstances, how his creation came about. I honestly can’t recall. It was too long ago. But it was the first successful one. “Skyrocket Steele” was not really a success. But Amazing-Man had his own book. “The Amazing-Man,” named “John Aman,” began in Amazing-Man #5 [Sept., 1939]. I think I only did about the first five issues. [1939-1940; the comic ran through #27, Feb., 1942. —Ed.] RT: Several people feel that this was your best early work. You worked for Timely—before it was Timely. How did that association come about? EVERETT: Well, I left Centaur with Lloyd Jacquet and another chap whose name was Max; I cannot remember his last name. Lloyd had been an editor for Centaur. He had an idea that he wanted to start his own art service—to start a small organization to supply artwork and editorial material to publishers. RT: In other words, whole comic books packaged and then sold? EVERETT: A package deal, right. He asked me to join him. He also asked Carl Burgos. So we were the nucleus of what was later to

That’s Amazing, Man! Bill as a dapper young man about town—date uncertain. Thanks to Wendy Everett.

regard to original comic book material, as opposed to the reprints. What was your first comic book experience? Was that with the Centaur Comics group? EVERETT: Yes. That was John Harley Publications. They were just starting with original comics. They were picking up from what Famous Funnies had done. That was the first work I did. That’s where I met Carl Burgos. We both started at the same time. RT: For them, you did especially two strips which are remembered. One, I think this was the earliest, “Skyrocket Steele”? EVERETT: That was the very first one I ever did. It was a Buck Rogers type of thing. There were no big influences. I don’t even remember; I think I may have been asked to do something concerning space

“Amazing-Man” by “W.B. Everett” debuted in Amazing-Man Comics #5 (Sept. 1939). Apparently there was no #1-4, not even under another title! The first page of the 10-page story explicates his origin pretty well. Aman’s first “test” was to win a tug of war with an elephant (which he did, in a single panel)—his second was the cover scene of catching a cobra with his teeth while bound—and his third (“your capacity for withstanding pain”) is seen at right. He also had to be able to speak “the languages of all the civilized and uncivilized countries.” [©2005 the respective copyright holders.] On a 1970 convention panel transcribed for A/E #22, artist/critic Gil Kane told Bill: “You were always, in my estimation, one of the best writers that comics ever produced.” The influence on Kane of Bill’s early work shows in particular in the “Iron Fist” origin he and Roy Thomas did for Marvel Premiere #15 (May 1974).


In Memoriam

Bill Everett

35

The Ancient Sub-Mariner – A Tribute by Roy Thomas This early-1970s photo of Bill Everett accompanied Roy’s short tribute when it first appeared in Alter Ego (Vol. 1) #11 in 1978. Ye Ed continues to believe that Bill’s art reached an all-time high with the Timely/Atlas hero revival of 1953-55, so we’ll close with this splash page from Sub-Mariner #40 (June 1955)—and a never-before-published pencil sketch of Namor, drawn circa 1970 by Bill for Marv Wolfman’s fabled sketchbook. [Sketch ©2005 Estate of Bill Everett; Sub-Mariner TM & ©2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

I

am, I’m afraid, no expert on the life, times, and career of the late and very talented Bill Everett.

Others more diligent than I will have to record the precise dates of his birth and death. Others more artistically aware will have to analyze the strengths, the weaknesses, the influences of his artwork. And still others more meticulously painstaking will have to catalogue his work, from “Skyrocket Steele” through those final “Sub-Mariner” tales on which he was working when, most unexpectedly and far too soon, he died. Myself, I could never reconcile Bill the man with “Bill Everett,” creator of The Sub-Mariner. After all, even though I began to read Prince Namor in his first declining period (1946-49), and even though the powers-that-were had forced Bill and others to turn Namor from a sea-going hell-raiser into a mere catcher-of-smugglers, Subby was still one of the great heroes of my youth. When I played at mock heroics in a Missouri swimming pool at the age of eight or so, it was always The Sub-Mariner (pronounced by me Sub-MaREENer) I portrayed, not Aquaman. Anyone who had predicted that Aquaman would survive as a solo star after The Sub-Mariner had passed from center-stage would have been laughed out of the deep end. It still seems vaguely unjust to me... not unlike Gene Autry being unseated as King of the Cowboys by Roy Rogers while Autry was off at war. Yet, despite all the above, Bill Everett slowly, surely, became a person to me during 1965 and 1966, soon after I came to Marvel Comics. I had heard the stories by then (from Stan Lee and Sol Brodsky, both of whom truly liked the guy) of how Bill’s Daredevil #1, drawn while he was working full-time at another job, was so late coming in that it cost the company thousands of dollars. Literally thousands. Comic book economics being what they are and were, I was surprised that Stan was still willing, even eager, to have Bill finally dump his commercial-art job and take up comics again on a regular basis. But, that’s the way Bill affected people. Though he was the most human of men, he nonetheless inspired a kind of awe mixed with a genuine liking and respect. Over the next few years he’d be given staff positions, freelance status—whatever he seemed to need to give him a chance to realize his potential. When his penciling failed to sell comics in the 1960s, he became a top-notch inker ... later one of Marvel’s best colorists (see Silver Surfer #1, for example). Stan (as well as thenpublisher Martin Goodman, who had bought that first “Sub-Mariner” story some three decades before) was always willing to take a flyer with him. So were the rest of us. Did I mention that Bill and I were roommates off and on in the 1960s, when I was single first time around? We were—first when I lived

in Greenwich Village, later on East 87th Street. Though others such as Gary Friedrich and later Mike Friedrich were probably closer to him on a personal basis in his last few years, I spent a lot of time with him during his re-introduction to comics in the late ’60s. I was enthralled and entertained, hour upon hour, by stories of the early days of comics—many of which I could not get him to remember or repeat when I pulled out a taperecorder. Though he left ink-stained handprints on the wall of my first uptown apartment, it’s the mark on my life and heart that I feel the most. Bill had his problems. Alcoholism plagued him for much of his adult life, though he kept it under control until the later years, especially after the death of his beloved wife a few years before his own. The story has a happy ending of sorts, though: Bill joined Alcoholics Anonymous and became a moving force in the New York chapter during the final couple of years of his life... and I don’t think he’d want to read an accounting of his life that didn’t mention that. There are a goodly number of people in New York City who hardly were aware that Bill was an artist or writer, yet who grieved when he died because of what he had meant to them as a friend: a pillar of strength in their own weak moments, after he had found himself. When he died, something went out of all of us. With the exception of the death last December of my good friend John Verpoorten, no passing from the comics scene during my thirteen years in the field has touched me—hit me, really—like Bill’s. He died too young, in his 50s only, doubtless partly because nothing could totally undo the ravages worked on his body in earlier years. But he left a legacy in four colors, and that’s more than most folks do. I still think of him, rather more often than I do of most living people I know. It still doesn’t seem real that he’s gone, even after half a decade. He used to say to me that I reminded him of himself, when he was a young firebrand. He never told me, though, if he meant that as sincere compliment or amused dig. I prefer to take it as a compliment... because Bill Everett was quite a guy.


36

by E. Nelson Bridwell [This article first appeared in Alter Ego #7 (Fall 1964). The original title and art above were done by the author, and are © 2005 Estate of E. Nelson Bridwell.]

T

he current fad for monsters as super-heroes in comic-books may be said to have started with the appearance of The Thing in the first issue of The Fantastic Four. With the success of that magazine, Lee and Kirby immediately imitated themselves and came up with The Incredible Hulk, whose spotty career seems at present to be on the uphill grade once again. And the trend has spread; witness The Doom Patrol (Robotman), and Eclipso. Yet these are but the latest embellishments on a tradition as old as history. One of the earliest works of literature which we possess—though in somewhat fragmentary form—is the Epic of Gilgamesh, which was to Sumer and Babylonia what the Iliad and the Odyssey were to Greece. Gilgamesh and keep him busy. Aruru therefore made a man from clay— Enkidu.

It treats of Gilgamesh—two-thirds god and onethird man, with superhuman size and strength, the ruler of Uruk (or Erech)—one of the first known “superheroes.”

And here, in a tale over 4,000 years old, we meet our first monster super-hero!

His arrogance became unbearable to his subjects, for he could take whatever he wanted with impunity. (And what he wanted was for the men to go hunting with him when they had other things to do—and for the women to fill his insatiable desire.) So the people prayed to the goddess Aruru to create a man to match

Enkidu had shaggy hair that covered his entire body. The hair on his head was long like that of a woman. Furthermore, he is represented in the art of the times with the legs and tail of a bull (see picture; the horns were a symbol of divinity). All in all, he looked rather like a premature Greek satyr.

OF MONSTERS AND MEN! (Top left:) E. Nelson Bridwell, a longtime comics fan, had written numerous letters to “Superman” editor Mort Weisinger before he became the latter’s editorial assistant in 1964—not long before this article saw print in A/E V1#7. Roy, who had only exchanged a letter or two with Nelson, was probably unaware of his new pro status, or he’d have mentioned it in the issue. By coincidence, in 1965 Roy was hired by Weisinger as Nelson’s replacement, though Roy quit after one paid four-day week. Nelson was rehired, and worked for DC until his untimely death in 1987. He is best remembered for his co-creation of The Inferior Five, a parody of super-hero groups, and for assembling many of DC’s reprints of Golden Age material in the late 1960s/early 1970s. This photo of ENB appeared in The Amazing World of DC Comics #16 (April 1976). (Center:) In 1964 ENB gave credit (blame?) for the “current fad for monsters as super-heroes” to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s creation The Thing, who had debuted in Fantastic Four #1 three years earlier—and who remains one of the most popular comics figures, despite the later primacy of The Incredible Hulk, who started out as a quasi-clone of Ben Grimm. This drawing penciled by Kirby especially for Jerry Bails’ Alter-Ego #4 in 1962, when both The Thing and A/E were only a year old, has often been reprinted—but we wanted to print it again, since it was probably the first drawing ever done by a pro for a super-hero comics fanzine. Inking by Jerry Bails. [Art ©2005 Estate of Jack Kirby; The Thing TM & ©2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.] (Right:) Though Nelson doesn’t mention the 1942-53 Hillman character The Heap, we know he was familiar with that earlier monster-hero, but probably felt that he (it?) was outside the scope of his article. This panel by Ernie Schroeder is from Airboy Comics, Vol. 9, #5 (real #100). Schroeder’s work on “The Heap” and “Airboy” was spotlighted back in A/E #29 & #42. [Art ©2005 the respective copyright holders.]


E. Nelson Bridwell

37 He grazed with gazelles and drank with wild asses (like a forerunner of Mowgli and Tarzan), and he loved to foil hunters by filling their pits and tearing up their traps. Finally one unhappy hunter complained to Gilgamesh, who sent him back with a temple woman; for, even then, Beauty could tame the Beast. She disrobed before Enkidu, who was filled with ardor and made love to her for a week, which certainly ought to classify him as a super-hero.

ENKIDU Times Two! (Above:) Gilgamesh’s beast-man buddy, as drawn by ENB in 1964 in imitation of the art on an Assyrian cylinder. [Art ©2005 Estate of E. Nelson Bridwell.] (Right:) Writers Roy & Dann Thomas and artist Tony DeZuniga capsulized the story of Enkidu in two pages of Arak, Son of Thunder #42 (March 1985). The second page depicted Enkidu’s death at Ishtar’s hands and Gilgamesh’s failed quest for immortality. [©2005 DC Comics.]

At the end of this time Enkidu tried to return to his animal friends, but they avoided him. He had become a man and was no longer one of them. Bowing to the fait accompli, he clothed himself and went to Uruk, where he challenged Gilgamesh. They wrestled furiously, and finally Enkidu forced Gilgamesh down. But (like Robin Hood after him) Gilgamesh immediately liked his adversary, and they became fast friends. Together they battled and killed the monster Humbaba. Then the goddess Ishtar tried to seduce Gilgamesh, who upbraided her with reminders of her past misdeeds. (Remind anybody of early “Blackhawk” stories?) In vengeance, Ishtar got her father Anu to send the Bull of Heaven (a storm spirit). But Enkidu killed it and hurled its thigh at Ishtar’s face, which shows a certain lack of common sense. For this the gods caused him to sicken and die. This scared the devil out of Gilgamesh, who had never before stopped wrestling long enough to recall that he was a mortal, even if he was the world’s mightiest one. The rest of the Epic tells of Gilgamesh’s fruitless search for immortality, and includes the story of Utnapishtim, the Babylonian Noah, the only human in ancient Mesopotamian myth who ever gained eternal life. The Greek pantheon, as well, had its ugly gods. Chief of these was Hephaestus, the lame smith-god, whom the Romans identified with Vulcan. In Book XVIII of the Iliad. Homer tells how his mother, Hera, hurled him from Olympus because he was born lame. Though ugly, Hephaestus forged objects of great beauty, and was eventually reinstated to his rightful Olympian status. More easily comparable to today’s omnipotent uglies was Pan. In “The Great God Pan,” as he was called in the title of a classic horror/fantasy short story by Algernon Blackwood, often popped up in Golden Age comic books—as witness this final page from the “Hawkman” story “Magic at the Mardi Gras” in Flash Comics #75 (Sept. 1946). Art by Joe Kubert; script probably by Gardner Fox. Thanks to Al Dellinges. [©2005 DC Comics.]


42

Comic Fandom Archive

The Birth of Alter-Ego by Bill Schelly

Excerpted from his book The Golden Age of Comic Fandom (Hamster Press 1998) 2005 Introduction In the early 1990s, when I began researching the origin of a fandom just for comic art fans and collectors, the early years of comicdom had become shrouded in mystery. Over thirty years had passed since the original fanzineformat Alter Ego had made the scene amid the excitement of the return of the heroes in DC and Marvel comics. Many of the folks who were movers and shakers (or merely spectators) during those years were no longer around, or if they were, they tended to be much less visible. In Sherlockian mode, I began to answer the question: “Why, when, and how did comicdom arise?” The answer was not entirely clear. Some felt it could be traced to science-fiction fandom before it, which began in the early 1930s, and there was no doubt that a number of sf fans did play a part in fanning the embers of interest in comic books into flame, in the form of articles in their various fanzines, and notably in Dick and Pat Lupoff’s Xero #1, which made its debut at the 1960 World Science Fiction Convention in Pittsburgh.1 Another contributor to the incendiary sparks of the early 1960s was the remnants of EC comics fandom, which had been simmering on a low flame all through the latter part of the 1950s, often in publications with circulations of fifty copies or less, which tended to revolve around Mad magazine and the post-EC work of a gaggle of talented artists who had helped make EC great. Some of those fans maintained interest in comics beyond EC, and were ready to leap to the fore when those fannish embers had burst into flame. But, it also became clear that the rallying point of those comics aficionados found a focal point when a college professor named Jerry G. Bails, Ph.D., brought a fanzine named Alter-Ego into the world. Devoted to “heroes of the past, present, and future” (as the zine’s eventual slogan would announce), Alter-Ego created a genuine sensation, and fueled a grassroots movement that made sure that comics fandom would be an ongoing, self-sustaining movement. If comicdom began with Alter-Ego, I wondered exactly how it all happened. What possessed Jerry Bails—whose contacts with prior fandoms was minimal at best—to take the rather audacious step of putting out a publication devoted exclusively to costumed heroes? And that was followed by a slew of other questions: How did he meet Roy Thomas? How did Jerry and Roy gain a certain respect for their publication even among professionals in the comics industry? It

Since this issue’s Archive is a chapter excerpted from Bill Schelly’s fabulous 1995 book The Golden Age of Comic Fandom, which is still available from his Hamster Press, we’ve tried to use different images than you’ll see there. The photo by Dann Thomas shows (left to right) Roy Thomas, Jerry Bails, and Grand Comic Book Database overseer Ray Bottorff, Jr., at a dinner during a spring 2002 comicon in Detroit—41 years after Alter-Ego #1. Above is Roy’s cover of 1961’s Alter-Ego #1 (traced and partly repositioned by editor Jerry) the way it should’ve looked—but the speedline of Lean Arrow’s flying shaft, being only on a green master, vanished on many copies of the printed fanzine. The cover was restored by Jerry in full color via computer in 2004. [©2005 Jerry Bails & Roy Thomas.]

wasn’t enough that it had happened; I wanted to know the details!! What follows, then, is the final result of my detective work over a three-year period, gained from interviewing the principals, piecing together data from old faded issues of Alter Ego and other obscure fanzines, and collating information from every available source. Here is the story of not only the birth of a fanzine, but the birth of a genuine grassroots movement that formed a true American subculture. And it began with one fan’s simple idea to rally support for his favorite new comic book: Jerry G. Bails had been yearning for a return of the Justice Society of America since All-Star Comics became All-Star Western in early 1951 and the JSA went into limbo. He was a tireless fan of the JSA, no doubt because he encountered them at an early age on a newsstand in Kansas City, Missouri, when he was growing up. Born on June 26, 1933, his earliest recollection of comics was marveling at the covers hanging by bulldog clips in the window of his favorite shop that sold comics. It was a dry goods store across the street from what would become his father’s pool hall. “In early 1941, the Great Depression was just ending, and families were finally beginning to come into some disposable income,” Jerry said in a recent interview. “This translated down to seven-year-olds as a weekly allowance—a quarter, as I recall. I was free for the first time to spend it as I chose. It went for comics first and foremost. “One of the earliest covers I recall from my youth was on Flash


The Birth of Alter-Ego Comics #20, where The Flash was hurling a crook onto overhead telephone lines,” Bails remembered. “That issue was dated August 1941. At almost exactly the same time, I spotted All-Star Comics #6. It marked the very first time I would witness the Justice Society of America, starring all my favorite heroes teaming up in a booklength adventure. That comic book had the most profound longterm effect on me. Spotting the covers of #6 and #7 were ecstatic moments for me. I can still feel a rush of endorphins just recalling the covers.”

Two of Jerry’s earliest close encounters of the comic book kind were with Flash Comics #20 (Aug. 1941) and All-Star Comics #6 (Aug-Sept. ’41). [©2005 DC Comics.]

Though Bails had spent the last several years obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Kansas City, and then going for a Master’s in Math, he had corresponded with Gardner Fox in the late 1950s regarding the JSA, and worked steadily toward re-building his personal collection of All-Star. “Gardner Fox was a most generous and compassionate man and it is clear to me that he had influenced my basic values through the vehicle of the Justice Society,” Jerry said. “He made a big difference to me.” Immersed in his studies, Bails had missed the first couple of issues of DC’s Showcase book—the ones that tentatively brought back a retooled Flash for a new generation of readers. When he first noticed that revival, in Showcase #13 around January of 1958, Jerry was 24 years old and well on his way toward becoming a professor of mathematics. But the sight of that colorful comic book on the stands struck him like a thunderbolt, for it implied the possibility of further revivals—even his beloved JSA. Bails unleashed a flurry of letters, with renewed energy, at Fox and Schwartz. Around this time, mid-1959, he and Fox worked out a deal for the writer’s bound editions of All-Star, and Jerry’s JSA collection was complete.2 From the time he saw Showcase #13, Bails had to wait nearly two years for the day to arrive when the JSA was back in its new incarnation: The Justice League of America. The Brave and the Bold #28 hit the newsstands at the very end of 1959. Of course, he had other things on his mind, like completing his doctorate in Natural Science. Around the time Jerry G. Bails, Ph.D. (with his wife Sondra), had moved to Detroit to take his new post as Assistant Professor of Natural Science at Wayne State University, JLA #1 appeared, and Bails was thinking of ways to support and encourage this exciting development. (In that issue, Schwartz indicated that further hero revivals were probable.) Then, another spark plug fell into place, and that was Roy Thomas, an English and history major in his senior year at Southeast Missouri State College in Cape Girardeau, about a hundred miles south of St. Louis on the Mississippi River. Thomas, though several years younger than Bails, had learned to read in the pages of All-Star, and was so taken with the “new JSA” that he’d written his first letter to editor Julius Schwartz. (In an earlier contact with DC, a youthful Thomas had been informed that trading and selling old comics could not be officially sanctioned by the company, for it

43 might spread disease.) This time, when Roy inquired about obtaining back issues of All-Star, Schwartz gave him Gardner Fox’s name and address. Fox in turn referred Roy to Jerry Bails, informing the Missourian that Jerry had recently purchased all his back issues. Roy was disappointed, but immediately dashed off a letter to “Mr. Bails” on November 21, 1960, the day before his twentieth birthday.

Just five days later, he had his reply. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to find another All-Star enthusiast after all these years,” Jerry wrote. “In 1945, I began my campaign to collect all the back issues of this magazine, and in 1951, when the JSA was dropped, I began my campaign for the revival of this old favorite. Just last year, as you know, my efforts finally paid off. Now, I’m off on a new campaign—to make the Justice League of America more popular than Superman. First, I want to see the JLA published monthly; then I want to see it published in a giant edition. I hope you will join me in working for these goals.”3 Along with the letter, Jerry sent dog-eared copies of AllStar #4 through 6, the first Roy had ever seen of them. This generosity on Bails’ part cemented their friendship. Thomas and Bails began a long and voluminous correspondence, each writing two or three letters a week to the other, with queries and responses often crossing in the mail. Their letters were filled with trading proposals and comments about recent acquisitions from the few sources available to them. “We both bombarded DC with scores of letters,” Bails recalled years later. “JLA #4 is filled with letters from me under different pen names. Don’t blame Julie for this. I did everything I could to fool him, including mailing the letters from all across the country.” Jerry revealed that he had suggested to Gardner Fox (in a letter dated August 29, 1960) that a revival of The Atom would be the next logical step after Hawkman, who was slated to make his debut in December. He and Roy set about concocting a concept for the new Atom, which they planned to submit to Schwartz. (Jerry envisioned a new, more Doll Manlike Atom.) Bails put the outlines of their suggestions in a letter to Schwartz on December 8th, which reads in part: “A brilliant young experimenter [Al Pratt, a physics professor in ordinary life] discovers how to compress the atoms of his body to make himself only six inches tall. In this metastable state, the mighty mite has the power to leap great distances and to smash through ordinary matter in his battle against crime, but he can only safely remain in this miniature form for one hour.” Schwartz wrote back on January 6, 1961, “Many thanks for your ideas on the Atom revival, but by a fantastic coincidence I had already had some similar ideas on the same subject; even went so far as to have artist Gil Kane do some sketches.” Both Bails and Thomas believed, probably correctly, that their enthusiastic letters and suggestions played a part in DC’s decision to revive The Atom.4 Bails urged Thomas to consider revival ideas for Dr. Fate. In that same letter, he mentioned (for the first time) that he was thinking about publishing a “JLA newsletter” that he would distribute to contacts made through the letter pages in Julie’s comics. Schwartz had


48

“I Wanted To Be An ‘Artiste’!” Golden Age Artist LEW GLANZMAN—Another “Amazing Man” Interview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amash

Afraid Lew Glanzman never quite got around to providing us with a photo of himself—but he did do the great cartoon caricature below, which he sent to interviewer Jim Amash a couple of years back, along with several photocopies of his comic book art repro’d above: the cover of Centaur’s Amazing-Man Comics #14 (July 1940)—“The Shark” splash probably from Amazing-Man #9 (Feb. ’40)—and “Fighting ‘Uncle Joe’ Stilwell!,” a more or less true story that may be from Parents’ Magazine’s Real Heroes or True Comics. [©2005 the respective copyright holders.]

L

ouis S. Glanzman was part of a brother act in comics that included Sam and Dave (sounds like a rock and roll band, doesn’t it?), though apparently the three of them never worked together on a story. Lew’s (or should it be “Lou’s”?) comic book days were really just a stepping stone to his illustration career, but still memorable enough for us to cover. No matter what name Lew worked under, his style was as distinctive and energetic as the man himself. —Jim

“I Got My Art Training In Comics” JIM AMASH: I usually start off with this question: when and where were you born? LEW GLANZMAN: I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, February 8, 1922. My brother Sam is three years younger than me. My other brother Dave is three

years younger than Sam. All of us eventually worked in comic books. I was Sam Decker and Lew Glanz, among others. JA: What art training did you have? GLANZMAN: None. I got my art training in comics. My parents were amateur painters, though. I did go to the School of Industrial Art in New York, but most of the time I played hooky at the burlesque shows on 42nd Street. JA: Well, you could learn a lot there. [laughs] GLANZMAN: [laughs] Yes. Well, it turned out that the school was more of a hangout than it was an art school. It was a shame, because there were teachers who worked hard to teach their students. But we weren’t paying any attention. JA: Then your art influences were your parents? Did you paint when you were a kid?


“I Wanted To Be An ‘Artiste’!”

49 Comic Corporation of America [later known as Centaur] and they took me in. JA: Who was the editor there when you started? Lloyd Jacquet? GLANZMAN: His name is very familiar to me, and it may have been him. There were two guys who ran the place, who started out publishing sheet lyrics for music. They called them “song sheets.” JA: What did you start out doing there?

GLANZMAN: Yes. There was a lady in Rockaway Beach, Long Island. She said she’d buy me a set of oil paints if I painted pictures for her. I was probably fifteen or sixteen at the time. I liked to draw the boats out on Sheeps Head Bay and occasionally I’d sell one for two or three dollars to the guys who had boats out there. As far as a career was concerned, the trick was to make money, because it was the Depression. I was the oldest son, so whenever I could find some kind of work, it’d help the family. I wanted to be an artist and if I could find a way to sell a drawing for a few dollars, then that’s the way I did it. There used to be a pulp magazine called Blue Book. I admired the artists in it, so I made some samples and showed them around. The art directors chased me away, saying, “Go back to school, kid. We can’t use you.”

“Comic Corporation Of America…Took Me In” JA: This was before comic books, wasn’t it? GLANZMAN: I had seen Famous Funnies, which was all newspaper strip reprints. Not too long after that, “Superman” started. Since I couldn’t get work in the pulps, I went to the

GLANZMAN: They told me to do a story and I did. Then I got the idea to do “The Shark,” which was not an imitation of “The SubMariner,” by the way. I started out making 7H bucks a page, for the entire job: writing, penciling, inking, lettering, and coloring. My biggest problem was getting the panel borders straight. [laughs] And spelling. One of the editors corrected my spelling.

The Water Is Full Of Sharks! (Above:) Lew sent us these two splashes—the leftmost one marked “Amazing-Man 1939”—and they look to us as if they may well be from two of the very first “Shark” stories. That superhero made his Glanzman-drawn debut in Amazing-Man #6 (Oct. 1939), so….! (Below:) Bob Beerbohm sent us scans of this apparently later, more polished pair of pages—the splash and 2nd page of the “Shark” tale in Amazing-Man #10 (March 1940). [©2005 the respective copyright holders.]

JA: Did they have a big office? GLANZMAN: No. There were just two rooms. JA: Tell me about the “Shark” feature. GLANZMAN: It was about a character


50

Golden Age Artist Lew Glanzman GLANZMAN: No, but I got more pages to do. I think that’s why I got the work. I was a kid and could draw. I was just happy for the work. All I thought about was getting more pages to draw.

“Bright Idea(s)” JA: Were you a fast artist? GLANZMAN: I was fast. I’m still fast. That was a big plus for me. I could do a cover for Time magazine overnight. I continued to do “The Shark” while doing “Amazing-Man”; then I got the bright idea to do another feature so I could do some more pages. And I would also come up with even more features to do, but they never lasted very long. I did what I could to get more pages to do. “Dopey Danny Day” was one of those features, as was “Air Man.” JA: You told me that your father saved your published stories. GLANZMAN: Yes, he did. Unfortunately, he tore my stories out of the magazines and threw the rest away. I also did covers as well as doublepage spreads in the middle of the books. JA: Did you get a higher rate for doing the covers? GLANZMAN: Yes, but I don’t remember how much it was.

This photocopy Lew sent of the cover of Amazing-Man #12 (May 1940) is probably one of those his father tore off the published comics, since a binder obscures the left side of the page. Note that Lew’s signature was simply “Glanz.” [©2005 the respective copyright holders.]

who lived underwater. His father was Father Neptune, and The Shark did all kinds of heroic and miraculous stuff. It was all my creation. They liked my work, and before long I was doing feature stories, like “The Amazing-Man.” But I still had to do the lettering! JA: Bill Everett had done that feature before you did. Did you know him or know why he left the company? GLANZMAN: I had just met him briefly. Everett was in the office with the editor when I came in looking for a job. I don’t know why he left the company, but he left a few months after I started there. My editor told me that “Amazing-Man” was now mine, and I was delighted. JA: Did you write “Amazing-Man”? GLANZMAN: No. I haven’t the slightest idea who wrote it. It might have been the doorman. JA: Is there anything else about Bill Everett that you recall? GLANZMAN: No. I was too damn young for things to register in my brain. I was raised in the country in Virginia, and New York was a big deal to me. I was walking around with my mouth open half the time. JA: Did they give you a raise when they moved you up to the more important features?

This story from a 1941 issue of Amazing-Man is credited to “S. Decker”—and, according to Jerry Bails and Hames Ware’s 1970s Who’s Who of American Comic Books, the pseudonym “Sam Decker” was used by both Lew and his brother Sam. Ron Goulart, in a 1986 comics history, identifies the artist as Sam—but is he right? [©2005 the respective copyright holders.]


[Except where noted, all art on pp. 58-62 Š2005 Warren Publishing, Inc.]


58

Mr. Monster’s Comic Crypt

Welcome to our second installment of Warren Confidential! Once again we sift through the moldy fan pages of Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella searching for gold nuggets hidden among the pyrite. Last issue we noted that James Warren often used fan pages of his horror comics to spot budding talent. As a result, a surprising number of upand-coming pros later sold work to Warren Publishing. See how many you recognize. Let’s begin with the ghoulish pic at right by Creepy Fan Club member #520, Berni Wrightston. Berni’s fan art from Creepy #9 (June 1966) was his first published comic book art. By the mid-’70s, the talented teen had developed into one of Warren’s finest artists, and achieved comic book immortality as co-creator of DC’s Swamp Thing. (He’s now gone back to spelling his first name “Bernie,” but we’ve hewed to the way he wrote it at the time.)

[©2005 DC!Comics.]

Scripter Len Wein was Berni’s partner-in-crime on the legendary Swamp Thing series. Back in his fan days, Len was also an aspiring comic book artist, as demonstrated by the macabre group portrait below, from Eerie #22 (July 1969). Len went on to become an awardwinning writer and editor at DC and Marvel.


59

[Batman TM!&!©2005 DC!Comics.]

Warren Confidential: Part 2

Last issue we featured two drawings by Creepy Fan Club member #44, Frank Brunner. We ran out of room before we could print his spooky Vampire-Batman pic above from Creepy #14 (April 1967). Neat, huh? Fearsome Frank’s pencils for Marvel’s Dr. Strange and Howard the Duck in the ’70s remain fan-favorites.

[©2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

Coincidentally, Frank’s Howard the Duck inker, Steve Leialoha, also contributed three fan-page illos. The first two (top right and center right) appeared in Eerie #32 (March 1971). The bottom drawing was printed the very same month in Creepy #38. Following their fan page appearances, both artists eventually received professional assignments from Warren (Frank in 1971 and Steve in 1980).

[Blackhawk TM!&!©2005 DC!Comics.]


68

“Blood Was In Both My Eyes” ALEX TOTH Himself On His Fabled 1952 Showdown with JULIE SCHWARTZ

[Art ©2005 Alex Toth.]

N

OTE: For Alter Ego #38’s celebration of the career of DC editor Julius Schwartz, I invited Alex to write down, for the record, his version of the events, often discussed among old-time pros, which more than a half century ago caused him to quit DC at the height of his work for the company—though he did return a few years later, through the good offices of Whitney Ellsworth, who by then was overseeing the Adventures of Superman TV series in Hollywood. Alex declined in #38 to comment directly on what he referred to as “my dust-up with Julie,” preferring to dwell on the positive side of things, including “burying the hatchet” with Julie at a San Diego Comic-Con some years later. Understandably, however, after reviewing Julie’s account of the episode in his 2000 memoir Man of Two Worlds, as well as reading in #38 & #40 the comments and opinions of others who weren’t present when the split occurred, Alex reluctantly changed his mind and sent a two-sided postcard which laid out his own account. While A/E has no interest whatever in controversy for its own sake, it’s generally my policy to print what people say or write, and let the reader sort out the truth of things. Below, I’ve typed out the text of Alex’s postcard for ease of reading, changing nothing except to spell out a few words he abbreviated. And here, I believe, Alex would prefer to see the matter rest. —Roy.

3 July 04 Roy—

When Alex drew this third “Johnny Thunder” splash for All-American Comics #102 (Oct. 1948), the last issue before that mag metamorphosed into All-American Western, he and Julie had only recently begun to work more closely together, after the latter succeeded Sheldon Mayer as full editor of several of DC’s titles. Script probably by Robert Kanigher. [©2005 DC Comics.]

Damndamndamn—there it is again! Another fictionalized version of how and why I walked out of NPP/National/DC Comics 50 years ago, and then some! No one wants grumpy ol’ Alex to write the definitive tell-all auto-bio exposé of his ‘last straw,’ ‘that does it’ ‘to-do’ with editor Julie Schwartz in ’52, which even he, in his auto-bio, couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t mean to set straight, once and for all, with perhaps a last gasp/gesture of grace, humble-pie, gentlemanly-owning-up-to-truth-telling, to pave his way to heaven or not. No—Julie went out with that fabricated concoction on his lips, mind, conscience, and signedoff on it in print—his fictionalized version of same compounds the felony of 50 years even more shamefully! [cont’d on facing page]


[Marvel Family TM & Š2005 DC Comics.]

No. 105 March 2005


78 beer, without need of the conventional opener. Imagine… just the fingers! Not wanting to discourage his enthusiasm, I kept quiet as he spoke. But being rather logical-minded myself about matters of that nature, I was certain no such cockeyed notion would ever work. Still, today, occasionally when twisting the cap off a bottle of Coke, I wonder how all that turned out… legally… and hope Tony got in on it. He was a nice guy… and smart. By

mds& (c) [Art

logo ©2005 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel © & TM 2005 DC Comics]

It was 1955. I was at Charlton until the flood in August. That incident just about devastated the building and everything in it… except John Santangelo who—in my opinion—simply refused to be devastated. The purpose in my being there was to revise previously published stories that had been purchased by the company… to assure compliance with the Comics Code. Eventually, as the need for original material increased, I produced art and writing for various Charlton issues.

[FCA EDITORS NOTE: From 1941-53, Marcus D. Swayze was a top artist for Fawcett Publications. The very first Mary Marvel character sketches came from Marc’s drawing table, and he illustrated her earliest adventures, including the classic origin story, “Captain Marvel Introduces Mary Marvel (Captain Marvel Adventures No. One item was a feature first prepared as another try for a newspaper 18, Dec. ’42); but he was primarily hired by Fawcett Publications to syndicate contract. The star was a musician, “Neal Valentine.” After illustrate Captain Marvel stories and covers for Whiz Comics and modifying the work for comic book printing… with an added title page Captain Marvel Adventures. He also wrote many Captain Marvel and several final pages to bring the story to a close, I couldn’t resist scripts, and continued to do so while in the military. After leaving the pausing over it. [NOTE: The story Marc is referring to, “Melody of service in 1944, he made an arrangement with Fawcett to produce art Hate,” appeared in Strange Suspense Stories, Vol. 1, # 27, October and stories for them on a freelance basis out of his Louisiana home. 1955. —PCH.] Explicit detail in the drawing of the musical instruments There he created both art and story for The Phantom Eagle in Wow and the surroundings were reminders that, at the time the project was Comics, in addition to drawing the Flyin’ Jenny newspaper strip for begun, I had my own trio broadcasting nightly from a local club on Bell Syndicate (created by his friend and mentor Russell Keaton). Grand Street. Releasing that project for printing was like a wave of After the cancellation of Wow, Swayze farewell to a gang of pals. produced artwork for Fawcett’s top-selling And in it there was something more… line of romance comics, including signs of an “art style.” If during the Golden Sweethearts and Life Story. After the Age you thought of yourself as a pro, company ceased publishing comics, Marc you’d have been conscious of art style… moved over to Charlton Publications, those specifics of an artist’s work that where he ended his comics career in the distinguished it from the work of others. mid-’50s. Marc’s ongoing professional Much of the interest in style evidenced by memoirs have been FCA’s most popular comic book artists of the day appeared to feature since his first column appeared in be in the surprising number who sought to FCA #54, 1996. Last issue, Marc discussed emulate the existing styles of those at the the reworking of his syndicate strip top. The result was quite a few wannabe sample—The Great Louis—and, as Caniffs around, but only one, it is recalled, revealed in this issue, reworked again as to approach the style of Alex Raymond. The Great Pierre—the strip which finally That was Mac Raboy. led to Marc’s long sought-after syndicate contract. —P.C. Hamerlinck.] A detail from the promotional folder for Marc Swayze’s I never wanted to draw like anybody. strip The Great Pierre. The entire art and copy ran in There had been two periods where it was Here it was… right in my hands… the A/E #16. [©2005 Marc Swayze.] necessary to adopt existing styles, but in long sought syndicate contract… the goal each case the job called for it… Keaton’s on since ’39! Hard to believe… my own comic strip… title, characters… the Flyin’ Jenny… Beck’s on “Captain Marvel.” The “Neal Valentine” work whole works! bore some suggestion of style, but the first real awareness that I experiJoseph Agnelli of the Bell Syndicate had wasted no time getting down enced of it came with The Great Pierre. There, in the layouts, I saw the to business. He began with a reasonable suggestion that the name of the freedom of movement… the life… the “spontaneity”… first learned of in title character be changed… then went directly into a review of contract ’39. Obvious throughout the work was the reflected “backlight”… an terms. interest since college painting classes. In the cast I saw characterization… observed, studied, and developed in the early ’40s. In the inking were The hero from the Cajun country had come a long way. He was three techniques, the popular feathering, plus stippling and crosspretty much the same guy though somewhat like an actor in successive hatching… all obviously rendered with the unique, flexible 290 pen. roles, on his way to stardom… LeBone, Le Noir… and now, Le Grand… THE GREAT PIERRE! I hadn’t tried to have it. But whether I knew it or not… or liked it… or cared… I had it: A personal art style. Agnelli’s first letter reached me in Derby, Connecticut, where I had taken a position with Charlton Publications. On a first trip to the Bell [NOTE: The four weeks of dailies prepared for The Great Pierre offices to discuss Pierre, I hitched a ride with a friend of the Derby follow on the next four pages. Several of the middle of these strips community, an expert within the Charlton production facilities, appeared in A/E #16, but are reprinted here for the sake of Anthony Conte. On the drive he confided he was meeting with New continuity.] York attorneys to go over an idea he had… to open a bottle of pop, or


“We Didn’t Know... It Was The Golden Age!” The Great Pierre, Week 1. [©2005 Marc Swayze.]

79


83

“One Man’s In-Laws” Revisited OTTO BINDER’s Last Fawcett Synopses––– Illustrated! by Roy Thomas

H

ang on tight, because we’ve got a lot to get through, and only one page to do it!

In Alter Ego (Vol. 1) #7 in 1964, I proudly announced that, thanks to longtime “Captain Marvel”/”Marvel Family” scribe Otto Binder, #8 would print his 1953 synopsis for a 17-page story for a never-published issue of The Marvel Family (possibly intended for #90), left undone when Fawcett discontinued its comics line that year. My grand plan, with Otto’s blessing, was to have the late Biljo White add a few illos to the mix. There were actually four typed and handwritten Binder pages dealing with one “Marvel Family” story (“Seven Modern Wonders”)—a script page from another unused “MF” tale featuring a villain called Mr. Alias— plus a one-page rough outline for an unpublished “Captain Marvel” story involving a satyr. However, as I reported in early 1964 in V1#8, a stern letter from a Fawcett attorney had informed me that I could not publish Otto’s material, because of the terms of the settlement of the lawsuit between DC and Fawcett over Captain Marvel’s alleged copyright infringement of Superman. So I didn’t. In 1997, however, DC publisher Paul Levitz graciously responded to a letter of mine by saying that, since DC now owned the Fawcett heroes, Yogi Berra said it first and best: “It’s déja vu all over again!” Surprisingly, Otto Binder had already written, and DC had no objections to the Binder C.C. Beck drawn, a tale with a similar title and theme several years earlier—but it’s definitely not the same story! material being printed in A/E. (Actually, This is the splash from The Marvel Family #40 (Oct. 1949). [©2005 DC Comics.] it had already been printed once—by DC itself. In the 1970s I had supplied Oh, and maybe this is the place to mention—the beautiful “Marvel copies of the six pages to DC for a Shazam!-related issue of its own Family #90” cover that leads off this FCA section is, as you may have “fanzine,” The Amazing World of DC Comics.) Thus, with DC’s guessed, not the actual cover to any comic book that ever existed—even latter-day blessing, Binder’s pages appeared in the now-out-of-print though it perhaps should have been. Rather, it was penciled by the Hamster trade paperback Alter Ego: The Best of the Legendary redoubtable Mark Lewis of Big Bang Comics, et al., and inked by FCA Fanzine. We’re reprinting them here—with artwork added. editor P.C. Hamerlinck himself, in a style matching those of Kurt Not, of course, artwork from the 1953 comics themselves, which so Schaffenberger, who drew most of the lead stories in later issues of far as we know never existed. Rather, P.C. Hamerlinck and I searched Marvel Family, and C.C. Beck, who had set the style in the first place. through published Fawcett comics for panels to illustrate or approximate Now, on to “Seven Modern Wonders”… scenes from the shelved material. But we think they’ll help you envision how these three lost stories might have turned out, if the fates had been kinder.


84

Otto Binder’s Last Fawcett Synopses–––Illustrated!

“Kids captured.” And, of course, bound and gagged. It happened a lot, as in this panel from Marvel Family #63 (Oct. 1951). [©2005 DC Comics.]

“Huge glacier is crunching down into this valley.” One of the two “Marvel Family” stories in MF #86 (Aug. 1953) had a similar scene, drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. Repro’d here from a black-&-white Australian reprint. [©2005 DC Comics.]

“MF can’t talk people out of [NOTE: Otto must’ve meant to type “into” instead] leaving, so must save the valley….” In Marvel Family #86 each of the trio did his/her bit, climaxing with the Marvels tipping an ice field to stop a herd of stampeding mammoths. [©2005 DC Comics.]


Alter Ego #46