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Alter Ego #13 presents "The Titans of Timely" Part 2! This lucky 13th issue features great covers by Joe Simon (Captain America) and Murphy Anderson (Avengers), plus rare Timely art by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Bill Everett, Carl Burgos, Carl Pfeufer, Syd Shores, Mike Sekowsky, and more! There are also Golden Age Timely interviews with Daniel Keyes (author of "Flowers for Algernon"), artist Dave Gantz, plus a 1975 luncheon with Joe Simon and Stan Lee! And by popular demand, a Big Silver Age Avengers section, featuring John Buscema, Don Heck, George Tuska, and Roy Thomas! Plus, Michael T. Gilbert and Mr. Monster, FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) with C.C. Beck, Marc Swayze, and more!

Text of Alter Ego #13






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    No. 13March2002

    $5.95In the USA

    $5.95In the USA

    Ive Got This Game Rigged So That Every time Thor Makes A Move, one Of The AvengersDisappears From The Face Of The Earth!

    Roy Thomas Avenging Comics Fanzine

    Roy Thomas Avenging Comics Fanzine

  • Alter EgoTM is published 8 times a year by TwoMorrows, 1812 Park Drive, Raleigh, NC 27605, USA. Phone: (919) 833-8092. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: Rt. 3, Box 468, St. Matthews, SC 29135, USA. Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: [email protected] Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Single issues:$8 ($10 Canada, $11 elsewhere). Eight-issue subscriptions: $40 US, $80 Canada, $88 elsewhere. All characters are their respectivecompanies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & DannThomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada.


    Vol. 3, No. 13 / March 2002Editor Roy Thomas

    Associate EditorsBill SchellyJim Amash

    Design & LayoutChristopher Day

    Consulting EditorsJohn MorrowJon B. Cooke

    FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck

    Comics Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert

    Editors EmeritusJerry Bails (founder)Ronn Foss, Biljo White,Mike Friedrich

    Cover ArtistsMurphy AndersonJoe Simon

    Cover ColoristsMurphy Anderson IIIJoe Simon & Tom Ziuko

    Mailing CrewRuss Garwood, Glen Musial,Ed Stelli, Pat Varker, Loston Wallace

    And Special Thanks to:

    Trey AlexanderMurphy AndersonMurphy Anderson IIIBlake BellAl BigleyBill BlackJerry K. BoydTom BrevoortFrank BrunnerJohn & Dolores

    BuscemaWilliam CainJames CavenaughMike CostaRich DonnellyShelton DrumRon FrenzDave GantzGrass GreenGeorge HagenauerDavid G. HamiltonMark & Stephanie

    Heike Roger HillCarmine InfantinoDaniel KeyesBatton Lash

    Stan LeeJohn Paul LeonDennis MalloneeMike Manley Joe & Nadia

    MannarinoMatthew MoringWill MurrayMichelle NolanEric Nolen-

    WeathingtonDon PerlinDan RasplerMrs. Edmee B. ReitJoe RubinsteinMarie SeverinGilbert SheltonJoe SimonJ. David SpurlockFlo SteinbergDaniel TesmoingtDann ThomasGeorge & Dorothy

    TuskaMichael J. VassalloJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.William Woolfolk

    This issue is dedicated to the memory ofJohn BuscemaJohnny Craig

    Gray MorrowSeymour Reit

    ContentsWriter/Editorial: Avengers Re-Assemble! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Avengers Is Mine! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Roy Thomas scans his own (and Stan Lees) 1960s tenure on The Avengers.

    One Heck of a Professional . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11A verbal and visual tribute to early Marvel mainstay Don Heck.

    An Avengers InterviewSort ofwith John Buscema . . . . . . . . . 16John B. and Roy T. reminisce about their collaboration on Marvels greatest heroes.

    Stan Lees Double Date! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25Michael T. Gilbert re-presents an historic 1964 interview with The Man.

    The Eye Is Still Watching You! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31The great 1960s fandom hero is back, courtesy of Bill Schelly.

    Tributes to Johnny Craig, Gray Morrow, and Seymour Reit . . . 34Far too few words about three greats who have left us.

    FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) #72. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39P.C. Hamerlinck proudly presents Marc Swayze, Mike Manley, and C.C. Beck.

    Golden Age Section (The Titans of Timely/Marvel, Part II) . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: From the moment Roy saw Murphy Anderson's fabulous cover on the programbook of the 2001 Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC, he had to have it as a cover on Alter Ego!Con host Shelton Drum suggested to Murphy the notion of inserting the original Avengers into thesituation of the legendary cover Mr. A. had drawn four decades earlier for Justice League of America#1and Murphy, aided by the coloring and technical expertise of his son Murphy III, executed itbeautifully! Our sincere thanks to all three gentsand to Shel's wife Cynthia, without whom thereprobably wouldn't be a Heroes Con in the first place! See info on their 2002 convention on our verynext page. [Art 2002 Murphy Anderson & Murphy Anderson III; Avengers & TM 2002 MarvelCharacters, Inc.]

    Above: John Buscema drew this exquisite pencil sketch of the then-new Black Knight and his wingedsteed Aragorn in 1969 for Alter Ego [Vol. 1] #10; it hangs today on a staircase in Roy & DannThomas South Carolina home. [Art 2002 John Buscema; Black Knight & TM 2002 MarvelCharacters, Inc.]

  • Avengers Is Mine 3

    by Roy ThomasI. The Coming of The Avengers

    Everybody knows the (perhaps apocryphal) story: after playing around of golf circa 1961 with DC publisher Jack Liebowitz, whobragged about sales of his new Justice League of America, MartinGoodman returned to his own little stump of the former Timely Comicsand told editor Stan Lee to come up with a super-hero group of theirown. The resulting Fantastic Four soon turned Goodmans founderingcompany into the mighty Marvel Comics Group, restored F.F. artist/co-creator Jack Kirby to the prominence he had enjoyed during the 40s and50s, and made Stan Lee the nearest thing comic books have ever had toa household word.

    Except for featuring a super-group, however, Fantastic Four had lessin common with the JLA than one might think. The League was

    composed of buddy-buddy costumed stars of sevencurrent DC features, while the F.F. came out of nowhere(even its Human Torch was a new version); they didnt even wearuniforms at first, let alone individualized costumes. They foughtamongst themselves, too, something which would have been incon-ceivable then at DC.

    Before long, Fantastic Four was giving even JLA a run for its money,probably as much on the strength of the differences between the twotitles as on their similarities.

    And thats whenwhether he thought about it consciously or not (Isuspect not)Stan Lee decided to return to the JLA prototype, and thistime to follow it a bit more closely in creating a second Marvel group.

    This gangs heroes would be ones who already starred in four soloseries: Thor from Journey into Mystery, Iron Man from Tales ofSuspense, Ant-Man and The Wasp from Tales to Astonish, and The

    Is Mine!A Personal Look Back at (Some of) the Worlds Greatest Heroes by The Avengers Second Scripter

    Part IPart I

    This re-creation of Kirbys cover of The Avengers #1 was done in the 1990s by Dick Ayers, original inker of the cover and issue. It and the original art to the splash of issue #8 (Sept. 1964) are reprod from a Sothebys art catalog. [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • Incredible Hulk fromwell, actually, Ol Greenskins own mag had bitthe dust after six issues a half year earlier, but Bruce Banners bitter halfwas still popping up in various Marvel mags, and it was clearly only amatter of time till he got another regular gig. (Other possible membersincluded Spider-Manbut he was a definite loner that Stan intended tokeep that wayand Sub-Mariner, who would guest-star two issues later,though still behavingmore like a villain thana hero.)

    Once again Stanbrought in his aceartist (and de facto co-plotter) Jack Kirby todo the pencilinghonorswhile DickAyers, who had beeninking F.F., performedthe same chores on thenew mag.

    Its name wasnt going to be anything like Justice League ofAmerica, either, which even then to Stan wouldve had way too muchof a super-hero Rotarians feel about it. No, he wanted somethingpulpy. Fantastic Four had smacked of the pulp magazine title TheSecret Six... Spider-Mans name, at least, of The Spider... so the newassemblage of heroes becameThe Avengers (#1, cover date Sept.1963). The original Avenger, of course, had been a pulp-mag hero backin the 1930s.

    In terms of intra-group relationships, however, The Avengersdefinitely owed more to F.F. than to JLA. From the very beginning, TheHulk was a lettuce-colored loose cannon, and readers wondered if hedever fit in with his fellow Avengers, even as well as The Thing had withthe F.F.

    The answer was that he wouldnt. By #3 Hulk had already forged atemporary alliance with Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, against hisAvengers compatriots, and at storys end he quit the teamfor good, asit happened. And when Captain America was thawed out of the ice in#4, it looked as if, with penciler Don Heck relieving Kirby as of #9, TheAvengers might settle comfortably into a JLA niche with a steadymembership that could go on for years.

    It didnt, of course. Because Stan found it difficult (and worseunrealistic) to have several of Marvels solo stars cavorting together inAvengers while in their own titles (which he also scripted or at leastplotted) they were involved in other, often cliffhanger storylines, hetook the unexpected and revolutionary step in #16 (May 1965) of havingevery hero except Cap quit the team, in a story he brought back JackKirby to pencil. Their replacements were definitely a bunch of second-raters: the quasi-villainous archer Hawkeye from a few Iron Mantales, and Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, two nominally evilmutants from The X-Men, another team comic in more of an I Wasa Teenage Fantastic Four mold which had debuted at the same time asThe Avengers, but which had thus far proved not nearly as popular.

    Amazingly, with this foursomeCaptain America and his also-rans,as we fans thought of them at firstAvengers actually gained in sales,despite such early mediocre opponents as The Minotaur, The

    4 Avengers Is Mine

    Kang comes back with a bang! The Heck-Ayers splash for Avengers #24 (Oct. 1965), reprod from the original art as seen in a Sothebys catalog.

    [002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Rascally Roy, seen here in a 1965-66 photo with Stan's gal Friday, Fabulous Flo Steinberg, made his first creative contribution to The Avengers in #30(July 1966), when, in the final panel on Page 7, he penciled the palm treeseen abovejust to see how it would look inked by Fearless Frank Giacoia.Rest of pencils by Don Heck. The photo, courtesy of Flo, appeared in LesDaniels' indispensable 1991 book Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the

    World's Greatest Comics. [Art 2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • Commisar, Swordsman, and Power Man. The latter was intended tomatch the success of their earlier (but deceased) foe Wonder Man, but hedidnt come close, maybe partly because brown isnt a particularlyhappy color for a super-baddies threads.

    And thats where I came in.

    II. Whore You Callin Rascally?When I started working for Stan and Marvel in early July of 1965, the

    Power Man story (#21-22) was winding up, and in #23 Stan was finallybringing back a relative big gunKang the Conqueroreven if Kanghad seemed a time-hoppingknockoff of Dr. Doom. Next, Dochimself turned up. In #28 (May1966) Giant-Man (nee Ant-Man)returned to the Avengers fold, hisname altered to the more eupho-nious Goliath. The fact that theBiblical Goliath was a villain, not ahero, apparently never botheredStan. And with Hank Pym, ofcourse, came the wondrous Waspstill as tiny and pea-brained as ever.

    Before anyone might believeThe Avengers were going tomaintain any kind of stability forlong, however, Quicksilver and TheScarlet Witch found an excuse toleave the group. Well, it kept thecovers (and the stories) fromgetting crowded.

    With #32-33, Lee and Heckintroduced a Ku Klux Klannishorganization, The Sons of theSerpent, in a storyline fairly radicalfor its day. Hawkeyes unrequitedlove, The Black Widow, wanderedinto it, and some wondered if she,too, might become an Avenger.

    And then Stan dumped TheAvengers in my lap.

    He and Don had begun a two-parter with another lacklustervillain, The Living Laser. (Ofcourse, its not that they plannedthe Laser to be lackluster. Nobodyever plans such a thing. It justworked out that way. It does,sometimes.) He wasnt much, buthe did manage, by the end of #34,to trap Cap and Hawkeye in a circle of lethal laser rays which werecoming closer, closer...

    And thats when Stan said, in essence: Take it, Roy!

    Well, in truth, I merely inherited #35 after it had been plotted(probably as much by Don as by Stan) and even penciled by Don, whowould be inking, as well.

    I was used to this kind of thing by then. After all, the morning afterthe New York Power Blackout of November 1965, I had staggered intothe office to be told that I would henceforth be scripting Sgt. Fury andHis Howling Commandos, starting with an issue already penciled by

    Dick Ayers. A few months later, Id been given an issue of The X-Menwhich had already been penciled by Werner Roth. In each caseandAvengers followed this patternI simply provided the dialogue for myinitial outing on a series. The first issue I would plot would be thesecond which would list me as scripter.

    Still, I was overjoyed to have The Avengers lateraled over to memore so than I had been even with Sgt. Fury or X-Men. After all, givenmy early-60s enthusiasm for Justice League, and for the 1940s JusticeSociety which had inspired it, Avengers was a book I was eager to sinkmy teeth into, even if I had greatly preferred it when Thor and Iron Manhad appeared in every issue.

    Of course, issue #35 wouldvebeen looked the same and told thesame story whether the dialoguehad been written by Stan Lee, byRoy Thomas, or by the officeboyif wed had one (notcounting me). I muddled throughas best I could. And, happily, Standidnt rewrite anything like asmuch of Avengers #35 as he had ofmy virgin forays on Sgt. Fury #29and X-Men #20.

    In #35s final panel, Don haddrawn Captain America, broodingalone in Avengers Mansion,reacting in shock to someonewhos entered off-panel,exclaiming in big open letters:YOU! (Next: The QUEST!blares the end caption.)

    Did Stan and/or Don intend allalong that, on the splash of thefirst Avengers I would plot (#36,Jan. 1967), the YOU! wouldturn out to be The Scarlet Witch,returned to enlist help in rescuingher swift-footed sibling Pietro? Ibelieve they did. No matter. I likedthe idea of bringing backQuicksilver and Wanda, not leastbecause theyd make the groupbigger. As an earlier JSA/JLA fan,I equated the ideal super-groupsize with seven, not four or so.

    Not that I ever mentioned myJSA/JLA template to Stan, ofcourse. It would have beenanathema to him to think that hisprotg might ape, even slightly,

    the DC super-hero conclaves he meant to leave in the dust. I remem-bered what Bill Cosby once said about the way African-Americans hadto get into TV: Infiltrate! First establish your bona fides as acompetent Avengers scripter, then have fun using elements of theJSA/JLA model, while still writing the book in a Marvel mode!

    I greatly enjoyed writing The Avengers right from the get-go, evenwith Stan looking closely over my shoulder for the first few issues, andart-directing the early covers with little or no consultation with Roy theBoy. (I had dubbed myself that in an early credit line, as a complementto Stan the Manand because I was never totally wild about beingcalled Rascally Roy, an epithet which, though nicely alliterative, didntexactly fit my personality.)

    The credits of Avengers #35 (Dec. 1966) indicated that it was scripted(surprisingly) by Roy T. The assignment came as a surprise to him, too. Stan

    had given no indication that he was thinking of giving up the Avengerswriting chores. Art by Don Heck. [Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    (Some of) the Worlds Greatest Heroes 5

  • One Heck of a Professional 11

    by William CainQuickly, nowwhat are the names you

    think of when someone mentions The MarvelAge of Comics?

    Certainly Stan Lee appears at the forefront,along with mainstays like Jack Kirby, SteveDitko, and Dick Ayers. No one could argueagainst any of those names. The creativity andmarketing genius of Lee, the power of Kirby,the mystery of Ditko, and the efficiency ofAyers (among a handful of others) all played atremendous role in Marvels rise to promi-nence in the early 1960s. But among thosestars toiled another professional whose solidperformance and remarkable dependabilitystamped him as one of the most reliable andwell-liked artists in the history of the comicbook field.

    This man was Don Heck.

    For an artist who admittedly preferred therealistic comics (westerns, war, mystery, andromance) to the super-hero genre, Heck isnonetheless associated with some of the mostsignificant hero comics of the Silver Age.

    One of his best-known runs came withIron Man, beginning with the characters very first appearance in Talesof Suspense #39 (March 1963) and including what many consider to bethe Golden Avengers definitive look. He also provided the art to agroundbreaking run on The Avengers, eventually penciling or inkingvirtually every major hero in both the Marvel and DC universes. Amonglongtime comics fans and professionals, his name is immediatelyassociated with the giants of the industry. His attention to detail,coupled with his efforts to constantly improve his craft, mark him as oneof the best ever to man a draftsmans table.

    Just who was Don Heck, and how did he come to be such a valuedand admired storyteller in the field of comics?

    Like most of his contemporaries, Don was attracted to drawing at anearly age. Born January 2, 1929, in Jamaica, New York, his artistic talentwas quickly recognized by his father. Unable to see much of a future incomic art, however, the elder Heck tried to persuade him to pursue a

    career in architectural drawing. ButDons interests lay elsewhere.

    As a teenager he began a series ofcorrespondence courses in art andcartooning at Woodrow WilsonVocational School in Jamaica and atthe Brooklyn Community College.These experiences, and an obviousdisplay of talent, led to his firstprofessional job in the field, re-pasting photostats for HarveyComics. While Harvey didntexactly allow Heck to showcase hisartistic skills, the job exposed himto the inner workings of theindustry and allowed him to studythe work of his idol, Milton Caniff,creator of Terry and the Piratesand Steve Canyon, and anotherlegendary artist then working forHarveyJack Kirby.

    Heck wanted to draw, but theHarvey editors showed littleinterest in his artistic capabilities.By 1950 his friend and fellowproduction artist, Pete Morisi,departed to begin a career as afreelance artist. Not only was Donnot considered by Harvey to be anartist for their magazines; he wasnow expected to pick up thedeparting Morisis workload.

    I figured that was my cue toperfect my samples and get some

    work of my own, Heck later explained. The Harvey editors werentinterested in my work. They wanted me back in the productiondepartment. So I picked a couple of comic book companies out of thephone book, visited them one day, and went home a professional comicartist.

    Those companies turned out to be Quality and Hillman, whoassigned him short mystery stories. With his initial work under his beltand a fledgling portfolio to showcase, Heck soon found work with TobyPress and Media Comics. Media assigned him the lead art chores on ahorror comic titled Horrific. While honing his craft working on theshort-lived series, Heck drew the monster and vampire stories withshocking covers that were the vogue for the comics of the early 50s,including shrunken heads, witches, and the obligatory Jack the Ripper.While neither the series nor the company lasted long, Heck had his footin the door, displaying the talent and professional demeanor that wouldpropel him for the rest of his life. He also penciled features stories forcharacters like Duke Douglas, Torpedo Taylor, Cliff Mason, and

    One Heck of aProfessionalAn Appreciation of Marvel Artist DON HECK

    In 1992 and 1993 Don Heck drew these never-before-publishedillustrations: a self-portrait, and a closeup of Iron Man and hisalter ego of Tony Stark. They prove, if it needed proving, that,

    even in his mid-sixties, Don remained a consummate pro.Courtesy of William Cain. [Art 2002 the estate of Don Heck; Iron

    Man & Tony Stark & TM Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • Johnny Gallant until, in 1954, Mediafolded.

    With Heck looking for work, his friendand former Harvey production artist PeteMorisi was working for Stan Lee at Timely.As the story goes, Lee opened a book froma competitor and asked, Cant you drawmore like this guy?

    Morisi says he answered, Thats DonHeck. If you want him, I can have himcome up here.

    Heck later recounted his first meetingwith Stan Lee: It turned out that the veryworst day and time to bring samples [toStan] was on Wednesday afternoon. Sonaturally that was the precise day and time Ishowed up! (I could have sworn that waswhen my friend told me to go!) I suppose[Stan] was so amazed that anyone woulddare show up then, that he actually cameout to look at the samples Id brought. Heproceeded to turn a couple of pages, thensaid, I already know what you can do.Come on in and Ill give you a script.

    Thus began an association between Heckand Lee that would eventually see Don asone of the big stars of the Marvel Age.

    It was during this period, from 1954through 1957, that Heck firmly establishedhis style as one of the premier artists for thewestern, romance, and mystery genres of comics. That suited him justfine, as the super-hero strips appeared to be a thing of the past.

    In 1954 came the well-documented hoopla over Dr. FredericWerthams book Seduction of the Innocent and Congressional inquiriesinto comics and their reputed effects on juvenile delinquency inAmerica. The negative backlashfrom this series of events led to thenear-demise of comics as a whole,and Marvel (then under the Atlasbanner) cancelled more than half itsoutput. As Stan Lee would later say,it was one of the saddest days of hisprofessional career, as he was forcedto release much of his staff,including Don Heck.

    With the future of the industryuncertain at best, Heck drifted inand out of freelance work, focusingprimarily on projects outside thecomics arena. But a tragic accidentinitiated a turn of events thatbrought him back into the Marvelfold.

    Joe Maneely, one of thecompanys star artists, was killed ina train accident in 1958. The sadnews of his unexpected deathgreatly pained Stan. But, from aprofessional viewpoint, he had toreplace Maneely with someone hecould immediately trust and depend

    upon. Following his instincts, Don Heckwas his first choice.

    Back with Marvel and working on aregular basis, Heck became a mainstay onthe companys revamped mystery andmonster books, penciling and inkingmonthly assignments in the companys pre-hero versions of Strange Tales, Journeyinto Mystery, Tales to Astonish, and Talesof Suspense. These four comics werebasically interchangeable, with Kirby,Ayers, Ditko, and Heck (among a handfulof others) providing short stories ofmonsters, aliens, and watered-downhorror tales to meet the standardsimposed by the Comics Code Authority.

    Writing in 1965 about Hecks work(from Strange Tales #76) in the first issueof the giant-size reprint title FantasyMasterpieces, Lee opined that Heck isperhaps our most sophisticated artist. Ofcourse, the smashing success of TheFantastic Four and of Spider-Man inAmazing Fantasy #15 in 1961-62 led to ahuge revival of the super-hero titles byMarvel. While Jack Kirby and Steve Ditkodrew the debut appearances of most of thenow-familiar original Marvel characters, in1963 Lee turned to Heck for the origin anddebut of Iron Man in Tales of Suspense#39. It was Dons first super-heroassignment.

    Stan called me one day and said, Youre going to be doing a newcharacter called Iron Man. I had no idea what it was, what I was goingto do, Heck recounted. Kirby had designed a costume and contributedsome ideas. Stan and I expanded on those ideas, and then Larry Lieberwound up writing the final story.

    Iron Man became one of thegiants of the Marvel Universe, andHeck was the perfect choice todepict the exploits of millionaireindustrialist Tony Stark and hiscolorful supporting cast. A writercan only go so far in conceptual-izing, and then he needs hiscreation to take form within thestorys panels, Stan has said.Luckily, we had the perfect artistavailable at the timeDazzlinDonnie Heck, whose style hadboth a crispness and sophisticationthat would be perfect for the stripI had in mind. Don had been withus for years, doing virtually everytype of feature imaginable:mystery tales, romance stories,fantasy yarns, monster epics; youname it, hes done it. All I had todo was describe the project andDon was all for it.

    When Joe Simon and JackKirby introduced Captain Americato the world in 1941, the character

    12 Don Heck

    Iron Man fights the Commies in his origin story in Tales of Suspense #39(March 1963). For some three dozen Don Heck (and occasionally Jack Kirby)action epics starring Ol Shellhead, grab a copy of The Essential Iron Man atyour local comics shop or even bookstore! [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    When Stan Lee launched Fantasy Masterpieces as a non-hero reprint title cover-dated Feb. 1966, he chose this Heck-

    drawn story from Strange Tales #76 (1960) as the leadfeature. [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • [NOTE: Even as I was in the final stages of proofreading this issue ofA/E, I learned the sad news of John Buscemas passing. As you mightexpect, it still seems unreal to me as I write these words, only an houror so later, for last-minute inclusion. Ill have far more to say aboutJohn two issues from now, in A/E #15, much of which will be devotedto this Titan among comic book artists; but I preferred to let thefollowing short interview stand. From 1967-72 I scripted for Stan Leea 70-issue run of The Avengers, quite a few of them penciled by JohnBuscema, who was one of Marvels major artists from 1966-67through the 1990s... and he was my major collaborator, as well, onboth Conan the Barbarian and The Savage Sword of Conan in the1970sand on the latter, again, in the 90s. In November of last yearI began working with the semi-retired Big John on a new five-issueseries for DC Comics, and he graciously agreed to speak with meabout our Avengers work. It was unspokenly agreed between us thatthere would be no mention of his recent diagnosis of stomach cancer,or of the chemotherapy he was undergoing at the time, though we didspeak briefly of it between ourselves. Of course, during the recordedinterview, we detoured off onto such subjects as Conan and the 1940sTimely, as well... and we made tentative plans to return to both topicsin near-future issues. But this plan, like the one Id forged with GilKane a couple of years earlier, was not destined to be realized. To jogJohns memory in preparation for our talk by phone, I mailed himphotocopies from many of our Avengers issues. When I phoned him,he expressed half-serious amazement that I had bothered to save allthose comics, let alone (as I informed him) had them professionallybound so they could sit proudly on bookcases. At this point I turnedon the tape recorder:]

    ROY THOMAS: You wonder why I saved the stuff?

    BUSCEMA: Well, Roy, Im not a fan of comics.

    RT: No kidding. [laughs]

    BUSCEMA: As far as Im concerned, if I never saw another comic!The only thing Ive saved is a couple of Conan books we worked on,and thats it. I got rid of everything. One of the reasons, which upset me

    An AvengersInterview--Sort Of--with John Buscema

    A Conversation between Two Longtime Collaborators about a Half-remembered SojournConducted by Roy Thomas Transcribed by Brian K. Morris

    Juxtaposed with perhaps his most famous Avengers cover, which heralded the comingof The Vision (#57, Oct. 1968), John and Dolores Buscema smile for Dann Thomascamera at Joe Petrilaks All Time Classic New York Comic Book Convention held in

    White Plains, NY, in June of 2000. Theyre looking pretty cheerful, considering that thechauffeur hired to drive them from Long Island to White Plains got lost and took

    several hours to get them there! John said he went to this con and one in San Diegobecause my grandkids made me! [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    16 John Buscema

  • over the years, is that other people wereinking my stuff, and that is not my work.I cant look at it. The ones I inked, yes, Ikeep. Anything with super-heroes, Imnot interested. Only the Conans.

    RT: You inked the last Conans we didtogetherthat three-issue series two orthree years ago. And that graphic novelyou plotted, penciled, inked, and evencolored in the 90s, then asked me todialogueConan the Roguewassome of your best work ever! Of course,you always had the option of inkingConan. You just didnt want to,generally.

    BUSCEMA: No, it was a matter oftrying to keep up with the schedules,because at one time, if you remember,Roy, I was doing the black-&-white andthe color book.

    RT: [laughs] And, of course, Stanwouldnt have really wanted youinking all that work, because hedrather get more penciling out of you.Me, too. So, obviously, very few of yourAvengers stories were inked by you.

    Taking a brief look at our Avengerswork together: the first one youpenciled, back in 1967, was #41. Do you

    remember being put on The Avengers? I think that was the first full-book assignment you had when you returned to Marvel.

    BUSCEMA: Yeah, because I started back in 66, and it must have beenright after that.

    RT: Youd done S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hulk over Kirby breakdowns.Then Stan had you do a fill-in issue or two of Avengers with mewhile Don Heck was busy elsewhere... and I kept you on for anotheryear or so. Had you ever done a super-hero group book before?

    BUSCEMA: No, that was the first.

    RT: [chuckles] And, hopefully, the last, huh?

    BUSCEMA: Well, you know, if you know how to pace it so that youdont have seventeen guys in each panel... [laughs]

    RT: You did that well. At one point, we had Hercules shave off thebeard he had in Thor. Do you remember, is that something you and Iboth wanted? I cant remember.

    BUSCEMA: I dont, either. You know, all these Xeroxes of pages yousent me, they dont even ring a bell. [laughs] I completely forgot allabout this stuff.

    RT: Not even in #43-44where you designed The Red Guardian, inhis Russian Communist outfit?

    BUSCEMA: I sort of vaguely remember that one.

    RT: You always seemed to come to life when wed be doing themythological stuff, like Herculesfighting some of these gods ormonsters.

    BUSCEMA: That I enjoyedbecause I dont have the restric-tions of the goddam automobilesand skyscrapers. I can createanything that comes into myimagination. Thats why Conanappealed to me. I had a lot offreedom in those books. I coulddo anything with the buildingsand create costumes. Again, Idont like drawing mechanicalthings. I just dont enjoy it. I likeanimated stuff, you know.

    RT: Every artist has differentthings they enjoy drawing.

    BUSCEMA: Well, Herb Trimpeused to draw the most beautifulairplanes. He loved doingairplanes. And I hate drawingthem. [laughs]

    RT: There were fans who wroteto me when I started doingConan and doing less super-herowork: Why dont you quit thatstupid Conan and go back tothe super-heroes? But what Ienjoyed most was doing a littlebit of everything.

    (At left:) Buscemas splash from Avengers #44 (Sept. 1967), inked by Vinnie Colletta. Johnsort-of recalls The Red Guardian, but had more enthusiasm for Hercules (below) facing the

    Psychotrons manifestation of the mythological Hydra in #43, inked by George Roussos. Takenfrom the b-&-w images of Marvels Essential Avengers, Vol. 2. [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    An Avengers InterviewSort Of 17

  • BUSCEMA: First of all, Conanwas something that hadnt beendone before and I loved theHoward books. I fell in love withthem as soon as I read them and Iwas chomping at the bit and Iwanted to do them so badly.[NOTE: John is referring to 1970,when he was the first artistoffered the assignment of drawingConan the Barbarian.]

    RT: Well, all youd have had to dowas cut your rate in half, andtheyd have let you do it. [laughs]Martin Goodman [Marvels then-publisher] wanted to get back thattiny bit of money he was payingout for the rights$150 anissuein some way.

    BUSCEMA: Oh,God. [laughs]

    RT: That was hisedict. Do you

    remember drawing, in Avengers #46, Giant-Manrunning around inside an anthill, fighting ants?

    BUSCEMA: Again, its so foreign to me, really.

    RT: #49-50 are two of the only Avengers issues youinked. They have all the mythological stuff again, whichhad the feeling of the Thor strip youd draw later.

    BUSCEMA: Yeah, thats my inking, right. Again, I dontremember the book.

    RT: When you were doing the John BuscemaSketchbook recently with David Spurlock, you didntrecall designing any characters; but heres a villain youdesignedThe Grim Reaper in #52. Do you rememberhim? I know it was my idea to have him carry a scythe,but I have this feeling it was your idea to make thescythe part of his actual arm.

    BUSCEMA: No, I dontremember that at all, Roy. If Icould help it, I didnt want tocreate anything. [laughs]

    RT: You penciled The BlackPanther in that issue withthe full-face mask, but Standecided we should makecertain readers could see hewas black. So we had toredraw the whole book toshow his face. VinnieColletta inked.

    In #55, George Kleinbecame the inker, with moreof a Joe Sinnott kind of style.Had you known Klein fromthe old days when you wereboth at Marvel or Timely?

    BUSCEMA: Yeah, at Timely.I started there in 48. George

    Klein was there before me. I was one of the last guys to get in. I wasprobably the youngest guy in the place at the time, and I rememberanother guy named Joe Something, a young kid about my age. AndGene Colan was working there about a month or two before I did.

    RT: And the next year they laid everybody off staff and turned theminto freelancers.

    BUSCEMA: They had a closet full of artwork that was partiallyfinished. Apparently, if the editors werent happy with some work,theyd throw it in a closetand when Goodman saw it, he wentbananas. And Ill never forget, it was one of the saddest times that Iexperienced. One of the guys that just got married came back from hishoneymoon and he was out of a job.

    RT: Back in the 60s and 70s, we almost never wasted a page, once itwas drawn and paid for. If we wanted to pay for a new page, wedbetter have a damn good reason!

    BUSCEMA: What the hell, theres a lot of money involved. But theywerent on top of it in 49.There was Al Jaffee, he wasone of the editors. TherewasJesus, what the hellare their names? I see theirfaces but I cant remember.There was a whole raft ofthese guys. These guyswould just throw this stuffin the closet. I really cantblame Goodman. Youknow, one of the thingsthat was different in thosedayswe didnt get paidby the page. We were paida weekly salary. We wereon staff, the whole Bullpen.We were about twentyguys in one room. Therewas Danny DeCarlo, SydShores, Carl Burgos, awhole raft of people inthat room.

    RT: Burgos laid out abunch of covers, didnthe?

    BUSCEMA: He did. The production people were in adifferent part of the office. I very seldom walked outof the bullpen. That was in the Empire State Building.I was there for about a year and a half, and thatswhen things hit the fan with Goodman.

    RT: You were in the famous Room 1404. Iwonderis there a 13th floor in the Empire State?Because if not, that means the 14th floor was reallythe 13th floor! Which would explain a lot!

    BUSCEMA: Could be. [laughs] But I do rememberthe 14th floor for the simple reason that, on the samefloor, there was an outfit whose name was somethingwith gold. Theyd buy it and sell gold jewelry. Andthey used to advertise on radio and they would say,The 14th floor of the Empire State Building. Thatswhy it stuck in my mind.

    RT: So how did you feel about George Kleinsinking compared to some of the others?

    Avengers #52 (May 1968) introduced TheGrim Reaper. Pencils by John Buscema.

    [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    The Masters of Evil, from Avengers #55, the first inked by George Klein on his return to Marvel after 2H decades.

    [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    This panel in #54 introduced the robot who turned out to beUltron-5. More about Ultrons origins in a near-future issue.

    [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    18 John Buscema

  • 25

  • Stan Lees Double Date!!by Michael T. GilbertI was 14 years old in 1965, and a huge Marvel fan. Which also meant I

    was a rabid Stan Lee fan. In those days, Marvel produced a mere handfulof comics, all pretty much edited and scripted by Stan. I loved them all,and Smilin Stans friendly, wise-cracking editorials just added to thefun. Naturally, I was dying to learn anysmall tidbits about Marvel Comics.

    So you can imagine my delight whenI stumbled onto the Stan Lee interviewyoure about to read. During a comicstrading session, I snagged a copy of thefirst issue of a fanzine called Crusader(not to be confused with any super-heroof the same name, or with MartyGreims Comic Crusader fanzine ofyears back).

    This Crusader was a big honkingthing46 single-sided pages, with acover date of Winter 1964-65 plasteredon the cover. The mag sported a crudepicture of Spider-Man, and was filledwith typical fanzine fare: comic booknews, pin-ups, ads, and an Avengersparody, The Dentures. There was alsoa short history of Dr. Doom, and somepanels reprinting the origin of theGolden Age Aquaman.

    But the jewel in the crown was anhonest-to-gosh-wow Stan Lee interview.

    Were reprinting Stans Crusaderinterview here, with minor editing. Dont expect an in-depth thinkpieceor a take-no-prisoners Comics Journal-style conversation.The Crusader interview took place during fandoms brief, beloved ageof innocence, and was conducted by three awestruck kids. Still, itsinteresting and valuable on a number of different levels.

    First, its a rare glimpse of Stan Lee at the very beginning of hisgrowing popularityand the emergence of Marvel Comics as the four-color powerhouse it soon became. Stan clearly got a kick out of talkingto these enthusiastic fans, and it shows.

    Beyond that, the interview was done in 1964, making it one of theearliest Stan Lee interviews. As such, its an incredibly rare interview,made more so by Crusaders limited press run. Most fanzines in theearly 60s had very small circulations. A popular offset-printed title likethe original Alter Ego series might have a circulation in the hundreds,maybe as much as a thousand in rare cases. Your typical zine printed viaspirit-duplicator machine (such as Crusader) generally had a print runof less than a hundred. Of these, only a handful of copies are likely tohave survived after nearly four decades. Its a real treat for me to be ableto reprint this for a much wider audience. Those old-timers among uswho were young Marvel fans in the early 60s will find this interviewparticularly interesting.

    Equally interesting are the circumstances behind the interview. TheQ&A was conducted in two sessions by three young fansDavidCastronuovo, Pete Ricciardi, and Frank Colletta. If that last namesounds familiar, its because Franks dad was famed Marvel inker VinceColletta, who arranged the interview. Mr. Colletta was most famous forhis long run on Journey into Mystery/Thor, over Jack King Kirbys

    pencils. Editor David Castronuovo wrote this in Crusaders originaleditorial:

    Vince Colletta, inking artist from Marvel Comics, who is Franksfather, has also helped us a great deal. Not only did he set up the inter-views with Mr. Lee, but also gave us some pro art to use in our zine.

    The pro art consisted of a quickly-drawn Spider-Man cover by VinceColletta, and a cute Spider-Man pin-up credited to him but clearly basedon a Steve Ditko drawing. Stan probably wrote the gag, as his signaturewas pasted onto the Spidey pin-up.

    As David tells it, when they foundout that Franks parents were planning adouble date with Stan and his wife Joan,the boys arranged a one-hour interviewwith their idol. The scheduled one-hourinterview eventually grew into a five-hour session!

    I have to chuckle, thinking aboutStans wife and Mr. and Mrs. Collettatwiddling their thumbs for five hours (!)as Stan and the kids gassed on aboutcomics! I think it shows the level ofenthusiasm Stan had for the comics andfor his fans. I also like to imagine themoment when these two 11- or 12-year-old Marvel fanatics heard their buddyFrank mention that his dads pal STANLEE!!!! was going to stop by. I wasroughly their age at the time, and Iknow I would have freaked!

    But, enough talk! Davids 1964interview will fill you in on anyadditional background. Then its on toour main course: Stan The Man Lee!

    At last! The interview that youve been waiting for!

    In-Person Interview with STAN LEEAs you would naturally expect, we were greatly enthused and excited

    over the fact that the three of us, David Castronuovo, Peter Ricciardi,and Frank Colletta, were really going to meet STAN LEE! When wefound out that Vince Colletta was having Mr. Lee over to his house, weimmediately started to prepare for the meeting that Mr. Colletta had setup. Aside from preparing a number of questions for this interview, wealso saw to it that cameras and tape recorders were in top condition! (Seepictures reprinted in this zine. Much to our surprise, we learned that Mr.Lee had the same type of camera that I was using!)

    Waiting for Stan Lee to arrive, we became greatly impatient, whichwas naturally expected. (After all, how many times does one meet StanLee so informally?) We were under the impression that Mr. Lee was onlygoing to be able to talk with us for about an hour (before going out todinner with his wife and Mr. and Mrs. Colletta). But the way it turnedout, poor Stan never left the house until 5 hours after he arrived.

    After meeting Mr. and Mrs. Lee, and talking a little while, I got mycamera out, and ended up taking several great candid shots of the oldmaster.

    Right before we started the real interview, we showed Stan the line-up of Marvel first issues that we had set up, and also some older magslike those printed by Atlas (including All Winners #15).

    No, your eyes arent going bad on you like Stan Lee says (in theinterview) that his are! This grainy photo is taken directly from

    Crusader #1, so what we see is what you get, alas. But we wantedto print it anyway, in the spirit of the times. From left to right:Vinnie Collettas son Frank, Stan, and David Castronuovo. The

    photo was probably taken by fellow editor Pete Ricciardi, or elsehed have squeezed into the pic himself!

    26 Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt

  • by Bill Schelly[On the occasion of the 47th anniversary of The Eye, UnderworldExecutioner, Alter Ego takes a look back at the bizarre hero whodazzled comics fandom in the 1960s... and gives you the lowdown onhis return in a new millennium!]

    Imagine for a moment: Youre one of that superstitious, cowardly lotknown in pulp stories and comic books as a cheap hoodlum. Youvejust committed a robbery and now youre desperately running from thepolice sirens through the darkened alleys of an eastern metropolis.Finally, the sirens fade and you slow down to catch your breath. Lousycoppers, you gasp, theyre not quick enough to get me!

    Then you hear itthe sound of footsteps coming closer in theshadows.

    Whos there? your voice rasps. Better back off or youll eat lead!

    Suddenly, a weird shape emerges into the moonlight. Its a man cladin colorful garb. But whats wrong with his head? Then you realizethe red and blue figure has a giant, naked eyeball where his head shouldbe! He seems to tower above you, maybe because youre cowering withfear. You want to run but theres something about that weird figure thatleaves you spellbound.

    You manage to stammer, W-who are you?

    An eerie voice emanates from the giant eyeball: I am The Eye whosees all. Your days of preying on society are over.

    Oh yeah? You try to raise the gun in your quivering hand, but astabbing beam of light leaps from the eyeball into your brain, andsuddenly you cant move a muscle. Your limbs are frozen. Thenasudden flash of blinding light, and everything goes dark.

    For a guilty party, The Eye is the thing most to be feared. Discovery!Exposure! Apprehension!

    For us comics fans,however, theappearance of TheEye in Star-StuddedComics #3 in 1964heralded thebeginning of anexciting new comicshero, who offered atwist from thesqueaky-clean heroesof the day: a herowhom everyonethought was avillain. While MarvelComics had experi-mented with thehero who wasntalways appreciated by society, few (with perhaps the exception of TheHulk) were truly thought to be bad guys at that time.

    As with The Eyes victims, there was something that held me spell-bound at the sight of a costumed hero with a giant eyeball for a head.There was something disturbing about it, especially if one thought it wasan actual flesh-and-blood eyeballslimy, pulsing, ribbed with tiny veins.He looked like a mutant of some kindmaybe a refugee from one ofthose cheesy low-budget science-fiction movies of the 1950s.

    But what of that costume: red tunic, blue pants, and white cape,gloves, and boots? Why was this bizarre character garbed in the primaryhues of Captain America and the other patriotic heroes so commonduring World War II? Why not a more somber fashion palette?

    First, a little background: I was thirteen years old when I firstencountered The Eyes early adventures in the pages of Star-Studded #3and Fighting Hero Comics #10 in 1964. Both were printed in thesometimes crudebut always charmingspirit duplicator process.

    More than any other originalcharacter of the fanzines of the era,and the majority of the heroes inprofessional comics, too, The Eyegrabbed my attention. A brilliantcharacter design will do that. Justone look should be enough tocaptivate the potential reader. Thisone sure does.

    Then I found out more about hisgenesis, and my fascinationincreased.

    Id assumed The Eye was whollythe brainchild of the very talented

    The EyeIs Still

    Watching You!

    Panels by Biljo White from Introducing the Eye in The Eye #1. [2002 Bill J. White; The Eye & TM 2002 Bill Shelly.]

    In 1997 Biljo White presented this color sketch of The Eyeto another longtime fanRoy Thomasas a gift. [2002

    Bill J. White; The Eye & TM 2002 Bill Schelly.]

    Title 31Comic Fandom Archive

  • No. 72

    [Art 2002 Mike Manley; Characters & TM 2002 DC Comics.]

    No. 72

  • [FCA EDITORS NOTE: From 1941 to 1953, Marcus D. Swayzewas a top artist for Fawcett Comics. The very first Mary Marveldrawings came from his drawing table, and he illustrated her earliestadventures, including her origin story; but he was primarily hired toillustrate Captain Marvel stories and covers for Whiz Comics andCaptain Marvel Adventures. He also wrote many Captain Marvelscripts, and continued to do so while in the military. Soon after WorldWar II, he made an arrangement with Fawcett to produce art andstories for them on a freelance basis out of his home in Louisiana.There he both wrote and drew stories for The Phantom Eagle inWow Comics, in addition to drawing the Flyin Jenny newspaperstrip created by his friend and mentor Russell Keaton. After Wowscancellation, he did artwork for Fawcetts romance comics. MarcSwayzes ongoing professional memoirs have been FCAs mostpopular feature since they began to appear in issue #54, 1996. Lasttime, Marc further analyzed his romance work. In this issue hereturns to the subject, regarding his several syndicate tries while atFawcett, which included collaborations with Rod Reed and GlennChaffin. P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    In preceding installments I mentioned ten Fawcett romance comics. Ihave since learned of two more: Love Memories and RomanticWestern. There may have been others.

    A more notable discovery was that Sweethearts passed the twomillion sales mark. Enough cause for a pause: it stands to reason thatmany of those copies were read by more than just the individual

    purchasers. It would also be very likely that the sales of Life Story hadexceeded the previously reported 700,000 per issue. Surely those figures,with a modestly estimated total for the eight sister romances wouldamount to...

    Do you see what Im getting at? Could a fellow be forgiven forallaying moments of despair over an obscure career, with the thoughtthat 3,000,000 peoplesome lonely, some illwere made happy everymonth because he left his milk route and took to the comics?

    I had definite convictions about the romances. Thescripts were not always what youd want to call literaryjewels. Ponderous dialogue and unwieldy panel descrip-tions occasionally suggested that some of the old prosmight have fled the scene. But to my way of thinking,regardless of what came off the typewriter, the pictureromance story was told on the drawing board... throughthe expressions and emotions of the characters. Thereaders of romance wanted... probably always had andalways will... pure, simple, sincere realism. From ourhouse they got it.

    I was just as serious about the syndicate tries.Syndicate Tries is the title I gave to a thick file ofsketches, idea notes, typed scripts, finished art, photo-stats, and correspondence, accumulated in fourteen years

    of effort to achieve a goal. The goal was a syndicate contract to write anddraw a newspaper feature of my own conception.

    It is difficult to tell about those endeavors without feeling somewhatapologetic. Thats because they are so unrelated to Fawcett Publicationsand the Golden Age of Comics, compared to other subjects we attemptto cover. I proceed, however, on the strength of their having beencreated by one who was there, at that time, affiliated with that company,and who participated... and how!

    It wasnt really a secret, my doing much of the work after hours,often in cramped quarters... with never a word to friends or affiliates. Itwas simply a matter I considered to be my own private business.

    Judi was the start of itJudi the Jungle Girl, who, tucked away in ahomemade portfolio, called on the syndicates of New York City withme, only to return without a contract.

    The next try featured Judis canine companion. The art for Jango hadsomething of a Captain Marvel flavor... probably because I was now onthe Fawcett payroll. After about four daily strips had been completed,and a full week laid out, we entered World War II and the feature wasshelved in favor of something more timely.

    The original text for Jango, fourteen weeks of typed script with asynopsis of the story continuation, bears a date of 6-1-44, suggesting I

    (c) mds[Art & logo 2002 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel & TM 2002 DC Comics]


    40 Marc Swayze

    Thats my sis! Rare Captain Marvel pencil sketch by Swayzeand two nicepanels from Mary Marvels origin in Captain Marvel Adventures #18 (Dec. 1942).

    [Art 2002 Marc Swayze; Capt. Marvel & TM 2002 DC Comics.]

  • had later intentions to pursue the project. I must assumeit was interrupted that time by my agreements withDaigh of Fawcett and Agnelli of Bell, and headingsouth.

    Jangos place on the small drawing stand at West113th Street was taken by Bill OBrien, America flyer.Work on Lucky Bill was held to a slow pace by thedaytime demands of Captain Marvel and Mary, andbrought to an abrupt halt by my own entry into theservice. A week of strips with near-finished penciling,some partly inked, all lettered, were stored away when Ideparted. Strip number 6 left Bill stranded on amountain in enemy territory.

    But Bill had tenacity. Recently I was looking at the olddrawings, and there was Bill, still clinging to themountainside, after 58 years!

    Although I scripted a number of Captain Marvelstories when in the military, I dont recall ever havingone thought about the syndicate tries. Then, severalmonths on a hospital bed, an injured leg stretched outbefore me, I drew Trudy, a girl private detective. OneSunday page, lettered and inked, was completed whenthe work began to reveal a serious lack of what RussellKeaton and I had often discussed... spontaneity.

    Another idea, begun under the same circumstancesand continued later, was Little Ug-Li, a youngsterdwelling in a mythical bygone age. It wasnt a botherwhen I realized later that the idea might be taken as a

    We Didnt Know... 41

    Lucky Bill. [2002 Marc Swayze.]

    Judi the Jungle Girl by Swayzewith Jango already waiting in the wings for his own big chance at stardom. [2002 Marc Swayze.]

    The art for Jango had something of a Captain Marvel flavor.... [2002 Marc Swayze.]

    In 1950 Sweethearts passed the 2,000,000 mark in sales. Fawcett romancepage layout by Swayze. [2002 Marc Swayze.]

  • Conducted by P.C. Hamerlinck[As related below, Mike Manley was the inker and/or penciler onmuch of the nearly 50-issue Shazam! series developed and written byJerry Ordway during the 1990s.]

    FCA: Mike, tell me a little bit about your background where yougrew up, and if you have any early memories of comic books you mayhave read as a youngster.

    MIKE MANLEY: I was born and grew up in Michigan. I was readingcomics at a very early age. My dad used to buy them for me, or let mehave the change in his pocket to buythem when we went to the store. Iwas fascinated when he would tellme about the comics he used to readwhen he was a kid, such as CaptainMidnight, Captain MarvelAdventures, and The Spirit. Iremember making a trip with myfamily to Lansing, Michigan, andstopping along the way at a store,where I saw some T.H.U.N.D.E.R.Agents comics by Wally Wood thatreally captivated me.

    My favorite hero as a kid wasSuperman. Space Ghost became mysecond favorite hero when hiscartoon appeared on television. Later,my favorite comics to read wereMagnus, Robot Fighter and JackKirbys Kamandi. I wasnt intoMarvel Comics too much becausethey were not readily available at myneighborhood stores for somereason but I loved the Spider-ManTV show and the old stiffly-animatedMarvel super-hero cartoons.

    FCA: Did you have an earlyinterest in art and drawing?

    MANLEY: When we moved in 1975,I found a comic shop that stocked allthe Marvel titles, and I really got intothem. My only previous exposure to

    the Marvel characters was the ones I saw on TV and a few comics I hadgot down at the local deli that were resold with the covers torn off. Idgo to the comic shop several times a week after school, sometimes withmy brother Dave, who was a fan of The Human Torch and Spider-Man.

    It was during this time of my life that I became really hooked oncomics, became aware of comic fandom and conventions, and decided I

    wanted to be a comic book artist oranimator. I began drawing from avery early age and was encouragedby both my parents and mygrandma who used to bring meextra drawing supplies fromChrysler, where she worked. Mygrandpa, my moms dad, was acommercial artist and could domasterful calligraphy.

    FCA: How did you break into thecomic book business?

    MANLEY: I started networking atcomic conventions in the late 70sand early 80s and finally got mybig break, assisting on Robotech forDC Comics. That led to additionalfreelance work from DC and later atMarvel Comics. In the meantime, Istarted doing some work forWestern Publishing, illustratingmany activity and childrens books.

    By 1987 I was sharing AlWilliamsons studio with Al andBret Blevins, whom I became bestpals with after having a chancemeeting when he came throughMichigan on his way to New York.Bret had landed a job with Marvel,and Al had just received a veryloosely penciled Daredevil storyfrom Steve Ditko. Al was going to

    44 Mike Manley

    Its ReallyHard To BeSimple!

    An Interview with Power of Shazam! Artist MIKE MANLEY

    Were looking for people who like to Draw! And Mike Manley, self-caricatured above, loved to draw Power of Shazam!as in the pencil

    breakdowns below before they were inked by Dick Giordano. [Caricature2002 Mike Manley; Shazam! art 2002 DC Comics.]

  • Why Things Never Get Better 47

    by C.C. Beck Edited by P.C. HamerlinckAs far back as records go, there were people who bemoaned the fact

    that everything was getting worse instead of better. It all started withAdam and Eve, mankinds first male and female, who quickly fell intosin and were punished by God for their dereliction and had theirprogeny cursed forever.

    Whether an individual grows up in pleasant or unpleasant conditions,as soon as he reaches the age of reason he or she finds that there isdefinitely something rotten notonly in the state of Denmark butin the condition of his owngovernment, education, art, andliterature. Only rarely, and verybriefly, are there periods whenthings get better temporarily andso unexpectedly that theseperiods are recognized only afterthey have disappeared and every-thing has gone back to whatduring World War II was knownas S.N.A.F.U (Situation Normal,All Fouled Up).

    The reason that changes forthe better occur so seldom is thatthe individuals who can changethings are so rare. Most membersof the human race are no moreintelligent than were theirancestors of a couple of millionyears ago.

    The average citizen, contraryto popular belief, is not blessedwith common sense and aninborn intelligence which onlyneeds bringing out. Most peoplehave less sense than animals andwould not last more than a fewdaysor hoursif turned loosein a desert or in a jungle withouta supply of food and water andthe means of making fire, ofdefending ones self, and of killingother life forms if necessary.

    The ability to make picturesand carvings was developed so far back in history that no one knowswhen it first appeared, but a talent for art is as rare among members ofthe human race as is talent for music, mathematics, acting, or governing.Today there are schools which profess to teach such things, but mosthumans have an innate distrust of anyone who is too smart and thusdifferent from the average citizen. Most humans actually have so thin aveneer of civilized behavior that at the slightest relaxation of whateverlaw and order may prevail at the moment they will revert to savagery.

    Although a talent for art is so rare that many generations of humansmay be born and die without a single creative artists appearing amongthe inhabitants of any particular country, for some reason small groupsof creative artists may suddenly appear spontaneously and for briefperiods light up the world of art like flaring torches in the darkness (orsometimes more like glowing sparks, instead).

    Such a group of artists appeared without warning in the late 30s andearly 40s in, of all places, the field of trashy pulp publishing. It almostseems that any change for the better in human affairs can be made onlywhen everything cant possibly get any worse, and that state had beenreached in the publishing field when, in 1938, a comic strip characternamed Superman burst upon the publics consciousness with a bangwhich is still echoing a half century later.

    As with the appearance of the telephone, the electric light, the sewingmachine, and many other discoveries and inventions, Superman was

    almost immediately surroundedby many other similar charactercreations which flourished notin the syndicated newspapercomic pages but in the pages ofthe pulp magazinesotherwiseknown as comic books.(Superman had first beenrejected by the newspaper comicsyndicates.)

    Human beings are socialanimals. Although not one inmillions ever does anything outof the ordinary, as soon asanyone does, either by accidentor by design, the rest ofmankind hastens to follow suit.Within practically no time at all,almost the whole field ofpublishing had been taken overby the publishing of comicbooks, which at their peakoutsold all the old, establishedpublications put together.

    As soon as Supermanappeared, his publisher wasoverwhelmed by the demand ofthe public for more of the same,and production was expanded toenormous proportions. Peoplewho knew nothing aboutwriting or art were put in chargeof the workers who flocked tothe typewriters and drawingboards now being set up notonly by Supermans publisherbut by others.

    Each of Supermans rival comic book characters had a talented writeror artist (or both) present at his or her birth, but these individuals werequickly shouldered aside by the people in control of the variouspublishing firms now in the comic book business. The creators weretoo eccentric, too hard to get along with, thought the publishers.The creators wanted name credit, a share in the profits, andwhat noperson in control of anything will ever voluntarily give upcontrol oftheir creations.

    It is perhaps just as well that most of the creative people in the comicbook field did not gain control of their creations, for most creativepeople are by their very natures impractical and unable to fit into societywell enough to even support themselves. The history of inventions anddiscoveries is strewn with the corpses of the unfortunate individuals who

    Why Things Never Get Better

    Charles Clarence Beck, original artist and co-creator of Captain Marvel, drew,wrote, and lettered this great illo for the late collector/fan G.B. Love in 1970twoyears before DC made arrangements to bring back the Big Red Cheese in Shazam!

    [Art 2002 estate of C.C. Beck; Captain Marvel &!TM 2002 DC Comics.]



    Roy Thomas Timely Comics Fanzine

    Roy Thomas Timely Comics Fanzine

    $5.95In the USA

    $5.95In the USA

    No. 13March2002

    Captain America TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.

    T i m e l y M a r v e l !

    T i t a n sT H E

    P A R T I I

    O F




  • Alter EgoTM is published 8 times a year by TwoMorrows, 1812 Park Drive, Raleigh, NC 27605, USA. Phone: (919) 833-8092. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: Rt. 3, Box 468, St. Matthews, SC 29135, USA. Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: [email protected] Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Single issues:$8 ($10 Canada, $11 elsewhere). Eight-issue subscriptions: $40 US, $80 Canada, $88 elsewhere. All characters are their respectivecompanies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & DannThomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada.


    ContentsWriter/Editorial: O.K., Axis, Here We ComeYet Again! . . . . 2Power Luncheon1974 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4A convention confab with Joe Simon, Stan Lee, Frank Robbins, and Roy & Jean Thomas.

    A Long Glance at David Gantz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12First interview ever with a 1940s Timely Bullpen mainstay, conducted by Jim Amash.

    A Close-up Look at Timely Komics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31The Fago Age of Marvel, scrutinized by Michael J. Vassallo and Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.

    A Timely Talk with Daniel Keyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39A noted writer speaks with Will Murray about writing comics in the 1950s.

    re: [correspondence & corrections] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46Even the letters are all about Timely/Atlas/Marvel!

    Silver Age/FCA Section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: Joe Simons full-color Captain America figurebased on one he and Jack Kirbygenerated back in the early 1940scame about because of a meeting a few years back with Marvelexecutive Joe Calamari, who was trying to initiate a series of coffee-table books which would becomics histories with illos. Alas, the project never came to fruition. We added a bit of Simon & KirbyC.A. art as background. For more about Joes drawing, see Power Luncheon. [Art 2002 JoeSimon; Captain America & TM 2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Above: A star-spangled Pauline Loth splash page from Miss America Comics #1 (1944), courtesy ofDennis Mallonee. [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Vol. 3, No. 13 / March 2002Editor Roy Thomas

    Associate EditorsBill SchellyJim Amash

    Design & LayoutChristopher Day

    Consulting EditorsJohn MorrowJon B. Cooke

    FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck

    Comics Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert

    Editors EmeritusJerry Bails (founder)Ronn Foss, Biljo White,Mike Friedrich

    Cover ArtistsJoe SimonMurphy Anderson

    Cover ColoristsJoe Simon & Tom ZiukoMurphy Anderson III

    Mailing CrewRuss Garwood, Glen Musial,Ed Stelli, Pat Varker, Loston Wallace

    And Special Thanks to:Trey AlexanderMurphy AndersonMurphy Anderson IIIBlake BellAl BigleyBill BlackJerry K. BoydTom BrevoortFrank BrunnerJohn & Dolores

    BuscemaWilliam CainJames CavenaughMike CostaRich DonnellyShelton DrumRon FrenzDave GantzGrass GreenGeorge HagenauerDavid G. HamiltonMark & Stephanie

    Heike Roger HillCarmine InfantinoDaniel KeyesBatton Lash

    Stan LeeJohn Paul LeonDennis MalloneeMike Manley Joe & Nadia

    MannarinoMatthew MoringWill MurrayMichelle NolanEric Nolen-

    WeathingtonDon PerlinDan RasplerMrs. Edmee B. ReitJoe RubinsteinMarie SeverinGilbert SheltonJoe SimonJ. David SpurlockFlo SteinbergDaniel TesmoingtDann ThomasGeorge & Dorothy

    TuskaMichael J. VassalloJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.William Woolfolk

    This issue is dedicated to the memory ofJohn BuscemaJohnny Craig

    Gray MorrowSeymour Reit

  • [NOTE: From the late 1960s through the 1970s, comicsentrepreneur Phil Seuling was host to a series of major NewYork City Comics Conventions, which, until they wereeventually eclipsed by those in San Diego, were the biggestin the world. Four of the major guests at the 1974Seulingcon, as they were colloquially known, were thefour gents listed above. By sheer coincidence they includedthree of the first four editors-in-chief of Timely/MarvelComics: Joe, Stan, and then ed-in-chief Roy. (Only 1942-45head honcho Vince Fago was missing to make it a fullhouse!) Seuling gathered Stan, Joe, and Roy (with his firstwife Jean, also a writer for Marvel), plus artist/writerFrank Robbins, together at a luncheon in a packedmeeting-room at the Hotel Commodore, after which heinitiated a question-and-answer session. The followingtranscription was printed in Seulings 1975 conventionprogram booklet, along with photos. Alas, were not surewho originally sent us photocopies of various Seulingconmaterials, but our hats off to himand to A/E consultingeditor (and Comic Book Artist editor)Jon B. Cooke for helping us get thebest possible reproduction of thephotos. Since many of the panelscomments were of mostly transitoryinterest (queries asked of Stan, or ofRoy because he had beenMarvels main editor for twoyears), Phils interview hasbeen considerably edited toemphasize the morepertinent remarks. RT.]

    PHIL SEULING: JoeSimon, you were theeditor at MarvelComics when the 17-year-old Stan Lee cameto work there, whichmeans that between youtwo and Roy Thomas wehave three generations ofMarvel editors on this panel.Thats quite true, isnt it, Joe?What was it like then?

    JOE SIMON: Well, Stan wasjust telling me that the lasttime he left me, 1939, I waseating then, and nothingschanged. When Stan cameto us, he was very eager, hewanted to do some writing,and I think he was still inhigh school, werent you, Stan?

    STAN LEE: Id just graduated.

    SIMON: Just graduated? Well, we gave him the text page to do becausenobody ever read the text page, even the editors! And Stan wrote histext, signed his name to it, and we printed his name. He made it veryimportant and he made everything important after that. And thats whyhes where hes at, I guess.

    LEE: At the end of the table.

    SIMON: At the end of the table. [laughter]

    SEULING: Roy, youve seen a heck of a lot of writers and artists gothrough Marvel Comics. Who are the people who are not withMarvel any longer that you still feel some vibrations from?

    ROY THOMAS: Good or bad?

    SEULING: Either. Its an open luncheon.

    THOMAS: Ive been working for Marvel for about nine years. Andthe people who have worked for Marvel that I think contributedthe most, and who arent there any longer, are the same ones thereaders would like to seesince I was a reader of Marvel Comics.Jack Kirby, certainly. Stan Leehes sort of not there any more as

    far as writing goes! I wish he were... I keep asking him to do TheSilver Surfer, but he doesnt have time right now. Obviously, a guy likeSteve Ditko, who sort of wandered out the door and never came backguys like Jim Steranko and Barry Smith. Some people that I admire havegone on to other places, like Bernie Wrightson, who did his first coversfor Marvel, and a couple of stories.... It would be the same people,probably, that you would want working for Marvel. In other words,

    everybody in the business whos any good! We have agoodly percentage of them now. I wish we had thosepeople and a few more.

    Power Luncheon--Joe Simon, Stan Lee, Frank Robbins, & Roy Thomas at a Mid-70s Seulingcon

    Joe Simon contributed this drawing of Captain America to the program book of Shelton and Cynthia Drums 1998 Heroes Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina... which was held on

    the 4th of July. Incidentally, dont miss the ad in this very issue for Vanguard Press re-issue, with new material, of Joes biography The Comic Book Makers, written with his son Jim.

    [Art 2002 Joe Simon; Captain America & TM 2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    From left to right: Frank Robbins, Joe Simon, Phil Seuling, Roy Thomas, Jean Thomas. Stan Leegot crowded out at far left, but see later picsand besides, youll see a photo of The Man in the

    Comic Crypt in our flip section! [2002 the respective copyright holder.]

    4 Power Luncheon1974

  • SEULING: I want to ask this question of Joe Simon. How much areyou a fan of comic books?

    SIMON: Im afraid I havent read a comic book in many years, but I dolook at the pictures. The graphics are considerably improved over theearly years and what they called the Golden Age. At that time we hadless than a handful of really good artistsLou Fine, of course Jack, andthere were maybe three or four others, but today almost every artist issuperb. I couldnt keep up with them today.

    SEULING: Speaking about writingRoy said that some of the finestartists and writers are working for Marvel Comics right now. Thatshard to contradict when youve just added to your work force a manwhos written and drawn, oh, 10,000 pages or so. Frank Robbins, howdo you like the Marvel style as youve found it so far?

    FRANK ROBBINS: The Marvel method of working? Well, they have adifferent approach than Ive been used to, in terms of the way they layout the script in synopsis form and then you work the pictures and thenadd the words later. But its very intriguing. I like it very much. It sort

    of gives you a visual challenge and you try to dramatize and imaginewhat the dialogue might or might not be. You get a pretty good pictureof what youre doing as you go along, and its very freewheeling, youknow. I like it. Its a different way of handling things.

    THOMAS: Id just like to mention that we may be the first peopleMarv Wolfman, Tony Isabella, and Iever to ask Frank Robbins if hecan draw any faster. [laughter]

    SIMON: I have something to say about that. I just met Frank last nightfor the first time, but I remember his work from when Kirby and I firststarted, and Jack used to have Frank Robbins work in front of him. Hewas influenced by this man here.

    SEULING: There are so many ties in this business from one person toanother, from one company to another. I think these luncheons havebrought out many of these interwoven threads.

    Stan, Id like to ask you a question, since you have a few of thepeople that youve worked with through the years here. When Royfirst came to New York, and we met each other for the first time, hesaid he would favor working with Marvel because of a flavor, orspirit, some certain characteristic about Marvel that at that time thefans really admired. Now, the question would be this: Of the peoplethat you like to call the Marvel people through the years, whatwould you say are the characteristics that they have in common?

    LEE: The one common denominator is you have to be a little bitinsane... and enthusiastic. I think maybe, if nothing else, the people atMarvel, at our batty bullpen, as I cordially call it, are pretty enthusiastic.

    (Above:) In the mid-50s Joe Simon and Jack Kirby co-created Fighting American nearthe end of their days as a team; this splash from issue #1 (April-May 1954) is reprodfrom the original art as printed in a Christies auction catalog. (Right:) In the 1970s

    they teamed up one last time, at the urging of DC head Carmine Infantino in 1973-74:this version of the original art for the cover of The Sandman #1 (Jack penciled and Joe

    scriptedpresumably the inks are by Mike Royer) was provided by Joe & NadiaMannarino. Visit their All Star Auctions website at or contact them

    at , and tell em Alter Ego sent you! [Fighting American & TM 2002 Joe Simon & the estate of Jack Kirby; Stuntman & TM 2002 DC Comics.]

    Joe Simon, Stan Lee, Frank Robbins, & Roy Thomas 5

  • Almost every time that we sit and talk about something, Royllsay, Hey, how about doing a magazine of this sort or that sort?and I never can say no to him. His ideas are usually great, andwere always turning out more magazines than we really haveenough artists and writers to produce. Its hard for us to turn anyidea down, if we think itll be good, and we love our ideas, sowhat usually happens isour biggest problem is always trying togo out and get better and better artists and writers. When a guylike Frank Robbins falls into our lap after, lo, these many years,this is a great thing.

    Just like when Roy Thomas fell into our laphow many years agowas it, Roy? It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, cause I

    had been doing most of the writing and editing myself and I keptthinking, Gee, if I could only find somebody whod be dumb enoughto do all this work and let me have some time off and also be goodenough. I didnt know hed end up being better, but thats okay.

    In summer of 1974 Frank Robbins, renowned for his Johnny Hazard newspaper comic strip (this ones from 10/11/47), had recently moved from DC, where hed been writing and drawing such fare as Man-Bat Madness (Detective Comics #416, Oct. 1971),to Marvel, for whom he penciled Captain America and, later, The Invaders. The splash for Invaders #11 (Dec. 1976), splendidly inked by

    Frank Springer, is reprod from a photocopy of the original art, courtesy of Daniel Tesmoingt of Belgium. Robbins self-caricature iscourtesy of Robin Snyder. [Johnny Hazard 2002 King Features Syndicate; Batman art 2002 DC Comics; Invaders art 2002

    Marvel Characters, Inc.; caricature 2002 estate of Frank Robbins.]

    6 Power Luncheon1974

  • Interview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amash[INTRODUCTION: Dave Gantz is a Renaissance man inModern Art clothes. To call him anything but the compleatartist would be shortsheeting his long, varied career.From humor and horror at Timely to Mad magazine andadvertising art to newspaper strips and editorial musingsfrom his pen and brush, Dave has always managed tomake art where its needed. After I was given his numberby our mutual friend, artist Stan Goldberg (whose ownAlter Ego interview will be coming up in an issue or two),Dave spent many telephone hours letting me bend his earso please forgive him if hes starting to resemble Vincent vanGogh. But Ill pay the doctor bills for you, Dave! Jim.]

    JIM AMASH: When did you start drawing, Dave?

    DAVE GANTZ: I was born in the Bronx,December 6, 1922, and I started drawing when I

    was six. Ive never stopped. I always knew Iwas going to be an artist. I loved thenewspaper stripsGasoline Alley, DickTracy, Smilin Jack, Abie Kabibble, HappyHooligan, among others. I was in love withSmitty, which was done by Walter Berndt.

    Im a member of the Berndt Toast Gang.The group started when a few of us cartoonists

    started getting together for lunch on a regular basismore than thirty years ago: Creig Flessel, Frank

    Springer, Lee Ames, Al Jaffee, and a few others. Wed go tothe Northport Veterans Center in Long Island, New York, to entertainthe mental patients. When Berndt died, we drank a toast in his honorand named the group after him.

    JA: You were born around the same time commercial radio came intobeing. Did radio shows influence you?

    GANTZ: We didnt get a radio until I was eight. We were the firstfamily to have one in our tenement. People used to drop by and listen.Wed all sit and stare at the radio while we listened. I translated what Iheard into pictures in my mind.

    JA: Did movies influence you?

    GANTZ: Oh, sure. The Chaplin films. Skippy, which was a movieversion of Percy Crosbys newspaper strip. Those silent films withDouglas Fairbanks were great. On hot, humid days, theyd take theprojector outside where they had a screen and benches set up.

    JA: Did you go home and draw what you had seen on the screen?

    GANTZ: Sometimes. I remember drawing a pirate scene when I wasabout twelve and put that in my portfolio when I applied to the Schoolof Music and Art. But I was drawing mostly from life. Id draw myparents and go out sketching.

    JA: Comic books came into being in 1933. Did you read them?

    GANTZ: I saw Famous Funnies, which was all newspaper reprints,but I was mostly interested in the fine arts. I copied Rembrandt andthe old masters. My father bought me a book on El Greco when I waseleven and it really blew me away. I often visited the MetropolitanMuseum of Art. The museum was my best teacher.

    A Long Glance atDave Gantz

    A Conversation with One of Comics Top Golden Age Humor Artistsabout the Timely/Marvel Bullpen and Other Oddities!

    (Above:) Dave Gantz as caricatured (probably by Ed Winiarski) in KrazyKomics #5 (Jan. 1943). While he and the other bullpeners were both havingfun and blazing trails in humor comics, the long-underwear boys were still

    flying high. The splash at left (by Syd Shores and Vince Alascia?) is fromCaptain America Comics #22 (also Jan. 43). Caricature courtesy of Jim

    Vadeboncoeur; see his article later this issue. [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    12 Dave Gantz

  • I started at Music and Art when I was 12H. I got out when I was16H; they had rapid advancement classes in junior high school. It was awonderful learning experience. In high school we concentrated on thefine arts, as there were no commercial art classes taught there.

    I also went to the YMCA on 92nd Street for life drawing classes,because they wouldnt allow nude models in high school. Our teacherwas Zero Mostel, before he became an entertainer. Art was his first love,and he maintained a studio on 28th Street throughout his career. Mostelwas paid by an offshoot of the WPA [Works Progress Administration]called the FAP [ Federal Arts Project]. They paid artists $23 a week, butyou had to teach an art class. Don Rico was a member of the FAPbefore he got into comics. I remember seeing his lithographs.

    JA: Where did you go after you graduated from high school?

    GANTZ: I got a scholarship to attend the National Academy of Design,but only stayed there for six months. I didnt like the way they taught.They had us drawing from dead white plaster casts.

    I decided to go to Iowa University in Iowa City, and I was there fora year when my father suffered a heart attack. I returned home because Ihad to assume responsibility for the family and I didnt know what todo for work. I had worked since I was eight years old, but this wasdifferent.

    One day in 1940 I was walking down the street and bumped into AlJaffee, whom Id known since I was thirteen. I told him I was lookingfor a job and Al asked if Id help him do comic books. Thats how Ibecame a cartoonist.

    Talk about finds! This shadowed photo provided by Dave Gantz is one of the only ones known of the 1940s Timely bullpenand its from the early 40s, to boot! Hesuspects it was taken when they were in the McGraw-Hill Building, but says it might be the Empire State Building, to which they moved in 1942. Left to right: Chris

    Rule, Barbara Clark Vogel, David Gantz, Marcia Snyder, Mike Sekowsky, & Ed Winiarski.

    But Martin Goodmans kookie krew would soon find success mixing super-heroes andfunny animals, as Super Rabbit became one of Timelys biggest stars. Dr. Michael J.

    Vassallo, a.k.a. Doc, who covers the Fago Age in an article later this issue, identifies thisundated cover as Dave Gantz work. Incidentally, Supes shirt was light blue; his pants

    sky-blue; his gloves, cape, and boots red. Remind you of any Men of Steel we know? Ohyeahand his face was pink and his tail white! [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Dave Gantz 13

  • JA: Was Jaffee workingfor Timely yet?

    GANTZ: No. He wasfreelancing for severalplaces. Before I went toIowa, we had collabo-rated on a childrensbook which was neverpublished. That was myfirst attempt at one. Overthe years, Ive doneabout a hundredchildrens books.

    We worked at Alshouse because he had astudio there. Al got theart assignments and wedid them together. Thisonly lasted a fewmonths, as Al wasdrafted. Then I went toTimely for work, since Ihad published material toshow. I got a staff jobright away. They were inthe McGraw-HillBuilding on West 42ndStreet.

    I dont rememberwho hired me. It musthave been [publisher]

    Martin Goodman. He was very accessible in those days, because wewere in close quarters. I think we were on the 14th floor, but we didnthave the whole floor. There was a very small reception room. Goodmanhad a large office up front, and his secretary was in there with him. Hisbrother Artie was there, too, and so was his cousin Robert Solomon,who went around making sure we were working. He was always peeringover our shoulders.

    JA: I have the impression that Solomon wasnt well liked.

    GANTZ: It wasnt that Robbie was a bad guy. Its just that he wasalways watching us, and that rubbed some people the wrong way. Idont even think he wanted to do that job. But he was related toGoodman, so he was going to have a job.

    Goodman was a rather shy person who blushed very easily. Youcould tell what he was thinking by the color of his face. The comic bookbusiness has gone through many ups and downs, and there was a timewhen Goodman had trouble relaxing. So we made up a bunch of postersthat said Relax!!! in comic book lettering with lots of exclamationpoints and put them up in his office. You could do anything but relaxwith those posters! [laughs] We were in the Empire State Building whenthis happened.

    JA: Was Goodman a nervous person?

    GANTZ: Not when we were in the McGraw-Hill Building. That camelater, when the Kefauver hearings were investigating comic books.Everybody started getting jittery about things.

    JA: What else do you remember about the layout of the offices?

    GANTZ: We had a room with one window. It was maybe 18' x 10'. Iwas in there with George Klein, Ed Winiarski, writer Jack Grogan, MikeSekowsky, and Marcia Snyder. Gary Keller was like a traffic manager,

    and he was there, too. Stan Lee had his own office, but it was nothingelaborate.

    JA: Was Chris Rule there then?

    GANTZ: He came along when we moved to the Empire State Building.Besides inking, he penciled stuff like Millie the Model. His work was sodistinctive that he established the style for the Millie comic. He lookedlike Santa Claus. I did a caricature of him once. He was an interesting,wonderful guy whose first wife was from the Steinway Piano family. Shehad a lot of dough, but he frittered his away. His second wife was aprominent socialite from Connecticut. He married into money anddidnt have to work in comics any more.

    Rule was in World War I as an ambulance driver before America evengot into the war. He came from aristocracy; his grandmother had owneda plantation in Texas and they had owned slaves. Chris had been aroundin Europe and knew New York like the back of his hand. He was a greatraconteur with a marvelous sense of humor. He was from Texas but wasa true New Yorker. Chris had known good times and bad times. Whenhe got into comics, it was the bad times. [laughs] He had worked as afashion illustrator for the Hearst newspapers for a great many years. Hewas a man about town. He knew all the nightclubs and all the peoplewho were in the limelight.

    Frank Giacoia worked on staff at McGraw-Hill, too, and was verygood. He was a nice Italian fellow, a good-looking guy. Frank kept tohimself a lot, and I think he got Joe Giella into Timely when we movedto the Empire State Building.

    JA: Where were the pulp and magazine offices? Same floor?

    GANTZ: No. They were on a lower floor, either the ninth or the tenth.I did some drawings and wrote some stories for the magazines. MelBlum was in charge of those books. His office was on the same floor asthe comics section. We called him Bum Blum. He was an exercisefreak and his shoulders couldnt fit through the doors. He wore ahearing aid and could shut it off at any time.

    JA: Very convenient. Was that section called Magazine Managementduring this time?

    GANTZ: Yes. And the movie magazines were on the lower floor.

    JA: What did you start out drawing for Timely? Humor comics?

    Artist Chris Rule, one of the two main candidates formystery inker of Fantastic Four #1-2 in 1961 (the

    other is fellow 1940s bullpenner George Klein), stuckaround long enough to do full art chores for the

    cover of Wendy Parker #1 (July 1953), a lightcomedy title. Get a magnifying glass and youll seehis initials at lower right. Thanks to Doc Vassallo.

    [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Mike Sekowsky would later be best-known for penciling Justice League of Americain the 1960s, but in the 40s he was an ace humor penciler at Timely. This splash

    from Comedy Comics #12 (Dec. 42), inked by George Klein, features a gnome that looks amazingly like Mads later Alfred E. Newman! Thanks again to Doc V.

    [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    14 A Long Glance at

  • Vince Fago & The Timely/Marvel Funny Animal Dept. (1942-1945)by Dr. Michael J. Vassallo

    In the winter of 1941-42 former assistant animator Vince Fago left theFleischer/Paramount stable of artists and returned to New York lookingfor work in the comic book business.

    As it turned out, his timing couldnt have been better.

    Just six months earlier, publisher Martin Goodman had expandedTimelys nascent super-hero lineup of titles. From 1939 to mid-42Timely had launched (in order) Marvel Mystery Comics, DaringMystery Comics, Mystic Comics, Red Raven, Human Torch, CaptainAmerica, Sub-Mariner, All Winners, Young Allies, U.S.A. Comics, andTough Kid Squad Comics.

    Daring Mystery, after eight issues, would change itsname to Comedy Comics (with #9, April 1942); simul-taneously another new title, Joker Comics, woulddebut. These two bimonthlies would launch a genre(humor) that would, by the postwar period, eclipse thesuper-hero titles in sales... and Vince Fago, taking overfrom Stan Lee, who spent much of 1942-45 in the Army,would spearhead much of this expansion as Timelyschief editor.

    Comedy Comics #9 continued the numbering of theaforementioned Daring Mystery and is actually a dual-genre book. Partof its contents, and that of #10 (June 42), consisted of super-hero

    [EDITORS NOTE: Alter Ego V3#11 showcased JimAmashs in-depth interview with Vince Fago, who wasTimelys editor-in-chief from 1942-45, while Stan Lee was inthe service during World War II. At the eleventh hour, Timelycollector Michael J. Vassallo submitted an article on the Fagoera of funny animal comics which, alas, we couldnt quitesqueeze in