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$ 5.95 In the USA No. 16 July 2002 PLUS: Art ©2002 Alex Ross; Mary Marvel TM & ©2002 DC Comics. FAWCETT FANTASIES TAKE FLIGHT! Also: And More!! MARVEL BULLPEN REUNION! John Buscema Gene Colan John Romita Marie Severin John Buscema Gene Colan John Romita Marie Severin OTTO & JACK BINDER C.C. BECK MARC SWAYZE HARVEY KURTZMAN JOE SIMON JIM MOONEY MICHAEL T. GILBERT STAN LEE RAMONA FRADON MARK EVANIER BILL SCHELLY Alex Ross COVER ARTIST Alex Ross Roy ThomasThunderstruck Comics Fanzine

Alter Ego #16

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ALTER EGO #16 features MARVEL COMICS... and CAPTAIN MARVEL! Behind full-color covers by ALEX ROSS (Mary Marvel) and the team of MARIE SEVERIN & RAMONA FRADON (Sub-Mariner & Aquaman), we proudly present the 2001 MARVEL BULLPEN REUNION, with JOHN BUSCEMA, GENE COLAN, JOHN ROMITA, and MARIE SEVERIN, interviewed by MARK EVANIER! There's also memories of the JOHN BUSCEMA SCHOOL, with loads of art by Big John and his students! PLUS: A giant FCA section, with ALEX ROSS on Shazam! The Power of Hope, plus C.C. BECK, MARC SWAYZE, and a tribute to CHAD GROTHKOPF! Then, MICHAEL T. GILBERT and MR. MONSTER present EC CONFIDENTIAL, with rare artwork by HARVEY KURTZMAN, JACK DAVIS, and WALLY WOOD, plus BILL SCHELLY interviews the man behind "PAUL GAMBI" tailor to the (DC super-villain) stars, and MORE!!

Text of Alter Ego #16

  • $5.95In the USA

    No. 16July2002


    Art 2002 Alex Ross; Mary Marvel TM & 2002 DC Comics.



    And More!!

    MARVEL BULLPEN REUNION!John BuscemaGene ColanJohn RomitaMarie Severin

    John BuscemaGene ColanJohn RomitaMarie Severin





    Alex Ross

    Roy ThomasThunderstruckComics 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.


    in memoriam Robert Kanigher & Tom Sutton

    ContentsWriter/Editorial: The Big Red Cheeseand an Infinite Number of Mice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Journey to the Rock of Eternity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4The bountiful Binder brothersOtto & Jacka vintage interview re The Marvel Family.

    Not Your Fathers Captain Marvel: Another View . . . . . . . . . 12DC editor Bob Greenberger and A/Es editor agree to disagree about the 1980s Shazam!

    Word of Power. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Didja know there was nearly a 1990s Shazam! series before Jerry Ordways? Neither did we!

    Comic Crypt: Harveys Heroes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17Michael T. Gilbert begins EC Confidential with a look at Kurtzmans super-doers!

    re: (letters & corrections) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Stan Lee, Joe Simon, and others weigh in.

    P.C. Hamerlincks FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America)#75 . 33Alex Ross, Sam Abbinanti, & Marc Swayze have their say. C.C. Beck art, too!

    Marvel Bullpen Reunion Section. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: Were particularly grateful to Alex Ross for generously allowing us to use thisnever-before-printed Mary Marvel painting, done for his Shazam! project a decade ago, as one of ourcovers. Mary never looked sexier than when Alex partly re-designed her. For more, see p. 40. [Art2002 Alex Ross; Mary Marvel TM & 2002 DC Comics.]Above: This previously-unprinted Alex Ross sketch of Mary Marvel didnt quite make it into ourcoverage of his early-90s Shazam! project back in Alter Ego V3#3, but we werent gonna pass up asecond chance! With thanks to the artist. [Art 2002 Alex Ross; Mary Marvel TM & 2002 DCComics.]

    Vol. 3, No. 16 / July 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

    Production AssistantEric Nolen-Weathington

    Cover ArtistsMarie Severin & Ramona FradonAlex Ross

    Cover ColoristsAlex RossMarie Severin & Tom ZiukoMailing CrewRuss Garwood, Glen Musial,Ed Stelli, Pat Varker, Loston Wallace

    And Special Thanks to:Sam AbbinantiBlake BellAlbert BecattiniAl BigleyBiraBill BlackJerry K. BoydLee BoyetteAl BradfordGlenn BraysJeff BrennaTom BrevoortMike BurkeyMrs. Dolores BuscemaJohn Buscema, Jr.Gene & Adrienne

    ColanDick ColeBob CosgroveRob DanielsTom DeFalcoShel DorfMark EvanierShane FoleyRamona FradonPaul GambacciniDave GantzJennifer T. GoBob GreenbergerMartin L. GreimWalt GroganDavid G. HamiltonBill HarperRichard HarpsterRon HarrisIrwin HasenJoe HeffernanMichael HranekDan JohnsonDenis KitchenRobert Knuist

    Anthony KowalikAdele KurtzmanMort LeavStan LeeMathias LorenzLarry MahlstedtJoe & Nadia

    MannarinoJim MooneyBrian K. MorrisMichelle NolanOwen & Susan

    O'LearyJerry OrdwayMark PacellaBruce PattersonDon PerlinJoe PhillipsVirginia ProvisieroDan RasplerMrs. Elme B. ReitEthan RobertsJohn RomitaAlex RossClark RossFred SchneiderDavid SellMarie SeverinJoe SimonDave SimonsMarc SvenssonMarc SwayzeJoel ThingvallDann ThomasBob ThomsJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.Michael J. VassalloMike VosburgKevin WeremeychikEd ZenoMike Zeno

  • Few comic creators have been the subject of as many articles andfeatures as Jack and Otto Binder. And little wonder.

    First working with Harry Chesler, and then managing his own shop,Jack Binder oversaw the production of a massive amount of comic bookart, as well as personally illustrating many features, most notably MaryMarvel.

    Most famous for his many Captain Marvel stories, Otto Binderalso scripted for Timely, National, and just about every other companyin the business, as well as maintaining a prodigious output as a science-fiction writer.

    You cant imagine how delighted I was when Martin Greim suggestedthat he, Al Bradford, and I travel to upstate New York to visit thefamous pair, who lived only minutes apart. My enthusiasm died a bitwhen I learned we were going in Al Bradfords van. I was unable todecide whether the name Dodge emblazoned on the vehicles frontwas a trade name or advice to pedestrians. Playing on my indecision, myfellow fans seized me by the cape-side and hurled me into the van. Wewere off!

    We left in the morning light of Massachusetts and arrived at OttoBinders home in the bright afternoon sunlight around 2:00. Suppressingour disappointment at not finding at least a yellow lightning insignia onthe mailbox, we introduced ourselves to Mr. Binder and his gracious

    wife Iona. Otto is a short, portly man, with greying hair and a pencil-line mustache. Eager for news of the comic industry, he leans forwardduring conversations, anxious to capture each word, punctuating hiscomments with short, animated hand movements.

    As time was short, we went immediately to Jack Binders nearbyhome. On the way, I quizzed Otto concerning his reading habits, hopingto take his mind off Als driving. Otto said that he read mostly mysteryand science-fiction, favoring Robert Heinlein as the top s-f writer. Atthat point, the van pulled into Jacks.

    While we waited for the second Binder, Otto invited us to the barnout back to see the studio and workshop which Jack used to create therealistic figures and regalia used in the nearby historical museum, FortWilliam Henry. Otto led us up a narrow staircase to Jacks studio loft, asmall, well-lit room containing painting materials and sketchbooks.Nestling here and there throughout the studio were pieces fromsynthetic Binder models... a hand here, a soldiers head there. At thispoint, Jack joined us and invited us into his home. After introducing usto his wife Olga, he bade us be seated in the living room. Pictures, largeoil paintings, adorned the walls.

    Jack Binder, in snow-white hair and black, thick-framed glasses, isabout the same height as his brother. He is an abrupt, dynamic man,who several times in the course of our conversation expressed his appre-ciation of Jim Steranko. This was not surprising. In attitude and

    Two Marvel-ous pairs of siblings! Otto Binder (seated) and his artist brother Jack, in 1973flanked by Cap and Mary. The Cap panel is from original C.C.!Beck art, courtesy of P.C. Hamerlinck, from Americas Greatest Comics #8 (Summer 1943); Jacks Mary Marvel illo was first published in Comic Crusader #15.

    [Photo 2002 Martin L. Greim. Mary Marvel art 2002 estate of Jack Binder; Captain & Mary Marvel TM & 2002 DC Comics.]

    Journey to the Rock of EternityA Vintage Interview with OTTO and JACK BINDER

    From the Pages of The Comic Crusader #15, 1973

    4 Otto and Jack Binder

    Edited & Published by (and 1973, 2002 by )

    Martin L. GreimInterview Conducted by Bob Cosgrove

  • demeanor, he might have been Jim Steranko forty years later, a Sterankoof the Golden Age of Comics. Informed of a colleagues departure fromNational, he said, I dont blame them a bit. Theyre impossible to workfor. I never worked for anyone on any terms but my own! For amoment, Binders figure dissolved and I saw the figure of Jim Steranko,sitting on my hotel bed at a New York con, telling a jammed room thatIf a publisher wants me, hes got to meet my terms.

    The InterviewBOB COSGROVE: Jack, as I understand it, one of your first jobs inthe comic industry was as shop foreman for the Harry Chesler Studio.Could you tell us something of Chesler himself? Hes sort of anunknown figure to many fans.

    JACK BINDER: Well, my first impression of Harry Chesler, when Iwent down with Frank Gruber, who was then scripting western tales forhim, to get the job, wasnt a good one. I didnt like the looks of the shopand turned him down.

    I went back a year laterand Harry and I sat down forabout an hour or so andtalked. He said, I dont wantyou as an artist! And I said,Then what the hell do youwant? He then told me hewanted me to take charge, totake over the staff. I said,OK, fine! And that was allthere was to it.

    The background of HarryChesler is simply this: he wasa man who was a visionary... apromoter... full of ideas... andstill is to this day. He has anatural intuitive sense, toknow when an artist has donehis best. Ive seen him have anartist do over a job fifteentimes. Hed pay for it, buthed know the artist wasdoing his best work. Heknew what he wanted andhed get it!

    Harry was originallysponsored by BernarrMacFadden, in our first studioon 5th Avenue. Then there was some confusion between Harry andMacFadden and the shop broke up. I went on my own for a while, thenseveral months later Harry called me up and we started a new organi-zation. I think there were three times we sort of went off the deep end,primarily because Harry could always envision something different,something new, and hed spend his last cent on it. He always had confi-dence that we could make it, and we did. Harry loved human beings. Hewas like a father to everybody.

    OTTO BINDER: Harry was a showman; he often did bizarre things,simply for the effect. He had pet alligators, little ones, in his office, andwould feed them raw hamburger. He also served them minnows, but hewould chop their heads off first, so the minnows wouldnt suffer whenthe alligators ate them.

    MARTY GREIM: Of the many things connected with CaptainMarvel, one of the more interesting is Shazams Rock of Eternity.Can you tell us something about this, Otto?

    [A/E EDITORS NOTE: As published in Comic Crusader #15,Marty asks about the Book of Eternity, and Otto is recorded asmentioning first the Book, then the famous Rock of Eternity. ThoughI seem to recall that there may have been such a book, I reasoned,based on Ottos response, that Marty actually asked about the Rockof Eternity, and that the word was twice transcribed incorrectly. Roy.]

    OTTO BINDER: Im fairly certain that the Rock of Eternity was myidea. I seem to remember coming up with the plot all enthused, and[editor] Wendell Crowley was, too, when he heard it. It actually ties inscientifically with astronomical theory. As you know, according to theBig Bang theory, there was once a primal atom of super-condensedmatter which exploded some 15 billion years ago or so. These particlesthen scattered to form the nebulas, etc.

    Now, along with this point in space, there was a point in time,too, at that very spot, wherever it was. Using poetic (literary) license, Isimply postulated a fixed point in the universe where this primal atom

    existed in a timeless state before itexploded. The Rock [of Eternity]angle was just to make it pictorial.But, conceivably, there is sometemporal/spacial point from whichany portion of the universe,throughout time, can be reached.If you understand all this, tell mehow it works, will you!

    BC: Jack, would you describewhat your typical work day waslike when you were running yourown shop?

    JACK BINDER: It was 24 hoursa day.

    OTTO BINDER: It started withhim going crazy, and how did itend up?

    JACK BINDER: Well, I woundup crazier! I hired in units of four.Id get enough work to near workthe men I had to death, and whenI had enough work for four moremen, Id hire them. So those fourwere kept busy, and my originalcrew was kept busy, too. I alwayshad enough work, because I gotthe business first.

    BC: What about your workday, Otto?

    OTTO BINDER: Well, as you know, a writer works alone. Im amorning writer. Id get going at 9 oclock and work until I was groggy,which usually came about 2:00 in the afternoon. The rest of the day Idtake off to recover.

    BC: What kind of things did you read, Otto, when you were workingin comics?

    OTTO BINDER: Everything but comics! Science-fiction, detective, andscience books, mostly.

    MG: Otto, over the years youve worked on many characters. Whichwould you say was your favorite?

    OTTO BINDER: Without a doubt, Captain Marvel or any of TheMarvel Family! Other than them, Id say Captain America was one. He

    Sivana seeks out the Rock of Eternity in Marvel Family #10 (April 1947), one of that mags greatest issues. Roy owns his own copybut thank the six immortals for DCs 1977 collection Shazam! From the 40S to the 70s!

    Script by Otto Binder, art by C.C. Beck. [2002 DC Comics.]

    Journey to the Rock of Eternity 5

  • was always a free and easy character. I did scripts directly for Stan Lee,in those days. I didnt work with Joe Simon until years later, when hewas working for Harvey Publications.

    BC: Martys been working on a Captain Marvel Jr. vs. CaptainNazi article. Do you know who created Captain Nazi?

    OTTO BINDER: Yes, it was Ed Herron. Herron was a very goodwriter, and I think he created Captain America, too. At the time heworked for Fawcett, he couldnt admit to it, because he wasnt supposedto work for any other company.

    MG: Otto, which did you find it easier to write... a super-hero story,or science-fiction story, or a detective story?

    OTTO BINDER: I think, probably, the science-fiction stories. I likeddoing things for the EC comics.

    BC: [to Jack] What did an artist have to be able to do for your shop?

    JACK BINDER: The most important thing for an artist in the comicbook field to know is how to utilize the full page, with the number ofbreakdowns on that page, to consistently have a continuity and a flow ofstory. Knowing how to interpret a script is another important thing.

    There was a panel once that really had the boys puzzled. The scriptsaid, Show the hero and the girl standing on the shore at the beach,with the waves thundering in, and in the background show 10,000natives coming at them throwing spears. They finally decided to see meabout this problem of how to draw all that. I said, Well, getting to thispoint is very simple. Just show a closeup of the hero, with his armaround the girl, pointing at the reader, saying, Look at those 10,000natives coming at us! This is the end!

    MG: As an artist yourself, Jack, how many pages did you turn out aday?

    JACK BINDER: Two complete saleable pages a day. Look, see, think,do is my motto. My advice to anyone learning art is to learn

    mechanicaldrawing, pattern ofline development,and design. Then,from there on, ifthey have anyartistic talent, let itexpress itself. Youvegot to have completeinvolvement in whatyoure doing... justgive yourself to it, orit wont happen.

    BC: Do youremember how youfelt when you got theword that CaptainMarvel was dead andthat the Fawcett linewas no longer in thecomic book business?

    JACK BINDER: Itdidnt bother me a bit!

    I knew the end was near and Id made arrangements to go into anotherline of business.

    OTTO BINDER: Jacks case was different, because he was branchingout into other lines of business; but in my case, my whole living waspractically Fawcett Comics. I had quit DC because of theFawcett/National lawsuit, so when National finally won the suit, it cameas a big blow to me and the other artists and writers concerned. Thething that made it even worse was that Beck and I had a syndicatedCaptain Marvel strip all worked out. He even did some artwork on it. Ithink we had about six or eight weeks of it done.

    BC: What about your brief venture with Milson Publications, Otto,and the character Fatman the Human Flying Saucer?

    Otto believed writer and sometime editor Ed Herron created Captain Nazithough another Fawcett writer, William Woolfolk, has claimed that feat.

    Either way, he was one of the greatest super-villains of the World War II era, as seen here in Whiz Comics #25 (Dec. 1941). ButEd Herron as the creator

    of Captain America? [2002 DC Comics.]

    As Eando Binder, Otto was a science-fiction scribe before he was a comicscripter. He created (see top left) the first sympathetic robot for numerous

    issues of Amazing Stories, including late-entry Adam Link Saves the Worldin the April 1942 issue. Later he adapted three of these in ECs Weird Science-Fantasy, beginning in #27 (Jan.-Feb. 1955), with Joe Orlando art, as seen at

    right. [Photo 2002 Martin L. Greim; Amazing Stories art 2002 the respectivecopyright holder; EC art 2002 William Gaines Agent.]

    6 Otto and Jack Binder

  • by Bob Greenberger[EDITORS INTRO: In Alter Ego V3#9 I indulged myself by

    writing a lengthy examination of a handful of my dream projectsthat did not come to fruition in the late 1980s and 1990s. One of thesewas a monthly Shazam! serieswhich was slated to follow thesuccessful four-issue Shazam! TheNew Beginning series whichDann and I co-wrote, and whichwas drawn by Tom Mandrake, onthe heels of the mid-80s Legendsmini-series. I detailed the processby which Mark Beachum, FrankTravellin, Mike Gustovich, andTod Smith, in turn, were chosenby DC Comics as the artists-designate.

    [The final step in this debili-tating process occurred wheneditor Mike Gold relinquished theproject, against my wishes, toanother editor whom I did notname, who insisted that I plot anew, stand-alone first issue(instead of the already-plotted #1-2 which had been penciled, inwhole or in part, by at least threeof the above artists). Eventuallythe whole thing fell apart, and,my six-year contractual priority ona Shazam! series having expired, Imoved on to other projects, mostlyat Marvel, while othersandeventually Jerry Ordway, whowas not connected with theforegoing in any way, shape, orformbecame the heirs toShazam!

    [Because I had not named mostof the parties involved, BobGreenbergerthe editor to whomMike handed over my Shazam!seriesis not mentioned in A/EV3#9. However, upon readingNot Your Fathers CaptainMarvel! therein, Bob elected tosubmit his own thoughts on thesubject, and I was more than willing to print them. Heres what Bob,who since then has also spent some months as an executive at Marvel,had to say via e-mail on in August 2001. Roy.]

    As you might imagine, I read your piece Not Your Fathers CaptainMarvel! with great interest. Having both watched from the sidelines atthe beginning and being actively involved at the end, I had my ownnotions of what happened and why.

    Captain Marvel was always aproblem character for the DCUniverse, even in the slightly moreinnocent 1980s. His world was of asimpler time, and it never seemedto fit as things got grimmer andgrittier. His use in Legends showedthat with the right creators it mightwork, and it certainly succeededwith the Shazam! The NewBeginning mini-series. After that,the character, and you, sufferedfrom a clear lack of editorialdirection.

    While you were working outWest, Dick Giordano tried tomatch you with the right artist.Mark Beachum, promising as hewas, was among the first of ageneration that seemed to lack thedirection to draw on a regularbasis. With the exception of hiswork in Penthouse Comix, Markhas never been a regular artist onmuch of anything. The work youreprinted shows his style owingmore to Neal Adams than C.C.Beck, which would have made foran odd-looking Captain Marvelindeed.

    Frank Travellin was someoneDick was trying to groom for yearsand, again, his work neveramounted to much and he soondisappeared from comicsaltogether. I remember his story-telling to be pedestrian, but thedesigns you showed reminded mewhy Dick stuck with him.

    Mike Gustovich, who did somenice work for you back then, was abetter, more disciplined choice,and I have no idea why this

    version didnt take off. It was probably the strongest of the bunch.

    By this time, when you stopped being the writer/editor, the characterfell under Mike Golds purview. Mike certainly matched your enthu-siasm for the character, but he was so busy starting things up that he

    Not Your FathersCaptain Marvel!

    Another View

    In the late 1980s three artists penciled the same scene for the first issue of Roy & Dann Thomas projected monthly Shazam! series: (above)

    Mark Beachum... (next page, top right) Frank Travellin... and (next page,bottom left) Tod Smith. Bob Greenberger seems to feel that Mike Gustovichmay have done some penciling for the series, as well! [2002 DC Comics.]

    12 Not Your Fathers Captain Marvel

  • 17



    an A





    of H


    y Ku



  • by Michael T. GilbertSome cartoonists are born geniusesor at least

    thats the way we like to imagine it.

    Truth to tell, its hard to picture guys like HarveyKurtzman, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and companyever being anything less than perfect. Still, even thegreatest talents had to start somewhere, and thecartoonists who worked at EC were no exception.

    From roughly 1950-56, the Entertaining Comicsline produced some of the greatest comics in thefield. In their day, the cartoonists whom publisherBill Gaines and editors Al Feldstein and HarveyKurtzman hired were a virtual Whos Who ofcomics best and brightestand the stories theycrafted for Mad, Two-fisted Tales, Weird Science,Crime SuspenStories, Tales from the Crypt, andother EC titles became instant classics. So whatbetter place to start our search?

    In this and future Crypts, well sneak a peek atsome rare pre-EC work by these comics legendsand to sweeten the deal, well even showcase somenoteworthy examples of their later work. But letskeep it our little secret, OK? That way I have an excuse to call thisseries... EC Confidential!

    Part IHarveys Heroes

    Lets start with the mad genius behind Mad comics and Madmagazine, Harvey Kurtzman. Harvey created Mad in the early 1950s, a

    fertile period in which he alsowrote, edited, and sometimesdrew grimly realistic warstories for ECs FrontlineCombat and Two-fisted Tales.Early issues of Weird Scienceand Weird Fantasy alsofeatured a handful of superblycrafted Kurtzman science-fiction stories.

    After leaving EC, he startedTrump, Humbug, andHelp!all brilliant but finan-cially unsuccessful humormagazines. The former waspublished by Playboymagazine magnate HughHefner in 1957, but died aftera mere two-issue run. Fiveyears later, Kurtzman andfellow Mad cartoonist WillElder finally hit paydirt whenthey began their long-runningLittle Annie Fanny series in

    Playboy itself. But before all that, Harvey served his comic bookapprenticeship drawing stories for a number of second-rate publishers.

    Comics historian John Benson states that Kurtzman began hiscartooning career in 1942, helping artist Louis Ferstadt ink a ClassicComics adaptation of Moby-Dick. From there, he moved on to drawstraight super-hero features like Black Venus, Magno and Davey,and Mr. Risk for Ace and other publishers. Harvey seemed ill-suitedto these humorless stories. Fortunately, his irrepressible humor couldntbe contained for long!

    EC Confidential

    According to The Illustrated Harvey Kurtzman Index, GlennBrays indispensable 1976 checklist, this very early Kurtzmancartoon first appeared in The Overtone, the school paper of

    New York High School of Music and Art, and was reprinted inGuts #5 in 1969. [2002 the estate of Harvey Kurtzman.]

    A selection of HKs straight super-hero comics fare: Paul Revere Jr. (Super-Mystery Comics, Vol. 3, #3), the cover of 4 Favorites #11, and Mr. Risk (Super-MysteryComics, Vol. 3, #5) were all published in 1943 by Ace/Periodical House; Black Venus is from Contact Comics #11 (1946), from Aviation Press. These pages were

    reprinted in The Illustrated Harvey Kurtzman Index. [2002 the respective copyright holders.]

    18 Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt

  • EC Confidential 19

    From 1946 to 1949 Kurtzman wrote and drew a series of hilariousHey Look! one-pagers for Timely (later called Marvel). It was thefirst time he had complete artistic freedom on any of his projects, andhis work showed it. Kurtzmans strip grew funnier with each episode,and paved the way for his later Mad work. Stan Lee was his boss inthose days, and must have enjoyed Harveys zany humor, as heeventually bought over 150 Hey Look! strips to use as fillers invarious Timely titles.

    One of my favorites of the Hey Look! strips is the CaptainMarvel-ish incident wherein a character turns into a super-hero byshouting Hey Look! This was drawn in the late 40s for Timely, butKitchen Sinks invaluable Hey Look! collection states that it was firstpublished in Kurtzmans Portfolio 10 in 1966.

    This isnt quite super-hero stuff, but around 1949 Kurtzman alsosubmitted to editor Lee an amazing 12"x18" sample page that wasvery much a precursor of the Mad comic he would launch a couple ofyears later at EC. (See next page.) First printed in a 1993 ChristiesEast Comic Collectibles catalog, it is described there: Archie-likecharacter is actually speaking to Stan Lee and performs some verydefinite no-nos. Kurtzman was obviously demonstrating to Lee hisrange as an artist. But that was the year of one of Timelys periodicdownsizings, and the end of even the Hey Look! fillers.

    Harvey moved to EC, where he wrote and illustrated a series ofhumorous tales for editor Al Feldsteins science-fiction titles. One ofthese, Man and Superman (Weird Science #6), was a clever 7-pagelook at the scientific underpinnings of the Man of Steels super-humanabilities. It came out only a year and a half before the first issue of Mad,and in a sense was a (probably unintentional) trial balloon for his latersuper-hero satires. (See next page.)

    Oddly enough, though Harvey would later parody DC, Fawcett, andQuality super-heroes in Mad, his first and only Marvel-hero satirewouldnt appear until 1990when Marvel itself published HarveyKurtzmans Strange Adventures. Harvey wrote seven short stories forthe book, including a rather disappointing Silver Surfer parody (see p.22). Earlier, he had done a mid-60s Little Annie Fanny episode inPlayboy which had featured one of Annies comic-collector friendsdressed as Captain America. (In the late 60s Marvel published NotBrand Echh, a heavily Kurtzman-influenced humor title that made funof their heroes; but to my knowledge the two stories mentioned aboveremain the only time Kurtzman himself played with the Marvel/Timelycharacters.)

    Also, for a 1963 issue of Help! he did the delightful A ThousandPictures Worth One Word, as seen on page 21.

    A later Hey Look! page with a super-hero theme. If you run across a copy of KitchenSinks hardcover Hey Look! collection of a few years back, circle the date in your

    calendar. It was your lucky day! [2002 estate of Harvey Kurtzman.]

    Harveys first Hey Look! page, from 1946.[2002 estate of Harvey Kurtzman.]

  • [Art 2002 DC!Com


  • [FCA EDITORS NOTE: From 1941-53, Marcus D. Swayze was atop artist for Fawcett Comics. The very first Mary Marvel charactersketches came from Marcs drawing table, and he illustrated herearliest adventures, including the classic Mary Marvel origin story;but he was primarily hired to illustrate Captain Marvel stories andcovers for Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures. He alsowrote many Captain Marvel scripts, and continued to do so while inthe military. After World War II, he made an arrangement withFawcett to produce art and stories for them on a freelance basis out ofhis Louisiana home. There he created both art and story for ThePhantom Eagle in Wow Comics, in addition to drawing the FlyinJenny newspaper strip for Bell Syndicate (created by his long-timefriend and mentor Russell Keaton). After the cancellation of Wow,Swayze produced artwork for Fawcetts romance comics, andeventually ended his comics career with Charlton Publications. Marcsongoing professional memoirs have been FCAs most popular featuresince his first column appeared in FCA #54, 1996. For the last fewissues, Marc has focused on his several attempts to sell a syndicatedcomic strip. This time he relates how his dream to get his own stripsyndicated was finally realized... only to be confronted with a cross-roads decision. Read on to see what he decided, then join us againnext issue when Marc returns to his reminiscences about the halcyondays he spent with Fawcett Publications. P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    Back in 1940 I took a long low-budget trip to showthe big city syndicates my first try at a comic strip. Oneof my stops was to be the NEA Service. I learned fromthe security officer at the Cleveland bus station that thesyndicate was within walking distance, and, from auniformed patrolman on the street, more specific direc-tions. I soon learned that the part of the NEA building towhich I had been directed was the part that those officersknew... the syndicates loading dock!

    Without looking for the front of the building I caught the attention ofone of the workers long enough to explain to him why I was there... andafter his consultation with a couple of others, he waved to me to wait,and disappeared.

    When he returned he was with another individual who looked asmuch out of place in the warehouse area as I did.

    It was Earnest L. Lynn... and there at the busy loading dock of NEAService, I presented Judi the Jungle Girl. To this day I havent forgottenthe courtesy and encouragement shown me there... nor that accorded meby Ernest Lynn during the ensuing years of my quest for a career.

    Now here it was, fourteen or fifteen years later... right in my hands...the long-sought syndicate contract... with details just about like I hadwanted them from the beginning. The Great Pierre, my own creation,writing, art, title, and characters, was to be released to the newspapers bythe Bell Syndicate, with time allowed for further preparation.

    After about a year of modifications to the strip, all by the way ofcorrespondence with Andre F. LEveque, suddenly he was gone. A briefmessage from Joseph B. Agnelli announced that Frank had resignedfrom the organization.

    I may have lost ground with his departure... not just the confidencehe had expressed in my ability, but his understanding of the feature. TheGreat Pierre, in the way I saw it, was of a new breed in newspapercontinuity comics, where emotion took emphasis over high action. Thestory of Pierre LeGrand... nee Louis LeNoir... was not an account of hisdeeds alone, but of his thoughts, his feelings.

    Marc Swayze 33

    Marc still has the magic touch. A very recent sketch of Captain Marvel for P.C.Hamerlinck. [Art 2002 Marc Swayze; Capt. Marvel TM & 2002 DC Comics.]

    Another rare Mary Marvel sketch by Marc Swayze. [Art 2002 Marc Swayze; Mary Marvel TM & 2002 DC Comics.]

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

  • I am convinced LEveque saw that. Im not sure anyone else did.

    Pierre had been put together by the thought process. If he was to saythis or that, I was determined that to the best of my ability he wasdrawn to look like a person saying it... with appropriate expressions andgestures. There was no particular individual in mind, although much,much later I was to recall that frequently while drawing the character Ikept seeing the face and spirit portrayed in the long career of film actorGilbert Roland.

    To some extent it was the way it had been when I joined the Fawcettoffices. No one had offered me a character chart on Captain Marvel. Idont know that such a thing existed in 1941. It was necessary that Iwork things out for myself... and my first thoughts were to improvethe art style... more realism... less comic cartoon... more light andshadow... depth...

    The theorizing was all wrong, of course, but no one, not even comicseditor Ed Herron, not art director Al Allard... certainly not C.C. Beck...told me so. The simple style was the way the feature was winningreaders. It was up to me to see it was the way to go.

    Thinking about it, there was considerable similarity between thepersonalities of Pierre and the Captain Marvel I had known. Theswampland adventurer had no super-powers, and no red outfit withcape... but he was another big, easy-going guy out to do the right thing.

    I did a lot of preliminary sketching in those days. I was a member ofthe local school board, and on the backs of old statements I find Pierresketches... expressions... panel arrangements. All this was done on thesly... and I hasten to explain that I was able to do it and stay abreast ofthe business at hand.

    With Agnelli taking up the correspondence at the New York end, thealterations of The Great Pierre mounted, extending well into anotheryear... and throughout my months with Charlton Publications. Mostwere helpful, but not all... the suggestion to curb the Cajun dialect, forexample. I may have come on a bit heavy with it in the beginning, but acertain charm or color seemed to have been lost with the editing.

    I consider The Great Pierre to be my wave of farewell to the longlist... and long years... of syndicate tries. As things turned out, it was myswan song to the comics as well. June, my wife, and I were in NewHaven shopping when a newspaper headline blared: OMCC PAYS 90

    MILLION FOR BROWN HOLDINGS IN LA. OMCC meant theOlin Mathieson Chemical Corporation, with the main offices near wherewe stood. Headquarters and major manufacturing operations of theBrown properties were located in our community back home.Interesting to us, but no more than that... at the moment.

    Then, after the Connecticut flood in the Derby region, and ourretreat southward, it came up again. For generations the major productof the manufacturing facilities in our part of the state had been industrialpackaging. The plan of the new owners, Olin Mathieson, was to expandto include retail packaging.

    Retail packaging... the consumermarket... shopper appeal... sophisticatedgraphic design. When the suggestionwas raised that I consider the respon-sibility of assembling an artdepartment in support ofthe program, I had adecision to make.

    The preparations forrelease of The GreatPierre to thenewspapers weremoving along at

    The syndicate decided that the Great Pierres Cajun dialect and chin stubble had to go. [2002 Marc Swayze.]

    Marc says he kept seeing the face of film actor Gilbert Roland while he was drawing The Great Pierre. [Art 2002 Marc Swayze.]

    Preliminary sketches for The Great Pierre.[2002 Marc Swayze.]

    34 We Didnt Know...

  • Conducted by Walt GroganMost Photos Courtesy of Walt Grogan, Alex Ross, and Sam Abbinanti[Since bursting on the comic book scene with Marvels in 1994 andcontinuing on with Kingdom Come in 1996, Alex Ross has become afan favorite for his ultra-realistic paintings of both DC and Marvelsuper-heroes. For the last four years, Ross has focused his energy onDCs icons: Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, and WonderWoman. Alex was kind enough to participate in a phone interview onMarch 18, 2000, to talk about Captain Marvel, as well as reveal a bitabout his upcoming project for DC Comics PCH.]

    FCA: What was it like to work with Sam [Abbinanti, Ross model forCaptain Marvel]?

    ROSS: Sam was willing to put himself through anything, ultimately. Hetook it as seriously as I did, when it came down to doing the actual work.Although all the comic people that knew him teased him relentlesslyabout it, as if it were something almost to be ashamed of. Since KingdomCome, he sustained for years a number of different barbs from differentpeople we know who would joke and make fun of the whole CaptainMarvel connection. And, with Sams personality being what it is, it onlyinvited more and more of that because hes such a great ball-busterhimself. But when it came to putting on the costumebecause he wentthrough like at least three different costumes during the course of whatwe did between Kingdom Come and Shazam! Power of Hopehe tookit as seriously as he needed to. There was never a begrudging sense to it.He may not have actually cared anything initially about the material,

    because he really didnt know Captain Marvel from a hole in the ground.He didnt know the character the way that I knew him from theShazam! TV show in the 70s and so many of his adventures.

    FCA: Was working with him different from working with some of theother models you used for the other DC hero treasury-size series?

    ROSS: I wouldnt say that much different. Everybody is prettyamenable to the needs of the photo shoot. In reality, these people are alot more forgiving than I am. I hate having to do photo shoots. Its not apleasant thing. And they pretty much made themselves available at mybeck and call when I usually waited until the last possible second beforeI let them know when I needed to see them. They made time for me.

    FCA: What was your first exposure to Captain Marvel?

    ROSS: Well, its hard for me to be sure because I know that my firstCaptain Marvel comic book was, of course, the Shazam! comics of the70s. It was the issue with a great cover by Ernie Chua where, I believe,Captain Marvels leg was caught in a huge mousetrap and three differentmouse-creatures wearing capes or something are approaching him[Shazam! #21]. A wonderful piece of art. I cant remember whether ornot I had that comic before or after the TV show was already on the air.I would err on the side of thinking that my first exposure would clearlyhave to be the television icon, but very quickly I was seeing the comics. Imean, I first started seeing comic books when I was about three or fouryears old.

    And then around that 1975 or 1976 period would be when I startedgetting them more regularly and being exposed to more and more things.

    Ross Of EternityAn Interview with Shazam! Power of Hope Artist ALEX ROSS

    Sam Abbinanti attired in one of the several Captain Marvel costumes created for Power of Hope. For more about these photo sessions, see next article.[Art 2002 DC!Comics.]

    38 Ross of Eternity

  • So my knowledge grew in that time period. So, yeah, the idea of thetelevision actors portraying Captain Marvel and Billy Batson wasprobably that first exposure, but I immediately understood thedifference in the comics. And as much as I loved that television show, Iwas asking questions like, Well, why isnt it like the comic? Whydoesnt the kid playing Billy Batson actually look like the kid and looklike the same person as Captain Marvel, only younger? For me, Iidentified that as an important facet of the character.

    FCA: So that leads into the appeal of Captain Marvel. What is thatappeal for you?

    ROSS: Well, I guess it covers a lot of different lines. What I mean is, Itry to describe it in ways that just dont only relate purely to nostalgia.But, first, and to my young artistic mind, I loved the composition of thecostume. I thought it was an excellent design. In fact, I liked it muchmore than Supermans because blue and red are not necessarily comple-mentary colors. They are almost opposites on the color spectrumwhereas red and yellow or red and gold go together so much better. Thesymbol was something much more graphic as opposed to a letter form.It was something that was understandable in any languagethelightning bolt. He has the cool gauntlets and the buccaneer-style bootsthat I always liked. I was always fascinated with the graphic design of hiscape; that it wasnt a normal cape in the way that we understand super-hero costumes. It was almost like an ornamental piece. Much likesomething for ceremonial use and slung over one shoulder and not beinglong enough to serve much of a purpose. Again, graphically, I found thatreally fascinating.

    And then, I think the face really got me. Because he had this verypuckish expressionthe eyes were always in a squintthe eyebrowswere very angled, arched... it would have seemed that he was angry if itwasnt for the fact that he was constantly smiling. And, of course, thevery look of his hair was almost like Count Dracula. So there wassomething really kind of puckish or more mysterious about the look ofthis guy. I was really drawn to his face and the overall package graphi-cally of everything there.

    And then, to get into things about the character, of course, there areso many interesting things in the world of Captain Marvel. The fact thatCaptain Marvel, at least by the time I was a kid, was still the chief arche-typical character of someone being able to just sort of snap their fingers

    Jackson Bostwick flying high as Captain Marvel in the 1970s Shazam!CBS-TV series. [Photo courtesy of P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    Kingdom Come Marvel Family [and friends] tight-pencil character study sheets by Alex Ross, 1997,for DC Comics/Graphitti Designs. This chief Marvel Family piece includes the unused and unseen

    daughter of King Marvel/Captain Marvel Jr. and Lady Marvel/Mary Marvel in Kingdom Come. Courtesyof Keif Fromm. [Marvel Family, Spy Smasher, Bulletman, & Bulletgirl TM!& 2002 DC Comics.]

    Alex Ross 39

  • Conducted by Walt GroganEdited by P.C. HamerlinckPhotos Supplied by Walt Grorgan, Alex Ross, & Sam Abbinanti[Sal Abbinanti is Alex Ross art agent and friend, as well as beingRoss model for Captain Marvel. Sam is an Italian nickname thatSal goes by. Sams likeness has been used for the Kingdom Comemini-series, the Shazam! Power of Hope tabloid, a Kingdom ComeCaptain Marvel statue sculpted by Ross, as well as posters and aShazam! plate released through the now defunct Warner Bros. stores.This interview was conducted in mid-summer of 2001 over coffee atthe famous Lou Mitchells restaurant in Chicago. Sam is a jovial,gregarious fellow who isnt afraid of stepping on toes and speaking hismind. He can be reached through Alex Ross website: AlexRossArt or through ComicBookPros , where he also represents several other leadingartists.]

    FCA: How did you and Alex Ross meet?

    SAM: We met at a Chicago comic book store. We started talking andfound out we knew some of the same people at Leo Burnetthe workedat Leo Burnett as a storyboard artist and I worked at a studio owned byLeo Burnett, so we knew a lot of the same people. So we startedtalking... this was before he was ALEX ROSS.

    FCA: Youre an artist, too.

    SAM: I was... I mean I still am, but I havent had the time. Before Ibecame Alexs art agent, I pounded the pavement for ten years trying toget into the business. I picked up some freelance gigs here and there, butnothing to scream about. My art style was just too gritty, and editorsused to call it too disturbing.

    FCA: Do you representany other artists?

    SAM: I handle AngelMedina, Ron Garney... andI just recently started takingon some of Jill Thompsonsstuff.

    FCA: How did Alex pickyou as his model forCaptain Marvel?

    SAM: Marvels came out, itwent through the roof, andthen he started working onKingdom Come. We wereat a bar, and he was startingto sketch out KingdomCome. We were laughingand joking around and hesaid, Youd make a goodCaptain Marvel. I hadremembered Captain

    Marvel from Saturday morning TV with Isis. Ithought he was kidding, and then a couple ofdays later he called me and asked me about itagain, and I said, Yeah, lets see what happens.Then one day he handed me the costume and Itold him there was no way I could fit my fat assin that costume. But I wore the topthats allthat would fit!

    FCA: How does Alex approach hisart? His critics claim he paintsfrom photographs.

    SAM: Alex starts with thumbnails.Amazingly tight. I mean thethumbnails are almost miniaturepages. Theyre not just sorta-kindaindications of where thingsare going to go. He gets itdown to where everythingis exactly going to be, andthe facial expressions areexact and theyre so tiny...I dont know how the heckhe gets them that small.His philosophy is that heworks out all the problemson the thumbnails so thatwhen he is painting all theproblem-solving is out ofthe way. He doesnt have to figure out whats not working or what hehas to fix. Its amazing to see, cause some guys just make the mini-versions and then they just blow them up. They light-box em. Alexdoesnt do that; he does the pencils, then he does a black-&-whiteversion; then he adds the color. On some of em, if you see the black-&-white version, its almost a crime that he goes ahead and colors them.Because the black-&-white versions are so cool-looking... theres a 60sblack-&-white television show kind of look to it. He also does a lot ofthe big shots, which are the ones that are seen first. We call them thehero shots, so they can be used in promotional and solicitation material.He does those before he gets into the guts of the book. Hell do pagesout of sequence. The harder ones hell hand in later, so that gives himmore time to finish thempages like the big crowd shots.

    FCA: So he does tight thumbnail sketches. Does he then take thephotos and then do the paintings?

    SAM: With Shazam! Power of Hope he came to me with thumbnails.Super-hyper, hyper-tight thumbnails. Theyre an inch by an inch. Heshows them to me and he says, I need you to do this, I need you to dothat. He shows them to me and there might be some action pageswhere hes not surelike the pages with the alligators or the page wherehes pulling the rods out of the nuclear reactorhes wasnt suresometimes hes not sureand asks me for suggestions, like if I can thinkof another action or maybe another pose, and then well think about it.

    FCA: It sounds very collaborative.

    SAM: Sometimes. Most of the time he knows exactly what he wants.

    The Power Of

    46 The Power of Sam!

    An example of Sams disturbing artwork.[Art 2002 Sam Abbinanti; Captain Marvel

    TM & 2002 DC Comics.]

    Sam Abbinanti has been Alex Ross model forCaptain Marvel ever since DCs Kingdom Come

    series. [2002 DC!Comics.]

    An Interview with Shazam! Power of Hopes Captain Marvel, SAM ABBINANTI

  • Ninety-nine out of a hundred he knows exactly what he wants. And wecan get into arguments about it; hell think Im not doing this right orIm not doing that right. For example, the first page in Power ofHopethe origin sequence when Billy is yelling Shazam! and turninginto Captain Marvel... we shot that in front of his house with end-of-the-day sun. So he literally had me looking right into the sun and sayingShazam! Then, after five times, he says Dont squint and Dontblink. You try looking at the sun and keeping your eyes completelyopen! For other shots, he uses these photography lightstheyre morelike those things that keep the fries warm at McDonalds than photog-raphy lights. Ive burned my ass on those things I dont know howmany times! These things get like 500 degrees because... I dont knowwhat he uses... cheap bulbs or something. And then we just go page bypage. I was done in half an hour for Kingdom Come. Power of Hopewas maybe four different sessions of two and a half hours each.

    He has to take some shots in pieces. With the flying shots, he has melie down on a weight bench and Ill put my arms out, but I cant put my

    legs and my arms out at the same time. Then Ill do one where I hold onand Ill put my legs out. Then what he does is, he just connects them, sothe ones where Im flyingIm usually just standing on my tip-toes,pointing to the ceiling. This guy is so meticulous that he even takes fivedifferent variations of the hand. You know, Would you fly with yourthumb out or would you fly with your thumb in? Finally he let medecide, and I said, Hey, I would fly with my thumb in, because itsmore aerodynamic. Youd pull your thumb off. And he says, I dunno,and then finally we agree. Man, he takes pictures of every imaginabledetail. I slicked my hair a little more because thats what he wanted.

    FCA: Does he take photos for the lighting?

    SAM: A lot of it is the lighting. A lot of it is that he wants to get thefolds in the materials. He likes to get the textures of how certain fabricswould look. We dont do a lot with Captain Marvels cape, like blowingit with fans or anything. He just makes that up. For the most part every-thing is done in the thumbnails. The pictures are done to have referencesfor lighting and things like that. When hes on a deadline, he can makeup anything. People are under the misconception because he takespictures that he cant draw. The reality is that, he can do all of this fromhis head. All the thumbnails are done first, and the photos come in to aidhim when hes painting: the lighting, how textures look, how to getcertain things right without guessing. He can guess it. You can guess

    how shadowing is, but its so unpredictable. If you take a photo it saveshim a lot of time when he gets to the painting. Sometimes my reaction is,why dont you just make it up? But this guy is amazing... thats why Imgiving the interview and he is at home painting.

    FCA: So were you in full costume for the photo sessions?

    SAM: I was fitted for a costume that he had made. Now that hes gettingfurther along, hes having costumes made. With Kingdom Come wefaked it. We faked a top and we faked a cape and I wore army boots. Butwith Power of Hope hes got this galshes a seamstress. So she madethe costume and he didnt like the way it looked or fit or the seams wereshowing or somethinghe had some problems with it. So finally he hadanother one madeso we had to use pieces from three differentcostumes to make the final one. The seamstress made three differentsashes and two or three different capes. He liked different elements ofdifferent costumes. She made a sash out of spandex and he didnt like theway that looked, and then with one costume he liked the metallic lookof the boltthe other one she made had just a plain yellow bolt and he

    didnt like it. And then the other costume had the little detailsthedetails in the cape, they were sewed in he didnt want those sewed in, hewanted them loose. We went with that cape. The gauntlets were spandexbuilt in. The boots worked out greatshe made bootsthose were realboots.

    FCA: It must get expensive.

    SAM: Hes gotten to the point now where its worth it for him to haveall these outfits. Hes going to use them again for something. Shazam! ispretty much just squint and smile... more or less. He tells you to squint...he tells you to smile and keep your teeth together, and then thatsCaptain Marvel.

    FCA: Did you have to take any shots outside?

    SAM: Yeah, for the scene where Billy is out playing catch. Most of theBilly shots were shot in front of his house because he liked the lighting.He took some shots for references of buildings and different things atother places. Most of the shots were taken in his suburb. He did a lot ofwork at Childrens Memorial Hospital. He met someone over there whowas very nice to him and let him come into the hospital and showed himaround and thats where he got some pictures of what the hospitallooked like. He didnt want to take any pictures of any of the kidsbecause he didnt think it was cool to take pictures of sick kids.

    Sam Abbinanti 47

    Progress(ion) in the arts! Alex Ross thumbnail of Billy changing into Captain Marvel for the origin sequence of Shazam! Power of Hopenext, a tighter version ofsamethen the photo of Sam as Cap in front of one of Alexs infamous fry lampsand finally the finished, painted art. [Art 2002 DC Comics.]

  • Roy ThomasSub-Aqueous Comics Fanzine

    $5.95In the USA

    No. 16July2002

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  • 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: The Man Who Hated Comicsbut Loved Comic Art . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2(Big John Buscema, who else?)

    The Mighty Marvel Bullpen Reunion 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3John Buscema, Gene Colan, John Romita, & Marie Severin interviewed by Mark Evanier.

    Johnny B. & Me . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29Owen OLeary, Buscemas artist-rep, writes about a fabulous artist... and a great guy.

    The John Buscema Workshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31Two of Big John's 1970s students talk about studying under a Silver Age great.

    Paul Gambi Tailor to the (DC Super-villain) Stars! . . . . . . . . 39Bill Schelly talks to Paul Gambaccini about 1960s comics fandom and beyond.

    Marvel Family Section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: At a comics convention a couple of years ago, Roy Thomas spotted MarieSeverin and Ramona Fradon having brunch togetherso naturally he couldn't resist (and notfor the first time) trying to persuade them to do a tandem illustration of the underwater heroeseach lady had drawn during the Silver Age: Sub-Mariner and Aquaman. Ye Editor was afternothing more than a battle between the sunken super-stars, but Marie and Ramona hadsomething a bit more mischievous on their minds. Serves Roy right for interrupting their meal![Art 2002 Marie Severin & Ramona Fradon; Sub-Mariner TM & 2002 Marvel Characters,Inc.; Aquaman TM & 2002 DC Comics.]

    Above: You saw Kal-El the Barbarian in A/E #13 & #15. Here are two more of JohnBuscema's character designs for JLA: Barbarians, the series he and Roy T. were working onwhen the artist passed away. The heroes names in the series would have been Fledor (fromfledermaus, German for bat) and Velos (from velocity) for The Flash's counterpart in agleaming age of swords and sorcery. [2002 DC Comics.]

    in memoriam Robert Kanigher & Tom Sutton

    Vol. 3, No. 16 / July 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

    Production AssistantEric Nolen-Weathington

    Cover ArtistsMarie Severin & Ramona FradonAlex Ross

    Cover ColoristsMarie Severin & Tom ZiukoAlex RossMailing CrewRuss Garwood, Glen Musial,Ed Stelli, Pat Varker, Loston Wallace

    And Special Thanks to:Sam AbbinantiBlake BellAlbert BecattiniAl BigleyBiraBill BlackJerry K. BoydLee BoyetteAl BradfordGlenn BraysJeff BrennaTom BrevoortMike BurkeyMrs. Dolores BuscemaJohn Buscema, Jr.Gene & Adrienne

    ColanDick ColeBob CosgroveRob DanielsTom DeFalcoShel DorfMark EvanierShane FoleyRamona FradonPaul GambacciniDave GantzJennifer T. GoBob GreenbergerMartin L. GreimWalt GroganDavid G. HamiltonBill HarperRichard HarpsterRon HarrisIrwin HasenJoe HeffernanMichael HranekDan JohnsonDenis KitchenRobert Knuist

    Anthony KowalikAdele KurtzmanMort LeavStan LeeMathias LorenzLarry MahlstedtJoe & Nadia

    MannarinoJim MooneyBrian K. MorrisMichelle NolanOwen & Susan

    O'LearyJerry OrdwayMark PacellaBruce PattersonDon PerlinJoe PhillipsVirginia ProvisieroDan RasplerMrs. Elme B. ReitEthan RobertsJohn RomitaAlex RossClark RossFred SchneiderDavid SellMarie SeverinJoe SimonDave SimonsMarc SvenssonMarc SwayzeJoel ThingvallDann ThomasBob ThomsJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.Michael J. VassalloMike VosburgKevin WeremeychikEd ZenoMike Zeno

  • [Panel Moderators Intro: Okay, imagine the scene. Its Saturday,July 21, and were upstairs at the 2001 Comic-Con International inSan Diego. Longtime fans of Marvel Comics of the 60s, 70s, maybeeven the 80s are crammed into Room 8 to see and hear a panelfeaturing four of the keystone artists of that period: Marie Severin,Gene Colan, John Romita, and John Buscema.

    [And me? Im the lucky guy that gets to interview and moderate.

    [But the main thing you need to know I mention at the risk ofsounding like JerryLewis on a telethon.Its that there was a lotof love in that room.We love what Marie,Gene, and the twoJohns did... oh, maybenot each and everystory, but certainly thebody of work. It meanta lot to all of us, and itwas, by and large, darngood comic art. Welove their work, welove them... andespecially we love thecamaraderie betweenthem, the almosttangible mutualrespect. Theyre each asbig a fan of the otherthree as we are of allfour. I think that comesacross in what follows.So does the devotion ofthe audience. But Ihad to mention it here.Mark Evanier]

    MARK EVANIER: I assume, if youre here, you share my love forthe period of Marvel Comics from the time F.F. #1 came out untilabout the time they hired certain people who shall remain nameless.[Cries of Name them! Name them! from audience.] Now,obviously, were going to talk about other people like Stan Lee andJack Kirby and Steve Ditko and Don Heck. But the four people hereproduced an immense amount of wonderful comics. Let me introducethem quickly to you. First, we have the latest inductee into the WillEisner Hall of Fameand thats an impressive thingone of the best

    artists Marvel ever had, whose main function in comics, good as thework on the pages was, was drawing insulting caricatures of the staff.[applause] Marie is in the dealers room during the day doing sketchesand accepting commissions and I think they are woefully underpriced.If I were you I would go and throw a lot of money at her to buy acommissioned sketch before she wises up and triples the price... MarieSeverin.

    MARIE SEVERIN: Im selling kisses, too. [applause, with a fewaudience members shouting Ive got a dollar! Ive got ten! etc.]

    ME: This nextgentleman drew aboutevery Marvel book atone time or another. Idont have to tell youa list of them. I willmention, however,that if you love hiswork you might wantto pick up The JohnBuscema Sketchbookwhich looks like this[displays a copy ofthe book] and waspublished by DavidSpurlock. DavidSpurlock has put out awonderful series ofsketchbooks of not justJohn, but also hescome out with TheJohn RomitaSketchbookhe didThe Wally WoodSketchbook, he didThe Al WilliamsonSketchbook, he did

    The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino book. If I were you, Idrun down and buy the John Buscema one and Id throw him moneyto get John Romita. And now, would you please welcome Mr. JohnBuscema. [applause]

    JOHN BUSCEMA: Thank you. By the way, you dont get a kiss witha book.

    ME: Ill take three. Those of you who were here the other afternoonwill probably not forget the wonderful surprise party for this next

    4 Marvel Bullpen Reunion 2001

    The Mighty MarvelBullpen Reunion

    JOHN BUSCEMA, GENE COLAN, JOHN ROMITA, and MARIE SEVERINTalk About The Marvel Age of ComicsPanel Conducted & Edited by Mark Evanier All Photos Courtesy of Ralph Rawson WernerTranscribed by Brian K. Morris from a Videotape by Marc Svensson

    [Photo, left to right:] Mark Evanier, Marie Severin, John Buscema, Gene Colan, John Romita.[Art, on opposite page: clockwise, from top left:]: Original commission pieces by John B.,

    John R., Gene, &!Marie. Gene Colan piece courtesy of Michael Hranek; Marie's watercolor courtesy of Robert Knuist, via Jerry K. Boyd; re-creation of cover of Silver Surfer #16 (May 1970) courtesy

    of Owen O'Leary; Spidey meets R2-D2 courtesy of Mike Burkey. But why a place-card for John Romita, Jr? [Art 2002 the respective artists; Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, Mephisto, CaptainAmerica, Spider-Man TM & 2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.; Artoo Detoo TM & 2002 Lucasfilm.]

  • Buscema, Colan, Romita, & Severin 5

  • gentleman. You have certain artistswe have four examples hereyou dont know these people when you start reading the comics, butsomehow, even though the stories arent always the mostwonderful, theres something about the warmth that alwaysconnects. You know, if you buy a comic that they drew, yourenot going to waste your time, because for twenty pages or soyou will be transported into a wonderful world of very humanpeople and very interesting villains and sexy women. People aregushing about the various ways [certain artists] drew sexywomen, and I understand that... Will you welcome Mr. GeneColan? [applause]

    And this gentlemanin my opinion, the worst thing thisgentleman ever did was become art director at Marvel and notdraw as many pages as he could have, because I always lovedthe way he drew Daredevil, the way he drew Spider-Man, theway he drew Captain America, the way he drew thosewonderful love comics Marvel did. Theres really no talent Idrather have than be able to draw like Mr. John Romita.[applause]

    I want to go back here, time-wise, to 1976. I went to agentleman named Sol Brodsky, whom you may know wasinstrumental in Marvels history for years, and said, I wantyou to give me an interview. Off the record. I wont print this

    until youre dead and severalother people in it are, too.Tell me everything you canabout Marvel history. Hesaid that as far as he wasconcerned, there were severaldifferent eras of Marvel.There was a period where thestaff was Jack, Steve Ditko,Don Heck, and Dick Ayers.He said that during thatperiod Stan was frantic to tryand find another Kirby orDitko. He felt he tried out a lot of pencilers during that time, guyslike Carl Burgos, Bob Powell, and others, who just didnt quite workout for him. They were very good artists but they didnt give him theMarvel look. So then there came the second wave.

    And with the second wave he finally found some artists who coulddraw Marvel comics the way he wanted them, and co-plot the stufftake a suggestion and build on it. One who could was Wally Wood,until Mr. Wood and Mr. Lee started quarreling over money and howmuch hed be paid for penciling and Wally went elsewhere andstarted the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. When Wally left, he was aboutto start doing a Sub-Mariner strip in Tales to Astonish. They gavethat to Gene. Wally was inking The Avengers and Stan gave that toMr. Romita and other people. Wally was drawing Daredevil, and theygave that, also, to Johnny Romita. And I know youve told thesestories before, but I want to go back to that moment when you cameback to Marvel and, having not done super-heroes for them recently,worked with Stan. Gene, do you want to tell us about the day theyhanded you a Sub-Mariner story to draw?

    GENE COLAN: Up to that point, I was doing crime stories, romancestories [for DC]anytime they needed stories with a different character.I wanted to get on something that was permanent, where I could livewith a character and deal with it all the time. I dont really fullyremember that was the first one, but if you say so, thats okay with me.

    ME: How many people remember that Gene started off on Sub-Mariner? [applause]

    COLAN: And then I didnt like the characterimpossible to draw, thatflat head. I couldnt make him look good, really. And I kept trying toround it off, but I knew that if I didnt have it, it wouldnt be Sub-Mariner, so I stayed with it for a while.

    (Above:) Gene Colan & Vinnie Colletta kick off Tales to Astonish #70 (Aug. 1965)plus (below right) Gene's pencils for a Namor panel in

    Captain Marvel #4 (Aug. 1968), courtesy of David G. Hamilton. We repro'dthe inked version of the latter in A/E V3#6, in conjunction with our GeneColan interview. If you missed it, you missed some great, rare Colan art!Besides, we just love selling back issues! [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Gene Colan.

    6 Marvel Bullpen Reunion 2001

  • ME: Now, Gene, your first Sub-Mariner story, did it lookanything like this? [Mark pulls out the original art to the splash ofthe Sub-Mariner story from Tales to Astonish #70.]

    COLAN: Yeah, thats it.

    ME: The first page you drewand the amazing thing is that VinceColletta inked this page, and The Sub-Mariners left hand isbackwards. [laughs] Show it.

    COLAN: I never noticed that. [Gene turns the page to the audience]He used to have a lot of two right hands.

    BUSCEMA: Im going to argue with you, buddy.

    ME: You dont think its backwards?

    BUSCEMA: [studies the page] It looks okay to me. [laughs; passesthe page to John Romita, who studies the page, then his own arm]No, its backwards. Okay. [laughs, applause]

    ME: This is Genes first super-hero job for Marvel. Its got a lot of

    white-out on it, allover the head. [toMarie] Did you dothat?

    SEVERIN: No.

    ME: It wasprobably SolBrodsky, thenre-did the wholehairline. [to Colan]This is, of course,drawn byMarvels newestPrince ofPageantryAdamAustin! Tell usabout AdamAustin. Why wereyou Adam Austin?

    COLAN: I wasworking for DC at the time as well, and I didnt want them to know Iwas at Marvel. [laughs]

    ROMITA: Can you imagine him hiding that style? They had no ideawho did that page!

    COLAN: Stan said, Well give you a new name, AdamAustin. But I want to tell you something about fingers. Eventoday when Im drawing a hand, I have to count the fingers. Ihave to do it.

    ROMITA: So theres too many fingers on there. Thats whyDisney only used three.

    COLAN: Thats right.

    SEVERIN: Well, if you move down to Florida, they only have three.[laughs]

    ME: Now, Stan had you do a couple of Sub-Mariners and then hegave you another strip to do. What was that? Tell us about the nextstrip he stuck you on.

    COLAN: After Sub-Mariner?

    ME: Yes. He gave youan Iron Man to do,correct?

    COLAN: Yeah, I didntwant that one.

    ME: Did it look like this?[Mark pulls out thesplash page of Genesfirst Iron Man fromTales of Suspense #73]Yes, the logo is cut offthere, but you can read it.

    ROMITA: Who inked it?

    ME: Jack Abel.

    ROMITA: Oh yeah.That was a beautifulthing.

    (Above:) Colan & Abel's splash for Tales of Suspense #73 (Jan. 1966) plus (at right) a few panels from the story. Contrary to the way Mark heard

    the tale, though, Stan didn't rewrite "all" of Roy Thomas' copyonly about50% of it! E.g., the non-splash panels are pretty much the way Roy hadoriginally written themworking on tissue overlays, after-hours, at his

    corrugated-top desk in the Marvel officesonly to learn he wasn't gonna get paid freelance for it, 'cause it was considered part of his "staff writer"

    job! Stan took back the scripting with Gene's second "Iron Man" outing; Roy prefers to think he just couldn't resist writing dialogue for that

    beautiful artwork! [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Buscema, Colan, Romita, & Severin 7

  • by Owen OLearyWhen I was a kid growing up in the late 1960s, I loved reading and

    collecting Marvel Comics, and I really enjoyed the work of Jack Kirby,John Romita, and Gene Colan.

    But my favorite comic book artist was always John Buscema. Always.

    I was fortunate to meet John five times at various comics conventionsover the years. The first time was in 1979 at a con in New York City. Afew months later, in September of that same year, John was the specialguest at a con in my hometown of Montreal, Canada.

    I didnt see John again until 1993, when he came to a show inToronto. I had brought along a book for him to sign that was writtenentirely in French; it contained interviews with artists from the worldsof animation, comic books, and newspaper strips. John had been one ofthe people interviewed, but when I handed him the book, he seemedreally surprised to see it. He said that the guys from France whopublished the book were supposed to send him a copy but never did.

    Upon hearing that story, I told John that I would trade him the bookfor a pencil sketch. He agreed, and we spent the rest of the con having agreat time talking about the comic book biz and drawing. Two weekslater, a large package from John arrived in the mail. It contained a fullpencil drawing of The Punisher, plus twelve pencil-and-inkdrawings that he thought I might like.

    After the Toronto con we started corresponding. Mostlywe exchanged Christmas cards every year, and whenever Ifound a nice quote from another artist talking about Johnand his art I would send it to him, and he wouldusually reply.

    Seven years went by before I saw himagainthis time at a show in White Plains,New York, in the summer of 2000. Johndidnt recognize me right away, butwhen I introduced myself, hesaid, Owen, how are youdoing? And then heturned to his wifeDolores and said, Babe,this is the guy from Canada!

    In November 2000 I put together anunofficial website on John and hisartwork. A short time later, I received aletter from Johnny B., asking me if Iwanted to work with him, obtainingcommissions requests through the site.After thinking about it for all of twoseconds, I called him up the next dayand, just like that, we became TheOfficial John Buscema Website!

    The last time I spoke to Johnin person was at last summers San Diego Comic-Con.

    It was great to see him, and to be there at the biggest con in the worldas Big John Buscemas representative. It was a real honor and a lot offun working with John on the commission stuff. Apart from the birth ofmy son James T., it was one of the most amazing things to ever happento me. (The T. in my sons name stands for Thor, because Thor wasalways my favorite Marvel character, and Johnny B. drew the comic forso many years.)

    Being a huge fan of Johns art ever since I can remember, it was like adream come true to be actually working with him. I was always a littlenervous calling him up, but he was a great guy and he always put me atease, even when I momentarily confused him by trying to describe tohim some old Marvel cover that he had long forgotten about.

    We only worked together for a little over a year, but Ill never forgetthe experience. I used to speak to John at least once or twice a weekabout commissions. Ill always remember anxiously picking up thephone to call him to ask him the price for a re-creation of what isarguably one of his most popular Marvel covers ever, only to be alarmedwhen he groaned loudly over the phone and I heard that familiar voiceof his with that great Brooklyn accent practically spit out the words,Aw, crap! Not that [email protected]*% Silver Surfer # 4 again! Ive done [email protected]#$% cover so often, I can do it in my sleep!

    I think the quintessential Big John Buscema moment for me, and theone that best captures and illustrates his arms-length relationship with

    comic books, is the time I asked him about the price for a commission

    Owen OLeary 29

    Johnny B. And Me

    This, Owen says, is the drawing that John sent me after I traded himthat French book at the Toronto comic con in 1993. [Art 2002 estate

    of John Buscema; Punisher TM & 2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • of a rather famous comics character, and John nonchalantly askedme: Whos The Spirit?

    I remember thinking afterwards that only John Buscema, one ofthe most legendary artists in the history of the comics industry anda man who spent almost fifty years of his life drawing comics,could tell me that he never heard of The Spirit and not really careif he had or not.

    John would usually just brush off my attempts at compli-menting him for doing another terrific job on a fans commission.But one time he said to me, What dyou expect? Im the best manin the business. We both laughed after he said it, and I feltgood knowing that John had such great pride in his drawingability and knew that he was good and was proud of the highesteem that the industry and fellow pros held for him and hiswork.

    Unlike many of his contemporaries, Johns drawing style never wentout of fashion; so even after his retirement from Marvel in 1996, editorswere continually calling him up and offering him work. John told methat he knew of a lot of top guys his age who had trouble findingjobs, so he said he felt very lucky that he was still in such high demand.

    Growing up poor had a profound effect on John. He took hisresponsibilities as a family man and provider very seriously, and was ahard worker all his life.

    John liked to let on that he didnt care about his artwork once it lefthis drawing table, but the truth of the matter was that he hated seeing hispencils inked by other people. But, apart from his brother Sal, TomPalmer, and a few other inkers, John never liked the way his worklooked after it was inked. Unfortunately, the demands of meeting amonthly deadline and of earning a good living for his growing familydid not allow him the luxury of the time he needed to ink his ownartwork.

    Nonetheless, John has left behind a tremendous body of work for hisfans to remember him by, and for future comic book fans to discover.But Johns legacy doesnt stop at just the untold amount of comic bookshe drew. It includes the hundreds and perhaps thousands of people whowere influenced by him and his beautiful drawings to become artiststhemselves.

    At the e-mail address we set up to receive condolence messages forJohns family (), many fans talkedabout how much they loved his art and especially the book How toDraw Comics the Marvel Way that he and Stan Lee wrote in 1978.From graphic artists to comic book pencilers, animators, and designers,people mentioned what a huge influence that book was in their lives. Itseems that hundreds of Johns fans decided to follow his example andmake their living in the art field. For a poor kid from South Brooklyn,and the proud son of a humble Italian barber, thats not a bad legacy.

    It was a privilege to work with him, and I willalways be grateful to him for giving me the

    opportunity. John Buscema was aspecial person, and, like a lot of

    people who knew andloved John, I will

    miss him.

    30 About Me & Johnny B

    This is a poster-size charcoal drawing that John was selling at the first conwhere I ever met him in person, Owen informs us. It was in 1979 in New

    York City, and I paid him $25 US for it. [Art 2002 estate of John Buscema;Conan TM & 2002 Conan Properties, Inc.]

    Owen considers Thor Annual #13 (1985), penciled and inked by John,some of the artists best work. Reprod from photocopies of theoriginal art, courtesy of Owen. [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • The John Buscema Workshop 31

    [INTRODUCTION: For a couple of years beginning in 1975, Johndisproved that old adage Those who cant, teach by holding anongoing workshop for aspiring comics artists. He never intended it tobe a full-fledged institution like Joe Kuberts School of Cartoon andGraphic Art; yet it did produce, in that relatively short time, severalcomics professionals. During its first year John played a more hands-on part in the workshop; in the second year, by most accounts, othersplayed a larger role. John had many guest speakers during this period,including Stan Lee and even Alter Egos editor. A/E is grateful to twoof Johns first-year students, Joe Heffernan and KevinWeremeychik, for the following pair of anecdote-filled reminiscencesof that time, and what it meant to them. Roy.]

    PART I

    The Gospel According to John Buscemaby Joe HeffernanWell, where to start...

    John taught the school for two years. The first year, the one in whichI attended, he taught himself, though healways had guest speakers come in. That classran for 42 weeks, two nights a week, from fallof 1975 to almost June of 76. The first part ofthe session we met at the Hotel Commodore;and when they closed that to build DonaldTrumps hotel, the class moved to the BiltmoreHotel, right around the corner.

    The second year, the class was taught for (Ibelieve) twelve weeks, with John teaching thefirst three weeks, then having other artiststeach the remaining weeks. I know that GilKane was supposed to do a few of the classes,but I believe he backed out either right beforeor after the first class. I also believe that MarieSeverin, Don Heck, and John Romita weresupposed to be involved, but of course timehas made these memories a little fuzzy, since Iwas not involved in that second year.

    As a student of Johns during the first yearof his workshop, the first thing I found out is that no one ever wanted tomiss a class. Wed get there as early as we could and would stay as late aspossible.

    His first class started right off when he said in that great growl of his,I HATE COMICS... but it pays the billsand the last class endedwhen my friend and fellow student Rob Doorack brought in a gallon ofwine that was, as we called it, aged on the truck. John took us all outto dinner afterwards, but I was so loaded I ran out of the old Brew andBurger and threw up the wine. John commented, Hey... that remindsme of me of VE-Day ! We had a big laugh about that for years.

    John would come in and start off with some story; it was always

    entertaining, and sometimesabout the comic business. Ifonly we had a dime forevery time John utteredJEEEE-ZUS CHRIST!and then laced intosomething! I dont think heever laughed harder. AndJohn could draw anything...I mean ANYTHING, inany setting, in any position!We were so blessed andlucky to be there for thatfirst year. And he didnt justteach us art; he taught usabout the art business.And, more importantly,about life in general.

    Anything John said tous became gospel. If hementioned a comic artisthe thought was good, wewould run out the next day to this comic store in New York City

    (Supersnipe, to be exact), wait in line for thestore to open, and buy whatever we could. Johnalways mentioned that Jack Kirby was in a classby himself and that nothing could compare toKirby. But the big surprise was when hementioned that Joe Kubert was, in his opinion,the best comic book artist in the field. I felt badfor that comic store owner when about eight ofus were in line the next day waiting for him toopen. He figured hed hit a gold mine. When weasked for every Kubert war comic he had, hewas pretty disappointed. In those days Kubertwar comics went for about 25 to a buck-fiftyeach. Ten bucks and we were in heaven.

    We would come in with books drawn bywhat we thought was the hot artist of the week,and John would look at the stuff and eithershow us how the artist fooled you or how itdidnt work. With John, everything would bebroken down into basic shapes. John must have

    said the words sphere, tapered cylinder, and tapered cube amillion times. He took a copy of a painting that Frank Frazetta did andshowed us that if you broke it down into those basic shapes, it didntworkbut the presentation and finishes fooled the reader intothinking that the figure was dynamic, and that made it a successful illus-tration.

    And, boy, did he hate noodlers! John loved the solid, honest typeof illustration. He felt that the more lines an artist put into the illus-tration, the more it either weakened the original drawing or the artistwas trying to hide his poor craftsmanship (which, most of the time, wasthe case!).

    The John BuscemaWorkshop

    Buscema artist-rep Owen OLeary sent us thisdrawing by a fan from Braziland no, he wasnt

    one of Johns studentsbut we thought this finecaricature made a perfect lead-in to this piece.Biras real name is Ubiratan Libanio Dantas de

    Araujo, by the way. [Art2002 Bira.]

    This simple, art-less ad ran in all Marvel comicscover-dated September and October 1975, and thus

    on sale by late spring/early summer.

  • John also said that each additional line that you drew on a personsface could age him ten years. He drew this face of a young teenager andthen, demonstrating his point right in front of us, he drew about eight ornine lines and the guy looked like Aunt May from Spider-Man. It wassort of like watching Houdini perform magic. We couldnt believe it.

    And the illustratorsJ.C. Lyendecker, Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth,Dean Cornwell, George Bridgman, and so many others. Hours werespent talking about these guys. We didnt know much about them then,but we sure do now! John introduced us to commercial illustration thattotally changed the way we thought about art forever.

    I have to mention the guests who visited Johns class, and some of hisreactions. The best was Don Heck. Don was a shy guy but had come tovisit as a favor to John. And were all thinking, Why Don Heck? Is hehere for lessons? I mean, we thought we were going to change the comicbook world. John gets up to the board and presents a problem to us.Were drawing on our pads when John bellows out, Don, cmon up hereand show these guys how you would handle this. Don didnt want tocome up, but John could be very persuasive. So, Don gets up and wereall snickering, saying to ourselves, What can he show us?

    Well, Don Heck said, in a very quiet voice, Heres how Id do it,and it was like a Honeymooners episodeZip, Zipits done. Ourmouths dropped to the floor. You never saw a room full of artists start

    copying everything Don Heck said and did! Don Heck was a genius!And we surrounded Don after class for anything he could tell us aboutstorytelling. And John knew... he knew we would be blown away bythis guy. He stood there with that smirk on his face and taught usanother lesson of life. Boy, talk about humble humility. And, of course,the next day a bunch of us met at the comics store and we grabbed everyDon Heck book we could find, again, much to the dismay of thatcomics store owner.

    Now, Vinnie Colletta... thats another story. Its right before thesecond Marvel Convention in New York City and John announces thatwere actually going to do a class as a demonstration for fans at thatshow. Plus, were going to have a few tables where we can sit and drawfor people. John says that Colletta is going to come in with the details.About a half hour later, in strolls Colletta... with two of the mostgorgeous girls we ever saw on each arm, wearing these slinky outfits.Colletta ignores us as if were lower than dirt... and rightfully so. Oh myGod... those girls! Were thinking to ourselves, if we become comicartists, well get girls like this. Colletta gives John the information andthen John walks Colletta and the girls to the elevator. When John walkedback in, the first words out of his mouth were, JEEE-ZUS CHRIST!We must have laughed about that for a half hour. Needless to say, Johnset us straight about those girls.

    John surely told his students to expect a bit of rejection. Owen OLeary says these are Johns rejected pencils for the cover of Silver Surfer #5 (April 1969). A fanhad a copy of them and paid John to ink them. Both penciled and inked versions are probably being seen here for the first time. [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    32 The Gospel According to John Buscema

  • My good friend and fellow student KevinWeremeychik brought in two very prominent,well-known comic book artists, who inkedJohn on the Conan books, to meet him. Johndidnt know they were coming, but he was verygracious and, honestly, these guys looked as ifthey were meeting God. They stayed for awhile, writing down everything that John saidand did. So John calls us over at the next classand said, JEEEE-ZUS CHRIST! Guys... please,if youre gonna invite someone, let me knowfirst. I hate the way they ink my stuff ! I mean,theyre nice guys but... And then he startedlaughing and starts going on about inkers. (Justso you know, his favorite inker on his pencils washis brother Sal.)

    John starts telling us this story about this artistoverseas who he loves on his work. His nameescapes methough I think it might have beenSteve Gan in the Philippinesbut two weeks laterJohn comes in and says, naturally, JEEZ-SUSCHRIST, every time I get an inker I like,something happens! It turned out that this inkerwas sending back inked pages that were done on alight box, not directly on Johns pencils. The inkerkept the penciled pages, and when he was confrontedabout it, he said that he loved Johns penciled pages somuch, he couldnt bear to destroy that beauty. Ofcourse, I dont think he ever worked again. But Johnspencils were incredible and we felt totally understandable about theguys dilemma.

    Then there was Stan!

    John comes in, teaches the class, and towards the end tells us that theguest next week will be Stan Lee. Man, the blood went to our feet. Johngot a big kick out of our reaction. One of the guys in the classFredGreenberg, I believeactually videotaped Stans visit. Anyway, Stan

    comes in and literallyexplodes, explainingthe Marvel way ofcomic book illus-tration. Johns bestreaction to Stans visitcame when Stan wasexplaining thedifference between DCComics and MarvelComics fight scenes.He said that when aguy got hit in a DCComic, althoughnicely drawn, helooked like thisand he slightly bent hisbody backwards andput a grimace on hisface. Now, said Stan,when a guy gets hit ina Marvel Comic, this iswhat it looks like.And then heproceeded to flinghimself from one sideof the room to theother side, slamming

    himself about four feet off the ground on the wall and nearly throwinghimself out a window. And Johns face is like, well, you guessed itJEEEE-ZUS CHRIST! and of course he rolls his eyes up! When Stanleft, we went on for about an hour of stories about Stan and how hewould do stuff like that all the time.

    There are so many stories, but Ill tell this last one about a guest whoreally wasnt there.

    At this point, I think, we were at the Biltmore Hotel. This room hadbig, billowing red velvet curtains, and we always had a window open.So, about a half hour before John comes in, another fellow student,Bruce Patterson, who was working at the time over at Neal AdamsContinuity Studios, strolls in whistling away, I know a secret... I knowa secret... Were all ears at this point, and, after much prodding andgroveling, he tells us that Carmine Infantino has been fired as editor-in-chief at DC Comics. The reasons behind it have been subject to gossipand rumors and I wont go into them; but, needless to say, for youngcomic book artists, it was fodder for fun. John came in, and as soon ashe started teaching the class, the wind blew in the window and rustledthe curtain. Now were screaming, Its Carmine... hes behind thecurtain... hes brushing up and taking lessons... hes gonna become apenciler again! John put this funny, puzzled look on his face. Weexplained to him the situation and he said, JEEZ-SUS CHRIST...howd you find out about that? And we talked for a good hour aboutthe business of comics.

    John invited us to dinner at his house a couple of times (his wifemakes the best Italian food you ever tasted!). We were there when Johnshowed us this new take he was going to do on Tarzan, and he wasreally excited about it. About an hour later, while we were there, he gota call from Roy Thomas in California saying hes quitting the bookbecause ERB, Inc., accused him of plagiarism (thats an interesting storyin itself). John, of course, refused to work on the book unless Roy wroteit. And he was in agony about that, saying, in that JEEEZ-SUSCHRIST growl againthis is what he gets for getting all worked up ona job, and something like this always happens. We joked about it allnight.John was happiest with Conan the Barbarian covers

    (and interiors) when he inked them himself, as perthis cover for issue #91. Courtesy of Owen OLeary.

    [2002 Conan Properties, Inc