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ALTER EGO #17 spotlights LOU FINE, ARNOLD DRAKE, MURPHY ANDERSON, and more! Behind great color covers by LOU FINE (The Ray) and LUIS DOMINGUEZ (Doom Patrol), there's "FINE ART!" Golden Age colossus LOU FINE remembered by three who loved him-- plus a pulse-pounding plethora of gorgeous, rarely-see art by FINE, EISNER, CRANDALL, and others! MURPHY ANDERSON speaks with JIM AMASH about comics in the 1940s! ARNOLD DRAKE (co-creator of Doom Patrol and Deadman) talks about BRUNO PREMIANI, CARMINE INFANTINO, MORT WEISINGER, BOB HANEY, and the 1960s at DC Comics! ROY THOMAS on the Golden Age Robotman! MICHAEL T. GILBERT on the non-EC action comics of JACK DAVIS and GEORGE EVANS! FCA section featuring C.C. BECK, MARC SWAYZE, ALVIN SCHWARTZ, JAY DISBROW, and E. NELSON BRIDWELL—and more!

Text of Alter Ego #17

  • $5.95In the USA

    $5.95In the USA

    No. 17September



    Lou Fine!

    Roy Thomas Super-Fine Comics Fanzine

    Roy Thomas Super-Fine Comics Fanzine

    Plus Rare Art &Artifacts by:











    Plus Rare Art &Artifacts by:

















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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($10.00 Canada, $11.00 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. Arnold Drake interview 2002 Marc Svensson & Arnold Drake. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada.


    ContentsWriter/Editorial: Well, This Is Another Fine Mess You ve Gotten Us Into! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Lou FineA Comic Book Artist of Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Dennis Beaulieu on the colorful career of a true comics master.

    A Fine Influence... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9Jim Amash examines the long, long shadow of Lou Fine.

    ...And A Fine Family! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15Three who knew and loved Lou Fine talk about his lifeand theirs.

    Murphy Anderson on Lou Fine and Fiction House . . . . . . . . . 34The Golden/Silver/Bronze Age super-artist on two fascinating topics.

    Toth on Fine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45Alex Toth says Fine just got better and better.

    Arnold Drake, FCA, Comics Crypt, & More . . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: Our sincerest thanks to collector John Yon, who sent us a full-size photostat of the original art of Lou Fines fantastic Ray splash from Smash Comics #31 (Nov. 1941) so we couldget the best reproduction possible for our cover. You can see the whole splash page on page 3 of thissection. [2002 DC Comics.]

    Above: Shane Foley sent us the above Black Condor splash from a black-&-white comic publishedin Australia some years back. The story from Crack Comics #18 (Nov. 1941) was printed in full, alongwith a Fine Ray adventure as well, in the giant-size Superman #252 in 1972, which featured flyingsuper-heroes. [2002 DC Comics.]

    Vol. 3, No. 17 / September 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 ArtistsLuis DominguezLou Fine

    Cover ColoristsLuis DominguezTom Ziuko

    And Special Thanks to:Neal AdamsMurphy AndersonHenry BabaTim BarnesDennis BeaulieuRay Bottorff, Jr.Bart BushPearl CherryJ.R. CochranTeresa R. DavidsonFred L. deBoomAl DellingesJay DisbrowLuis DominguezJames DotyArnold & Lillian

    DrakeGill FoxElliot FineLaurie FineShane FoleyRon FrantzMichael R. GraboisDavid G. HamiltonPaul HandlerBill HarperHank HarrisonDaniel HermanBob Hughes

    Steve HurleyChris IrvingJohn JacobsonKen KaffkeAl KrackowJoe & Nadia

    MannarinoRichard MartinesTom MorehouseMichelle NolanEric Nolen-

    WeathingtonJoe PetrilakJohn G. PierceEthan RobertsBenno RothschildAlvin SchwartzDavid SiegelMarc SvenssonMarc SwayzeDann ThomasDr. Michael J.

    VassalloHames WareJohn YonEd ZenoMike Zeno

    In Memoriam Robert Kanigher

    Tom Sutton

  • by Dennis Beaulieu [Text 2002 Dennis Beaulieu.]Louis Kenneth Fine was born in Manhattan (New York City) in

    1915. A sensitive, quiet youth to begin with, his personality became evenmore introverted during his early teens after his left leg was crippled as aresult of a polio epidemic.

    Since he could no longer participate in sports and other activitiescommon for boys his age, Lou Fine channeled his youthful energy intodeveloping his God-given talent to draw. He completely immersedhimself in studying the great magazine illustration artists of his day.

    Heinrich Kley, the German pen artist sensation, was one of his

    earliestand most intenseinfluences. Fine was alsovery heavily influenced by J.C. Leyendecker and DeanCornwell, as well as by Saul Tepper, Harvey Dunn,Frank Reilly, and John R. Neill. He also studied thepaintings of Frank Brangwyn.

    His formal art training came from attending theGrand Central Art School, the Art Students League, thePratt Institute, and the New York School of Technology(where he was studying engineering at the time that hebegan his career moonlighting as an artist in theemerging field of comic books). It was during his timeat Pratt that Fine began to truly master his ability todraw the human figure in action.

    TransitionAs great a comic book artist as Lou Fine was, he

    worked in the industry for only a very brief period oftime. From late 1938 to early 1943 he produced aprolific amount of covers and interior stories for FictionHouse (3840), Fox (3940), and Quality Comics(3943). Short in stature with red hair and steel rimglasses, he entered the comics field in 1938 when, as atemporary means to earn a steady ($10 a week) income,he began working for the Eisner & Iger shop.

    The Eisner & Iger shop was a comics production

    A super-rare photo of Lou Fine, taken by his friend and fellowartist Gill Fox in downtown Stamford, Connecticut, circa 1942. (Forpics of Fine and Fox together, taken on the same occasion, see our

    Gill Fox interview in Alter Ego V3#12 and p. 19.)

    When Gill Fox sold John Yon the original art to this Fine pagefrom Smash Comics #31 (Feb. 1942), the one-time Qualityartist/editor wrote: The enclosed Lou Fine Ray splash is

    absolutely pure Lou Fine. The Ray title lettering is mylettering! Undoubtedly sobut A/Es associate editor Jim

    Amash is convinced that another, less polished artist did someof the penciling in the trio of panels at bottom. Just look atthe perspective in the first panel! Jim insistsand indeed,that small table in the background couldnt be standing in

    that relation to the desk in the foreground unless thered justbeen an earthquake! Most likely Fine counted on tying thewhole thing together with his inking. [2002 DC Comics.]

    Lou FineA Comic Book Artist of Quality

    A Comic Book Artist of Quality 3

  • house (a sweat shop) thathad recently been started byWill Eisner and Jerry Iger tocreate and produce entirecomic books for publisherswho would then print,distribute, and own the finalproduct. Comic Magazines,Inc. (the official name of theentity otherwise known asQuality Comics), was onesuch publisher.

    In 1941 Everett M. BusyArnold, the owner andpublisher of Quality Comics,hired Fine away from theEisner & Iger shop by triplinghis salary and giving him hisown studio. It is well knownamong his many admirers

    that, during his comic book days, Fine was a slow, methodicaldraftsman. Because of this trait, he would often have to workovertimefrequently all nightto reach his required page quota at theEisner-Iger shop.

    Unlike the Eisner & Iger quota that had to be met on a regular basis,Busy Arnold did not demand that Fine produce any particular numberof pages. This approach worked to Arnolds advantage, as the artistproceeded to produce a very large amount of some of his very best workduring his time as a member of the Quality staff. His beautiful interiorstories and explosive covers for Quality are revered by both profes-sionals and collectors as representing the ultimate in artistic achievementduring the early years of the comic book industry.

    StyleIn his History of Comics, Jim Steranko comments that Fine...

    developed an uncanny knowledge of the human figure in action. Hisheroes were Olympian in stature, classically featured, and exquisitely,almost delicately, proportioned. Fine lavished a wealth of stipple, line-shaded, and cross-hatched detail with a brilliant brush-line technique[giving his work a spectacular, illustrative look of which many detailswere often lost in the final reproduction. DB] not found in comicsup to that point. An expert adept at nuance of character, he lingered overfaces and hands to produce a gallery of expressive portraits etched infear, hatred, avarice, and death.

    Lou Fine had a gifted ability to draw the human figure in a number

    4 Lou Fine

    The Doll Man started in Feature Comics #27 (Dec. 1939); even in #32 (May 40)Fine was still drawing four rows of panels per page. In panel 8s stipple effect,

    Darrel Danes body gives the visual appearance of turning to sand as hetransforms into the diminutive hero. Reprod from a photocopy of the originalart, courtesy of Dennis Beaulieu. (A saliva-drenched page from Feature #32,

    referred to in this piece, was reprinted in A/E V3#12.) [2002 DC Comics.]

    Art by Heinrich Kley (1863-1945).

    This circa-1943 Lou Fine-drawn Spirit page, reprod here from a photocopy of theoriginal art, is from the personal collection of Daniel Herman, author of the recent Gil

    Kane: The Art of the Comics and Gil Kane: Art and Interviews. For information, contactHermes Press at (724) 652-0511 or e-mail . [2002 Will Eisner.]

  • A Comic Book Artist of Quality 5

    of stylish poses and in a variety of unique andoffbeat situations that were completely foreign toother comic book artists of his day. He embel-lished his characters anatomy with a kind ofgrace and beauty seldom seeneven todayincomic art. While most super-hero artists followedan approach that emphasized power, Fines figuresstressed motion and energy. His drawings wereoften intensely detailed, and he would express themotion and energy of his fulland even partialfigures by using extensive cross-hatch feathering,line shading, and even stipple technique. Thisstipple technique enhances the simple yetbeautiful image of Darrel Dane transforming intoThe Doll Man as seen in the accompanying pagefrom Feature Comics #32 (May 1940). To thisday Fine remains one of the most influentialfigures in the history of comics for his sense ofanatomy and excellent draftsmanship.

    A well known anecdote relating to Lou Finesstyle is the story of how Will Eisner, in an effortto save money, purchased a gross of Japanesebrushes at five cents apiece instead of the typicalWinsor & Newtons at 75 apiece. Eisner quicklyrealized that the needled-sized brush point andthe stiffness of the bristles made the Japanesebrush very difficult for his staff to control.Therefore, they were unable to use these newbrushes. The only two exceptions were Eisnerhimself and Lou Fine.

    For Fine, these brushes enabled him toproduce an extremely delicate inking style thatallowed for more detailed cross-hatching andincreased shading/texture lines on the smooth-plate bristol board upon which he customarilyworked. In fact, Eisner and Fine once competedas to who could draw the longest and thinneststraight line using a Japanese brush. By now itshould be obvious who won.

    In an interview with artist and one-timeQuality editor Gill Fox which appeared in CFA-APA #29 (Jan. 1993), Fox excitedly remarked:Lou Fine was absolutely superb.... Lou came upwith a great way to draw a hood or a stetson on amans head. There were black shadows over botheyes, and the nose would be just a white spotsticking out. Lou created that, and I still use thattoday. Fines hood technique can be seen in thenine-page Black Condor story from CrackComics #17 (Oct. 1941), various pages and panelsof which are reproduced in this issue of Alter Ego.

    Another interesting fact about Lou Fine that relates to his uniquenessand creativity is that he was the first to introduce saliva to the comicbook industry.

    He did this to achieve an enhanced dramatic effect. Whenever Finewas working on a figure that had an open mouth (especially a villains,and usually during a very dramatic moment), he would draw a narrowthread of saliva between the upper and lower teeth. Fines dramatic useof saliva can be seen even in the mouth of an underwater shark in aDoll Man page from Feature #32 [and on the cover of this issue ofAlter Ego. Roy.] Ghastly Graham Ingels and Bernie Wrightsonwould later utilize this same effect with similar success.

    Early Comic Book WorkLou Fines earliest documented comic book work appeared in Fiction

    Houses Jumbo Comics #4 (Dec. 1938). Coincidentally, it was in thisissue that Fine took over artistic chores from a young Jack Kirby onWilton of the West, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Diary of Dr.Hayward (also known as Stuart Taylor).

    Even during this very early period, Fines skillful artistry andrendition of the human figure make his work stand out from that of hiscontemporaries. In the Count of Monte Cristo page reproduced here,Edmond Dantes, our long-suffering hero, patiently displays his confi-dence, grace, and skill as a master swordsman as he battles his arch-enemy Mondego in a dramatic fight to the death. In the same way, Lou

    At one time Dennis Beaulieu owned the original art to the entire Black Condor tale in Crack Comics #17(Oct. 1941). Both Dennis and current owner Henry Baba generously sent us photocopies of the original art

    Henry at the original humongous size! [2002 DC Comics.]

  • by Jim AmashThere was a great sensitivity in the lyrical line work of Lou Fine that

    few ever equaled. If Fine had spent his all too brief comics career justinking, he still would be remembered to this day. Happily for us, hepenciled and inked much of his own work (though he never wrote ascript), influencing scores of comic book artists to follow. And not justby his ink lines. His approach to figure drawing and page layout set anew standard that others follow even today.

    Lou Fine started in comics at the Will Eisner & Jerry Iger shop.Fines storytelling was not up to the standard of the number-one man incomics history, Will Eisner, but his draftsmanship was. Fine wanted tobe an illustrator in the tradition of John R. Neill, J.C. Leyendecker,Joseph Clement Coll, and Saul Tepper, as well as other past and contem-porary artists. He also understood the dreamy imagery of WinsorMcCay and the Art Deco movement. What Fine took from those artists

    and passed down to other comic book artists was a graceful and natura-listic way to tell a story graphically.

    Fines earliest comic book work, while exhibiting the roughness of abeginner, was functional and his superior design sense evident. Mostcomic book artists of the time were working off of the styles ofnewspaper strip artists, some of whom were entering the fledglingbusiness. At best, most of these beginners were cheap carbon copies ofthe greats, while other old-time newspaper cartoonists hadnt made thecut and needed whatever work they could find. Lou Fine, who hadstudied art since childhood, wanted more than that for himself.

    Fines earliest work, as was employer Will Eisners, was in the oldschool tradition. However, the two men learned from each other andeach fed off the synergy present in the Eisner & Iger shop. Eisner spenta fair amount of time trying to develop Fine into a storyteller. Fine, forhis part, began developing techniques from his influences, which nowincluded Flash Gordon artist Alex Raymond. His brush line became

    A Fine Influence...Notes on Lou Fines Style and His Importance to the Comic Book Field

    A Fine Influence... 9

    Both Will Eisner (as Willis Rensie) and Lou Fine (as Jack Cortez) initially told stories in single-page dollops imitative of Sunday comic strips of the day, but appearing in early comic books. Jim Amash suggests the two of them learned from each other as they went along. This 1938 Hawks of the Sea page is reprod

    from the Kitchen Sinks 1986 hardcover collection edited by Dave Schreinerwhile the final Count of Monte Cristo page, reprod from a photocopy of the original art courtesy of Jerry Bails & Hames Ware, dates from 1940. [2002 the respective copyright holders.]

  • more organic in quality, utilizing solid black areas more and more foreffect. His effective use of the trap shadow motif of rendering wrinklesin clothes was not lost on Eisner. It is hard to pinpoint which of the twostarted using this technique first (J.C. Leyendecker was using it beforethey were), as it seems to appear with regularity in both mens worksimultaneously. But theres little doubt that Eisners ink line becamemore fluid once Fine became his employee. Eisners forms became moreexpressive, even as he became more and more of a cartoonist, while Finewas steeped in the illustrative tradition.

    Fines figures were generally well proportioned and lacked the stiltedawkwardness of ones drawn by many of his contemporaries. His figureswere graceful, moving across the picture plane with great ease. Duringthis period in history, most people wore loose-fitting clothes. Fine founda way to show the musculature of arms, torsos, and legs through theclothing, making his figures more monumental in stature. His approachto drawing clothes became a standard. Wrinkles were drawn accurately,but with a life seemingly all their own. Inked with a Japanese brush, theyaccentuated the movement of the human form in a free-flowing yetcontrolled attitude.

    As Fine became more interested in the movement of figures, heoccasionally stretched the human form to unnatural proportions. It

    caused some of his heroicfigures to stand taller thannormal humans while stillretaining their believability inthe most energetic poses hismind could conceive. Hisflying figures floated and flewabove the ground with aston-ishing ease, creating a newkind of aerial perspective thatother artists still employ.Fines usage of long, flowing,continuous lines added to thedecorative style of his picture-making, reinforced by delicatecross-hatching for addeddepth of field. Little touches,such as drawing saliva inmouths, added tension andmood to an expressive galleryof faces. Even inanimateobjects appeared alive.

    This new way of delin-eating the human form inmotion became more evidentin others work. Jack Kirby, arough-and-tumble street kidfrom New Yorks Lower EastSide, sat near Lou Fine in theEisner & Iger shop. In lateryears, Kirby expressed greatreverence towards Fineswork. They spent timediscussing how to drawhuman figures, and Kirbysapproach to figure drawingbegan to show Finesinfluence, especially in thoseearly days. The definition linesthat Fine used to portrayhands and musculature becameobvious in Kirbys style. Kirbyadapted Fines fluid twisting of

    bodies in motion and made it his own. Fines work had an organic feelthat Kirby eventually turned into a hard geometry.

    Kirby also picked up on Fines ever-increasing habit of stretchingfigures out of the panel borders. Fine was one of the first comic bookartists to understand that breaking up page design by panel compositionadded to the dramatic pace of the stories. His figures in motion createdsweeping visual arcs for the eye to follow. His decorative use of lineadded the necessary contextual cues for this effect. Fine varied the sizesand shapes of his panels, rejecting the previous notion of uniform rowsand columns, creating a harmonic symphony between figures and pagelayout. Though Kirby carried these new ideas to different extremes,Fines influence is still there, proving that other artists were watching.

    Everett Busy Arnold, publisher of Quality Comics, was watching,too. So were his editors, Ed Cronin and Gill Fox. Arnold hired Fineaway from Eisner and his style, along with Eisners, became thebenchmark for artists who worked for Quality Comics. Artists such asAl Bryant, Reed Crandall, Alex Kotzky, and Gill Fox (who did thecovers for Smash and Crack Comics, while Fine drew the lead storiesinside) were among those who followed Fines lead. Kotzky, inparticular, came the closest to understanding the Lou Fine styleanadvantage gained by sharing a studio with the master for a year. Kotzky

    10 Lou Fine

    A very early Lou Fine page of The Flame, for Fox Comics, courtesy of Dennis Beaulieu. Jim Amash points out that panel 2 has good use of spotting blacks. [2002 the respective copyright holder.]


    [INTRODUCTION #1: For my money, Lou Fine was one of thegreatest comic book artists and illustrators who ever lived. Ive longbeen fascinated and influenced by his work, as have many othercomics artists, including Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, and Murphy Anderson.Until now, however, we have not had the luxury of knowing muchabout Lou Fine, the man... and thats always bothered me. Now,thanks to his son, Elliot Fine, we have a chance to change that. Imextremely grateful to Elliot for his time and for the opportunity toshare with you a little history about an artist whose influence extendsto todays generation of comic book artists... whether they know it ornot. Jim.]

    JIM AMASH: When was yourfather born?

    ELLIOT FINE: November 26,1914. He was like LouisArmstrong in that we havedifferent dates for his birth. Atone point we werent sure. Hewas probably born inBrooklyn.

    My father was very close tohis mother. His father was ahouse painter and probably aRussian immigrant, though Idont know where he was born.

    His mother diedwhen Dad was at Cooper Union, studying engineering. Hewent there because his father didnt want him to be an artist.After his mother died, my father decided he was going to dowhat he wanted to do. Thats the basic story.

    His fathers name was Meyer. I dont know what hismothers name was, but my step-grandmothers was Lena. Ithink the relationship between my father and his father was abit difficult.

    JA: Most parents dont want their children to be artistsbecause its a hard life and usually very little money inreturn.

    FINE: Tell me about it! My father wanted me to be a banker.

    JA: Mine wanted me to be a lawyer, but I wanted to be anartist. My father was an immigrant and had a practicaloutlook on life. Immigrants usually have it tough whenthey come to America.

    FINE: My dads father probably had a tough life, too. Myfather had been drawing since the age of five, but part of thatwas due to the polio he contracted as a child. I think he hadit from the age of two. It prevented him from playing balland doing what other kids did.

    JA: Your father had a brother, didnt he?

    FINE: Yes. His name was Sam, who was older than myfather; he died in October 2000 at the age of 86. He also hada sister, but I dont know much about her. My father camefrom a modest home in East New York, which was calledBrownsville in those days, in Brooklyn. It was a tenementJewish neighborhood back then.

    ...And A Fine Family!Candid Interviews with the Son, Daughter, and Sister-in-Law of Louis K. FineConducted and Transcribed by Jim Amash

    Elliot Fine. [Photo 2002 Elliot Fine.]

    If any of the Fine family had a tough life as immigrants or during theDepression, it couldnt have been much rougher than that of Hack

    OHara, the New York cabbie drawn by Lou Fine in early 40s Qualitycomics. Thanks to Ron Frantz and Bart Bush, who reprod this 5-pager

    from photostats of the original artwork in the 1987 comic The Art of LouFine and in the 1987 Lou Fine Index, respectively. For information about

    the Golden Age artwork reprinted by Ron Frantz, contact him at. [2002 the respective copyright holder.]

    ...And A Fine Family 15

  • 16 Elliot Fine

    JA: Even though your father had polio, he still went to public school.Was he a good student?

    FINE: He probably was, because he went to Cooper Union EngineeringSchool, and that was a hard school to get into. Cooper was a publiclyfunded school and one of the best schools in the city. I think my fathermust have had some connections when he left Cooper, because he gotinto the comics field fairly easily.

    JA: Did your father talk about his childhood much?

    FINE: No. I dont think it was a happy childhood. My grandfather wasa stern character.

    JA: Do you know when your parents married?

    FINE: Written on a picture I have of them is Second day of ourhoneymoon, June 1941. They were up in Nantucket. My mothersmaiden name was Mary Sussman. [See photo on p. 20.]

    JA: That must have been right before they moved to Stamford,Connecticut.

    FINE: I think it was. You know, my father was involved in his comicswork, but I dont know if he connected to it the way some others mighthave. He was a pretty straight guy.

    JA: When were you born?

    FINE: December 7, 1944. I have an adopted sister, Laurie, who camealong after I did. In terms of my fathers work, my earliest memories areof our family living in East Rockaway, a suburb of Long Island. Myparents did what many urban couples of the time did. After the SecondWorld War, they moved to a new development. They bought a ranch-style house that had a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright design in itstone andnatural materialso it was a little more interesting than the typicaldevelopment type of house, and the neighborhood attracted artistictypes. The neighbors were art directors and other artists, and initially itwas a pretty close community.

    It was a one-level house, but my father built an upstairs studioaddition. It was really beautiful; it had red wood paneling and was verybig. At least 800 square feet. He had his work area in one corner, andacross from that was a living room area which I used to hang out in.Against the adjacent wall was a huge picture file collection, which washoused in specially built cabinets. Those are my earliest memories... justhanging out there.

    JA: Your father was considered to be one of the top two artists atQuality, and also one of the best in the comics business.

    FINE: Right. He did very well early on, but I dont think he made hismoney from the comics. I think he made it from advertising, becausehed left comics long before this. We moved out there around 1950.

    A Fox Comics ad spotlighted Fines cover for Fantastic Comics #1 (Dec. 1939). Thanks again to Ron Frantz and his The Art of Lou Fine. Richard Kyle, in his great

    early 60s fanzine article entitled The Education of Victor Fox said that Samsonsfur loincloth looked more like pubic hair with delusions of grandeur; you can

    learn more about Fines Fox work in Kyles study, still available in Hamster PressComic Fandom Reader. [2002 the respective copyright holder.]

    Lou Fine was considered to be one of the top two artists at Quality... the otherbeing Reed Crandall. Part of the reason for Fines ascendancy was covers like this

    one for Hit Comics #17 (Nov. 1941), courtesy of Dennis Beaulieu. [2002 DC Comics.]

  • ...And A Fine Family 17

    He was a great father, verywarm and generous. I was avery spoiled kid. My parentsreally doted on me and I hada great childhood. We lived inan area that was suburban,but still kind of rural. Welived on a creek and my fatherhad a boat and then I got aboat. All these arty guysgot boats as soon as theymoved there. It was a bigadventure for these people tomove from the city into thiskind of life style. They sawthemselves as pioneers.

    JA: I assume, because of thepolio, that he really couldntgo out and play catch withyou.

    FINE: No, he could do that. He just couldnt run or play a real game,but he had a great deal of strength. He walked with a limp but was quitemobile. We didnt make a big deal about it. He didnt use a cane, but itprevented him from being active in sports. He had a big physique andwas very strong.

    JA: People have told me that he had been a weightlifter.

    FINE: That could be. He was very broad-chested, but that was probablybefore my time, when he was younger. He was around the house all thetime. That was the huge difference. He worked at home in that greatstudio, and thats where I developed my artistic eye, by osmosis, by hiswork and by looking at his picture collection, which was very extensive.He had a ton of Big Little Books and an incredible file of Life, Look,and other magazines. He also had a darkroom because he was interestedin photography, but at this time he was probably using it for makingcomps and blowing up photos.

    JA: Youre a photographer, so I assume this was part of your earlyinfluence.

    FINE: The picture file, yes. His darkroom, no. I had all these incrediblediversions: other kids, woods, and creeks. And I was just out therehaving a blast. At that point, I had no interest in artistic things.

    JA: What did you think about the work your father was doing? Didother kids express interest in your father because he was an artist?

    FINE: That really wasnt the case. I think I kind of knew that peoplehad a certain regard for what he was doing, but I had no special interestin it. There are pictures of me drawing, but I dont remember wanting todo what he did at that age. At that time, in that environment, we werereally part of the new American materialism. I wanted to own stuff, andmy friends were the same way.

    JA: Did your father encourage you to do well in school?

    FINE: Somewhat. Because his father was really strict, my father wasmore laid back, tolerant of whatever I wanted to do. He was supportive,

    Lou Fine and Elliot as a boy.[Photo 2002 Elliot Fine.]

    He just wanted to draw. And draw Lou Fine didbeautifullyas per these Doll Man splash pages. Thanks to Ken Kaffke. Incidentally, William Erwin Maxwell was a pseudonym of Will Eisner, who had conceived the Mighty Mite in 39. [2002 DC Comics.]

  • Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amash [INTRODUCTION: Murphy Andersons comic book career standsas a testimony to great comicart. He is also one of theclassiest gentlemen Ive evermet. In discussing Lou Fineand his influence on Murphy, Idiscovered that the subjectintertwines with Murphysbeginnings at Fiction House.Murphy graciously agreed toexpand the interview so thatwe could present a fullerpicture of what Lou Finemeant to him... and to someothers, as you are about to see.Murphy... thank you for theinsight. Jim.]

    I. He Was Just Head and Shoulders above Everyone ElseJIM AMASH: Do you remember the first time you saw Lou Fines


    MURPHY ANDERSON: Well, he didnt sign his work, for themost part. Eventually, I figured out a name for him and I camepretty close. He was Kenneth Lewis, who was signing TheBlack Condorand when I got it all figured out, he was LouisKenneth Fine. Fiction House, Fox, and those companies had WillEisner working there. Will had several pen names for himself, likeWillis B. Rensie. Jack Kirby didnt sign his work for Will, either;he was Jack Cortez, among other names. The use of pen nameswas a common practice.

    Lou was doing covers and interiors when I was started seeinghis work. He was also illustrating interior text pages. All thiscame from the Eisner & Iger shop. Jack Kirby, Lou Fine, ChuckMazoujian, Dan Zolnerowich, and Bob Powell worked there. Itmust have been quite a place to be.

    Lou Fine and Fiction HouseA Conversation with MURPHY ANDERSON

    Murphy Anderson (seen above in a recent photo, courtesy of the artist), flanked by (somewhat fuzzy) splash pages of origins of The Black Condorfrom that initial appearance, drawn by Lou Fine, in Crack Comics #1 (May 1940), and from Murphs re-telling of same in DCs Secret Origins #21 (Dec. 1987).

    The late Dan Zolnerowich assisted Mr. A. on the Fine-style backgrounds. [Art 2002 DC Comics.]

    34 Murphy Anderson

  • JA: What was it about LouFines work that attractedyou?

    ANDERSON: He was justhead and shoulders aboveeveryone else. I even liked hisstuff in many, many ways,even better than Hal Fosterand Alex Raymond. Fine hada flair to his work. Gil Kanecalled him the most lyricalartist around. Lyrical is agood word to describe hiswork. Fine had a light touchto his work, nothing heavy.When he had to do heavydrama, it wasnt as believableas Will Eisners. When one ofWills characters hitsomebody, he was knockedflat. Same with Jack Kirby:you had to pick up the piecesof Jacks characters when they landed. [laughs]

    Lous stuff had impact, but it was different. It was luscious andbeautiful to look at. He did it with such detail and didnt gloss overanything. Unfortunately, he wasnt inking everything he penciled,though I didnt understand that at first. Later on, of course, I did. Icould see that the buildings and trees and things were rendered more orless in his style, but they werent quite the same as the main work. Imsure Lou penciled them, but he had others assisting in the inks.

    I penciled the Black Condor story for DCs Secret Origins comic[#21, Dec. 1987], written by Roy Thomas. Dan Zolnerowich was stillworking with me, and he inked the backgrounds for me. Dan evenpenciled some of backgrounds, and we more or less copied what LouFine had done in his version. I wanted it to be as close to Lous work aspossible. Then, when Dan inked them, I got to looking at them and Idswear to this day that Dan did the backgrounds on Lous original stuff.Dan was a terrific artist and did many features after Eisner stoppeddoing them, like Uncle Sam and Black X. Dan also worked with Willon P.S. magazine for many years.

    JA: There hasnt been much written about Zolnerowich.

    ANDERSON: You know Steve Duinn? He did that book Comicsbetween the Panels, and I set up an interview with him and Dan. We

    had breakfast and sataround for a few hours,talking. As far as Iknow, it was the onlyinterview Dan evergranted. He was influ-enced by Will Eisnerand worked in his shopwhen Lou Fine wasthere. He was one of theartists that took overBlackhawk. He drew italmost until Dick Dillintook over the feature.He worked for Hillmanand did Airboy.

    JA: The main reason Ido these interviews isso well have moreinformation on peoplelike Dan, who nevergot much attentionfrom the comics press.

    ANDERSON: And itsnice to know aboutthese people. They werereal people. The guywho followed Dan onthe Fiction Housecovers was Joe Doolin.Hes another guy noone really knows about.He was an old pulpartist who came toFiction House,primarily to work onthe pulps. He camefrom Chicago. He did alot of covers andinteriors for WeirdTales, among other

    pulps. Quite a few guys came from other fields and went into comics.Some didnt stay and some never got out.

    Like Ruben Moriera. I didnt get to know him very well, but he wasgood friends with Al Plastino. I remarked to Al once, You know, youremind me of a guy I met when I first got into the business. Al said,Whos that? I said, Ruben Moriera. He laughed and said, Ruby andI shared a studio. I could see why they got along well, because they hada similar outlook and were both snappy dressers. They were fun guys tobe around: always joking and laughing.

    II. Have You Talked to Anyone at Fiction House?JA: You started working in comics in 1944 at Fiction House. How didyou get that job?

    ANDERSON: I started school in the fall of 1943 at the University ofNorth Carolina at Chapel Hill. In those days, the school was on thequarter system, but they had accelerated courses, so I had achievedcredits for three quarters of work instead of two. I had been co-editor ofHigh Life at Greensboro Senior High School and had visited New York.Our school paper had won some awards from the Columbia ScholasticPress Association, and we were invited to a convention at ColumbiaUniversity. As editors, two of the papers staff went to receive awards

    Along with his work on such features as the long-running Impossible but True! series in Detective Comics, in 1946-47 Ruben Moreira spelled artist Burne Hogarth on

    the Tarzan Sunday strip, under the name Rubimor. At one time Moreira also drew theKaanga jungle-hero series for Fiction House. This photo and art are reproduced from

    the excellent Volume 15B of Flying Buttress multi-volume series reprinting all the Tarzanwork of Hogarth and Harold R. Foster. [2002 Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.]

    Ruben Moreira.

    Lou Fine and Fiction House 35

  • the paper had won for the school year... and participate in theconvention. I took the opportunity to make some rounds, and thatswhen I met Lou Fine and Jack Cole at Quality. This was in early 1943.

    In the summer of 1942 I had corresponded with publisher BusyArnold and he encouraged me by sending me a Paul Gustavson original,which I still have. On the strength of that, I went to see Quality but gotnowhere. They were very nice to me there. Fine and Cole had their owncubicles there. I dont know if they worked there every day, but theywere very important to Arnold.

    In early 1944 I talked to my father about dropping out of Carolinaand looking for a job in New York. He thought the idea of working incomics was a terrible one, but he finally gave in. He gave me a hundredbucks, which was a lot of money then. He said, When that runs out,you have to come back home. So I was off to the big city by late Marchof 1944.

    Well, I walked the streets for a week, calling upon everyone I couldthink of. One of the people I visited was Jerry Iger. I hadnt realized that

    he had a shop with Will Eisner. I just knew he had a lot ofwork in Fiction Houses comics and I felt that he wasFiction House. He looked at my stuff and said, I donthave anything right now, but if you come back in a weekor two, it might be different. I guess he sensed that I wasgetting desperate and wasnt going to show any interestuntil I was really hungry. I said, Okay, but I dont thinkIll be around. If I am, Ill come back.

    I called on Timely and they gave me some pages topencil as samples, but I never got that done. My moneywas fast running out; it was costing about eight or ninebucks to stay at a hotel on Times Square. I had aboutanother week before my money ran out.

    On the Friday morning of that week, I was graspingfor straws and remembered Harry Chesler. I looked andsaw he had a place on 23rd Street. I went down and talkedto Chesler and he liked my work. He said, You have aknack for science-fiction. Im not publishing now...otherwise Id be interested in taking you on. Have youtalked to anyone at Fiction House? They have a science-fiction magazine.

    I said, Well, Mr. Iger told me to come back in a coupleof weeks. Chesler said, Iger? Hes not Fiction House.He said, Wait a minute... He knew what had happened.He picked up the phone and called editor Jack Byrne andgave me a big build-up. He told me that Byrne wanted tomeet me and asked how fast could I get up there. I said,As fast as my feet can get me there. [laughs] I went upthere, Jack Byrne looked at my stuff and said, Yourehired. We talked about my magnificent salary of $30 aweek. Come in Monday morning. It was a terribleweekend [laughs], but I came in Monday morning andthey gave me a Star Pirate script.

    JA: Was the work in your portfolio Lou Fine-influ-enced?

    ANDERSON: Oh yeah. Id written my own Ray storyand almost had it completed. There were a couple ofpanels I hadnt inked. I didnt quite have enough time toget it done, but it was good enough to put in there. I alsohad some of my high school work and a couple ofcharacters I had thought up in there.

    That very first week at Fiction House, I met all thepulp editors and staffers. Wilbur Peacock, who was thepulp editor of Planet [Stories], gave me some illustrations

    to do, in addition to my comic book work.

    I dont want you to get the wrong impression here. This was wartimeand everybody was gone, except for people like George Tuska, whocouldnt hear. Artie Saaf, Lee Elias, and Ruben Moriera worked there.They were the big talents I met in those days. They didnt work on staff,but would come in and wed chat some.

    Six 75th Avenue was our location, which was where DCs officeswere for quite a while. I used to sit on the corner office of 53rd andFifth, just a desk or two away from the window. I could see parades andthings like that marching down the street from there. Directly oppositefrom us (we were on the fourth floor) was St. Thomas Cathedral, whichis still there. There was a city street between us and them. The churchbells would ring and we could really hear them. Theyd knock you rightout of your seat. [laughs]

    Now years later, when I was working on P.S. magazine, Idoccasionally visit DCs offices. One day, I was sitting in an office with

    This Paul Gustavson-drawn page of "The Jester," a feature which ran in Smash Comics from 1941-49,was given to Murphy by Quality publisher Busy Arnold in 1941 when he returned his samples. As a

    general rule, Arnold had all original art destroyed! Courtesy of Murphy Anderson. [2002 DC Comics.]

    36 Murphy Anderson

  • Alex Toth 45

    (Above:) A pitifully inadequate b-&-w rendering of a greatZorro painting Mr. T. sent us; he drew Zorro for Dell/Western,

    of course. (Below:) A 1943 Spirit daily drawn by Lou Fine,courtesy of scripter Gill Fox. [Above art 2002 Alex Toth; Zorro TM & 2002 Disney; Spirit art 2002 Will Eisner.]

    [Editors Note: At the eleventhhour, we were overjoyed to receivethe following letter of commentabout Lou Fines work from noneother than Alex Toth, whose worksince the latter 1940s has alwaysbeen some of comics finest. Theinverted-triangle look of much of

    the third page is because it was written on the outsideof the envelopesome last-minute thoughts were gladAlex took the time to add. Roy.]

    Alex Toth in the 1970s.

    Toth on FineYet Another Comic Book Great Looks Back at Lou Fine



    $5.95In the USA

    $5.95In the USA

    No. 17September


    Roy Thomas ElectrifyingComics Fanzine

    Roy Thomas ElectrifyingComics Fanzine



    m P


    l TM






  • 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($10.00 Canada, $11.00 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. Arnold Drake interview 2002 Marc Svensson & Arnold Drake. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada.


    ContentsWriter/Editorial: Whats Sauce for the Drake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2My Greatest Adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Arnold Drake talks to Marc Svensson about life, Deadman, and The Doom Patrolplus Drake on memos to Irwin Donenfeld, a Deadman graphic novel, and Western Publishing.

    I, Robotman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28A 1965 fan-article by Roy Thomas about Cliff Steeles boiler-plate predecessor.

    EC Confidential, Part II: Jack Davis and George Evans . . . . . . 33Michael T. Gilbert continues his series on the non-EC work of EC greats.

    A Tribute to Dave Berg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39A Tribute to Vince Fago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43P.C. Hamerlinck presents Marc Swayze, Jay Disbrow, Alvin Schwartz, E. Nelson Bridwell,and the ever-irascible C.C. Beck.

    Special Section on Golden Age Great LOU FINE . . . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: As he relates within, Arnold Drake often sketched out cover ideas for comicshe wrote, including for the first Doom Patrol story. Bruno Premiani made a few changes whenpenciling the cover of My Greatest Adventure #80, so artist Luis Dominguez painted this versiona few years back; its closer to Arnolds sketch (printed on page 3). [Art 2002 Arnold Drake &Luis Dominguez; Doom Patrol TM & 2002 DC Comics.]

    Above: Neal Adams drew this superb new figure for the slipcase of DCs 350-page DeadmanCollection; you gotta see it in color! [2002 DC Comics.]

    Vol. 3, No. 17 / September 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 ArtistsLuis DominguezLou Fine

    Cover ColoristsLuis DominguezTom Ziuko

    And Special Thanks to:Neal AdamsMurphy AndersonHenry BabaTim BarnesDennis BeaulieuRay Bottorff, Jr.Bart BushPearl CherryJ.R. CochranTeresa R. DavidsonFred L. deBoomAl DellingesJay DisbrowLuis DominguezJames DotyArnold & Lillian

    DrakeGill FoxElliot FineLaurie FineShane FoleyRon FrantzMichael R. GraboisDavid G. HamiltonPaul HandlerBill HarperHank HarrisonDaniel HermanBob Hughes

    Steve HurleyChris IrvingJohn JacobsonKen KaffkeAl KrackowJoe & Nadia

    MannarinoRichard MartinesTom MorehouseMichelle NolanEric Nolen-

    WeathingtonJoe PetrilakJohn G. PierceEthan RobertsBenno RothschildAlvin SchwartzDavid SiegelMarc SvenssonMarc SwayzeDann ThomasDr. Michael J.

    VassalloHames WareJohn YonEd ZenoMike Zeno

    In Memoriam Robert Kanigher

    Tom Sutton

  • [INTERVIEWERS INTRO-DUCTION: It was the San DiegoComic-Con in 1999. I was out therewith my whole family, whichincluded our new baby Scott, whowas just a couple of months old. Perusual, I had brought along a bunchof video equipment to capturefootage of the idols of my youth.Shockingly, I had not paid closeattention to the guest list for theconvention, and had completelyfailed to notice that Arnold Drakewas attending. WorseI hadscheduled away the time when hisspotlight panel was going to appear.(I had to spend some time with my wife and our new baby in SanDiegoor face divorce proceedings!) I was in a fix, and I could notget anyone to fill in for menot even fellow video hound MikeCatron! This was painful, because I am a true Doom Patrol fan.Growing up, my older brother Chris and I used to pass around theDPs early adventures. DP villains like Animal-Vegetable-MineralMan became household names. (We especially took to AVM Man;after all, our father was 100% Swedishand this was the firstSwedish super-villain we had ever encountered. We began wonderingif our dad could turn into a giant broccoli stalk.) Anyway, you couldnot be a Doom Patrol fan without being an Arnold Drake fan. Whatwas I going to do?

    [I took time out from taping and ran down to Arnolds table at thecon, explaining my dilemma, and that the only way I could make upfor it was if he would let me come down to New York City where helived and interview him on film for no less than two hours. Arnoldmust have thought I was out of my mind. Fortunately, he and hislovely wife Lillian agreed. (The next shock I got was when I foundout that Arnold and Lillian lived less than five blocks from where Iused to live in Manhattan.)

    [A couple of months after the convention, I made my final prepara-tions with Arnold, and my own lovely wife allowed me to pack up my

    camera and drive down to NYC. Iwas supposed to be accompanied bymy good friend Rich Morrissey, butRich had to cancel, due to work. Iwas alone on this one, but I was thebig Doom Patrol fan, so Richthought it was appropriate.(Unfortunately, Rich has now leftus for gooda hard fact that stillbrings tears to my eyes. It has beenover a year and I still have troubletalking about him.)

    [I should take the time to do acouple of Thank Yous. Most ofmy video stuff never sees print, but

    thanks to the indomitable David Siegel, I was able to meet ChrisIrving. Chris, a multi-talented guy, is one hell of a transcriber, and Ihave him to thank for banging out this transcript from my videotape.I should thank Martin OHearn, whose expertise I am sure shapedthis interview, even if not directlyand Rich Morrissey. The thanksto Arnold should be obvious. This tape is dedicated to Lillian Drake.As much as I am an Arnold Drake fan, Im a Lillian Drake fan. Marc Svensson (who is recovering from an operation to remove acyst from his spine as he writes this.)]

    ARNOLD DRAKE: [holding up a copy of It Rhymes with Lust] Thisis one of Matt Bakers very first commercial works. Its something Iinvented along with a guy named Les Waller, an American novelist. Wecalled it the picture novel. Today theyd call it a graphic novel. Thatwas too fancy a phrase in 1950. I was still at New York University.

    Its black-&-white on the inside. The idea was that we created this tosell to literate people who just havent read books, and we thought thiswas a way to get them to read books. We also thought that, if youdprint it in color, it would look like a comic book, and we didnt want itto. It was a crossover, and we didnt think itd cross over well if theinsides looked like a comic book. One of the things we insisted on wasthat the insides be black-&-white, not color. We didnt have to fight toohard when the publisher saw how much money hed save on the inside.

    MyGreatestAdventuresA Candid Conversation with

    ARNOLD DRAKE,Co-Creator of Deadman and The Doom PatrolConducted by Marc SvenssonTranscribed by Christopher Irving

    Our esteemed interviewee writes that this photo from years past is of himself (at right), his wife Lillian, and their good friend and great jazz pianist, Walter Bishop, Jr., who died far too young.

    [Photo courtesy of Arnold Drake.]

    (Left:) Arnolds pencil sketch for the first-ever Doom Patrol cover, fromwhich Luis Dominguez produced the painting used as a cover of thisissue of A/Eand (right) the cover of My Greatest Adventure #80 as

    rendered from the sketch by Bruno Premiani (with an unidentified inker)for that June 1963 magazine, and reprinted in The Doom Patrol Archives,Vol. 1, published in early 2002. [Sketch 2002 Arnold Drake; Doom Patrol

    and cover TM & c 2002 DC Comics.]

    My Greatest Adventures 3

  • MARC SVENSSON: Comic bookswere on the way out then. Were youworried about the KefauverCommission [the Congressionalcommission which investigatedcomics very publicly and infamouslyin 1954].

    DRAKE: No, I wasnt. Comics were going down, but TV was thevillain. I think everything was being affected, Hollywood in particular,by television. It was really starting to take a bite out of the box office in1951 or 52.

    MS: It wasnt censorship so much as television impeding?

    DRAKE: I dont think censorship means anything after about sixmonths. Thats about how long those things last. Unless were talkingabout a totalitarian system. And were not. Also, if you want to get a kid

    to do something, tell him he cant do it. Theytold the kids, These books are bad for you, sothe kids paid an arm and a leg to get their handson them. Anyhoo, that was when we thought wecould turn former comic book readers intopicture novel readers. But it didnt get a longenough test. And then the publisher died.

    MS: Who published that?

    DRAKE: Archer St. John. Im told that Archerdied of an overdose, early on, but I dont knowthat as a fact.

    MS: So you got Matt Baker to do the art. AfterPhantom Lady, he was one of the top artists inthe field. How did you meet him?

    DRAKE: I didnt; the publisher did. Archerapparently got Baker for a very low price,because I think Matt was really just getting offthe ground. He was a great artist, and it shows,

    even in his early stuff. He wasalso probably paid below eventhe lousy pay scale of that time,because Matt was black. Andthere were hardly any blackartists in the field at the time. Abrilliant artist. Also one of thesharpest dressers I ever saw!

    MS: He did incredible coversfor Phantom Lady. You maybe the only person with a copy

    of that!

    DRAKE: I think there are at least two others.

    MS: You were at NYU [New York University] at thetime?

    DRAKE: Yes. At that same time, anything for a buck, Iwrote several stories in what I call naughty comics:Candid Tales and Bold Stories. I think the level of this isdemonstrated by an ad on the back. These are not high-class advertising layouts. [holds up the two magazines]This was published by a guy named Red Kirby. We calledhim Red; I think his real name was John, but Im not sure.Its probably most famous for the fact that it has a coupleof Wally Woods first stories: Ogre of Paris, and IMarried a Freak. These two books are also extremelyrare.

    MS: Wood was very fantastic, such a good artist.

    DRAKE: Yeah, and this was very early. He was still to getabout 200% better. It was issued in March 1950, meaningI wrote it in 1949.

    Arnold says this (color) sketch he did is a 3 a.m. mock-up I did thatsold St. John Publishing on Picture Novels (graphic was too high-

    falutin a word in 1950). During this period, he says, while stillattending NYU on the G.I. Bill, I earned pocket money freelancing: two

    pulp private-eye stories near the end of that era; The Steel Noose, amystery novel, and some comics. [2002 Arnold Drake.]

    Courtesy of Arnold: the front and back covers of the 1950Arnold Drake-Les Waller opus It Rhymes with Lust...

    4 Arnold Drake

    ...and a couple of pages from the interior. Arnold tells us that Les(lie) Waller was the author of such novels asHide in Plain Sight (from which a film was made) and The Family (a pre-The Godfather mafia novel). Art byMatt Baker of Phantom Lady fameor infamy, if you believed Dr. Fredric Werthams 1950s tome Seduction of

    the Innocent. [2002 the respective copyright holders.]

  • MS: This is when the covers were dated three months ahead?

    DRAKE: If you bought a magazine that was cover-dated two monthsearly, you would say, Im not going to buy an old magazine like this.

    MS: 1953 is when you showed up at DC Comics?

    DRAKE: I think so.

    MS: The first story you did was The Second Death of AbrahamLincoln. That was for [editor Jack] Schiff, or

    DRAKE: Weisinger.

    MS: You did work for Mort Weisinger! After that came the FiremanFarrell [The Brave and the Bold #1], and you did a couple of stintson Tommy Tomorrow.

    DRAKE: That was a while later. There was a period where I refused towork with Mort, and so I worked with Schiff only.

    MS: You actually came into conflict with Mort? [laughs]Amazing!

    DRAKE: Oh, yes, his attitude was very clear to me: Theonly way I can stand tall is to kick somebody in the nuts,and that makes me a big man. I decided I didnt need that.

    MS: But you did work in between on Space Ranger andTommy Tomorrow?

    DRAKE: We didnt like Space Ranger, and when I saywe, I mean all the writers. It was a Schiff invention, andSchiff inventions were much too tame. Dial H for Herowas a Schiff invention and was essentially the same thing. Wewerent crazy about it. We would have to flip a coin to see whowas going to write the next damned Space Ranger. It wouldfall to me, and the entire afternoon I would sit at thetypewriter, singing, Space Ranger, I hate you, Space Ranger,youre mine. [laughter]

    MS: Did you know Jack Schiff?

    DRAKE: Sure.

    LILLIAN DRAKE: Nice guy.

    DRAKE: Real nice guy.

    MS: When you say we, it was youand which other writers?

    DRAKE: Ed Herron, Gardner Fox,Dave Wood, Bob Haney.

    MS: You were actually writing atDC?

    DRAKE: Very often, before I took myown office.

    MS: That was 575 Lexington?

    DRAKE: Yeah. DC had moved. Theyhad originally been down around 44thStreet, and they moved to 49th, a newbuilding.

    MS: I think the advertising was 205East 42nd. Thats not what it was?

    DRAKE: It may have been, because it was around that part of town.[Co-publisher Jack] Liebowitz had been most strongly in favor ofmoving; he thought it was good for the industry. I dont think that [co-publisher] Harry Donenfeld liked the idea; he thought itd be tooexpensive. He was a very down-to-earth kind of guy; Liebowitz wasnot. I used to call Liebowitz the Jewish Neville Chamberlain.Chamberlain (or Chamberpot, if you prefer, and I did!) was theBritish Prime Minister who handed Czechoslovakia over to Hitler: anultra-conservative who was also ultra-proper. They said he carried hisumbrella even to bed. Open! And that was Liebowitz.

    So the first morning after the move I got in very early. Sitting at mymachine, I hear Harry Donenfeld come down the hall shouting,$280,000-a-year rent and I cant even take a s***! They locked theexecutive bathroom on me!! Harry was no Neville Liebowitz.Anyway, those expensive new quarters made them a bit more profes-sional. It was a separation from their early beginnings. Back then theynever felt totally professional. It was like they were doing somethingsneaky.

    MS: Given some of the characters around then, I can see why.

    Arnolds says his script for the cover story for House of Mystery #51 was my first DC story (or second, after Batman Meets Jules Verne).

    Thanks to Michelle Nolan. [2002 DC Comics.]

    The covers of the two naughty comics to which Arnoldand a young Wally Woodcontributed. [2002 the respective copyright holders.]

    My Greatest Adventures 5

  • [EDITORS NOTE: Some time after the preceding interview wastaped by Marc Svensson, Arnold Drake located a carbon of themajority of the memo he had written to DCs co-publisher, apparentlyon February 3, 1966. Arnold writes: The memo to Irwin Donenfeldwas 7 pages long, but this is all Ive been able to find. Its historicallyinteresting if incomplete. Irwins reaction to my belief that Marvelwas about to give DC real competition was, Youre full of s*** as aChristmas turkey! We outsell them 3-to-1! The man was not exactlya prophet. Actually, as John Romita and Ye Editor were aware fromtheir time at DC, the older publishing company had been havingmeetings about the competition from DC-distributed Marvel as earlyas summer of 1965but had decided that Marvels secret was thebad drawing of guys like Kirby and Ditko. The fact that Drakesmemo was given short shrift even half a year later shows much aboutthe mindset at the time.

    [Now, without further ado, here is the text of the four (of seven)pages of the memo that Arnold Drake sent Alter Ego in 200236 years after it was written, with Arnolds underlining and otherstylizations kept to retain the flavor of the original. The he referredto in the second sentence was obviously Stan Leeand the subtitlesare ADs own. Roy.]

    The Marvel MiracleWhat Marvel was attempting to do began to be apparent about three

    years ago. They (or rather, he) were bringing sophistication to thecomics. The anti-hero was liftedfrom thehardcover booksand slickmagazines andbrought to thekids. The presentidiom was applied,not the idea ofbobby soxers andswing musicand Betty Grable,etc. Theycombined icono-clasm with non-sequiturs and injokes and gotwhat we call (partof what we call)camp.

    They succeededfor two reasonsprimarily. First,they were morewith what washappening in thecountry than wewere. Andperhaps more

    important, theyaimed their stuff atan age level that hadnever read comicsbefore in anyimpressivenumberthecollege level (letssay ages 16 to 19 or20).

    That second factis important in viewof the fewer titlesthat Marvelpublishes. Theycould afford to aimall (with theexception of theRomance booksand the Westerns,whichby thewayare nowswinging orbeginning toswing also) oftheir titles at thisage level and pull anequal number ofreaders from lowerage groups happy totag along.

    If Marvel had thenumber of titles thatwe have, they couldnot use thisapproach across the board!

    (I believe, if Marvel continues to add titles and finds it wise to beginaiming at the 12 to 10, 10 to 8, and 8 to 5 market, they will not apply thesame orientation to these books as to Spiderman, Fantastic-4, etc.)

    Zeroing-In On MarketsThe idea that all our books should swing-like-Marvel is erroneous.

    Superman and most of the Superman family is and should remainaimed at the lower age levels5 to 10. Books like Batman and the Flashshould be picking up the kids at age 9 or 10 and carrying them forwardto 12 or 13. Beginning at about age 14 and carrying them right on up tocollege level should be books like Metal Men, Doom Patrol, Challengers,Metamorpho, etc. (Adult concepts, adult language; a little cheesecake, alittle idol-breaking, a little think stuff now and thenplus the grotes-queries and the much-much-bigger-than-life villains, etc.)

    There is lots of room for disagreement as to precisely which titlesbelong in which age groupsbut that essential notion should beaccepted and each book age-slotted in an editors mind. There is much to

    If DCs co-publisher in 1966 wasnt taking Marvelseriously, his editorial successors were by the mid-70s orso, as per this story for Sick magazine scripted by Arnold

    Drake and illustrated by Jack Sparling: a page from achapter of Ego-ManStan Boreman, definitely a stand-in for Stan Leewhile the Marble child-editor could beRoy Thomas, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Archie Goodwin

    or a composite of all four.

    Most prominent at the B.C. Comics meeting, from left, arecaricatures of Joe Orlando, Joe Kubert, Paul Levitz,

    Murray Boltinoff, and Julius Schwartzwith productionmanager Jack Adler taking pics while dangling overhead.

    [2002 the respective copyright holder.]

    AMemo To DCs Publisher--A Window on the Silver Age of Comicsby Arnold Drake

    For Sick magazine, a long-running shoestring-budgetcontender for the Mad market originally started by Joe

    Simon, Arnold scriptedand did rough story breakdownsformany features, including a several-part parody of a

    certain green-skinned Marvel hero in The IncrudibleSULK! [2002 the respective copyright holder.]

    A Memo to DCs Publisher 21

  • by Arnold Drake[EDITORS NOTE: In 1999 Arnold Drake submitted his own pro-posal for a graphic novel [or prestige-format book] starring Deadman.He himself feels the aborted proposal... is of interest primarily for theflashback to Boston Brands origins as a circus aerialist. However, we feel the whole proposal is of definite interestafter all, its by theman who first thought up the whole concept of Deadman... so werepresenting it in its entirety, with only a bit of minor bleeping here and there of the original. Its 2002 by Arnold Drake, but of courseDeadman is TM & 2002 by DC Comics. Roy.]

    DEADMANRevenge is the purest human emotion

    because its never watered down bymortality, ethics or humanity!

    Boston Brand (a.k.a. DEADMAN)

    Deadman is conceived here as a 96-page graphic novel. Some 20-25pages are a retelling of the first two stories, the origin of Deadman andhis first attempt to find his killer. (In the spring of 1967, I had actuallyconceived of the two as one storyand I might have squeezed it into 24pagesbut Jack Miller, a brand new editor, had inherited a lot ofinventory that he had to dump. So only 17 pages were available.)

    I briefly discussed with Miller a second development of Deadmanssaga, beginning with Book-3. He literally sucked wind and said, Letsdo it! But not until Book-4. He wanted Book-3 to repeat the basicproposition: Boston pursues his killer. (Bennet Cerf said, If youknow a good story, keep telling it. Miller was an unconscious Cerfite.And a lovely guy who left us 30 years too soon!)

    The question was a simple one: where does Deadman hang his hoodwhen hes not violating other folks bodies? Obviously in some netherworldeven if its just a stark, uninhabited plane. SOOOlets go dealwith the afterlife, right? In 1999, a simple creative challenge. But in 1967Miller was afraid even to submit the title, DEADMAN, to the ComicsCode. With moral support from Infantino, I talked him into it.

    Okay, there is the other plane to which Boston must constantlyreturn and LITERALLY report-in: a stadium-sized room in black-and-white with walls covered by 10,000 TV monitorswatching 10,000places on Earth and constantly changing their subjects. The banks ofhigh-powered computers, run by a vast staff dressed completely in blackand white, can zoom in on a single man or woman. The only color thereis brought by visitorslike Deadman.

    The man to whom Boston reports (a thin-lipped pasty-face with acorporate ledger for a heart), officially titled Number Nine, is calledbehind his backTBC, The Bean Counter. We have met this suck-*ssin every corporation, graduating class, or army barracks weve inhabited.Even the wisest bosses suffer himbecause he gets the ugly jobs done.He also gets his wayabout almost everything. Is power his c*ck? Yes.But he also believes he is right about whats good for everyone.(As do all saints and dictators.)

    Number Nine knows one thing well: Bostron Brand is a fake whoshould not have been granted Rama Kushnas grace. But the department

    Proposal For A DeadmanGraphic Novel

    This illustrated article about Deadman (it also covered Art Spiegelmans Pulitzer-winning Maus) appeared, Arnold Drake tells us, in a Russo-American newspaper.[Infantino, Adams, &!Roussos art 2002 DC Comics; Maus art 2002 Art Spiegelman.]

    Proposal For A Deadman Graphic Novel 23

  • In 1971 I began writing at Western Publishing. My passport wasnineteen years of writing Batman, Plastic Man, Lois Lane, Houseof Mystery, Tommy Tomorrow, The X-Men, Space Ranger, andcreating the first graphic novel, It Rhymes with Lust (1950), as well asDeadman and The Doom Patrol. But Western proved to be anotherfish entirely. (Well dissect the fish later.)

    The building at 3rd Avenue and 50th Street was named for Western.(In New York, if youll guarantee rental of three floors or more, you canname a building after Adolf Hitler. Of course, youll have to keepreplacing the windows.)

    The editor-in-chief, he of apple cheeks, inch-deep dimples, and eyesthat smiled behind wire-rimmed glasses, was Wally Green. His dad,

    Bud Green, was a toplyric writer and earlypartner of HarryWarren (who had moresongs on the Hit Paradethan Berlin, Kern,Gershwin, or Porter;coincidentally, in 1979 Iwrote Harry WarrensLullaby of Broadway,a musical blend of hislife and some fortysongs). Having twosongwriting brothershelped personalize mycontact with Wally,beginning a friendshipthat continued longafter I left Western.

    My first workingeditor there, PaulKuhn, assigned me towrite a mystery title:Boris Karloffs Tales ofMystery, DarkShadows, TheTwilight Zone, orGrimms GhostStories. Pressure to fillthat monthly menu was

    Go Western, Young Man 25

    In 1968-69 Arnold scripted various comics for Marvel, among them an eight-issue run of the original X-Menincluding two stories illustrated by Jim Steranko(this scene is from #50, cover-dated Nov. 1968) and the tale that introduced Alex Summers, Cyclops brother (the future Havok), as per these panels from #54

    (March 69), with art by Don Heck and Vince Colletta. [2002 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Arnold writes that this cover for an issue of WesternsGrimms Ghost Stories is a Luis Dominguez cover for

    a Drake story; original cover sketch by Drake. Wehave been working together for 35 years! Our secret?

    Nobody else would abide either one of us! [2002 Western Publishing, Inc.]

    Go WesternYoung ManA Memoir of Western Publishing by ARNOLD DRAKE

    [Reprinted from Robin Snyders The Comics! Vol. 12, No. 7, July 2001. 2002 Arnold Drake.]

  • high. But Paul made it painless for writers. I met two kinds of editors incomics: those who, longing to write the stories themselves, dictated tothe writer (Weisinger and Schiff, for example), and those who, onceconvinced of your skill, gave you lots of freedom. Murray Boltinoff wasthat kind of editor. So was Paul: non-competitive. Some writers preferone, some the other. I was more a Murray/Paul writer. Its less aboutediting talent than it is about style. But its too late to convince me thatstyle is not crucial to content.

    Wally and Paul had a friendship that reached beyond the office doors.They had a mutual love of Verdi and Puccini and often attended theopera together. And it was Wally who introduced me to the VeteransBedside Network, show-business people using music and drama astherapy in VA hospitals. Having served nearly four years in World War

    II (General Pattons Third Army, Battle of theBulge, etc.), I was more than sympathetic to theGI cause. I remained a volunteer for twentyyears, seven of those as National ExecutiveDirector.

    Soon after I got there, Wally suggested I take acrack at Little Lulu. I said, Great! Id writtenmost of the DC humor titles (The Fox and theCrow, The Adventures of Jerry Lewis, TheAdventures of Bob Hope, The Many Loves ofDobie Gillis, and my favorite, Stanley and HisMonster). Wally urged I do storyboards ratherthan typed manuscripts. I didnt need muchencouraging. Id been a cartoonist wannabesince boyhood.

    For ten years I did almost all the Lulus, plusmany backup features. I worked on Heckle andJeckle, Dudley Do-Right, Silly Disney,Rocky and Bullwinkle, Hashimoto San,Bugs Bunny, O.G. Whiz, Tweety and Sylvester,Peabodys Improbable History, Yosemite Sam,and some Ive forgotten. I still have many ofthose storyboardsand 700+ comic books.

    I grew smugly proud of my multi-talents,drawing Lulu with one hand, typing Star Trekwith the other. That dumb pride forged one ofmy great lines. At a fan meeting in L.A., I toldhow, after I left DC, Murray needed three writersto replace me on the comedy books: one to plot,one for dialogue, a third on the gag lines. A voicerose from the audience: Thats right! I was oneof them! How does it feel to be one-third ofme? I chortled. Then I recognized the man I hadjust put downthe great Sergio Aragons. Seewhat I mean about dumb?

    Though Western was richer than DC orMarvel, it paid us about 30% less. But, withoutcompetition from the editors, we worked muchfaster. Self-exploitation improved the rates. Butthe low pay spoke to Westerns conservatism.

    For an interesting clue to the companys 19th-century nature, sniff this bit of symbolism: unlikeNational and Marvel, Western had no writersbullpen. You arrived on schedule, did your workin twenty or thirty minutes, and went on yourway. That meant zero contact among writers andartists. No publisher promoted camaraderieamong the creators. But Western discouraged it.Again, that was symbolic of its whole corporatespirit.

    Thus I didnt get to know Al McWilliams, Frank Bolle, GeorgeRoussos, Mike Sekowsky, Walt Simonson, George Evans, and ReedCrandall. I did get to know Paul Newman (but not enough!), JoeOrlando (at DC), Jack Sparling, and Luis Dominguez, still a good friendand partner. (Luis and I now produce art based on my original coversketches that I have retained.)

    Eventually, I saw that what made Western a different fish wasDisneyitis, a virus attacking any corporate body that holds licensingagreements with ol Walt. Beyond its normal share of self-protec-tiveness, Disney had a well-earned reputation for ultra-conservativelabor and business practices. In 1940 the Disney colorists (mostly young

    Script and story breakdowns by Drake for a Little Lulu story done for Western/Gold Key. Arnold writes: I oftenused Dad as the central character. When Marge Higgins created the original single-panel Lulus in The SaturdayEvening Post, it was strictly mother-and-daughter. There was no daddy... at least, not to my recall. When John

    Stanley took over, he did a fabulous job of developing all the kids in the gang. But he didnt often explore Mom-Dad stories. When I succeeded him, gender consciousness womens lib came a kind of mens lib: it was okay for

    me to depict Dad as being a good cook and enjoying it. (Previously, that would have been seen as a femininetrait.) And I could have Dad take his little girl to the office to experience that part of his life. Miss In-between

    was about the see-saw relationships of even the best marriages. [2002 the respective copyright holders.]

    26 Arnold Drake

  • women) won a long, nasty strike to improve their $15-a-week wages.also, early WD gave few creative credits. Did it want people to believeWalt drew, inked, and colored a zillion cels of Snow White all byhimself? (If so, it failed. The day Walt died, Disney stock shot up $3.)But the Disney licenses were precious stuff. Thats what Westerns analretention was all about.

    Disneyitis wasnt the sole cause of Westerns conservative style. Whileother publishers originated most of their titles, perhaps 80% ofWesterns books were licensed. To protect those licenses, Westernadopted standards that made the Comics Code Authority look like aconvention of hippies. It also handcuffed Wally. I know hed have likeddreaming up new titles, with themes more dedicated to a changingaudience.

    Its distribution was also a key to Westerns fussiness. Comics werebut a fraction of its line. Golden Books, coloring books, puzzle books,and TV/movie tie-ins were their main trade, and that meant chain storedistribution. At newsstands, no Westerns snuggled up to DC andMarvel. But Woolworth carried the whole line. And, la Disney,Woolworth was pure white breadand dont hold the mayo!(Woolworth is now kaput but that bland taste isnt.) And I think that, atchain stores, kids books were bought for the kids, not by them. So, with

    parents as buyers, Westernsbooks had to be purer than SnowWhite.

    Despite the crotchetycoloration of the above, Ienjoyed my work at Western. Itwas the wide span of books thatturned me on. In addition toanimated, mystery, and sci-ficomics, I wrote some non-comicsversions of Welcome Back,Kotter and Fat Albert, whichwas a great change of pace. So,even with the handcuffs, youcould do work that was availablenowhere else. I have no ideawhat Western is up to these days.Perhaps it has graduated to the20th century.

    But, of course,were now in the21st

    Arnold and Lillian Drake.

    Of O.G. Whiz, Arnold writes, Issue #1 was a John Stanley idea. The rest weremine. O.G. could have worked with proper marketing. Western distributed

    primarily to chain stores (Woolworths, etc.), where their Golden Books soldwell. But their reps looked down on comics (except for the Disney titles, ofcourse). O.G. was short-lived, but went out with a blaze of glory: an up-

    priced issue devoted to a parody of Time magazine called Tike [a re-spellingof tyke, of course]. [2002 Western Publishing, Inc.]

    Go Western, Young Man 27

    Arnold: J.T. and the Colonel was created for a start-up anthology mag at Western that(far as I can recall) never got beyond #1. The co-tagonists (dont look it up in

    Websters; it aint there) let me do a black-&-white team. I wanted to introduce ablack family into Little Lulus neighborhood but it was nixed. Still, a partnershipbetween a black and a white bird was okay: J.T., the very practical hotdog-cart

    owner, and the Colonel, a W.C. Fieldsish piece of pure flim-flam. It was fun while itlasted. (About 15 minutes.) [2002 the respective copyright holders.]

  • 33




    is a


    of W


    m M




    nt, I


  • JACK DAVISWhen Harvey Kurtzman created Mad for EC in 1952, he gathered

    the best artists in the business to help launch the four-color comic. JackDavis was among those chosen few. The two had already workedtogether on Kurtzmans war titles, Frontline Combat and Two-fistedTales. It turned out to be a smart choice.

    Fast and versatile, Davis quickly perfected a loose, loony art style thatwas ideal for Mad. In his spare time Davis also drew classic covers andstories for Tales from the Crypt and otherEC horror titles. Davis work proved tobe immensely popular, even whenillustrating stories for lesser ECtitles such as Panic, Impact,Crime SuspenStories, andIncredible Science-Fiction.

    After Bill Gaines EntertainingComics comic book line died in1956, Davis went on to enjoy aspectacular career in commercialart. Covers for Time and TV Guidewere just a few of his many high-profile accounts.

    But even the great Jack Davishad to start somewhere. In thiscase, here is VarsityRomance!

    Davis created these Varsity Romance pages as art samples to beshown to prospective publishers. Editor after editor passed, untilpublisher Bill Gaines and editor Al Feldstein finally recognized Davisgenius. In The Art of Jack Davis the artist laughingly states that heshowed the pages to Al Feldstein and he gave me my first horror story,probably because it was such horrible stuff.

    Davis humorous comments notwithstanding, the pages are actuallyquite good. A quick glance atthese and the earlier Bullsheetcover (reprinted on our titlepage) shows that Davis seems tohave been born with hisdistinctive style. The early Davisstyle is also evident on thehorror sample page reproducedhere.

    His hand-lettering on thisand the love pages suggests thatthey were all part of the samecomic art portfolio thatconvinced EC to hire him.Though not as polished as hislater work, this piece is histori-cally importantand may wellbe Jack Davis very first horrorpage. It has never been printedbefore, and we are indebted toJoe and Nadia Mannarino of AllStar Auctions for providingcopies. We also thank HankHarrison, who first publishedour other early samples of JackDavis work.

    34 Mr. Monsters

    Jack Davis art samples for a story called Variety Romance, doubtless done in1950-51, since his first published EC work had a 1951 cover date. [2002 Jack Davis.]

    Davis by Davis, from the EC Lives! programbook done for the EC Fan-Addict

    Convention held in New York in 1972.[2002 Jack Davis.]


    In this issue:

    No. 76

    [Art 2002 Jay Disbrow; Captain Marvel TM!&!2002 DC!Comics.]

    No. 76


    In this issue:

  • [FCA EDITORS NOTE: From 1941-42, Marcus D. Swayze was atop artist for Fawcett Comics. He designed the character MaryMarvel and drew her first two adventures, but he was primarily hiredto illustrate Captain Marvel stories and covers, and also wrotenumerous Captain Marvel scripts for Whiz Comics and CaptainMarvel Adventures. After serving in World War II, he produced artand stories for Fawcett on a freelance basis from his home inLouisiana, where he created both art and story for The PhantomEagle in Wow Comics, and also drew the syndicated newspaper stripFlyin Jenny, originated by his friend and mentor Russell Keaton.After the cancellation of Wow, Swayze drew for Fawcetts romancecomics and eventually ended his comics career with CharltonPublications in the 1950s. Having covered the above aspects of hiscareer in broad strokes since his popular ongoing column firstappeared in FCA #54 in 1996, he now turns his attention to particularaspects of the Golden Agebeginning with this overview of theWorlds Mightiest Mortal. P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    Writing or drawing, when we were busy doing our thing in theGolden Age, there didnt seem to be much concern over the effects ourefforts might have on the readers, the youngsters of the 40s. There wereno comments tossed around as to whether the work might result in achilds growing up to be a better person or the other kind. The sole

    responsibility, as seen from my corner, was storytelling with picturesand words providing entertainment of a sort relaxation, amusement,excitement and, for the publisher, of course, money. There wasnt a lotof teaching or preaching to it.

    Eventually criticism did emerge of the influence comic books werehaving on children... and the opinions werent all good. You know aboutthat. Ended up with steps taken by the industry to control itself, la theHayes Office of Hollywood.

    A comforting afterthought to all that may be the unlikely possibilityof a kid getting into troublewith his nose buriedin a comic book.

    There has never been much said about thegood influence of the comics. But Ill bet therewas. A heartwarming novel, Some Bright MorningIll Fly Away by Milton Hartsell, tells of a littlefarm boy whose life changed when his unclebrought him a grocery sack full of used CaptainMarvel Adventures comic books, the first hedever seen. They must have cost Uncle Charlie wellover a dollar.

    Author Hartsells young character goes on:

    After absorbing a few of the super adventurestories, I knew when I grew up, without a doubt,I wanted to become Captain Marvel, or at leasthis side-kick. He was The Worlds MightiestMortal and a very good guy, with no use formean people. A person couldnt miss seeing him.His dazzling uniform featured an eye-catchingthunderbolt across his chest.

    Captain Marvel could zoom across thehorizon, like a shooting star. His dynamic capefluttered in the wind with vigor. It was such abeautiful sight to behold, something akin to anAmerican flag flailing proudly in a snappy

    Mary Marvel landing and running. Recently rendered by her original artist, Marc Swayze. [Art 2002 Marc Swayze; Mary Marvel TM & 2002 DC Comics.]

    A perfect guy for a kid to run around with. A line from Some Bright Morning IllFly Away by Milton Hartsell... and the first of several old rough sketches recently

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

    [Art & logo 2002 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel & TM 2002 DC Comics]

    44 Marc Swayze

  • PREFACEE. Nelson Bridwell lived the dream of many comic book fans: the

    opportunity to work on his favorite characters as editor (includingreprint editor) and sometimes writer. Perhaps more than any other fan-turned-pro, he worked diligently to keep his heroes in character andtrue. This was especially so of his work on Fawcetts Marvel Familywhen they were transplanted to DC Comics. If he occasionally faltered,well, his successes outnumbered his failures. And when change wasforced on himas with the new look of Shazam! that took place inthe final issues of that magazine and continued for a run as a back-upfeature in Worlds Finest Comics in the early 1980she made the best ofthe situation by remaining faithful to the characters.

    Nelson suffered from illnesses and physical handicaps which limitedhis body, but never his mind. For all his vast knowledge of comicshistory, he was an incredibly well-read person who could recite poemsand even entire Shakespearean passages from memory. In 1996,artist Kurt Schaffenberger told P.C. Hamerlinck that he referredto Nelson as a walking encyclopedia.

    Although I never met Nelson, it was my pleasure to havesome correspondence with him, both in the Shazam! letterspages, as well as in occasional personal replies. He was oneof comicdoms greatest and, sadly, overlooked talents. John G. Pierce, 2002.

    INTRODUCTIONBack in the 40s, E. Nelson Bridwell grew

    up reading comic books. By 1964, when RoyThomas, Steve Gerber, and other future comicsnotables were still editing fanzines, EdwardNelson Bridwell was already breaking into comics, as anassistant to DC editor Mort Weisinger. Over the next 15+years, he would serve in many capacities at DC Comics. Inthe early 70s, he became involved with DCs revival ofCaptain Marvel as Julie Schwartzs associate editor andsubsequently as writer of the Shazam! feature. He alsocompiled the 1977 hardcover book collection Shazam!From the 40s to the 70s.

    INTERVIEWJOHN PIERCE: How old were you when youfirst discovered Captain Marvel?

    E. NELSON BRIDWELL: I was probablyabout ten years old. It was around the sametime the Captain Marvel movie serial was

    released in the theatres1941. I loved theserial as a kid except when they removedCaptain Marvels powers in the finalchapter.

    JP: Is Captain Marvel your all-time favorite comic book character?

    BRIDWELL: I cant rank any of them but if I had to, hed be right upthere with Superman, Batman, and others.

    JP: When did you first discover organized comics fandom?

    BRIDWELL: I became involved in EC fandom during the 50s.

    JP: How did you get hired at DC?

    BRIDWELL: Id been trying to break into the comic book field forseveral years. I did some writing for Mad. I continually read, obtainedback issues, and wrote letters. However, I was living in Oklahoma at thetime, so my prospects didnt look too bright. Then, in December 1963,I got a letter from Mort Weisinger at DC, offering me a job as hisassistant.

    JP: Which task do you prefer: writing stories, editing,selecting reprints, creating text pages, or compiling letter


    BRIDWELL: Writing.

    JP: Other than handling the letters pages andwriting an occasional story, what was yourspecific function on Shazam! while JulieSchwartz was the editor?

    BRIDWELL: Basically just editing and trying tokeep the stories consistent with the Golden Age.

    JP: When did you first meet C.C. Beck?

    BRIDWELL: After appearing as a guest ofhonor at the New York Comic Convention, hestopped by the DC offices before leaving for avacation to his hometown in Minnesota. Whileat the office, he had to re-pencil the Shazam! #1

    cover; hed mailed one already from his home inFlorida, but it seemed to have been lost, until he had thesecond one half-finished! Beck is a nice guy. Artistically,his passion for simplicity tends to be a bit extreme buthes good.

    JP: Beck disliked all the Shazam! stories bythe DC writers that he illustrated; however,he highly praised one of your stories,Whats In a Name?Doomsday!(Shazam! #7, Nov. 1973 ). Was your inspi-

    ECSTATIC!The E. Nelson Bridwell InterviewConducted by John G. Pierce Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck[Originally published in John Pierces fanzine, The Whiz Kids #2, 1981; text 2002 JGP.]E. Nelson Bridwell, drawn by

    Kurt Schaffenberger......and John G. Pierce, drawn by

    C.C. Beck in 1980. [Art 2002estates of Kurt Schaffenbergerand C.C. Beck,, respectively.]

    48 E. Nelson Bridwell

    E.N.B., as he abbreviated himself, was ecstatic tobe part of DCs Captain Marvel revival. C.C. Beck art

    from a DC house ad announcing the return of theWorlds Mightiest Mortal. [2002 DC Comics.]

  • Edited By P.C. Hamerlinck[FCA proudly presents another previously unpublishedessay written by the original Captain Marvels chiefartist, C.C. Beck. The following piece was written inDecember 1988 for Becks debate-by-mail group, TheCritical Circle, whose members included Dick Lupoff,Jim Amash, Trina Robbins, and P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    Recently, I submitted several short science-fictionstories to the editor of Analog magazine. They werereturned with a polite refusal and the advice that if Iwanted to sell stories to Analog I would be better offreading a few of their current issues and then try toimitate the stories in them.

    Several years ago I had contacted Fret, a magazinedevoted to guitar playing, asking for their specificationsof what the readers of the publication liked. In reply, Igot a nicely-printed sheet detailing guidelines for articlessubmitted by freelance writers and a copy of themagazine itself. After looking over the material I decidedthat what I wanted to say about guitar playing was notwhat the publications readers wanted to hearor morecorrectly not what the editor thought they wanted tohearso I never submitted any material to this magazine.

    In the comic book world, it is a well known fact that Icannot bring myself to write or draw the sort of materialthat is