$6.95In the USA
Roy ThomasPugnaciousComics Fanzine
JOE GIELLAJOE GIELLATHE FELLA WHO INKED
(AND SOME GOLDEN AGE, TOO!)DCS SILVER AGE!
Alter EgoTM is published monthly by TwoMorrows, 10407
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ofRoy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in
This issue is dedicated to the memories ofPaul Cassidy & Al
ContentsWriter/Editorial: For Hes A Jolly Good Giella . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . 2Joe Giella Is Like Fine WineHe Gets Better With
Age! . . . . . . . . 3The man who inked DCs Silver Age, and lots
more besidesinterviewed by Jim Amash.
Comic Artists Could Draw Better Than Anybody in the World! . . .
331950s-70s artist Jay Scott Pike speaks with Jim A. about his
years at Marvel & DC.
I Was All Over The Place, And Enjoying Every Minute Of It! . . .
46Martin Thall tells Mr. A. all about drawing comics in the 1940s
Comic Crypt: Remembering Will Part Three . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 57Michael T. Gilberts long association with Will
Eisnerand The Spirit.
Do The Best Damn Work Possible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . 63Alex Toth defines the ever-shifting goals of
1940s comic book artists.
. 65A prominent 1960s comics fan talks to Bill Schelly about Russ
Manning and more.
re: [comments, correspondence, & corrections]. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . 71In Memoriam: Al Kurzrok & Paul
Cassidy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78FCA (Fawcett
Collectors of America) #110 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81P.C.
Hamerlinck presents Marc Swayze, some Fawcett-to-Charlton
footnotes, and a Brazilianencounter between Captain Marvel &
The Human Torch!
About Our Cover: Jumpin Joe Giella drew this brand new cover
especially for this issue ofAlter Ego, spotlighting the three DC
super-heroes with which hes most closely identified, and atrio of
their most dastardly enemies. For the full story behind this
knockout illo, see p. 19andto learn who christened him Jumpin Joe
Giella, turn to p. 28. Three guesses, and the first twodont count!
[Art 2005 Joe Giella; characters TM & 2005 DC Comics.]
Above: And thanks to Joe yet again, for sending us this splendid
illo of the hero he says he mostenjoyed drawing (or even just
inking). [Art 2005 Joe Giella; Batman TM & 2005 DC Comics.]
Vol. 3, No. 52 / September 2005EditorRoy Thomas
Associate EditorsBill SchellyJim Amash
Design & LayoutChristopher Day
Consulting EditorJohn Morrow
FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck
Comic Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert
Editors EmeritusJerry Bails (founder)Ronn Foss, Biljo White,Mike
Production AssistantEric Nolen-Weathington
Cover ArtistJoe Giella
Cover ColoristTom Ziuko
And Special Thanks to:Heidi AmashMichael AmbroseGer ApeldoornBob
BaileyMike W. BarrTom BatiukAlberto BecattiniPhilippe BenoistBill
BlackDominic BongoRay Bottorff, Jr.Steve BrumbaughJerry K. BoydBob
CherryShaun ClancyJames ClinkDwight DeckerGerry DesrosiersMark
EvanierAl DellingesRoger Dicken
& Wendy HuntMichael FeldmanShane FoleyCarl GaffordJohn
GentilFrank GiellaJoe GiellaJanet GilbertMatt GoreRon GoulartArnie
HamerlinckPaul HandlerMark HeikeDave HerringJonathan
IngersollGlen JohnsonHenry R. KajawaSam Kujava
Mark LuebkerBoyd MagersDan MakaraBob MaisonJoe MarekSheldon
MoldoffMatt MoringFrank MotlerMark MullerJose Carlos NevesJerry
OrdwayJake OsterJohn G. PierceJay Scott PikeDonald A. RexEmir
RibeiroEthan RobertsHerb RogoffSteven RoweLuiz Antonio
SampaioMark ShainblumRobin SnyderJoe StatonMarc SwayzeMartin
ThallGreg TheakstonDann ThomasAlex TothJim Vadeboncoeur,
Jr.Dr. Michael J.
VassalloDelmo Walters, Jr.Hames WareRobert WienerTom
EnrioneRodrigo M. Zeidan
For Hes A Jolly Good Giella...ctually, despite the irresistible
pun above (well, irresistible tome, anyway), this issue is a
triple-decker in terms of interviews,covering a wide spectrum of
comics from the 1940s through atleast the 1970s.
When Jim Amash and I confer by phone about all the material
thatsstacking up in our drawers and PC files for Alter Egoa
considerableportion of which, of course, consists of the great
interviews he does withcomic book artisans of the Golden and Silver
Ageswe occasionally getjust this side of depressed when we think
about how long some of it hassat on the cyberspace shelf, awaiting
a berth in an actual issue of themag.
Recently we decided that, this month, along with an
already-scheduled long interview with inking legend Joe Giella, wed
see if wecould squeeze in a couple of shorter confabs, as well.
Since so much ofJoes career is bound up with DC Comics, from the
Golden Agethrough the Silver and Bronze (whatever precisely that
is), despite hisearlier and later work for Marvel, we wanted to
complement hisinterview with a pair of shorter ones, featuring
folks more identifiedwith other companies and characters.
Jay Scott Pike certainly fit the billfor, even though he became
amainstay of DCs romance department in the 1960s, his
well-craftedwork for Timely/Marvels adventure titles in the 1950s
intrigued us. Besides which, there was that offbeat Dolphin
one-shothe wrote and drew for DC in the late 1960s, whose
circumstances arerelated herein.
And Martin Thall spent most of his decade in the comics
fieldworking for just about everybody except DC, and likewise has
somegreat yarns to spin.
So settle back and enjoy a well-rounded issue.
GleasonMikeRossevenFawcett (and not just in the always-fascinating
FCA section, either)youll learn something about all those
four-color dream factories, andthe artists and writers and editors
who kept them humming.
All thatplus Bill Schelly talking to 1960s comics fan Glen
Johnsonabout Russ Manning, Pete Morisi, et al.Michael T. Gilberts
visit withWill Eisnerand letters from talents as diverse as Alex
Toth and Shelly(Hawkman) Moldoffshould make this issue of A/E worth
anycomic fans money.
Okay, so maybe we had to start asking you for $1 more of it
perissue but were determined to earn it! And the subscription
pricehasnt gone up a penny!
Its Our HELLZAPOPPIN HALLOWEEN ISSUE!
DRACULA! FRANKENSTEIN!MIKE ESPOSITO!
Edited by ROY THOMASSUBSCRIBE NOW! Twelve Issues in the US: $60
Standard, $96 First Class (Canada: $120, Elsewhere: $132 Surface,
NOTE: IF YOU PREFER A SIX-ISSUE SUB, JUST CUT THE PRICE IN
[Art 2005 Dick Giordano; Marvel Dracula TM & 2005 Marvel
Direful all-new DICK GIORDANO Dracula cover! Three Decades of
Draculaand CCoouunntting! Artist DICK GIORDANO, writer ROY
THOMAS,& editor MARK BEAZLEY rap about the 1974-2005 dark
genesis of Marvels undeadHalloween hit Stokers Dracula! With
behind-the-scenes stories and art!
DICK BRIEFERs funny Frankenstein of the 1950s! A
never-before-seen completely-illustrated story from that awesome
artists proposed newspaper strip!
Our Gallery of Gruesomeness! A hunk of Halloween comic art by
GENE COLAN, BERNIE WRIGHTSON, MIKE MIGNOLA, FRANK BRUNNER, STEVE
BISSETTE, MICHAEL W. KALUTA, RUSS HEATH, JOE MANEELY, BILL EVERETT,
STEVE DITKO, ERNIE SCHROEDER, ESTEBAN MAROTO, ALFREDO ALCALA, and
Fabled Golden/Silver Age inker MIKE ESPOSITO on his 1940s-50s
work with peerlesspartner ROSS ANDRU on Mr. Mystery, Mr. Universe,
Get Lost, Up Your Nose, etc.with more amazing anecdotes than you
can shake a Styx atin the first part of a 2-tierinterview by JIM
PlusFFCCAA with MARC SWAYZE, JERRY DeFUCCIO, et al.BILL SCHELLY
on 1966the Year of the Three Comicons!MICHAEL T. GILBERTs Comic
Crypt on Little Lulu(pretty scary, huh, kids?)& MORE!!
COMING IN OCTOBERCOMING IN OCTOBER
TwoMorrows. Bringing New Life To Comics Fandom.TwoMorrows 10407
Bedfordtown Drive Raleigh, NC 27614 USA 919-449-0344 FAX:
919-449-0327 E-mail: [email protected] www.twomorrows.com
his year marks Joe Giellas 60th in the comic book industryand we
want to offer our congratulations to him (and to theindustry) right
up front! Joe was one of the most importantinkers of DC Comics
Silver Age. Joes slick, clean line graced
the graphite etchings of many great pencilers, from Alex Toth
toCarmine Infantino, Mike Sekowsky, Gil Kane, and beyond.
Luckilyfor us, Joe tells us about the people he inked as well as
what theirpencil work was likeand the editors he worked for. From
Hillmanto Timely/Marvel to DC to his newspaper strip work on
FlashGordon, The Phantom, Batman, and Mary Worth, we also find
outabout Joes other non-comics work, showing just how diverse
histalents run. Theres a lot to the Joe Giella story, and weve
tried tocover the bases as best we could. Joes been long overdue
for coveragein Alter Ego, and thanks to Berndt Toast Gang buddy
Stan Goldberg(whos helped me out more times than I can count), were
finally ableto remedy that situation. Thanks for sharing, fellasand
a specialthanks to Joe for delineating some of the best DC stories
of mychildhoodand for being a good friend. Jim.
Youll Never Make A Living Doing Artwork!JIM AMASH: Okay, Joeyou
get to answer my usual first questions.When and where were you
born, and when did you know youwanted to be an artist?
JOE GIELLA: I was born June 27, 1928, in Manhattan, New York.
Ihave three brothers and a sister, and I was the oldest. My love
for artbegan in the late 1930s, when I was about 13 years old. We
didnt haveany drawing pads at the time, so Id draw on anything I
could get myhands on. My mother would come home from the grocery
store, and Idtear apart the bags and draw on both sides of them. I
would draw every-thingId doodle cartoons, you name it. And of
course, my teacherswere constantly chastising me because I would
sketch all over my books,and my parents were notified many times. I
just liked to draw!
I was influenced by Hal Fosters Prince Valiant, Tarzan, and
AlexRaymonds Flash Gordon. I was also reading comic books at the
and I wish my mother had kept some of them. [laughs] The
Batmanwas my favoriteI felt he had the best-looking costumebut I
reallyliked the Timely Comics characters: Captain America, The
HumanTorch, and Sub-Mariner.
JA: Why did you prefer them?
GIELLA: As a kid, you fantasize about being The Human Torch
orSub-Mariner... you feel like youre that character. You live
within thatcharacter. I couldnt wait for the issues to come out. I
JA: So who were some of your classmates at the School of
IndustrialArts that we would remember today?
GIELLA: Well, Sy BarryTony Bennett the singer, who lived on
myblockAl ScadutoEmilio SqueglioPaul Winchell, the
ventrilo-quistand Rudy LaPick. Rudy had a great sense of humor, but
Joe Giella & Friends(Left:) Joe (in light jacket and dark
shirt) hangs out a few years back with
(l. to r.) Archie artist Joe Edwards, DC editor Julie Schwartz,
and Joes son Frank.
(Right:) Joe must like these guys, too, cause he keeps drawing
em! Wesuspect you may recognize them. [Art 2005 Joe Giella;
characters TM &
2005 DC Comics.]
JOE GIELLA Is Like Fine WineHe Gets Better With Age!The Man Who
Inked DCs Silver Age& Part Of The Golden Age, To Boot!Interview
Conducted by Jim Amash Transcribed by Tom Wimbish
hang out much with him. Tony Bennetthis real name is
AnthonydeBennedettowe used to hang out with him on Ditmars
Boulevard inAstoria. We used to buy him hot dogs. Ditmars was the
last stop inAstoria on the IRT line, and thats where we hung
I never met Paul Winchell personally. He was a few years ahead
of usat the School of Industrial Arts. So were Joe Kubert and
NormanMaurer. Later, in the late 40s, I went to the Art Students
League withKubert and a fella called Mike Sekowsky.
An interesting story about Sekowsky: the instructor is going
aroundthe class, and comes to me to critique my drawing and offer
his advicethen he goes to Kubert and helps him. Finally he comes to
MikeSekowsky and says, What the heck is that? Mike had
completelyignored the model and had drawn a comic book figure. The
instructorcouldnt believe it. Mike was very insulted, and never
John Romita and Les Zakarin also went to the school, but they
didnthang out with our group.
JA: Where did you get your start in comics?
GIELLA: My first job was a freelance assignment for Ed Cronin
atHillman Publications. I penciled and inked a humor feature
calledCaptain Codfish. I was 17 or 18. We were having problems at
and I was the oldest, so I left high school three months before
I wouldhave graduated.
Ed Cronin was a very nice gentleman; he spent a lot of time
coachingme through my first job. I was a little nervous, but he put
me at ease,and by the time I left Hillman, I felt pretty confident.
I was concernedabout the deadline, but he said, Take your time,
theres no problem. Ionly did that one job for Hillman, because I
was really looking for asteady assignment with a weekly paycheck.
Freelance assignments aresporadic, and you never know when youre
going to get your next job.
My father was not too happy about my decision to be an artist.
Hethought I would become a city worker like most of my familya
cop,or fireman, or sanitation workerfor security reasons, and the
beautifulpensions they get. I broke the family tradition by
becoming an artist,you see. He couldnt understand that, so for a
while we were on theouts: Youll never make a living doing artwork!
But let me tell you, Ihelped save that house; I really did.
Eventually, he realized how serious Iwas about art, and then he
There was a period after Hillman Publications when I commuted
bybus from Astoria to Englewood, New Jersey, to work on
CaptainMarvel with C. C. Beck and Pete Costanza, though I never met
them. Idid meet artist Nick Zuraw there, who I later worked with at
The Marvel Mystery TourAs a kid, you fantasize about being The
Human Torch or Sub-Mariner, Joe recalls. He was eleven when The
Human Torch roasted a police cars tires in Marvel Mystery Comics #2
(Dec. 1939), and when Prince Namor commandeered the Statue of
Liberty in #7 (May 1940)with art and story by creators Carl Burgos
and Bill Everett, respectively. Thats what we call getting in on
the ground floor! Thanks to Robert Wiener for beautiful photocopies
the former page; the latter is reproduced from photocopies of
the original art. [2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.]
4 The Man Who Inked DCs Silver Age
I also joined the Naval Reserves in 1948, when I was 17 or 18
yearsold. This was right before the Korean War broke out, and I
canremember everybody saying, Where the hells Korea? We joined
theNaval Reserves because we were crazy: we wanted to visit
differentcountries. Each year, wed go on a two-week trip, or a
three-month trip.Then the war broke out, and wow, everything
changed. There we weredoing picket duty, looking for submarines,
and going crazy worrying.We were in Puerto Rico the year before,
and Cuba, when Battista wasthere. I was still able to do comics
because, in the reserves, wed go outon an annual cruise for two or
three weeks, then come back to ourregular jobs. Id just take a
sabbatical from work for the amount of timethat I had to serve. I
stayed in the reserves for eight years. We were onactive duty
during each cruise, but I never had to do any fighting.
All Of A Sudden, Mike Sekowsky Walked Into The Room
JA: How did you get to Fawcett?
GIELLA: I didnt work on staff at Fawcett; any work I did for
themwas in a freelance capacity. I recall that they were sticklers
for drawingCaptain Marvel in C. C. Becks style. I was mainly
inking, but probablydoing a little penciling too. Youd have the
style guide right there onyour desk, and that head had to be
exactly the way they wanted it.
I only worked there for a short spell, maybe a couple of
because I wanted something closer to home. Commuting by bus to
Beckand Costanzas studio in Englewood was a trip and a half. Thats
why Imade an appointment at Timely Comics, which was either in 1946
The very first assignment that Stan gave me was a freelance job.
I waslooking for a staff job, but theyd test you out first to make
sure theyliked your work, and then theyd throw you in the bullpen.
It wasterrific training for a young artist, because you would do a
little ofeverything: penciling, inking, coloring, a little
lettering. It really was agreat experience.
Anyway, Stan gave me my first assignment, which was a
crimestoryprobably a ten-pagerpenciled by Mike Sekowsky. I took
thestory home, and guess what? I lost it on the train. Nobody in
myfamilymyself, my father, mother, and brothersnobody slept
thatnight, because we figured that was the end of the job. The next
day, Iwent in and told Stan about it, and he hit the ceiling. He
called the IRTand BMT line subways, and no luck. Then he called in
Robbie Solomon,who was the production manager, but he couldnt help,
either. And Ithought that would be it for me at Timely.
All of a sudden, Mike Sekowsky walked into the room. Id never
methim before, and didnt even know that hed penciled the job. Mike
said,Dont worry about it, Stan. Ill take care of the kid. Mike must
haverecognized I had an urgent need for this job, so he re-penciled
the story,and I inked it. Stan accepted it and gave me a staff
position. I walked upto Mike and said, Mike, I cant pay you back
right now, but Ill take alittle bit out of my check every week to
pay you back. Mike said, Nono no, forget about it. And I thought,
Well, Im not going to arguewith this guyhes 6'3". When I didnt get
fired after losing the story,and after another crazy incident, I
thought, Well, Stanll never fire meafter this.
Mike and I became very good friends, right until the very end.
Heused to go out with an inker named Violet Barclay. She was a
beautiful,voluptuous brunettewow! But she preferred George Klein.
So whenMike wasnt with her, we would spend time going to Broadway
playstogether, and to bars... we just had a really good time. Now
you see whyI didnt want to leave Timely Comics. I was very happy
there. That wasmy home.
JA: Did you feel as if Mike took you under his wing?
GIELLA: Not exactly. Mike was a real tough guy, and he had a
terribletemper, but he also had a heart of gold. He liked what I
did to his work,
Joe Giella Is Like Fine Wine He Gets Better With Age! 5
Beck And ForthAlthough Joe doesnt remember specific stories, he
recalls working on theWorlds Mightiest Mortal for Fawcett circa
1946-47. So theres at least a
chance he may have worked with C.C. Beck and his studio on this
tale fromCaptain Marvel Adventures #61 (May 24, 1946), one of four
in the issue.
[2005 DC Comics.]
Sekowsky By Winiarski?Artist Mike Sekowsky was caricatured (by
fellow bullpenner Ed Winiarski?) ina mid-1940s Timely humor comic.
In addition to drawing virtually every
1940s genre at Timely/Marvel, in late 1959 he became the
original penciler ofDCs Justice League of America. Thanks to Jim
Vadeboncoeur, Jr. [2005
Marvel Characters, Inc.]
and we became buddies. He had a good sense of humor. However,
hedid have a bad temper, and he drank. When I worked with him
atTimely, he was a social drinker. I would usually drink beer when
wewent out together, but he drank the hard stuff, and I could see
rightaway that this guy could put it away. When he got a little
high, his truefeelings would come out... his opinions about people.
It was a release; allthe venom would come out of him.
Many years later, I was working at DC Comicsmostly as aninkerbut
I also penciled and inked licensing work. One day, DickGiordano
asked me to take one of Mikes jobs and kind of redo it, fix itup. I
looked at it, and thought, Gee, theres too much to work to dohere;
Im going to have to re-pencil everything. You see, Dick had goneto
California to recruit some artists. He stopped in to see Mike,
andpromised him a lot of work. When Mike sent the job in, Dick was
veryunhappy with it, so he gave it to me to try to salvage it. I
made it clear tohim that this wasnt an ink job, that it would have
to be redrawn. Dicksaid, Ok, go ahead and do it, Joe. I had to
redraw about 75% of thejob. Thats how much Mike had deteriorated.
He was really drinkingthen.
But that wasnt the end of it. I delivered the job, and wouldnt
youknow that the day I delivered it, Mike showed up at the office,
all theway from California. The last guy I wanted to see that day
was MikeSekowsky, because of our previous affiliation and the debt
I owed him. Isaid, Mike, what are you doing here? And Mike said,
Dick Giordanopromised me a lot of work, but he didnt come through,
and Im here totalk to him about it. Then he asked me what I was
doing there. Well, Icouldnt lie to Mike; he was my friend. I said,
Mike, youre going to beupset. They asked me to ink the job you sent
in, and it was too rough. Icouldnt just ink it; I had to rework a
lot of it. I thought he would hitthe ceiling, but he didnt! After
that, we just said goodbye; I dont recallwhether we had dinner or
drinks before we parted company. Later on,he called me up from
California, looking for work. I think I was
working on Flash Gordon then,but I couldnt put him on
that,because the styles would conflict. Itwas so sad.
His first wife was Joanne Latta.When he met her, she was a
writerin the magazine department atTimely. She was a tiny,
good-looking woman with glasses, blondehair, and a nice figure. She
lookedlike a schoolteacher or librarian.They lived in Levittown,
NewYork, but Mike was probably notan easy guy to live with. I wish
Iknew what caused their separation.Something must have happened
thatwas deep and penetrating to him;something very bad. When she
left,she took the two kids and moved toWashington state, and he
wasntable to see them.
I used to tell him, Mike, I hopeyoure saving your money,
becauseat this rate, youre going to getburned out. And there he
was,looking for work. He had probablyspent all his money, and he
wasvery sick. And you know theoutcome. Toward the end of his
life,he drank a lot. He used to drinkJack Daniels, and hed drink
aboutthree-quarters of a quart bottle a
day. Hed have a bottle on his taboret. I think he drank because
People either liked Mike, or they didnt like him. If you really
knewhim, as I did, he would do anything for you. He would do
anything forme. And Mike loved Frank Giacoia; he thought Frank was
JA: Ive heard that Mike had a cutting, devastating sense of
humor.Does anything come to mind about that?
GIELLA: We used to work at Frank Giacoias house, and Mike
wouldalways be coming up with jokes. His delivery was terrific; he
knew howto tell a joke. We would discuss the other artists and
editors, and makefun of this or that guy. But Mike would never
discuss his personal lifewith us. He seemed happy after he married
Pat, his second wife.
Mike had a heart of gold, though. I remember him lending money
toFrank Giacoia. Any time you were in the hole and needed help,
there hewas. He would never turn you down. But there were two sides
to him.Thats what was so sad about Mike: he wasnt happy with
himself. Hewasnt happy with his life. He loved the comics, really
enjoyed it. Heloved the scripts, and would really dig into them.
Comics was his life,and its just so sad. He was so myopic that he
couldnt see any further.
Joe, Could You Pitch In On This Job?JA: Getting back to how you
started at Timely: why did Stan giveyou an inking job? Were you
looking for inking work, or just anywork?
GIELLA: I would do any work that they offered. When I joined
theTimely bullpen, I started out doing a little touch-up work, a
littlebackground work, a little inking, redraw this, fix this head,
dosomething with this panel... whatever. Later on, I assisted Syd
Shores,who was drawing Captain America and a couple of other
Hot Rods And Racing ArtistsBoth Frank Giacoia and Mike Sekowsky
drew stories for Ziff-Davis Hot Rod King #1-and-only (Fall 1952).
Matter offact, Giacoia has two signed tales therein. Since Joe says
he helped Giacoia out on many of his art jobs, and also oftenworked
with Sekowsky, could be theres a bit of Giella in them thar panels,
as well. The issues cover, incidentally,was a painting by pulp
master Norman Saunders. For more about Ziff-Davis 1950s comics
line, see Jim Amashsinterview with Golden Age editor Herb Rogoff in
A/E #43still on sale wherever back issues are soldlike, on pp.
44-45 of this very issue. With thanks to Donald A. Rex for the
scans. [2005 the respective copyright holders.]
6 The Man Who Inked DCs Silver Age
After about a year, I was mostly inking.
A lot of fellows like Frank Giacoia, Sy Barry, and myself went
toinking for monetary reasons. None of us started out intending
tobecome inkers; we started out penciling. I was inking two to
three pagesa day, but I couldnt pencil more than one. And you know,
when youneed money, you kind-of lean toward the inking. I could
bring home$90 a week instead of $40. And after a while, you kind-of
get typecast.To this day, Im still slow at penciling, and I make up
the time on theinking.
JA: So you did Captain America several times in the 40s,
GIELLA: I didnt do a complete story. I was in production at
first.Theyd say, Joe, could you ink these two pages? Or, Joe, can
youtake care of the backgrounds on this? Or, Could you re-pencil
this?That was the extent of it.
JA: You were on staff at Timely for about two years. What
featuresdid you work on?
Joe Giella Is Like Fine Wine He Gets Better With Age! 7
Timelys Not-Quite-So-Big ThreeJoe recalls working on each of
Timelys three major super-heroes in the later 1940s,during their
waning daysnever doing a complete story, but inking a page here,
re-penciling a panel there. For that reason, weve reprod last
pages, rather than splashes,from one such possible jam issueMarvel
Mystery Comics #86 (March 1948). The
Torch tale contains lots of nice moody blacksand Ye Editor found
himselfwondering if shadowy panels on some pages didnt betray the
work of a young GeneColan. The Sub-Mariner tale looks like pure
Bill Everett, who often drew him wearingmore than just swimming
trunks. Syd Shores was the main Captain America artist
during this era, and may have contributed to this outing. Oh,
and there was a BlondePhantom story in the 52-page issue, as well.
[2005 Marvel Characters, Inc.]
GIELLA: Captain America, The Human Torch, Sub-Mariner...among
others. I also did humor work.
JA: In 1947, Stan Lee wanted to update The Sub-Mariner, and
heasked Lee Elias to draw a couple of stories. Stan didnt like
theresults, and had some bullpen guys rework the stories.
GIELLA: I probably was one of them. I dont recall ever getting
anentire story to ink, though, and I dont remember who I might
haveinked on Sub-Mariner.
JA: What was it like to work on those characters when, just a
fewyears before, you were buying their comic books?
GIELLA: What a feeling! I was ecstatic! I was working on
thesecharacters that I had loved, enjoyed, and fantasized about.
What adream! I think they started me at $60 a week, and then it
worked up toninety. That was a lot of money back then. Id get one
check a weekfrom Magazine Management, and I used to give my mother
$50 out ofthat.
JA: Was Stan Lee the only editor you worked for at Timely?
GIELLA: I worked for Al Sulman and Al Jaffee, but it would have
beenin the same capacity as for the other editors. They would ask
could you pitch in on this job? Most of the time,I would.
JA: Who oversaw the bullpen?
GIELLA: The editor that you were working for.There werent too
many people in the bullpen.
There was a humor bullpen in another room, but Iwas in the
adventure bullpen with Syd Shores,Vince Alascia, Al Sulman, Al
Bellman, and afeisty little fella named Bill Walsh. Nobody
wasreally in charge of the room. An editormaybeAl Sulmanwould come
in and say, Joe could
you work on this? And Id say, Gee, I have tofinish this first,
or Im doing this for Syd.
I have a story about Al Sulman. Al invited me to the
Yale-Harvardfootball game. When we sat down, I noticed there was an
empty seat,which was for Als girlfriend. And then we heard on
somebodysportable radio that there had been an airplane crash. It
turned out thatAl Sulmans girlfriend was on board the plane, and
she died in the crash.I think it was a year before Al came back to
JA: Al Jaffe described Al Sulman as not having much of a sense
ofhumor. Describe him for me.
GIELLA: Yeah, he was serious. He had black hair, horn-rimmed
glasses.He was a little on the chunky side. He wasnt interested in
athletics, andhe ate a little too much.
JA: At the time, Al Sulman was editing Captain America, some of
theadventure comics, and maybe Westerns, too. So Stan was like
theber-editor (for want of a better term), and Sulman was a full
editorworking under Stan, right?
GIELLA: Right. Stan very rarely asked me to do anything
directly; itwas usually through another editor. Id see Stan every
day, though. Hedcome into the room and look at what I was doing,
and maybe look atwhat someone else was doing. Then maybe hed blurt
to one of theartists, Can I get Joe on this other story? And the
artist might say,No, hes got to finish this first, Stan. And maybe
later that day Stanwould come into the room and joke about
something, or critique thework being done. Other times, Stan and
Syd Shores would discussfuture titles they would be putting
Syd later became a taxi cab driver; that was so sad. I happened
to seehim while I was on jury duty back in the early 70s, and he
told me hewas driving a cab because he couldnt find work. Of course
you knowthat he passed away many years ago.
JA: Bob Deschamps said you guys used to make fun of Syds
GIELLA: Not me, but the others used to.
What Do You Remember About?JA: What were your impressions of
Stan Lee at this time?
GIELLA: I looked up to him. He had a sense of humor, and as
Imentioned earlier, he didnt fire me when he could have. We
becamevery good friends. I went to see the first Superman movie
with Stan. Wewere walking toward the theatre and I said, Stan, what
the heck are allthese cops on horseback doing here? And he said,
Gee, I dont know,Joe. So we walked into the theatre and sat down.
Then Stan said to me,Joe, yknow why all the cops were out there?
Look ahead of us. Acouple of rows in front of us were Mayor Koch
and Governor Carey.
I saw Stan at San Diego when they gave me the Inkpot Award, and
hejokingly said, Joe, I should have fired you that day you lost
that job onthe train. [laughter] Hed never forgotten it. I also
used to see him at
8 The Man Who Inked DCs Silver Age
The Merry Marvel Marching Society 1947 EditionWeve previously
printed this caricature of Stan Lee, which appeared in his
1947 book Secrets behind the Comics, but since Joe mentions him
soprominently, here tis againalongside a page of the archetypal
dumb blondeMy Friend Irma, drawn by Dan DeCarlo. This 1950s
TV/radio-licensed Timelytitle is the earliest place Roy T. recalls
seeing the name Stan Lee as a kid.Repod from an Australian
black-&-white reprint mag, with thanks to MarkMuller.
[Caricature 2005 Stan Lee; Irma page 2005 Marvel Characters,
f you want a story with beautiful women in it, look no
furtherthan a Jay Scott Pike tale. Scott, as he prefers to be
called, delin-eated breathtaking women for romance comics and for
Lorna, the Jungle Girl and Jann of the Jungle. His attention to
junglefoliage heightened the reality of their environment and was
always apleasure to look at. And, though sadly he wrote and drew
his late-60screation Dolphin only once, she remains a cult favorite
amongcomics fans. As far as were concerned,Jay Scott Pike ranks
high on the all-time list of classic good girl artists;and if you
want further proof of that,then check out his eBay auctions
forexamples of his current work, orcontact Marianne Ohl Phillips
atwww.moppinup.com. But please waituntil youve read our whole
interview!Youll find plenty of evidence on viewthere, as well.
I Just Wanted To DrawJIM AMASH: We cant get away withnot asking
this question, so Ill ask itfirst: when and where were you
JAY SCOTT PIKE: Philadelphia,Pennsylvania, September 6,
JA: I was born in Altoona, PA.
PIKE: Oh yeah, where the coal mines are. I went to the
University ofPennsylvania for one semester before I went into the
Marine Corps. Iwas on the Freshman football team, and just about
all the guys on theteam were from the Pennsylvania coal fields.
Boy, were they tough!
JA: Oh, I know it! So you were a football player. What got you
inter-ested in cartooning?
PIKE: Like most professional cartoonists, I liked to draw and
drew allthe time. I remember when the movie Snow White and the
SevenDwarfs came out. It was being played all the time, and it
fascinated me.I got so that I could draw all the characters in the
movie. I just wantedto draw.
I graduated from high school in Morristown, New Jersey, and
wentto college, as I said. I enlisted in the Marines in December
JA: So you volunteered. Did you have a deferment because you
PIKE: I dont think they had college deferments then. I actually
triedeight times to get into the service before they took me. They
wouldnttake me because Im color blindwell, not actually color
blind, but Ihad trouble seeing colors. Finally, on my last try, the
Corps man turnedme down, but there was an old chief on the other
side of the room, who
said, Awww...let him in. [laughs] Thats how I got into the
I got out in 46. I was discharged in San Diego, and tried to get
intocollege there, but they were only taking California residents.
I did get intothe Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. I got
married in 1948, andafter living in Indiana for a while, we came
down to the Ringling Schoolof Art in Sarasota, Florida. I went to
school there for a year and a half, and
Comic Artists Could Draw BetterThan Anybody In The World!Artist
JAY SCOTT PIKE Talks About His Days At Timely/Marvel &
DCInterview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amash
Beauty & The BeardJay Scott Pike (in a self-portrait done a
decade or two back)and a
drawing of his heroine Dolphin which he did especially for
interviewer Jim Amash. Scotts the one on the left. [Portrait &
art 2005 Jay Scott Pike;
Dolphin TM & 2005 DC Comics.]
Hartley WorkingAl Hartley, a Timely/Marvelmainstay for many
years onhumor comics, was still
drawing Patsy & Hedy in 1964when this photo appeared
inMarvel Tales Annual #1. Thesetwo Kollege Kapers pagesare from
issues #1 & #2,respectively, of B&I
Publishings The Kilroys in1947, an early and funny
Archie imitation; they displaya slightly different style of
Hartley art than seen in PatsyWalker, et al. Thanks to JoeMarek,
Steve Brumbaugh, andBob Bailey for all sending
copies of the photo of Alandto Ger Apeldoorn for the
comics pages. [Photo 2005Marvel Characters, Inc.; art
2005 the respectivecopyright holders.]
learned about all they were going to teach me, so I went to
Manhattan,thinking the world was waiting for me to be a straight
Al HartleyGot Me Into ComicsJA: Is that where you met Al
PIKE: Actually, I grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, and when
wemoved back north, we lived in Morristown for a year or so. Al
Hartleywas living in Washington Valley, which was real close to
where I lived.He was the one who got me into comics, in 1950. My
hope had been towork at home and find high paying illustration
work, but I couldntseem to get any work. At that time, I didnt want
to commute to NewYork City, so a friend of mine suggested I draw
comic books. I didntwant to do that, because I thought comic books
were the bottom of thebarrel, and I didnt know much about comics at
all. But I was soimpressed by Al Hartleys lifestyle, because he was
making a lot ofmoney, and he was fast. He was really cranking the
I penciled stuff for Al for about two weeks, but our styles were
reallynot compatible, and we both realized that. Because of that,
we sort-ofgot irritated with each other. By then, I had gotten to
know Stan Lee. Iremember the first story I did was a 3-pager about
a professional golfer,though I cant remember his name. Then Stan
started feeding meWesterns, and if youve done Westerns, you know
how long it takes todo a story. All those horses, costumes, gun
belts... they take time. I didthem... I did all kinds of things. At
that time, I was... and I still am, Iguess... pretty much against
war. I did a few war stories before I decidedI didnt want to do any
more of them. Stan Lee was very understandingabout it. Maybe the
stories I did werent gory. I got into doing horrorstories, and drew
The Black Rider for a long time.
I Always Found [Stan Lee] Easy To Work WithJA: Did you work at
home or on staff? And what do you rememberabout Stan Lee?
PIKE: I worked at home. I liked Stan Lee a lot and always found
himvery easy to work with. When my wife and I moved back to
Florida,Stan always gave me two or three scripts at a time, so when
I finished astory, I could jump right into another one. Personally,
I hardly ever sawhim, though we talked on the phone a lot.
As soon as I realized I could keep busy doing comics and live
where Iwanted, my wife and I moved back to Sarasota, Florida. In
the secondhalf of the 1950s, the comic book business went to hell,
so I wasstranded down in Florida without any visible means of
support. I did allkinds of things, like portraits. I did them in
pastels. I also did paintingsin the bottom of swimming pools,
architectural renderings...anything tomake a buck. I also worked
for several agencies, but two of them wentbelly-up, owing me about
$18,000, which did us in. That was in 1960, sowe moved back to the
New York area so I could get some decent kind ofwork.
JA: Since you lived in Florida for most of your Timely career,
youmainly talked to Stan by phone. Im surprised he had the
time,considering how busy he was. Was Stan the only one you talked
to orwas there another editor you worked with?
PIKE: No, I always talked to Stan. There was one time that I got
a callfrom a secretary or an assistant. She said, Do you have to
wrap thosepages up like you do? Theyre wrapped like a bomb.
JA: Yeah, but the first time pages came in damaged, youd have
heardabout it. Now, you said you did Black Rider. You happen
toremember who the writer was?
PIKE: It might have been Bob Bernstein, but Im not positive. I
dontthink Stan wrote many of the stories I worked on, but he sure
did a lotof writing. Stan told me that when he was in the Army, hed
get aweekend pass, get a hotel room, and write stories. He said he
couldmake a thousand bucks over the weekend, and I was impressed by
that.But I really dont remember the names of the writers.
34 Artist Jay Scott Pike Talks About His Days At Timely/Marvel
I Liked Doing The Female Jungle FeaturesJA: You also drew Kid
Colt, Lorna the Jungle Girl....
PIKE: Oh, yeah, I drew a lot of Lornas. I drew Jann of the
JA: You also drew stories for the crime and adventure comics,
likeAll-True Crime. Did you have a favorite genre?
PIKE: I really liked the romance stories because I could draw
themfaster. I could draw a close-up of a womans face with a tear
coming outof her eye. That was easy.
JA: You really had a great gift for drawing pretty women.
PIKE: Yeah, that was my strongest point, and still is. The stuff
I sell oneBay is all girly drawings. I liked doing the female
jungle featuresthepretty women and all that foliage. I was doing
Lorna when the ComicsCode came into being. That was the only time I
ever got any work back.One of the nice things about comics was that
I did the work and neversaw it again. There wasnt anyone nitpicking
But they sent two stories back to me. I had to reduce Lornas
breastsize. There were scenes when she was swinging on vines above
theground, with her skirt flying up. I had to redraw the skirt down
aroundher knees, even though she was flying upwards. [laughs]
JA: In a case like that, did they call you and tell you the work
wascoming back, or did a package just show up with a note attached
PIKE: I guess Stan called me first. I dont remember him being
upsetabout it. It was just the way things were. Comics got a lot of
badpublicity, thanks to EC Comics. That Johnny Craig cover where
theman was holding up the severed head! That was too gory and got
us intotrouble. Congress got involved, and that gave them a chance
to be self-righteous.
I Didnt Feel Bad About Doing ComicsJA: Well, you werent
particularly proud of being in comics anyway,were you? You wanted
to be an illustrator.
PIKE: I did want to be an illustrator, but I knew a few, and I
wasmaking more money than they were. You dont generally get rich
doingcomics, but I was doing well then.
JA: When the Senate Investigations were going on, were you
embar-rassed to admit you were doing comics?
PIKE: I remember people asking me about it. I said, Listen,
thepublishers I work for are pretty doggoned straightlaced. I
cantremember either Timely or DC coming out with stuff that I
thought wasbad. I didnt feel bad about doing comics.
JA: Then you didnt feel bad about drawing horror stories.
PIKE: I wasnt good at doing horror stories, so I got out of
doing them.Stan simply didnt give me those, because he realized
they werent mystrongest area. Once I got into romance, thats pretty
much all I got. Idid like doing Westerns, but they took me longer
to do. I took littleshortcuts, like when a posses running into
town, they kick up a lot ofdust, so I didnt have to draw the feet
of the horses. I did like drawinghorses, though it wasnt easy for
Stan Would Call MeWould I Take A Rate Cut?JA: How fast an artist
PIKE: Back in the 50s, I could average $25,000 a year. I was
gettingabout $35 to $40 a page, pencils and inks. To make 25 grand,
Id have toaverage $500 a week, so I had to be cranking out two
pages a day.
JA: Did you letter your stories?
Comic Artists Could Draw Better Than Anybody In The World!
That Was LornaBut Shes Only A DreamI drew a lot of Lornas!
recalls Scott. Here, courtesy of collector Bob Cherry, are two Pike
splashes and an action page (from the second story) from Lorna, the
Jungle Girl #22 (Dec. 1956). Even Sheena never looked more gorgeous
in a jungle setting! And, like Jim Amash says, the foliage aint too
(Thats trees, for you guys with dirty minds.) [2005 Marvel
I Was All Over The Place, AndEnjoying Every Minute Of It!
MARTIN THALL On Drawing Comics And Witnessing Comics History In
the 1940s & 50sInterview Conducted by Jim Amash Transcribed by
Tom Wimbishartin Thalls comic book career lasted a little less than
adecade, but in that time, he managed to partner himselfwith guys
like Wally Wood, Ross Andru and MikeEsposito, and George Evans.
Martin also did quite a bit
of work on his own for companies like Timely, Fox Features, and
St.John Publications. If he didnt make his mark on comics the
waysome of his contemporaries did, he still says, I witnessed a lot
ofhistory. Thanks to fellow defense attorney and author DavidHajdu,
I was able to coax Martin to step into the witness box and tellus a
few stories about his comic book years. Now you get to judgewhether
or not Martin made a good witness. This entertaininginterview
stands as our verdict. Jim
Jack Kirby Was My MentorJIM AMASH: When and where were you
MARTIN THALL: Brooklyn, New York, on November the 30th, 1930.It
was a very good year.
JA: You were born Martin Rosenthal, right? Why did you
THALL: Thats an interesting story. When my grandfather came to
thiscountry from Poland, his name was Schmael Colycka. I think
thatsYiddish: Schmael means sloppy, and Colycka means cripple.
came here in 1906 or 1907. At that time, there was no TV or
radio, butthe newspaper boys would take to the streets and yell
out, Wuxtry,wuxtry! And the headlines were, Herman Rosenthal
captured! Thenshortly after that, Herman Rosenthal on trial! Then,
HermanRosenthal convicted! When my grandfather first came here, the
firstname he heard was Rosenthal, so he took it.
Thall Or Nothing At All(Left:) In May, Martin Thall sent Ye
Editor a proofsheet of what he called
some recent reasonable facsimiles of myself. Pick one. Hey, we
like em all,Martin, so!
(Above:) The year 1951 saw Fawcett publish 6 issues of Captain
Video, based onthe early TV hero, all with art credited to George
Evansso since Martin says hedid inking and backgrounds for Evans on
that mag, we figure this page mayjust show their work together.
Reprod from a black-&-white 1950s Englishreprint of Captain
Video #2 (April 1951), courtesy of Roger Dicken & Wendy
Hunt. [2005 the respective copyright holders.]
Coincidentally, about 40 years later, I got into a cab, and the
cabbiescard said that the drivers name was Herman Rosenthal. I told
him thestory, and he said, The gangster who gave your grandfather
his namewas my grandfather. Small world.
I legally changed my last name to Thall in 1953. I used to be
veryvain, and I was thinking about signatures. Rosenthal just didnt
seemto go well, but Martin Thall seemed to be a good signature. I
triedother names, such as Emrose and Martin Rose, before deciding
onMartin Thall. Everybody had a signature: Milton Caniff, Bob
Kanewith a big O. I wanted a new signature, so I registered my name
JA: Tell me about your experiences with Jack Kirby.
THALL: Jack Kirby was my mentor. He was wonderful; I saw
himevery day after school. He worked at DC Comics. This was right
after1945. At that time, all the cartoonists at DC didnt work at
home; theyworked at the publishers. I went over to DC, and there
was Jack Kirby.Joe Simon was still in the service, and hadnt gotten
out yet. They didntlast much longer at DC. I went to the High
School of Industrial Arts inthe daytime, and the Cartoonists and
Illustrators School at night, and Iused to visit Jack Kirby in
between. He would look at my work, and say,Youre too realistic; you
draw things that any human body can do. I
dont pay attention to that. When Jack drew a guy throwing a
punch,his body twisted in a way that the human body couldnt manage.
Hefreed me up, and he showed me how he laid out his figures. When
JackKirby laid out a page, he worked on illustration board rather
than thesoft board, and he blocked out his panels before doing the
One scene he did had a pirate ship coming alongside some kind of
seavessel, and the pirates were raiding the vessel. He had a cast
of thousandsin the shot. When Jack put down a line, it was there.
He sort-ofvisualized the whole thing; he was able to see what was
going on in hismind, and model that. He could do eight pages a day,
and he nevererased; it was incredible. It was almost like he was
tracing on paper whathe saw in his mind.
One Christmas, in 1945, I bought him a box of White Owl
cigarsthats the cheapest cigar in the world; no cigar smoker will
go anywherenear themand he was very touched by it. Jack
chain-smoked cigars. Iwas on a school break, it was Christmas
vacation, and he said, Letshave some coffee. We went to the
Waldorf-Astoria, which was onlythree blocks away from DCs office at
480 Lexington Avenue. He tookme to the Wedgewood Room, which was an
elegant place, about fiftyyears old, and bought me dinner. I had my
first shrimp cocktail there; heordered it for me. Then he took me
across the street on Park Avenue toan art supply store called
Irving Berlin. I was just looking around whilehe was ordering
stuff, and then he gave me this huge package. It was adrawing pad,
pens, ink, brushes, all kinds of supplies. He was a reallygreat guy
I used to hang around at DC Comics. I knew everybody there, all
theeditors, but I never worked for the company.
JA: When you watched Jack Kirby work, was he writing the
THALL: I dont know for sure, but I dont think so. I was so fixed
onhis boards that I dont recall seeing a script. I should have
I did a terrible thing to Jack once. After he left DC, he and
Joe Simonhad their own studio. The letterer was Howard Ferguson.
Bob Henryand Steve Brodie were inkers there, but Joe Simon did most
of theinking. Anyway, they would stack their pages, and were
working so fastthat they would pass them around. Jack would pencil
it, hand it on to beinked, then another guy would rule the panel
borders and letter it. Theywould just go in circles. They were
knocking them out so fast that it wasfascinating.
Anyway, the pages were stacked on end on the floor between
BobHenrys taboret and his drafting table. Bob Henry dropped his
pencil, orsomething like that. I reached for it, knocked over a
bottle of ink thatwas on the taboret, and it spilled all over the
pages that were donealready. Jack said, Should we lynch him? Then
he said, Youd bettergo. I had damaged three pages. They had to be
done all over again. Isaid, Are you gonna let me come back? and he
said yes. They were sogracious about it that it was incredible. I
It was fascinating watching Will Eisner pencil, and watching him
inkwith a Japanese brush. That was in 1950, I believe. I used to go
upwherever artists were drawing. It was easy to find them after
World WarII, because they were all working at their publishers
facilities. Thecompanies had large bullpens for all of them.
JA: What do you remember about Joe Simon?
THALL: Very little. He was a nice guy, and he lived on Long
Island.Simon and Kirby had an extension line in their office, so I
could talk tothem at the same time. Id call them in the evening
while they wereworking, and theyd chat with me about everything and
anything in theworld. They were terrific.
Thats Quite A Stunt, Man!When Jack [Kirby] drew a guy throwing a
punch, his body twisted in a waythat the human body couldnt manage!
And he made it look good, everytimeas in this Simon &
Kirby-produced Stuntman page, reprod here fromPure Imaginations The
Complete Jack Kirby March-May 1947, and used by
permission of Greg Theakston. [Retouched art 2005 Greg
Theakston;Stuntman TM Joe Simon & Estate of Jack Kirby.]
I Was All Over The Place, And Enjoying Every Minute Of It!
We Met At Fiction HouseJA: You also spent time at Fiction House.
Tell me about that.
THALL: Fiction House Publications had all their artists working
in thebullpen. It was one large room with Charlie Sultan, John
Celardo,George Evans, Bob Lubbers, and a woman named Francis. I got
toknow Charlie Sultan very well, and Maurice Whitman, too. Sultan
camethere after the war, as did most of the other guys. Then he
startedworking at home. In 1956, he stopped cartooninghe wasnt
doing verywell as a cartoonist in the later part of his lifeand
went into publishing.He called me up in 1958 and said, Do you want
to work for me? Isaid, Sure. He was publishing a racing magazine
and an adventuremagazine. I was the art director. I was there for
less than a year.
JA: Ive heard that he was cross-eyed. Is that true?
THALL: Yeah. Maurice always said that he drew crooked, and he
did.One eye didnt match the other eye. It was strange.
JA: What were you doing at Fiction House? Were you just
THALL: Yeah, that was before I broke in. I never got any work
JA: What can you tell me about Maurice Whitman?
THALL: He was a great artist, and a very good illustrator. He
had aterrible marriage, and near the end of his life he was very
fat. There wasa beautiful young girl working at Fiction House, and
she was in lovewith Maurice. I think they finally got together in
the end. At that time, Iwas sharing space with Charlie Sultan. I
wasnt working with him, but Iwas sharing space with him.
JA: How large was Fiction Houses office?
THALL: They had a huge office. The artists room had about 20
peoplein there. There was an old guy named Joe Doolin, who did many
of thecovers. He spent about a week doing a cover; he was very
methodical.None of his covers had anything to do with what was
going on inside.
Fiction House FavoritesIn the 1940s, Martin Thall reports he
shared studio space with noted comic book artists Charles Sultan
& Maurice Whitman.
(Left:) Fiction House collector Paul Handler IDs this Charles
Sultan-drawn splash page, reprod from photocopies of the original
art, as coming from RangersComics #37 (Oct. 1947). Pay no attention
to that byline R.W. Colt. The companys comics and pulp magazines
were full of fictitious house namesmaybe
thats why publisher T.T. Scott named it Fiction House!
(Right:) Maurice Whitman often drew Kanga (officially always by
Frank Riddell). This splash page was retouched by Bill Black and
his merry AC Comicscrew, with gray tones added, for his
black-&-white collection Golden Age Greats, Vol. 14 The Comic
Book Jungle. Its still available; check out ACs full-page ad
in this issues FCA section. [Retouched art 2005 Paragon
48 Martin Thall On Drawing Comics And Witnessing Comics History
In The 1940s & 50s
My Visit With WillFor as long as I can remember, I idolized Will
Eisner. We began
corresponding in 1978, and in 1982 I met him at the School of
VisualArts in New York, where he was teaching cartooning.
Over the years Will and I would occasionally touch base,
chatting fora few minutes at comic book conventions and such. In
the years sinceId first met him, Will and his wife Ann had moved
from New York tosunny Florida. In January 1997, I visited my
parents in West Palm Beachand made arrangements to stop by Wills
studio in West Tamarac, aboutan hour away.
If my wife Janet and I were expecting the great Will Eisner to
workin some fancy-schmancy office complex, we were in for a
rudeawakening. The address Will gave us led us to a strip mall
located in aworking-class neighborhood. His office was in a nearby
building. Thearea reminded me of a low-rent district in New York,
the perfect spotfor a no-nonsense businessman like Will.
Eisners studio was clean, neat, and efficient. It wasnt huge,
but bigenough for him to work comfortably. Will introduced us to
his brotherJulian (known as Pete), his business manager. As I
recall, Petes officecontained a beautiful piece of original poster
art from Wills Army days.Another wall displayed dozens of original
drawings sent to Will by hisadmirers.
Wills desk was at the far end of the room, surrounded
bybookshelves stuffed with graphic novels, mine included. An
impressivedisplay of plaques and awards from various countries
lined the walls.Nearby was a drawing table, complete with layouts
for yet anothergraphic novel.
After showing us around, Will drove us to a nearby golf course
forlunch. At 79, Will was in great shape (he played tennis every
day!), andvery sharp. We reminisced about our days in New York. He
chuckled asI described feeling like The Spirit every time I went
down into NewYorks gloomy subway system.
I reminded him of our meeting at the School of Visual Arts
yearsearlier and he told me he loved teaching those classes. Janet
and I werestunned to learn Will flew to New York each week for
years to teach atthe school even after hed moved to Florida. He
said it was worth thetrip just to inhale that wonderfully polluted
New York air!
Will also described a large mural hed designed, painted on the
side ofa building in Copenhagen. It featured The Spirit and one of
his favoritecharacters, Gerhard Shnobble, the poor schlubb who
could fly like abird (though no one knew it!). By coincidence,
Janet and I wereplanning a trip to Copenhagen that September and
made a note to lookfor it. Months later, we finally tracked it down
after tromping throughhalf the city. Luckily there were ample
pastry shops to sustain us alongthe way.
After I returned, I pitched couple more ideas for The New
Michael and Will in 2001, at Wills studio in Tamarac, Florida.
Wonder whodrew all those nifty cards in the background?
Part Twontroduction: Last issue featured the first part of my
conversationwith Glen, a former editor of The Comic Reader who
wrotesome of the better articles on comics history for the early
(Comic World, Alter Ego, Heroes Illustrated, et al). Glen
alsopioneered the use of the sequential art format to teach English
as asecond language on Indian reservations in the 1960s. We spoke
bytelephone on January 16, 2005.
In this second half of our long-overdue talk, we discussed
whyGlen left his editorial/publishing post at The Comic Reader,
thefanclave he attended at artist Russ Mannings house in May
1964,his views on current comics, and more. Special thanks to Brian
K.Morris for his usual fine transcription effort, and to my friend
andcolleague Jeffrey Kipper for editing the interview down to final
BILL SCHELLY: Getting back to the period when you were
editingThe Comic Reader, I understand that Ronn Foss not only did
somefan art for you, but actually dropped by so you could meet in
GLEN JOHNSON: Yes, he and his sister Beverly came by when wewere
on the reservation while they were traveling west. It was
veryunusual for me to have a fellow fan visit. They stayed with us
for acouple nights. Beverly brought her Joy Holiday outfit and put
it on forus. We got some pictures of her wearing it and then my
wife tried it on.[laughs] That was really the first time I had met
a Big Name Fan. Ronnwas very knowledgeable, and Ive always been
surprised he neverbecame a professional comics artist, full-time.
His drawing style was acombination of Kubert and Kirby.
BS: He did make a living off his artwork in later years, but not
in thecomics field, per se. I think he certainly had the ability,
but I dontthink he had the drive. He was one of the most popular
artists infandom, and he loved Golden Age comics, especially those
from the50s. What was your reason for stepping down from publishing
JOHNSON: It was a lot of monthly work. I put out about 12 pages
perissue. Also, I printed it on ditto machine at the school where I
wasnt really supposed to be using that machine for cranking out
a comicbook newsletter. I had to go to the school on Sundays or
late at night tosneak the publication of my fanzine.
BS: You did it for quite a long time; then, when you passed it
on toDarrell Rothermich and Jim King, they published it via
photo-offset.Ive thought of this stuff many times when writing my
columns andbooks on comics fandom, but you probably havent talked
aboutthese events in a long time.
JOHNSON: Not in a long time
BS: Were you also interested in newspaper comic strips, as
JOHNSON: Yes. I clipped them and saved them. I dont think I
wascollecting strips when I lived in New Mexico. It was later,
after I movedto Utah, in 1967. I subscribed to the Asbury Park
Press and then apaper from just north of Seattle that carried
Tarzan. Russ Manningstarted doing Tarzan, and I was lucky to save
the complete run that hedid for the Sunday page, along with other
I spent four years on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. At
thetime, there were a couple of dozen off-reservation Indian
schools andthe one in Brigham City, the Inner Mountain Indian
School, wasprobably one of the largest and best known. I actually
lived about 400miles from the reservation. The school was just an
abandonedgovernment facility that was converted into an Indian
BS: On the topic of your article-writing for fanzines in 1963,
youwere pretty tied up with Comic Reader, and it seems like you
Just A Society of AmericansFan-artist Ronn Foss (with his
ever-present pipe) visits Glen Johnson and hiswife Maizie in New
Mexico in 1965juxtaposed with Biljo Whites re-creationof the cover
of All-Star Comics #24 (with Starman and Sandman replacingGreen
Lantern and The Flash) which accompanied Glens article on the JSA
Alter Ego [Vol. 1] #8 in 1965. Photo probably by Beverly Foss;
all photosaccompanying this interview are courtesy of Glen Johnson.
[Art 2005 Estate
of Biljo White; Justice Society TM & 2005 DC Comics.]
A Talk With Writer, Educator, & Comics Fanatic
GLEN JOHNSONby Bill Schelly
Title 65Comic Fandom Archive
burst forth after that with the publi-cation of articles for
Comic World andalso Alter Ego. With regard to AlterEgo, did you
have a pretty goodfriendship and correspondence with RoyThomas?
JOHNSON: I did. Roy and I startedcorresponding in 1961. He
wantedsomething about the JSA in each issue,and yet he wanted a
view other than hisown, so he asked me to write articlesabout the
BS: The first one you wrote was TwoCases of Conscience, for
Alter Ego #8.It must have been written towards theend of 1964 or
early 65. At the end ofthe article, theres a photo of youlooking
very urbane, with a pipe.[NOTE: See previous issue.]
JOHNSON: Yes, I smoked a pipe. I quitsmoking about 20 years ago.
In fact, I gotthat idea from Ronn Foss. He did that foran article.
[laughs] He was holding apipe, and he looked very distinguished.My
wife took that picture of me.
BS: Its the man who readsPlayboy sort of look. Did Roysuggest
the specific subject for thearticle?
JOHNSON: He did. I think hesuggested both articles, the one in
#8and the one in #9. Ive always hadlike 20 or 25 really worn-out
issuesof All-Star to work from.
BS: Alter Ego went out to justabout everybody. So, lets face
it,Glen, you were a Big Name Fan.
JOHNSON: I was!
BS: [laughs] You published TheComic Reader, you were publishedin
the top fanzines
JOHNSON: I was also a chartermember of CAPA-Alpha. Ipublished an
apa-zine called SmallTalk for years. I dont have thoseCAPA-Alphas
any more. After Idropped out of the apa, somebodyoffered me a
fabulous amount ofmoney for my collection.
BS: Its not too surprising that youdend up in that very famous
photowith Russ Manning, Bill Spicer,Richard Kyle, John McGeehan,
andRick Durell in a meeting in May of1964 at Mannings house. You
werethe guy who kind-of sparked thatmeeting, werent you?
JOHNSON: We were going out toCalifornia, and Russ Manning and
corresponded quite regularly. I told himId like to come by and
visit him. Andhe says, Well, if youre going to comeby, there are a
number of other fans thathave been wanting to come by also. Illjust
make the whole day a sort of a fanget-together. And so thats
whathappened. My wife and my son Caryjoined us, too. My wife
visited withRuss wife.
One of the highlights was that Russgave everybody four pages of
originalartwork from a Ben-Hur comic bookhed drawn. Russ got very
little artworkback from Western or Gold Key, but hedid get the
Ben-Hur story back.
BS: Thats interesting, because I haveone of those Ben Hur pages
now. Ithink it was a gift to me fromHoward Keltner shortly before
hepassed away. What was Russ like inperson?
JOHNSON: I really enjoyed RussManning. He was very friendly
open. He was almost humble over the fact that people enjoyed
hisartwork so much. He did have lots of fans. I enjoyed his Tarzan
more than Hogarth or Foster,because his version was so muchlike
what Burroughs put down onpaper. He also did an excellent jobof
incorporating science-fictioninto the Tarzan comics. He justhad a
little studio, an outbuildingnear the house. It held his comicbooks
and reference material. Heworked out there with his
BS: The photos show you sittingoutside, like on his back
porch.What was the general gist of theconversation?
JOHNSON: We talked about ourfavorite artists, who Russ
Manningliked, how he got his start in comicbooks, and things like
that. Wewere there from 1:00 till 9:00. I feltlucky that an artist
of Russ caliberwould spend all that time with us.
BS: It was certainly one of theearliest fan meetings of any
signif-icance. The first New York ComicCon, such as it was, didnt
happenfor another couple of months.Your visit with Russ was in
May,so this was one of those fan-meets,probably the first
significant onein California, that led up to thecomicons. Did
people bring thingsto show to each other?
JOHNSON: I came such a greatdistance, I didnt bring
Manning The RampartsThe famous photo of the fan-meet at artist
home in May 1964. (Top:) Glen Johnson, Richard Kyle, Rick
Durrell.(Bottom:) John McGeehan, Bill Spicer, Russ Manning. So
snapped the picture?
A page of Russ Mannings art for the Dell comic adaptation of the
1959 filmBen-Hur, reproduced from the original art in Bill Schellys
[2005 the respective copyright holders.]
66 Comic Fandom Archive
[Captain Marvel, Shazam
& Billy Batson TM & 2005 DC Comicsfrom
an original cover done for a Brazilian com
OTE: In Alter Ego #39, 40, 42, & 43,British fan Frank Motler
presented adetailed study of how, in the early to mid-1950s and
later, Charlton Publications,
often known as CDC for its Capitol Distributionarm, took over
both the titles and often inventory ofseveral comics companies
which were leaving thecomic book business. Chief among these
wasFawcett, which folded its four-color tents in late1953.
Inevitably in a work of this scope, errorswould sneak in, and
additional information wouldbecome available from people who saw
the articleand had knowledge of particular areas or details.Below,
Frank has listed, under the heading of eachof the four issues of
A/E in which his piece wasserialized, the corrections and additions
known todate of his study. A number of these were sent byBoyd
Magers, while others are based on Franksown researches during the
past year. It is hoped thatanyone else having additional
information willcontact Frank directly or through Alter Ego.
A/E #39:P. 49: The last sentence of the bottom caption
should read: Cover art for Romantic Story #25 (Aug.1954) is by
Leon Winik & Ray Osrin. The artist ofRomantic Secrets #17 (Aug.
1958) remains unknownto me, but long-time collector Steven Whitaker
thinksit is Dick Giordano.
A/E #40:P. 46: TNT Comics (Feb. 1946) was published by
Publishing Co., not Charlton Publishing Company.
P. 47: Burton N. Levey is the name given as that of the
co-owner; itwas not misspelled, as the accompanying [sic] notation
P. 49: There is an error in the text and accompanying
caption.Charlton published Maco Toys (1959) on behalf of the toy
company; ithad nothing to do with Blue Bird, a shoe-store chain, or
with thecomics published by Charlton on their behalf. On Dec 16,
2004, BoydMagers was kind enough to write to Alter Ego and confirm
certainfacts, whilst pointing out some errors in this third
installment of myarticle. Boyd is an acknowledged authority on
Western films & theirstars. He has also written several books
on Western movies, consultedon many others, and hosted film
celebrity panels, and is the publisher ofWestern Clippings magazine
for more than ten years. I am happy tocorrect these errors
P. 52: Tim Holt did not appear in Six-Gun Heroes, or any
otherCharlton comic. He was a Magazine Enterprise star (later, as
Red Mask)and more recently has appeared in Bill Blacks AC Comics
title Best ofthe West. This was my error, confusing Monte Hale (who
Charlton Was A RealSweetheart
Since we showed the otherCharlton romance coverscovered in this
mini-articlein earlier issues, heresanother scan Frank sent us at
the time: the cover of Sweethearts #46
(Dec. 1958), which was a continuation of the
popular Fawcett romancecomic for which MarcSwayze drew
stories. This coverspotlighted popular 1950ssinger Jimmie
Rodgers,whose hits Honeycomband Kisses Sweeter ThanWine led to his
long-running Spaghetti-Os ad on TV and his own TV series. [2005 the
The Case Of The Clueless ComicsIt didnt take Scotland Yard or
Sherlock Holmesboth of which starred in their own Charlton seriesin
1955-56, as witness these first-issue coversto correct the handful
of errors and omissions in ourfour-part Fawcett-Charlton Connection
series. All it required was a bit of sleuthing by Frank
Motler himself, and by Western film expert Boyd Magers. [ 2005
the respective copyright owners.]
And Then There Were None!The Corrections
The Sequel To Charlton And The Remnants Of The Fawcett Comics
Empireby Frank Capitol MotlerNN
y discovery of Brazilian comics, in the early 1980s,remains one
of the highlightsof my fannish life. Andamong the most
of the Brazilian lore would have to be thecontinued existence,
through 1968, ofCaptain Marvel and his Family, with thefirst
installment of a tale reprinted here ofparticular note.
Inter-company crossovers were stillrelatively new at the time I
discovered thisstory. The first Superman Vs. Spider-Manbook had
appeared only a few years earlier.Theyve become somewhat old hat
bynow (yet one more example of how thecomics field often manages to
deliver toomuch of a good thing), but back then, theywere still a
novelty. So to discover that acrossover had been published in 1964
waseven more amazingand that it hadfeatured two characters who by
1964 hadbeen defunct for quite a few years was evenmore so.
It is important to remember, however,that for Brazilian readers
at the time, it wasnot an inter-company crossover at all.Rather,
both characters, along with manyother features, were appearing in
comicsfrom the same publisher. The idea of theteam-up was probably
a noveltyand asfar as I know, there were no others in anyway
comparable to itbut it was not, forthem, an inter-company teaming.
(Theexception, naturally, would be thoseBrazilian readers who were
knowledgeableabout US comics.)
But, though Ive written about thathitherto-unknown team-up of
Fawcettsoriginal Captain Marvel and Timelysoriginal Human Torch
before (includingback in FCA #60/Alter Ego V3#1, 1999),
English-speaking fans haventhad the chance to actually read it.
Now, at long last, two of its pages arebeing presentedtranslated
into Englishin the pages of AlterEgo/FCA. We hope to show you more
such pages in the near future.
Is the story up to the standards of the two features from which
it isdrawn? Hard to say. Ive read no more than a handful of stories
of theoriginal Human Torch, and based on that, Id say that the
storyprobably equals or surpasses many of them, except, of course,
early classic battles with the Sub-Mariner. As for Captain
Marvel, theresno comparison. Caps stories were soclever, so out of
the ordinary for super-heroes, that theres no way that
thisparticular tale can come close. Remove theHuman Torch and the
notion of acrossover, and it seems rather routine. Butit is, I
think, a fairly entertaining story, andof course, for us, the
novelty more thancompensates for any defects the script andart
Thanks are due to many people. First ofall, Dwight Decker, who
first put me intouch with Brazilian collector JoseJefferson Barbosa
de Aquino, and who,incidentally, also urged me to write aboutmy
discoveries for fanzines, starting withAmazing Heroes. Brazilian
correspon-dents, including the late Jeff (as hepreferred to be
called), along with LuizAntonio Sampaio, Jose Carlos Neves, andEmir
Ribeiro, among others, have proveninvaluable, not to mention
exceedinglygenerous, in supplying me with Braziliancomics. A/E
editor Roy Thomas and FCAeditor P.C. Hamerlinck are to becommended
for their interest in the subjectmatter. Finally, a big thanks to
the trans-lator, Mark Luebker, whose knowledge ofPortuguese easily
surpasses my own, andwhose translation is presented here.
All of us involved hope you enjoy thisfirst presentation of a
comic book first.
Credits for Return of a Great Hero:
Appeared in: Almanaque do O GloboJuvenil
Published in Brazil - 1964
Illustrated by Rodriguez Zelis
Translation, Lettering, 1950s Fawcett Title Page Adaptation:
Art Restoration and Gray Tones: Matt Moring
Additional Art Restoration (page 11 & up): John Gentil
Special Thanks: John G. Pierce, Rodrigo M. Zeidan, Matt Gore
The cover of the 100-page comic which showcased theCaptain
Marvel/Human Torch team-up. Among other
features, it also reprinted what seems to be a Fawcett LashLaRue
story, and a tale starring Aguia Negra, whoappears to be the
circa-1960 Australian super-hero Sir
Falcon, who was covered last issue. [2005 the
respectivecopyright holders; Captain Marvel TM & 2005 DC
Comics;Lash LaRue, Sir Falcon, Robin Hood, Billy the Kid, &
Earp TM & 2005 the respective copyright holders.]
CAPITAO MARVEL MEETS LA TOCHA HUMANA
When Titans ClashedIn BrazilIntroduction by John G. PierceMM
90 When Titans Clashed In Brazil
ALTER EGO #52JOE GIELLA on the Silver Age at DC, the Golden Age
at Marvel,and JULIE SCHWARTZ, with rare art by INFANTINO, GIL
KANE,SEKOWSKY, SWAN, DILLIN, MOLDOFF, GIACOIA, SCHAFFEN-BERGER, and
others, JAY SCOTT PIKE on STAN LEE andCHARLES BIRO, MARTIN THALL
interview, ALEX TOTH, MR.MONSTER, BILL SCHELLY, and more! GIELLA
(100-page magazine) $6.95(Digital Edition) $2.95
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PREVIEW,CLICK THE LINK TO ORDER THIS
ISSUE IN PRINT OR DIGITAL FORMAT!