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Alter Ego #59 (100 pages, $6.95) spotlights “DARK NIGHTS & STEEL” with Batman, Superman and more in the Golden and Silver Ages! Behind a fabulous new painted Batman cover by award-winning artist ARTHUR SUYDAM, we interview: SUYDAM on his early comics career! Modern legend NEAL ADAMS on 1960s/70s DC! SHELLY MOLDOFF on Batman, Hawkman, and BOB KANE! Superman artist AL PLASTINO! And Golden Age artist FRAN MATERA (Doll Man, Steve Nomad, et al.) talks to JIM AMASH! Also: When JERRY SIEGEL wrote “The Spider” by ALBERTO BECATTINI! “Superman and the Third Reich!” by DWIGHT DECKER! WILL MURRAY on the first comic book Thor (and it wasn’t Simon and Kirby’s)! MURRAY BISHOFF on SIEGEL and SHUSTER! Plus FCA with MARC SWAYZE, et al.—BILL SCHELLY presents KLAUS NORDLING, OTTO BINDER, and others—MICHAEL T.GILBERT and Mr. Monster—and MORE!

Text of Alter Ego #59

  • Batman TM & 2006 DC Comics& MORE!!!

    SUYDAM ADAMS MOLDOFFSIEGEL PLASTINOMANNING MATERA

    SUYDAM ADAMS MOLDOFFSIEGEL PLASTINOMANNING MATERA

    Roy Thomas X-TraordinaryComics Fanzine

    $6.95In the USA

    No.59June2006

    Roy Thomas BattailousComics Fanzine DARK NIGHTS

    & STEELIN THE GOLDEN & SILVER AGES

    PLUS:

  • Alter EgoTM is published monthly, except Jan., April., Sept., and Nov. by TwoMorrows, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614,USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews,SC 29135, USA. Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: [email protected] Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorialoffices. Single issues: $9 ($11.00 outside the US). Twelve-issue subscriptions:$72 US, $132 Canada, $144 elsewhere. All characters are their respective companies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada.

    FIRST PRINTING.

    Vol. 3, No. 59 / June 2006

    EditorRoy 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 Friedrich

    Production AssistantEric Nolen-Weathington

    Cover PaintingArthur Suydam

    And Special Thanks to:Neal AdamsHeidi AmashMichael AmbroseBill BaileyTim BarnesDennis BeaulieuAlberto BecattiniJohn BensonDominic BongoJerry K. BoydGeoff BrennemanBob BrodskyBob CherryBob CosgroveRay A. CuthbertShel DorfJustin FairfaxMichael FeldmanRex FerrellShane FoleyRamona FradonJanet GilbertArnie GrievesJennifer HamerlinckJonathan IngersollJeff JastrasJim KealyDavid Anthony KraftRichard Kyle

    Richard MartinesFran MateraSheldon MoldoffFrank MotlerBrian K. MorrisKarl NelsonJerry OrdwayJake OsterJoe PetrilakRubn ProcopioKen QuattroGene ReedRamon SchenkFlo SteinbergBhob StewartArthur SuydamMarc SwayzeDann ThomasJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.Dr. Michael J.

    VassalloHames WareHenry WesselTed WhiteRobert WienerIke WilsonRenee WitterstaetterEddy Zeno

    ContentsWriter/Editorial: Dark Nights & Steel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    Arthur Suydam: Heroes Are What We Aspire To Be . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Interview with the artist of Cholly and Flytrap and Marvel Zombies covers, by Renee Witterstaetter.

    Maybe I Was Just Loyal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141950s/60s Batman artist Shelly Moldoff tells Shel Dorf about Bob Kane & other phenomena.

    My Attitude Was, Theyre Not Bosses, Theyre Editors . . . . . . . . . . . 25Golden/Silver Age Superman artist Al Plastino talks to Jim Kealy & Eddy Zeno about his long and illustrious career.

    Jerry Siegels European Comics!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36When Supermans co-creator fought for truth, justice, and the European wayby Alberto Becattini.

    If You Cant Improve Something 200%, Then Go With The Thing That You Have . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

    Modern legend Neal Adams on the late 1960s at DC Comics.

    It Only Took 40 Years... To Be The Steve Roper Artist!. . . . . . . . . . . 48Fran Matera tells Jim Amash about Qualityand not just the comics company.

    Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt: Russ Manning Part 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61Michael T. Gilbert and Ray Cuthbert continue their look at the Tarzan/Magnus artist.

    The Forgotten 50s Part II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67Bill Schelly showcases the 1966 EC panel with Ted White, Bhob Stewart, & Archie Goodwin.

    re: [correspondence, comments, & corrections] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) #118 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79P.C. Hamerlinck presents artists Rubn Procopio & Marc Swayze, plus more!

    About Our Cover: This panoramic Batman painting by Arthur Suydam was far too large to fitonto our cover; theres a whole passel of bats and wolves youll have to look up the full illustrationelsewhere to savor. But when Ye Editor saw just how gorgeous it wasand without that Johnny-come-lately yellow circle around the bat symbol on the heros chest, to boot!he couldnt resistasking if it (or most of it, anyway), was available. Arthur, as well as Renee Witterstaetter, said yesand we wound up with one of A/Es most splendid covers ever! [Batman TM & 2006 DC Comics.]

    Above: A self-portrait of longtime DC and United Feature artist Al Plastino surrounded byseveral of the characters hes drawn in newspaper comic strips over the years. Of course, he illustrated a Superman tale or three in the pages of comic books, as well! [Superman, Batman, & Robin TM & 2006 DC Comics; Nancy & Ferdnand TM & 2006 United Feature Syndicate;portrait 2006 Al Plastino.]

  • Celebrating A Half Century SinceSHOWCASE #4!

    Edited by ROY THOMASSUBSCRIBE NOW! Twelve Issues in the US: $72 Standard, $108 First Class

    (Canada: $132, Elsewhere: $144 Surface, $192 Airmail).NOTE: IF YOU PREFER A SIX-ISSUE SUB, JUST CUT THE PRICE IN HALF!

    COMING IN JULYCOMING IN JULY

    [Flash TM & 2006 DC Comics.]

    Never-before-published, full-color Flash cover by CARMINE INFANTINO! Rare interviews with and articles on the greats who created Showcase #4 in 1956the comic book that launched the Silver Age! JULIUS SCHWARTZROBERT KANIGHERCARMINE INFANTINOJOE KUBERT& JOHN BROOME!

    Spectacular art from an unpublished 1948 Flash story, penciled by INFANTINO! Golden Age (& Joe Palooka) artist TONY DiPRETA, interviewed by JIM AMASH!Rare work from Timely/Marvel 1950s horror comics, et al.!

    1966 Golden Age panelthe only comic-con appearance ever by Lady Luck artistKLAUS NORDLING! A BILL SCHELLY Comic Fandom Archive special!

    MICHAEL T. GILBERT on Twice-Told Tales byMICHAEL T. GILBERT! FCA with MARC SWAYZE & ALEX ROSS& MORE!!

    FIFTY YEARS HAVEGONE BY IN A FLASH!

    #60

    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

    2 Titlewriter/editorial

    few months back, while writing an intro for a collection ofthe astonishing art of Arthur Suydam, I perused scans that EvaInks Renee Witterstaetter had sent me of his recent paintings.

    Naturally, I was knocked out by the illustrationsespecially a wide-screen image hed done of Batman. I asked if, by any chance, it couldbe used as a cover for Alter Ego, and I was ecstatic when they said yes.

    Arthur (Red) Suydam just makes it in under the wire as a figure ofthe Silver Age, by the broad definition Ive always used for A/Enamely, the period from 1956s Showcase #4 through the mid-1970s. Ican understand why many folks count 1970 or thereabouts as the cutoffdate, but since I left my position as Marvels editor-in-chief in late 1974,with mags under my aegis coming out through much of 75, Ive alwaysstretched those parameters a bit, at least for the purposes of thismagazine. And Arthurs first published comic book story was done forDC editor Joe Orlando and House of Secrets in 1974. (He and Reneego beyond that point in their freewheeling discussion, but thats only tobe expectedand in any event, much of what Arthur has to say dealswith his early days and influences.)

    With Arthurs lush, moody painting and interview as the hub, Idecided to center an issue around Batman and Superman, even thoughthe Man of Steel was headlined only three issues ago. For one thing, weneeded to complete Jim Amashs fascinating interview with NealAdams on his late-1960s DC work, which began in #56. Also, AlbertoBecattini had sent us an article on Siegels 1960s work on The Spider,a European adventure strip little known in this country. We also had onhand Eddy Zeno and Jim Kealys talk with Golden/Silver Age

    Superman artist Al Plastino, which definitely deserved an airingherein the more so since the artist also drew the Batman comic stripfor some time.

    As for Batman: well, we had a 1994 Shel Dorf interview withlongtime Bob Kane ghost Sheldon Moldoff which wed been wantingto run for a long while along with a number of his never-seencommissioned illos.

    All that, plus a welcome interview with fellow Golden Ager FranMatera, not to mention the completion of Michael T. Gilberts coverageof Russ Manning and of Bill Schellys presentation of a 1966 EC panel,and of course FCA and a delayed letters section, pretty much filled thisissue to the brim. So much so, in fact, that Dwight Deckers announcedarticle on Superman vs. the Nazis and a piece by Murray Bishoff onthe 1975 Superman settlement had to be delayed till a near-futureissue. Sometimes its ridiculously easy to figure out what to include in agiven issueand ludicrously difficult to squeeze it all in.

    This was one of those times.

    So what else is new?

    Bestest,

    P.S.: And a big if belated Happy Birthday to George Tuska, who turned 90 on April 26! You're the greatest, George!

    AADark Nights & Steel

  • bout Arthur Suydam: MarvelZombies cover artist ArthurSuydam burst onto the scene with

    his creative innovation of infusing the artof sequential art with classical painting. Hisextraordinary work helped revolutionizethe industry and began the comic artrenaissance of the 1980s, opening doors formainstream writers and artists to createliterature for a more mature readership.

    Recently honored with the covetedSpectrum magazine Gold Award forExcellence in Illustration, Suydamsimmense body of written and illustrativework comprises an aesthetic that is uniquelydistinguishable. Recent releases includeArthur Suydam: The Art of the Barbarian;Skin Deep; The Alien Encounters PosterBook; Visions: The Art of Arthur Suydam;The Fantastic Art of Arthur Suydam;Mudwogs, and The Adventures of Chollyand Flytrap, published worldwide andcurrently in pre-production for film.Suydam has contributed text and artworkto numerous comics publications, includingBatman, Conan, Tarzan, Predator, Aliens,Death Dealer, and National Lampoon, toname only a few, as well as new workcoming out from Image, Last Gasp,Vanguard Productions, and Eva Ink.

    In fact, Arthur is on the comics scene ina big way this year, having in 2005 alone received the Artist Guestof Honor Award from Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA, and LifetimeAchievement Awards from the University of Maryland and the SanSebastian Film Festival in Spain. He has also just been inducted intothe august Society of Illustrators in New York City.

    You may have also seen his new super-hero work from DCComics and Marvel Comics over the last yearmostly recently hisMarvel Zombie covers that have been named in the WizardMagazine Top Covers of the Month. Issue after issue of this over-the-top-selling comic has been going back to press.

    All are fitting tributes to this writer/creator/artist, whose over-riding passion has been creating stories, characters, and memorablemoments in a wide range of fiction via either his words, his art, or,sublimely, both.

    In April 2006, I was able to sit down with Arthur for a candidinterview about his artistic beginnings as a child and his start incomics at DC and then Heavy Metal, as well as catch up on whatthe creator is doing currently. Renee W.

    Heroes Are Pure ExpressionsOf Masculinity

    RENEE WITTERSTAETTER: As a youngboy growing up, what do you rememberabout your first encounters with art andheroic fantasy?

    ARTHUR SUYDAM: When I was in thehospital [as a child], my parents brought mecomicsG.I. Combat with dinosaurs. Later,I found magazines and art books with classicaletchings and the works of the Italian andDutch Renaissance artists, Michelangelo,Bouguereau, and many other artists from thatperiod.

    Arthur Suydam:Heroes Are What We Aspire To Be

    An Interview With The Artist of Cholly And Flytrap And Marvel Zombies CoversConducted & Transcribed by Renee Witterstaetter

    3

    Two-Fisted and Streetwise,With Integrity

    Thats how Arthur likes his heroes. Above: he holdsaloft one of his Cholly and Flytrap paintings at

    a gallery in Spain a couple of years back. At right, a drawing (pen and ink on parchment) of Batmanpursuing The Catwoman. [Batman & Catwoman

    TM & 2006 DC Comics.]

    AA

  • RW: As an artist, whatin literature makes theheros journey socompelling to you?

    SUYDAM: I believethat, as proud men,heroes are what weaspire to be. Its whatall that Bible-thumpingand religion is about,only the mediacommunicates moreeffectively. For a boy,these heroic tales definecodes we, as developingchildren, aspire to anddefine not only theway we see ourselves,but the way the worldsees us, as well. Heroesare pure expressions ofmasculinity, stillrelevant today, andappealing to both sexes.For me, those earlypaintings and etchingshelped define genderroles and are universal.

    Even King Kong isheroic fantasy. KingKong was the hero, atragic hero, veryShakespearean. Whatmade him tragic washis inevitable demise.Who didnt root for themonkey at the end ofthat film?

    RW: What do you seeas the universal themein heroic fantasy?

    SUYDAM: The Stranger. An unexpected individual rising to achallenge where others fail, at a risk of losing it all, but coming away amore evolved individual in the end.

    RW: What in popular culture helped you to define your own personaltake on heroic fantasy and your art?

    SUYDAM: Survivors of war, sports figures, mainly real peoplehistorical figures who effectuated change in their time and made adifference. DaVinci, Teddy Roosevelt, Einstein, Martin Luther,Madame Curie, the list is endless. DaVinci was the universal man, theeternal student-teacher. He took it upon himself to learn absolutelyeverything he possibly could about the world. He was a sculptor, adraftsman, a painter, an inventor, a scientist, and a skilled musicianbut most of all, a keen observer of life.

    RW: That sounds so familiar.

    SUYDAM: Who, me? [laughs]

    RW: What about modern media heroes, in film or otherwise? Whoinfluenced your own personal idea of the hero in your own artisticgrowth?

    SUYDAM: ClarkGable, Spencer Tracy,Bogart, in just aboutany movie. Two-fistedand streetwise withintegrity. But a herohas to be fallible.Otherwise its notviable. People relate towhat feels real tothem in storytelling.Parallels are what itsall about. The possi-bility of failure makesit exciting. TakeSuperman. If Supermanhas a flaw, it is that heis not fallible enough.That makes him notreal.

    Nobody knowsthis, really, but when Iwas five years old, Iwas burned prettybadly. They didntthink I was going tomake it. I didnt eventhink about this untilnow but at that time,the single thing I hadto look forward to waswatching Superman onTV in the playroom.George Reeves. I waswrapped up like amummy. I couldntwalk. The only thingsticking out of thebandages was my face,really. But once aweekbeing in that

    hospital for a year was utter hellthe thing I looked forward to wasSuperman, and getting a half decent reception on a little black-&-white TV. I could see little pieces the reception was sometimes sobad. I was five. I thought he was real at the time. I was absolutelyconvinced and nobody could tell me differently. Like Santa Clausthatguy was real.

    I Was Dying, Basically, And I Didnt Realize ItRW: Looking back now, did anything about that time help to shapeyour future?

    SUYDAM: I dont know. Maybe. Those are the learning years, bothphysically and psychologically. You start deciding what you want to dowith your life. What excites you. What inspires you. How exciting itwas to watch some of those films and TV shows and see some of theclassical pictures in art books, and read Mark Twainthey are all aboutheroes. I wanted to create that excitement not only for myself, but forother folks as well. I wanted to be part of that excitement. I think thatswhat its all about.

    I started drawing at about the age of four. I started writing at six. Istarted writing when I could walk again and I was able to go away tocamp. I started writing songs.

    That Guy Was RealArthur says that to him at age five, George Reeves as Superman (see insert) was real. The artist

    brought that TV icon to life in his own way, in this 2005 painting done in oil and mixed media, which hecalls his homage to popular illustrator Alex Ross. To see it in color, pick up a copy of the recent volumeThe Fantastic Art of Arthur Suydam, published by Vanguard Press. [Superman TM & 2006 DC Comics.]

    4 An Interview With The Artist Of Cholly And Flytrap And Marvel Zombies Covers

  • EDITORS NOTE: The following interviewwas conducted in 1994 on behalf of DavidAnthony Krafts Comics Interview magazine,

    but has never before been published. Our thanks to Shel for makingit available to us. Because the interview with Shelly Moldoffpublished in Alter Ego, Vol. 3, #4, is still available fromTwoMorrows, the following has been edited so as to repeat relativelylittle material which was covered in the earlier-printed piece. Inaddition, due to limitations of space, some material concerninganimation could not be included. The audio tape begins with Shellyrelating an interesting anecdote, so weve left it that way:

    Did I Take The Wrong Path In The Crossroads Of Life?SHELDON MOLDOFF: We were talking briefly about Milton Caniffand Steve Canyon and it reminds me of when a woman at the DailyNews [Syndicate] was looking for somebody to replace Caniff onTerry and the Pirates. Somebody told me about it, so I did four or fivedailies of Terry and submitted it to her. She called back in about aweek, saying she liked it and to please come in.

    So I was all excited and went in. And she gave me a load of materialand says she wants me to do six weeks: write a story, do six weeks,

    pencil headthat meanspencil all of it and ink inhalf of it and then bring itin. Then I said, Well, whatdo you pay for that? Shesays, Well pay you $60 aweek for that. When I gothome, I started to thinkabout $60. I was making, Ithink, $150 a week in thecomic books. And I said,Terry and the Piratesthat should bring in muchmore money.

    I called her up and I toldher, Well, Ill do it for the$60, but what will it pay if Iget the job? She says,Well, why dont you justdo this first? I said, Well, Ihave to find out, becauseyou need an assistant, youneed a writer. I want toknow what the budget is forit. Can you tell me that?She says, You know, I havesomeone I really think Imgoing to give it to. Whydont you just send every-thing back? [Shel Dorfgroans.]

    You know, all my lifeand thats gotta be 35, 40years ago, at leastIvewondered, did I make amistake? Did I take thewrong path in the cross-roads of life? And I stillhave those panelssomewhere.

    Maybe I Was Just LoyalLongtime Batman Artist SHELDON MOLDOFF Talks About Bob Kane

    And Other PhenomenaInterview Conducted by Shel Dorf Transcribed by Brian K. Morris

    In the Moldoff ModeSeveral years ago, for a Yuletide card sent by himself and his charming late wife Shirley, Shelly Moldoff caricatured himself and a number of the characters he had drawn over the years, most of which are mentioned in this interview. Shown in the central portrait, of course, are sketches of Hawkman, Batman, Catwoman, and The Penguin. The rest are

    (clockwise from top left): Green Lantern, Black Terror, Captain Midnight, Dr. Death (of Fawcetts This Magazine Is Haunted),Hawkman, Robin, Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse (with a froggy nemesis), Kid Eternity and his heavenly Keeper, Batman,The Joker, and The Flash. Sheesh! And he didnt even include any of the Superman family! Who didnt Shelly draw? Withspecial thanks to Craig Delich. [Batman, Robin, Catwoman, Penguin, Joker, Hawkman, Green Lantern, Flash, Kid Eternity &Mr. Keeper TM & 2006 DC Comics; Black Terror, Captain Midnight, Dr. Death, Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse TM & 2006

    the respective TM & copyright holders.]

    A EA E//

    14

  • SD: Never heard that story before. Thank you for sharing that.

    [At this point Shel shuts off the tape and restarts it, with a moreformal opening.]

    Our Lives Were Tied In With BatmanSD: This is Sheldon Dorf, talking to Shelly Moldoff. Its March 26,1994; were at the Motor City Comics Convention in Novi,Michigan. Shelly, its good to finally sit you down and talk with youa little bit. Your career started in the very early days of comics. Butfirst I want to find out where you were born.

    MOLDOFF: Well, I was born in Manhattan, New York City, andmoved to the Bronx at an early age and spent all my years in the Bronxuntil I went into service.

    SD: This is World War II?

    MOLDOFF: World War II, yeah. You didnt think it was World War I,did you?

    SD: No, I thought it might have been the Civil War. [laughs]

    MOLDOFF: You know, the comics took a lot out of me, but I hope itdidnt take that much out of me. Now thats were I lived until, as Isaid, I came out of the service.

    SD: Lets go back to the Bronx in the early 40s. What was your arteducation?

    MOLDOFF: Well, I have no real art education, but I loved to drawsince I can remember. [NOTE: At this point Shelly talks aboutmeeting pro artist Bernard Baily, who later drew The Spectre andHour-Man, at the age of 12 about being staff artist on his highschool paper in the late 1930s and about meeting famous sportscartoonist Willard Mullins. All of the above was detailed in A/EV3#4.]

    My first [pro] work in comicbooks was doing filler pages forVincent Sullivan, who was the editorat National Periodicals [now DCComics]. I had met Ellsworth andSullivan maybe a year or two earlier,as I tried to peddle my work atdifferent places. They had their ownlittle outfit, as did Iger and Eisner.Will EisnerI met him, too. I wouldjust make the rounds until one day Icracked it and Vince said, Im gonnause you on some filler pages. Thosewere oddity pages that could be aboutanimals, it could be about sports, itcould be the movies. Youd try to clipthings out of newspapers that wereinteresting or humorous and fill apage with a half dozen or so littlefacts. [NOTE: Again as detailed inA/E V3#4, one of Shellys first saleswas a sports filler on an inside coverof the first issue of a new comic bookthat would be titled ActionComics.]

    And then the great Worlds Fair inNew York came along, and Vincentcalled me in and said, Shelly, I want

    Peekin At PicturesThis, Shelly writes, is a typical filler page that I sold to editor VincentSullivan & DC Comics in 1940s. It provided art experience (and practice,

    practice, practice) which served him in good stead later. [2006 DC Comics.]

    Terry And the Low-RatesYoull understand the above heading when you read Shellys first anecdote in the interview. Circa 1946, he

    penciled and inked these two sample dailies as a tryout for the great newspaper adventure strip Terry and thePirates. He says they were submitted to Mercy Scot, Daily News [Syndicate] editor when [Milton] Caniff was goingto quit to begin a new strip, Steve Canyon. They chose George Wunder, he adds; Wunder drew the strip until it ceased publication in 1973. Sorry weve lost a tiny bit from the photocopy of the final panel of the first strip. [Art 2006 Sheldon Moldoff; Terry and the Pirates TM & 2006 Daily News Syndicate or successors in interest.]

    Maybe I Was Just Loyal 15

  • you to do about three pages on the Worlds Fair. I went out to theWorlds Fair and got as much information as I could on how muchconcrete and how much steel and different oddities about the buildingand some of the exhibits, and I did half a dozen or more pages whichwere used in the book. Vincent Sullivan was very nice to me. In fact,last year in San Diego, he was a Guest of Honor, and I was there, too.We met each other again after close to fifty years. [NOTE: The 1939and 1940 issues of Worlds Fair Comics were reprinted in 2004 inthe hardcover DC Comics Rarities Archives, Vol. 1.]

    SD: Isnt that remarkable? I was in the audience that day and therewas an electric atmosphere in that room. The whole living history ofthe comics was there.

    MOLDOFF: At that panel, I met Dick Sprang. That was the first timethe two of us had ever met, though both our lives were tied in withBatman, very much so. I think, between the two of us, we haveprobably done more Batman pages than anybody. He workeddirectly for DC, but he moved early in his career to Arizona, becausethey had a lot of confidence in him. They knew that, when they senthim a script, it was going to come back beautifully done. I worked forBob Kane as a ghost from 53 to 67. DC didnt know that I wasinvolved; that was the handshake agreement I had with Bob: You dothe work and dont say anything, Shelly, and youve got steady work.

    SD: Did he pay well?

    MOLDOFF: No, he didnt pay great. But it was steady work, it wassecurity. I knew that we had to do a minimum of 350 to 360 pages ayear. Also, I was doing other work at the same time for [editors] JackSchiff and Murray Boltinoff at DC. They didnt know I was working

    on Batman for Bob. I did Mr. District Attorney, BlackhawkIinked in a lot of Curt Swan Superman, some covers. I did TheLegion of Super-Heroes for Mort Weisinger. So I was busy. Betweenthe two, I never had a dull year, which is the compensation I got forbeing Bobs ghost, for keeping myself anonymous.

    [Alex] Raymond Influenced Me Greatly In My Work,Especially In Hawkman

    SD: Lets pick up the time between 1939 and 1953. You made somewaves as the Hawkman artist. Tell me a little bit about how yougot the job doing Hawkman.

    MOLDOFF: Okay. When I did the filler pages, someone had alreadyintroduced me to Bob Kane, and I think I was his first assistant. Istarted doing lettering, backgrounds, the logos, and helping him. Iknew his family very well, his father and mother and sister. Theythought Bob was the greatest and that Batman, that he had justcreated, was going to be a sensation. They stimulated him, they reallybacked him. A lot of people have said he has to have had a great ego,and he does, no question about it. But I think that pushed him and thecreativity of the early Batman, because it had something that none ofthe other strips had. There was a tremendous sense of mystery andshadow in his work. Chester Gould [Dick Tracy writer/artist/creator]wasnt the best artist in the world, and neither was Kane, but they didimpart a flavor and a feeling.

    SD: A sense of drama.

    MOLDOFF: A sense of drama, thats it. You nailed it on the head. And

    Robin Dies At DawnAnd Lives By Night(Left:) One of the most celebrated tales Moldoff ever penciled was RobinDies at Dawn!the cover story of Batman #156 (June 1963). Bill Schelly

    wrote a whole article about it for A/E V2#5, which was reprinted in Alter Ego:The Comic Book Artist Collectionbut alas, both are out of print. Heres a keypage (inked by Charles Paris), reprod from a photocopy of the original artas autographed by Shelly some years back. Script by Bill Finger, who else?

    [2006 DC Comics.]

    (Above:) Shelly drew this pic for the cover of the program book for JoePetrilaks magnificent All Time Classic New York Comic Book Convention, heldon June 9-11, 2000only, unfortunately, this NY con took place in WhitePlains, NY, and not enough people made the trek from Manhattan to let itturn a profit. But it had one of the greatest Golden Age guest lists of anycomicon ever, and we have enough untranscribed writer-artist-and-editorpanels from it to fill a whole issue of A/E one of these daysif we could only

    locate Joe P.! [Batman & Robin TM & 2006 DC Comics.]

    16 Sheldon Moldoff Talks About Bob Kane And Other Phenomena

  • orn in 1921, former Superman artist Al Plastino, like somany of his generation, served his country during WorldWar II. Considered more valuable to the cause by

    remaining a civilian, he worked in the Pentagons art department.Because it had air-conditioning, a great luxury at the time, Plastinovolunteered for extra duty so he could spend both days and nightsthere to avoid the sweltering summers of the nations capital. He stillhas some of the war posters he did to help the war effort.

    For decades an employee of United Feature Syndicate, Al steppedin during emergencies, copying the styles of featured artists onseveral long-running newspaper strips. He did this while simultane-ously working elsewhere. Other jobs included serving commercialart accounts and illustrating various features, first for the CheslerStudio, then for Funnies, Inc., and later for National PeriodicalPublications (now DC Comics). Plastino remembers being hired byDC sometime after Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel departed in 1947.His first verified Superman work, according to the Grand ComicsDatabase, appeared in the story Superman, Stunt Man (ActionComics #120, May 1948). This coincided with The Un-SuperSuperman in the May-June 1948 issue of Worlds Finest (#34), andwas immediately followed by The Oracle from Metropolis inSuperman #53 (July 1948). Al was up and flying. His tenure with theSuperman family lasted more than twenty years. Besides the titleslisted above, Plastino had assignments on Adventure Comics,Superboy, Supermans Pal Jimmy Olsen, and Supermans GirlfriendLois Lane (introducing her solo try-out in Showcase #9). He delin-eated Supergirl, Brainiac, and Bizarro in their first comic bookstories, along with The Legion of Super-Heroes, before going onto produce beautiful work on the Batman newspaper strip.

    And so, while fellow artists Wayne Boring and Curt Swan baskedin the public eye, sterling work was being done by Al Plastino, whowas, and shall remain, one of the definitive Superman illustratorsof all time. His work, liketheirs, helped keep theKid from Krypton

    aloft during the dark days of falling comic sales in the 1950s.

    Today, the mostly retired Mr. Plastino enjoys being with his wife,four children (three girls and one boy, all

    successful), and five grandchildren.He is an avid golfer and a lifelong

    lover of the game. Al recently drew acartoon of the Man of Steel and Tiger Woodstogether which fetched $800 at auction.Contributing drawings to childrens charities

    and other worthy causes remains a source offulfillment. Likely the only earlySuperman artist other than Jack Burnley

    still living, and the only one actively takingcommissions, he can be reached at 44 PinetreeDrive, Shirley, NY 11967 by interested parties.

    The following interview is the result ofcombining various phone conversations

    between Mr. Plastino, Jim Kealy, andmyself between mid-2005 and March

    2006. Thanks to Mr. Plastino forhelping to edit the interview toinsure accuracy. Eddy.

    Plastino And Company(Above:) Al Plastino draws Superman, while Joe Simon (of Simon & Kirby)draws at center, and Bill Vigoda sketches Archie at a show at the 34th

    Street Armory in New York City, 1949.

    (Below:) While best-known for his work on Superman tales, Al has alsodrawn numerous Batman adventures. Here he gives equal time to both in a 1993 drawing. [Superman & Batman TM & 2006 DC Comics; Archie

    TM & 2006 Archie Comics Publications.]

    My Attitude Was, TheyreNot Bosses, Theyre EditorsGolden/Silver Age Superman Artist AL PLASTINO On His Long And Illustrious CareerInterview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Kealy & Eddy ZenoBB

    25

  • [A/E EDITORS NOTE: Except where otherwise noted, allmaterial accompanying this interview was supplied by Eddy Zenoand/or Jim Kealy some ultimately by Al Plastino himself.]

    I Started At The Metropolitan Museum Of ArtEDDY ZENO: Howd you get started as an artist?

    AL PLASTINO: How I started was at the Metropolitan Museum ofArt. My dad took me to the museum a lot; hed drop me off for severalhours and pick me up. People were there from Italy and France, allover the world, copying paintings on commission. Seeing them, Ilearned how the old masters painted in oil; theyd start withtempera first; white, then sepia. (Thats why Rembrandtspaintings have that brownish tint.) The transparent under-painting gave a beautiful glow. Then theyd put down color aftercolor, reds and yellows, just like copying a photograph. Theyhad to wait for each layer to dry, then they put on linseed oil togive it a gloss. Canvas vibrating when you hit it with a brushIused to cry, these guys could paint so great!

    I grew up in the upper Bronx near Pelham Manor. It wasall rural in those daysnice houses. For a while, I went tothe Leonardo Da Vinci Art School. It wasnt far from home,and the other art schools were all the way in Manhattan.Youd smell the paint and clay; it was gorgeous. Once, I wasworking on a little sculpture. Next time I went back andcouldnt find it so I asked where it was. They said, Oh, wethrew that piece of crap out because we needed the clay.[laughter]

    At the Da Vincischool we had still-life setups andclasses with nudemodels. I was soyoung, but I learneda lot. I also learnedabout the modernmasters, the Renoirs,the Cezannes, whoadded color directlywithout the under-painting. Becausethese guys hadworked outside, theteachers wouldpoint out how tolight up a sky, andso on. When theypainted scenery,thered be moregrays in the atmos-phere as you drewback.

    Once, at theMetropolitanMuseum of Art, Iwas copying aRenoir (By theSeashore) for threehours. This guywatched me theentire time. Hisname was Howard

    Christian Chandler, and he didnt know if I was showing off or what.Turns out he was writing a book about New York. It had thesetremendous maps showing a birds-eye view of real estate. He gave mea job painting houses on the maps. He didnt pay me, but I loved it!

    CheslerWas A Strange GuyEZ: When did you begin your comics career?

    Its a BirdIts Two PlanesIts Stunt Man!Plastinos first published Superman story appeared in

    Action Comics #120 (May 1948). This photocopy of the splashpage is taken from the British Superman Annual 1954-55. Eddyand Jim wish to thank the Grand Comic Book Database for the

    info. [2006 DC Comics.]

    Art StudiesA study of faces, hands, and bodies. [2006 Al Plastino.]

    Yeah, But Can Superman Shoot 10 Under Par?This 2005 drawing by Plastino of Superman and golfer

    Tiger Woods was auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting a charity cancer fund. It was also turned into a poster.

    [Superman TM & 2006 DC Comics.]

    26 Al Plastino On His Long And Illustrious Career

  • PLASTINO: I workedfor Funnies, Inc. [LloydJacquets comics shop],inking Sub-Marinerand Captain America.That was before the war;I was doing it on the side.I started first with theHarry A Cheslerstudio. Before that, even, Idid black-&-whitedrawings for a magazinecalled Youth Today. Itwent out to all the highschools and had exactly thesame format as ReadersDigest. I won three prizes:two firsts and one secondplace. Theyd give you $50and put your drawing onthe cover. They decided itwould be cheaper to haveme on staff, so I begandoing freelance drawings forthis magazine while I wasstill in high school in theBronx.

    Around the same time,Chesler had an ad looking forblack-&-white artists. I answeredthe ad and started working there.Jack Binder was the art director,and he only paid me $5 a week atthe start, but I was glad to get it.He had me ruling lines. Jack wasdoing pulp stuff. Soon he had mepenciling these futuristic things, andhed ink them. Then he finally gaveme some stuff to ink. Jack showedme how to use a brush to do thick-and-thin lines and feathering; hetaught me a lot. I got paid $45 aweek and finally got up to $60.Chesler himself was a strange guy,but he had a beautiful wife and twoboys. He had a house with all sortsof statues, antiques, all differentstyles of furniture, whatever heliked. Everything was mixed up. Hehad a Coca Cola machine in hisliving room and you had to put 5in to get a Coke.

    Chesler always had a cigar in hismouth, never lit, while hed hum inthe back of the office. There wereabout twenty guys there, desk after desk. He wanted to keep everyone happy, so he served hisartists juice. Also, we had to come in on Thanksgiving to work for half a day, but we hadturkey. Hed hock his coatanything, to make the payroll. But Chesler made millions sellingreprints, everything, during the war. He began buying real estate and it seemed like he ownedhalf of the part of New Jersey next to Dover, where the Joe Kubert school is now.

    Other artists there at the time included George Tuska and Rafael Astarita, who were bothinto lifting weights. They had me lifting but it didnt last long. I was getting veins, so I quit.[laughs] I met Mac Raboy, who suggested that I send some of my black-&-white drawings in

    Im A RocketmanThe ever-researching Hames Ware and Jim

    Vadeboncoeur, Jr., sent these images of Plastinoswork for Harry A Chesler, who besides running acomics shop also published comics at various times.Heres a quartet of pics, all 2006 the respective

    copyright holders.

    (Top row:) The splash pages from Cheslers Dynamic Comics #3 (Feb. 42) and #13 (Jan. 45) are strongly believed by Hames to be Plastinoswork but Al himself, when he saw them, could

    not confirm that he had drawn the latter. (DynamicMans costume, incidentally, inspired Roy Thomas in1969 to give the Squadron Sinister villain Hyperion,and later the Squadron Supreme version, a cape

    attached only to one shoulder.)

    (Bottom row:) The splash page of the Rocketmanstory in Dynamic Publications Scoop Comics #2 (Jan.1942). Hames says his battered copy of that issue isdisappearing: pieces of it [were] literally flakingoff and flying away in the near-to-March windybreezes on my long walk to the photocopy place.But he says he needed to make copies, if the comicwere to be preserved in any manageable form.

    Also shown is an enlarged detail from that splash,which is signed Al Pla. Hames reports that, even afew letters shy of a full name, this story represents

    the only signed Plastino [work] at Chesler.

    My Attitude Was, Theyre Not Bosses, Theyre Editors 27

  • Prologue1966 was not a good year for Jerry Siegel, as the 52-year-old co-

    creator of Superman lost two important writing accounts. His secondand last stint with DC Comics, freelancing scripts for the Supermanfamily of characters and other titles, ended after eight years. So did histwo-year tenure with Archie Comics, where he had taken part in theephemeral revival of such Golden Age heroes as The Shadow andThe Fly.

    For quite a while, his only steadywriting job had been, and wouldcontinue to be, with Fleetway/IPC, acolossus of British comic publishing.For that company, Siegel conjured upthe suspenseful adventures of TheSpider, a black-clad criminalmastermind whose fantastic garbenables him to spin his own web andswing from one building to another.

    King Of CrimeReformedThe Spiders adventures were

    serialized in weekly two-page (later4-page) episodes in the comicsmagazine Lion (later known as Lionand Champion) from June 26, 1965,until April 26, 1969. Some of thesecontinuities were later reprinted inVulcan (1975-76). The initial artist ofThe Spider was Reg Bunn, a soliddraftsman who had been active in theBritish comics field since 1949.

    Although it was Siegel whobasically built up the Spider mythos,it must be underlined that thecharacter was not created by him.The creator of The Spider was TedCowan, who wrote his stories fromthe beginning until the January 1,1966, episode. Siegel, then, came

    aboard the Spider bandwagon in late 1965, under the aegis ofFleetway editor Geoff Kemp.

    The fact that Siegel was later given a by-line as the writer of TheSpider (a most uncommon practicein British comics in those days) ledmost comic readers and historians tobelieve that he had first conceived thecharacter. Fleetway did nothing todisabuse anyone of this assumption,and probably credited him because ofthe prestige of having the creator ofSuperman writing for them.

    An inside-front-cover note for theItalian edition of the series (mostlikely translated from English)informed that The adventures of thiscriminal scientist [] are conceivedby an American scripter who hasbeen offered millions of dollars towrite screenplays for Hollywoodmovies. Yet The Spiders creator istoo fond of his character and hasntyielded to this tempting proposition.What seems unlikely is that Siegelturned down such an offer in themovie business, considering that hehad basically been trying to makeboth ends meet ever since he and JoeShuster had first left DC Comics in1947.

    The Spider undoubtedly hadsomething in common with TheAmazing Spider-Man, but fewpeople seemed to notice thatin theUK, at least. In fact, apart from thosewho managed to get Marvel comic

    Jerry SiegelsEuropeanComics!

    When Supermans Co-Creator Fought ForTruth, Justice, And The European Wayby Alberto Becattini

    36

    The splash page of the first "Spider" story written by Jerry Siegel. Artby Reg Bunn. With thanks to Tim Barneswho sent us the whole storyon CD! Wish we had room to show more... but we'll save it for afuture issue. [2006 IPC Magazines or successors in interest.]

    Jerry Siegel Always Did Like HeroesWhose Names Started With S

    The Spider, Our Man of Mystery, leaps into action on the cover of Lionand Champion for July 1966. Reprod from a photocopy of the 11 x 14

    original art by Reg Bunn when it was auctioned off as featuring a character created and scripted for this English comic by Supermancreator Jerry Siegel (left). As Alberto Becattini relates in this article,

    Siegel wrotebut did not createthis Anglo arachnid. 1974 photo courtesyof Shel Dorf. [2006 IPC Magazines or its successors in interest.]

  • lter Ego #56 featured a talk with Neal Adams about thelate 1960s at DC Comics, in conjunction with Jims in-depthinterview with longtime production and coloring guruJack Adler. Unfortunately, we didnt have room to run

    quite all of the Adams/Amash discussion at that time, so we saved itfor this issue. Part I contained mostof the conversation about Adler andcoloring, but Jim still had a fewquestions about Neals early DCwork, which the then-artist offeatures such as Deadman and The Spectre, as well as a lot offabulous and influential covers,generously answered Roy.

    Forget The DeadlinesWeHave To Do Some Covers

    JA: When you first started doingcovers, Carmine was already covereditor, wasnt he?

    ADAMS: No. When I first started doing covers, I was doingDeadman and a couple of things. But then, almost immediately,Carmine became what they call art directorwhich wasnt so muchcover editor, but if you had to define it, the term art director reallyapplied to the covers. So he was art-directing covers.

    JA: I first saw your work on those Action Superman covers. Thefirst one I remember seeing was the one where Superman was on thewitness stand and a little girl accused him of killing her father. Whenyou were doing those covers initially, whom did you deal with?What was the process like of creating the covers?

    ADAMS: Well, mostly I was originally doing covers on my own stuff.When Carmine became the art director, he decided I was going toeither make suggestions for covers, or he was going to art-direct covershimself and I would go ahead and finish them. And I guess he chose mebecause I was making a difference up there. People were noticing thatmy work had some impact that was more dynamic than what younormally saw.

    So he felt that, if he was now becoming an art director, he wasntgoing to draw the covers. He needed the dynamics to be in the workthat had to be done. He knew that I was interested in doing my owncovers on Deadman and certain other covers. He needed othercovers, so he would call me in and say, Look, weve got to get somecovers done for So-and-so and So-and-so. I would say, I have some

    deadlines. He would say, Forget the deadlineswe have to do somecovers. So Id say, Okay, fine. And then we would kick aroundideas and he would do some sketches and I would do some sketches.

    Sometimes his sketches were sufficient and fine to work off of. If I

    If You Cant ImproveSomething 200%, Then Go

    With The Thing That You HaveModern Legend NEAL ADAMS On The Late 1960s At DC ComicsInterview Conducted by Jim Amash Transcribed by Brian K. Morris

    And A Little Child Shall Lead Them To Neal AdamsNeal Adams photo appeared in the 1969 Fantastic Four Annual, sinceby then he was doing work for Marvel as well as for DC. Interviewer

    Jim Amash remembers Neals cover for Action Comics #359 (Feb. 1968).Unlike many comic book artists, Neal was always very effective whendrawing children. Thanks to Bob Cherry for the scan. [Photo 2006

    Marvel Characters, Inc.; cover 2006 DC Comics.]

    AA

    40

  • had an idea I liked, I would fight for the idea. And if Carminethought that it was a good enoughidea, he had the sensibility and sensi-tivity to go with my idea. If he felt hehad a better idea, and strongly felt it, Icould have taken the option and say,Hey, lookyou know, I dont reallylike the idea, I dont really want to doit. Ill go off and peddle my papers anddo something else. I could have donethat, but usually I agreed that hisconcept was more powerful, eventhough I may not have liked theconcept of the composition.

    You can tell when something isstronger and gets across an idea morereadily, that theres no reason not to gowith that. Its my philosophythat ifyou cant improve something 200%,then go with the thing that you have.So if I couldnt come up withsomething that was so much betterthan Carmines that I could see it200% better, then I would say, Heck,you know, Im cool with that. Lets trythis. So Id do a little variation on thatmaybe, but I would say that in thetime that I worked with Carmine,something like a quarter of the coverswere his layouts directly and the rest ofthem were either mine or conglomera-tions of his and mine, or passing the

    paper back and forth orwhatever.

    JA: Theres one coverthats sticking in mymind at the moment. Itwas Action #361 whereThe Parasite hitsSuperman. He says, Igave you two blackeyesnow Im goingto bust your nose.And Supermanscoming at the reader,almost in a Kirbyishpose. That cover isstriking, if youllpardon the pun.

    ADAMS: Thats aperfect example of whatIm talking about, of mydoing a sketch, ofCarmine doing a sketch,my doing a little sketchover his, him doing alittle sketching overmine, and then comingto a composition thatwas neither his normine, but was verypowerful. And if youlook at it and say, Well,gee, thats a Kirbysketch, you could

    practically make it a Kirby sketch. Thereare things that are universal, and Jackseemed to be the man sitting at the hub ofthat universality. So that probably is whythat cover reminds you of Kirby. Lookfor a dynamic, find Jack Kirby. I said inan interview recently that if you look upthe word dynamic in the dictionary, itprobably says Jack Kirby.

    JA: [laughs] I wouldnt argue a bit.When you drew a cover for a story youdid not illustrate, did you read thatstory first?

    ADAMS: I would try to. I would at leasttry to get the gist of the story before Istarted drawing, because I did not likedoing a cover that didnt relate directly tothe story. So there was a lot of casualnessapplied to that. I would try to go andsneak the story and read it before I wasobligated to do a layout.

    JA: How often was a cover done before

    If You Look Up The Word DynamicIn The Dictionary, It Probably Says

    Jack KirbyNeal feels the cover of Action Comics #361

    (March 1968) was one of his most Kirbyesque.Thanks to Bob Cherry. [2006 DC Comics.]

    Deadman Gets It Off His ChestNot much doubt that Neals most memorable DC featureduring the 1960s was Deadman, which he inheritedfrom co-creator Carmine Infantino after the origin

    story. The entire saga has been reprinted in hardcoverform. The cover of Strange Adventures #213 (Aug. 1968)

    is reprod from a photocopy of the original art,courtesy of Richard Martines. During that era, Neal alsodrew the cover above right for the 5th issue of BobCosgroves fanzine Championwith thanks to Dennis

    Beaulieu. [2006 DC Comics.]

    If You Cant Improve Something 200% ... 41

  • ran Matera may be better known as theartist of the comic strip Steve Roper andMike Nomad, but he also drew his share of

    comic books. From Doll Man to romance, crime,Western, and war comics, from Treasure Chest toSunset Carson and The Hulk, Frans unerringdraftsmanship has delighted both readers andeditors, as he accumulated some interesting experi-ences. More in the Milton Caniff school than theRaymond/Foster school, Frans fun, energetic stylelent itself to a variety of features, as youre about toseewith thanks to Geoff Brenneman for sharingFran's contact info with me, resulting in this 2003interview. One of the true nice guys in cartooning,Fran sells his Steve Roper originals on eBay anddonates 10% of the proceeds to ACTOR, the organi-zation that benefits comic book people in need of financial assistance[see p. 46 for more information]. A grand gesture from a grand guy!I asked him a questionand well start right out in medias res withhis answer. Jim.

    World War II Took Me AwayFRAN MATERA: I was into cartooning by my firstyear in high school. One day, a salesman representingthe Federal Art Schools correspondence courseknocked on our door and told my mother that her sonhad won the Draw Me contest. My brother fessedup and admitted that he had drawn the prize-winningentry. He then told our mother that he wasnt inter-ested in taking the course. That was my clue to yellout, Hey, mom, can I have that course? She paid forthe course, which I took during my high school years.

    I desperately wanted to do a newspaper strip. I hadalso collected comic books and had my favorites, likethe Green Lantern, Reed Crandalls Blackhawk,

    and others. After school, Id go to the public library to read the comics,going through all the different newspapers they had. I loved AlexRaymonds Flash Gordon and Alfred Andriolas Charlie Chan, drawnin a Milton Caniff-like style. I wrote a fan letter to Andriola, requestinga Charlie Chan original, and that was the beginning of my association

    with him.

    This was 1943, just before I went into military service. In mythank you note to Andriola, I enclosed some of my art

    samples, which he liked. He asked me to come down from

    It Only Took 40 YearsTo Be The Steve Roper Artist!Artist FRAN MATERA Talks About QualityAnd Not Just The Comics Company!Interview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim AmashFF

    Matera And FriendsFran Matera, in an early-1980s photo taken when he was drawing thethen-new Legend of Bruce Lee comic strip. Hes flanked by a montageof studies (dated 1982 on the sheet) which he did of Lee at the timeand a sketch he generously did for interviewer Jim Amash of DollMan, a super-hero he drew briefly for Quality Comics in the early40s. Unfortunately, we didnt have any vintage Doll Man art ofFrans we could positively identifybut clearly, the ol Maestro

    Matera still has the magic touch! [Bruce Lee art 2006 Bruce Lee orsuccessors in interest; Doll Man TM & 2006 DC Comics.]

    48

  • Bridgeport, Connecticut, toNew York City, where hewas. I brought more sampleswith me, and he said, Howwould you like to try doingsome more art samples?There might be an oppor-tunity for you. Andriolasent me to Quality Comicsin New York, where Iworked for a couple ofmonths.

    But World War II tookme away. When I came backin 1946, Andriola asked me tocome and see him. By thistime, he was drawing KerryDrake, from Allen Saundersscripts. Allen Saunders was looking for someone to draw Steve Roper.I went home and looked at some old comic books Roper was appearingin. I drew a couple of strips, which I still have, showed them toAndriola, who said, These are good. How would you like to work forme? I told him I would.

    Andriola never created anything on his own. The stories werethumbnailed on newsprint, cut to the size of the original art, and thefigures were drawn as stick figures. Id take those home to Connecticutand come back with a whole week of penciled Kerry Drake strips,dailies and Sundays.

    I wanted to ink the strip, and Andriola said, Okay, you can inkeverything but the hands and faces. That was the standard at the timewhen people employed ghost artists. I did this for a couple of weeks,until I decided to show off. I inked a couple of the character heads, andAndriola said, Okay, fine. I asked if I could keep doing that, and hesaid I could. I did that for five weeks for $75 a week. He had a letterer,whose name Ive forgotten, and a background man, too. I did thefinished pencils and some of the inks, and then Andriola gave the stripsto someone else to polish up.

    I stopped doing this because the Associated Press hired me to takeover Dickie Dare. I went to see Coulton Waugh and his wife, Odin.Waugh was writing and doing a lot of the art, and his wife worked on itfor a while, signing it Odin. Her brother lettered. Gradually, bothCoulton and Odin wanted to taper off the doing the strip so they couldpaint, and I took over. Odins brother continued to letter it, but hedidnt live near me, so I decided to take that over. But I realized Iwanted to do something else, because I was only making $120 a month,even though that was good money in 1947, 48.

    There I Was At Quality, Doing The Doll ManAnd The Clock

    JIM AMASH: Let me back up for a moment and ask you aboutAndriolas comic book work. You remember his Captain Triumphfor Quality Comics?

    MATERA: Yes, I do. It was nice work, but I didnt have any part indoing that.

    JA: Did he create that feature?

    MATERA: He might have... I dont know. I didnt help him on hiscomic book work. But Andriola got me into Quality Comics, as I said.There were two guys editing there: John Beardsley and GeorgeBrenner. I was still in high school.

    JA: I see. By the way, when were you born?

    MATERA: December 9, 1924. I remember meeting a guy who wasworking for them and he was crying because he had to go into theservice. I wish I could remember who he was. But anyway, Quality waslosing people left and right to the war, so I was hired on the spot.

    JA: Was Gill Fox editing when you came up there?

    MATERA: He may have been, but I think he was on his way to theservice, though he did show me around when I first came up toQuality. What I remember is that there was a conflict betweenBeardsley and George Brenner. They bickered about who was the headhoncho. One of them once pushed the other through the door with hisshoulder, so it was obvious that they were having problems workingtogether. By the way, Harry Cheslers son Jay was working there, and

    Ghost Of A ChanceIn 1946 Fran ghosted the popular Kerry Drake newspaper comic for its creator, Alfred Andriola. Supplied by the artist.

    [2006 the respective copyright holders.]

    We Dare Ya, DickieA Dickie Dare daily from the 1947-48 period. Supplied by Fran Matera. [2006 Associated Press News Features or successors in interest.]

    It Only Took 40 Years... To Be The Steve Roper Artist... 49

  • All TaRZAN AND BURROUGHS ART 2006 BY EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS, INC.OTHER MANNING ART 2006 BY THE RUSS MANNING ESTATE

    From Fantasy Advertiser, Jan. 1948.

  • Russ Manning Pt. 2By Michael T GilbertIts always fun to compare an artists

    early work, brimming with raw potential,with his later art. Amidst the awkwarddrawings and stylistic experiments, oneoften glimpses hints of future greatness.Such is the case with Russ Manning (1929-1981).

    Mannings first published drawingsappeared in a handful of science-fictionand fantasy fanzines between 1947 and1951. Russ turned pro in 1952 when hebegan drawing Brothers of the Spear, aback-up strip in Dells Tarzan comic. Hisfirst installment appeared in Tarzan #39(Dec. 1952), and he continued for animpressive 14-year run, ending in Tarzan#156 (Feb. 1966).

    Russ also drew Tarzan himself in1952, for a never-published 3-D comic.The story appeared two years later inWesterns March of Comics #114.Manning also illustrated the Tarzan

    Above left: Science, Fantasy and Science Fiction Vol. 1 #2, July 1948.

    Above right: Science, Fantasy and Science Fiction Vol. 1 #1, April 1948.

    Below: Science, Fantasy and Science Fiction Vol. 1 #1, April 1948.

    62 Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt!

  • Introductionast issue, as part of this series (begun in A/E #53) on the threecomics conventions held in Manhattan between mid-1966 andvery early 1967, we printed the first half of a three-man panel

    on comic books of the 1950s. The intrepid panelists, who had activelyread and collected comics during that decade,talked especially about why those produced byEC (Entertaining Comics) were different fromthose that came before them and after they werediscontinued following the 1954-55 advent of theComics Code Authority. Could ECs spirit ofinnovation embodied by the work of HarveyKurtzman, Bernard Krigstein, and other ECartists ever returnand, if it did, would there beany comic book readers around to appreciate it?We re-commence at the mid-point of the discourseon EC and the Comics Code being made bypanel moderator Ted White:

    TED WHITE: The Comics Code Authority is avaluable thing to the extent that it probably did savethe comics field. Comics probably would have beenwiped out with the exception of Classics Illustratedand Dell, whod managed to keep aloof from thewhole argument and managed to stayout of the Code. All therest of them probablywould have been wipedout. The KefauverCommittee was investi-gating; there was allkinds of stuff going on.

    Ive got a file ofnewspaper clippingswhich Bhob Stewart overhere sent me when hewas still in Texas, back in

    the early 50s, and theyre the most frightening clippings. I take themout about once every two years and look at them. Theyre examples ofmass hysteria, of boobism on the rampage. Theyre about the book-burners and the censors who have no idea what theyre burning anddont care, and these are the people who almost killed the field. Andthey didnt care about whether or not whether a man like Jack Kirbycould get work anywhere else, or whether or not anything would

    survive, or the people involved whose careers theywould be destroying. Its not important to them andit never has been.

    Today we do have people like Jack Kirby givingus some really fine stuff. We even have work byWally Wood, Al Williamson, and others. But wedont have EC. The reason we dont have EC [isthat], back when the Code was formed, it wasformed to kill, primarily, two companies: LevGleason and EC. These two companies wereconsidered by an uninformed public to be the worstoffenders in the field. It was felt that they gave theworst image of the field.

    Lev Gleason was publishing some pretty strangecomic books. He was publishing Daredevil at thattime, he was publishing Crimebuster [in BoyComics] and a number of others, [including] Crime

    Does Not Pay. Theseare pretty violent. Illtell you that as a kid, Idid not enjoy them. Asan adult, I went backand read them and Iwas amazed at whatseemed to be a verystrange character tothem. They were reallywriting those stories, Ithink, for slum kids. Ithink they made sensewithin the atmosphere ofa big city slum. I grew up

    The Forgotten 50s: Will ComicsEver Again Be As Exciting As EC?Concluding A 1966 Panel With Ted White,

    Bhob Stewart, & Archie GoodwinPart VI of 1966: The Year Of (Nearly) THREE New York Comicons!by Bill Schelly Panel Transcribed by Brian K. Morris

    67A Comic Fandom Archive Special Multi-Part Series

    LL

    I See, You See, We All SeeEC!Our three 1966 panelists were so EC-centric (though not without ample reason) with regard to the Entertaining Comics group and its 1954-55 battles with theComics Code Authority that we figure this image makes a perfect visual intro to this piece. The EC symbol and Code seal are surrounded by (clockwise frombottom left): Ted White (seen here with then-wife Robin circa 1967)Bhob Stewart (in a vintage photo taken by well-known photographer Henry Wessel)

    and Archie Goodwin, in the Benson Con pic we showed last time. Hey, you think the writer/editor of Creepy and Eerie had nothing to do but pose for pictures?[EC symbol TM & William M. Gaines Agent.]

  • Inspired by a scene in Whiz Comics #22(Captain Marvel TM & 2006 DC Comics, Inc.)

  • ubn Procopio (maskedavenger.com) has been inthe animationindustry for over 25

    years. His creative skills weretaught to him by his fatherAdolfo, and he went on toreceive scholarships to bothCalArts and Art Center.Arriving at DisneyAnimation, Rubn trainedunder Eric Larson, one ofDisneys legendary nine oldmen, and began a careerworking in multiple creativeroles on over a dozen Disneyanimated features, includingThe Little Mermaid, Beauty &the Beast, Tarzan, Mulan, and The LionKing. Rubns versatile skills includesculpture, character design, animation, andillustration. Ruben recently sculpted DCDirects impressive Power of Shazam!Deluxe Statue (based on a design by JerryOrdway), depicting the transformation ofyoung Billy Batson into the WorldsMightiest Mortal. PCH.

    Ruben Procopio is a masked avenger withmultiple identities: illustrator, designer,animator, and sculptor.

    Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina,Procopio came to America with his Italianimmigrant parents in the mid-1960s when hewas four years old; the family soon movedto Burbank California, their stompinggrounds ever since. My dad is a sculptorand worked for Disney Imagineering forover 35 years, says Procopio, and mymom worked in the fashion industry, so Igrew up around two very creative people.With all that inspiration around me, I naturally wanted to be anartist. Television played its influential role upon the impressionisticyoungster, especially the Hanna-Barbera adventure cartoons (SpaceGhost, Super Friends, and Johnny Quest) and heroic live-action showslike Batman, The Lone Ranger, and Shazam! with Jackson Bostwickas Captain Marvel.

    Comic book-wise, Procopio was primarily a DC kid, who laterwould also grow to appreciate the Marvel universe. His favorite artistswere Adams, Aparo, Cardy, Buscema, Romita, Kirby, Kane, Kubert,and later, Garcia-Lopez. His father saw his sons interest in comics anddrawing and started guiding him at a young age. I was copyingcomics, Procopio recalled, then my dad introduced me to thefoundations of art, like anatomy, design, perspective, and painting. He

    would leave me assignments before he left forwork in the morning: for example, a note in ananatomy book saying, Today youre going tolearn about the arm, and how all the musclesinteract and work. Later, when he wouldcome home, he would review with me what Idid. I look back now and realize how fortunateI was. He did that with languages as well, soyou can imagine I had a lot of homework!

    One day while rummaging through piles at an old bookstore,Procopio came across a folder full of Hanna-Barbera animation modelsheets. The drawings seemed to sing off the pages, he remembered.They had emotion and feeling to them. I was hooked! He lookeddown to see the signature on the drawings: ALEX TOTH. Years laterhe learned that Toth lived close by to him, and he began correspondingwith the legendary artist. One thing led to another, and today wevebecome very good friends, Procopio says. Alex introduced me to allhis influences: Sickles, Caniff, Raymond, Foster .

    Besides teaching him about classic comic artists, Procopios father inturn introduced his son to all the sculpting marvels of the past. Then,

    Sculpting Red CheeseArtist RUBN PROCOPIO On Turning 2-D Into 3-Dby P.C. HamerlinckRR

    My Fan Club Is Bigger Than Your Fan Club

    (Above:) Sketch of the Big Red Cheese and the Little Black Mouse by Rubn Procopio drawn

    especially for the Hamerlinck family.[Captain Marvel TM & 2006 DC Comics;Mickey Mouse TM, , & 2006 Disney.]

    (Left:) Photos of Rubn at age seven, readingcomics before bedtimeand Procopio the protoday, working in his Masked Avenger Studios.

    With thanks to the artist.

    80

  • Captain Marvel Meets The Human Torch (Continued)85

    BRAZILIAN BONUS:Tw

    o more pages from the 1964 Alm

    anaq

    ue do O Globo

    Juvenil.The comics of Brazil printed new

    stories of Captain Marvel and fam

    ily for years after Faw

    cetts cancellation of its comics

    line in 1953. In this extraordinary tale, Cap meets the original Hum

    an Torchyeah, Carl Burgos androidsince the adventures of the two heroes had been published by the same company in Brazil,

    though not in the US. On this page the Big Red Cheese continues his battle with The Cobra. [Captain Marvel TM & 2006 DC Comics.]

    ALTER EGO #59Special issue on Batman and Superman in the Golden and SilverAges, ARTHUR SUYDAM interview, NEAL ADAMS on1960s/70s DC, SHELLY MOLDOFF, AL PLASTINO, Golden Ageartist FRAN (Doll Man) MATERA and VIC CARRABOTTA interviewed, SIEGEL & SHUSTER, RUSS MANNING, FCA, MR.MONSTER, SUYDAM cover, and more!

    (100-page magazine) $6.95 (Digital Edition) $2.95

    http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_55&products_id=371

    IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PREVIEW,CLICK THE LINK TO ORDER THIS

    ISSUE IN PRINT OR DIGITAL FORMAT!