Batman TM & 2006 DC Comics& MORE!!!
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& STEELIN THE GOLDEN & SILVER AGES
Alter EgoTM is published monthly, except Jan., April., Sept.,
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27614,USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow,
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Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada.
Vol. 3, No. 59 / June 2006
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 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
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
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
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
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&
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
MICHAEL T. GILBERT on Twice-Told Tales byMICHAEL T. GILBERT! FCA
with MARC SWAYZE & ALEX ROSS& MORE!!
FIFTY YEARS HAVEGONE BY IN A FLASH!
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
TM & 2006 DC Comics.]
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
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
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
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
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
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
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//
SD: Never heard that story before. Thank you for sharing
[At this point Shel shuts off the tape and restarts it, with a
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
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
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
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
Terry And the Low-RatesYoull understand the above heading when
you read Shellys first anecdote in the interview. Circa 1946,
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
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
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.
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
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
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
aloft during the dark days of falling comic sales in the
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
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
The following interview is the result ofcombining various phone
between Mr. Plastino, Jim Kealy, andmyself between mid-2005 and
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
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
[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
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
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
CheslerWas A Strange GuyEZ: When did you begin your comics
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
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
(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
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
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
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,
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
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
When Supermans Co-Creator Fought ForTruth, Justice, And The
European Wayby Alberto Becattini
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
Jerry Siegel Always Did Like HeroesWhose Names Started With
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
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
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
Sometimes his sketches were sufficient and fine to work off of.
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.
Marvel Characters, Inc.; cover 2006 DC Comics.]
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.]
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
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
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,
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
MATERA: Yes, I do. It was nice work, but I didnt have any part
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
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
Ghost Of A ChanceIn 1946 Fran ghosted the popular Kerry Drake
newspaper comic for its creator, Alfred Andriola. Supplied by the
[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
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
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
Above right: Science, Fantasy and Science Fiction Vol. 1 #1,
Below: Science, Fantasy and Science Fiction Vol. 1 #1, April
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
With thanks to the artist.
Captain Marvel Meets The Human Torch (Continued)85
o more pages from the 1964 Alm
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
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
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
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS PREVIEW,CLICK THE LINK TO ORDER THIS
ISSUE IN PRINT OR DIGITAL FORMAT!