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Art 2007 DC Comics
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AND WE WANTTO KNOW NOW!!
Alter EgoTM is published monthly by TwoMorrows, 10407
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449-0344.Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego
Editorial Offices: 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews, SC 29135,
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of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed
in Canada. ISSN: 1932-6890
This issue is dedicated to the memory of
Bob Oksner,Sam Burlockoff, & Joe Gill
ContentsIn Memoriam: Leave It To Bob Oksner! . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 2My Women Had Saturday Night Bodies AndSunday School
Faces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bob Oksner talks to Jim Amash about drawing Angels, Apes, &
everything in between.
The Powell/Eisner/Arnold Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . 37Roy Thomas examines vintage letters from Bob Powell, Will
Eisner, & Busy Arnold.
Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt! The [Bob] Powell Family Album!Part II.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . 45
More photos & art featuring the Golden/Silver Age
artistcontinued from last issue.
Marty Arbunich And Bill DuBay Remember. . . . . . . . . . . . .
60Two prominent 1960s fans interviewed by Bill Schelly for the
Comic Fandom Archive.
Tributes to Sam Burlockoff & Joe Gill . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 67re: [comments, correspondence, & corrections] .
. . . . . . . . 71FCA (Fawcett Collectors Of America) #126 . . . .
. . . . . . . . . 87Paul Hamerlinck presents Jeff (Bone, Monster
Society) Smith, a Marc Swayze comic strip, anda feisty essay by
About Our Cover: This issues spotlight falls on Golden/Silver
Age artist Bob Oksner, whosnoted more for drawing humor comics and
beautiful women than super-heroes Supergirlto the contrary
notwithstanding. But recently I got hold of a photocopy of the
original artof his cover for Adventure Comics #423 (Sept. 1972), on
which the Maid of Steel crashesa meeting of the Justice League of
Americaliterally. When I mentioned to Bill Morrisonthat I hoped to
use that art as the cover of this issue of Alter Ego, but with
Binky (froma 1948 issue of Leave It to Binky) and the late-1960s
Angel and the Ape tossed into the mix,the Bongo Comics editorthough
also busy with producing duties on an obscure little showcalled The
Simpsonsvolunteered to find just the right Oksner poses of those
three and addthem to the scene. He did it, tooand beautifully!
Turns out Bills as big a Bob Oksner fanas are several other
collectors who sent us a gaggle of goodies by the artist! Thanks a
heap,Bill! 1950s photo courtesy of Ken Nadle. [Art 2007 DC
Above: Along with other scans of original and even
never-published art youll admire inthe pages that follow, pro
artist Kevin Nowlan e-mailed us this scan of a penciled
Supergirlfigure by Bob Oksner, from the backside of a page from
Adventure Comics #414 (Jan.1972). Kevin writes: It looks like he
sometimes used a light box to refine his drawings inreverse. [2007
Vol. 3, No. 67 / April 2007EditorRoy Thomas
Associate EditorsBill SchellyJim Amash
Design & LayoutChristopher Day
Consulting EditorJohn Morrow
FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck
Comic Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert
Editorial Honor RollJerry G. Bails (founder)Ross Foss, Biljo
Editor EmeritusMike Friedrich
Production AssistantChris Irving
Circulation DirectorBob Brodsky, Cookiesoup
Cover ArtistBob Oksner (with help from Bill Morrison)
Cover ColoristTom Ziuko
With Special Thanks to:Heidi AmashMichael AmbroseMiki
AnnamanthadooMarty ArbunichDick ArnoldBob BaileyJean BailsMike W.
BarrAlberto BecattiniAllen & Roz BellmanJack BenderRon
BergerAlyssen BillsDominic BongoCraig DelichAl DellingesJay
ToonpediaBill DuBayHarlan EllisonRon FrantzJanet GilbertKathleen
GlosanAndreas GottschlichGrand Comic Book
DatabaseGeorge HagenauerJennifer HamerlinckIrwin HasenFred
HembeckHeritage ComicsAl Jaffee
Jonathan G. JensenDenis KitchenEd LaneKaren LaneDan MakraJose
Marzan, Jr.Bruce MasonFran MateraScotty MooreBrian K. MorrisBill
MorrisonKen NadleKevin NowlanBob OksnerJoe PetrilakJohn PowellKyle
PowellRob PowellSeth PowellHart RieckoffDorothy SchaffenbergerJeff
SmithAnthony SnyderMarc SwayzeDann ThomasJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.Dr.
Michael J. VassalloGreg VondruskaHames WareMorris WeissAlex
WrightCat YronwodeEddy Zeno
TwoMorrows 10407 Bedfordtown Drive Raleigh, NC 27614 USA
919-449-0344 FAX: 919-449-0327 E-mail: [email protected]
TwoMorrows. Celebrating The Art & History Of Comics.
ob Oksner passed away on February 18, 2007 while thisissue of
Alter Ego, celebrating certain aspects of his life andachievements,
was in the final stages of preparation. He was
four months past his 90th birthday.
Ive enjoyed his work since long before I knew who drew
thoseearly issues of Leave It to Binky, one of the better
Archie-style titlesof the late 1940s. As a youngster in the 1940s
and 50s, I must havepurchased dozens, maybe hundreds, of comic
books containing Oksnerart, since he drew in so many genres:
teenage humor (Binky)licensed-celebrity humor (Bob Hope, Dean
Martin and Jerry Lewis,Sgt. Bilko, Miss Beverly Hills of
Hollywoodeven, Lord help me,Miss Melody Lane of Broadway)
science-fiction (StrangeAdventures, Mystery in Space) and of course
Golden Age super-heroes (one Hawkman and a JSA chapter in All-Star
Comics #38,in addition to inking some Flash and Green Lantern).
As an adult, I continued to admire his output, particularly the
zanyAngel and the Ape. While hes probably right when he says, in
thisissues interview with Jim Amash, that super-heroes werent
hisstrongest suitand he candidly admits that may even be one reason
hedidnt like drawing themhe was more than up to the task. His
contri-butions to the Supergirl series are especially noteworthy
and whenI first ran across the Supergirl/JLA cover of Adventure
Comics #423which became the basis of this months A/E cover, I
fleetingly thoughtit might consist of Irv Novick pencils under Dick
Giordano inks. In hisown way, Bob Oksner could do it all.
I dont believe Bob and I ever met, but I enjoyed our few brief
phoneconversations over the past year. He was full of life and
spirit, for a guyrounding out his ninth decade, and quite
enthusiastic about theupcoming interview, volunteering to look over
any art sent him, with aneye toward whether hed done it or not. Jim
and I took him up on that.
In fact, the morning Mrs. Oksner phoned to tell me Bob had
goneinto the hospital some days before, I was on the verge of
calling him toask about a feature called Kid Click which Id found
in a 1944 issueof the obscure Camera Comics. I had mailed him
photocopies of the4-pager, since Jerry Bails online Whos Who
attributes some KidClick to him, and I wondered if it was his
workadmittedly, only if ithad been batted out on a bad day.
Mrs. Oksner informed me that, right before he went into
thehospital, Bob asked her to call and tell me that he didnt think
he haddone that particular story.
Now thats a pro.
Well miss your tremendous talent, Bob and well miss you,
The Father Of Comic Book Fandom& The 30th Anniversary of
Marvel ComicsAdaptation Of A Movie Masterpiece!
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 MAYCOMING IN MAY
[Justice Society of America 2007 DC Comics.]
Never-before-published JSA cover by GEORGE PREZ! Spotlight on
Alter Ego founder JERRY G. BAILS & his importance to comics
& to pro comics! Accolades by DAVE GIBBONS, MIKE VOSBURG,
PAUL LEVITZ,TONY ISABELLA, JOHN WRIGHT, JIM AMASH, BILL SCHELLY, et
al.plus rare art byKUBERT, two KANEs, INFANTINO, ANDERSON,
SEKOWSKY, HASEN, KIRBY, DITKO,CARDY, DILLIN, TOTH, PETER, ORDWAY,
BUCKLER, STATON, & many more!
Bonus! Never-seen interviews with JERRY BAILS and co-editor
HAMES WARE onthe landmark 1970s Whos Who of American Comic
Marvels STAR WARS Comic at 30! The full story of the adaptation
that precededthe film! ROY THOMAS tells about working/interacting
with HOWARD CHAYKIN,GEORGE LUCAS, HARRISON FORD, MARK HAMILL, STEVE
LEIALOHA, DAVESTEVENS, RICK HOBERG, BILL WRAY, ALAN KUPPERBERG,
MICHAEL T. GILBERT on JERRY BAILSFCA with BAILS, SWAYZE, BECK,
JERRY G. BAILS& STAR WARS!
Titanic Tributes To Two Stellar Phenomena!
BBLeave It To BOB OKSNER!
In Memoriam& In Celebration
My Women Had Saturday NightBodies And Sunday School
FacesCartoonist Par Excellence BOB OKSNER Drew Angels,
ApesAnd Everything In Between!Conducted by Jim Amash Transcribed
by Brian K. Morris
ob Oksner was one of the bestcartoonists in comics. He started
outwith the Lloyd Jacquet shop before
moving on to Cinema Comics, where he becamethe shops art
director. From there, he moved onto a 40-year association with DC
Comics, wherehe drew Sgt. Bilko, Leave It to Binky, TheAdventures
of Bob Hope, The Adventures ofJerry Lewis, Angel and the Ape, and
WelcomeBack, Kotter, in addition to various super-herofeatures such
as Shazam!, Supergirl, LoisLane, and inking Curt Swan on
Superman,among others. He also had several tries atnewspaper
syndication with Cairo Jones,Soozie, and I Love Lucy, as well as
co-writingDondi with his close friend Irwin Hasen. Bobcould draw
anything and do it with glamourand taste.
Unfortunately, Bob passed away the veryday I proofread this
interview I had done with him.He was a true gentleman of
distinction with a strikingphysical presence, and a quiet, gentle
humor. No one deserved an extended interviewany more than Bob,
and Im sorry he isnt hereto see it, especially considering how much
thismeant to him. All of us who knew Bob will misshim. He was an
extraordinary, gracious, patientman. Special thanks to our mutual
friend,cartoonist Morris Weiss, for contacting Bob forme, and our
deepest condolences to the Oksnerfamily on their loss... and ours.
My Mother Caught Me OutsideWith A .38. I Think
I Started To Draw ThenJIM AMASH: We have the tape running now,so
please tell me the story you had started.
BOB OKSNER: All right. My last name isbasically German,
O-C-H-S-N-E-R, but my
folks lived in Poland, and at that time, it was Russiaand you
spelled it that way with a K: O-K-S-N-E-R. And thats the
The Adventures OfBob Oksner
Bob Oksnerjuxtaposed withexamples of both his sillyand serious
sides. (Left:)The cover of The Adventuresof Bob Hope #84 (Dec.
1963-Jan. 1964), sent by collectorBob Bailey. (Right:) The
artists cover for Supergirl #10(Sept.-Oct. 1974), reprodfrom a
photocopy of theoriginal art; courtesy ofdealer/collector
AnthonySnyder, whose website is
www.anthonysnyder.com/art[Art 2007 DC Comics.]
Collector Bob Bailey writes ofthe snapshot: This is the
photo I ever took of BobOksner. I took it in the fall of1978,
while Bob was teaching.I was working at the K-Martin Randolph, NJ,
and going to the [Joe] KubertSchool (then in Wharton,
NJ)fulltime. The picture may be alittle washed-out due to thecheap
K-Mart film I used. Istopped using it shortly afterthat. Hey, were
you took it, Bob!
Let me tell you a very fascinating story atthe very beginning.
During World War II,we were the only Oksners in Manhattan, theonly
one in the phone book. And I washome with my wife in our apartment
and aman came by and told me he had credentialsto speak for the man
hes speaking for. Itwas a Nazi general that was capturedJoseph
Ochsnerand he claimed to be along-distance relative. And my father
hadtold me this story about parts of our familyliving in Germany
and converting fromJudaism to Catholicism, and they weredoing
business together across the border inupper Silesia. Of course I
would do nothingto help this captured German Nazi general,who
claimed he had Jewish relatives inManhattan. I regret having being
so abruptwith this man whom I practically threw out,because now I
want to know what theconnection was. I was foolish... though
notfoolish at the time. It was wartime, about1944, and sure enough,
shortly afterwards inThe New York Times, I saw JosephOchsners name
on a list of capturedGerman generals. Im glad my wife wasthere,
because nobody else would believe thestory. [chuckles] As I say,
now I could kickmyself for not giving some time for this manand
finding out what exactly what theconnection was.
JA: Well, you had a human reaction to a vile...
OKSNER: Right, right. Im not going to be too angry with
JA: A lot of people would have done worse to him than you
OKSNER: [chuckles] Well, Im a very sweet guy.
JA: [laughs] Thats what Morris Weiss says. Okay, let me askyou a
very basic question. No peeking now... when and whereyou born?
OKSNER: Thats a very easy question. I spilled out at a very
earlyage. [Jim laughs] I was born in Manhattan, New York City,
1916,October 14th. Want me to give you my Social Security?
JA: [laughs] Just the checks, Bob.
OKSNER: Okay. We moved, before I was a year old, to Paterson,New
Jersey, where I was raised, really, until I went to college. AndI
lived there when I went to college, but I spent more time in
NewYork than I did at home.
When I was a little boy, I drew airplanesbiplanes,in those
daysand soldiers. All my uncles were inWorld War I, and when they
came back, they wereunmarried. They were kids, practicallythe
oldest,possibly in his early twenties. They lived with myparents,
but they were so young that they hadnt setup a home for themselves,
so they lived for at least ayear or so with my folks until life
settled down afterthe war, and they brought back their souvenirs. I
hadso many bayonets and gas masks and helmets, which Iwore on
Halloween. We had revolvers, too, until oneday my mother caught me
outside with a .38 and thatwas the end of the revolvers. So I think
I started to
Also, there was an airfield, Teterboro,in New Jersey. Now its a
private airfieldfor private airplanes. Fokker, which wasa German
firm, had a building there andmanufactured planes, and there
wouldalways be a Fokker plane there. Ofcourse that was the big
plane duringWorld War I for the Germans. Myfather would take me
there every nowand then on a Sunday, and wed watchthe airplane
shows. So I would draw theairplanes. Thats the only way I
couldfigure out how I got into drawing,because I had the material
there and Ithink almost every boy draws soldiers atthe beginning
ofespecially, it wasntthat long after World War I.
When I was too young to read well,Id get in bed on Sundays and
my fatherread the Sunday comics to me. BarneyGoogle and Bringing Up
Father, allthese classics. And Little Nemo... thegreat ones. But I
never thought I wouldbe drawing strips. You know, that wasfor
I took a drawing course in highschool. I was drawing in high
schoolbecause I liked to draw. Its as simple as
that. By now, I wanted to be an artist. My parents had a
four-familybuilding, right in the best part of Paterson, right next
to a hospital.They wanted me to be a doctor and I had no ability,
and no desire to be
All These ClassicsAs a child, Oksner devoured such comic strips
as BillyDeBecks Barney Google, George McManus Bringing UpFather,
and Winsor McKays Little Nemo in Slumberland.Here are samples of
each from, respectively, 1923, c. 1930,& c. 1909. [Barney
Google & Bringing Up Father 2007King Features Syndicate; Little
Nemo in public domain.]
4 Bob Oksner Drew Angels, ApesAnd Everything In Between!
a doctor. Then they settled for mebeing a lawyer. [Jim laughs]
Theywere very much afraid that I wouldstarve... you know, being an
artist inthose daysfirst of all, it was at thebeginning of the
Depression. I wentto high school in 1930 and myparents had a friend
who was anartist in Greenwich Village and hewas literally starving.
He had todepend on his sister and his family tosupport him. My
parents wanted meto have a profession so they sent meto college. I
was sent to an art school.
Id Draw In TheEvening And Then Do
My HomeworkJA: Was that New York University?
OKSNER: Yes, and I had gone outto St. Louis. I had a large
familythere in the summer of 34 and theywanted me to go to
WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis, which was anexcellent school.
All my cousins outin St. Louis went there. Thats how Igot into
I drew cartoons for a humormagazine: N.Y.U. Varieties. But
thatgot me into art school because,having fulfilled my
familysrequirement, namely the graduate inPre-law, and being a
member of thehonorary Pre-law Society, they thenallowed me to go to
the Art Students League. But while I was incollege, I decided to
become an illustrator. Illustration was very big atthat time.
Saturday Evening Post, Colliers... all the magazines
hadillustrators who were magnificent artists. Anyway, I figured out
a wayto meet an illustrator. I was one of the editors of a magazine
and Ithought, If I have a beauty contest and invited illustrators
to bejudges, Id get to meet them. Which I did. I invited Russell
Pattersonand Arthur William Brown, both of whom I admired very
much. Theywere both so nice to me. Brownie became sort of a mentor
to me whenI went to art school, and Russell Patterson got me my
first job. Andthey did pick a girl who wasnt that beautiful, but
what the hell. Shewas happy and I was happy.
By the way, Sy Reit [creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost] was
myco-editor on the magazine. He was a Philosophy major and I
alwayswas in awe of anybody who was a Philosophy major. He was
verysweet, a wonderful guy. His father and uncle were both lawyers.
Hisuncle was a judge and they worked for burlesqueMinsky. Sy
wouldget passes to Minskys Burlesque. He wasnt permitted to attend,
so hegave me the passes, for a year at least. Every Friday, after
the week wasover, before I went back to Patterson, I would go to a
burlesque and Igot to know all these strippers and comedians.
In college, I played the piano at that time and I wrote songs
for ourclass at the senior dance and things like that. At the
dances, they hadbands like Woody Hermans. You ever hear of Larry
Clinton? Hes alesseranyway, they would come in and make
arrangements of thetunes I wrote and wed dance to it. And it
sounded so good the waythey played it, you know. [mutual laughter]
They would take
anything and arrange it so itsounded great.
JA: You went to New YorkUniversity and got a Bachelorsdegree.
Did you go straight toColumbia from there?
OKSNER: No, that was later. I gota Bachelors and then went to
theArt Students League for two years.My parents were not satisfied.
Theywanted me to be able to make aliving, and I had majored in
Historyand Economics and minored inEconomics and English.
Theywanted me to be a teacher, so theysent me to qualify for
teaching atColumbia at their school ofeducation for an M.A. But I
had nodesire to teach. But to please myparents, who were laying out
themoney, I did that for a year and thenI was living in New York. I
couldntafford the dorms at Columbia. Myuncle was manager of a hotel
thatmy cousins owned on 42nd Streetand Seventh Avenue in
Manhattan,which is right where the burlesquehouses were.
Now I suspect it was more thansimply a place where
burlesquequeens stayed, because I was warnedby my uncle never to
speak to anywomen on the elevator. [Jim laughs]And he went around
with a .38,[more laughter] and he had set up a
target in the basement for us to shoot at. And then I learned
about ajob opening, painting flowers on lampshades. I had no idea
how to doit, but I applied for the job and I got it. It was at the
JA: What year was that?
OKSNER: Either 1939 or 40. I went to the Art Students league in
39.Let me finish with the hotel. When I came home from school in
theevening, I would set up and draw comic book stories for
LloydJacquet. Not for much money, but Id draw in the evening and
then domy homework. I worked with Lloyd Jacquet at Funnies,
Incorporated,from 1940, possibly, to 42. I worked on several
features with writerMickey Spillane.
JA: Was Jacquet the man who hired you?
OKSNER: I dont remember, but Jacquet was the only fellow I
knewthere. I never worked in the bullpen. I was there to pick up
scripts andto deliver, so I didnt get to meet people there. As for
pay, it was maybe$7 a page, for pencils and inks, no lettering. I
never knew where mystuff was going to appear. I did write some of
my features, but nodetails come to mind now.
Terry Vance I Created That OneJA: Well, I dont expect you to
remember all the features you did,but Im asking just in case
something here rings a bell. A lot of thework you did saw print in
OKSNER: Could be, since I didnt read the comics and never got
Timely TerryOksner says he created the Terry Vance feature, and
even named itshero afterwell, read the interview. This splash from
Marvel MysteryComics #26 (Dec. 1941) was sent by Bob Bailey. Script
by Ray Gill.
[2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]
My Women Had Saturday Night Bodies And Sunday School Faces 5
JA: So Cairo Jones folded in 1947,and you left Standard
OKSNER: Yes. Im trying to thinkwho recommended me to go toDC. It
was a friend, obviously. Itmay have been Irwin Hasen, but Icant
vouch for it. I went toWhitney Ellsworth who was themain editor. He
looked at my workand sent me to Shelly Mayer.
JA: What did you think of Shellywhen you met him?
OKSNER: He was very easy towork for. We became very goodfriends
in a short period of time. Ithink he left at the end of 47 orearly
48. But, during that period ofa few months when we worked onLeave
It to Binky, we became veryclose and I thought, in some
ways,[chuckles] he was very useful. Heimagined himself to be
aHollywood director, and hed walkaround with a polo stick which
hekept in a corner of his office. Lateron, I found out that he
would gothrough ranches and touristranches, and ride a horse with
IrwinHasen, who was his close friend atthe time, and I guess take
his polostick. [chuckles] I had no idea whathed do with it.
Sometimes, heswung it around the office.
JA: Well, I know that he andIrwin sometimes would have
likelittle swordfights, not with swords,but with T-squares.
OKSNER: That may be. Irwincomplained that Shelly would takehis
pages and throw them up in theair and on the floor, but he neverdid
that to me. I was bigger than hewas. [Jim laughs] I remember
onceIve forgotten why, but in front ofan elevator, we had a little
fight, and I hit him, and his glasses fell off. Idont remember why,
because Im a very peaceful guy, so itd besomething most unusual and
most hurtful that would prompt me to hithim. He picked up his
glasses and we both got on the elevator.
JA: And he continued to hire you? [mutual laughter]
OKSNER: Yes. He didnt fire me, and thats the only time, outside
ofpublic school, that I ever hit another guy, and I cant remember
why.He was my only editor until he left, and then I dealt with
JA: Shelly created Leave It to Binky, right? [Bob agrees] And
youpenciled and inked it from 1948 to 1949, and then 55 to 57.
OKSNER: Exactly. You know, this morning, Ive been trying to
thinkwho wrote Binky, and I have no idea. He [Mayer] must have
writtenthe first few issues, because Binky was partly based on the
Scribblyfeature hed previously created. Many items in Binky came
almostdirectly from Scribbly. I artistically created the characters
underShellys approval, but he did all the writing at the beginning
and I took
over from there. And it didntbother me that I wasnt allowed
tosign the work. Doing the job wasall that mattered.
JA: You drew covers for Shelly.Describe the process for me.
OKSNER: Shelly would give methe gagor whoever was writingit or
whoever was editor at thetimehed give me the gag andId go home and
JA: So you never sat in the officeand worked out cover
OKSNER: I worked for DC from1947 to 1986, and I never sat inthe
office and discussed anythingwith an editor. As a matter of fact,at
one time, when I was workingwith Murray Boltinoff, I had alittle
red Alfa Romeo. I lived inTeaneck, New Jersey, which isabout a half
an hour or so fromthe DC offices. I would call upMurray, tell him
Id be in at 2:30,and hed wait downstairs on thecorner of 52nd
Street. Id drive upin my car, pull some of thefinished work, and
hed give me ascript for the next story. I think heliked the idea of
getting out of theoffice. And I liked the idea of nothaving to park
JA: In 1947, 48, I have you asdoing some work on The
JusticeSociety in All-Star Comics. Youmight have penciled some
stuffthere, and also did inks onGreen Lantern and TheFlash.
OKSNER: Possibly. I rememberworking on that. I dont know if
that was 1947 or 48. I remember working on Green Lantern,
TheFlash, and I did them later on, too, in the early 70s. I may
have donesome inking on their solo features back then too, but it
all runstogether now. I do remember doing an All-Star cover. [NOTE:
This isusually considered to be the cover of All-Star Comics #50
(Dec.1949-Jan. 1950), but art-ID specialist Craig Delich now
believesthat its Arthur Peddy-penciled art was actually inked by
Joe Giella.But perhaps it was that, or another, JSA cover that
Oksner inked.Roy.] That was the first time I inked someone elses
JA: How did you feel about that? Did it matter?
OKSNER: No, they were very good artists. I loved inking Curt
Swanin the 1970s, too. He was great.
JA: Did you ink Carmine back then? Or Alex Toth or Irwin
OKSNER: Not Carmine. I inked Irwin Hasen, I believe, at one
time. Idont know the name of the feature. It could have been
JA: But nothing really comes to mind of that work, does it?
Everything Happens To BobWith Leave It to Binky a solid success,
Oksner was assigned to a later butshorter-lived teenage title,
Everything Happens to Harvey. Heres his coverfor #7 (Sept.-Oct.
1954), which inspired provider Bob Bailey to write: Its agreat
example of his fascinating sense of composition. Thats what he
triedto drum into our dumb little heads at the Kubert school. He
was a greatteacher who really cared about the students. He probably
Anderson for being the nicest professional in comics! [2007 DC
12 Bob Oksner Drew Angels, ApesAnd Everything In Between!
OKSNER: No, except that I really despised working on
super-herostuff, because I didnt like the super-hero books. One
reason I left DClater on was that humor was out and I was inking
super-heroes. Thingslike Ghost Patrol ring a bell with me, but
thats as far as my memorygoes.
In The Future, Never Work For DCWithout Getting Paid
JA: Tell me about [DC humor editor] Larry Nadle.
OKSNER: I knew Larry very well. He had been in show
business,though I dont know exactly what he did. Vaudeville or
burlesque? Ihave no idea. Larry was a gambler and was, in many
ways, financiallyprofligate, but a very sweet guy. He had a lovely
wife [Sylvia] and wedgo and play cards together, and hed come to my
house and wedentertain. He was a very nice guy.
JA: Ive heard that he took kickbacks from his freelancers.
OKSNER: Well, you heard correctly. Ill tell you a story that
happenedwith me. There was a fellow, Lin Streeter, whose work I
loved. Theydid a syndicated strip for the [New York] Herald
Tribune, I believe.Larry told me Lin was in great debt to DC. Larry
had told DC thatLin had written stories, but he hadnt written them.
DC had paid Linfor work that he hadnt performed. And presently, Lin
was out in LasVegas and was ill. So I wrote Jerry Lewis, so that
Larry could bring mystuff to DC and say, Lin Streeter wrote this.
[Jim laughs] I wouldntbe paid for it. You know, I liked Lin; he was
in trouble, so Id help himout. I did that until Larry died.
And then, searching through his financial records, they found
outthat I had done this work that had been paid for, but Larry got
themoney, not me. They called me in, thinking I was part of the
plot.Fortunately, I had all the [thumbnail sketches] that I had
done at homeon newsprint pads. Jack Liebowitz, who was the boss at
that time,called me in, and I told him I did the work and I really
wasnt paid forit. He said, Prove it. I said, Fine, Ill bring it in
tomorrow. Ibrought in several pads of Jerry Lewis books. And he
said, In thefuture, never work for DC without getting paid. [mutual
chuckling]Of course, he didnt have to tell me that.
JA: But he didnt offer to pay youfor the work.
OKSNER: No.[chuckles] And thetruth is, I had funwriting it,
because Icould write what Iwanted to draw.
JA: Irwin Hasen toldme that he thoughtthat Larry Nadle waslike a
OKSNER: I didnt feelthat way until after hedied and I learned
whyhe may have been ahaunted man, becausehe was doing
illicitthings. Such a very, verygood expression.[NOTE: Ken
Nadle,son of Larry N., willrelate his own variant
memories of his father in a near-future issue. Roy.]
JA: Did he have had a lot of power there?
OKSNER: I dont know how much power he had. I guess he was agood
con man. He certainly conned me. But he was so good, I likedhim
even though... you know, hed have to be talented that way.
JA: Yeah. So you forgave him then?
OKSNER: Oh, yes. Ill tell you whom I didnt forgive:
RobertKanigher. Let me tell you the story about him. [After Larry
Nadlesdeath] it was discovered that Larry had somehow taken some
moneyand had taken kickbacks, and that I had written stories for
which Iwasnt paid. I was in an office with Kanigher and Irwin
Donenfeld,who was much younger than both of us, but was the former
boss son.Kanigher said, Fire him, meaning me. Fire him right now.
Firehim. [chuckles] And Donenfeld said, Go back to your office.
JA: [laughs] Why did Kanigher want you fired?
OKSNER: Because he assumed Id stolen the money.
JA: Conviction without a trial.
Oksner Lights The LanternCollector Craig Delich, who IDs art for
DCs Archives volumes, tells us thatOksner drew the covers to Comic
Cavalcade #25 & #26 (Feb.-March & Oct.-
Nov. 48), inked the cover to #28, and inked [Irwin] Hasens GL
storypencils in #29, as per the page seen above. With #30, CC was
mutated intoa funny-animal titlebut even Nutsy Squirrel and company
never had anymore fun than Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern
did on their CC
covers! GL scripter unknown probably Robert Kanigher or John
Broome.[2007 DC Comics.]
My Women Had Saturday Night Bodies And Sunday School Faces
The Strange Adventures Of Bob OksnerOksner was appearing in
editor Julius Schwartzs science-fiction titles from the
beginning in one way or another. He penciled (and Bernard Sachs
inked) the story atleft for Strange Adventures #26 (Nov. 1952),
which was scripted by Gardner Fox andthe Murphy Anderson-drawn art
above from SA #122 (Dec. 1960) features an Oksner-
drawn page from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis #4, which had
gone on sale a couple ofweeks earlier. Thanks to Bob Bailey for
both scans and the info. [2007 DC Comics.]
Got A DateWith An
AngelAndAn ApeAngel andthe Apedebuted in
Showcase #77(Sept. 1968),and was
awarded itsown mag in1968. At rightis the splash ofAngel and
theApe #5 (July-Aug. 1969),reprod from
a b&wphotocopysupplied byKevin Nowlan.The editor wasJoe
20 Bob Oksner Drew Angels, ApesAnd Everything In Between!
OKSNER: Carmine was a great designer and a great composer
ofcovers. I kept his layout to some degree, but not his figure
JA: Whose idea was it for you to follow C.C. Beck on
OKSNER: I dont know. I think I was picked for the job because I
wasdoing light stuff and Captain Marvel was really lighter than
thesuper-heroes with all the muscles bulging. I liked drawing
MaryMarvel; it was fun, but I know I wasnt the best Captain
Marvelartist there was.
I had no frame of reference with Captain Marvel. I never read
it,never saw it, so I didnt know Becks work. What they did was give
mesome magazines of Captain Marvel and they said, This is
ourfeature. This is good. The implication was, do it the way that
it hadbeen done. I felt a little bit more at home with him than
withSuperman, because it was a lighter feature. Captain Marvel
wasmore fun than Superman.
JA: You said you were friends with Irwin Donenfeld. How
closewere you before the Nadle incident?
OKSNER: We were very good friends. Irwin would come to my homein
Teaneck and visit me. He and his wife would come, and when theywere
divorced, he would come. When he had a new car, he drove itover to
show me. He came to my house, but I never went to his. WhenI first
met him in the office, he was a gofer... just a kid. I think he
eithercame out of the Army or he came out of college. He would
bringcoffee to people, the editors and such.
JA: Did you ever have any dealings at all with his father,
OKSNER: No, I would see his father around. I had more
dealingswith Jack Liebowitz. Liebowitz would say hello, and Id
sort-of popinto his office every so often to say, Hello, Jack.
JA: Did you feel that he was the guy really running the
OKSNER: Yes, without a doubt. If even Irwin Donenfeld called
himUncle Jack, and of course he wasnt Irwins uncle, then you know
hewas running the company.
I Shouldnt Have To Introduce Myself To KidsWho Are Younger Than
JA: You worked for romance editor Zena Brody.
OKSNER: Yes, Zena I knew. She was married to a physician, and
shewas a young woman when she died. I dont know what she died of,
butI know that she wasnt there. She was a very nice girl. Ruth
Brant alsoedited romance books. She was lovely. And, of course,
Kanigher said heslept with her, too. But she went back to South
Dakota. Thats whereshe came from.
JA: Okay, tell me about Murray Boltinoff. I know you didnt
havemany dealings with the editors, but can you contrast him with
OKSNER: I felt Murray was a very timid man. He was always
fearfulthat something was going to happen to him in the office. His
brotherHenry told me that Murray was a very frugal man, and saved
everypenny he earned. As far as my working with him, I told you
howcompatible he was. Hed run downstairs to pick up my work.
Hewasnt all business. He would talk about his problems. I think he
had ason. I know he was very fearful in later years. And his
brother Henrytold me that Murray was retired from DC. So I guess he
hadsomething to be fearful about.
JA: Apparently they wanted younger editors, partly because
somepeople are intimidated by those who are older than them and
been at a place longer.
OKSNER: Right. Well, in the late 70s, the early 80s, when I went
intothe office, Id wear, as my generations custom, a jacket, a
shirt, and atie. And I was told not to do that. I was told to come
informallydressed, which I did. And then later on, when Julie
retired, he told meId better look around to the other editors and
introduce myself. Andat that point, I decided this was it. I felt
that, after working there for 44years or so, I shouldnt have to
introduce myself to kids who areyounger than my grandchildren. It
wasnt for me.
JA: What can you tell me about Henry Boltinoff?
OKSNER: Henry was delightful, funny, and humorous. You know
hedid cartoons, single- panel cartoons and single pages for DC. He
was amuch better artist than his work would let you know, when he
wantedto really draw. He was totally different than his brother. As
his brotherwas timid, Henry was outgoing and a socializer, a good
tennis player.He was an excellent cartoonist and he had a wonderful
set-up withKing Features where he would draw a panel of his own
design, and hisown gag, and send it to King, and they would delete
objects that hedrew and print their version and his version
together and the readerhad to find the seven errors or six
It Only Hearst When I LaughSam Simeon (whose name was based on
San Simeon, the famous Californiaestate once owned by William
Randolph Hearst) in solo action in Angel and
the Ape #5. Reprod from a scan of the original art, courtesy of
KevinNowlan. Script generally credited to Sergio Aragons & Bob
Oksner, sez Bob
Bailey. [2007 DC Comics.]
My Women Had Saturday Night Bodies And Sunday School Faces
suallynot always, mind you, but most of thetimethe best source
for information aboutwhat happened during the Golden (or any
other) Age of Comic Books is the testimony of thecreators
themselves: the artists, writers, editors,publishers, et al., who
actually produced the material. Ofcourse, human beings, being
fallible, have imperfect andoccasionally downright false memories
of events,especially after many years so the earliest records,when
they exist, are generally the best.
Luckily for historians of comics, in the early 1970s Dr. Jerry
G.Bails, founder of Alter Ego and prime mover behind so many
fandom firsts, began work on what would eventuallybecome his
magnum opusthe 4-volume Whos Who ofAmerican Comic Books (1973-76),
which evolved intotodays online Whos Who of American Comic
Books1928-1999. Shortly after Jerrys untimely passing this pastNov.
23, his wife Jean loaned us copies of numerous ofhis papers, many
of them gathered in the course of
collecting the biographical and publishing information for
thatmonumental project. Comics researchers will reap the benefits
ofJerrys work, and of Jeans generosity, over many future issues of
For starters: we were astonished to find, in the very first
batch ofpapers, copies of Jerrys early-70s correspondence with
Everett BusyArnold, publisher/owner of the Quality Comics Group
(1937-56).Almost equally amazing: also in this cache were letters
exchanged in1942 between Arnold, Spirit creator Will Eisner, and
artist/writer S.R.Bob Powell!
Thus, as a postscript to last issues copious coverage of Powell,
andas a companion piece to Michael T. Gilberts Comic Crypt
follows on page 45, weve printed belowthe missives concerning
Powell and hisrelationship with the pair who were hisemployers at
Everett Busy ArnoldWe begin with what seems to be the
publishers very first communication toJerry Bails, a response to
the lattersrequest for a summary of Qualityspersonnel. Arnolds
compilation of thelist was complicated by the fact that muchof the
work done for his company hadbeen farmed out to the
Eisner-Iger(later Iger) comics shop. Well letArnolds letterand his
list (in which the
A Treasure Trove Of Communications BetweenA Trio Of Golden Age
by Roy Thomas
Busy Arnold Was A Doll, ManEverett Busy Arnold circa 1941and his
Quality companys very first super-hero,the dynamically diminutive
Doll Man. The Mighty Mite debuted in Feature Comics#27 (Dec. 1939),
apparently the creation (or at least co-creation) of Will Eisner,
andwas soon illustrated by Lou Fine, Reed Crandall, and
othersincluding Fran Matera,who was interviewed in A/E #59. This
new pencil drawing by Matera comes courtesyof both Fran and
collector Greg Vondruska, who has built a Fran Matera website as
atribute to the artists career. Fran, who still does a few art
commissions, can be
reached via that website: http://penandbrush.net/MATERA. Arnold
photo courtesy ofJay Disbrow. [Doll Man TM & 2007 DC
Present At The CreationJerry Bails in 1971, around the time he
began work in earnest onthe Whos Who of American Comic Books, which
would be co-
edited by Hames Ware. With thanks to Bill Schelly.
Ive Got One Word To Say To You: Plastic!Qualitys most popular
hero in the 1940s/50s was Blackhawk,but Jack Coles creation Plastic
Man was ultimately the mostenduringand endearing. This panel from a
Comics reprint of Plastic Man #21 (Jan. 1950) shows why
DCsPlastic Man Archives is up to eight volumes and counting!
[Plastic Man TM & 2007 DC Comics.]
meanings of the abbreviations a, w, & ed. are obvious,
whileadv. mgr. probably stands for advertising manager)speak
forthemselves, with their references to Powell, among many
Arnolds letter and personnel list, sent to Jerry G. Bails in
1972.All correspondence accompanying this art is printed by
courtesy ofJean Bails. Busy Arnolds letters also appear courtesy of
Dick Arnold, who was later a Quality editor and was interviewed
inA/E #34. Hey, check out the reference on the list to high
Joey Kubert! (We only wish we could print all these letters
biggerbut we think youll find them worth a squint!)
38 Communications Between A Trio Of Golden Age Greats!
A few weeks later, doubtless at Bails prompting, Arnold
wroteJerry a second letter concerning the artisans of Quality:
Apparently, Jerry soon prodded yet one more response out of
thevery accommodating Busy Arnold:
Even if an error or two has crept into his list or recollections
(andwere not saying they have), comics historians owe the late
EverettBusy Arnold a debt of gratitude.
Powell & Eisner,1942
And now, working ourway down the food chain,we reach a 1942
exchangebetween two talented menwho were producing muchof that work
for and withArnoldboth for QualityComics, and for thenewspaper
supplementofficially known till 1949 asthe Comic Book Section;the
latter had been launchedin mid-1940 in a partnershipbetween Arnold
Unfortunately, BobPowell didnt date hisletters. Luckily, Eisner
diddate his, which helps usplace them in somethingapproaching
chronologicalorder. Also: at some time inthe 1980s or early
when Eclipse Comics was reprinting Eisners Spirit stories,
co-publisher Cat Yronwode (pronounced ironwood) found thefollowing
letters in Eisners files; she seems to have both annotatedthem and
sent copies to Jerry Bails. Her undated Powell-relatedparagraph
reproduced below apparently refers to scripts done byPowellnot for
the Mr. Mystic feature he drew and (mostly) wrotefor the Comic Book
Section from 1940-43, but to scripts for the leadSpirit feature.
Heres the relevant part of Cats note to Jerry:
A Spirit-ed TrioThis early-1940s photo of (l. to r.) Will
Eisner,Nick Viscardi (= Cardy), and Bob Powell wasprinted last
issuebut where else are wegonna find Eisner and Powell in the
samepic? Between them, at the time, this triowere producing all
three features in theweekly newspaper Comic Book Section:The
Spirit, Lady Luck, and Mr. Mystic.
From the 1982 Kitchen Sink volume The Artof Will Eisner, used by
permission.[2007 Will Eisner Studios, Inc.]
The Powell/Eisner/Arnold Connection 39
PHOTOS: Bob Powell (Pawlowski), age four,in 1921, and Bob with
his parents that same year.John Powell says this about Bobs
drawing:His mother had it near her and displayed tillthe day she
died. After Dad died she washeartbroken like any mother, but her
grief wasmore intense since he was her only child.
THE POWELL FAMILYALBUM! PART II
by Michael T. GilbertStanley Robert Powell was a comic book
dynamo. From 1938 until
his death from cancer in 1967 at age 50, he brought life to
high-profileheroes like The Shadow, Doc Savage, Sheena, The Spirit,
theBlackhawks, Sub-Mariner, The Hulk, and Daredevil. But Bob
Powellalso put his stamp on lesser-known gems such as The Man in
BlackCalled Fate (his signature character), Mr. Mystic, The
Gibson, The Scarlet Arrowand a little lady called Atoma!
AtomaAtoma had a very brief careerprecisely one story, hidden in
back of Joe Palooka Comics #15, in the spot usually reserved
forPowells humor strip, Chickie Ricks the Flyin Fool. But whatAtoma
lacked in longevity, she more than made up for in originality.
Powells basic premise was quite clever: Atoma, an historian
fromthe future, befriends Dusty Rhodes, an ordinary 20th-century
kid whoaccidentally blows himself 500 years into the future. Atomas
waitingfor him to arrive, having read his memoirs of his visit to
46 Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt!
(Above & below:) Previously unpublished Atoma plot and
character sketches by Bob Powell. [2007 Estate of Bob Powell.]
memoirs he has yet to write! Together, they team up in Atomas
firstand only adventure to save the world of 2446 AD from a robot
Powells new character was innovative on a number of levels.
Mostobvious were the page layouts, each designed to form giant
numbers.Page 1 is shaped like a big 1, page 2 like a giant 2, and
But that was just the start!
More impressively, Atoma may be the first virtual comicsfeature.
I say virtual, because throughout most of the story, Powelldraws
absolutely no backgrounds. Atoma describes the magnificentCity of
Peace and the futuristic machinery within to Dusty, butPowell
purposely refrains from illustrating what she describes.
Here we are!! Atoma tells Dusty, as they enter the city. Letsgo
in through this lower gate. The two stoop to avoid an
imaginarydoor. Its a clever idea, reminiscent of the radio shows of
the day thatrequired listeners to fill in the blanks.
In lieu of backgrounds, Powell filled his empty panels with
color,keeping visual clutter to a minimum and making the giant
page-number designs pop out.
Though Atomas career began and ended with that single story,
itunquestionably demonstrated Bob Powells brilliant imagination.And
this for a 7-page backup story in a Joe Palooka comic, no less!
The Atoma sketches on the previous page are printed here for
thefirst time, courtesy of Bobs son Seth Powell. Not surprisingly,
thereare some differences between this first draft and the printed
version,including Atomas pal Dusty, who was originally named
(Above & left:) Two pages from Powells only Atoma story,
printed inHarveys Joe Palooka Comics, Vol. 2, #15 (Dec. 1947). The
issues cover is
seen below. [2007 the respective copyright holders.]
The Powell Family Album! Part II 47
[NOTE: This interview is reprinted fromthe pages of Bills
out-of-print 2002volume Comic Fandom Reader. Allphotos & art
provided by Bill Schelly.]
hen I initially got in touch with MartyArbunich and Bill DuBay
Thanksgiving of 1994, during the process of researching my
bookThe Golden Age of Comic Fandom, I found out that these
twoguyswho had teamed up to produce numerous comics fanzines inthe
early 1960swere still the best of friends. Some of the
publica-tions for which they were known were: Fantasy Hero, Yancy
StreetJournal, Voice of Comicdom, Comic Caper, Fandom Presents,
andAll-Stars. Along with their friends Rudi Franke and Barry
Bauman,they formed a publishing consortium called Golden Gate
I think it was Marty who suggested that he and Bill sit down
andmake a taped interview for me. I would supply a list of
questions,and they would do their best to answer them. The finished
tape wasa sheer delight, not only for the information imparted, but
for theway it captured the free-wheeling spirit of their
friendship. Thus, Imvery pleased to print the transcript herewith
very little editing.That way, their memories and repartee are
presented in their mostunvarnished and charming, form. I hope you
enjoy it! Bill.
MARTY: Hi, Bill [Schelly] this is Marty, and this is how I
BILL: and this is how I sound.
MARTY: So itll be up to Bill [Schelly] to figure it out, because
hesgonna have to transcribe this, not me. Lets see. His first
question is,How and when did you meet? Thats an easy question.
BILL: Were you six or seven? Didnt I kick your butt in
MARTY: It was in St. Pauls Grammar School, right?
BILL: Thats right.
MARTY: What grade did we start at together? When did you first
goto St. Pauls Grammar School?
BILL: First grade.
MARTY: So I guess we started out in first grade, continued all
the waythrough 8th grade. We both graduated from that
establishment.Moved on to a Catholic high school together, called
Sacred Heart HighSchool. I made it through four years, Bill made it
through two? Thatright? Before you got to the Big House?
BILL: Three. I decided, enough parochial school. Sacred Heart
all boys school, and I wanted atleast one year of dating girls
in highschool. As I recall, Marty, youdidnt have one date for the
entirefour years. [laughter]
MARTY: No, thats not true.
BILL: Okay, there was that one.
MARTY: I hope he doesnt write all this stuff down as being fact.
Youcan only tell the truth, Bill. Dont exaggerate. Lets make this
real. Uh,so we answered question #1 for you. Question #2: How and
when didyou first hear about comic fandom?
BILL: I read about it in the letters pages of some comic book
andwrote away for my first fanzine, Alter Ego #5, March 1963,
edited byRonn Foss. When that arrived, my search for old comics
shifted intohigh gear. Thats when the ongoing treasure hunt began
MARTY: Treasure hunt meaning
BILL: the continuous search for old comics. Id go into
oldbookstores and scrounge around in any corner that looked like it
mightbe even remotely harboring some dusty old periodicals. A lot
of the oldbookstores in San Francisco used to sell cast-off comics
in cellophanewrappers, two for a nickel. I think the treasure hunt
is really what gotyou interested in comics, Marty.
MARTY: Actually, it seemed like I got interested at the end of
grammarschool a little bit, cause I would come over to your
BILL: No, we didnt really get tight until high school.
MARTY: You were living at 57 Chenery Street then.
BILL: Right. We were in the same upper class at Sacred
MARTY: Yeah, 9-B together. For me the thing that made it kind
ofinteresting was, I guess you had brought up the idea of
publishing ourown fanzine. The idea of producing something even
though comicswere kind-of interesting for me it seemed that what
was even moreinteresting was the production end of itmaking
something. Also, Iquickly developed an appreciation of comics, and
collecting fit intomy lifestyle, still does to this day with other
things. We had thatcommon interest. Im just trying to think, when
we first startedpublishing, were you publishing something before I
BILL: Id just started publishing Fantasy Hero.
MARTY: Was it already out by that point?
BILL: I dont remember if Id finished the first issue, or if we
somehowcame together in the process. I just remember that you had
MARTY ARBUNICHand BILL DuBAY
Remember The Good Old DaysOf Comics Fandom
Edited by Bill Schelly
[Marty as Sub-Mariner& Bill as Iron Man.Art 2007
60 Comic Fandom Archive
fanzine envy. Then you said something like, Wow! If you can do
this,anybody can. (I always loved your subtle compliments.) My take
was,This is hard work! And this boy sounds like he can be finessed
intodoing some of the grunt load. I drew strips for that thing, and
wrote itcover to cover on those awful purple ditto masters. It was
eventuallyprinted in the high school basement by your favorite
journalismteacher, Richard Perkins. He thought it was great for a
kid to be soambitious.
MARTY: At the high school?
BILL: Yeah! Tom Sawyer had nothing on me! And that
dittomachinewhen I saw it working away, I knew I had to have
MARTY: Were still talking about the first issue of Fantasy Hero
MARTY: Okay, lets just take the questions in sequence. Bill, you
hada very unique art style. Who were your influences? Did you take
BILL: [laughs] No. We didnt have art classes at Sacred Heart. It
wasall college prep; hard-core math, Latin, and Bible study. I was
just avery adept thief. I stole from Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino,
SteveDitko, then finally progressed to Wally Wood.
MARTY: So the answer is, you never took an art class or went to
artschool. How did you develop your style, then? How did you
becomeso good at drawing?
BILL: Thank you for the compliment. I never considered myself to
beany good. I just keep working on learning how to draw for
aboutthirty years now. There have been times when Ive actually
haddelusions of adequacy but then Ive come to my senses. Mostly, I
justtry to keep art fun.
MARTY: Were there any local clubs where you would get
togetherwith other fans in the very early days before comicons? The
onlything that I can remember that kind-of got me involved with
other fanswas the science-fiction convention that was out here,
probably in1964 there were a lot of comic book people there, a lot
of science-fiction people there, there were a lot of people that we
eventually gotinvolved with. And it was kind-of exciting because
there was a buzzthere was something going on. Thats where we met
Steve Perrin, if Imnot mistaken.
BILL: No, we actually met him after he bought a copy of that
firstfanzine. He was attending classes at San Francisco State and
just calledone day. We got on well, but he was on his way out of
town to someEastern college.
MARTY: This is in what year?
BILL: Im remembering stories here. Leeway on the chronology.
MARTY: This was right after we started publishing?
BILL: Yeah. Sometime around then. I liked who he was, his ideas,
theway he wrote. He knew stuff we didnt. Especially about
Burroughs.He introduced us to some awesome artists. I wish he
wouldve stuckaround longer.
MARTY: We used to go out to SF State College to see the
BILL: Every week. One episode at a time. With every aspiring
hippiein the cityand some awesome smokin air. We were a couple of
virginCatholic school boys getting a preview of San Franciscos
Summer ofLove. [sighs] Not somethin Ill forget.
MARTY: And I think we did that with Steve; he was kind-of our
hookto State College. That was probably in 64 or 65, if Im not
BILL: We did this all through high school, Marty. 63 through 66.
Wewere always into something. Remember Roger Brand, Tom Conroy?Then
there was the other side, John Belfi and Jack Burnley. [sighs]
Welived some adventures.
MARTY: This leads to the next question: How did you meet
RudiFranke and Barry Bauman? Who was the oldest, and youngest, of
theGolden Gate four?
BILL: Rudi was the oldest. You were the youngest. By days.
MARTY: Me, you, and Barry were about the same age.
BILL: Rudi was a schoolteacher 28, 29 livin across the Bay
awhole world away. All of us liked comics. They dug the value.
Wejizzed on the art. All of us liked basketball. They kicked ass.
We lovedto play.
MARTY: Yeah, but I think that was discovered afterwards. I
thinkwhen Heroes Hangout #2 came out, we got in touch with them.
Wejust arranged for a meeting. Lets get together. Because we were
inthe same, uh line of work [laughs] And if Im not mistaken, I
thinkwe hopped on a bus and went over to Oakland. It seemed like we
wenton this long voyage, and we got together with Rudi and Barry,
and justmarveled at their comic collections, because by that point,
they haddiscovered that store.
BILL: Fort Knox.
Bill Dubays cover for his first fanzine, 1963s Fantasy Hero
#1,which drew Marty Arbunich into intense fanzine envy.
[Heroes 2007 the respective copyright holders.]
Marty Arbunich and Bill DuBay Remember The Good Old Days Of
Comic Fandom 61
MARTY: a goldmine of comics in a store up in Sacramento called
theLiberty Book Store. They wound up making a fortune off of that
stuff,or at least they had a big enough collection that they could
eventuallymake a fortune off of it. One of the things that we wound
up doing isplaying basketball, so Bill and I would be the San
Francisco guysagainst the Oakland guys. I think Bill and I would
win most of thosegames.
BILL: I remember getting my butt kicked more often than
not.[laughs] Marty was Wilt the Stilt. I was a spastic Meadowlark
Lemon.Those East Bay boys were playground sharks that could tear
you upon the court.
MARTY: I think I was about six-one by then. Through those
meetings,I would borrow comics from them, which would give me a
reason togo over there, and wed say, Hey, how about producing
BILL: Rudi wanted to collaborate. I smelled Tom Sawyer karma,
but Istill bit. He was a teacher, for Gods sake. I was a Catholic
school boy,pre-programmed for a positive response to authority
figures. I acqui-esced. We published a few things.
MARTY: I do remember that obviously you were writing and
drawing,I was doing some writing Rudi pretty much was drawing. What
didBarry do?? [laughs] I dont recall Barry having a special talent,
oractually even wanting to get involved in producing these things.
Hewas always kind-of on the side selling stuff, yknow? Or he had
somelittle scam going on, am I right?
BILL: Barry was dealing. He dealt in the commodity of old
books. And he was the best Ive ever seen at it.
MARTY: It was weird. About three years ago, I ran into Barry
Baumandown here on Clement Street in San Francisco, getting ready
toaudition for open mike at a comedy club! The guy was a nice
guyback then and all, but I dont remember him as being a card.
BILL: Barry was wry. I can see him doing stand-up. A
MARTY: As far as the publications go, I dont think he had
muchinput. Maybe he did more for the Heroes Hangout stuff. He
wasthere when we met, but
BILL: Barry liked to see his name in print. And I think Rudy
didntlike making that drive across the Bridge alone.
MARTY: I hope that answers your question there, Bill [Schelly].
Okay,In 1964, you decided to merge Fantasy Hero and Heroes
Hangout.Why? Bill and I still wanted to continue publishing on our
own,which we wound up doing with Yancy Street Journal. But we
wantedto see what it would be like. I guess for me, what was
exciting was theidea of having four people together, and kind-of
mix their talentstogether. And I thought it was really exciting,
and especially the idea ofRudi and Bill drawing something together,
which in reality sort-ofturned out as kind of a disaster.
BILL: I wouldnt call it a disaster. Its an interesting
MARTY: Your styles didnt really go that well together, but in
theory Ithought it was going to be really exciting, and it kind-of
was there for awhile.
BILL: Rudi and Barry expanded our horizons in a lot of ways.
WholeEast Bay opened up to the Catholic boys. The people, the
scents, thejourney. We were exploring.
MARTY: Well, yeah. But I also thought that that came about by
way ofour getting our hands on all those other fanzine
publications, and wecould see how other people operated, and I
think thats where we gotsome of our ideas.
BILL: Ideas were everywhere. We were growing.
MARTY: Pretty much. It was pretty contrived, I thought, but it
MARTY: Okay, next question. The newspaper format of Voice
ofComicdom and eventually Yancy Street Journal was unique. Who
didthe lay-outs and paste-ups?
BILL: Look. Im a Capricorn, a Catholic, first son of a first son
from along line of way-too-responsible Aristocratic French. The
newspaperformat looked clean, easy, do-able. And it intrigued me.
Printing costus 2H a copy. We charged 50 or so. It all made sense
MARTY: I hadnt seen Yancy Street Journal for quite a while, but
BILL: Marty typed up every column of every page in every issue
of theYancy Street Journal. Layouts and designs are all his. He was
particu-larly proud of the little printers bugs that he put at the
end of everyarticle. Hed hunt new ones down as avidly as he hunted
MARTY: Really? I did the layouts on that?
BILL: Yes, you did. I remember going to your place one day and
youbeing so pleased with what youd done. Youd seen me pasting up
typeand designing pages for years and here, finally, youd done a
wholepage, all on your own. You were in blushing hog heaven.
Golden Gates Fandom Presents (1964) attempted to provide an
index of allthe amateur super-heroes created in fanzines by that
time. The DuBay/
Franke cover featured several of the most prominent: Ronn Foss
The Eclipse,DuBays Gray Grasshopper, Black Scorpion, The Changling
[sic], and Biljo
Whites The Eye, among others. It was one of the thickest
fanzines producedup to that time, with 100 pages! [2007 the
respective copyright holders.]
62 Comic Fandom Archive
[FCA EDITORS NOTE: From 1941-53, Marcus D. Swayze was atop
artist for Fawcett Publications. The very first Mary
Marvelcharacter sketches came from Marcs drawing table, and he
illus-trated her earliest adventures, including the classic origin
story,Captain Marvel Introduces Mary Marvel (Captain
MarvelAdventures #18, Dec. 42); but he was primarily hired by
FawcettPublications to illustrate Captain Marvel stories and covers
for WhizComics and Captain Marvel Adventures. He also wrote
manyCaptain Marvel scripts, and continued to do so while in the
military.After leaving the service in 1944, hemade an arrangement
with Fawcett toproduce art and stories for them on afreelance basis
out of his Louisianahome. There he created both art andstory for
The Phantom Eagle in WowComics, in addition to drawing theFlyin
Jenny newspaper strip for BellSyndicate (created by his friend
andmentor Russell Keaton). After thecancellation of Wow, Swayze
producedartwork for Fawcetts top-selling line ofromance comics,
including Sweetheartsand Life Story. After the companyceased
publishing comics, Marc movedover to Charlton Publications, where
heended his comics career in the mid-50s.Marcs ongoing professional
memoirshave been FCAs most popular featuresince his first column
appeared in FCA#54, 1996. Last issue Marc set therecord straight
regarding his work onthe Flyin Jenny newspaper strip. Thisissue he
looks back at ChristopherChance, the scrapped syndicated
stripcollaboration with writer GlennChaffin. P.C. Hamerlinck.]
Ever thought about it the way the Golden Age of comic
bookscoincided with the war WWII, that is? And the valor with
whichthose super-heroes fought their way up the ladder to top-rung
readerattention despite such competition as battlefront news?
Toughbunch, those guys. Oh and gals.
Tough bunchs also, those who worked in the trade, those artists
andwriters who kept banging away with their fictional adventures
andcharacters as if nothing were happening outside. I can assure
you first-hand they were there else how could the comic books
It was peculiar. You couldnt work on those comic strip
charactersvery long without getting to know them pretty well. At
least I couldnt.
It wasnt so much a matter of their coming out of theirworld and
joining you you joined them! Thats howI got to know this fellow
Christopher Chance. Andknow him well. You could have put him into
any kindof situation and bet your bottom dollar that Id beready to
give you a fair idea of how he would act what he would say. And he
wasnt really my character.He belonged to Glenn Chaffin.
Glenn had come up with a proposal for a newspaperstrip the hero
a roving reporter. Great idea anewsman at large the world as a
stage no limit tothe story locales!
Correspondence, as we knew it in those days, wasnot by phone or
wire too expensive. Or by fax or
e-mail too yet unheard-of. We communicated by regular mail
between Louisiana and Montana involving a bit more time thanmight
be imagined. So it was through the exchange of letters that I gotto
know, not only the character, Christopher Chance, but the
creator,Glenn Chaffin and Harry, away at school and Tommy,
justbeyond the typewriter waiting to go fishing. And, oh yes
Mae,nearby with steadfast assistance in every way like my June.
I dont think I was ever more dissatisfied with my own efforts
thanin this case. Nothing like the familiar ease when developing my
creations where a clear image of thelead character was always
fixed in mindwith the concept before a pencil wasraised. I suspect,
now, that ChristopherChance may have been fixed in anothermind Glen
Chaffins. In Glennsstory outlines I saw in the character aquality
of maturity an air ofconfident capability consideredessential but
not easily drawn.
After kicking sketches back andforth we eventually arrived at a
startingpoint and took off into the land ofChristopher Chance. And
it was apleasure working once again withone so professional so
talented soexperienced in the business so patientand considerate as
About midway the project wasinterrupted by an accident in
myfamily, after which it seemed impos-sible to get back in stride.
The corre-spondence began to dwindle andfinally ceased
Glenn and I lost touch but Christopher Chance still hangsaround.
Hes clearly seen now and then, standing before me, hands onhips, a
slight scowl on his face. The dialogue balloon: Well whathave you
got to say for yourself?!!
I repeat those characters are weird! Ask any comic strip writer
[Art & logo 2007 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel & TM 2007
Chaffin At The BitOf Glenn Chaffin (pictured here in the summer
of 1943), Marc
writes: It was a pleasure working with one so professionalso
talented so experienced in the business so patient and
considerate. Photo courtesy of Marc Swayze.
Taking A Chance On ChanceSometime during the World War II years,
writer Glenn Chaffin and artistMarc Swayze teamed up to produce two
weeks of dailies, plus a Sunday,
for the projected adventure comic strip called Christopher
Chance.Circumstances conspired to prevent more story and art from
produced, but the strips that survive are well worth a lookon
the next 3pages. [2007 Glenn Chaffin or successors in interest
& Marc Swayze.]
We Didnt Know... It Was The Golden Age! 79
eff Smith is the award-winning writer and artist of the
Bonecomic book. Recently, he produced a Shazam! limitedserieson
sale even as these words are writtenabout
Captain Marvel and Mr. Minds Monster Society of Evil,
whoseoriginal 1943-1945 Fawcett serial was covered in detail in
Alter Ego#64. PCH.
CHRIS IRVING: What was your initial goal with Shazam! TheMonster
Society of Evil?
JEFF SMITH: My goal was to look at what made Captain Marvel
themost popular comic book character of all time. He was more
popularthan Superman, than Mickey Mouse comic books ... [he] was
the mostpopular super-hero ever, really. I went back and read a
whole bunch ofthe Captain Marvel comics, [watched] the Republic
serial [and theFleischer Superman cartoons], and thought what it
was about comicbooks back then that appealed to people. I just
wanted to get CaptainMarvel back to being a super-power that just
comes when youre introuble. When Billys in trouble, hes a little
kid, and kids cant protectthemselves, but suddenly he has a magic
word and hes the worldsmost powerful man and cant be hurt. That, to
me, was the real essenceof what Captain Marvel is: that ability to
just be invincible with amagic word.
CI: I think C.C. Beck once said that Captain Marvel was really
aBilly Batson comic book that Captain Marvel appears in every
oncein a while, like a genie.
SMITH: I view Captain Marvel as a genie. Its an Aladdin story.
He isBilly, and theyre one and the same (or become one and the
same). TheShazam! magic and the power of that word summon this
guardianpower for Billy. You will see a lot of Billy in my version.
It really is aBilly Batson comic where Captain Marvel makes many
CI: Well, hes a kid. Ever since DC brought him in after
Crisis,theyve made him a teenager, maybe even a pre-teen, at
earliest. Your Billy looks like hes eight.
SMITH: I was shooting for around eight, withoutactually saying
it. I looked at the very first WhizComics, and he looks pretty
young there, an
Monster Mash!JEFF SMITH On Shazam! The Monster Society of
Interview by Chris Irving Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck
I Dream Of GenieJeff Smith: I view Captain Marvel as a genie.
Its an Aladdin story.
Heres Smiths cover art for Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil
#1. Thanksto Kathleen Glosan, who provided all the Shazam! The
of Evil art that accompanies this article. [2007 DC Comics.]
Fairy Tales Can Come TrueSmith says that the powers and
mythologyaround the Captain Marvel character it
almost reminds me of a fairy tale. Cover artfrom Shazam! TMSOE
#2. [2007 DC Comics.]
orphan living on the street, and I ran with that. It plays with
that polar-ization between being the mightiest human being on Earth
who can flyand have bullets bounce off of him, and the opposite of
that is being aboy who is homeless and orphaned [and] just trying
to survive. Ipushed it a little further. He looks pretty young in
that first WhizComics, and it doesnt say, but hes not like Tintin,
CI: I think lots of people have forgotten that, over the years.
Mypersonal feeling is that he doesnt fit into the DC Universe. In
theWhiz material hes almost like a parody of Superman and the
super-hero genre that was emerging. Where does your Captain
Marvelfit? Is it in its own continuity?
SMITH: First off, I really dont think they were poking fun at
super-heroes. I think they just had their own twisted view on
super-heroes. Itwas a different kind of storytelling that was able
to have its ownhumor. His powers are absolute and nothing hurts him
everythingtickles. Its so simple in terms of foundation, and the
powers andmythology around the Captain Marvel character. Its so
clean that italmost reminds me of a fairy tale. They dont really
As far as the [shared] universe goes, I totally agree with that.
Myfirst question, when I was talking to [editor] Mike Carlin for
the firsttime, was, Would I have to have any other super-heroes in
it? When Iwas a kid, the kind of super-hero stories I liked were
the ones wherethere was just that super-hero: just Batman and
Robin, or justSuperman. I didnt like Superman and Batman getting
together, and Idefinitely didnt like the Justice League. I read
them as a kid, but theydidnt really act like themselves when they
were with the other super-heroes they were almost dumber. Any time
someone worries aboutthe continuity between the different
characters in a universe, they loseme a bit. It wasnt so much that
I thought Captain Marvel had to beseparated from everyone else; I
just think all super-heroes should beseparated from everybody else,
or you just start getting bogged down.[laughs]
CI: I think they got dumber because, in the solo story, the hero
hasto be the smartest one in the story. But, in order for a team
dynamiclike in JLA or Fantastic Four, they have to think together.
For thatto be feasible, they have to be dumbed down a bit.
SMITH: Yeah, they have to follow a pecking order of the club
orsociety. Whenever there are big super-hero events with all the
super-heroes in it that just feels like a big Justice League story.
I justwanted a good old-fashioned [solo] super-hero story.
CI: Having said that, are we going to be seeing The Marvel
Familyin your story?
SMITH: I picked the ones I wanted that were interesting to me.
Ireally did just want to do a finite story with a beginning,
middle, andend, and not do an ongoing series. I thought the
four-issue prestigeformat series was a good format to jump into. As
I looked at thecharacters, I thought that the ones that were
interesting could be usefulin a story with a 200-page life. Captain
Marvel has to have his nemesis,so I picked Dr. Sivana and I wanted
to do a remake of The MonsterSociety of Evil, so you have Mr. Mind
in there also. I love TawkyTawny, who I think is the greatest.
[laughs] Its one of those thingswhere people were saying, Youre not
going to do Tawky Tawny, areyou? But Tawky Tawny was one of the
selling points for me. I alsothought I would use Mary, because that
would give me a story forBilly, who is searching for his lost
sister. That way, at the beginning ofthe story hes alone, and, at
the end, he has a family.
CI: What time period is this set in? Is it an ambiguous time
period,or modern day?
SMITH: Its a bit ambiguous, but not so much that you cant
for the 1940s. Its in present-day New York City (though I agreed
notto call it New York City so that if its important for you to
think itsFawcett City, you can), and it takes place mostly in the
Lower EastSide and Central Park. It starts off with Billy living in
an abandonedbuilding under the East Bridge.
CI: Is there any one version of Captain Marvel that you latched
SMITH: Again, I cherry-pick. I took a little bit from everybody.
Ithink the main model for me was the Golden Age Captain Marvel:
areal stalwart super-hero guy. In Alex Ross version, he
portrayedTawky Tawny to look like a real tiger, so I took a cue
from that, andTawky Tawny looks like a real tiger. He doesnt look
like Tony theTiger. There was an element from Jerry Ordways Power
of Shazam!series that I loved, in that the big black-hatted
stranger that lures Billyinto the subway is Billys dad. I thought
that was beautiful andsuggested that it was Billys dad leading him
in. I cherry-picked every-thing I liked. I didnt like the
loose-fitting shirt from [the] JerryOrdway and Alex Ross versions,
but I kept the flap. I just went andfound all the elements that
jumped out at me and kept them together tomake him Captain
CI: Do you have plans to ever revisit Captain Marvel?
Mary, MarySmith: I thought I would use Mary, because that would
give me a storyfor Billy, who is searching for his lost sister. Art
from Shazam! TMSOE.
[2007 DC Comics.]
Monster Mash! 83
Bob Newhart, Move Over!by C.C. Beck
Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck
[A previously unpublished essay from 1985by Captain Marvels
co-creator and chiefartist from the vaults of PCHs Beckestate
was in a restaurant ordering lunch witha friend one time, and
when I ordered abowl of oyster soup he looked at me
with some surprise. I didnt know you wereso fond of oysters, he
Im not particularly fond of them, Isaid. Theyre better raw, on
Then why order them in soup? heasked.
Because Im very fond of hot milk withbutter and salt in it, I
explained. The onlyway you can get that in a restaurant is
withoysters floating in it. If I ordered just a bowlof hot milk
without the oysters, peoplewould think Im crazy.
My friend has since become very fondof relating this incident to
others as proofthat I really am crazy, or at least a littletouched
in the head, as people used tosay. To me I seem more like comic Bob
Newhart who, in a recent Timemagazine article, said that he feels
like the last sane man left, reelingagainst a world of crazies.
Recently, a man who had grown up reading comic books back in
theGolden Age wrote to ask if I would make him a painting of his
favoritechildhood comic character, Captain Marvel. He was
especiallyimpressed with the clean way I had illustrated the
Captain Marvelstories and he assured me that anything I could do in
the way of apainting for him would be acceptable.
I sent him some tissue sketches showing Captain Marvel in
variousscenes, just as he had appeared back in the 40s at the peak
of his career.He sent them back, asking me to make some new
sketches instead.What he wanted, he explained, was a new picture,
not an old one.
He then went on to explain that he wanted not only Captain
Marvelbut Sivana, Mr. Mind, Billy Batson, the moon, the planet
Saturn, a madscientists laboratory, a huge gun aimed at the earth,
and a few otherthings (including a Nazi armband on Sivana) in the
picture and sent mea sketch showing me how to compose my picture
for best results.
I sent him a sketch with most of the things he wanted in it, and
hesent it back in the next mail. He had cut my sketch apart, pasted
ittogether in a new arrangement, and drawn in more things that he
nowwanteda space ship, some crystal mountains, an aurora in the
sky,some patches of ice on the ground, and a few buildings. If I
could notget everything in, he wrote, whatever I did would be
perfectly all right,as he trusted my judgment of what would make a
I wrote back saying I could not follow his revised sketch, as,
opinion, the picture was already overloaded with unnecessary
elements,and that adding more would turn it into a hodgepodge of
junk. Ienclosed a detailed full-size tissue sketch of how I was
going to handlethe finished painting, pointing out that I had used
three vanishingpoints in its construction, had done research on the
planet Saturn as itis now known to look according to the latest
photos from space, and asfar as I was concerned I had now completed
80% of the work involvedin making a picture.
He wrote back that he was amazed that I had gone ahead
withoutfurther consultation and help from him. The picture was way
too small,he said; he had expected one at least a foot-and-a-half
by two feet insize, and I was going to make one only eleven by
My Captain Marvel was too thin, he complained; he liked
theCaptain Marvel from my best period, 1946 and 1947, when he
wasmuch stockier (this was the period when other artists were
stilldrawing him, by the way). Sometimes, he advised me, artists
are soclose to their work that they may not fully realize what
makes itunique or what the fans and collectors appreciate most in
By return mail I sent the man a check for the amount he had sent
meas a deposit ($300) and closed the account. Either he was crazy
to thinkthat I would follow his instructions and make a painting
that I wouldhave been ashamed to sign, or I was, for wasting my
time trying toplease him by catering to his irrational demands.
Bob Newhart, move over. You have a friend.
FCA editor P.C. Hamerlinck found this rough sketch along with
the accompanying Beck essay. It shows C.C.about to join
comedian/actor Bob Newhart on a park bench. But, like the painting
described in the piece, the
above illustration, too, never went beyond the preliminary
stages. [2007 estate of C.C. Beck.]