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ALTER EGO #67 focuses on BOB OKSNER, the guy who drew it all! The artist of Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Angel and the Ape, Leave It to Binky, Jerry Lewis, and many Silver Age DC covers talks about his life and times to Jim Amash. And that includes art and artifacts by Shelly Mayer, Irwin Hasen, Lee Elias, C.C. Beck, Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, Julie Schwartz, and many more! Plus there’s FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) with MARC SWAYZE, C.C. BECK, and others, Michael T. Gilbert and Mr. Monster, and a great Oksner cover featuring many of his most renowned heroes! Edited by Roy Thomas.

Text of Alter Ego #67

  • PLUS:

    $6.95In the USA

    No.67April2007

    Art 2007 DC Comics

    Roy ThomasDemandingComics Fanzine

    &BOBPOWELLPart Two

    18265827763

    5

    04

    WE WANT TOKNOW ALL ABOUT

    AND WE WANTTO KNOW NOW!!

  • Alter EgoTM is published monthly by TwoMorrows, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344.Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews, SC 29135, USA.Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: [email protected] Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices.Single issues: $9 ($11.00 outside the US). Twelve-issue subscriptions: $72 US, $132 Canada, $144 elsewhere. All characters are their respective companies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego isa TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada. ISSN: 1932-6890

    FIRST PRINTING.

    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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

    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 C.C. Beck.

    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 Comics.]

    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 DC Comics.]

    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 White

    Editor EmeritusMike Friedrich

    Production AssistantChris Irving

    Circulation DirectorBob Brodsky, Cookiesoup PeriodicalDistribution, LLC

    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 DisbrowDon Marksteins

    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] www.twomorrows.com

    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, evenmore.

    Bestest,

    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 fandom

    & 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 Books!

    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, & others!

    MICHAEL T. GILBERT on JERRY BAILSFCA with BAILS, SWAYZE, BECK, etc.

    JERRY G. BAILS& STAR WARS!

    Titanic Tributes To Two Stellar Phenomena!

    #68

    2

    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

    3

    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 sense of

    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. Jim.

    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 difference.

    BB

    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 first

    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, part-time

    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 just happy

    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 myself.

    JA: A lot of people would have done worse to him than you did.

    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

    draw then.

    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 entertainment.

    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 college.

    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 Hotel Mayflower.

    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 Timelys comics.

    OKSNER: Could be, since I didnt read the comics and never got the

    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 then.

    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 Larry Nadle.

    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 draw it.

    JA: So you never sat in the officeand worked out cover roughs?

    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 my car.

    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 pencils.

    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 Hasen?

    OKSNER: Not Carmine. I inked Irwin Hasen, I believe, at one time. Idont know the name of the feature. It could have been GreenLantern.

    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 ties Murphy

    Anderson for being the nicest professional in comics! [2007 DC Comics.]

    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 haunted man.

    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 13

  • 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 Orlando.[2007 DCComics.]

    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 work.

    JA: Whose idea was it for you to follow C.C. Beck on Shazam!?

    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, Harry?

    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 company?

    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 My Grandchildren

    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 theothers?

    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 have

    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 errors.

    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 21

  • 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 comics

    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 A/E.

    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 which

    follows on page 45, weve printed belowthe missives concerning Powell and hisrelationship with the pair who were hisemployers at the time.

    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

    The POWELL/EISNER/ARNOLDConnection

    A Treasure Trove Of Communications BetweenA Trio Of Golden Age Greats!

    by Roy Thomas

    UU

    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 Comics.]

    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.

    37

  • 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 1964 Super

    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 others:

    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 his son

    Dick Arnold, who was later a Quality editor and was interviewed inA/E #34. Hey, check out the reference on the list to high schooler

    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 and WillEisner.

    Unfortunately, BobPowell didnt date hisletters. Luckily, Eisner diddate his, which helps usplace them in somethingapproaching chronologicalorder. Also: at some time inthe 1980s or early 90s,

    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 Avenger, Shock

    Gibson, The Scarlet Arrowand a little lady called Atoma!

    AtomaAtoma had a very brief careerprecisely one story, hidden in the

    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 the future

    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 runamok.

    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 so on.

    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 Rusty.

    (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 around

    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 Features.

    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 sound.

    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 theschoolyard?

    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? [laughs]

    BILL: Three. I decided, enough parochial school. Sacred Heart was an

    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 in earnest.

    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 house.

    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 Heart.

    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 came along?

    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 this intense

    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 MarvelCharacters, Inc.]WW

    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 one.

    MARTY: Were still talking about the first issue of Fantasy Hero here.

    BILL: Exactly.

    MARTY: Okay, lets just take the questions in sequence. Bill, you hada very unique art style. Who were your influences? Did you take art inschool?

    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 CaptainMarvel serial.

    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 mistaken.

    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 somethingtogether?

    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 comic

    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 second-stringLenny Bruce.

    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 memory.

    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 wasfun.

    BILL: Fun.

    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 to me.

    MARTY: I hadnt seen Yancy Street Journal for quite a while, but Ithought that

    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 funnybooks.

    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

  • [Art2007

    DCComics.]

  • [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 havesurvived?

    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 own

    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 Glenn Chaffin.

    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 altogether.

    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 orartist!!!

    [Art & logo 2007 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel & TM 2007 DC Comics]

    By

    78

    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 being

    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 appearances.

    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 Evil

    Interview by Chris Irving Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck

    82

    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 Monster Society

    of Evil art that accompanies this article. [2007 DC Comics.]

    JJ

    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, boy reporter.

    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 explain everything.

    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 mistake it

    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 onto?

    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 Marvel.

    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 files.]

    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 remarked.

    Im not particularly fond of them, Isaid. Theyre better raw, on the half-shell,actually.

    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 good picture.

    I wrote back saying I could not follow his revised sketch, as, in my

    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 sixteen inches.

    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 their work.

    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.

    II

    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.]

    85