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ALTER EGO #70 (100 pages, $6.95) spotlights ROY THOMAS at Marvel in the 1970s! It's a "you-asked-for-it" follow-up to issue #50, on Roy's stint as Marvel’s editor-in-chief and one of the company’s major writers. Plus there's art and reminiscences of both Buscemas, Gil Kane, Neal Adams, John Romita, Howard Chaykin, Frank Brunner, Mike Ploog, Bernie Wrightson, Bill Everett, George Perez, Frank Robbins, Barry Smith, Frank Thorne, Herb Trimpe, and a passel of talented writers (including a guy named Lee)! Also, there’s FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) with Marc Swayze, C.C. Beck, and others, Michael T. Gilbert and Mr. Monster, and a salute to Golden Age artist Lily Renee, Roy’s fellow guest at the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con! All behind a great Invaders cover by Gene Colan! Edited by Roy Thomas (natch)! Includes a FREE Preview of ROUGH STUFF #5!

Text of Alter Ego #70

  • $6.95In the USA

    $6.95In the USA

    No. 70July2007

    Human Torch, Captain America, Sub-Mariner, & The Red Skull TM & 2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.

    Roy Thomas s--SomethingComics Fanzine

    Roy Thomas s--SomethingComics Fanzine


    ON MARVEL IN THE 1970s!


    ON MARVEL IN THE 1970s!

















  • 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 US ($11.00 Canada, $16 elsewhere). Twelve-issue subscriptions: $78 US, $132 Canada, $180 elsewhere. All charactersare their respective companies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada. ISSN: 1932-6890. FIRST PRINTING.

    Vol. 3, No. 70 / July 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)Ronn Foss, Biljo White

    Editor EmeritusMike Friedrich

    Production AssistantChris Irving

    Circulation DirectorBob Brodsky, Cookiesoup Periodical Distribution, LLC

    Cover ArtistGene Colan

    Cover ColoristTom Ziuko

    With Special Thanks to:Dan AdkinsHeidi AmashNick ArroyoBob BaileyMichael BaulderstoneAlan BargerAllen BellmanAl BigleyDominic BongoJerry K. BoydMike BurkeyR. Dewey CassellLarry ClayGene & Adrienne

    ColanTeresa R. DavidsonJack DiMartinoChris FamaMichael FinnGregory FischerShane FoleyTodd FranklinJenna Land FreeJanet GilbertArnie GrievesGeorge HagenauerJennifer HamerlinckDavid G. HamiltonHeritage ComicsTom HorvitzJay KinneyScott Kolins

    Karen KraftBob LaytonStan LeeBruce MacIntoshMichel MaillotJonathan MankutaMark MullerJim MurtaughJerry OrdwayTom PalmerNigel ParkinsonGeorge PrezJoe PetrilakJohn G. PierceTrina RobbinsPhil SchlaefferJohn SeverinMarie SeverinRick ShurginKeif SimonAnthony SnyderFlo SteinbergSteve StilesAaron SultanMarc SwayzeDann ThomasFrank ThorneAngelique TrouvereJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.Alan WaiteHames WareNicholas Yutko


    Writer/Editorial: The Devil Made Me Do It! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Writing Comics Turned Out To Be What I Really Wanted To Do With My Life. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

    Roy Thomas talks to Jim Amash about the 1970s at Mighty Marvel.

    Lily Rene At Fiction HouseAnd Beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63A far-too-brief look at a Star Woman Cartoonist by Trina Robbins.

    Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt! Mike Mallet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67Michael T. Gilbert presents The Worlds First Adult Comic, by Bob Powell.

    re: [comments, correspondence, & corrections to >ulp!< A/E #57!] . . 74FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America] #129 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79P.C. Hamerlinck showcases Marc Swayze, John G. Pierce, and Roy the [Shazam!] Boy.

    FREE! Rough Stuff #5 preview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89On Our Cover: Gentleman GeneGene the Deaneven Adam AustinStan Leecalled Gene Colan all of the above during the early days of Marvel Comics. Other peoplehave called him other things, among them an artists artist and a painter with pencil.Gene and Roy Thomas never worked together on The Invadersbut English collectorMichael Finn commissioned Gene to draw this powerful illo of Timelys Big Three facingoff with The Red Skullso, with Genes blessing, nothing was gonna stop us from repro-ducing it as our cover, straight from Mr. C.s pulsating pencils, with Tom Ziuko adding thecolors. Whats more, you can rhapsodize over the penciled original art on p. 31! [CaptainAmerica, Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, & Red Skull TM & 2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Above: Gil Kane, who (twice!) came within an ace of becoming the first artist ever to illustrate Conan's adventures in comics form, drew the Cimmerian in this time-tossed settingfor the 1976 Mighty Marvel Bicentennial Calendar. Maybe the barbarian wound up atLexington and/or Concord because of Shamash-Shum-Ukin's fabled Well at the Center ofTime from Savage Sword of Conan #7 (Aug. 1975) and What If? #13 (Feb. 1979)! Repro'd froma scan of the original art, as retrieved from the Heritage Comics Archives by Dominic Bongo.[2007 Paradox Entertainment.]

  • Writing Comics Turned OutTo Be What I Really Wanted

    To Do With My Life



    By The Middle Of 1970, Id Been At MarvelFor Five Years

    JIM AMASH: All right, so its 1970 and youre the second headwriter of Marvel Comics, with Stan [Lee] being #1. And youreediting, so youre the #2 editor, too.

    THOMAS: Thats like saying you come in second in a horse race. Youdont get nearly as much money. [mutual laughter] Actually, it was anice situation to be in. By the middle of 1970, Id been at Marvel forfive years, just picking up whatever little tidbits or reins Stan let fall,sometimes at his direction, sometimes at my own initiative. And I justbecame #2 editormy real title was associate editorby default.

    Sol Brodsky was thereright before he left for Skywald and wassucceeded by John Verpoorten. As production manager, Sol ranked mein certain ways, and I had no problem with thatbut he wasntinvolved in editorial decisions except from a scheduling angle, so thethree of us took care of things well, in a sense maybe there were fourof us, because Stan relied on John Romita in certain areas concerningSpider-Man and even art direction and corrections.

    JA: Now, as you rise in the company, is your compensation risingthat much?

    THOMAS: I was doing okay. Is anybody ever really ever paid whattheyd like? I was working, really, for [Marvel publisher] MartinGoodman, and he wasnt somebody you could go to directly and say,Im worth more money. Remember, Flo Steinberg quit in the late60s because she couldnt get a $5 raise, because Goodman felt secre-tarial positions paid a certain salary and not a penny over that. But,between Goodman and Stan, I got raises from time to time, when saleswere fairly good. There were sometimes Christmas bonuses, too. And,unlike back in the 40s or 50s, they never had to lower my salary,although back around 68 they probably came close to doing thatacross the board when sales went soft, right after they turned the threeanthology titles into six solo hero titles.

    JA: How did other people react to your rising in the company?

    THOMAS: I probably had more friends than Id had before. [mutuallaughter]

    JA: Thats what I figured.

    THOMAS: Well, I had more people suddenly finding excuses to hangaround with me. Im not saying they were always doing thatconsciously. You naturally gravitate towards somebody in a situationlike that, as Im sure Ive done myself. I never had to work hard at that,because when I was dealing with pros earlier, it was most just writingfan letters to Julie Schwartz or Gardner Fox or Otto Binder. And, withthe exception of once or twice with Julie, I wasnt really thinking interms of getting into the field professionally.

    Some people probably accepted what you call my rise in thecompany, and some people didnt. I wasnt handing out assignmentsdirectly at that stage, but I had some growing influence, and Stan oftenlistened to my suggestions. Sometimes hed ask who should do this orthat. It was a case of a gradual evolution. If Id looked from one year tothe next, I was probably handling a little more and I was having to dealwith a few other writers and a bit more with the artless with the artthan with the writers. But I wouldnt have noticed from day-to-day orweek-to-week.


    ROY THOMAS Talks About WritingAnd EditingFor Marvel During The 1970s

    Interview Conducted by Jim Amash Transcribed by Brian K. Morris

  • of Tuzun Thune, and hed wonder about who was real, him or theSerpent Menthat sort of thing.

    JA: Now a couple of things: the first Kull story is in Creatures onthe Loose #10because I own that original art, you know.[chuckles]

    THOMAS: Do you? The whole story? The story that Bernie thoughtfor a long time that I had? It got stolen from the office between when itwas first printed in Creatures on the Loose and right after I reprintedit in Savage Tales so we could see the artwork better in black-&-white,and I could even print Bernies cover. How did you get hold of thatstory?

    JA: It was eventually found and returned to Wrightson, who latersold it to an art dealer, and the art dealer sold it to me. Was that atest for Kull? So if it had done badly, you might not have done aKull comic?

    THOMAS: It was an attempt to get Kull out there, and see if we couldget a second Howard comicand because Bernie had really wanted todo Conan and that hadnt worked out. Of course, we ended up with aHerb Trimpe cover. Stan didnt like Bernies cover, which underscoresthe fact that, had I pushed hard earlier for Bernie to do the Conanbook, it might not have worked to either my or Bernies advantage. TheKull story was months later, by which time Bernie had gotten moreexperience, and his Skull of Silence adaptation is gorgeous work. Hesaid equally nice stuff about my adaptation at the time, because I added

    a few touches here and there. I suspect he didnt do the Kull bookbecause, by then, he was more involved with DC.

    JA: Swamp Thing starts not too long after that.

    THOMAS: Otherwise, Id have been very happy to work with him onKull. But I wound up going to Ross Andru, whose work I also loved.But I felt his pencils needed a bit more decoration to compete withwhat Barry was doing, just as I later thought Buscema did, which led tomy getting Alcala and Chan. For Andrus Kullwell, you cant get anybetter inker than Wally Wood. Theyd have been the regular team. Butthere were several months between those first two Kull issues. And bythat time, Andru and Wood were both gone, so by Kull theConqueror #2the third Kull outingwe wound up up with yetanother team. We had three different overall teams, if you countBernie, in just three issues. Three artistic looksand all of themexcellent! [laughs] A plethora of riches.

    JA: Later you changed the books title to Kull the Destroyer.

    THOMAS: Stan changed it, just as Ploog came in to draw it and Iwrote that one issue. Stan felt maybe the word Conqueror washurting the bookit sounded too much like a kingso he changed theword to Destroyer. I remember the two of us were walking downthe hall and I argued, I dont think the word Conqueror is theproblem, or that changing it will make a difference. He got a bit teedoff at me for not thinking it was a great idea. I usually did like Stansideas; and in this case, it wasnt like it was a bad idea. I just didntfigure it would help. I think what helped sell that book then for a littlewhile was Mike Ploogs cover and art, plus we were doing a Robert E.Howard story, which got me all fired up. But I was just too busy tocontinue doing it. I think Steve Engelhart did a good job on Kull afterthat, but still it kind-of petered away. Maybe if Mike had kept oninking itbut we also lost Mikes inking after that one issue, andMikes work never looked as good when someone else was inking.

    JA: Why did Ploog replace the Severins?

    THOMAS: I dont remember why Marie left. Remember, the last issueshe penciled wasnt inked by John, and I think she lost interest after herbrother left, plus the fact that it wasnt selling that well, anyway. Mariewould have to tell you more, if she remembers. I dont think she wastaken off Kull.

    JA: Okay, Red Sonja is an immediate hit when you introduce herinto the Conan series.

    THOMAS: Well, in terms of reader reaction, anyway. She wasnt evenon the first cover.

    JA: Right, but since she was popular with the readers almostimmediately, why didnt you use her more often in the Conan comicbook?

    THOMAS: Conan was a loner. So, once he met her, she had to wanderoff at the end of the second story [Conan the Barbarian #24]. I alwaysknew shed be back. But I wanted several months to go by first. I feltConan shouldnt be part of a regular team.

    JA: So you were thinking more in terms of realism than for sales, ina sense.

    THOMAS: I didnt really think a lot about sales in terms of Conan.And thats probably why Stan saved our bacon [mutual chuckling] byinsisting that Barry and I use more humanoid villains, starting with #8.That probably made the upturn that saved the book. I wanted to sellthe book, of course, but mostly my feeling was that, if we did the bestjob we could, the book would either sell or it wasnt going to sell. Andit was picking up in sales at that time, so I didnt have to worry too

    Conqueror, Hell! Im A Destroyer!Mike Ploogs cover for Kull the Destroyer #11 (Nov. 1973), as reprinted in black-&-white, with gray tones added, in FOOM #2 (Summer 1973).

    See photo of Mike on p. 51. [2007 Paradox Entertainment.]

    10 Roy Thomas Talks About WritingAnd EditingFor Marvel During The 1970s

  • much. Its not like I needed RedSonja and other characters to sellConan.

    So I didnt have her reappear tillaround #40 or 41. Actually, theresanother story we prepared thatshouldve been in Conan theBarbarian a month before thatsecond two-parterits the one thatbecame the lead story in SavageSword of Conan #1. But, as usual,when we launched Savage SwordWe have a new book on the scheduleand its late! [laughs] She couldvecome back earlier, but I was adapting a lot of Howards stories,and I didnt feel like shoehorning Sonja into those, so I just kepton working. Then the chance came to bring her back, and we did.Are we through with the Howard stuff now?

    JA: [chuckles] No, you dont get off that lucky, Roy! [mutuallaughter] Because Conan was a more writer-intensive series foryou, did you feel like working on this helped you grow as awriter?

    THOMAS: Im sure it did. I always thought in terms of bringingpulp-like writing into comicseven Doc Savage, which I wasnever wild about as writingand there were a lot of clumsythings about Burroughs, even Howard. It was all pulp-typewriting, but I felt that bringing in those characters and thoseconcepts would elevate comics a little. It wasnt that I didnt likewhat Stan Lee, Gardner Fox, and other people had done, myselfincluded or that everything Howard did was better than mostof what, say, Stan Lee did. Its just that I felt that having a non-comics approach would broaden the appeal of comics and enrichit in some vague way. This is the same motivation that later mademe want to bring in science-fiction and to do horror adaptationsand not just new stories.

    JA: You did that Worlds Unknown color comic

    THOMAS: Yeah, that was a favorite. But it didnt sell.

    JA: and I forget the name of the other one, that had thatgreat Steranko cover with The Invisible Man.

    THOMAS: That was Supernatural Thrillers. Stan had the ideafor that one, then turned it over to me, and I decided we shouldadapt some fantasy/horror classics, like Theodore Sturgeons Itand Killdozer. H.G. Wells The Invisible Man was Stans idea.I remember some of those worked out quite well, like HowardsValley of the Worm.

    JA: Yeah, that was a good one. Okay, now this is hindsight, [laughs]but it seems to meand maybe I noticed this because, when Istarted reading comics, you were already writingbut it seems tome that this is one of your real growth periods, the turn of or theearly to mid-70s.

    THOMAS: I think working with this other, non-comics materialcaused me to think more about the writing. I was trying to matchHowards style, or at least write a bit differently from what I waswriting in The Avengers. Challenges like that do make you grow as awriter. You dont necessarily have to be constantly thinking, Imgrowing as a writer! Im growing as a writer! I get physically ill whenI see actors and actresses on TV talking about how theyre growingall the time. I was just trying to do a good job, and as you do that,maybe you improve in certain ways.

    I Really Did Like Deepening The Marvel Universe

    JA: Thats right, because in that same period you did the Kree/SkrullWar in The Avengers, which was a bit different from what youddone before in Avengers. You had like a Womens Lib issue, andthings like that in Avengers. In fact, I think you took the whole ideaof that further than Lee and Kirby had done in Fantastic Four whenthey first introduced the Kree.

    THOMAS: There were two factors in that. One is what youre talkingabout, how working with Conan and other adaptation materials mademe start thinking a little differently, so that ideas would occur to methat maybe wouldnt have otherwise. Actually, there are another threethingsI sound like Monty Python here, I know.

    Another was the fact that I really did like deepening the Marvel

    Red Sales In The SunsetYou cant say Red Sonja artist Frank Thorne didnt throw himself into his work! At

    top center he confronts Big Red in the flesh (and lots of it!) at the unique Red SonjaConvention held in New Jersey in 1976! Photo courtesy of Sonja Angelique

    Trouvere. The Hyrkanians comic sold quite well for a year or two there! Frankhimself provided a scan of the original art to the cover of Red Sonja #7 (Jan. 1978).

    [Art 2007 Red Sonja Properties, Inc.]

    Writing Comics Turned Out To Be What I Really Wanted To Do With My Life 11

  • supporting characters that appear every so often, instead.

    THOMAS: Like The Vision. I never really had any thought of tryingto put him in his own book. He was a great character in Avengers, andthat was fine. Thats what he stayed for the whole almost 50 issues thatI wrote after Avengers #57.

    I Was Just Supposed To Be The Story Editor

    JA: Okay, you became editor-in-chief in 1972. Now Stan moves upin the company. How do you think Stan felt about giving up beingeditor-in-chief? And how much did you want that job?

    THOMAS: He didnt give me the title editor-in-chief title rightaway. I was just supposed to be the story editor. I dont know ifthat wouldve been the term in the books, but I suspect Stan aspublisher saw himself continuing to act as editor-in-chief, because heknew that his strength really was the stories, the direction of thebooks. He didnt want to give that up. Theres no reason to think Icould do it as well, and he wanted to do as much of it as he couldhimself, and besides, he and I worked rather well as a team. I wasntso ambitious that I was looking to wrest it away from him.

    I was quite content to be second banana. When youre a secondbanana to somebody as good as Stan, you dont mind that much.Well, maybe somebody else would, but this wasnt All About Eve.[mutual chuckling] This was more like Batman and Robin. While Iwanted to do things on my own, I was just happy to help Stan realizewhat he wanted to do, because hes the guy whod had the vision forthe company. It wasnt me, it wasnt Martin Goodman, it wasnt evenJack Kirbyit was Stan. Ill get some arguments on that, but Imabsolutely convinced. Hes the only person that did it, and maybehes the only person who could have done it. Theres certainly noevidence that anybody else could have. So I wasnt looking tooverthrow that. I just wanted to make my own little niche and havefun with it and do the best job that I could. Still, I didnt like beingjust story editor, because I really wanted to beunder Stan, atleastover the art and everything else. I felt that was the only way to

    be efficient.

    So Stan appointed me storyeditor, and John Verpoorten wasthe production manager, andFrank Giacoia got namedwell, Idont know if it was ever anofficial title, but I always thoughtof him as assistant art director,with Stan as the art directoralthough John Romita had a bigrole to play there, too. So who wasthe art director as of mid-1972?There wasnt one. Stan had alwayshad that title, Editorial and ArtDirector. So Frank and I were justpromoted to being story editorand assistant art directorand it

    didnt work out. It was an unstable little triumvirate that Stancreated there, and it didnt last more than a few weeksbecause Frank Giacoia, as good as he was, just wasnt up tothe job of being an art director like Romita was a little later. IfRomita wasnt offered the title, it was only because he wasjust too valuable, doing so many other things, includingSpider-Man. Frank really wanted the job, because it was achance to mostly to deal with covers; it gave him a chance tomake money without having to do as much drawing andinking. The only thing is, we suddenly had these impasses.

    Well, Ive told that story before.

    JA: Which one?

    THOMAS: I just didnt really feel the story editor thing was workingout. It was just too frustrating, because Im having to deal with Frank,but he wasnt under meand he wasnt producing cover sketches asfast or as good as we needed. So unless I went to went to Stan and hetalked to Frank, there was nobody to tell Frank, Do something. Ihad no such problems with Verpoorten as production manager. But,after just a few weeks, I was at my wits end and just thinking, MaybeI should just get out. I always had feelers from Carmine at DC, andsometimes they were tempting. I liked DCs characters. Maybe it wastime for a changeand that was another time when Gil Kane was so

    Frankie And Johnny Were WellFrank Giacoia (far right) & John Romita (right)

    each had a piece of the art director titleand responsibility in the early 1970sbut by1973 Jazzy Johnny was definitely the man!

    Giacoia, of course, remained one of Marvelstop inkers, despite his deadline problems.

    Photos from FOOM #3 (Fall 1973).

    Earlier, John and Frank had worked in tandemon layouts by Jack Kirby for the Captain

    America story in Tales of Suspense #77 (May1966). Thanks to Matt Moring and Chris Fama.

    [2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    18 Roy Thomas Talks About WritingAnd EditingFor Marvel During The 1970s

  • important in my life. I remembermoaning the blues to Gil about it, thesame way he did to me about otherthings.

    And Gil says, My boy, [mutuallaughter] dont let it worry you. Itll allcome to you. I said, What are youtalking about? And he says, Well,look. Youve got these three people.And he just analyzed it perfectly. Hesays, John Verpoorten doesnt count.He just wants to get the books out. Hedoesnt care how it happens, as long ashe can get the books out, so hes nothreat. Hes not ambitious, trying tobuild an empire or anything. AndFranks a good inker, but hes totallyincompetent as an art director becausehes never really worked at being atartist. Hes always been an inker. Youknow he cant make it over the longhaul. So, Gil said, all you have to dois hang in there a little while longer, andeverything will come falling to you, justlike you want. I wasnt too sure.

    And then, a few days later, maybe aweek later, something came up and Stancalled me in because he wasnt happywith the stuff Frank was doing. Hewanted to know why I wasnt ridingFrank, [laughs] to make him shape up. Isaid, Theres a very simple reason, Stan.Its because Frank is not under me. Youmade us equals, so therefore the onlyperson who can give him orders is you.I cant tell him what to do, because Imnot his boss.

    So Stan said, I think maybe wedbetter change that. [chuckles] So thatswhen I officially became editor-in-chief,and Frank was still assistant art director or whatever, and before longhe was sort-of shunted back into being an artist and Romita finallybecame the official art director, as he shouldve been all along. Ivealways found it funny that Gil analyzed the situation exactly. All I hadto do was sit tight and not do anything for a couple of weeks. [Jimchuckles] Once John Romita was art director, I guess I was technicallyhis superiorbut it was never a question. For one thing, werespected each other and John just wanted to do whatever wasnecessary. Of course, if John and I had gotten into a serious dispute,John wouldve had direct access to Stan in a way Frank hadnt but,like I said, it never came up.

    Frank got to hate me, feeling I had sabotaged him when in realityhe had sabotaged himself. I suspect he felt similarly about John Romita.Frank talked to me from the heart once, soon afterward, about how hehad busted my hump at that job, and I didnt know what to sayexcept make sympathetic sounds, because it sure hadnt looked to uslike he was busting any humps. But we all liked Frank, sometimes inspite of himself, and we liked his inking.

    JA: Dont you think it worked so well between you and Romitabecause of Johns temperament, his willingness to be a team player,rather than to live by a title like Frank, in a certain sense, wasdoing? Also, John probably had a better grasp on what Marvel was

    supposed to be and what you and Stanwanted.

    THOMAS: Yeah. He and I were bothgood at anticipating Stan and atturning his ideas into finished products.Stan knew wed take the ball and runwith it. He could count on us in thatway, just as, earlier, in a productionsituation, hed been able to count on SolBrodsky. I dont think John Verpoortenand Stan had the same rapport as Stanand Sol had, although they got alongwell. I think Romita, Brodsky, and I

    were probablythree of thepeople whowere the mostin tune withStan during theperiod of the60s and 70s,the same wayJoe Maneely ora couple ofpeople wereback in the50s.

    Skywald And AtlasJA: Well, theres also the fact that,frankly, Sol Brodsky wasnt that greata comics artist.

    THOMAS: He was a competent artist,but it wasnt his major talent. He was agood inker, but he was just more of anorganizer and overseer. Sols idea wasalways whatever will get the book out intime. Well, thats good up to a point,because you need somebody like that.Otherwise, even somebody like me who

    is pretty practical can worry something to death and not get it out. Andguys like Sol, and Verpoorten later on, theyd be the ones riding Stan orother editors, saying, Weve got to get this book out. Somebodysometimes had to stand up to Stan and say, You cant play around anymore, or were going to eat a big expense on this book.

    JA: Right, because of late fees. I think your point about Sol is partic-ularly well-illustrated by what happened when he left and startedSkywald. I know that later, when Goodman started Atlas Comics,you had some discussion with some creative people, that, Hey, ifyou leave here for Atlas and it doesnt work out, dont count onautomatically being able to come back. Why do you think Sol wasable to escape that?

    THOMAS: Because Stan needed himalso because Sol had left undervery friendly circumstances. Besides, I dont think Stan ever saw SolBrodsky or Skywald as a real threat, even though Goodman got reallyannoyed at Skywald for various reasons. Stan knew Sols skills, whichwere as an artist in general and a production person/overseer, anexpeditor. He never said this to me, but I think he probably didnt feelthat Sol Brodsky and Israel Waldman were going to come up with acompany that would be much of a threat to Marvel at that stage.Besides, he liked Sol, and I think he felt, If Sol can make a go of it,okay. Sol was smart to talk to Stan before leaving, the same way Stans

    Like, Jolly Solly Brodsky Didnt Occur To Stan In 1964?

    Sparkling SOLLY BRODSKY? Well, thats how Stan tagged himin the photo section of 1964s Marvel Tales Annual. While Sol

    isnt primarily remembered as an artist, he was drawing (andoccasionally writing?) back in the Golden Age, and once told

    Roy T. he had created the Holyoke hero The Red Cross in 1942.Along with inking Fantastic Four #3-4, he embellished John Buscemas pencils on the cover of Sub-Mariner #1

    (May 1968) while serving as Marvels production manager.Thanks to Bob Bailey. [2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Writing Comics Turned Out To Be What I Really Wanted To Do With My Life 19

  • JA: I always thought the Silver Age kind-of ends when Kirby goesto DC, only because that affects both companies, whereas Stan Leestepping down as editor only affects Marvel, you see? But itsarbitrary. For Alter Egos purposes, I know you count through theend of 1974and when Im interviewing, I often count throughwhen Carmine Infantino stepped down at DCat the end of 1975or early in 1976.

    THOMAS: It mustve been around then that Jenette Kahn becameDCs publisher, because I left New York in early July of 76 for theWest Coast, and Jenette was in at DC for several months before that.She and I even dated a couple of times. She took me to a Patti Smithconcert and a cocktail party for some prospective DemocraticPresidential candidate Morris Udall even though Id stopped beinga Democrat the year before, when the Democratic Congress stoppedPresident Ford from coming to the rescue ofSouth Vietnam when the North broke thepeace treaty and invaded. When thathelicopter took off from the US embassybuilding in Saigon, it took with it my oldparty affiliation. In 1976, Gerald Fordbecame the first Republican I ever voted for.

    Talented People Who GotStirred Up By What Had

    Happened In The PrecedingDecade

    JA: Okay, a couple of editor-in-chiefquestions that I didnt ask you last time.During your reign

    THOMAS: Whatever.

    JA: Yeah, and you can spell it R-A-I-N.[laughs]

    THOMAS: It was more like a drizzle.

    JA: Okay, during the hailstorm, [laughs] a lot of new people camein. Frank Brunner really starts about then, and Jim Starlin and AlMilgrom, Engelhart comes in around in 72, I think. Did you havean accounting for why all this newand good newtalent comesinto the field at that time? Do you think you had anything to dowith it? Were you looking to bring more people in?

    THOMAS: Well, peripherally. But it wouldve happened anyway.These were all talented people who got stirred up by what hadhappened in the preceding decade, especially in the latter half of the60s, when Stan and Jack, Ditko, and Romita all hit their stride on theMarvel books. And of course, they were also inspired by some things atDCthe coming of Neal Adams with Deadman, and other bookshere and there. DC was experimenting, after Carmine came in. DC hadhad an earlier experimentation stage, which had kind-of petered out bythe mid-60s. I remember how startled I was when I learned from Stanthat Hawkman didnt sell well, because I loved that character. But Ishouldnt have been surprised. It never had sold as well as even TheAtom, and there are reasons for that, I think. However much we maylove him, Hawkman is just a guy with a beak who can fly. And he haswhat I always called a church window costumetoo many colorsfighting each other. [mutual chuckling] Not that that stopped himfrom being my favorite Golden Age hero of all time and one of my

    Duo For A New DecadeSteve Englehart (above, as writer) and Frank Brunner (as artist) became thecosmic caretakers of the Dr. Strange feature beginning in Marvel Premiere#9 (July 1973). Soon co-plotting the book, as well, they became one of the

    most successful Dr. Strange teams ever. Thanks to Bob Bailey for the scan.[2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Silver Age Among The GoldWhenever the Silver Age started or ended, these three DC guys were an

    integral part of it. (Left to right:) artist Carmine Infantino editor JuliusSchwartz artist Joe Kubert. Because all three of them (and writers Robert

    Kanigher and John Broome) had produced the Silver Age-jumpstartingShowcase #4 in 1956, after also taking part in the Golden Age, they starred

    on a special Flash panel at the All Time Classic New York Comic BookConvention in 2000. Photo courtesy of Joe Petrilak.

    26 Roy Thomas Talks About WritingAnd EditingFor Marvel During The 1970s

  • favorites of theearly Silver Age, aswell.

    And so, between whathad happened at Marvel andDC, but also at othercompanies, there were more andmore people getting inspired bycomicsand fandom was allowingthose people to be in touch witheach otherpeople who mightnever have met in an earlier daybecause they werent all in NewYork. In the old days, guys like GilKane and Carmine and Giacoia andToth and Hasen all knew each other,because they all lived in New York,even if they may have come fromdifferent parts of the country. Thenew guys were in touch with eachother even before they came to NewYork.

    JA: How actively were you recruiting?At all?

    THOMAS: Well, off and on, yeah. By the early 70s, we began toexpand again. In mid-72 or so, when Stan became the president andpublisher, suddenly, we had not just our own president and publisher,separate from Magazine Management and the other magazines, themens sweat and romance and confessions and crosswords and all that.That meant that, suddenly, Marvel had to support all that, see? Marvelsuddenly had to pay a few extra salaries, and I dont mean mine.[mutual laughter] I remember one of the first things Stan had to dowas to hire a comptrollerwhether they spell that with an M or anNand there was this guy named ConwayI think it was RichardConway, no relation to Gerrybrought in to handle the money. Agreat big Verpoorten-sized guy [Jim laughs] whom I dont remembertoo well. He was around for a year or so. He seemed like a nice guy. Ihad a few dealings with him. That was one of the new salaries, and wehad to expand a bit to support all this.

    And, of course, only two or three years earlier, wed gone to adifferent distributor [Curtis], since Marvel was now owned byCadence, which had started out as Perfect Film (or been absorbed bythem, I forget whichit didnt matter much to those of us in thetrenches). So, Marvel being a separate company, we had to add morebooks. And that was, coincidentally, also the period in which the Codewas rewritten, liberalized. All of a sudden, the monster field opened upto us, so even without just flooding the stands with more super-heroes,pure and simple, we had another genre or two we could play aroundwith. The Kung Fu angle, for examplewe got a book or two out ofthat. The monster angle, we got 80 titles. [mutual chuckling]

    JA: Right, including a lot of reprints.

    THOMAS: Yeah, but we needed more people on staff even just tohandle the reprints! And to handle the mail for the extra books. All of asudden, we had maybe another assistant editor where before just onemightve sufficed. By the mid-70s, Roger Stern and Roger Slifer andDave Kraft and others were hired to answer letters, as much asanything else.

    Well, like I said, we suddenly needed more people, and that was partof my jobbut the thing is, all I had to do was walk out the door andstumble over some of these guys. [Jim laughs] Steve Englehart was sent

    up there. He was a summer replacementor some such thing for Gary Friedrich.

    When Gary wanted to go away for awhile, he got Steve, who was sort-of a young aspiring artist when hecame up to Neals studio, and heended up at Marvel as a proof-reader. Then he wanted to write,and I believe he wrote a few pages

    of a sample script. Anyway, I gave him The Beast to try out on, andthat worked out pretty well.

    JA: I think he colored before he wrote.

    THOMAS: Maybe so. Hes always said he got back into readingcomics by seeing that last issue Ditko did of Spider-Man, where Stanwrote this caption about the villain being a full-time nut.

    Alan WeissI always liked Alan, but I dont remember how hecame up there. Frank Brunner had worked there on staff, a couple ofyears earliera talented young artist in the Frazetta vein, but FrankBrunner and Marvel staff job are not two phrases youd thinkbelong in the same sentence, then or now, and I think hed agree.Whether its right or wrong, some staffers had the impression he sort-of wandered around all day saying how great Frazetta was. [Jimlaughs] His art at that stage was like Bernie Wrightsons. It was kind-ofrough, but you knew it was going to come together one of these days.

    And, my God, Barry Smith hadnt done any work that good, really,when he wound up drawing for Marvel! Frank did this story calledWhat Rough Beast?a quote from Yeatsin one of the Warrenmagazines. I got in touch with him because this was his breakthroughstory as far as I was concerned. In short order, he was drawing Dr.Strange in Marvel Premiere.

    JA: Which I thought he did a great job on.

    THOMAS: Right. Starlin came in by other means; I didnt haveanything to do with that. He was this guy that had a lot of the feel ofGil Kane and Kirby and others. So he started off on things like IronMan, and then he inherited Captain Marvel. He was a dynamic artistright away, long before anybody knew he would also soon be writingand telling his own stories. So some of these artists maybe I particularly

    Starring StarlinJim Starlin and his lady at the Wizard World convention in

    Philadelphia, June 2005and a 1980s drawing of Mar-Vell thathe did in marker for collector Phil Schlaeffer, used by courtesyof Phil and Jerry K. Boyd. Jims 1970s work on Captain Marveland Strange Tales/Warlock is mostly in print, or soon will beagain! Photo by Keif Simon & Jim Murtaugh. [Captain Marvel

    TM & 2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Writing Comics Turned Out To Be What I Really Wanted To Do With My Life 27

  • it with the Star Wars screenplay or Burroughs, it didnt work as well.Burroughs just described the action going on, and you dont need to do that ina comic book. The pictures are there for the straight-on action.

    So I feel my writing of Tarzan was partly successful, partly unsuccessful. Idid love the first couple of issues, because John Buscema both penciled andinked them. We told the story of Tarzan of the Apes to get it out of the way,then went on with the first real novel after the ones Joe had adaptednotcounting Tarzan and the Lion Man, a later story. We did Tarzan and theJewels of Opar, which had been adapted by Manning and Gaylord DuBois, Iguess, at Gold Key, but as only three comics or so. I wanted to do it at muchgreater length. I had fun with it, and I threw in ape language pages, but theMarvel Tarzan was never a great success, eithernot under me, or whenDave Kraft took over after I left it and went to all-new stories. The Burroughsbooks just never really caught on that well, even though they looked goodmuch of the time. Warlord of Mars looked great under Gil, inked by Nebresand others.

    But, all along, Gil would keep bugging me, My boy, youve got to takeover the writing of this book, because he and Marv didnt get along thatterribly well. I thought it was a shame, because Marv is a very talentedwriter, Gil was a talented artist, but somehow they were always on differentwavelengths. At least Gil felt they were. I wouldve started at a differentpoint in John Carters life than Marv didId have begun with A Princess ofMars and ignored the DC version of same, if Id had my druthersbut Icant say that wouldve made it more commercially successful. I told Gil,Look, Ill come in if Marv ever leaves the book, but Im not going to try topush him off. But I missed my chance entirely, because the book died erelong, just as Tarzan did. I suspect ERB, Inc.s, cut of the profits didnt helpthose books turn a profit, either.

    JA: [chuckles] But didnt you quit Tarzan over a dispute?

    THOMAS: Oh, yeah. The basic thing is, I gave John Buscema a few fill-in storiesto draw when he needed a Tarzan plot and I was busy doing something elseinstead of working on the chapters of Jewels of Opar. I thought itd bewonderful to adapt the stand-alone stories of Burroughs Jungle Tales of Tarzan,and I was told by Marvel that was all right. Jungle Tales is a collection of shortstories about Tarzan in the days before he met any white people, when he mostlyjust interacted with animals, and I loved those stories, just as I loved KiplingsMowgli stories in The Jungle Books. A couple of those Jungle Tales adaptationswent into an annual we did, and a couple of others were sandwiched into themain Tarzan comic. Id give a story to John and tell him, Just draw it inpictures. Thats all you had to do with John. He preferred that to a synopsis.Then Id add the dialogue later. Actually, I think the Jungle Tales adaptationsworked out better than that of Jewels of Opar.

    But then, one Friday afternoon in late 1977December, I guessI got aphone call from MarionBurroughs. She was inTarzana, just a few milesaway, and Im in myapartment just up the hillfrom the Warner Studios.She was very upset becausewed done these JungleTales of Tarzan. I said, Idont understand. She says,You have no legal right todo this. I said, Well, youllhave to take that up withMarvel. They told me it wasokay, or I wouldnt havedone them. Several hadcome out by this time, andthis was the first word ofcomplaint Id heard. I dont

    36 Roy Thomas Talks About WritingAnd EditingFor Marvel During The 1970s

    Warlord Of MarvelMarv Wolfman, flanked by

    (above) Gil Kanes thumbnailsketches for a page from John

    Carter, Warlord of Mars #1(June 1977)and a more

    detailed pencil breakdownby Gil of a page (was #10

    really already in the workslike the caption says?). The

    photo and art spots appearedin FOOM #20. [Art 2007

    Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.]

  • know if she got a complaint from Burne Hogarth, or she was justworried that she might get a complaint from Burne Hogarthbut he[Tarzan comics strip artist in the late 1930s and 1940s] had come outwith his second Tarzan graphic novel, doing new adaptations, andhed done a couple of the Jungle

    Tales, including at leastone of the same ones Idadapted. I even had hisbooks, though Id neverpaid any attention tothem. So I told MarionBurroughs, Yourproblem is with Marvel,not with me. If we cantdo any more JungleTales, I wont do anymore. Its that simple.

    But she kept ridingme, like I was supposedto offer some hugeapology. I couldntreally figure out what

    she wanted. Then she said, A lot of the writing is even the same. A lotof the wording is the same in your version and Hogarths. [Jimlaughs] I said, Well, of course it is. He and I were both adapting thesame Edgar Rice Burroughs story. Itd be strange if the wording

    Jungle Tales Of ThomasSince it was a dispute concerning

    Marvels adaptation of shortstories from Edgar Rice

    Burroughs Jungle Tales of Tarzanthat led to Roys leaving the bookin December 1977, its ironic thatthe only typed synopsis of RTsfrom that series known to stillexist is the one he sent John

    Buscema for the two introductorypages of a framing sequence forTarzan Annual #1 (1977)the rest

    of which adapted two of thosevery Tales! Thanks to MichelMaillot, over in France, whosomehow latched onto the

    original typed manuscript. Inkson the printed pages by SteveGan. Also shown (above) are

    Buscemas pencils of two panelsfrom that sequence, as per FOOM

    #17 (March 1977). Roys alwaysfelt that this Annual, along withTarzan #1-2 penciled and inkedby Big John himself, were the

    best of those he worked on in theMarvel series. The series was laterably continued by David Anthony

    Kraft, one of Roys later Marvelrecruits. [2007 Edgar Rice

    Burroughs, Inc.]

    Writing Comics Turned Out To Be What I Really Wanted To Do With My Life 37

  • as Id hoped to ease the way for him to come back the previous year,when he and his family talked to me about it in San Diegoand its ashame he stopped himself from being as integral to the company thesecond time around as hed been before, which wouldve been to hisadvantage as well as theirs. Even so, I felt it was good to have him back,because then Marvel had him and DC didnt. But he soon left againanyway, when he wouldnt sign the work-for-hire agreement, and Icant fault him for that, even though I signed it.

    [Gil Kane And I] Both Liked To Talk A LotJA: I started to ask you about why you and Gil Kane worked sowell together.

    THOMAS: I think that we just had similar viewpoints, which Gilrealized when he first saw my Captain Marvel #17 plot, the revamp ofthe Fawcett Captain Marvel, which was already plotted before he cameaboard as artist.

    JA: You worked well together, but it seemed like you guys werentexactly similar personalities.

    THOMAS: Well, no. We both liked to talk a lot. With Gil, I did tendto do more listening than talking, [Jim laughs] but I did my share. Not50%, Im sure, if you had a tape recorder out, but I did enough. I wasintimidated by him to some extent. Gil had been around longerhedbeen the artist of Green Lantern and The Atom, for chrissakeandhed thought more about comics. Like most people in the field, I wasntgiven to a lot of analysis. I did it more on instinct, and Gil was a self-taught guy who sometimes maybe talked himself out of things a littletoo much. He theorized so much that, sometimes, hed put more workinto the theory than he did into the pages, and he couldnt quite live upto what he wanted to do. But there was never a Gil Kane job thatdidnt have some interesting aspects, with an individualistic look to it.

    After that first Captain Marvel story, I rarely just came to him andsaid, This is what were going to do, and youll draw it. Id have anideasometimes a sketchy idea, sometimes a little firmer ideaandthen Gil would become a creative part of it, and not everybody wouldlet him do that. Even Archie Goodwin, another favorite collaborator ofhis, would often just write something and then Gil would draw it.They might talk it over, but it wasnt quite the same kind of collabo-ration. Gil liked working with Archie, but he liked to be a creative partof things, and I allowed him to do that. In later years, he wanted to beso much a part of it that I found that, unless whatever we did wasinitially his idea, I could no longer interest him in things. So I adjustedmyself to that, and it worked out okay. The only exception, I suppose,was the Ring of the Nibelung adaptation we did at DC, which wassomething Mike Gold approached me about, because he knew Id liketo do it.

    Gil and I often had dinners and lunches together. We talked aboutwork and about personalities and business and theory, a little bit ofeverything. Again after he moved to L.A. in the early 80s, or wheneverit was, we spent a lot of time together. Wed go out every couple ofmonths or so with our wives and have dinner together, and a lot of thetalk was not about comics, and a lot of it was. It was a wonderful, avery nice relationship. I think maybe at times I was kind-of the juniorpartner in it, [Jim chuckles] but it was a good relationship and I felt areal loss whenoh, God, I know how hard it was when he had cancer,and he didnt tell me because he was just so terrified that somebodywould let it slip to DC that he was ill, and they might take him off theRing series we were working on. Nobody wouldve learned that fromme, but he was understandably a bit paranoid about it. It did kind-ofhurt me to be kept in the dark, but he didnt tell many people, so Ididnt feel singled out. But going through something like that is soincredibly difficult, perhaps Im lucky I didnt know about it at thetime.

    JA: How did you feel about winning the Inkpot Award [at the SanDiego Comic-Con] in 1974?

    THOMAS: Well, it was an honor. The convention at that time wasonly four or five years old. I know I first attended in 1972, when Jeanieand I were driving south on a vacation in California. The real thrill tome in 1974 was being up on the dais between three artists I particularlyesteemed. On one side of me was Milt Caniff, and on the other side,Russ Manning, and right next to him, Charlie Schulz. So I felt greatabout that, even though Russ and I quickly found we didnt agree onmuch about how to do comics. [mutual laughter] He started askingme why the words that were bold in my Marvel scripts werent theones that people speaking would actually emphasize. And I said, whilethere might be an occasional exceptionfor instance, Stan didnt likethe word himself lettered boldI felt, in general, that the bold wordsin my scripts were exactly the words to be emphasized in speech. Russwas just reading the lines differently than I was writing them. He also

    42 Roy Thomas Talks About WritingAnd EditingFor Marvel During The 1970s

    Kirbys KrusadersRoy snagged Jack to draw as many Invaders covers as he couldsince Kirby,along with Joe Simon, Bill Everett, and Carl Burgos, had been one of the four

    artistic pillars on which the early Timely/Marvel had been built in 1939-41. TheKings pencils for the cover of #14 (April 1977) showcase The Crusaders, the

    hero-villains Roy and Frank Robbins devised as an homage to Quality ComicsWWII-era stars Uncle Sam, Black Condor, The Ray, Human Bomb, et al. Thanks

    to John Morrow and the Kirby Estate. [2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • Just A Perfect Blendship(Center:) Though they never really collaborated until CaptainMarvel #17 in 1969, Roy Thomas and Gil Kane first met at DaveKalers New York Comicon in summer of 1965. The photo at top

    right shows them talking to fans [is that Rick Weingroff?], after apanel they were on together. Roy was wearing his spanking-newFantastic Four T-shirt, just then being offered for sale; Gil was a

    bit more nattily attired. See A/E #20 for in-depth coverage ofthat first full-service comics convention, including a

    transcription of that panel. From the Jerry Bails collection,courtesy of Jean Bails.

    Both Gil and Roy admired the concepts of Edgar Rice Burroughsand Robert E. Howard, as per these two covers and a story page

    they devised together. (Clockwise from right center:) AstonishingTales #11 (April 1972) starring Ka-Zar Creatures on the Loose

    #20 (Nov. 1972) featuring Gullivar of Mars and The Valley ofthe Worm from Supernatural Thrillers #3 (April 1973).

    Ka-Zar was a Tarzan wannabe, right down to being the son of anEnglish lord who was reared by jungle beasts (#11 featured his

    origin, by Thomas & Kane) Gullivar, which Roy & Gillaunched together, was inspired by a novel that had actuallypreceded the first John Carter adventure by several years and

    may even have influenced ERB, so Roy and Gil gave it adecidedly ERB twist and Worm adapted an REH story which

    postulated that tales of ancient heroes slaying dragons weredistorted human-racial memories of an even more gruesome

    account lost in the mists of pre-history. Inking in this artmontage is by Romita (Ka-Zar), Gil himself (Gullivar), andErnie Chan (Worms); Gerry Conway dialogued the last half of

    Worms when Roys time got eaten up by legal/maritalproblems. Gullivar and Worms art reprod from Australian

    reprints supplied by Shane Foley; thanks to Bob Bailey for the ATcover. [Worm art 2007 Paradox Entertainment; covers 2007

    Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Writing Comics Turned Out To Be What I Really Wanted To Do With My Life 43

  • The Swordsmen, The Damned StupidSwordsmen, Will Win After All

    Vicente Alcazar illustrated the adaptation of sf author Larry Nivens Not Long before theEnd for Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction#2 (May 1975). For a photo of Vicente, see

    p. 45. As the b&w mags editor, Roy admiredthis short story despite (or perhaps becauseof) its anti-Conan philosophy. Larry, whom

    Roy got to know later in Los Angeles, felt thatin sword-and-sorcery tales it was the wizard,

    not the brutish warrior, with whom anintelligent modern reader should empathize.

    Lacking the time to script the adaptation, Royhad that ably handled by Doug Moench, seenat right in a photo taken at the 1975 MightyMarvel Convention, as printed in FOOM #10.Doug had been brought to New York by Royand b&w editor Marv Wolfman a year or so

    earlier to fill a crying need for stories for theirhorror magsand Doug was well up to thetask! [Art 2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.;

    original story 2007 Larry Niven.]

    Superman Vs. Captain MarvelA Boring ConfrontationWayne Boring (photo at bottom right), surrounded by two super-heroes he drew from

    time to time:

    (Below:) Hed been either the second or third person ever to draw Superman (runningneck-and-neck in that department with Paul Cassidy), and penciled the Man of Steels

    newspaper comic strip for years. When he later sold dailies that didnt depict Superman,he sometimes drew the hero right on the original art, as per this 1982 addition to a 1960

    strip. [2007 DC Comics.]

    (Right:) Boring penciled Marvels Captain Marvel #22-24, with inking by Ernie Chan, asper this page from #24 (Jan. 1973). Script by Marv Wolfman, who added villains like Dr.

    Savannah and Dr. Mynde as tips of the hat to foes of the original 1940-53 FawcettCaptain Marvel. Both pieces of art in this group reprod from photocopies of the original

    art; thanks to Anthony Snyder. [2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    48 Roy Thomas Talks About WritingAnd EditingFor Marvel During The 1970s

  • like the city in Georgia. We were always doing crazy thingslike that, and why not? After all, earlier, I had revamped ourCaptain Marvel to make him a sort of science-fictional revivalof the Fawcett hero, at a time when we didnt think theoriginal would ever be coming back. And now he was back atDC, but Marvel had the trademark on the name CaptainMarvel, so I figured, lets continue doing whatever we canlegally and ethically.

    Wayne Boring was good, but he was a little too stiff andstylized to work out for Marvel, I guess. Yet there werecertain panels Id see, and Id say, Ah, that reminds me of theold Superman! In fact, most of his panels reminded me of panels inSuperman in the 40s and 50s. I liked that very much. We justcouldnt find a really good place for him. He was the uncle of RalphMacchio, who became, in the late 70s, an editor at Marvel and whosstill there.

    [Stan] Wanted To Do Some Books ThatWould Have Special Appeal To Girls

    JA: There was a time when Marvel decided to do a few comicsgeared towards women. You had Night Nurse and The Claws ofThe Cat and tried to find women to write and draw them.

    THOMAS: And dont forget the third of that trilogyShanna the

    She-Devil. I think they were all thought up the same day, basically.

    JA: Oh, yeah? By whom?

    THOMAS: Stan had the idea, and I think the names, for all three.He wanted to do some books that would have special appeal togirls. We were always looking for ways to expand our franchise.We had a lot of super-hero books. You cant just go on putting outmore and more books that are in exactly the same genre, but if youcould find ways to nibble around the edges, to add on at the edges,you can maybe cover a little more territory. Conan was like that, ahero with a little different feel. The kung-fu heroes were in thatvein, and the monster heroes like Dracula and Werewolf by Night,so maybe a couple of women characters might bring back a few ofthe female readers whod been lost to comics over the years withthe decline of humor and romance comics.

    Thered been a time when women used to buy even super-herocomics. When I was back in grade school, one of the main people Itraded comics with around the block from me, a few minutes walkaway, was a girl named Joyce Glueck, my age or a year younger.

    Stars In Our EyesGeorge Prez , as per FOOM #15 (Sept. 1976)first with a Star Wars

    comicon sketch, courtesy of George and Anthony Snyder. George said inFOOM #22 (Autumn 1978): The first color comic I did was Man-Wolfwith David Kraft. After I did War Toy for Unknown Worlds of Science

    Fiction, Roy Thomas offered me what worked out to be two issues of theFantastic Four, which were followed by two more issues as a guestartist. I had a long run as a guest artistuntil I finally wound up

    becoming the regular penciler.

    At left is Georges splash page for War Toy from UWSF #2 (March1975); inks by Rico Rival. Tony Isabella wrote the story, based on a

    concept of Roys that had been painted as a cover by Michael Kaluta.Roy and Georges two 1976 FF issues that brought The Impossible Man

    back into the Marvel Universe after a 12-year absence have beenreprinted recently. [Darth Vader TM & 2007 Lucasfilm, Ltd.;

    War Toy art 2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Writing Comics Turned Out To Be What I Really Wanted To Do With My Life 49

  • because Gil was such a stylized artist. If one artist was going to draw a big percentage of Marvel covers, it wouldve worked out best if it had beenJack Kirby or John Romitaor maybe John Buscema, except that he didnt always have the kind of poster approach that worked best for covers.I think Kirby or Romita figures wouldve worked a bit better for a mass of covers,but Gil drew heroes who looked like gymnasts, whereas Kirby and Romita drewthese big, powerful characters. But Gil was such a good artistand besides,Romita was too busy to do many covers and Kirby wasnt working for Marvelwhen I was editor-in-chief, and John Buscema didnt especially like doing coversanyway. In the end, Im basically very pleased to look back on all the nice coversGil and I did together. Of course, he did a bit more work on them than I did![laughs]

    Im Not Going To Sign Any Contract With MarvelThat Isnt A Writer/Editor Contract

    JA: So finally, do you want to talk about why you left Marvel in 1980?

    THOMAS: I can only say what I said once before. One day late in 1977 itsuddenly occurred to me that Archie [Goodwin] had been editor-in-chief for a

    KataclysmicKane KoversA pair of coverspenciled by GilKane, selected

    almost atrandom from

    among themany he did foreditor-in-chief


    Thrillers #6 (Oct1973), inked by

    Ernie Chanand The Tombof Dracula #28

    (Nov. 74),inked by Tom

    Palmer. Reprodfrom b&wimages in

    various issuesof FOOM.

    [2007 MarvelCharacters,


    Land Of Oz Ho!One of many covers on which Roy collaborated with John Romita (of course, JazzyJohnny did a bit more of the work): JRs pencils for that of the tabloid-size Marvel

    Treasury of Oz #1 (1975), which adapted L. Frank Baums second Oz book, The Land ofOz, as a follow-up to the Marvel/DC Wonderful Wizard of Oz tabloid earlier thatyear. Even when Marvel went ahead with its own Oz series, it still used, under

    license, the likenesses of the MGM movie versions of some characters. Alfredo Alcaladrew the interior art; Roy was the scripter.

    Marvel Treasury of Oz #2, adapting Baums book Ozma of Oz, was prepped by thesame Thomas/Alcala team (again with Romita covers, front and back) but was never

    published due to legal problems. RT still has photocopies of that issue, which hehopes will see print one dayalong with reissues of the first two! [2007 MarvelCharacters, Inc.; based on characters 1939 Loews, Inc., renewed 1966 Metro-

    Goldwyn-Mayer, 2007 MGMs successors in interest.]

    58 Roy Thomas Talks About WritingAnd EditingFor Marvel During The 1970s

  • NTRODUCTORY NOTE: On July 26-29, 2007,Golden Age comic book artist Lily Rene will be aspecial guest at the San Diego Comic-Con

    International. This will be her first appearance ever atany comics convention. In honor of that landmarkevent, Trina Robbins has granted us permission toreprint the paragraphs below, slightly edited, from herprior coverage of Ms. Renes career and the world inwhich she worked from 1943 to 1948. This materialoriginally appeared, in a somewhat different form, inTrinas invaluable 2001 book The Great WomenCartoonists, from Watson-Guptill Publications, and is2001, 2007 Trina Robbins. Were pleased to announce,as well, that Lily Rene has consented to be interviewedat length by Jim Amash for a near-future issue of AlterEgo!)

    Of all the comic book companies in the 1940s, onepublisher hired more women cartoonists than any of theothers. That was Fiction House, a company whose comicsline was launched in 1936 by Jerry Iger and Will Eisner,artist/creator of The Spirit comic strip.

    The six longest-running Fiction House comic booktitlesJumbo Comics, Jungle Comics, Fight Comics,Wings Comics, Rangers Comics, and Planet Comicsspecialized in luridly sensationalistic stories with strongand beautiful female protagonists. And they were likelyto be drawn by women.

    Unquestionably, the star woman cartoonist on theFiction House staff, and the only woman who ever drewa cover for them, was Lily Rene. From 1943 through1948, her elegant art graced the pages of their books.Although she contributed some light and cartoony fillerpages, such as Tex Taxi, her best work could be seenin The Lost World, Seorita Rio, and WerewolfHunter.

    The Lost World, the lead feature in Planet Comics,took place in a post-apocalyptic future. Amid ruins of

    Lily Rene AtFiction HouseAnd Beyond



    A Far-Too-Brief Look At A Star Woman Cartoonist

    by Trina Robbins


    Seorita Rene(Top right:) Lily Rene circa 1947-49, the years when she drew for St. John Publishingand(above) a splash page from one of her signature series, Seorita Rioin this case from

    Fiction Houses Fight Comics #41 (Dec. 1945). Thanks to Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr., for the scan.The photo is courtesy of Trina Robbins. [2007 the respective copyright holders.]

  • All Mike Mallet material in the following six pages 2007 Estate of Bob Powell.]

  • ike Mallet made his debut in Panic #11 (cover-dated Feb.1966), in a feature billed as The Worlds First AdultComic! Of course, there had been other, earlier adultcomics, from Eric Stantons bondage comics in the 40s, to

    the so-called Tijuana Bible sex comics decades earlier, as well asstories with adult themes by Charles Biro, Harvey Kurtzman, and WillEisner, among others. But Bob Powells Mike Mallet certainly standsas a bold early attempt to push the mediums boundaries.

    It should be noted that Panic Publications Panic had no connectionto the earlier EC color comic of the same name. This Panic was ablack-&-white humor magazine, one of many short-lived Mad imita-tions. It lasted six issues from July 1957 to July 1958. The creative line-up included Bob Powell (who also held an editorial position), JackDavis, Jerry Siegel, George Tuska, Angelo Torres, and two of Powellsold assistants, Martin Epp and Howard Nostrand.

    Panic returned a few years later for a three-issue run (Vol. 2 #10- 12)from Dec. 1965 to April 1966, consisting mostly of reprints. Thepublisher was listed as Robert W. Farrell, and the editor was CarlBurgos, creator of The Human Torch.

    I first came across a used copy of Panic #11 in the early 70s, anddiscovered a feature inside that really didnt belong there. While therest of the magazine featured the usual ham-handed humor common tothe genre, Mike Mallet was done straight. What humor it did have wassubtle and very dark. In fact, someone at Panic felt that additional gagshad to be pasted onto the strips in order to make them funny enoughto see print.

    Thats probably because Mike Mallet wasnt originally intended forPanic at all. The origins of the strip have been lost to history, but theformat suggests that Mike Mallet was unsuccessfully pitched as anewspaper strip, most likely in the early 60s.

    Powell patterned his detective on the popular Mike Hammer seriesof novels, starring Mickey Spillanes brutal, misogynist private eye.Like Hammer, Mallet reveled in cheap sex and brutal violence. In fact,the strip is so similar in tone, one wonders if Mike Mallet might havebeen Powells attempt to sell an actual Mike Hammer-style comicstrip. If so, it was doomed to failure.

    Mickey Spillane, a former comic book scripter who passed away ayear or so ago, wrote his first Mike Hammer novel in 1947, and itproved immensely successful. He and cartoonist Ed Moore produced aMike Hammer newspaper comic strip in 1953, but censorship battleskilled the strip after only a year. Its hard to imagine any paper in theearly 60s taking on such a risky strip again.

    So how did Mike Mallet wind up in Panic?

    Powell had been one of the lead illustrators for the title during itsfirst run in the 50s. When the magazine was revived in 1965, Powellundoubtedly saw it as an opportunity to recycle some unsold art.

    Of course, the strips had to be reworked first, and the changes werepretty extensive. The art was crudely rearranged to fit the magazines8G x 11" format, leaving empty space between the strips. Panelsdeemed too racy were censoredwith talking fingerprints! More onthat later.

    And, since Panic was a newsstand publication primarily aimed atteenagers, even mildly offensive words like call girls were removedfor the printing therein. You can see examples of this on the previouspage, and in the last frame of the second strip on the opposite page.Powell also used squiggle marks in the word balloons to suggestcursing, though its unknown whether these were lettered that wayoriginally.

    For this printing weve attempted to restore Powells strips asclosely as possible to the way he originally drew them. Strips have beenrearranged, missing title lettering has been added, and thumbprintsmudges removed.

    And now, without further ado, heres Mike Mallet the self-proclaimed Worlds First Adult Comic!

    68 Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt

    The cover of Panic #11 (Feb. 1966).[2007 Panic Publications or successors in interest.]

    Mike Mallet: The Worlds First Adult Comic!By Michael T. Gilbert


  • Mike Mallet: The Worlds First Adult Comic! 69

    Oh, the indignity! Mike Malletcensored by a fingerprint! (The fingerprints have been removed, leaving white, finger-shaped forms at one point in each of the strips. We preferred not to add Powell-style art, but to leave those areas blank.)

  • Mary Marvel, by Marc Swayze[Mary Marvel TM & 2007 DC Comics.]

  • [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 wasprimarily hired by Fawcett Publicationsto illustrate Captain Marvel stories andcovers for Whiz Comics and CaptainMarvel Adventures. He also wrote manyCaptain Marvel scripts, and continued todo so while in the military. After leavingthe service in 1944, he made anarrangement with Fawcett to produce artand stories for them on a freelance basisout of his Louisiana home. There hecreated both art and story for ThePhantom Eagle in Wow Comics, inaddition to drawing the Flyin Jennynewspaper strip for Bell Syndicate(created by his friend and mentor RussellKeaton). After the cancellation of Wow,Swayze produced artwork for Fawcettstop-selling line of romance comics,including Sweethearts and Life Story.After the company ceased publishingcomics, Marc moved over to CharltonPublications, where he ended his comicscareer in the mid-50s. Marcs ongoingprofessional memoirs have been FCAsmost popular feature since his firstcolumn appeared in FCA #54, 1996. Lastissue Marc discussed the panel. In thisinstallment, he reflects upon the aging ofcomic characters and the evolution ofMary Marvel. P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    ave you ever noticed how yourfavorite comic strip characterseems to be aging? Or how some

    grow older and some dont? Or they dont age at all and you do?

    And theres an unfair inconsistency about it. I couldnt helpwatching the splotches of gray at my own temples grow whiter andwhiter while, in the newspapers, the head of Lil Abner Yokumstayed black as ever.

    Not a matter of great concern, but you had to conclude a definitedecision was involved likely made by the creator or possibly theeditor or publisher whether to age the character or not. And, if

    yes, to what extent, and at what rate?

    And by what criteria? Could the gender havesomething to do with it? I would never have hesitatedto lay a year or so on the Phantom Eagle. But on hisgirlfriend, Jerry? Never! Nor on Flyin Jenny.

    Or Mary Marvel! Youth, to my way of thinking,was a prime characteristic of that little super-damsel.To imagine her growing older? Nah!

    Yet she underwent changes that began even beforeshe left my drawing board. No conferences had takenplace following approval of the original portraitsketches, and the alterations good or bad thatoccurred before completion of her first story, were

    mine the boots the art style even Marys face.

    She was a new character. Not just one to play the lead role in astory, but a major feature meant for story after story maybe bookafter book. She was included in a partnership fighting evil with the

    great Captain Marvel. I saw consid-erable merit in having the newcomervisibly related to Fawcetts #1 super-hero. Her costume was evidence ofthat. If changes in it were needed, nowwas the time to make them.

    The boots were a puzzle. I hadnever quite understood the boots wornby Captain Marvel. Why those folded-over tops didnt droop down aroundthe ankles in the high action scenes and what the heck did those miserablelittle stitches down the front mean things like that. They didnt botherCaptain Marvel, however so theydidnt continue to bother me.

    On Mary I cared. In the beginning Ihad drawn her boots with notches atthe top. I dont know why I did that. Itwas quickly seen as a time-consumingwhim and discarded.

    In her first several adventures Maryshared the pages with Captain Marvel.That meant the art style was not to behersas seen in the original portraitsand on the cover of Wow Comics#10but his. Out went the finer lineand delicate shading originally deemedmore in keeping with a young super-lady.

    The next item to come underscrutiny was Marys eyes. The eyes, Ihad thought, offered another oppor-tunity to relate Mary to Captain

    Marvel by converting his squint to the laughing eyes of a pretty younggirl. In drawing Captain Marvel I had never experienced them as aproblem, those slits and dots by C.C. Beck obviously an influenceof the old cartoon strips and perfect for the Fawcett super-hero. Butthe lifestyle I saw ahead for Mary called for a wider array of facialexpressions. There would be no slits and dots.

    The intention had been that Marys hair be black, like CaptainMarvels signified in painting by an overlay of blue. Somehow,

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

    HHThe Mini-Skirt Had To Go!

    Fear of forthcoming restrictions and a predicted rigid Codemay have had their effect on Marys costume particularly thehem of the skirt. Marc Swayze drew the cover of Wow Comics

    #10 (Feb. 10, 1943). [2007 DC Comics.]


  • ack in 1980, when I heard that Roy Thomas was about tojump ship from Marvel to DC, and that one of the featureshe wanted to write was Shazam!, I became excited. On

    other occasions I have written of how Roy was important in my owndevelopment as a Capfan, especially his outstanding article about TheMarvel Family in One Mans Family way back in Alter Ego (Vol. 1)#7, 1964. So, the logical thing when I heard the news was to write tohim about it.

    His reply to me, dated Oct. 10, 1980, both dismayed and excited me.Since this article deals with the exciting part rather than the dismaying,let me dispense rather quickly with the latter. I was somewhatdismayed with Roys then-tentative plans (which later came to fruition,though only briefly) for a new Captain Marvel, created on Earth-Oneby the wizard Shazam (I did it before and I can do it again!). Gone,Im afraid, would be much of the Parker/Binder feel, except in broadoutlines, if I handled the character... I felt then, and still do, that thiswould be wrong for the character.

    But happily, thats not what Im here to write about on thisoccasion. Instead, Ill cover the other exciting news that lettercontained, as introduced to me by Roy with these words: Still, just tobe inconsistent, I took the opportunity in DC [Comics] Presents #34to toss Superman and Captain Marvel (whom Im trying to forge intofast friends, since they have far more in common than Superman andBatman, say) into a funny-animal dimension, while using Hoppy theMarvel Bunny for the first time in 30 years. (Actually, it was rathermore than 30 years.)

    The exciting part of this news was not so much the team-upbetween Superman and Captain Marvel, as that had already been donetwice, first in Justice League of America #135-137 (1976), in the three-part story which brought together the JLA, JSA, and the formerFawcett heroes (then still located on Earth-S), and secondly in 1978sAll-New Collectors Edition #C-58 (Superman vs. Shazam!), aGerry Conway-authored tale in which the two heroes met, with ableassistance provided by Supergirl and Mary Marvel. However, thecenterpiece of both of those tales had been battles between the twocharacters, with the actual team-ups coming only briefly near theconclusions. It could be argued that there was actually an earliercrossover, in Superman #276, the Elliott Maggin-authored, Curt Swan-drawn 1974 tale entitled Make Way for Captain Thunder! in whichSuperman met up with an alternate-Earths Willie Fawcett, who couldmagically change into Captain Thunder (which in 1939 had beenCaptain Marvels original, pre-publication name). This sort of twosteps removed tale was done because, for legal reasons, DC could notco-utilize Cap and Superman at that time. There are many who believethat this was the best of all the crossovers, and that Captain Marvel andSuperman, ideally, simply dont belong in the same story. (It should benoted, also, that this story was a battle more than a team-up; the storyIm about to review marked the first actual team-up of the twocharacters.)

    In any event, Roys brief description whetted my appetite for hisforthcoming tale, not so much for the team-up aspect, but for thereturn of Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. Hoppy had debuted in FawcettsFunny Animals #1 (Dec. 1942), where he starred for a number of years,as well as appearing in 15 issues of his own title. In real life, he wasHoppy Rabbit, who, upon reading a Captain Marvel comic, wistfullyremarked that he wished that he, too, could become strong just by

    The First True Team-Up Of Superman And Captain Marvelby John G. Pierce Edited by P.C. Hamerlinck

    Of Men And Marvels (AndSome Bunny-Rabbits, Too!)

    Of Cheeses Red And BlueThe Rich Buckler/Dick Giordano cover of DC Comics Presents #33 (May 1981)was the first comic to be scripted by Roy Thomas under his new three-yearcontract with DC, upon leaving Marvel after 15 years. Where did he dream

    up this notion of Superman and Captain Marvel switching costumes? Read on! [2007 DC Comics.]



  • saying Shazam! And of course, you know what happened next, asHoppy was changed into Captain Marvel Bunny, or just plain MarvelBunny.

    (Note: This means that the title of the feature was actually a combi-nation of his secret identity name and his nom de guerre, not unlike,say, the Quality Comics 1940s feature Stormy Foster, the GreatDefender, or DCs later John Jones, Manhunter from Mars. Thoughhe is most often alluded to as Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, that was nothis full name in either identity. Incidentally, unlike the other Marvels,whose secret identities were often anything but secret, it was alwaysstated that Marvel Bunnys secret, if revealed, would result in the lossof his powers. Just why was never specified.)

    But Hoppys reappearance (unheralded until it actually occurred)was not to happen until the second part of a two-part tale, the firstchapter of which was seen in DC Comics Presents #33 (May 1981),under the title of Man and Supermarvel! officially co-authored (aswould be both parts) by Gerry Conway and Roy.

    In an amusing opening sequence, Clark Kent chides Jimmy Olsenfor reading a comic book on company time. The comic turns out to bean old issue of Captain Marvel Adventures (though the Adventurespart isnt seen on the cover of the comic book shown), about thecharacter Jimmy gleefully proclaims as my favorite super-heroCaptain Marvel, otherwise affectionately known as the Big RedCheese.

    (Say those words again for us, Jimmy: affectionately known as theBig Red Cheese. Certain current writers seem to think this term wasdemeaning to Captain Marvel. But, of course, it wasnt.)

    Clark then spots a potential disaster with a couple of elevated trains,and is off to the customary storeroom to change clothes. It is here thathe gets his first big surprise of the story, when he doffs his mufti to findthat he is instead wearing a red outfit with this puny little cape!(Although Rich Buckler and Dick Giordano, the artists, are certainlycompetent draftsmen, Rich had a tendency to draw Caps cape as quitelong, almost floor-length, and often with a stand-up collar which madeit look more like that of the original Green Lantern. Thus, the intendedhumor of the line falls a little flat.)

    In any event, with no time to worry about it now, Superman is offto save the trains. It is here that he encounters his next surprise, in thathis X-ray vision, which had worked fine a few minutes earlier, nowdoes not function. Still, he has his other, non-sensory powers and isable to avert a disaster. Passengers are very grateful for the rescue butmystified by his different outfit.

    Realizing that the mix-up which has happened to him might alsohave occurred to Captain Marvel, Superman makes his departure forEarth-S, after which the source of the problem, Mr. Mxyzptlk, materi-alizes in the spot Superman had vacated.

    Superman utilizes the Rock of Eternity (two fast loops around the

    And The Hits Just Keep On Comin!A Marvel-ous montage of the Superman/Captain Marvel encounters that had preceded the 1981 DC Comics Presents #33backdropped by a panel penciled byDoug Braithwaite and painted by Alex Ross for Justice #9 (2007). Like John G. Pierce says in the article: not a hearty handshake in the bunch! (Left to right:)Superman #276 (June 1974), with Captain Thunder, art by Nick Cardy... Justice League of America #137 (Dec. 1976), art by Ernie Chan... Superduperman

    meets Captain Marbles in the Harvey Kurtzman/Wally Wood parody from Mad #4 (April-May 1953)... Shazam! #30 (Aug. 1977), art by Kurt Schaffenberger...and All-New Collectors Edition #C-58 (1978), art by Rich Buckler & Dick Giordano. [Mad panel 2007 EC Publications; other art 2007 DC Comics.]

    84 FCA [Fawcett Collectors Of America ]

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