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JOHN ROMITA JOHN ROMITA ... AND ALL THAT JAZZ! ... AND ALL THAT JAZZ! $ 5.95 In the USA Roy ThomasLegendary Comics Fanzine No. 9 JULY 2001 Characters TM & ©Marvel Characters, Inc.

Alter Ego #9

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ALTER EGO #9 (100 pages, $5.95) features Jazzy Johnny Romita, Marvel's art director supreme, interviewed about his career by Rascally Roy Thomas. There’s also the Golden Age of Comic Fandom Panel, as Bill Schelly moderates a look back at fandom's roots in the 1960s and '70s. Then editor Roy Thomas discusses his unrealized "Dream Projects", with a survey of some of his series proposals that time forgot. Plus, Michael T. Gilbert and Mr. Monster detail "life after comic books" for the Superman’s second artist, Wayne Boring, and FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) presents another frantic Fawcett festival-featuring George Tuska, Marc Swayze, C.C. Beck, and Bill Morrison! Edited by Roy Thomas.

Text of Alter Ego #9




    $5.95In the USA

    Roy Thomas Legendary Comics Fanzine





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  • Vol. 3, No. 9 / July 2001EditorRoy Thomas

    Associate EditorBill Schelly

    Design & LayoutChristopher Day

    Consulting EditorsJohn MorrowJon B. Cooke

    FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck

    Comics Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert

    Editors EmeritusJerry Bails (founder), Ronn Foss,Biljo White, Mike Friedrich

    Cover ArtistsJohn Romita, Dick Giordano

    Cover ColorTom Ziuko

    Mailing CrewRuss Garwood, Glen Musial, EdStelli, Pat Varker, Loston Wallace

    And Special Thanks to:

    Alter EgoTM is published 8x a year by TwoMorrows, 1812 Park Drive, Raleigh, NC 27605, USA. Phone: (919) 833-8092. Roy Thomas,Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: Rt. 3, Box 468, 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: $5.95 ($7.00 Canada, $9.00elsewhere). Four-issue subscriptions: $20 US, $27 Canada, $37 elsewhere. All characters are their respective companies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TMof P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada. FIRST PRINTING.

    Jim AmashJorge Ivn ArgizDick AyersMike W. BarrMark BeachumAl BigleyJerry K. BoydMike BurkeySal BuscemaBart BushSteven ButlerMike CatronArnie CharkenoDave CockrumGene ColanRay A. CuthbertAl DellingesRich DonnellyShelton DrumMichael FeldmanRamona FradonJorge Santamaria

    GarciaDonald F. GlutJennifer T. GoRick HobergAlan HoltzDave HooverAdam HughesRafael KayananRobert KnuistJon B. KnutsonPaul Levitz

    Scott McCloudJesus MerinoBrian K. MorrisBill MorrisonEric Nolen-

    WeathingtonGeorge OlshevskyJerry OrdwayKen QuattroTom PalmerFred PattenJohn G. PierceBud PlantBradley C. RaderEthan RobertsJohn & Virginia

    RomitaJohn Romita Jr.Marie SeverinJeff SharpeDave SimJoe SinnottTod SmithJoe StatonRobert StrawieryMarc SwayzeMaggie ThompsonFrank TravellinHerb TrimpeGeorge TuskaJames Van HiseMichael J. VassalloEd ZenoMike Zeno

    John Romita


    ContentsWriter/Editorial: Eight Is Enough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Alter Ego goes to eight times a year. Shades of 1960s DC!

    Fifty Years on the A List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Jazzy Johnny Romita, Marvels art director supreme, interviewed by Rascally Roy Thomas.

    The Golden Age of Comic Fandom Panel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40Bill Schelly moderates a look back at fandoms roots in the 1960s and 70s.

    Special Section on Roy Thomas Dream Projects, FCA, & Comic Crypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: John Romita had hoped to finish a brand new piece of art to be the cover of thisissue. However, hes been so busy with projects for Marvel and otherseven though hes officiallyretiredthat at the last minute he had to beg off. So we assembled one of our trademark montages:a 1980 self-portrait, amid a frame of many (though far from all) of the Marvel super-heroes hesdrawn at one time or another. The framing art, according to Romita connoisseur Mike Burkey (who provided it) was previously used only as the back cover of a trade paperback in the 1970s. [Self-portrait 2001 John Romita; Marvel art 2001 Marvel Characters, Inc.; Red Sonja 2001 Red Sonja Properties, Inc.]

    Above: This more humorous portrait by John R. of himself with the cast of The Amazing Spider-Manhas been printed several times, beginning in Marvels own fan-mags. But somehow, we just couldntbear to leave it out! [2001 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • ROY THOMAS: Okay, John, just to get it out of the wayyou wereborn in Brooklyn in 1930, right?

    JOHN ROMITA: Yeah. Just maybe five years too earlyno, too late.Because one of my biggest regrets is that I wasnt in the first generationof comic artists. While I was in junior high school, Joe Kubert, whosonly a few years older than me, got in on it, doing Hawkman!

    RT: Of course, if youd had your wish, youd be a decade older.

    ROMITA: Yeah, Id be eighty now. [laughs] I started drawing when Iwas five. Parents and relatives say, Ooh and Ahh and how great itis, and you continue drawing because you like to get the pats on theback.

    I was a street performer when I was about ten. The gang of kids Ihung out with used to scrounge bits of plaster from torn-down

    buildings, because we couldnt afford chalk, and I would draw on thestreets. Once I did a 100-foot Statue of Liberty, starting at one manholeand finishing at the next. That was the distance between manholes inBrooklyn.

    RT: From sewer to shining sewer, huh?

    ROMITA: People were coming from other neighborhoods to see it andhoping it wouldnt rain. I also used to draw Superman, Batmanall thesuper-heroes that were coming out. [Virginia Romita says something inthe background.] Virginia reminds me, as she always does, that I alsobecame the source of little drawings of nude girls for all the boys in theneighborhood. Guys would beg me to do them, and she would say shewas disappointed in me for doing those drawings. She was nine when Iwas eleven. Actually, she caused me to stop doing them.

    A 1996 Romita Spider-Man sketch, flanked by Jazzy Johnny hard at work in1967 amid furniture he made himself (I mustve been crazy! he says).

    [Photo courtesy of and art 2001 John Romita;Spider-Man 2001 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Fifty Years On The A List

    4 Fifty Years On The A List

    A Candid Conversation With Marvel Artist/Art Director Supreme

    John RomitaConducted by Roy ThomasTranscribed by Brian K. Morriswith special thanks to Mike Burkey

  • When they did plays at the school auditorium, I was stuck with doingthe backgrounds and scenery. Once they taped a huge roll of wrappingpaper along the entire school corridor, and I did a mural down bothsides of all the heroes I knew of, even Zorro, Flash Gordon, and Tarzan.

    RT: The comics pros a little older than you had grown up beforeSuperman, so when they started drawing super-heroes, it wasnt asnatural a thing to them.

    ROMITA: Yeah, but they probably did Washington and Lincoln, like Idid. I became a celebrity in school. I used to carve Lincoln heads,Mickey Mouse, things like that, out of cakes of soap. When I was 12-13,my buddies thought we were gonna go into business. They actuallybroke into the basement of a Turkish bath to get me a boxful of soap, sohelp me! I can still see this one kid half a block down the street in thetenement section of Brooklynyou could see for two blocks, no trees,no nothingtheres a policeman talking to him, and this kidhis namewas Louie McDuff and he was a real weaselwas practically in tears. Ican see him pointing to my house and telling the cop, Thats the guywho told me to get the soap. I never asked him to get the soapI juststayed there in the cellar. I thought I was going to be arrested for

    stealing a box of soap!

    When I was choosing a high school, somebody told me about theSchool of Industrial Arts in the city, where you were taught by profes-sional artists. That captured my imagination. My local priest wanted meto go to a Catholic high school and later become a priest, but I wasntgoing to give up girls.

    But one of my buddies, who was doing full-color posters when I wasjust doing line-art stufftruthfully, he was much better than I washeadvised me, John, you shouldnt waste your time going to the School ofIndustrial Arts. Youre not polished enough. He went to the sameschool I did, and he never, ever made a living at artwork. [laughs]

    RT: Some people have talent but never get it together to actually doanything with it.

    ROMITA: On my 17th birthday I graduated from high school and I gota job right away. This wealthy anesthesiologist at Manhattan GeneralHospital was creating a new branch of medicine called pneumatology,and he hired me at sixty bucks a week, which was a fortune to me, to do

    A Candid Conversation With John Romita 5

    You name emRomitas drawn em! Johns preliminary pencils to the wraparound cover of the 1996 Marvel one-shot Heroes and Legends. Courtesy of Mike Burkey. [2001 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

  • a medical exhibit from scratch. I designed and illustrated and letteredand cut out the boards and pasted and hung them on frames in thehospital corridors. I had no experience, but I did the whole damn exhibitin six months.

    While I was working in the hospital, several other doctors, includinga plastic surgeon and a heart specialist, asked me to illustrate their books.There were only one or two top guys in the country doing medical illus-trations, so I figured thered be no competition. I thought I was going tobe a medical illustrator! But when I finished the exhibit, none of thesedoctors had written a single chapter of their books, so I had to go outand earn a living.

    RT: They probably never even wrote their books.

    ROMITA: I guarantee you, they never did. Theydidnt need the money.

    RT: Backing up a bit: In 1976, in a story with TheThing and The Liberty Legion, set in 1942, we showedyou as a kid, saying you deliver[ed] packages for someof the doctors around herein Times Square. We alsohad you spotting some Nazi planes overhead, since yousaid you knew the silhouettes and markings of all theplanes at that time.

    ROMITA: Yeah. I delivered packages when I wasfourteen, but not for doctors. I worked in the NewsweekBuilding for some minor-league outfit that used to mimeo-graph biographies of big band leaders like Louis Armstrongand Glenn Miller. Their customer was this agent uptown on57TH Street. I would run 200-300 copies off on mimeographand take them to theclient, so he could handthem out as press releases.

    Id go into the BrillBuilding, on what wascalled Tin Pan Alley. Allthe offices had musiccoming from thempeople selling songs onthe piano, songwriterspushing their songs. Andwhen Id go up to 20thCentury-Fox artdepartment, I could seethe posters from myfavorite movies beingdone, and I loved it.

    RT: You never had a singing career like a couple of others inyour family?

    ROMITA: I had three sisters and a brother. Every one of themcould sing and dance, and I cant dance and I cant sing. But Igrew up loving music.

    RT: Youve said you bought two copies of Superman #1, in1939? Thats why youre rich todayyou kept that spare copy,right?

    ROMITA: [laughs] I kept one copy in a wax paper bag, theclosest equivalent to plastic we had, but eventually it disap-peared. I traced the other one until the cover was destroyed. Ikept pressing harder and harder, until I could do that drawingby hand.

    RT: Were you aware, in 39 and 40, of the early TimelyComics?

    ROMITA: I remember Human Torch, I remember Sub-Mariner, andthen Captain America. One of my favorite companies was Lev Gleason.Charlie Biros stuff [for Gleason] appealed to me. His Daredevil was myfavorite character. He wasnt blind; he just had that split red-and-bluecostume.

    RT: Its funny that Biros Daredevil was one of your earliest heroes, andMarvels Daredevil was the first hero you drew in the 60s.

    ROMITA: I told that to Stan in 65, and he said he thought Biro was agenius. I maintain that Biro did a lot of the stuff thatStan did later, but it wasnt noticed, even though hewas putting a lot of personality into his comics.

    George Tuska did a lot of work for Biro. When Imet Tuska in the late 60s, I said, Ill tell you howfar back Ive been noticing your work. I rememberShark Brodie! That was a back-up feature, ahobo adventurer connected with the sea. He wasalways on a dock somewhere. Actually, Id seenTuska years earlier, when I was delivering ahorror story to Stan in the 50s. I saw this big,strapping guy, and I didnt know it was Tuskatill afterward. He looked like a super-herohimself!

    RT: Doing Crime Does Not Pay stories forBiro, Tuska was one the most influentialartists in the field. Later, for several years inthe 70s, he was one of only two artists whocould draw any Marvel book and itd sell.

    You were the other one. Iremember he did twoissues of Sub-Marinerand sales shot up. Theywent back down as soonas he left!

    ROMITA: I remember.Everything he touchedwas great. He once did athumbnail version of aSpider-Man from a plotby Stan. I was supposedto blow the thumbnailsup and lightbox themallcontrived to save me time.It was a very interesting-looking job, with a lot of

    6 Fifty Years On The A List

    In Marvel Two-in-One Annual #1 (1976), set in 1942, John appeared at age 11but weshouldnt have given him so much baby-fat! Art by Sal Buscema & Sam Grainger.

    [2001 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Two of Johns early faves were Charles Biros Daredevil and George Tuskas anything! Heres thecover of Daredevil #6 (Dec. 1941)plus a handful of Tuska panels from Lev Gleasons Crime Does Not

    Pay #60 (Feb. 48), by way of Mike Bentons invaluable 1993 Illustrated History of Crime Comics.[Daredevil & CDNP art 2001 the respective copyright holder.]

  • people in overcoats, and some beautiful shadows; I was dying to do it.But Stan said, No, it just doesnt look like a Spider-Man story, and hedecided not to use it. I could kill myself for losing those thumbnails.

    RT: Two of the comics artists most influential on your styleespeciallyduring the period I became aware of your work back in the early 50swith Captain Americawere Jack Kirby and Milton Caniff. Thatwasnt just my imagination, was it?

    ROMITA: No. Milton Caniff was my god. Before I got into comicbooks, his Terry and the Pirates was my Bible. I used to spend hourslooking at those pages. I still have two or threeyears of Sundays in an envelope. I still look atthem and admire and sigh. Everything Ive everlearned, I think, was established in those pages.

    He did some beautiful work later in SteveCanyon, but the Terry and the Pirates stuffwell, its probably partly because of NoelSickles. They shared a studio for a time. Caniffhelped Sickles with storytelling, and Sickleshelped Caniff learn how to turn out a daily pagewithout laboring over it. If Sickles hadnt gottentired of his own Scorchy Smith, theres notelling how big it might have become, becausethat strip was an adventure story on the qualitylevel of a Hitchcock movie. Im telling you, thestories, the visuals, were so greatI dont knowabout the dialogue, because Caniff had his owndialogue, that probably surpassed everybody.

    I had to scrounge up oldFamous Funnies comics to getall of Terry! Each issuereprinted maybe two or threeSundays, or maybe two Sundaysand the dailies in-between.

    RT: Moving to the Kirby half ofmy Caniff-Kirby equationyou were probably one of thosekids who liked Simon andKirby without knowing whodid what.

    ROMITA: I was aware ofeverything Jack did from the

    time I was eleven. Id tell my buddies, This guy is great! Look at thisstuff thats popping out of the pages. Look at how he does that! Theythought the comics were some kind of tricky photo technique. Theywould say, Aw, youre crazy. Nobodys going to do all those drawingsby hand. Years later, I used to hear that echoing, and say, What am I,crazy, doing 120 drawings for how many stories? [laughs]

    RT: You found out how many drawingspeople can do, right?

    ROMITA: I learned the hard way. Butfor a while I definitely felt I was doingcomics only on a temporary basis. Inthe Army I did full-color illustrationsand posters. The Saturday EveningPost, Colliers, Ladies HomeJournalthere were about a dozenmagazines that had double-page illustra-tions to make your mouth water; butthat field was slowly dying. My finalyear in art school, I studied magazineillustration and had given up on comics.I wanted to be a magazine illustrator.

    RT: Not a baker? [laughs]

    ROMITA: Well, not a bakerbut I wasgoing to drive the bread truck. My

    A recent Tuska illo of heroes he drew during the 1970s. For info on how toobtain original Tuska art, see his interview in our FCA section![Art 2001 George Tuska; heroes 2001 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    John (left) with his childhood idol Milt Caniff (center), circa 70s. The longtime Marvel artist/production man at right jokinglytitled this pic: Hey, whore those two guys with Tony Mortellaro? The Terry and the Pirates daily for 2-8-38 featured two ofCaniffs trademark womenBurma and the ever-delightful Dragon Lady. As for Tonyhe often slipped the name Mort onto

    backgrounds when working with John. [Photo courtesy of John Romita; Terry art 2001 Chicago Tribune-NY News Syndicate, Inc.]

    A Candid Conversation With John Romita 7

    J.R. says: I saw George Tuska at the MegaCon this April. Hes stilldrawing. He and Nick Cardy and I posed for pictures. It was wonderful.

    [L. to r.: Tuska, Romita, & Cardy; photo courtesy of John Romita.]

  • [INTRODUCTION: With the year 2001 marking the 40thanniversary of Alter Ego, and by my reckoning the 40th anniversaryof comics fandom as we know it, its only fitting that we showcase thispanel discussion of fandoms early days by a group of its founders andmost active participants. It was my great pleasure to moderate,though I hasten to add I was not the one who named it after my ownbook. That was the doing of Gary Sassaman, director ofprogramming for Comic-Con International: San Diego.Bill S.]

    BILL SCHELLY: Welcometo the Golden Age of ComicFandom panel, where wehave the opportunity toexplore comicdoms origins

    beginning in 1961 before therewere comic book conventions, or price guides, or really any way for fansto get in touch with other fans. Until then, most fans appreciated comicson their own, and their relatives thought they were nuts. Fandom hasbeen a godsend to all of us; and we should remember that our panelists,and many, many hundreds of other people, did a lot of the work to get itstarted. Ill begin by briefly introducing each of our panelists:

    Fred Pattens roots go back to science fiction fandom in the late1950s. He went on to write for many comics fanzines in the 1960s,including Alter Ego. Fred was also central mailer of the first comicsamateur press alliance, Capa-Alpha, for several years.

    Maggie Thompson, a talented cartoonist, was co-editor with her latehusband Don of the fanzine Comic Art, and is a long-time columnistand editor of Comics Buyers Guide.

    Roy Thomas was the co-founder of the fanzine Alter Ego, and thefirst well-known comics fan to graduate to pro comics.

    James Van Hise is best known as the author of dozens of booksabout comics and other aspects of popular culture. As a member offandom beginning in 1963, however, he will always be remembered as

    the person who first assisted on, then took over, the legendary comicsadvertising fanzine Rockets Blast-Comicollector from Gordon Love.

    Michael T. Gilbert, who got involved in fandom in the late 1960s,was first drawn to comics of the 1940s, which were still shrouded inmystery because there was no body of literature to consult about them. Iguess its logical that he would become best-known for a hero he woulddevelop from an obscure Golden Age comic character by the name ofMr. Monster.

    Finally we have PaulLevitz, who told me hekind of sneaked in at theend of fandoms GoldenAge. He began at the top,

    taking over the publishing reins of TheComic Reader, the first and mostimportant fanzine that published newsof upcoming pro comics. Today, ofcourse, he serves as vice-president andpublisher of DC Comics.

    As for myself, I got into fandom in1964, published a fanzine called Sense of Wonder, and in recent yearshave been researching fandoms past.

    I believe this is the first time a panel has been put together of thiscaliber on the subject of fandoms history, with a stellar assemblage fromits first decade. Its a kind of historical event in its own right. Lets beginwith Maggie and Fredbecause a big part of the beginning of comicsfandom was the stream of fans who came in through the already-existingscience-fiction fandom. Maggie, how did you first hear about comicsfandom?

    MAGGIE THOMPSON: Well, we didnt hear about a comics fandom,because there wasnt a comics fandom to hear about. There had beenpublications that dealt at least tangentially with comics for some time inthe science-fiction universe. Dave Kyle, for example, had a prototypethat involved his enthusiasm about Flash Gordon; so, by somedefinition, that is a comics fanzine. My parents did a fanzine in the late1940s called The Cricket, because they had seen comic books in 1947and 1948 that they thought were cool, and they tried to tell their friendsabout it, to no avail. EC fandom came and went, but there was nocontinuing nucleus of people which slowly grew and grew into an

    The Golden AgeOf Comic Fandom Panel

    San Diego Comics Convention - July 22, 2000Edited and Abridged by Bill Schelly Transcription by Jon B. Knutson

    A triptych of photos taken (under less than ideal circumstances) by Mike Catron at the Comic Fandom Panel. From left to right: Bill Schelly, Fred Patten,

    Maggie Thompson, Roy Thomas, James Van Hise, Michael T. Gilbert, Paul Levitz.[Photos 2001 Mike Catron.]

    40 The Golden Age of Fandom Panel

  • The Golden Age of Fandom Panel 41

    amoebae-like parasite, which took over theuniverse of the eclectic until much later.

    BILL: Maybe you could tell us about the 1960World Con in Pittsburgh, where some peoplewere talking about forming a comics fandom?

    THOMPSON: Well, the people was us! Whathappened was, there was a costume compe-tition, followed by a banquet. After thebanquet, Don and I were sitting with HalLynch and (I believe) Bill Thailing. We lookedaround the room full of people who shared ourenthusiasm about science-fiction andwondered, Gee, could there be anything likethis about comics? Wouldnt that be great? Weactually conducted a correspondence with HalLynch in which we discussed what it would becalled. We didnt think we could call it fandom,because fandom was science-fiction fandom.Hal suggested the word comdom, but thensaid maybe that wasnt such a good idea.[laughs]

    It was comics time. At that World Con,Dick and Pat Lupoff attended the masqueradeas Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel. Theywere distributing free copies of their fanzine Xero, which had the firstinstallment of a series about old comics called All in Color for a Dime.However, we didnt see Xero #1 at that convention; somehow we missedit. But, when we got home from the con, Don and Iwe were dating, soI was Maggie Curtis thendecided to do a fanzine about comics. Wedistributed a one-page flyer called Harbinger, in which we said, Weregoing to do a fanzine; if youre interested send us a postcard, and wellsend you the first issue. That was in October of 1960, and Comic Artcame out the following year, primarily to a readership of science-fictionfans. We didnt know anything about what Jerry Bails and Roy Thomasand that other crowd were up to.

    BILL: Also from the Eisenhower era and science-fiction fandom, wehave Fred Patten.

    FRED PATTEN: My first personal experiencewith fandom was when the World Con came toLos Angeles, where I lived, in 1958. I met otherfans through that con, and eventually joined theLos Angeles Science Fantasy Society around 1960,when I was in college. The LASFS was a science-fiction club started in Los Angeles in 1934; it hadbeen meeting weekly since 1939. Forrest J.Ackerman was one of its biggest organizers.When I joined, I remember there were wholebunches of fanzines lying around to read, as wellas books and magazines.

    BILL: When did you realize the super-heroeswere coming back in the comics?

    PATTEN: We didnt really become aware of ituntil about the time Green Lantern and TheAtom came along. A lot of us who were sf fansspotted the science-fiction references that [DCeditor] Julius Schwartz put into his stories. Ithink the first issues of Green Lantern and Atomhad references. Like The Atoms secret identitywas Ray Palmer [actual name of a famous sfwriter and fan], and stuff like that. We respondedto that. Some of us remembered we had been fans

    of super-hero comics when we were 9-12 yearsold, and thought it was cool they were comingback. Then we were very impressed whenMarvels stuff started. Stan Lee had his own veryirreverent approach, and he set his stories inNew York rather than mythical cities. Thatappealed to us.

    BILL: [Holds up a copy of The Golden Age ofComic Fandom with photos of sf fans dressedas members of the JSA] Would you tell us howthese photos came about? I dont know if we canget Fred to re-enact this pose for us now...[laughter] but there was one time you wore aFlash costume at a World Con.

    PATTEN: That was mainly Bruce Pelz idea.Bruce, Ted Johnstone, and Jack Harness werethree of the most active fanzine publishers in theLASFS. They decided they wanted to make aspectacular showing at the masquerade event atthe 1962 World Con in Cleveland, and theyneeded other warm bodies to fill the costumes.So I became the Golden Age Flash. Someoneelse made the costume for me. We borrowedsomeones fathers World War I doughboyhelmet and spray-painted it silver. In our group

    we had Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, and a fewmore.

    BILL: Now that weve heard a bit about the ways science-fiction fansbegan to express an interest in comics, lets go to Roy Thomas for thestory of how he met Jerry Bails.

    ROY THOMAS: In late 1961 I wrote letters of comment to editorJulius Schwartz about issues of Justice League of America, The Flash,and Green Lantern, the hot new comics at the time. Julie wrote backthat since I mentioned I had been a Justice Society fan as a kid, I mightenjoy writing to the man who had written the JSAand who was nowwriting JLA. He sent me Gardner Foxs home address! Its hard to

    imagine an editor today sending a fansomebodys home address, but he just did it. Iwrote a letter to Gardner, which Im embar-rassed to say still exists. To my query aboutback issues of All-Star Comics, he said, I soldthe ones I had a couple of years ago to a guynamed Jerry Bails, who lives in Detroit.

    Gardner gave me Jerrys address and Iimmediately wrote to him. I got Jerrysresponse a couple of days after my twentiethbirthday, in November 1960. He even sent mecomplete and quasi-complete issues of All-Star#4, 5 and 6, with a current street value of maybe$2,000 even in that conditiona gift!

    BILL: How did Alter Ego get started?

    THOMAS: Like Maggie mentioned, its sincebeen documented that Don and others weresaying at a World Con that they wanted to starta comics fandom, but we didnt know anythingabout that. Jerry was interested in pushing theJLA comic. He wanted to do a publicationcalled The JLA Subscriber, which would beavailable only to people who could prove theysubscribed to JLA. I was skeptical of this,because the last comic Id subscribed to was

    Fred Patten in 1962, in the costume he wore at theWorld Science-Fiction Convention. See Dr. Fate,

    Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern, as well, in BillSchellys The Golden Age of Comic Fandom.

    The cover of Comic Art #1 (Spring 1961). Alter-Ego #1 (March 1961) seems to have hit the mails slightly earlier, but the Thompsonsfanzine had been in the work months longer.

    [2001 Maggie Thompson.]

  • Roy ThomasDream Team Comics Fanzine

    $5.95In the USA






















    Characters TM & Marvel Characters, Inc.

  • Alter EgoTM is published 8x a year by TwoMorrows, 1812 Park Drive, Raleigh, NC 27605, USA. Phone: (919) 833-8092. Roy Thomas,Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: Rt. 3, Box 468, 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: $5.95 ($7.00 Canada, $9.00elsewhere). Four-issue subscriptions: $20 US, $27 Canada, $37 elsewhere. All characters are their respective companies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM of Roy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TMof P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada. FIRST PRINTING.

    Dream Projects

    Comic Crypt

    FCA Section

    ContentsWriter/Editorial: Sweet Dreams, Baby! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Roy Thomas Dream Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Ye Editor kicks off an eight-a-year schedule with a survey of some series that time forgot.

    Wayne Boring: Superman and Beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33Michael T. Gilbert on life after comic books for the Man of Steels second artist.

    FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) #68 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39P.C. Hamerlinck presents another frantic Fawcett festivalfeaturing George Tuska, Marc Swayze, C.C. Beck, and Bill Morrison!

    Spectacular Section on Marvels John Romita! . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: Were truly grateful to Dick Giordano for taking the time to do two versions of thedrawing that graces this sections coverthe full-color one you just paged past, and another wherein hehad five of Marvels Invaders facing not their usual array of foesbut a quintet of DCs Justice Societyand All-Star Squadron heroes from the World War II years. The companies prefer that we not mix DCand Marvel heroes on our covers, so we used this version, instead. For the five DC heroes as drawn byDick, see P. 18. And, to find out how to purchase Giordano re-creations, commission drawings, ororiginal art, e-mail him at < [email protected] >. Loads of great stuff available!Above: So what does this thought-provoking Adam Hughes illo, which appeared in the 1998 HeroesConvention (Charlotte, NC) program book, have to do with Roy T.s Dream Projects? See Pp. 22-23. Thanks to Adam for permission to reprint it. [Art 2001 Adam Hughes; Captain America2001 Marvel Characters, Inc.]

    Vol. 3, No. 9 / July 2001EditorRoy Thomas

    Associate EditorBill Schelly

    Design & LayoutChristopher Day

    Consulting EditorsJohn MorrowJon B. Cooke

    FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck

    Comics Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert

    Editors EmeritusJerry Bails (founder), Ronn Foss,Biljo White, Mike Friedrich

    Cover ArtistsJohn Romita, Dick Giordano

    Cover ColorTom Ziuko

    Mailing CrewRuss Garwood, Glen Musial, EdStelli, Pat Varker, Loston Wallace

    And Special Thanks to:Jim AmashJorge Ivn ArgizDick AyersMike W. BarrMark BeachumAl BigleyJerry K. BoydMike BurkeySal BuscemaBart BushSteven ButlerMike CatronArnie CharkenoDave CockrumGene ColanRay A. CuthbertAl DellingesRich DonnellyShelton DrumMichael FeldmanRamona FradonJorge Santamaria

    GarciaDonald F. GlutJennifer T. GoRick HobergAlan HoltzDave HooverAdam HughesRafael KayananRobert KnuistJon B. KnutsonPaul Levitz

    Scott McCloudJesus MerinoBrian K. MorrisBill MorrisonEric Nolen-

    WeathingtonGeorge OlshevskyJerry OrdwayKen QuattroTom PalmerFred PattenJohn G. PierceBud PlantBradley C. RaderEthan RobertsJohn & Virginia

    RomitaJohn Romita Jr.Marie SeverinJeff SharpeDave SimJoe SinnottTod SmithJoe StatonRobert StrawieryMarc SwayzeMaggie ThompsonFrank TravellinHerb TrimpeGeorge TuskaJames Van HiseMichael J. VassalloEd ZenoMike Zeno

  • In one sense, this long, four-part article was suggested by the readersof Alter Ego and of the comics Ive written over the yearsintrepidsouls who, in recent years, have come up to me at comics conventions(or sent me a letter or e-mail) asking me, in so many words: Why arentyou writing any stories with the JSA/All-Star Squadron (or TheInvaders, The Avengers, or Shazam!) any more? Dont you want to doany more with those characters? I havent made a survey, but Id wagerthat quite a few of my artist and writer contemporaries from the 60s,70s, and even 80s get asked the same type of questions about their ownearlier areas of endeavorMarv Wolfman about Dracula, Denny ONeil

    about Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Steve Englehart about CaptainAmerica, etc.

    This is my way of answering those questionsillustrating myresponses with some great-looking art.

    What follows are a few of the concepts which Ive submittedinvain, as it turned outto this company or that. I decided to limit myselffor the most part to showcasing those unrealized dream projectswhich involve heroes I first encountered during my comics-readingchildhood in the latter 1940s: The Justice Society of America (plus mylater augmentation of same, the All-Star Squadron); Captain Marvel and

    For Collectors Dream Magazine #5 (1978), Franco Reyes drew this lavish two-page portrait of Ye Writer/Editor and some of the Marvel heroes hed scripted up to that point. Artful Al Dellinges has obligingly covered over a few of the Marvel stalwarts with adapted renditions of DC stars. (Well ignore the fact that Roy is

    23 years older now and no longer wears beads around his throat.) Special thanks to CDMs publisher George Olshevsky; the original art is from RTs personalcollection. [Art 2001 George Olshevsky & Franco Reyes; Captain America & Bucky, Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, Thor, Scarlet Witch 2001 Marvel Characters, Inc.;

    Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel 2001 DC Comics.]

    All Of Roy ThomasDream ProjectsHad Come True?by Roy Thomas (who else?)

    4 Roy Thomas Dream Projects

  • company; and the Timely/Marvel Big Three of Captain America,Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner, whom in 1975 I combined as TheInvaders.

    Besides ideas involving Golden Age heroes, however, there are a fewothers on my listpet proposals involving the Justice League, the Kree-Skrull War, and one or two additional bits of flotsam and jetsam frommy four-color past, as youll see.

    But lets start back in the 40s and 50s, when the very idea that Iwould one day be a professional comic book writer and/or editor wouldhave been an impossible dream project, in and of itself...


    A. All-Star Comics #58Two Decades Early!Though I drew my first crudely-executed comics in 1948 at age

    sevena multi-story, 50-page All Giant Comics, one of whose heroes,Goliath, was visually based on the depiction of that Biblical bad-guy inthe then-recent All-Star Comics #38my first attempt to write a script, asopposed to both writing and drawing a story, was made in 1954 or 55.

    Ostensibly, the major subject of Joe Kubert and Norman Maurers1954 Comic Book Illustrators Instruction Course, Lesson One (and, asit turned out, Only), was drawing the human head. But it also sportedexamples of two panels in script form, which I used as my template. (Forthis and other pages of the Course, see Alter Ego: The Comic BookArtist Collection, currently available from TwoMorrows.)

    I no longer have that script, but it was written as All-Star Comics#58 (surprise, surprise), continuing the numbering of my all-timefavorite comic, which had been discontinued in 1950. The basic premiseand plotline of The War That Never Happened! was unabashedlylifted from a story of the same name and general story in WonderWoman #60 (July-Aug. 1953).

    In my scenario, the JSA (expanding on Dianas role in the original)are called in by the scientist Paula. In her futuray, which seemsbasically a souped-up version of Queen Hippolytas Magic Sphere, theybehold images of an Earth reduced to rubble by World War III, tenyears in the future. The All-Stars travel all the way to 1964 or 65 tofight on Americas side, breaking into teams as per the later Schwartz-Broome All-Stars. I took my tales climax nakedly from the originalcomic, with Wonder Woman finding a way to stop the war from everbeginning: She prevents an auto accident which had kept US delegatesfrom getting to a crucial conference in time to vote against going to war.(Hey, dont blame me! I didnt write the original storychances are BobKanigher did! But I liked it.)

    I had fun writing the script, but Idoubt I ever showed it to anyone.

    B. Jerry Thomas Lives!As it happens, the second unillus-

    trated script I remember writingwas actually submitted (unsolicited)to DCto editor Julius Schwartz,to be precise.

    As a few doddering oldstersmay recall, in Jerry G. Bailsoriginal 1961 Alter-Ego fanzine, atage twenty, I wrote and drew aparody of the JLA called BestestLeague of America. Later, inJustice League of America #16(Dec. 1962), Julie and authorGardner Fox paid Jerry and me

    Warts, Schwartz, And All 5

    Irwin Hasen drew the cover of Wonder Woman #60. Inside, The War ThatNever Happened!whose history-altering denouement is shown herewas

    the work of a tiring H.G. Peter. The 1953 issue was reprinted in 1977as apremium given away by Pizza Hut! A zillion thanks to collector Bart Bush for

    gifting Roy with what amounts to a copy of a comic he hadnt owned oreven seen in nearly half a century! [2001 DC Comics.]

    The cover and panels from five stories in All Giant Comics #1, done when RTwas seven, with Elephant Giant, King OMighty, Goliath, Giant Caveman

    (wearing Flashs helmet), and Black Giant.[2001 Roy Thomas; like anybodys gonna steal it!]

  • the mind-blowing compliment of creating an offstage fan-cartoonistnamed Jerry Thomas, who in The Cavern of Deadly Spheres! hadwritten and drawn his own notion of a JLA case.

    I didnt think it likely, by any stretch of the imagination, that ayoung high school English teacher in Missouri would ever sell a scriptto a big New York comics publisher. Still, one day in 1963 I sat down atmy Smith-Corona portable and banged out a 25-page JLA story whichmade an onstage character out of Jerry Thomas.

    In it he sent the heroes a second story hed drawnthis one a parodyof them called, er, Bestest League of America. To their shock, theJLAers saw that various freak misfortunes which had just befallen them(tripping themselves up while chasing crooks, etc.) were all closelyforeshadowed in JTs spoof, where they happened to their lampoonequivalents (Green Trashcan, Martian Manhandler, Aquariuman, etc.).Learning that Jerry Thomas had drawn the story using a strange penhed found, the JLA traced the pens origins to another dimension andfought some menace there. I dont recall whether that weird pen hadwound up on our Earth by accident, or if it was part of someones cleverplan to lure the JLA into the other dimension.

    I duly mailed my script to Julie, with whom Id been correspondingsince late 1961. I said he could use it gratis if he wanted, or haveGardner Fox rewrite it. I dont believe I ever got any response fromJulie, but I took that in my stride. After all, I remembered that once,when Id mentioned in a letter that he hadnt responded to a couple ofmy recent missives, Julie had written back to inform me, quote: Im abusy man!which was certainly trueso the last thing I wanted to dowas annoy him.

    So obtuse was I back then that it never occurred to me that Gardnermight have had cause to be angered by my presumptuous action. Afterall, if Julie had used my JLA script, it might have replaced one of histhough at that time Gardner would have had something else to take itsplace on his schedule.

    My main regret, though, is that, for whatever reason, that script nolonger exists. Small loss, I suppose.

    C. By Any Stretch Of The Imagination(or, To Make An Elongated Story Short...)

    That sample JLA script turned out to be good practice, because earlyin 1964 I received a letter from Gardner, who was my other majorprofessional correspondent at the time, and who of course had been theoriginal scribe of All-Star Comics in the 1940s, as well.

    I had already learned on the Q.T. from Julie that hed been assignedto edit all the Batman titles to give them a New Look, and that,starting in Detective Comics #327 (cover-dated May 1964), Gardnerwould be scripting a new back-up featuring The Flashs stretchablesupporting star, The Elongated Man. To my amazement, Gardner toldme he was so busy with other work that, with Julies permission

    6 Roy Thomas Dream Projects

    The Roy Thomas half of the offstage Jerry Thomas amalgam wanted to move JT to center stageand bring the Bestest League with him! JLA by Gardner Fox,

    Mike Sekowsky, and Bernard Sachs; BLA art by RT for CAPA-Alpha #3, Nov.1965. [JLA #16 panel 2001 DC Comics; Bestest League art 2001 Roy Thomas.]

    If Roys mid-50s script for an All-Star Comics #58 had seen print on some Earth-22, its splash might have resembled this 1948 Hasen-Oksner oneonly with the threepix of the Magic Sphere displaying World War III images like the ones weve added.[Art from All-Star #48 and JLA #207 2001 DC Comics; art from covers of World War

    III #1 (1953) and Atom-Age Combat #2 (1959) 2001 the respective copyright holders.]

  • Wayne Boring: Superman and Beyond 33

  • Those familiar with Wayne Borings comic book work may besurprised to discover his lengthy secondary career as a syndicatedcartoonist.

    Borings newspaper connections began early.In fact, he was doing layout work for one paper,The Virginia Pilot, when he spotted a want-adplaced by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, thecreators of Superman. Boring answered it, and hislife was changed forever.

    By 1938 he was assisting the two on such DCseries as Spy, Federal Men, Slam Bradley,and of course Superman! Boring is said to havebeen only the second artist to work on thelegendary character. The bulk of his work on theMan of Steel began that year, ending around 1968when DC changed ownership and fired many oftheir longtime writers and artists. It was a brutaltime for many.

    In 1973 the Canadian fanzine Now & ThenTimes published an excellent article on thecartoonist by a young Dave Sim, future creator ofCerebus the Aardvark. Accompanying the piece were two scathing editorial cartoons byBoring, drawn especially for the magazine. Eachreflects his lingering ill feelings towards thecompany for which he had worked for threedecades. Were reprinting both cartoons here as arare behind-the-scenes look, drawn by a loyalcompany man, who felt abandoned after alifetime of service. Seen in that light, the bitter

    tone of Borings caricatures is understandable. In the article, the artisthad this to say:

    I enjoyed working with National Periodicals for years. This was agood company until the original builders started leaving. I worked foryears with Jack Schiff, editor. When Kinney took over, I was in a boxwith Mort Weisinger. I bowed out due to editorial stupidity. My Sundayand daily strips had folded, anyway, which was my main effort.

    There may have been more to it than that. Comics expert MichaelFeldman recently cited a 1983 interview, conducted by Richard Pachterin Borings Fort Lauderdale home. In it, Boring tells of being fired bySuperman editor Mort Weisinger.

    Astonished, Boring muttered, You mean Im not working for youanymore?

    Weisinger repeated, Youre fired!

    Boring persisted, Fired? What do you mean? All youve got to do isstop sending me scripts!

    To which Weisinger replied, Do you need a kick in the stomach toknow when youre not wanted?

    If the story is true, it was a rough way to lose your job after decadesof loyal service. Judging by one of the cartoons reprinted here, Boringwas well aware of the earlier shabby treatment of his old bosses, Siegel

    and Shuster. Luckily, Wayne Boring hadother options besides comic books.Throughout his career, the artist had along history of illustrating newspaperstrips, working primarily on theSuperman strip from 1939-1950, andagain from 1959-1967. The day afterBoring was sacked by Weisinger, hecontacted Hal Foster and becameFosters first assistant on Prince Valiant.Of Foster, Boring wrote:

    Foster was okay, but a perfectionist.I did all those damn castles, snow in theforest and the boats and storms at sea.

    Wayne later worked with JohnPrentice on Rip Kirby, anothernewspaper strip, and with Sam Leff onDavy Jones. The latter had a strangehistory, as comics historian Alan Holtzrelates in a recent note:

    Wayne Boring had the dubiousdistinction of putting the venerable JoeJinks strip into Davy Jones locker(literally). Joes Car, which began in1918, switched titles to Joe Jinks in 1928,then to Curly Kayoe in 1945, then toButtons in 1959. The final title, Davy

    Wayne BoringSuperman And Beyondby Michael T. Gilbert

    Wayne Boring at work, as seen in Coronet magazine, June 1954.The original caption read: Borings drawings are from memory.

    [2001 the respective copyright holder.]

    Borings classic pose of Superman was used as the basisfor the cover of 1971s hardcover volume Superman: From

    the 30s to the 70s. [2001 DC Comics.]

    34 Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt

  • Jones, came in 1961, and Boring handled the art from 1968-71. That,mercifully, was the strips last gasp (if I may stretch the metaphor).

    Whew! On the next two pages were reprinting a sample of that strip,and a rare Wayne Boring photo that appeared in the June 1954 issue ofCoronet magazine. While were at it, well also pull out a sample of TheAwful World of Ticker Tynn, an unsold sci-fi strip Boring drew in 1966at the request of the Toronto Star Syndicate.

    It would have been a bit of wink-worthy irony if hed snagged thejob. When Siegel and Shuster created Superman, they originally namedClark Kents newspaper The Daily Star rather than the better-known(but later) Daily Planet. And they may have named it after that veryToronto newspaper! Hmmm... I wonder if Mr. Borings wife, Lois (!),would have appreciated the irony!

    [Michael T. Gilbert, writer/artist of the recent book Mr. Monster:His Books of Forbidden Knowledge, Volume Zero fromTwoMorrows, extends a special tip of Mr. Monsters cowl to KenQuattro, Dave Sim, Arnie Charkeno, Alan Holtz, Ray A. Cuthbert,and Michael Feldman for contribution art and information regardingthis article.]

    The main players in the above cartoon appear to be DC co-publisher Jack Liebowitz holding Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in astranglehold. In the foreground, editor Mort Weisinger talks about grabbing a Superman synopsis for a Batman yarn; this is most likely a reference to his

    reported habit of rejecting a plot from one writer, then handing it to another to script as if it were Weisingers idea! The two folks behind Liebowitz,according to retired DC editor (and Mort Weisingers longtime friend) Julius Schwartz, are probably editor Jack Schiff and one Herbie Siegel, who had

    evidently done original DC publisher Harry Donenfeld a great favor in his Spicy pulp days, and afterward had a job at the company for lifethough Juliesays he had no real function there. [Art 2001 the estate of Wayne Boring; Superman 2001 DC Comics.]

    The cartoon at left shows editor Weisinger looming behind (and holding the wrists of) Wayne Boring. The nervous figure crouching behind the

    drawing board is presumably artist/inker Stan Kaye. Though well drawn,Borings depiction of DC in the good old days is not a pretty picture!

    [Art 2001 the estate of Wayne Boring.]

    Wayne Boring: Superman and Beyond 35

  • Plus: Marc SwayzeC.C. Beck& more!

    in this issue...George Tuska

    Pencils: George Tuska / Inks: P.C. HamerlinckArt 2001 George Tuska & P.C. Hamerlinck / Captain Marvel 2001 DC Comics

    no. 68in this issue...George Tuska

    Plus: Marc SwayzeC.C. Beck& more!In Memoriam:G.B. LOVERALPH MUCCIEBOB RILEY

  • [EDITORS NOTE: From 1942 to 1953, Marcus D. Swayze wasone of Fawcetts top comic book artists. He was the first artist to bringMary Marvel to life on the drawing board, but he was hiredprimarily to illustrate (and write) Captain Marvel stories. Afterreturning from military service, he freelanced from his Louisianahome, where he produced art and stories for The Phantom Eagle inWow Comics and for many of Fawcetts romance comics, in additionto drawing Bell Syndicates Flyin Jenny newspaper comic strip, whichhad been created by his mentor and friend, Russell Keaton. Marcsongoing professional memoirs have been a vital part of FCA (and ourmost popular feature) since his first column appeared in issue #54,1996. This issue, Marc discusses his work for Charlton Comics shortlyafter Fawcett dropped its comic book department in 1953, and thepeople he met thereincluding, briefly, Jack Cole.

    P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    When we speak ofand write aboutthe Golden Age of Comics, itseasy to agree that it was the fun age, and that it began around 1939 or40. Aside from the historians and scholars, however, who may haveestablished something definite, there doesnt appear to have been a lot ofcompromise as to its finale. Seems to have been a personal matter insome cases.

    It was in mine. Ive associated it with my own career in comics. ButIve had second thoughts about that. If the Golden Age hadnt alreadyslipped away by 1955, then at least the gold had begun to tarnish.

    I could have unpleasant thoughts about the ten years that followedmy 1944 retreat to the Southland. But I dont. Just look at it. CaptainMarvel, as we had known him, disappeared. So did Mary Marvel... and

    The Phantom Eagle... and Wow Comics, theromances... all Fawcett comics... gone! Flyin Jenny,too, took off down the runway... up into theclouds... gone!

    On the other hand, I had married the girl Iwanted, had four of the children I wanted, thehouse I wanted, the hobby I wanted. As Ive said,comics were good to me. It was still the GoldenAge!

    Toward the end of 1954 I found myselfexchanging correspondence with a man I didntknow, regarding a subject with which I was scarcelyfamiliar, and a company that rang only a faint bell in

    my memory. The man was Ed Levy, co-owner of Charlton Publications.Quoting from Levys letter of December 14, ... we can use a satisfactoryartist of comics experience here in Derby...

    Here in Derby. That was interesting. It so happened that I wasworking with the people at Bell Syndicate, making revisions to a featurefor release the following year... my own creation, The Great Pierre.Derby was within a reasonable drive of New York City. I took theCharlton job!

    Levy had said that all art was prepared through an independentcontractor. That meant their comic books were reprinted from proofs,plates, and/or originals purchased from various publishers. Trouble was,the Comics Code had sprung up in the meantime. My responsibility wasto clean up the material to conform to Code Office guidelines... replacenasty words like cop and babe with police officer and younglady... and raise necklines, lower skirts, cover midriffs and anything elsethat needed it.

    We Didnt Know... 41

    Captain Marvel, as we had known him, had disappeared. A previouslyunpublished Capt. Marvel sketch by Marc Swayze. Nice, huh?

    [Art 2001 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel 2001 DC Comics.]

    Letter to Swayze from Charlton Comics president Ed Levy, 12/13/54...courtesy of the artist.

    [Art & logo 2001 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel 2001 DC Comics]


  • One of the former publishers of thereprint material was Fawcett. Thefeatures, however, were not the ones thatI knew... mostly westerns. Later Ilearned that the reprints includedFawcett romances, some my own. Iassume the reason I never saw them wasbecause they didnt need the cleaning-uprequired by the Code.

    The first person I met in the Charltonoffices was a young fellow named ChadKelly... an artist, but not of comics...talented, personable, and talkative. Idont know how long he had been withthe company, but he seemed to knoweverything about the place andeverybody in it.

    Chad told a story of ayoung Italian immigrant who, after watchingsome bricklayers at work, said to himself, Ican do that! And he did. A few years later, ashe prepared for a trip into the City, a familymember requested that he get her a popularsong of the day. When the store clerk broughtout the sheet music and quoted the price, ourman asked, How much for just the words? Shecant read music!

    Many people couldnt. There was once thefamiliar scene on the streets of New York of apink publication of just the words beinghawked... by a peddler who miraculously disap-peared at the approach of a police officer.

    The need was legitimate, though... andevidently just the words were now beingpublished legally, appearing prominently on thenewsstands... by permission of the copyrightowners. That was the start of CharltonPublications.

    The other co-owner of Charlton was JohnSantangelo. It was a big outfit... in its ownbuilding... offices on the ground floor, pressesbelow... lots of employees. And yet, no evidence ofa chain of command. Everybody, from where I sat,seemed to report to either John or Ed.

    Which was okay with me. I learned that I was tobe provided with assistance, and shortly afterwardsChad Kelly introduced the newcomer. I had neverheard of Jack Cole, an easy-going guy with a senseof humor. Jack seemed interested in the work ofothers, but rarely spoke of his own. It was Chadwho told of the long Cole career of comic book accomplishments inwriting and drawing. I was impressed with Jacks tiny relief illustrationsthat appeared regularly on the letters pages of Playboy... neat, tastefullittle nudes with long black hair and stockings.

    Jack Cole left after a few weeks, explaining that the regular hoursinterfered with his freelance work. What a nice fellow. Knowing him,even so briefly, was a highlight of my stay at Charlton.

    One of the wittiest individuals I have ever known followed Cole toassist with the reprints. Rocky Mastroserio loved to hear people laugh...and he made them laugh. His stories of being brought up in New York

    City... experiences as a Marine trainee, night club doorman, TVrepairman... kept us in stitches.

    It was from Rocky that I learned that... perhaps, after all... the GoldenAge was over. He told of freelance work for publishers of slow payand no pay. In efforts to collect, he said, he had been to the smallclaims court so many times the judges knew him by name. You hereagain, Rocky?

    Not far into 1955, somewhere in the Charlton Building, somebody,undoubtedly Ed or John, or both, must have said, Lets get into thiscomic book business with both feet... start putting together stories andart and publishing original stuff! Or something like that.

    Anyway, there was a big reception held in the building, attended by aswarm of comic book writers and artists from all over. Quite an unusualoccasion at Charlton. It was shoulder to shoulder, like at a crowdedcocktail party... only we were having beer and pizza. At one point Iheard my name being spoken behind me. Then a voice: Know him? Ibrought him up from the South! It was Ed Herron, first editor of the

    comics department at FawcettPublications, whom I hadnt seen ineleven years. I enjoyed talking withEd, but I never saw him again afterthat day.

    The reception had immediateresults. Within a short time cameartists Bill Molno, Stan Campbell,Maurice Whitman, and Chic Stone...and writer Joe Gill... all with comicbook experience... plenty of it!

    Meanwhile, things werehappening to the building...construction work. When it wascompleted, there was to be a wholenew upper-floor section with aninterior that suggested office workof some kind. It was the newComic Book Department. Wow!

    Rockys contact with the newartists was Molno; my contact wasRocky. When he told me thearrangement was that they were towork on a page rate... in the officespace provided... I began to puttwo and two together. The pagerate was unimpressive... but I wasfast... and at my speed....

    I went straight to the top. Youcouldnt always reach JohnSantangelo, but when you did hewas easy to talk with. When I

    laid out my thoughts before him, his answer was, So?

    So I want with those guys, I said.

    Okay. As simple as that. Rocky, who had been standing nearby,moved closer. John turned to Rocky. What do you want?

    Rocky made it short. Me, too, he said.

    The new upstairs office with north windows allowed for five drawingtables. I made sure one was mine. The others went to Chic Stone, BillMolno, Stan Campbell, and Rocky. Set up just outside our door, which

    42 We Didnt Know...

    Jack Cole, creator of PlasticManoh yeah, and briefly the

    assistant to Marc Swayze atCharlton Comics, 1955.

    The splash page of Gabby Hayes #58 (June 1956); art in this and the following splashes is by Marc Swayze.

    [2001 the respective copyright holder.]

  • [George Tuska, artist andcomic book pioneer, reflectsback on his long career, withspecial emphasis on the timehe illustrated some of theearly issues of FawcettsCaptain Marvel Adventures,as well as Golden Arrowstories. Thanks to MikeGartland for his assistancewith this article.PCH.]

    I was born in Hartford, Connecticut, eighty-five years ago. My firstinterest in art was looking at my brothers pulp magazine illustrations ofcowboys when I was about seven or eight years old. A few years later, Ihad an appendix operation. At the hospital where I was treated, anelderly patient showed me how to draw a cowboy and an Indian.(Western adventures were the big thing at the time.) As I watched himdraw the figures on the paper before my very eyes, I began to feel alittle artist in myself for the first time.

    After high school I visited my aunt in New York City, where Iended up working a few odd jobs. One was designing womenscostume jewelry. It was fun, but I soon found out that it just wasnt mything. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine invited me to work out withhim, lifting weights at a local gym. I exercised for five hours that day.The next day I was so sore I couldnt get out of bed. My friend cameover, and we dropped in to visit a friend of his who was a sculptor. Hisstudio was on one of the West 70s Streets, overlooking Central Park. Inever got to know his name, but he knew I was interested in art, so herecommended me to the National Academy of Design. At the time itwas located at 104th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Thus began my artcareer!

    I had filled out an application as an artist and cartoonist at a profes-sional agency in New York City. Will Eisner and Jerry Iger called forme to submit some art samples. I was soon accepted and asked to workin their studio. I worked alongside Bob Powell, Lou Fine, and MikeSekowsky. Later the studio expanded, with Charles Sultan, JohnCelardo, Nick Cardy, and Toni Blum joining in. I worked on SharkBrodie, Spike Marlin, and other strips.

    I soon left the Eisner & Iger studio to go work for Harry Cheslersshop. Chesler was currently handling some comics for FawcettPublications, who couldnt keep up with the production of theirsuccessful and expanding line of comics. It was at this time I drewseveral early issues of Captain Marvel Adventures, as well as someother strips. We had a good group of artists at the Chesler shop: RubenMoreira, Mac Raboy (who later worked for Fawcett), Ralph Astarita,and Charles Sultan, whom I had first met at Eisner & Igers studio.

    I left Chesler and found myself working again for Will Eisner, whohad just separated from Iger. Will had his group of artists, includingAlex Kotzky and Tex Blaisdell. Will was busy with The Spirit and alsohandled comics for Busy Arnold [Quality Comics]. While with Eisner,

    I penciled some Spirit and Uncle Sam stories.

    To make some additional income, I decided to freelance a bit on theside. I paid a visit to the Fawcett offices at the Paramount Building. Imet briefly with Fawcett Publications art director Al Allard. I ended updrawing a few more Captain Marvel stories. Allard had asked me todraw as close as possible to the way Captain Marvel had first appearedin Whiz Comics. I also drew two or three Golden Arrow storieswhile freelancing for Fawcett. A girl named Judy, I believe, handled thescripts for me. I would complete the entire final page; I drew all thefigures and backgrounds, and inked everything. I was about 24 or 25 atthe time. After those freelance jobs, I never worked for Fawcett again.

    I went on to work for Lev Gleason, drawing Crime Does Not Payand others. From there I illustrated the Scorchy Smith newspaper stripfor the Associated Press, then the Buck Rogers strip for the NationalNewspaper Syndicate.

    44 I Didnt Stay In One Place!

    I Didn t Stay InOne Place!by George TuskaEdited by P.C. Hamerlinck

    George Tuska in the 1960sa photo take in StanLees office at Marvel Comics. Courtesy of G.T.

    Splash panel from Captain Marvel Adventures #3, Aug./Sept. 1941. Art by George Tuska. [2001 DC Comics.]

  • This one could only have beenproduced in the early 1950s, a timewhen most of the super-hero titles ofthe 1940s were dead, and the survivorswere trying nearly anything to stayafloat.

    The cover of The Marvel Family#79 (January 1953, FawcettPublications) is a perfect example ofthe desperate lengths that a mid-century comic book publisher wouldgo to in order to increase sales.

    At the time, humor and horrorcomics were doing great business, andit wasnt uncommon to see yourfavorite super-heroes in situations thatwere either creepy or comedic.However, editor Wendell Crowleymust have decidedor had beenforcedto cover all the bases.

    Cover artist C.C. Beck depicts theMarvels in an Egyptian tomb, makinggoofy faces and yelling BOO! inorder to scare away a mummy whoyells Yipe! Let me out of here! Andmaybe Im imagining things, but thatmummy looks suspiciously like anemaciated gorilla (and we all know thata gorilla on a comic book cover is asure-fire sales spike)!

    And heres the best part! Notice the blurbabove the logo, which reads Read THE MADMUMMY! ITS CRAZY! The word MAD,as lettered, is a near perfect rip-off of ECsMads original comic book logo; Mad was abig seller at the time. Also worth noting is theuse of the word CRAZY in the blurb, a hipbeatnik slang term of the day. Maybe Fawcettwere also trying to attract the coffee housecrowd.

    Inside, the actual story, entitled The MarvelFamily Battles the Dynasty of Horror, offersup more thrills than chills.

    Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and CaptainMarvel Jr. lend a helping hand to a group ofarchaeologists who are trying to get inside an

    ancient Egyptian pyramid theyvediscovered on the bottom of the ocean.After freeing one of the scientists fromthe grip of a giant killer octopus, theydecide to make things easier bybringing the pyramid up onto dry land.There, they smash a big hole in the sideof this wonder of ancient architectureinstead of wasting time looking for adoor.

    After switching to their alter egos,the Marvels join the archaeologists inan exploration of the pyramid. Theyignore an inscription warning themaway from the tomb of The MadMummy, and soon find a secret switchwhich opens a wall, revealing hisdreaded sarcophagus. As it happens,another inscription reveals that thewizard Shazam himself has imprisonedthe Mad Mummy here. The messagewarns the scientists not to let thishorror loose upon the world! But ofcourse they do, and Billy and MaryBatson and Freddy Freeman are forcedto speak the magic words which changethem into their Marvel forms.

    A little mummy-bashing ensues, andthe moldy monster is quicklyvanquishedor so it seems! TheMarvels switch back to their mortalforms, just as the entrance to the tombslams shut. Mary notices that The MadMummy has vanished; and, before the

    trio can speak those magic words again, hesneaks up from behind and bops them uncon-scious. Bound and gagged, theyre put into thearms of a giant sphinx and the Mummylaunches it out of the pyramid. They sailthrough the air on a collision course for thecity as the chapter ends!

    In chapter two, The Horn of HowlingHorrors, Billy manages to stretch the moldyold mummy wrappings with which hes beenbound, and yells Shazam!just in time tofly out as Captain Marvel and prevent thesphinx from crashing into the metropolis.

    Down, but not out, The Mad Mummy rollsout a malevolent device called the Horn ofHorror, an enormous black horn of plentywhich spews forth a plague of demons. TheMarvels make demon pat out of them andreturn to the pyramid to find the Mummy and

    46 Oddball Fawcett

    Oddball Fawcett

    The Marvel Family #79by Bill MorrisonEdited by P.C. Hamerlinck

    The awkward marriage of super-heroics, horror, and comedy. The madand crazy cover of The Marvel Family #79, Jan. 1953. Art by C.C. Beck.

    [2001 DC Comics.]

    Billy, Mary, and Freddy in a familiar predicament, in apanel from TMF #79. [2001 DC Comics.]

  • The world of art is filled with ghostscreatures who write and draw,but are invisible. Almost every cartoonist has assistants who come andgo like phantoms, or like elves who creep out of their crannies at nightto make the shoes that the shoemaker sells the next morning.

    I started out as an assistant to a syndicated cartoonist, doing hislettering. When I went to work for Fawcett Publications in the 30s, Iredrew old cartoons for reprinting, as the original art had been thrownaway. For a time I drew a daily panel which appeared under the name ofone of the Fawcett brothers. I had my own ghost assistant to do thelettering by this time.

    When Fawcett assigned me to draw Captain Marvel, neither thewriters nor I signed our names to the work. Later, as Fawcetts comics

    expanded in the 40s, I was given the title of Chief Artist and wassupplied with a whole staff of ghost artists to do the work.

    None of us ever cared that we were being kept invisible; that was justthe way things were done in those days. If the publisher made bigmoney, lived in a big house, had his own private plane and so on, thatwas just dandy. We were all his elves, happy with a few crusts and a fewpats on our little pointy heads now and then.

    After Fawcett folded their line of comic books in 1953, I moved toFlorida and became a ghost for a commercial artist. I did all the workand he signed it. He got paid, I didnt. I got my crusts and my pats onthe head now and then. He never allowed me to meet his clients, whowere all wealthy men with big cars, hunting lodges, luxurious offices,mistresses, and more. I worked in a back room, hunched over mydrawing board, while he went to cocktail parties, meetings, and on tripswith the clients.

    Somehow, during the course of my life, I have developed a belief thatnot only the field of art but most other fields of human activity are runby a few big shots in expensive clothing who gallop around in all direc-tions without having the faintest idea of what theyre doing. We knowour jobs and they seem to know nothing.

    I have never met any big shots. I have met writers, artists, actors,stuntmen, musiciansall hardworking ghosts like myself. A fewpublishers I have met seemed likable enough, but they all assured methat they, too, were only workmen. The real big shots, they told me, theones who decide everything and put their names on contracts and collectmillions of dollars for our work, are invisible.

    Perhaps my view of the world is warped and foolish, but I believethat my fellow workers and I may be the only real people on this globe.We are the ones who take paper and ink and by a sort of magic turnthem into stories, artwork, music, plays, and things which make otherswealthy. We never see those others.

    Perhaps theyre only unreal, phantom-like creatures of our imagina-tions. They and the public... that vast, incomprehensible monster thatruns everything... may be nothing but ghosts themselves.

    [EDITORS NOTE: FCA presents another previously unpublished essay from our archives by the original Captain Marvels first and chiefartist, C.C. Beck. I was fortunate to enjoy an 11-year correspondence and friendship with Mr. Beck, up until his death on November 22, 1989,in Gainesville, Florida. The multi-talented C.C. was always modest, warm-witted, sincere, and, with his strong convictions, was never afraid tospeak his mind!

    [C.C. wrote in February 1978: I have been an artist for more than fifty years. My once-shining eyes are now dim with age, and my face looksmuch like an old mud turtle. Inside, of course, Im still as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I was when I started out, but nobody can see thistoday. Now I am called feisty, opinionated, and an old curmudgeon. Others have been less kind!

    [More unpublished works by C.C. Beck will be featured in each edition of FCA.P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    Ghostsby C.C. BeckEdited by P.C. Hamerlinck

    48 Ghosts

    A Beck caricature of himself scribbling away on Shazams throne. And, under the text, a previously unpublished pencil sketch of Captain

    Marvel by Beck. Talk about ghosts! [Art 2001 the estate of C.C.Beck;Captain Marvel 2001 DC!Comics.]

    NowFLIP US for a rambunctious ROMITA review!