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Page 1: COMIC BOOK CREATOR, - Previews WorldCOMIC BOOK CREATOR, the new voice of the comics medium! TwoMorrows is proud to debut our newest magazine, Comic Book Creator, devoted to the work
Page 2: COMIC BOOK CREATOR, - Previews WorldCOMIC BOOK CREATOR, the new voice of the comics medium! TwoMorrows is proud to debut our newest magazine, Comic Book Creator, devoted to the work

Make ready for COMIC BOOK CREATOR, the new voice of the comics medium! TwoMorrows is proud to debut our newest magazine, Comic Book Creator, devoted to the work and careers of the men and women who draw, write, edit, and publish comics, focusing always on the artists and not the artifacts, the creators and not the characters. Behind an ALEX ROSS cover painting, our frantic FIRST

ISSUE features an investigation of the oft despicable treatment JACK KIRBY endured from the very business he helped establish. From being cheated out of royalties in the ’40s and bullied in the ’80s by the publisher he made great, to his estate’s current fight for equitable recognition against an entertainment monolith where his characters have generated billions of dollars, we present Kirby’s cautionary tale in the eternal struggle for creator’s rights. Plus, CBC #1 interviews artist ALEX ROSS and writer KURT BUSIEK, spotlights the last years of writer/artist FRANK ROBBINS, remembers comics historian LES DANIELS, sports a color gallery of WILL EISNER’s Valentines to his beloved, showcases a joint talk between NEAL

ADAMS and DENNIS O’NEIL on their unfor-gettable collaborations, as well as throws a whole kit’n’caboodle of other creator-centric items atcha! Join us for the start of a new era as TwoMorrows welcomes back former Comic

Book Artist editor Jon B. Cooke, who helms the all-new, all-color COMIC BOOK CREATOR!

In this month’s MAGAZINE Section:

80 pgs. • All-color • Quarterly

Page 3: COMIC BOOK CREATOR, - Previews WorldCOMIC BOOK CREATOR, the new voice of the comics medium! TwoMorrows is proud to debut our newest magazine, Comic Book Creator, devoted to the work

35COMIC BOOK CREATOR • Spring 2013 • #1

KIRBYOUT OF THE

OF DOLLARS

MEASELY THIN DIME

KINGIS

HOLLYWOODMOTION PICTURES?GENERATED BY HIS CREATIONS

IN

IF WHY HAVEN’T

MADE ONEJACK’S HEIRS

BILLIONS$

Page 4: COMIC BOOK CREATOR, - Previews WorldCOMIC BOOK CREATOR, the new voice of the comics medium! TwoMorrows is proud to debut our newest magazine, Comic Book Creator, devoted to the work

and the Curious Case of the COUNTERFEITCREATORS

and the Curious Case of the COUNTERFEITCREATORSEven after the team of Joe Simon & Jack Kirby suffered the indignity of being cheated

out of royalties for their creation of Captain America, insult was added to injury when,

in 1947, Timely publisher Martin Goodman is publically given credit for originating the

“Sentinel of Liberty” by a guy who certainly knew better — Stan Lee!

imultaneous to the appearance of his article, “There’s Money in Comics,” in

the November 1947 issue of Writer’s Digest, Stan Lee’s booklet, Secrets Behind the Comics, an inside look by the editor and art director of Timely Comics on how funnybooks are created, is published by Famous Enterprises. Included in the 100-page pamphlet is a focus on “exactly how Captain America was created.” Well, not “exactly.” Bizarrely, Timely publisher Martin Goodman is cited as the creator of the star-spangled hero and — surprise! — there is no mention of Cap’s real creators, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

This revisionism is particularly odd because, as any Marvel fan

worth his/her salt knows, the author of the tract was

hired in his initial comics job by the very same Joe Simon (then Timely’s first editor) and Stan functioned as a “gofer” for both Joe and Jack. In 1985, much to Kirby’s chagrin, the Cannon Group lists Stan Lee as creator of Captain America in

movie trade publication advertisements (trum- peting the eventually aborted film version).

GEE, BUCKY, YOU woulD THINK OUR

PUBLISHER would STRIVE TO BE like “honest ABE” HERE and tell the truth about who created us, right?

YOU BET, CAP!YET SOMETIMES that

hasn’t been the case!BUT EVERY RED-BLOODED,

TRUE PATRIOT KNOWSwe were created

NOT COOL: Variety’s Cannes film festival supplement included this ad which featured an erroneous acknowledge-ment giving Stan Lee credit for creating Captain America.

Left: Relettered detail from Captain America Comics #9 (Dec. 1941). Art by Jack Kirby & Joe Simon. ©2013 Marvel Characters, Inc.

Secrets Behind the Comics scans courtesy of Javier Hernandez.

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37COMIC BOOK CREATOR • Spring 2013 • #1 36 #1 • Spring 2013 • COMIC BOOK CREATOR

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The Commerce of Art

KIRBY’SKINGDOM

by Jon B. Cooke • Intro Art by Alex Ross

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with Patrick Ford

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11COMIC BOOK CREATOR • Spring 2013 • #1 10 #1 • Spring 2013 • COMIC BOOK CREATOR

which once spawned some crazy, impossible contortions in super-hero books such as Power Man and Ghost Rider, and stirred up Marvel’s letter columns (pro and con) for the Boston-born artist. By all accounts, Robbins was always professional, albeit uneasy, drawing the “Marvel Way.” In an interview with Jim Shooter in Back Issue #20 (for this writer’s piece on The Human Fly), the former Marvel editor-in-chief admitted that Robbins did not really fit in aesthetically with the Marvel house style. And yet, based on Robbins’ reputation as a syndicated strip artist, Shooter was moved to make sure he continued to get work, as his eccentric brilliance pored through his super-hero work. Robbins had many high-powered fans within the Bullpen, including Marvel’s art director, the legendary artist of Amazing Spider-Man, John Romita.

“He was just as much a fan as anybody else,” Gold-berg said.

Located four and one-half miles northwest of Mexico City, the small town of San Miguel de Allende was, appro-priately, something of an artist’s colony when Frank Robbins settled down circa 1989.

“He was extremely happy in Mexico,” Stan Goldberg said. “He was part of the community down there.”

Still friends today with Fran Rowe Robbins, Goldberg re-members socializing with a very happy couple while visiting Mexico in February 1994.

“She was a teacher from upstate New York who had stopped teaching and moved down there,” Goldberg said of Rowe.

When Robbins met Fran, she was staging play readings and directing theater in San Miguel.

“I taught English there,” she said. “I met Frank while I was directing a play reading of Amadeus.”

In the late 1980s, Robbins had been healing from the death of his longtime life partner when his path crossed Fran Rowe’s.

“His wife had died two years before I met him,” his sec-ond wife recalled. “We were together for about five years. We had a wonderful marriage. It was a big loss when he died, let me tell you.”

It was only in 2011 when Fran Robbins finally packed it up and moved back to the United States, due to health reasons connected to atmospheric conditions in Mexico.

“I was there for 21 years,” she said. “Unfortunately, at 6,500 feet, the air is very thin… I had to move back to sea level. I didn’t want to leave, but I had to.”

Now a resident of Vero Beach in Florida’s West Palm Beach, Fran sounds misty-eyed for her previous life south of the border.

“We had a gorgeous Casa de los Padres, built in 1710. A Colonial house with a patio and garden, and 20-30 foot ceil-ings,” she recalled. The house had a courtyard and shared the wall with the adjacent Oratorio Church. “When we looked out the bedroom, we saw these gorgeous towers.”

The Robbins enjoyed San Miguel’s laid-back pace.

“Everybody walked everywhere,” Fran recalled.

“We can go to all the restaurants and clubs within 10-15 minutes.”

It seems natural that Robbins turned to painting in retirement. What may not be as expected is that Robbins was, in his widow’s words, “the musical guru of the City of San Miguel.” Robbins enjoyed jazz, pop and opera, and he had myriad albums in the collection of the local library there, where they remain still. Music, after all, was an intrinsic part of his artistic process when creating comic books.

“When he was drawing, when he was cartooning, he

by MICHAEL AUSHENKER CBC Associate Editor

In the 1970s, polarizing artist Frank Robbins simultaneously astounded and repelled mainstream comic book readers with his anatomically flipped-out work on such series as Captain America and The Invaders at Marvel, and DC’s The Shadow and Detective Comics (in which he created Man-Bat). The late artist brought to such features as The Human Fly and “Legion of Monsters” a cartoony flair he had developed while working on the syndicated comic strip Johnny Hazard, heavily inspired by mentor figure Milton Caniff. Robbins even wrote classic stories for other artists, such as his famous Batman #250 campfire tale, “The Batman Nobody Knows,” and a few “Unknown Soldier” missions, and as an artist, he took some throwaway licensed properties, such as Marvel’s Man From Atlantis, and breathed animated life into these other-wise rote comic-book adaptations of B-level entertainment prop-erties.

But understand this: By the time Frank Robbins retired to Mexico, in the late 1980s, where he spent his final five years, he was done with comics. Done. As in: Never looking back again.

“When he finally retired, he retired. That was it!” Fran Rowe Robbins,’ his widow, told Comic Book Creator in an exclusive interview this past October. “Frank very rarely talked about cartooning. I knew about Batman

because the books were there. I knew about Johnny Hazard and Scorchy Smith. But I didn’t know about any of the other

stuff [such as The Invaders, The Human Fly, etc.]. I was so unaware about how popular he had

been.”“The other painters down there

knew [Frank] as a painter,” said longtime Archie Comics artist Stan

Goldberg. “He didn’t stress it that much that he had a career in comics. He didn’t make a big deal about it.”

What Robbins was not through with, however, was the arts, with

which the dynamic artist had a lifelong love affair. Depicting life as

he saw it around his quaint Mexican village, Robbins took to the canvas with

brushstrokes that remained unapologeti-cally, unmistakably Robbins-style, even if his

subject matter had switched from a pair of human torches combating Nazi man-monsters to the graceful, poet-ic grandiosity of a matador or a ballet dancer in motion.

If anyone writes a coffee table book about the man, it should be titled Love It or Hate It: The Art of Frank Robbins. Flamboyant and colorful, Robbins’ late-period art, while more abstract than his Marvel or DC output, retains the figurative elasticity

The Mexican Sunset ofFrank RobbinsFran Rowe Robbins and friends discuss the final years of the renowned artist/writer

Right top and middle: Fran Rowe Robbins and Frank

Robbins during their 1980s-90s Mexican romance and marriage

(courtesy of Fran). Bottom right: Renowned Archie car-

toonist Stan Goldberg and his friend Frank Robbins, Mexico, 1994 (courtesy of Stan and his

son Bennett).

Above left: With writer Denny O’Neil, Frank Robbins obviously had a ball drawing the adven-tures of The Shadow (here the cover of #5, June-July 1974). Above: Frank was also a fine comics writer, as evidenced by his creation of Man-Bat. Here’s the splash to Detective Comics #429, Nov. ’72, also drawn by Robbins. Below: As artist, Robbins had a memorable run on The Invaders. Here is his entry for The Mighty Marvel Bicentennial Calendar (1976)featuring that title’s Golden Age heroes.

Above: A self-caricature by cartoonist Franklin Robbins.

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13COMIC BOOK CREATOR • Spring 2013 • #1 12 #1 • Spring 2013 • COMIC BOOK CREATOR

listened to music,” Fran Robbins said. “It was, in general, classical music. His knowledge was very exten-sive. He knew all the pop singers: Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Mel Torme… He knew all of them, the clubs in New York City, Harry Belafonte. He really knew music.”

Robbins’ daily life centered around music appreciation.

“In the after-noon, they had comida — a dinner in the middle of the day,” Fran said. “In the afternoon, he lis-tened to music for two hours. He would just sit there, smoke a pipe, and listen to music.”

Goldberg recalled how Robbins also enjoyed a glass of mescal, “the poor man’s tequila with the worm at the bottom of the glass.”

Point of interest: “All the houses [in San Miguel], they utilized their roofs,” Goldberg said. So it was not uncommon to have an after-dinner drink with Robbins on the roof of his house.

“People don’t realize this,” Goldberg said, “but Frank was not only a great artist, he was a great fencer, a great inventor, he loved classical music. He was a true renais-sance man.”

Robbins was also a passionate cinephile. “He read a lot and he watched movies,” his second wife reported. “We had tapes of 600 to 700 movies. He loved Kurosawa. He had a col-lection of Japanese armor. He loved Fellini, Italian directors, foreign, Goddard, the noir films. He loved them all.”

Robbins enjoyed contemporary films as well.“We went to the movies often,” she continued. “There

was only one theatre. There were a lot of movies on televi-sion that he was able to tape… He loved Hitchcock, John Ford, Orson Welles, Chaplin. He liked Spielberg, Scorsese, Billy Wilder. He loved all the Italian movie actors. He thought the most beautiful actress was Ava Gardner. He thought she was more beautiful than Elizabeth Taylor. He loved Marilyn Monroe, especially in films such as [Wilder’s] Some Like It Hot. Frank was a big buff.”

The one medium he did not indulge in during his final years? The one he made his name on.

“He very rarely talked about his own work,” Fran Robbins said. “[Artistically], he was interested in bodies in motion. It isn’t just simple lines. It’s a lot of it was action.”

Beyond meeting with the occasional cartoonist, such as Goldberg, who would sweep through town, Robbins stayed clear of the comic book world, including conventions and cartoonist events, by the early ‘90s. Part of the reason he

perhaps detached from the industry, Fran Robbins suggests, had to do with an ugly episode taking place in the years before his death.

“Frank had a bad situation with a stalker,” Fran said. “This stalker followed him from New York to Mexico. Frank kept the envelopes and photos. He was frightened. He was scared. The guy got a hold of his phone number and Frank had to change his number. This man was suggesting all these revisions to Frank’s work and had all these characters he came up with that he wanted to discussed with Frank.”

The intrusion on Robbins’ privacy escalated until,“all of a sudden, he just stopped, either he was put in an institution or he died,” Fran theorized. “The things we got in the mail were all postmarked from Dallas. Then he showed up in Mexico.”

Fran continued, “It was scary. It was hairy for about sev-en years. There was nothing the cops could do. It stopped

about three years before Frank died.”Fran shakes her head musing over the episode.“A cartoonist,” she pondered rhetorically. “Why would

anyone want to stalk a cartoonist?”

Franklin “Frank” Robbins entered the world on Septem-ber 9, 1917 in Boston. He started drawing when he was just three years old. Growing up in a New England settlement house, he learned about Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. He discovered drawing.”

“He knew how to make gesso,” Fran Robbins said. “He knew how to make his own paints. He went to art school, he was very classically trained. In the height of the Depression, when this was considered frivolous. He ended up support-

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Above: Perhaps Frank Robbins’ greatest claim to fame is his long-running syndicated adven-ture comic strip Johnny Hazard. Here is his Dec. 3, 1961 Sunday. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions Below: Prior to Johnny Hazard, Frank worked as comic strip artist on the renowned Noel Sickles’ creation, Sorchy Smith, between 1939-44. The original art, dated March 22 (year unde-termined), is inscribed to fellow cartoonist Gill Fox! Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Clockwise from above: Paint-ings by Frank Robbins include “Club Mama Mia,” “Dancer,”

“Loss of Youth,” and “¡Hay Toro!,” all rendered during his

Mexican years. Please visit www.frankrobbinsartist.com for many more lovely examples. Courtesy of Fran Rowe Robbins.

Johnny Hazard ©2013 King Features Syndicate.

Scorchy Smith ©2013 Associated Press News Features.

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ing his mother by the time he was 14. She worked for a hat maker. Then they moved to New York and he started to do other things that were impressive. He painted billboards in a movie theater. Lobby paintings at Radio City Music Hall. He also did the murals.”

Of Jewish descent, Robbins did not connect profoundly with his heritage beyond the most casual of ways.

“He was a cultural Jew,” Fran Robbins said of her late husband. Of course, in the immigrant-driven world of comics’ Golden Age, many of his closest cartoonist friends were Jewish. “He wasn’t a religious Jew at all, but he was a hu-manist. He studied at the National Academy of Design, then designed murals for a children’s studio at NBC. Even when he was young, he had a talent. He was a prodigy, obviously.”

Robbins seemed to be very much a product of his times.“He used to smoke cigarettes,” Fran said. “That was a

time when everyone smoked. He used to use a long cigarette holder. The last twenty years of his life, he didn’t smoke cigarettes.”

Robbins, whom many editors and colleagues accused of aping Caniff, befriended his hero. “Milt Caniff was a friend,” Fran Robbins said. “He really admired Caniff. Who didn’t?”

Something of a mystery man in the comic book indus-try, Robbins rarely socialized with other cartoonists, a fact reinforced by the reality that Robbins, like most of his ilk, freelanced from home. Two artists whom did consider Rob-bins friends included Golden Age comics artist and Dondi co-creator Irwin Hasen and Goldberg.

“He was a very, very private serious man,” Hasen, who knew Robbins from National Cartoonist Society meetings decades ago, told CBC last October. “Very little can be said about him. He was a great inventor and a great artist. He

was a very private guy. He was a cartoonist’s cartoonist. He was low key and laid back. If one were to be asked about him, they couldn’t talk about it.”

When asked if Robbins had much of a sense of humor or personality, Hasen shot back with an emphatic “No!” and then laughed.

“Frank was a marvelous painter!” Goldberg said. “He was a great artist. Hasen, his dear friend, said that Frank Robbins one of the greatest artists, it’s just too bad he had to be a Milton Caniff clone,” Goldberg said. “He could have been his own man. He was that great. In my eyes, he was great.”

The late Jerry Robinson, co-creator of the Batman mythos, was another close friend of Robbins. “Frank and him were very, very, very close,” Goldberg said. “Jerry told me the story, the first official job in ‘38, ‘39, for Look magazine, was a job that Frank was supposed to do but he was very busy. So he passed it onto Jerry. Jerry remembered that he gave him his first very big professional job. Robbins also worked with Alex Toth. Robin Snyder asked Alex Toth to do a whole feature on Robbins.”

Stan Goldberg and his wife love to travel. And so, in February of 1994, the Goldbergs passed through San Miguel while on vacation in Mexico. The Archie cartoonist had heard Robbins lived in the village, so he found a phone direc-tory, took a stab, and bingo! “There, in English, there it was: ‘Franklin Robbins,’” Goldberg exclaimed.

When Goldberg reached out to Robbins, the former recalled, “He knew I was a cartoonist in town and he said, ‘How fast can you come over?’

Goldberg spent some time with Frank a mere nine months before the Johnny Hazard cartoonist passed away. When Goldberg arrived at Robbins’ home, he found Frank on his shortwave radio. It was via that shortwave where “he heard that Jack Kirby had died,” Goldberg reported.

In general, Goldberg learned, Robbins had moved to Mexico because “he wanted to be left alone. He had a very close-knit handful of people as a gringo living his life down in Mexico.” Yet Robbins was by no means aloof. He just yearned to socialize amid a different scene.

Goldberg remembers the Bohemian environs inside Robbins’ Mexican hacenda.“He painted big paintings of jazz musicians,” the cartoonist remembered. “He had pictures on the wall that he did when he was seven and eight years old.”

Goldberg remains agog trying to describe the impression Robbins’ monster canvases had on him. “It would explode off of the wall,” Goldberg said. “It’s hard to describe his style. It wasn’t his Milton Caniff style, that’s for sure. He had that drummer, he captured him in three or four shots in one painting.”

The kinetic motion of the figures, the color pallette, and the multiple, quasi-Cubist depictions of figures strayed from Robbins’ relatively ham-strung renditions of superheroes colored in Ben-Day dots. Robbins’ latter artwork might be compared to something akin to Marcel Duchamp’s seminal 1912 canvas “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.”

“He would’ve loved to have been a serious painter but he had to make a living,” Goldberg said. Hence, a career in comics. As a first-time syndicated cartoonist, Robbins took over Scorchy Smith in 1939 after Bert Christman (co-creator of DC’s Sandman soon thereafter) left the legendary Noel Sickles-created strip. Robbins’ run on Scorchy proved so impressive, King Features Syndicate hired him in 1944 to

create a similar aviation-adventure strip, Johnny Hazard, on which Robbins enjoyed a decades-long run that overlapped with his mainstream comic-book work.

By the late 1960s, Robbins had landed at DC Comics, where he initially wrote and later drew a number of features into the mid-’70s. Though Goldberg said “Frank didn’t like DC,” Robbins produced impressive scripts for Batman, The Flash and Superboy, as well as contributing some knockout artwork on Batman, Detective Comics, The Shadow, and for the mystery anthology titles. When Robbins cold-called DC’s competition in 1974 to ask if they could use his help, Marvel production manager John Verpoorten reportedly said, “How fast can you get over here?”

Robbins transitioned to Marvel with early work that included art for “Morbius the Living Vampire,” Power Man, Ghost Rider and Captain America before joining writer Roy Thomas for a lengthy stay as penciller on The Invaders (roughly dividing the issues with another Caniff disciple, Lee Elias), and collaborating with writer Bill Mantlo on short-lived books Man from Atlantis and The Human Fly (the latter for which Elias also drew issues). Producing his daily comic strip even as he pumped out a prolific monthly comic-book output, Robbins wrapped up Johnny Hazard in 1977 (after a 33-year or so run!) while still employed by Marvel.

Despite being something of a square peg during the Bronze Age’s super-hero comic-book scene — as, again, Robbins was both loved and loathed by comic book fandom during the 1970s — Goldberg insists Robbins did not leave the industry angry. “He wasn’t bitter, [just resigned],” Gold-berg opined. As if to ask himself, “Why am I knocking myself out here?”

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Above spread: Photos from the late Jud Hurd’s unforgettable

magazine, Cartoonist PROfiles, issues #8 and 42, which

included features on Frank Robbins. These pix capture the prolific artist/writer simultane-ously working on his “Batman”

features and syndicated daily comic strip Johnny Hazard. Courtesy of John Heebink.

Batman ©2013 DC Comics. Johnny Hazard ©2013 King Features Syndicate.

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going to operate at 5:00 in the morning. He had so much pain. I went and I tried to get him a shot of morphine. That’s the only thing that might have helped. He had a heart attack and he died.”

A contributor in his death could have been that medi-cal care in Mexico was, perhaps, not as sophisticated or advanced as that of his native U.S., and that not enough people were staffed at San Miguel’s facility. “This was a very tiny hospital,” Fran recalled. “His doctor was there. He died while his doctor was at dinner.”

Right after he heard that Robbins had died, Goldberg sent an obituary he wrote to the local newspaper in San Miguel. Goldberg did not attend the funeral and it was unlikely he could have even if he had tried, as the burial happened very soon after Robbins’ demise.

“There’s a law in Mexico,” Fran Robbins explained, “[that] you’re buried within a day after you die. After 24 hours, you’re buried. I think that’s true in a lot of warm countries.”

Robbins’ widow describes her late husband’s funeral as intimate and tasteful. “There was some music that was played,” she said. “We had a little get together at the house afterwards. It was just so fast and shocking.”

Frank Robbins was buried in the Panteon. “There is an English section there and he has a crypt,”

Fran revealed. “There were many people I talked to after Frank died. There were some really nice tributes to him in cartoonist magazines, weeklies, annuals. I was very grateful for the outpouring.”

“He was the best at what he did,” Goldberg said of the great 20th-century cartoonist he called his friend. “The ener-gy, the action,” despite the fact that many compared his style too much to Caniff’s for his comic-book work to be taken as seriously. “When you’re the first guy doing it, and then Frank comes along it’s always the first guy.”

Goldberg feels blessed he got the opportunity to spend some time with Robbins, an artist he so admired, mere months before the Invaders artist died.

“No question!” Goldberg said emphatically. “I have been very fortunate that I got to go to this little town for 20 years and I had this chance to spend time with this idol of mine.”

As detached as Robbins had become regarding his profession in his final year on this planet, perhaps the whole damn thing mattered just a smidgen, in the end.

“He was great with me,” Goldberg said. “It’s strange. He didn’t want to get involved in comics, but he asked me a lot of questions [about what was going on in the industry].”

On September 8-15, 2012, the Bordello Gallery in San Miguel presented a posthumous exhibition of Robbins’ paint-ings. They can also be viewed at and/or purchased through FrankRobbinsArtist.com.

Retiring in Mexico hardly came out of the blue for Frank Robbins. “He used to vacation in Mexico for many, many years,” said Fran Robbins. When he finally settled down in San Miguel, he felt at home among the vibrant regulars at Mama Mia, a restaurant and music club in town which fed his imagination.

“There were a lot of artists there, photographers, a lot of ex-pats,” she said of the mix of Americans, Canadians, French and Germans living in town. “He did a really inter-esting painting of Mama Mia. He painted Don Clay playing the congas. He painted Peta Glen, with her blond hair, with a glass of scotch on top of the piano, a lot of musicians smoking… you can just feel very atmosphere. They were regulars. They were people who either were retired or that just sort of floated into San Miguel and never left. Guys who escaped the Viet-nam draft. They sort of settled in and had a sympathetic community there.”

Fran remembers watching her late husband attack the canvas with gusto.

“He was very fast,” she said. “When he painted big pictures too, he worked on a grid. He could put it on a grid

within ten or 15 minutes. What took time for him was just looking at it and deciding what he was going to do with it. The whole image was there already.”

He also simultaneously worked on multiple paintings. “He’d get an idea for something else, so he’d put the other painting aside and work on another one,” she said.

In San Miguel, Frank and Fran lived a good life together. “We used to go out and socialize with musicians a lot,” she recalled.

Another little-known fact about Robbins: he was some-thing of an electronics whiz.

“We had a sound system that was second to none,” Fran Robbins recalled. “He created a single cone speaker that was astonishing. It was very pure sound, very clear. wonder-ful, wonderful. he knew a lot about sound. He had boxes and boxes of research about sound.

“He did a lot of recording for the library, tape to tape, CD to tape. People would donate their collections to the local library.” As did Frank. He lent his collection to the librarian there, Theresa Malakoff.

“His real contribution to the town was a musical one,” Robbins’ wife said. “He always did my music, my sound effects. He also was the one with the expertise.”

Fran can still picture the poster Robbins did for her chari-ty production of the musical play Guys and Dolls.

“He did a drawing for Ibsen’s The Ghosts, a play that takes place in this isolated Scandanavian place. He created a big mountain on an icy blue field.”

“I went to a party at his house when the production was over,” Goldberg recalled. “[Fran] invited many people over to the house.”

The Robbinses were an active couple. “We did a lot of walking there and swimming,” she said. “There was a very good pool. we had a hot springs there. There were some tennis courts. He didn’t play tennis. but mostly what people do was walk.”

To the second and final Mrs. Robbins, Frank seemed to be just short of a super-hero. “He was an expert marksman,” Fran said. “He had an air gun. He was a fencer. He could also shoot arrows. He was a good swimmer. He was truly a Renaissance man.”

Frank Robbins passed away on November 28, 1994. Unfortunately, it was a death that could have been avoided. “He had a kidney stone,” Fran Robbins said. “We went to the emergency room. He had an attack around 7 p.m. They were

Above: Yeah, if you’re a dedicated Aushenker reader,

you no doubt know he’s an unabashed Human Fly freak and

likely have already seen this treasure, Frank Robbins pencils

for an unpublished Human Fly cover, which appeared in

Michael’s definitive article, “The Human Fly: Pretty Fly for

a Real Guy,” gracing our sister magazine Back Issue’s #20 (Feb. 2007) ish. We wanted to share not only to plug our Associate

Editor’s previous work, but also as an example of Frank Robbins’

simulataneously charming and exasperating anatomy, with arms and legs akimbo, often

bent at fantastical angles!Inset Right: Frank Robbins

contributed this hand-lettered mini-autobiography for a

National Cartoonist Society an-nual. Courtesy of John Heebink

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Michael Aushenker, associate editor of Comic Book Creator, is writer/cartoonist behind the “El Gato, Crime Mangler” series, “Those Unstop-pable Rogues,” and “Silly Goose” (CartoonFlophouse.com), and he has written issues of Bart Simpson (Bongo) and Gumby’s Gang Starring Pokey (Gumby). The first article he ever wrote was for Back Issue on The Human Fly ( #20), and Aushenker is cartoonist and editor of the forthcoming comic book The New Adventures of the Human Fly. A Human Fly movie is also in development. Visit www.thehumanflymovie.com.

Above: Steve Gan ably inks Frank Robbins on the opening page of Marvel Premiere #28 (Feb. 1976), which introduced that team terrible, the Legion of Monsters!

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samples – every week I had more samples – so they got him on the phone. And Joe Simon says, “Kid, I’m going to do you a big favor: I’m not going to use your work.” [laughter] “It’s good but get a real job doing something real. There won’t be comic books in a year.”Christopher: I actually asked about that because, besides being the hand on our cover [of Leaping Tall Buildings] – we have a very special guest. [To audience member] Emily? Can you please stand? Joe Simon’s granddaughter Emily came here. Everyone give her a round of applause. C’mon, everybody! [applause] Neal: [To Emily] Your grandpa told me he was going to do me a favor by not giving me work and he said, ‘Kid, you’re not going to understand it now, but this is the biggest favor anybody could do for you. Comics will not exist in America in a year.” [laughter] So the guys at Ar-chie gave me Archie pages to do. Pitiful. “Comics are doomed!” [laughter] I love your grandpa! I just want you to understand that he didn’t give me work.Christopher: So, I —Neal: Wait a second! I have an end to the story! [laughter]Christopher: Please, Neal!Neal: It’s a great story. [To Emily] You’re hearing this for the first time, right? After awhile I became Neal Adams. It took me a bunch of years. You know, the guy in the white hat on the horse who saved everybody’s career and all the rest of it. So Joe Simon, your grandpa, comes up to DC Comics and he’s heard of my reputation with original art and all the rest of it. He says, “Neal, I’ve got to talk to you about this. I’m trying to get the rights back for Captain America but I don’t know what process to follow. You’re obviously know more than anybody on earth about it, so how do I do that?” I said, “Come on to

Moderated by CHRISTOPHER IRVING CBC Contributing Editor

When writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams teamed up in the early 1970s, their take on Batman restored the Dark Knight to his brooding roots, and established the version that is reflected in the recent films. Just as importantly, they introduced social relevance into super-hero comics with Green Lantern/Green Arrow, most famously with the drug abuse issues, in the process elevating super-heroes to a more adult, earthbound level. A former crime reporter, O’Neil brought real-world grit to the genre, while Adams’ art style and design elicited both a breaktaking realism and dynamism rarely found in the super-hero comic book. O’Neil edited the Batman line at DC for a number of years. Adams continues to draw and write comics, most recently with DC’s Batman: Odyssey series, and is currently drawing The First X-Men for Marvel, co-written with Christos Gage. Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics (Powerhouse Publishing) writer Christopher Irving and photographer Seth Kushner, and Housing Works Book-store Café reunited O’Neil and Adams for a special benefit panel on social relevancy in comics. This talk took place before an audience on July 17, 2012, at the SoHo café.

Christopher Irving: Seth and I — Seth, say hello to the people.Seth Kushner: Hello. Thanks for coming tonight.Neal Adams: Doesn’t Seth get a chair?

Christopher: No, he’s going to be photographing because he’s a shutterbug…Neal: Ohhh.Seth: He does the talking and I take the pictures.Christopher: I do the writing and he creates the pictures. [To Dennis and Neal] You guys can relate, right? [laughter] Anyway, Seth and I started a website called GraphicNYC four or five years ago and the culmination of our artist-writ-er-creator profiles is Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics, which has about 50 or 60 creators, at least, including these two handsome gentlemen sitting right next to me: Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. [applause] Let’s get started. Do you want to try and make some time for questions? Then there’s going to be a quick signing with Neal and Denny. Okay. They need no introduction but I am going to introduce them anyway. Dennis O’Neil was born in 1939, the same year that Batman first swooped over the rooftops of Gotham City in Detective Comics #27. While working as a newspaper reporter in Cape Girardeau, Michigan —Dennis O’Neil: Missouri.Christopher: Missouri? Oh! I’m ashamed! I’m sorry.Neal: Scratch that out.Christopher: I don’t have a pen, unfortunately. I’ll just use my fingernail. [Neal hands him a pen] Thank you. Okay: Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

A meeting with upcoming comic book writer and editor Roy Thomas led Denny to move to New York to write comics. He started writing for Marvel and then became a mainstay at Charlton Comics. He later went to DC Comics in 1968 with his [Charlton] editor Dick Giordano.

Neal Adams brought an unprecedented sense of realism to super-hero art of the 1960s, stemming out of his prior work in advertising and also his artwork on the Ben Casey comic strip —Neal: And Archie.Christopher: That’s right. How many Archie stories did you do?Neal: Just some pages. Just a few.Christopher: Real quick: Just as an aside. Neal, who did you meet with when you first went to Archie?

Neal: His name is Gorelick. Victor Gorelick.Christopher: There was someone else working there who first warned you away from comics.Neal: You’re talking about Joe Simon? I didn’t meet Joe Simon. They called him on the phone because they took pity on me because I was such a sad case. I went up there three or four times because Jack Kirby and Joe Simon were doing The Adventures of the Fly and “The Shield.” I didn’t go up there to work for Archie; I went there to see Jack Kirby. Joe Simon didn’t come in though they said he would come in every Thursday, but he didn’t come in. I came in every week to try to get work and I brought my

An Evening WithDenny & NealThe legendary Adams-O’Neil comics team discuss social relevancy in their ’70s work

Inset right: Seth Kushner’s photo of Joe Simon’s drawing hand and a certain Big Apple landmark grace the cover of

his and writer Christopher Irving’s smash tome, Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of

the American Comics, available in bookstores and comic shops

and via their publisher at www.powerhousebooks.com. Many

thanks to our chums for the words and pictures here!

Right Courtesy of Heritage Auctions, a layout for the cover of the first Green Lantern/Green Arrow collection published by Paperback Library in 1972. Note they subsequently swapped the back and front covers for the printed edition. Also check out the ultimately unused cover blurb, “Comix That Give a Damn!” You’ll find the unused cover art, featuring a different rendition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on a following page. Art, of course, is by Neal Adams.

Above: Dennis O’Neil, writer (left), and Neal Adams, artist,

shake hands at the Big Event in this portrait by Seth Kushner.

All photos of the talk are used with his kind permission.

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Inset left: Covers for the first Batman and Green Lantern O’Neil/Adams collaborations, Detective Comics #395 (Jan. ’70) and GL #76 (Apr. ’70).Below: Detail from the Neal Adams (pencils) and Berni Wrightson (inks) Batman #241 (May ’72) cover. (Yep, Ye Ed confesses to flopping the art!)

irving on the inside

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Dennis: When I wrote “Secret of the Waiting Graves,” the mission, as I chose to take it, was to do something better. Comics had been, kind of half-heartedly, trying to follow the path of the Adam West TV show, which was a comedic take on super-heroes and Batman. Satirical. And I had no quarrel with that. That’s a way to interpret it but I don’t think very many of the comic-book guys really got camp. I talked to Stan Lee the morning after the first show and I asked him what he thought of it and he said, “I liked the little bit of animation in the beginning, but the rest of it, no.” But, none-theless, because it was having a positive effect on sales, the comic-book guys tried to do camp. But then it was over like that. The TV show lasted two years as a semi-weekly serialized thing and then it limped into its third year and it was cut. Julie said we’re obviously going to continue to publish Batman (though Detective Comics may have been on a slippery slope at that point). So, what I thought we did was simply take it back to what Bill Finger and Bob Kane did in 1939. [To Chris] Detective #27 was May 1939, by the way, also the same month I was born. [laughter]Neal: Wouldn’t you also say Jerry Robinson?Dennis: I was being polite. [chuckles] You could add a few other names in there. Christopher: [Deadpan] It wasn’t all Bob Kane?Neal: No.Dennis: Are there any Time-Warner executives in the crowd? [laughter]

[To Neal] What you and I did was… strongly implicit in Batman, after the first issue, after the origin… but wasn’t very much to emphasize. I got the idea from reading an essay by Alfred Bester. Does anybody in this room not know who Alfred Bester was? You can go to hell if you don’t. [laughter] Christopher: No pressure.Dennis: Arguably, Bester was the best science-fiction writer in the 20th century and he was a guy who got his start in comics. He wrote an essay for Science-Fiction Writers of America magazine about writing for obsessed charac-ters. I read that and realized that’s the psychological key to Batman: He’s never gotten over seeing his parents killed. I don’t think I would have come up with that if Bill Finger had not written that seventh story [“The Batman Wars Against the Dirigible of Doom,” Detective Comics #33, which contains the origin of the character], it was always strongly implicit, but not very much explicit and then gone for years at a time. [To Neal] So what you and I did was… I kind of have a false memory, but this is what is should have been—Neal: We went back to the origin and tried to pick it up after Jerry Robinson let it go and it went to hell. I mean, you don’t

want Bob Kane to draw comic books for too long; he’s just going to draw crap. Then he’s going to hire ghosts to draw crap, so you get a lot of crap. Then they’re going to try to save it and then the TV show came along and they did crap. So the question was with Julie Schwartz, how do we avoid doing crap? Maybe we should get some talented people to do it. Du’oh! [rising laughter] So they did and we didn’t do crap any more. I mean it really comes down to that. Denny and I picked up where Jerry Robinson had left off. We did the same Batman. We can’t say we did a better Batman, we didn’t even do a more original Batman. We basically did The Batman.

I remember Julie Schwartz, before we started this little partnership, stopped me in the hallway when I was doing Batman in The Brave and the Bold and ask, “Why do you think you know how to do Batman and we don’t?” I said, “Julie, it’s really not just me — it’s me and just about every kid in America. The only people who don’t seem to know what Batman is all about is you guys here at DC Comics.” [laughter]Dennis: Among other things, they were trying to duck the heat that came with the witch hunts. There was no such thing as an attempt at, say, consistency at characterization. The best tool I had when I was editing Batman was the bible, which originally when I first wrote it was about four pages

and now with writers and my assistants adding to it, it’s currently 30 pages and they’re still using it. Part of it was, “Look, this is the ball-park I’m asking you to play in. Batman does not fight aliens! Batman does not time-travel or fight dinosaurs! Here’s the ballpark. Anything I haven’t say you can’t do, do.” Noth-ing like that was ever on the radar for a comic book editor before. So Julie Schwartz did a Batman and Murray Boltinoff did, allowing for sameness in the costume, in terms of characterization, a very different Batman. Some of them were trying to follow, I think, the lead of Mort Weisinger’s Superman, what I like to think of as “sci-ence-fiction light.” Y’know,

the coffee room.” We went to the coffee room and I gave him the phone numbers and cards of two lawyers, neither of whom charge money — I know, this is fantasy, right? [laughter] — I gave him these cards and I gave him some advice, like sending bills to people who you think owe money to you and they will send it to the accounting department and the accounting department — are there any accountants here? Accountants have glue on their fingers. So if you send them a bill, they can’t throw it away. They try to throw it away but they can’t do it. Because they think one day, ten years later, someone will come and say, “Do you have a bill from that guy?” And they go, “Oh, shit.” So they can’t throw a bill away. You’re going to pile them up with these bills and they’;re going to have to pay them eventually or else there’s just going to be this big pile.

So, anyway, I have this long talk with Joe Simon. Your grandfather is this very tall guy and I look up to him in many ways. So we have this conversation and we’re

leaving, right? And he thanked me and I realized, stopped him, and said, “Mr. Simon, can I buy you a second cup of coffee? I have another story to tell you.” [chuckles] “You turned me down when I was a teenager.” “No!” [laughter] Okay, that was it.Christopher: That’s a great story. So, leading up to January 1970’s issue of Detective Comics [#395], “The Secret of the Waiting Graves,” which teamed up Denny and Neal in the first of their atmospheric and very gothic Batman tales. Neal had previously drawn Batman in The Brave and the Bold, including an issue which had the newly redesigned Green Arrow, courtesy of Mr. Adams here. A question I have for you, Neal, is: You worked primarily with writer Bob Haney on The Brave and the Bold.Neal: Right.Christopher: How was your work with Bob different from your work with Denny?Neal: I was not used to comics being written realistically. I was used to comics being written in that ’50s style. I was aware of Dick Giordano bringing Denny O’Neil to DC Comics but I was not aware of his history and how he got to things. But in talking with Denny, it seemed to me he was a child of the ’60s – the marching on Washington and the Chicago Seven trial – and he seemed to be into that stuff. Bob Haney was into comics and he did terrific stories. All I asked him to do was to make the stories happen at night and I put a better cape on Batman and gave him a realistic anatomy. I had a great time working with Bob, but my goal was to work with Julie Schwartz, the science-fiction editor-god of DC Comics. He said, “I got this guy, Denny O’Neil, whom I am stealing from Dick Giordano.” I said, “Is he going to write that stupid Batman I see on television? Because that’s not what I want to do.” Julie said, “No. He writes realistically.”

I don’t think we did clown-villains for five or six stories, did we, Denny? Finally, we did The Joker. He wrote realistic stories about people and events that had nothing to do with The Mad Hatter or Two-Face or Clay-Man, or whatever the hell that was; he wrote stories about people. He wrote stories that delved into the Orson Welles-type character that you might find in good, classic drama. He wrote “The Secret of the Waiting Graves,” about flowers that keep you young. He wrote comics stories that other people didn’t do because he came from a place that really wasn’t that comic-book genre. Not that he didn’t understand it; he’s written super-he-ro characters most of his life. But he had that gritty, realistic style that you wanted to see in Batman.Christopher: Denny, what was it like to work with Neal as compared to, say, Irv Novick, who was also drawing Batman?

Above: Poster for the charity event as designed by Seth

Kushner (and, natch, featuring the shutterbug’s pix, as well).

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Above: Finals panels for the first collaboration of Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams, “The Secret of the Waiting Graves,” Detective Comics #395 (Jan. 1970).

Left inset: Batman’s origin is revealed in this Batman #1 (Spr. 1940) page. Art by Bob Kane, words by Bill Finger; and penciller Neal Adams’s take of same, from Batman #232 (June 1971). Script by Denny O’Neil; inks by Dick Giordano.

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Right inset: Bob Kane’s iconic Detective Comics #33

(Sept. 1939) cover and the Neal Adams homage cover,

Batman #227 (Dec. 1970).

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issues at that point. [Actually Gil Kane penciled the previous eight issues, GL #68-75, Dick Dillin #67, Mike Sekowsky 64-66, and Jack Sparling #62-63.—YCE.] Dennis: Was he really?Neal: Jack Sparling was working on it. A whole bunch of guys. That’s why it was going down the tubes. It missed Gil Kane. [to audience] Do you know who Gil Kane was? [ap-plause and cheers] Green Lantern had lost Gil Kane because Gil Kane had gone on to do Blackmark, the graphic novel. He was gone and they were willing to give it to anyone who wanted it and walked into Julie’s office. I went in and I said, “Julie, before you cancel this damn book, how about letting me do a few issues?” He said, “I’ve got an idea, kid. I’m go-ing to get Denny.” So he got Denny to do it. And, by the way, apparently the Green Arrow character I did in The Brave and the Bold [“The Senator’s Been Shot,” #83 (Aug.-Sept. 1969)]? Apparently fans loved it but it had no place to go, so I guess Julie kind of opted it and threw him in with Green Lantern.Dennis: No, that was me. Because we needed a dialectic.Neal: Another green guy. [laughs]Dennis: We needed somebody—Neal: We want to use the Toad. [laughter] It’s not easy being green.Dennis: The Green Goblin belonged to another company, so what were we going to do? That was a minus, actually, that they were both green. The idea was, “We’re going to do stories about real problems. That’s a given. Hal is going to be the best cop who ever lived. I was living in this neigh-borhood [SoHo] at the time and I was a hippy, and I didn’t have any great love for the boys in blue. But I had known a couple of cops who were really, really good guys. So that’s Hal. His problem would have been that he takes his orders from somebody else. He believes in authority, and if there’s one thing I didn’t believe in when I was 27 years old, it was authority, and if there’s one thing I don’t believe in when I’m 73, it’s authority. [laughter, applause] We needed somebody to provide a dialetic.Neal: I, on the other hand, am a cop. So that applause was out of order. [laughter]Dennis: [Chuckles] And I don’t expect to get home without handcuffs tonight. We needed somebody to be the voice of the count-er-culture. Neal had done a sensational job — even before I thought I was ever going to be involved with Green Arrow, I saw The Brave and the Bold and “Oh my God, this is what this character is supposed to look like! He looks like a tough guy, for one thing, not like a paper doll. The other thing about him was that there was very little baggage. He was created in 1940, allegedly by Mort Weisinger. There is a movie serial called The Green Archer, which was shot in Westchester County [New York], and I kind of sat through half of it.Christopher: [Lead actor] Victory Jory, right? Dennis: Yeah.Christopher: I sat through, like, maybe a third of it. Not so good.Dennis: Despite what

publicity people said, “Green Arrow” was obviously an attempt to cash in on Batman’s popularity. He had a kid sidekick, he had an arrow car and an arrow cave (yeah, it was just all a coincidence). But he had no characterization ever, he had no backstory; we didn’t know anything about him other than he had this kid sidekick and he shot arrows that were sometimes gimmicky. So he could be anything we wanted him to be, and that made him an ideal candidate to be the guy who would argue with Green Lantern.Neal: Grist for the mill.Christopher: One question I have for you, Denny: When I interviewed you in ’09 for GraphicNYC, you had talked about your time in the Navy and how you used to be a little more conservative. I always wondered, because Green Lantern/Green Arrow is so much about Green Lantern’s discovery that there are grays rather than black-&-whites, how much of your time with the Navy did you tap into when you were writing that?

Dennis: First of all, I should admit that I was probably the worst sailor in the entire history of the Unit-ed States Navy. As for my conservative background, my high school girlfriend is sitting right here. Maryfran, was I a conservative guy to date on Friday night? I was unbearable! I was a Catholic goody two-shoes, go-to-confession-and-mass-three-times-a-week-and-obey-the-rules kind of guy. And it wasn’t working for me. But in the Navy, and through encounters after the Navy — well, I never had any doubt that racism was wrong and that we needed to integrate this country. I think I got that from the Superman radio show. When I was about seven, they did what I now know as a public service announcement in which Su-perman explained to us kids – the gang – “Hey, gang! Some stuff called melatonin makes some skin dark and some skin light. And that’s the only difference in peo-ple.” And that stuck.

Though my parents

silly stories about time travel and story after story after story about poor, numbskull, blind Lois Lane trying to find out who Superman really was. [laughter] She should have moved a little lock of hair. [laughter]

I’m not as down on that stuff as Neal is. I don’t enjoy it but I kind of understand what they were trying to do was appropriate for what was the time and place. And nobody knew how to edit comics! I was a comic book editor for 27 years and I don’t remember anybody giving me instruction. Dick Giordano was close to a genius in that he could suck good work out of me when I was working at Charlton for four bucks a page. Weezy [Louise] Simonson was like that. Some of them just had a way to do it. One poor woman was pulled off the street. She helped her husband write a couple of comic book stories and someone wanted her husband to relocate to New York and he brought his wife – it was sort of an old-fashioned marriage – and she had seven comic book titles plunked on her desk and was told, “You’re editing these.” And that was it! She had no editorial experience, damned little writing experience. (I had edited a news maga-zine, I had helped edit books and had edited lots of different kinds of things. Comics are the hardest by far.) So this poor woman was just off the deep end of the pier and try and swim. By the time she reaized she was sinking, she came to Mike Carlin and I and asked for help, but it was too late. That’s the kind of business it was. Loosey-goosey.

Neal keeps talking about quality — as well he should — but [chuckles] was anyone really worried about that at the time? I don’t remember anybody using that word.Neal: They might have been worried about it if they had read the comic books but they did not. From editorial on up, they didn’t read the comic books. That’s why we got away with so much. I had a guy come to me with a letter from the governor of Florida saying — we had just done a Green Lan-tern/Green Arrow story [“And a Child Shall Destroy Them,” GL #83 (April-May 1971)]— and the governor wrote, “You caricaturized Spiro Agnew, the Vice-President of the United States, in your comic book and made a fool of him! If you ever do this again, I will see to it that any DC Comics are not distributed in the state of Florida.” [laughter]Dennis: Oh, how things have changed!Neal: We had already done it. We weren’t going to do a second one. So, kind of an empty threat. But the people at DC above editorial, they are the people who came in to me with the letter and said, “What’s this about?” “Ahhh, we made fun of Spiro Agnew in this comic book. Didn’t you read it?” [laughter] “Oh!” They had no idea. That’s how we got away with all that shit.Dennis: Julius Schwartz didn’t really feel that there was any obligation to let his boss know. One of the articles of faith is that you could not have a continued story and once a year he did a “Justice League Meets the Justice Society” [two-parter]. So I asked him, “One of the first things I was told is that I can’t do continued stories.” He said, “I didn’t ask for permission.” And I’m sure he didn’t tell anybody where we were going with Green Lantern/Green Arrow. Our job was: Save the book. It was floundering. “Do what you want.” The first guy [from DC who] was interviewed [about GL/GA] by the Village Voice — Neal wasn’t mentioned, I wasn’t men-tioned, Julie wasn’t mentioned — I bet the son of a bitch had no idea what that reporter was talking about! [laughter] Then we began to actually get publicity. We got invited places and we became respectable.Neal: Carmine got invited to tour all around the country to do radio interviews as if he did it. [chuckles]Dennis: Do you think he knew?Neal: He had no idea. Poor Carmine. I love Carmine.Dennis: We just saw him three weeks ago. In Florida.Neal: I love Carmine. Carmine is a great guy. He didn’t read the comic books.Dennis: It was the Peter Principle.Christopher: When Julie put you two together for Green Lantern/Green Arrow, who’s idea was it to team the two heroes up? And why make it a book about America? Why make it socially relevant?Neal: Julie. Dennis: Well, it was, “This book is in sales trouble.” A lot of guys wanted to get the assignment for Superman; I want-ed a book that was failing or iffy or needed help, because that meant that fewer people were going to be looking over your shoulder. So, with that, I had done some (my vocabulary falters here) relevant material in a story for Charlton which people still sometimes mention, called “Children of Doom” [“Can This Be Tomorrow?” Charlton Premiere #2 (Nov. 1967)].[I also did] something for Julie Schwartz based on that river in Ohio that caught fire [“Come Slowly Death, Come Slyly,” Justice League of America #79 (Mar. 1970)]. And I was an active dude. I was married to a Catholic Worker at the time (and nobody knows what Catholic Workers are and that’s okay; if you don’t know who Alfred Bester is, you don’t know Catholic Workers). Anyway, I was going on peace marches and stuff, and this was a chance to do that.

[To Neal] I don’t know if you know this, but I wrote [“No Evil Shall Escape My Sight,” GL #76 (Apr. 1970)] assuming Gil [Kane] would do the art.Neal: Actually, Julie kept secrets.Dennis: Yeah, he did. When I looked at the splash page from the proofs—Neal: By the way, Gil was off of that [title] for about five

Above: Unfinished and (obviously) unused cover for The

Brave and the Bold #85 (Aug.-Sept. 1969), which featured

Neal Adams’s brilliant redesign of The Green Arrow. Art by

(obviously) Neal Adams. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Above: From left, moderator Christopher Irving, writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams at their July 2012 talk. Photo by Seth Kushner.

Inset left & below: Original cover art intended for the first volume of Paperback Library’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow collection, featuring a version of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that was altered when finally used as the book’s back cover art. Kudos to Heritage Auctions.Below is the actual cover.

©2013 Seth Kushner.

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drug addiction for the City of New York, and we both handed in our treatments and they rejected both of us. This was one time where Denny and I really agree. They didn’t like it because we were blaming society, parents, and shit like that; we should have been blaming the kids for becoming drug-addicted. But that didn’t make any sense, because they would send us to Phoenix House and the guys at Phoenix House would say, “You guys don’t know what you’re talking about.” So we learned a little about drug addiction. I was even [unintelligible 40:01] important. Anyway, so I figure — that cover that you saw? I went home and I drew it, and I handed it in to Julie. Julie goes, “Wha--hah! Whoa! We can’t do that.” He said, “We can’t do that!” I said, “Julie, we can do this. We can figure out a way.” I took it into Carmine, who understood it but “you can’t do that.” I took it to the execu-tives of the company. “You can’t do that.” I go over to Marvel to visit Johnny Romita, a friend of mine. [Whispers] “Come here! You know what Stan’s doing?” “What?” “He had me drawing a guy popping pills and walking off a roof.” I was the president of the drug association in the Bronx. It had been a nunnery but they closed it down to make a drug association. I walked guys with their noses running from 42nd Street all the way up to the Bronx to get them off [drugs] and into the institutions. I know something about drug addiction. I never heard of a guy popping pills and walking off a roof. Maybe it happened. Possible! Within the realm of possibility. But Stan will tell you he doesn’t know anything about drug addiction, but he did this. What happened was the Comics Code sent it back, so what’s Stan going to do? He went to his uncle, who was the publisher, and he got permission to run it without the little seal on it. Really? I come back two weeks later. “Tommy, what happened to that comic book?” “Nothing.” Nobody even noticed. Nobody missed the seal. The distributors distributed the comic books. At DC Comics, the shit was hitting the fan. Because this was a voluntary, self-regulat-ing organization run by the comic book companies and DC Comics had that Green Lantern cover in their drawer, saying, “We can’t publish that.” Within two weeks the Comics Code was changed. Two weeks. And right now the Comics Code is obsolete. I wish we could take credit for it, but it was Stan Lee. Dennis: [To Neal] Didn’t they ask you to change the drawing?Neal: Yes, they changed it to take the fixin’s off the cover, the spoon and the rubber tube.Dennis: And, yet, the scene that it’s taken from inside the comic is untouched, right? That’s one of the many things I loved about the Comics Code: It wasn’t consistent. For all my ostensible rebelliousness, tell me what the rules are and I will follow the rules or will walk away. I’m not going to fight ’cha.Neal: [To Dennis] Did you ever read that thing?Dennis: The Code? Yeah, I debated it with [Code adminis-trator] Len Darvin.Neal: You can’t use the word “crime” on the cover of a comic book.Dennis: Roy Thomas has the best example. You can’t use zombies, but you can use ghouls. He looked it up and found out that ghouls are people who eat corpses and

zombies are the walking dead. So you cannot show a corpse walking, but if he sits still, he can have somebody eating him. [laughter] In other words, it was written without any regard for comics as a possible art form, much less as a decent way of communicating. And with damn little regard for the English language and very little for the history of literature.Neal: So we had great comic books like Mr. District At-torney, My Greatest Adventure, and my favorite, Pat Boone comics.Dennis: You like it, too? I love it! [laughter] It was a big favorite of yours, right, Mare?Neal: It was drawn by Bob Oksner. He kept himself in bread and butter for two years doing that thing.Dennis: Well, they were desperate. Another Julie Schwartz story is when cowboys were a big thing. Other companies were doing well with Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry, so they send one of the suits out to Hollywood to get someone we can license. And he comes back and says, “Boys, you ready for this? I got it. Jimmy Wakely comics!Neal: Did you ever hear of Jimmy Wakely? [No response] There’s a reason. [laughter]Christopher: Who was Jimmy Wakely?Neal: He was a cowboy.Dennis: He was an imitation of an imitation of an imitation of Roy Rogers. He was a guy with a guitar and two six-guns and he sang. Only he didn’t shoot people, he kinda shot at them. [laughter]Christopher: The Comics Code wouldn’t let him shoot people.Dennis: God forbid if I should ever apologize for the Comics Code, but remember it was created to keep the Feds off the back of people who were in a dead panic. If you read David Hadju’s The Ten Cent Plague — it’s a fine book and a magnificent job of research — and what I learned was that virtually overnight 800 people lost their jobs because of the witch hunts. And most of them never worked at their disci-pline again. So these guys had mortgages, kids, and bills, and thought of themselves – a lot of them were veterans — decent, God-fearing Americans and suddenly they’re being

were shanty Irish, blue collar people, they had somehow escaped being bigoted themselves, though bigotry was all around us. So I grew up believing in that and then, in the Navy (but more through other encounters), I came to believe we had no business to be in Vietnam. I don’t think I would ever call myself a pacifist but I thought that war was wrong and we should get the hell out. And everything kind of flowed from there. I have probably edged two inches closer to the conservative — I can no longer be a total pacifist; there are times when we have to defend ourselves because that guy out there thinks he is not going to go to heaven unless he kills me. And he believes that with his whole heart and I have no choice other than to defend myself. But most wars suck. Don’t get me started… [laughter]Christopher: Onto our next topic: In 1971, Stan Lee did an anti-drug issues of Amazing Spider-Man. [#96-97 (May, June 1971). [unintelligible 34:09] The Department of Health, I believe, had asked him to address the drug problem. This is how he handled it: Basically someone pops pills, falls of ledge and Spider-Man saves them —Neal: Happens every day.Christopher: All the time. I think they were caffeine pills. I’m not sure. [unintelligible 34:31] Dennis: Mogul will destroy you!Christopher: The portal. So, the Comics Code, which was the censorship board at the time — they no longer exist. They did not want Stan to publish this issue but he went ahead and published it without the Comics Code. Now, with the Green Lantern/Green Arrow’s anti-drug issues [GL #85 (Aug.-Sept. 1971) and #86 (Oct.-Nov.)] with the sidekick (tragically named Speedy) —Neal: Wait a second! I got a story to tell you.Christopher: That’s what I’m waiting for.Neal: So I go to Julie Schwartz and I say, “Julie, Green Lantern ought to have a back-up. Somebody who, if some-

thing happens to him, he’s got someone to take over.” Julie says, “Well, he already has a guy.” I say, “I’m sorry, Julie, I don’t read all the comic books. Who does he have?” “It’s this guy named Guy Gardner.” And he pulled out a comic book and it’s this blond guy from the Midwest who’s a gym teacher. “So, Julie, this guy comes to earth with this ring and he’s going to find the bravest man on earth. And he skips over Bruce Wayne and he skips over Superman, and all these other guys, and he goes to a test pilot. I can buy that. Not too bad. Sure. Fine. Now he goes out again and finds this white Anglo-Saxon Protestant gym teacher. Ahhh, I don’t think that’s right. It doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t get it.” Julie says, “What don’t you get?” Well, Julie, you gotta understand, is a New York Jew. He’s got to be liberal. Automatically, if you’re born a New York Jew, gotta be liberal. Right? Am I kiddin’? That’s the way it is. So he doesn’t want me questioning him. “Julie, there’s many kinds of people on the earth.” “What do you want to do?”

Okay, let’s put it this way: Ever watch the Olympics? Ever see three white guys up on the stand, all together? I mean, archery maybe… [laughter] Dennis: Golf!Neal: Maybe swimming, but you know… It doesn’t make any sense. “What do you want to do?” “Well… Asian. Black…” “You want to do a black Green Lantern, don’t you?” “Well, Asian would be okay. We’ve already insulted the entire culture by calling this character “Pieface,” this Oriental guy.Dennis: He was an Eskimo.Neal: Let’s pull one out of the fire. Maybe we can do that. “Okay, fine. We’ll do another one. You gonna draw it?” “If Denny writes it.” “Fine.” So I get this script from Denny — I dearly love Denny — and I read the first page. There’s this guy, he’s an architect, he’s out of work, makes sense, he’s black. (Like – heh – architects are liable to be out of work in the ‘60s. Not a good thing, right?) And his name is Lincoln Washington. [laughter] So I hunt down Denny and go, “Den-ny, this isn’t your writing, right?” Denny says, “No, Julie.” [laughter] I go to Julie, “Lincoln Washington?” [laughter] He says, “I know lots of guys with those kinds of names.” [laughter] I said, “Julie, that’s a slave name. If you do that, every black guy in America is going to write a letter to you and tell you to go fuck yourself.” [laughter] “What do you want to call him?” “A name! John Stewart. How about that?” How would I know he would become a comedian on late night television? We hadn’t been down to Muhammad Ali yet, so it turned out to be a [NON-STARTER? 39:03] and, of course, we did the two-part drug story, which Julie was not supposed to do.

The other story is this: We’re not supposed to do drugs and, by now, we’re winding down. We had taken on over-population (a questionable subject, I suppose), and we had very little area left to go, except drug addiction. Denny and I had both been asked to write a thing about

Above & right: Shaun Clancy, who’ll be a regular contributor

to CBC starting next issue, kindly shared scans of this

1972 Comics Code Authority pamphlet that featured the

revisions made to the presen-tation of drugs and addiction in

the funnybooks. Thanks, S.C.!

Above: Steve Gan ably inks Frank Robbins on the opening page of Marvel Premiere #28 (Feb. 1976), which introduced that team terrible, the Legion of Monsters!

Below left & below: Neal Adams cover art for Green Lantern #85 (Dec. ’71-Jan. ’72). Left is the unused cover; below the cover art of the used version. Latter courtesy of Scott Williams. Former? Gee, I think we used it in Comic Book Artist Vol. 1, #1, so it’s been so long, I forgot! Apologies, amigo!

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book convention and Julie Schwartz went up to my son and says, “Your father dyes his hair!” [laughs] What we should know about Julie Schwartz is that as a teenager wrote to all the great science-fiction writers in the country and they were not used to fans and they were not used to doing good business for themselves; and with Mort Weisinger, the two of them became agents for science-fiction writers. And all those science-fictions books that you may love, as we love science-fiction books, as many of them were agented by Julie Schwartz or Mort Weisinger, they represented that teenage insanity that fans turn into editorship or whatever it is, they represented people, like, the best — Alfred Bester. In my mind, they put Bester and Julie Schwartz together with all those great writers.Dennis: If you wanted to make a triumvirate, you could add Ray Bradbury, another of Julie’s discoveries as a kid in Los Angeles.Neal: Ray Bradbury! Represented by Julie Schwartz. This is not a small guy. Comic books was how you get past the bad times.Dennis: Well, by the time he was 25, it was how Neal de-scribed: Mort had already gone to work for DC but Julie was the guy in the country who handled science-fiction writers.Christopher: We have time for maybe one or two ques-tions before Neal and Denny sign some books. Let me see some hands. Mr. Haspiel in the black T-shirt.Dennis: Dean! Yo! We have an Emmy-winner with us!Dean Haspiel: You’re both such great storytellers on your own. In terms of process together, do you work full-script? And the second part of that question is what did you learn from each other working together and name one virtue —Neal: Got it! Let me tell you my half, okay? Any time I work with a writer, I always do what he has on the page. If I write, I expect the artist to do what I have on the page. So, when I give myself over to a writer, I try as much as I can to tell that story, every part of it and as much of it as I can.

Denny wrote a page, like half a page, in Green Lantern/Green Arrow, right? He described this page with Speedy being taken out by the cops, and these two drug addicts, one of them was unconscious, and Green Lantern was doing this and doing that. Denny was writing this thing and he wrote about a half a page of description, most of which I didn’t quite need, and so at the end, realizing he had written all of this, he wrote, “And, oh yeah, throw in a couple of rhinoc-eroses.” [laughter] So I did. [laughter] The statue in the foreground. And he came to me later and said, “I didn’t really mean that.” [laughter]Dennis: We did not work collaboratively. I wrote a script and gave it to Julie Schwartz and time passed. I saw a proof. but what was great about those years for me was: I could trust him. If I asked for something, that’s what I would get.

A lot of the Comic Book 101 stuff, like an establishing shot, he gives me a stoop of a Brooklyn brownstone and that’s well-established and we don’t have to worry about it. Other artists I have worked with would not have bothered, because, yeah, it’s just a stoop of a brownstone. But for me, location is character. It’s very important that things look like what they are. That and the body language of the actors in the story Neal always got right. And that was a great gift.Christopher: We have time for one more question.Audience member: Did you ever thing of redoing Superman in a more down-to-earth —Neal: Are you talking to Denny or myself?Audience member: Both of you.Christopher: Denny did do Superman.Dennis: Yeah, I did a year’s

worth of Superman, [#233 (Jan. ’71)-238 (June), 240 (July)-242 (Sept.), 244 (Nov.)] which DC Comics was kind enough to print with hardcovers [Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore (DC Comics Classics Library), 2009]… The birdcage lining ended up in hardcovers. [chuckles] It was an interesting year. It was hard. I was able to do a Batman story in about three days, three working sessions. The thought process took longer on Superman. Eventually I figured out I do not identify with god characters and, at his pinnacle, Superman was God. My favorite Superman panel of all time is he blows out a star. [laughter] “Okay, God, top that!” I don’t identify with omnipotent characters.Neal: Superman is a stupid character. When you get right down to it, he’s a fucking alien. He comes from another planet. He’s probably got two asses.Dennis: With the various romances, you wonder — could anybody in this room mate with a chrysanthemum? Because the odds would be about the same that for one to mate with somebody from a different galaxy.Neal: Human being mating with marshmallows… So far I’ve done X-Men, and Batman with Denny, and Green Lan-tern/Green Arrow. I did a Batman recently and I’m working on an X-Men called First X-Men — the X-Men before the X-Men.

I was talking to Grant Morrison at dinner last night and I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool in a story if someone took Super-man’s DNA (like you could get a needle in him!) and discover that he was human. Wouldn’t that be interesting? That he really was a super-man?Audience member: Would you two ever work together again?Neal: Sure, we would. We love each other. He’s a nice writer.Dennis: Make me an offer.Christopher: One more question.Audience member: [A question about more realistic depictions of people artistically.]Neal: I think we’re moving into a time where we’re getting better and better artists. Part of it I take a certain responsi-bility for and a fine amount of ego — what a lousy thing to say, “a fine amount of ego”… I say to other artists who are in college or learning to be artists, “You know, it’s a great medium to be in, so no matter how skilled you are, it actually is a good place to be.” So we have a generation of artists now — and a generation of writers — who beat the hell out of any previous generation of artists or writers. We are taking over the world. You didn’t expect that answer, did you? Rembrandt, Michelangelo… we’ve had good artists forever, we just haven’t had them in comics.Audience member: I want to know the secret. I want to know if it was Dick or you—Neal: Draw like a son of a bitch.Dennis: It’s sad but Neal isn’t going to teach you how to draw and I’m not going to teach you how to write. You’re going to do that for yourself by applying your posterior to a hard surface for a given number of hours a week and doing it until you’re good at it.

called the scum, the creators of juvenile delinquency.Neal: Toilet paper.Dennis: Yeah. They panicked. Of course, they panicked!Neal: I’m sure you guys understand this, because at a certain time in our country we were going after communists and, once that was done, and it kinda got turned around, people’s lives were ruined, and Congress had a little extra energy left over, so they attacked comic books. Communists, comic books! They both start with “c.” [chuckles]Dennis: I think it was really, mostly — Joe McCarthy over in the House [of Representatives] was getting a lot of publicity by lying — lying, lying! — authority figure lying? Yeah. I think [U.S. Senator] Estes Kefauver [Democrat from Tennessee] saw that he had a chance to make himself a viable Presidential candidate —Neal: See, this is why I worked with him on Green Lantern. Just pull that string: Rrrrwwwwaaarrr! There he goes.Dennis: So, about a mile from here, Kefauver convened an inquiry into the “comic book menace.” Out of that came Mad magazine, so it wasn’t a total disaster. But that’s what I think it was all about: Political opportunism and a total lack on conscience. Christopher: There are two unsung heroes who worked

on Green Lantern/Green Arrow (one you’ve already spoken of). The first is the inker, Dick Giordano, who was also a famed comic book editor and artist. Up on the wall here (though I can’t quite see it), on the lower left-hand corner —this is a house ad from DC celebrating the Shazam Awards won by Green Lantern/Green Arrow. In the upper right, we have Mr. O’Neil followed by Mr. Adams. Beneath it on the lower left-hand, we have Dick himself. Neal, what did Dick Giordano bring to your artwork that no other inker could?Neal: What did Dick Giordano bring? He slopped his ink all over and made a lousy mess of it. Disgusting! He should have been ashamed. [laughter]Dennis: Well, he was always drunk! [laughter]Neal: No, Dick was probably one of the best inkers in the field. I didn’t have to go in and break his knuckles every once in a while. He did a great job inking my stuff and he learned that I really, truly drew shit under that stuff and he learned to draw better so that he could ink my work. He came out of it a very good and popular artist in his own right, drawing his own stuff. I have been very lucky. It’s a different period now, but early in my career, think about it: I had Roy Thomas and Denny O’Neil as my writers, and I had Dick Giordano and Tom Palmer as my inkers — the two best inkers in the field inking for me and the two best writers writing for me. So I was as lucky as a pig in shit.Dennis: I just realized I am sitting between the two people [Seth Kushner and Neal Adams] who have ever made me look good. Really, even at 30 years old, I wasn’t that good looking, but the photo you guys published [the poster for the event] — wow! I was showing that to everybody. I never, never looked that good. [laughter]Neal: I remember coming down from DC Comics with that picture. “Who’s this guy? I wanna talk to him.”Dennis: And they looked at me and said, “Nah, not him.”Christopher: Well, I can’t take any credit for the picture, but Mr. Kushner can. And the second unsung hero, whom we have already spoken of at great length, was Julius Schwartz. What did Julie bring to Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman that no other —?Neal: What did Julie bring to Green Lantern. Julie con-stantly said to me — and you have to understand that Julie is a mentor for many artists, science-fiction writers, comic book writers — and the thing I remember most that Julie Schwartz said to me was, “Adams, get the fuck out of my office! Get the fuck out!” “Oh, okay, Julie.” That’s how I remember Julie. [laughter]Dennis: He was, for a writer, an ideal editor because, first of all, he never intruded his own ego into the process. His goal was, “How good can we make this story, right here and now, given what our limitations and resources are?” But never, “I want you to write the story I would have written.” I think I usually saw him on Thursday morning and I had the thing pretty much parsed out in my head; it was going to be a very short visit. It was going to be, “Okay, Batman is going to do this, this and this,” and I’d leave, go home and write the script. If the cupboard was bare, Julie would talk until I had enough to get started and, after a while, experience could take over. You can write the first few scenes and maybe experience will take over from there. So, what I’ve just described, what seemed to me to be most important was his own lack of ego. He and Stan: I don’t know if we’d be here without them. Between them, they re-invented super-heroes at a time when the field desperately needed re-inventing. But Julie’s ego never got in the way and, despite his very gruff manner — Neal’s imitation was pretty good — I really think he did have the proverbial heart of gold. For the last year or so of his life, I made a point of going up there on Thursday mornings — I was teaching a course on editing for the com-pany and I would choose to teach it on Thursday morning so I could spend 30 minutes with Julie, just talking about stuff, nothing in particular. A very nice man.Neal: These very nice stories about the very nice Julie Schwartz? The last time I saw Julie Schwartz was at a comic

Above: Neal Adams drew this DC Comics house ad trumpeting

their win at the first annual banquet for the Academy of

Comic Book Arts, featured in October1971 titles.

Below: After the talk, the group posed for a final pic. From left, Dennis O’Neil, Neal Adams, Christopher Irving, Amanda Bullock (director of public programming at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe), and Seth Kushner.

©2013 Seth Kushner.

Page 15: COMIC BOOK CREATOR, - Previews WorldCOMIC BOOK CREATOR, the new voice of the comics medium! TwoMorrows is proud to debut our newest magazine, Comic Book Creator, devoted to the work

28 #1 • Spring 2013 • COMIC BOOK CREATOR 29COMIC BOOK CREATOR • Spring 2013 • #1

by JON B. COOKE CBC Editor

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Les DanielsThe Incomplete History

Celebrating the writer/historian who gave the world much more than he got

Inset right: Seth Kushner’s photo of Joe Simon’s drawing hand and a certain Big Apple landmark grace the cover of

his and writer Christopher Irving’s smash tome, Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of

the American Comics, available in bookstores and comic shops

and via their publisher at www.powerhousebooks.com. Many

thanks to our chums for the words and pictures here!

Phot

o ©

2013

Set

h Ku

shne

r.

in memoriam

Portrait by Cortney Skinner

Page 16: COMIC BOOK CREATOR, - Previews WorldCOMIC BOOK CREATOR, the new voice of the comics medium! TwoMorrows is proud to debut our newest magazine, Comic Book Creator, devoted to the work

Nelson Alexander Ross is in coasting mode. Though urged by frequent collaborator and friend

Kurt Busiek, among others, to focus on creator- owned material — and nagged by his own desire to produce the Great American Graphic Novel

— the artist is hesitant to risk all in the face of a sluggish economy and fickle comics medium, choosing, for the moment, to play it safe.

But the examples of Kirby, Adams, and Ware continue to entice the ambitions of Alex Ross.

Comic Book Creator: It qui nus et ut in re adignatur, atem dolor sunte velenem eati dellenis raeriorum es nus quis eum es et la corempo-ria voluptios milibusam estor renimpos reiciduntur aligend ipienda nonseri autem dolor am, temporerunt..Alex Ross: Debitaspelis et venecus et maios ea aborrov idignimus, offictur re et inusam, officipid maximin ve-nitation re num non nonem invelecabor sandelit ut velest aut is doluptasim facepudit mod molorem lam, quiam es-trum que nossi nam es repudio experumquia non repedit odis et intur? Ullorro tem di susant as in et aliquo oditatem hici blab ini sam quas ut rem qui doloratem acerrovit re, vent, ut quo estem eium voloren tendam id et, quae plit fuga. Ut omni doloruptate non pera aut am et que net laudignam nonsedi tatende lluptam, sumque cuptatiandes expera inture dunt.CBC: It qui nus et ut in re adignatur, atem dolor sunte velen-em eati dellenis raeriorum es nusAlex: Debitaspelis et venecus et maios ea aborrov idignimus, offictur re et inusam, officipid maximin venitation re num non nonem invelecabor sandelit ut velest aut is doluptasim facepudit mod molorem lam, quiam estrum que nossi nam es repudio experumquia non repedit odis et intur? Ullorro tem di susant as in et aliquo oditatem hici blab ini sam quas ut rem qui dolor-atem acerrovit re, vent, ut quo estem eium voloren tendam id et, quae plit fuga. Ut omni doloruptate non pera aut am et que net laudignam nonsedi tatende lluptam, sumque cuptatiandes expera inture dunt.CBC: It qui nus et ut in re adignatur, atem dolor sunte velen-em eati dellenis raeriorum es nusAlex: Debitaspelis et venecus et maios ea aborrov idignimus, offictur re et inusam, officipid maximin venitation re num non nonem invelecabor sandelit ut velest aut is doluptasim facepudit mod molorem lam, quiam estrum que nossi nam es repudio experumquia non repedit odis et intur? Ullorro tem di susant as in et aliquo oditatem hici blab ini sam quas ut rem qui doloratem acerrovit re, vent, ut quo estem eium voloren tendam id et, quae plit fuga. Ut omni doloruptate non pera aut am et que net

laudignam nonsedi tatende lluptam, sumque cuptatiandes expera inture dunt.

CBC: It qui nus et ut in re adignatur, atem dolor sunte velenem eati

dellenis raeriorum es nusAlex: Debitaspelis et venecus

et maios ea aborrov idignimus, offictur re et inusam, officipid maximin venitation re num non nonem invelecabor sandelit ut velest aut is doluptasim facepudit mod molorem lam, quiam estrum que nossi nam es repudio experumquia non repedit

odis et intur? Ullorro tem di susant as in et aliquo

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voloren tendam id et, quae plit fuga. Ut omni doloruptate non pera

aut am et que net laudignam nonsedi tatende lluptam, sumque cuptatiandes expera inture dunt.CBC: It qui nus et ut in re adignatur, atem dolor sunte velenem eati dellenis raeriorum es nusAlex: Debitaspelis et venecus et maios ea aborrov idignimus, offictur re et inusam, officipid maximin venitation re num non nonem invelecabor sandelit ut velest aut is doluptasim facepudit mod molorem lam, quiam estrum que nossi nam es repudio experumquia non repedit odis et intur? Ullorro tem di susant as in et aliquo oditatem hici blab ini sam quas ut rem qui doloratem acerrovit re, vent, ut quo estem eium voloren tendam id et, quae plit fuga. Ut omni doloruptate non pera aut am et que net laudignam nonsedi tatende lluptam, sumque cupta-tiandes expera inture dunt.

Coming into his third decade of comic book super-stardom, the artist reflects on the illusion of realism, keeping old school in the digital age, and the call of independence

Interview conducted by Jon B. Cooke Transcribed by Brian K. Morris • Portrait by Seth Kushner

Above: Steve Gan ably inks Frank Robbins on the opening page of Marvel Premiere #28 (Feb. 1976), which introduced that team terrible, the Legion of Monsters!

Man-Thing, Ghost Rider, M

orbius, and Werew

olf By Night ©

2013 Marvel Characters, Inc.

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31COMIC BOOK CREATOR • Spring 2013 • #1 30 #1 • Spring 2013 • COMIC BOOK CREATOR

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33COMIC BOOK CREATOR • Spring 2013 • #1 32 #1 • Spring 2013 • COMIC BOOK CREATOR

Astro Citys,

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Right top and middle: Fran Rowe Robbins and Frank

Robbins during their 1980s-90s Mexican romance and marriage

(courtesy of Fran). Bottom right: Renowned Archie car-

toonist Stan Goldberg and his friend Frank Robbins, Mexico, 1994 (courtesy of Stan and his

The Art of Writing Comic Books and Revitalized Life in the Age of Marvels

Interview conduct

ed by

Jon B. Cooke

Transcribed by

Brian K. Morris

Portrait by

Barbara R. Kesel

K.R.B.General Delivery

Astro City U.S.A.