Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Category: 02 Early Life

Here I Go Again

Four years after leaving my career in comics in (I thought) ruins I was making my living writing ad copy freelance and working part-time in a department store. I got a call from Duffy Vohland, an editor at Marvel. He’d gotten my number from a fan, Harry Broertjes, who’d found it somehow. Duffy invited me to come up to New York and talk to the editors at Marvel about getting back into comics, and told me that National, too, would probably be interested again. Mort had left and no one else there held a grudge. Marvel had never had a grudge.

The next day I flew to New York and presented myself at Marvel. Marvel had moved to larger quarters, but they looked even more cluttered and used than the previous ones. There was a huge paper maché figure of Thor, donated by some fans, suspended on wires from the ceiling in the production area. There were piles of stuff everywhere–old comics, envelopes, books, trash. Two people were sword fighting with yardsticks in the hall. There seemed to be a lot more people, most of them young, strange-looking and dressed for playing frisbee in the park or painting a house, maybe. My tour guide, Duffy, pointed out a few corners where there were sleeping bags where a few otherwise homeless staffers spent their nights. Now, why hadn’t I thought of that four years ago?

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman

When I was fourteen, I went on my first business trip. It was in June, 1966, soon after school ended for the year, and almost a year after I’d written the first Legion story DC bought. Fresh out of ninth grade, I was off from home in Pittsburgh to New York City to spend a week in DC’s offices learning more about comics production—things like coloring and inking that are hard to explain over the phone. At DC’s insistence, my mother had to accompany me.

Even with the income I was making from DC added to the mix, my family wasn’t exactly prosperous. When you start deep in the hole, it takes a long time to dig out. My mother was worried that she didn’t have anything appropriate to wear. And there was no money to go clothes shopping. A friend of hers from church who was a seamstress offered to make her a few dresses, as a gift.

But, as for the trip itself, DC paid all expenses—the airfare, meals, the hotel. They put us up in the Summit Hotel, a top shelf place in those days. It also happened to be located at Lexington and 51st, right across the street from 575 Lexington Avenue, where DC had its offices. For about a week, I reported to the office every day, met people and learned things. 

A Letter From Curt Swan

I came across this yesterday. It’s the first letter I ever received from Curt Swan, hand written on a 14×16″ piece of vellum. What a wonderful letter, what a brilliant artist, what a great man.  

P.S. Check out how neat the lettering is.  : ) 

(Click on the letter for a more satisfyingly large image)

Fatal Five design drawings, 1966

Sex and Drugs

Let’s do the drugs first. Whoo-hoo!




I think I wrote the first drug use story in the Comics Code era. It appeared in this issue of Action Comics:


It was the second feature, a Legion of Super-Heroes story entitled “Forbidden Fruit.” Comic Book Database, www.comicbookdb.com, while often useful, gives credit for writing this story jointly to Mort Weisinger and me. Why do they do that? Mort never co-wrote anything with me, or even made a significant edit on any of my scripts. Sigh. No, I wrote it, just me.


The story was published in April of 1969.

Untold Tales

SEVEN – Tomorrow

I wrote what’s below and I can’t take any more time today….

First, Untold Tales

A few stories I promised to tell:

An Ad-venture and an “Expensive” Lesson

I lived in Pittsburgh in the early 1970’s, and sometimes I worked freelance for Pittsburgh-based Lando-Bishopric Advertising, usually on the U.S. Steel account. At various times, I served as a concept creator, copywriter, designer and illustrator. Yes, illustrator. I’m not as practiced, fast and facile as most good comic book artists, but give me lots of reference and all week to make one illo and I do okay.

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