Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Category: 09 Reminiscences and Tributes Page 1 of 5

Shelly Moldoff

I just found out that Shelly Moldoff died on February 29th.Shelly was one of the great comic book artists of the Golden Age. He is did outstanding work on many features, most notably Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and of course, Batman.

Shelly co-created Poison Ivy, Mister Freeze, Clayface, Batgirl, Bat-Mite and Ace the Bat-Hound. Ace the Bat-Hound made his first appearance in Batman #92, 1955. In those simpler times, when I was a little boy who loved dogs and desperately wanted one, the advent of the Bat-Hound was a thrilling development.

Eduardo Barreto

I understand that Eduardo Barreto died a day or two ago as well. I didn’t know him, but he did a couple of jobs for companies I ran along the way. He was a tremendous talent.

Joe Simon

Joe Simon

Joe Simon passed away on Wednesday.I met Joe Simon in the Green Room at QVC HQ in West Goshen, Pennsylvania some years ago. He was there to do a promotion for a slate of comics collectibles. Me too. I’d never even seen a picture of him, but he recognized me and introduced himself. What an honor to meet him! Joe was one of the most gracious and nicest people I’ve ever known. We got together a few more times after that, and each time he couldn’t have been nicer. And, of course, he was a fundamental force in our industry, a giant upon whose shoulders we all stand. What a great man. What a great loss.

Jerry Robinson

Jerry Robinson died on Wednesday. He was 89.

He was a great artist, innovator and creator renowned for his work on Batman in the 1939 and the early 1940’s. He did many, many other things as well. He was an illustrator. A syndicated cartoonist. An author and historian. And a hero. He was a champion of the rights of cartoonists all over the world, often at great personal risk. He helped free a Uruguayan artist imprisoned because of his political cartoons, smuggled money to cartoonists in the Soviet Union who were disenfranchised and destitute because of government oppression, and aided Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in their fight to gain recognition and compensation for creating Superman.

I met Jerry only once, at the Baltimore Comic-Con a couple of years ago. I spoke with him briefly. He seemed to me to be a wise and thoughtful man. A gentleman, in all the best senses of the word, albeit with the heart of a lion. He was honored with a special Harvey Award for his many achievements. He gave a wonderful, unforgettable speech.

He was great.

Winner! – Part 2:

The House of Harryhausen, or a Day with Ray

On one of my trips to London, during which I had made plans to get together with Michael Winner to check on his progress developing the Captain America movie, I was privileged to be invited to his home. It was in Knightsbridge, I believe.
Winner lived in a very nice home. I recall that he had a fine collection of Arthur Rackham illustrations on display in the hall as you entered. Wow.
We spoke about his ongoing development of a screenplay. He wouldn’t tell me much about it, except how brilliant it was going to be. He had acquired a vast collection of Captain America comic books. And, he had hired an assistant to advise him, an “expert” on comic books.
Winner introduced me to the guy. In a few minutes of conversation I sussed out that the guy had utter contempt for me—he was a Shooter-is-Satan Kool-Aid drinker. Worse he had a total misconception of Captain America, who he saw as Captain Yankee A**hole.
Double uh-oh.
Worse still, Winner seemed to weight this benighted fool’s observations at least the same as mine.Good grief.

The Man Who Flew 35 Kamikaze Missions

Photo by Eliot Brown. http://eliotrbrown.com

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. “A date which will live in infamy,” said Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I’m sure it will. It also lives in the memories of Marvel staffers back in the early 1980’s as Morrie’s Day. Morrie Kuramoto, that is.

It started as a joke, or rather as a barrage of jokes. Morrie was Japanese, of course, and an older guy—so the wits and wags who worked in the Bullpen alongside Morrie made outrageous use of the occasion to tease him. Leave it to the likes of Elliot R. Brown, Jack Morelli, Stu Schwartzberg and the rest to suggest that Morrie pasted up recruiting posters for the Japanese Army, was Japan’s spy at Marvel Comics or flew 35 Kamikaze missions.


I think it was Joe Calamari who introduced me to Michael Winner. Winner had just acquired the rights to produce a Captain America movie.

This would have been late 1984.

Joe was Executive V.P. of Business Affairs and, among other things, oversaw Marvel’s efforts to get movies on the screen. He brought Winner to my office to meet me, since Joe had volunteered me to be Winner’s Marvel contact and creative consultant for the film. Okay.

For those of you unfamiliar with Michael Winner’s work, he produced and directed many films including I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname, The Mechanic, the Death Wish series and The Wicked Lady.

Here’s his Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Winner

A Gem of a Day – Part 2

Steve Gives Us a Personal Tour of Geppi’s Entertainment Museum

You’d think hitting a few imaginary home runs with one of Babe Ruth’s 1927 bats might be the capper for the day. Nah.

We could have spent days checking out the treasures in Steve Geppi’s office but he was eager to give us a tour of his pride-and-joy museum.

Somewhat reluctantly, Herman Rush and I followed Steve to his car. We drove from Diamond’s Timonium, Maryland headquarters to Baltimore, specifically, to Camden Yards, where Oriole Park, M T Bank Stadium and Geppi’s Entertainment Museum are located. There are also restaurants and upscale shops in the complex, plus two other museums.

At that time, Steve was a part owner of the Baltimore Orioles, so he could park in the special reserved area right outside the ballpark, close to the museum. Groovy.

I had been to the museum once before, to attend the spectacular Opening Gala Steve threw on September 7, 2006, the day before the museum opened to the public. What a party! I still have the invitation. It came in this box:

A Gem of a Day

Lost Weekend

Sorry I didn’t manage to post anything over the long Thanksgiving weekend. I had some pay-the-bills work that had to be done and it took longer than expected, as everything always seems to.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for your kind donations, which have enabled JayJay the Blog Elf to devote the time it takes to do all the technical work on this thing. Being computer/Internet unskilled, I literally couldn’t do it without her.


I promised a review last week. Iron Man has been one of my favorite characters since back in the days when transistors seemed new. The plan was to do a review of Iron Man the movie and also a current Iron Man comic book, but I haven’t had a chance to watch the movie yet, and JayJay and I have been waffling about which Iron Man comic book to analyze. We’re hoping to find a good one that gives me the opportunity to cover some new ground. Suggestions welcome. It doesn’t really have to be an Iron Man book. Should be Marvel. Not by Bendis. Let’s give him a break.

Thanksgiving with Don Perlin’s Father

Good News!The President has pardoned JayJay and me!

JayJay and Jim having a Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with Don Perlin’s Father

I guess I saw Don Perlin a few times during my early days at Marvel, when he occasionally came into the office to deliver the art for an issue of Werewolf by Night. I was associate editor then, around 1976.

Werewolf by Night was cancelled in late 1976. So, Don was out of work.

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