Writer. Creator. Large mammal.

Try-Out Contest Artifacts

JayJay here. I found these items pertaining to the Marvel Try-Out Book that may interest you. Jim is presently typing his two fingers to the bone to get today’s post done, so that will be up later!

The items on Jim’s desk in the ad below are accurate. He had a gumball machine that was usually filled with jellybeans and people would pop in all day to get some. They were free by the way. He had the creepy little monkey, too. The Captain America bear I made for him for his birthday one year. I bought the teddy bear and sewed a little satin Captain America suit for it and made a tiny shield. Jim is crazy hard to shop for! One small thing, though… the feet are colored wrong, they should be red since the bear had little boots.
We can’t remember who drew this.
Was it one of the Raiders, maybe with John Romita Sr.’s help?
If anyone remembers, please comment!





The Startling Conclusion of the Submission Saga


  1. I grew up in Bethlehem, PA, and took art classes from the Pasda Studios, where the colorist (who we all called Patty) worked. She was the youngest daughter of the woman who owned/ran the school, and she was wonderfully nice. The rest of the people at the school were not particularly nice, and I think I only lasted a few weeks and never returned.

    Raphe Cheli

  2. Gregg H

    If your standards are only really low, I'm still probably out of luck.
    If you ever get to the point of desperately, embarassingly, can't look at yourself in the mirror kind of low standards, look me up!

  3. Sadly, I cannot cook (except for a quiche that Maria Lapham taught me!). But I have really low standards. lol.

    I used to sew a lot! I sewed costumes for theater and reenactment, and before I left Texas I was teaching myself pattern-making and starting to get into fashion design. My life is just packed full of creative dead-ends. But, hey, according to Heinlein specialization is for insects, right?

  4. Gregg H

    Can she cook?
    Is she single?!?
    Does she have really low standards, by any chance?
    Just out of curiousity, that's all…

  5. Dear Jim,

    I'm sorry your pinball machine was damaged, but I'm glad you still have the monkey and the bear. (Sounds as if they're your pets.) JayJay's creation is irreplaceable. One of a kind. She writes, she draws, she colors, she sews!

  6. I had been trying to think of who this JayJay girl was and couldn't place it. That was a little disturbing for me, considering I knew all the names of the people involved with the comics. Janet Jackson! I remember her!!

    Great blog, as usual, Jim! After so many years of dealing with arrogant comics people online, with a sense of entitlement and a very questionable respect level shown toward the customers, your conduct has been a refreshing change of pace. You are always very professional and gracious. Quesada, Brevoort, Wacker, and some of the goon squad that are writing for Marvel today could really benefit from trying to pick up some tips from your presentation and the way you communicate with the fans. Every blog I read just makes me wish even more that you were still EIC at Marvel! Damn it!! haha

  7. PJ Perez-

    Eh, in that particular moment, she wasn't gonna spare my feelings by bullshitting me…and parting with 13 bucks.

    I can laugh at it as dark comedy now. 🙂

  8. Robin is a man, and as he noted above, he's been an inker for two decades. Here's his bibliography: http://comicbookdb.com/creator.php?ID=807

    As far as I know, the other two winners (outside of Bagley and Hazlewood) never worked professionally in comics.

  9. I'm familiar with Mr. Bagley and Mr. Hazlewood. Can anyone give me more details about the careers or Mr. Duffie, Ms Riggs (possible Mr, the name Robin always throws me off) and P. Jennine Pasda?

  10. Dear Marc,

    They smashed the glass of the gumball machine. The bear and monkey came through unscathed. I still have them.

  11. Basilicious

    Dear Jim –

    I've written dozens of fan letters in my lifetime. Even from the time I was a child, most of those fan letters were to writers.
    While I don't remember exactly what all I wrote , I do remember that some (about a third) were actually answered. And not with a form letter, either — but by a living, breathing human being, who for whatever reason, decided to take the time to respond.

    The memory of that simple act of kindness — of acknowledging a young fan, answering his questions and offering some words of support — were tremendously validating and much appreciated.

    So thank you John Ficarra
    Thank you, Sal Amendola
    Thank you, Larry Hama
    Thank you, James Owsley
    Thank you, Tony Isabella
    Thank you, Richard Schickel
    Thank you, Ilunga Adell
    Thank you, Jim Shooter.

    Good karma awaits you all.

  12. As far as I know the finished story was never published. The winners did complete it though and they paid us for our work. Three of us have had careers of more than 20 years that started with the Try-Out Book. I only did a little more lettering (for Richard Starkings at Marvel UK) but I soon got a break inking and have been dong that for Marvel and DC ever since.

  13. I've played around with addiding dialogue to pages before, never in the Try Out book though (I've never seen one myself or I'd probably scoop it up). I have to say, proper word balloon placement is an art all of it's own to get across the dialogue as intended without obscuring the art.

  14. I found one of those last night :o>

  15. Anonymous

    @PJ Perez:

    I believe that's the case in the last few years. I remember seeing 11×17 photocopies at SDCC where the edges were actually cropped — no room for alignment guides or editorial notes. And, in the '80s, DC Deluxe format books were drawn on 18×12 paper to make up for the bleed.

    I figured my own dimensions after studying those little BW repros that appeared in news magazines like Amazing Heroes and noticed the corners. The clincher was when I compared the LoC ad for Wonder Woman #3 with the actual printed cover and enlarged both onto 11×17 paper. Can't go wrong with a George Perez cover, can it?

    –Rick Dee

  16. @Rick Dee – Comic book covers are drawn at the same size (11×17) as interior pages.

  17. @Diacanu wow, your mom was … rough.

    I actually picked up a copy of it AFTER the contest was over. It was in the same section as coloring books in a discount store. Got it for $2. One of the greatest things I ever bought. I still have some of the pages from it.

  18. Anonymous

    Oh, yeah… I remember the ad — and that's it. I thought the book never came out. I finally found a copy at a used book store in 1992.

    I already knew the page dimensions because I'd requested DC Submissions Guidelines. But, still, why was there no sample for a cover? Was it because original covers are larger?

    And looking at the Bullpen Bulletins Page reminds me that someone once commented that by signing "Shooter" the page had become more business-like, as opposed to Stan signing "Stan." Anything to get another stab at Jim. Go figger.

    –Rick Dee

  19. Oh, yeah, I remember those days too.

    Me- Mommy, can I please have this?!?! 😀

    Ma- 12.95?!?! No fucking way!! Besides, you can't draw like that! *Points at cover image*

    Dad- *Lips curled* YEEEAAAH.

    Me- *Sobs into hands*

    Yep…those there the days…*sobs into hands*

  20. Anonymous

    I think Doug Hazelwood was one of the contest winners, who has gone on to a great inking career!

  21. I remember the try out books, and that pic of Spidey handing the pages too Jim. Man, this really takes me back.

    Too bad I had not a wit of artistic talent. I knew at a young age I would never work in comics. Just a big time fan.

  22. Anonymous

    I know most of the readers here probably have read this in other forums and I apologize for swerving off-topic but reading this story has really bothered me


    and it's good/ very heartening to see people coming together to do something like this. I thought a link here might do some good, too. (And one of the suggestions therein is for DC to officially do a little something – I know some currently-in-the-biz-DC folk stop by this here blog, so maybe posting it here will take root or spread a bit more.)

    When I read that story yesterday I was so disgusted, but seeing the volume of positive comments and support has re-affirmed my faith (somewhat!) in humanity.


    – Bryan / bmcmolo

  23. Hey Anonymous: Enlarge the Bullpen Bulletins scan at the bottom of the post. Winners are listed in that column.

    What I want to know is: was that "Personals" story by the winning team ever published? I'm pretty sure the answer is "no," but that would be a thing to see!

  24. Anonymous

    Did anyone actually win the Spider man contest? If so, who, what issue, and how was it received?

  25. Hi JayJay,

    I remember these ads from back in the day. I never guessed how accurate the drawing of Jim's desk was! I would have assumed the artist had just drawn random items for his own amusement. Nice to know the bear wasn't bear, er, barefoot. Are these items still intact today, or were they among the damaged items that Jim mentioned in this post?

    Dear Jay B,

    I don't follow those reality shows, so I could be wrong, but I think their producers are most interested in onscreen personalities and an exciting elimination process whereas Marvel was only interested in the results. I'm not interested in whether writers or artists are telegenic, develop on-screen rivalries, etc. I just want to read a good story.

  26. Wow, I didn't know that the Try-Out book lead to the discovery of Mark Bagley! All of these reality contest television shows these days would kill to unearth a talent like Bagley in their respective fields.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén