Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ditko at VALIANT and DEFIANT – Part 2


First This

JayJay the obstreperous Blog Elf yelled at me for not including a more personal story involving Steve Ditko Monday.

You know what? That’s just what I need in my life, more people yelling at me.

Here’s a picture of JayJay. She’s the mean-looking one at the bottom:
Anyway….

Here’s a Ditko at Marvel story that requires a set up.

Another “First Meeting” story

Bob Kanigher. In all my visits to DC’s offices from the mid-1960’s through the mid-1980’s, I never officially met Bob Kanigher. I walked past his office once, the door was open and he was in there. Whoever was with me, probably Mort Weisinger or E. Nelson Bridwell said, “That’s Bob Kanigher,” but he never even looked up from what he was doing. 

I don’t remember which year, 1986, I think, DC Comics cut Kanigher loose. Thanks for everything, now, get out.

Shortly thereafter, Kanigher called me. He said he had written something, not a comic, a piece for some magazine or other that used me as a character. He told me he wasn’t asking for permission to use me, and frankly didn’t care whether I liked it or not. However, as a courtesy, he would come up to my office at Marvel and show it to me. 

I told him it that wasn’t necessary. If it was a done deal, why bother? I’d probably see it at some point anyway. But I thanked him for the offer.

I don’t think that was what he was expecting to hear. He persisted, trying to pique my curiosity. He practically insisted that I had to see this thing. Finally, I got the feeling that he just wanted to come to Marvel and talk. That figured. He needed or wanted work. Well, why not just say so? Whatever. I said he was welcome to stop by.

Later, the receptionist called and said Bob Kanigher was here to see me. I went out to fetch him myself, which felt properly respectful. Kanigher was a giant. Figuratively speaking. Actually, he was a little guy. 

And I am huge. Looming over him, I shook his hand. Can’t help but loom when he’s Jack and you’re the beanstalk. I walked him back to my office. 

One of my guest chairs had been pushed up too close to the desk, so I pulled it out to its normal position. Kanigher paused at the “indicated” chair, then made a show of going around it to the other chair.  

Oh, good grief. Now, it started to make sense. He’d obviously read some business psychology book or three. Don’t ask for a meeting, manipulate them into asking you. Stay in command by refusing the chair offered and choose your own. Etc. Art of Japanese Management stuff.

Jenette Kahn was into that stuff too, periodically taking the DC staff on retreats, making them all get up early and do calisthenics together. Paul Levitz absolutely refused to attend the calisthenics sessions, so he said.

Anyway….

Kanigher and I sat down. I’m still towering, even sitting. I was still looking down at Kanigher. He sat for only a second, then stood and leaned forward his hands on my desk, so he could look down at me. Sigh.

The piece he’d written, by the way, had a character with the last name “Gun,” and it didn’t seem to have much to do with me. I thanked him for showing it to me.

Kanigher started talking, telling stories starring him. All about his triumphs of various kinds, not just in the comics field. About artwork of his that hung in museums around the world, including the Louvre. About a time in Italy when an exquisitely beautiful young woman on her wedding day saw him through the window as he passed by and had to have sex with him, right then! And the time a limo pulled up beside him on a New York street and the fabulous, famous woman in the back begged him to have a wild, wanton romp with her. And other romantic conquests. How he had browbeaten the people at Burberry into honoring the lifetime guarantee on his trench coat, though he had admittedly ruined it through abuse. About big time politicians and leaders who sought his counsel. More.

This went on for a while. I knew what he was doing—the “don’t ask for anything, make your wonderfulness clear so they’ll make you an offer” routine. Sigh.  I guess I could have cut him off at any point and asked him if he was looking for writing work. But, A) it was fascinating in a surreal sort of way, and B) something ornery in me didn’t want to allow myself to appear to have fallen for biz psych 101 tricks.

I slowly slumped lower and lower in my chair. Till my chin was almost at desktop level. The better to accommodate his looking down on me. 

Finally, he started talking about all the brilliant ideas he had and all the offers he had. How he was going to revolutionize not only the comic book business, but the entire entertainment industry.

So I said, “That’s great, Bob. Good luck with everything.”

He seemed to be in pain. I guess I would be too, standing and leaning on a desk for hours, trying to loom over someone. But then again, I don’t really have to try to loom.

Finally, desperate, I guess, he didn’t quite ask for work, but he mumbled something about deigning to grace us with a few scripts.

So I called Larry Hama and told him Kanigher was in my office. Maybe he’d like to talk with him? Larry came right away. He seemed happy to see Kanigher and the two of them went off to Larry’s office to talk about possible work.


Clash of the Titans 

I don’t know what, if anything Kanigher did for Marvel. That was pretty close to the end of my tenure as Editor in Chief. I was so busy battling with the Cadence Management Inc. jerks who had taken Marvel private and were screwing over the creative people (and everyone else) that I was pretty much out of touch with what was going on in the comics.

He must have been cooking up something with Larry, though, because I’d see him around the office now and then.

At some point Kanigher gave me a stack of plots for various Marvel characters. Captain America, the Fantastic Four, others. Nothing revolutionary, but good solid stories, as you’d expect. I was gone soon thereafter, so nothing came of them that I know of. I might summarize one or more of them here one day, if anyone’s interested.

One day, at the end of the day, Steve Ditko was in the office, probably delivering an issue of ROM. Bob Kanigher and Steve Ditko ran into each other in the hall. Somebody, probably Larry Hama, introduced them. I guess in all their years they’d never met, or maybe it had just been a long time. They started chatting.

On his visits to the office, Steve would never even have a cup of coffee before he accomplished whatever was the purpose of the trip. “Production before consumption,” he’d say. But once the “production” was done, he often hung around and talked with people, the kids, the vets, the old timers, he didn’t care. Anyone who thinks he’s totally a lone wolf, nah, no way. He seemed to like being around us. He tolerated our cast of crazies, including me, pretty well, I think. And as far as I know, everyone treated him with great respect.

Anyway, the meeting between Ditko and Kanigher took place right outside my office, and my door was open, as it always was, and I was working late, as I pretty much always did.

After a few moments of more general chitchat, something Kanigher said strayed into liberal philosophy. Steve immediately challenged the statement.

And, they’re off…!

Those two stood there for hours arguing. In gentlemanly fashion, mind you, but fiercely nonetheless. Kanigher was…hmm…I guess it’s okay to say he was a liberal. An intellectual progressive, maybe? Whatever. Don’t make too much of that assessment. I don’t mean to label the guy. The point is that his position was miles away from Steve’s. 

Which is not to label Steve a conservative or anything else. 

I wouldn’t attempt to categorize Steve’s point of view. I will say that I do not believe he conveniently fits in any box. He is a very, very smart man and whatever his sources of inspiration, he is, I believe, his own man. Unique. Enough things he has said have been brought up in the comments here during the last three days that one can get a sense, directionally, of his philosophies. Maybe. 

One thing about Steve, he has done his research and done his thinking and has clearly argued his points many times. He enters every discussion loaded for bear.

All right, here’s another unschooled observer’s characterization of Kanigher’s philosophy. He was arguing what he felt was common sense. Everybody knows blah, blah, blah….

Steve did not accept whatever was offered as “common sense,” and, well-prepared, had answers for everything. 

Example: Kanigher referenced the public’s right to know. Steve challenged that. Where in the Constitution is the “right to know?” How is it any of the public’s damn business what happened in non-public circumstances? 

Eminent domain came up, too. Kanigher argued for the greater good. Steve argued for the rights of the owners of property.

Steve, with his massive arsenal of pre-loaded arguments had Kanigher on the defensive and reeling. But Kanigher went into rope-a-dope mode and stubbornly kept punching. The Rumble in the Jungle should have been this good. 

No winner. Though, truly, I could have listened to them all night, it was that fascinating, finally I needed to go home. I came out of my office and started injecting exit ops, “You two will never agree.”  “Nothing’s going to be settled here tonight.” Etc. Eventually, they got the hint and we got on the freight elevator, went out the back exit and on our separate ways.

I suspect Steve felt like he won every point, and I suspect Kanigher chalked it up as another conquest.

There was another such debate once. In Ann Nocenti’s office, after hours, Ann, Chris Claremont, a couple of other people I’ll dare to allege are liberals got into it with Steve. It went similarly, I think. Chris or Ann can tell that story better, I was just a passer-by.


Old Timer’s Day at VALIANT  A 3-D Special! 

VALIANT had an eclectic mix of people. We had kids right out of the Kubert School, kids off the street, like David Lapham. Guys and girls who were getting their first pro work. We needed them and they had no other options. 

We had a few people who, for various reasons, had no place else to go, like Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith and me.

And some old guys nobody else wanted. We had Don Perlin, an old guy who became someone nobody else wanted when he left Marvel to come and work for me. He hated Marvel at that point and liked me. Go figure. But coming to work for The Great Satan meant being blackballed everywhere else. 

We also had John Dixon, an old guy from Australia, I think. Great artist. No takers, except me. He just wasn’t hip enough. 

Then there was Stan Drake. Old guy. Little known fact, he shared a studio in Connecticut with Bill Sienkiewicz. Stan Drake. One of the all-time greats. An inspiration to Neal Adams. A genius. Working long after he should have been retired to pay a prodigious amount of alimony.

Did you know he ghosted Blondie for Chic Young? The guy could do anything.

And we had Steve Ditko. The co-creator of Spider-Man who was no longer welcome at the House of His Ideas.

So the nobody-else-wants-us band at VALIANT was eclectic to say the least.

Because we had so many old dudes, we decided late one evening, in the delirium that lack of sleep brings, to have an Old Timers Day Party.

VALIANT didn’t have any money. I didn’t have any money. But, by virtue of having been pretty prosperous during the last few years I’d been EIC of Marvel, I had some credit cards with biiig limits.  

So, we set a date, secretary/managing editor/office manager/slave driver Debbie Fix arranged for a catered lunch and we invited all people VALIANT.

Stan Drake said he couldn’t come. He couldn’t afford to lose the work time, that’s how oppressive his obligations were.

I asked him, do you take time for lunch? Yes. Well, how about if I hire a chauffeured car to pick you up at your studio, drive you to our office on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan? You have lunch with us, and the car will be standing by outside to whisk you back to work. Minimum time lost.

He agreed. Thank God for credit cards.

So, it happened. 

My mother, Eleanor Shooter, was visiting from Pittsburgh. When she came to visit, she liked to come to the office and help out. She enjoyed being the receptionist. Go figure.

Anyway, Stan Drake arrived. He flirted with my mother! Quite the ladies’ man. No wonder he was in alimony Hell.

Anyway….

The three D’s got to meet each other at last, Drake, Dixon and Ditko. And the fourth D, Don Perlin, of course, and Richard Rockwell, nephew of Norman Rockwell.

Stan Drake was a major influence of John Dixon’s as well as Neal’s. Richard Rockwell had been Milt Caniff’s assistant, and Dixon, who loved to draw aircraft and did an aircraft-intensive strip in Australia, was in a way that continent’s answer to Caniff. Perlin had worked with Eisner, was very accomplished in comics and had many tales to tell. Ditko, of course, everybody held in high regard. The stories of old days flew thick and fast. 

And we all had lunch. Anything Debbie organized was perfect, as was this event.

I was very proud of the young guys, who all treated the old guys with great respect. Hung on their every word  Honored them.

Steve wouldn’t let us take his picture, but here are some other pix.
John Dixon, Don Perlin and Stan Drake hamming it up.
Old guy Jim forgot to mention that the inimitable Ernie Colón was there, too. - JayJay
PS. That's Jim's desk in the far background with a folding chair for guests.  
The fabulous Debbie Fix yukking it up with Dashing Stan Drake.
John Dixon, Don Perlin, Jim Shooter, Stan Drake, Bob Layton
Stan had to go too soon.

But, Geez, Louise, that was a dream day!


NEXT:  DEFIANT Ditko!


146 comments:

JayJayJackson said...

Yelled at you? Yelled at you?! You better not pick up the phone this evening, you big rassa frassa...

And, oh by the way, the office where I took the above photos was the New VALIANT office, not the old freezing cold/sweltering hot, oft-burglarized, bum-besieged, mouse infested one. This one is quite lovely by comparison. And carpeted.

Anonymous said...

Great story Jim. Thanks for sharing it with us

Chris Guida said...

I could hear Ditko stories all day long

Matt Hawes said...

Great photos! Too bad Steve Ditko doesn't allow photos to be taken of him.

czeskleba said (in the comments on the previous blog entry)...
"I don't think anyone here has cited an instance of Ditko being rude to fans. I don't believe there is any instance to cite."

The closest example of something like that happening was what veteran comics fan Bill Schelly wrote in his book, "Sense of Wonder: A Life In Comic Fandom." Here's the web address to the relevant section of that book:

http://books.google.com/books?id=XfyEJgBjkdsC&pg=PA129&lpg=PA129&dq=Bill+Schelly+Steve+Ditko&source=bl&ots=WOmPS5VKOe&sig=6kAe6-GBHoheWRPoO6C0yIMdvts&hl=en&ei=mha7TrfOFovwggeF-q3ACA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Bill%20Schelly%20Steve%20Ditko&f=false

A friend of mine actually corresponded with Steve Ditko by way of written letters some years ago. My friend is a quirky sort, and I didn't read his letters, but I assume he wrote to Steve Ditko to discuss more about philosophy than comics. My friend seemed to get along fine with Ditko.

Personally, I may not agree with what I know of Steve Ditko's beliefs, but I admire his principals.

-- Matt

gn6196 said...

I love these stories.

Anonymous said...

Ditko wouldn't let his picture be taken. Ugh, just because someone is a comics legend does not mean he is not a total douche.

Jason said...

I'd love to hear those Kanigher story ideas!

gn6196 said...

Jim,
Between Kanigher and Weisinger, you've had really nice people to work with. Not!

Van GoghX said...

Terrific stories! Great pictures!
More, more, MORE!!! (Please!)

Marc Miyake said...

Dear Jim,

Who knew JayJay was in The Powerpuff Girls?

I didn't expect a Kanigher story! I know almost nothing about him as a person, so your account was eye-opening. A lesson in business psychology. I love learning about non-comics stuff in a comics context. The unfamiliar served with a familiar topping.

I've been trying to determine when Kanigher stopped working for DC. The late Jerry Bails, the GCD, and dcindexes.com list DC stories by him as late as 1988, after you were no longer editor-in-chief at Marvel, so I guess he was looking for extra work around 1986. It appears that by late 1986, he was writing only two stories a month.

You got Marvel and DC's military writers -- Larry Hama and Kanigher -- together? Cool. Maybe that's how this 1986 Savage Tales story came about. Kanigher also wrote two other stories for Marvel, both before your time: one for Iron Man #44 (January 1972) and another for Our Love Story #19 (October 1972). (I wonder why the latter was reprinted in Marvel Selects: Fantastic Four #6 in 2000.) I'm half-surprised he submitted plots for Marvel heroes. On the one hand, he was extremely flexible; on the other, I didn't know he kept up with the competition.

VALIANT proved that age was no barrier to producing good comics about new characters.

You go all the way for creators -- driving out to Delaware for David Michelinie and having a chauffeur drive Stan Drake to VALIANT!

I had no idea your mother had a role in the VALIANT saga.

The photos are the first or second I've ever seen of some of these old-timers. Were they originally taken in B&W?

What was the "THANKS ... VOYAGER YOUR COMIC BOOK COMPANY" posting in the background for?

I hope to learn about the genesis of Dark Dominion tomorrow. The world could use the light of Michael Alexander.

Chris Arndt said...

Not wanting your picture taken does not mean you are a douche.

Dimitris said...

The only work of Kanigher for Marvel I found seems to be in Savage Tales #7 in 1986:

http://www.comics.org/issue/41952/#237975

Mr. Shooter, were Kanigher's plots for Captain America, Fantastic Four etc. regarding one-shots, fill-ins or mini series or did he make actual pitches to take over the books?

Dimitris said...

Oh, and I agree with Chris above me. Nobody got hurt in any physical or even abstract way by Ditko not having his picture taken, so I can't see how that makes him a douche.

Kevie said...

That was great. The "biz phsych 101" stuff was hilarious.

Bosch Fawstin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dan said...

I have no doubt that Ditko has worked out all his arguments to the last detail. That's actually not very hard when you believe in black-and-white absolutes. The chain of evidence is short ("there's nothing in the Constitution that says...") and the logic is very narrow.

Ditko frequently railed against any kind of compromise. This is the thinking of a child, not an adult living in a shared world. Just because it's well articulated doesn't make it better. It's still just rationalized selfishness. (I have a friend who sounds identical to Ditko. I've run this race a gazillion times.)

I think the best part of these Ditko entries is Shooter's ability to look beyond the quirks of his employees and just focus on making comics.

Kris Brownlow said...

Funny Kanigher ending up -not- begging for work at Marvel (in -his- mind not begging anyway). Kanigher seemed to be very anti-Kirby so it's ironic that, after DC unceremoniously threw him overboard, Kanigher would find himself washed ashore at Kirby's House of Ideas.

ja said...

Anonymous said: "Ditko wouldn't let his picture be taken. Ugh, just because someone is a comics legend does not mean he is not a total douche."

You know, it's not that I wish painfully drawn-out testicular cancer on a malicious asswipe such as yourself... but I do wish you a lifetime of horrific ball pain, for being such a piece of shit human being that you never cease to be.

It's always interesting to be able to pinpoint the clearly retarded parents from which such a creep like you was shat forth.

Fuck yourself.

Bosch Fawstin said...

Only a douche would call Ditko one for not wanting his picture taken. Clearly, you've got a problem that has nothing to do with Ditko.

Anonymous said...

ja, it's funny that people like you admire and respect Ditko, despite the fact that this is a grown man who has been carrying a grudge for 45+ years because he didn't like how a story resolved in a COMIC BOOK. You think that's normal? Sorry, that's douche-tastic. As is not wanting your picture taken. As is all the other little nutjob Ditko behaviors that all you fanboys (and girls) are so willing to excuse. I'll be the first to say that I loved his art in those early Marvels, including Spider-Man. I'll also be the first to say that he's been a selfish prick since then.

jimshooter said...

Dear Marc,

JayJay is a PowerPuffin.

Stan Drake, even late in his life had more knowledge, skill and talent in his pinky than could be squeezed out of all of the Image guys combined. There was something dreadfully wrong with an industry where such a genius could not get work except from a last-resort, struggling little company like VALIANT. It hasn't changed. Lots of old-but-good-guys' phones never ring.

Dixon had amazing ability. Great. I loved what he did on Eternal Warrior #1. Ditko was and is an all time great, a grandmaster. Ernie Colon is an incredible talent, a grandmaster. "...the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not touched by frost": J.R.R. Tolkien.

David Michelinie deserved a make-good for Marvel's screw up. Stan Drake deserved special treatment far beyond my meager means.

My mother contributed in a number of ways to VALIANT. Serving as receptionist occasionally, which she thought was fun, was just one. More on that later.

JayJay? B&W photos?

"THANKS FOR MAKING VOYAGER YOUR COMIC BOOK COMPANY" was our deliberately hokey, campy slogan. The banner was just decoration.

Michael Alexander coming right up.

Kid said...

Jim, just out of interest, did Ditko ever explain - or do you know why - he didn't like having his photo taken?

And I think that some folks on this blog should refrain from personal invective just because someone holds a different point of view from theirs. Address their argument by all means, but don't insult the person.

JayJayJackson said...

Yes, the photos are black and white. That was a fun day, even though we were still really busy and work couldn't stop. lol.

But as far as Steve Ditko not being normal? I guess I don't have such a narrow definition of what's normal. I'm not normal and I don't think I know anyone who is. Diversity is one of the things I love the most about humans, which is why I live in NYC I guess. Steve is far less odd than many people I've met in comics. He's no fanatic, just a deep thinker with deeply held beliefs who practices what he believes in. He's intelligent and well read, articulate and affable. I found him engaging.

I've met plenty of people in this industry who were too full of themselves to even be bothered to be polite to me when we were introduced. I've met creators who used their popularity like a weapon to get back at the world. I've met some real fanatics who were seriously not right in the head and who would badger people with their political and social views. And a couple of guys in this business that everyone thinks are such great guys are like the evil manipulators out of Dangerous Liaisons. Scary. Give me Steve Ditko any day. He's honest, trustworthy, polite and you always know where you stand with him. That spells good in my book.

Ken said...

Beautifully put, JayJay!!! Amen.

Bosch Fawstin said...

Great to hear that, Jay-Jay, and well put.

Chris Arndt said...

Dan how do you know your friend is identical to a man you have never met?

Sanjiv Purba said...

Jim,
You say 'meant being blackballed everywhere else'. Was it really that bad? Would working with you or for you mean being blackballed by DC or Marvel (or the other comic companies)?

That would be absolutely unprofessional on their parts.

Daniel K said...

It really appalls me the way so many of these old timers were cut loose by DC or Marvel without so much as a thanks, when they were still master illustrators, way more skilled than the spotty teenagers who replaced them (Liefeld et al).

ja said...

Anonymous Asswipe,

I love how you're so offended by someone else's life experience of which truly have no idea, as you did not live it, nor do you know exactly what is/was in his mind.

As for him not wanting his picture taken, so what? That's a personal choice. Who are you, that fuckwit Perez Hilton, always insisting that things are done to his specifications in life, where he determines what personal choices and privacy is or isn't to be respected, to hell with anyone else's point of view?

The bottom line is this: Ditko's choices don't seem to be malicious to me at all. Neither does his "grudge", certainly because he spent decades not speaking out about things publicly, save once or twice. And even then, it was to clarify his position about something, not to disparage Stan Lee in the way you're disparaging Steve Ditko. There's still very likely a great deal of things we are not privy to, that happened between Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Yet there you are, happy to insult and deride him as if you're the arbiter of how people should think or act. You're even happier to do it in a blatantly bullying and malicious manner.

I suspect that a lot of people in your life don't like to be around you because they know how abusive you are to them. Or, if you're a lovely person to everyone you're near, but you come to comments sections like this to be a malicious asshole... well, that's even more pathetic.

When you pass on, no one's going to miss you. But they sure will remember what a ridiculing creep you were.

Mister.44 said...

Mr. Shooter,

If you said this and I missed it - I apologize.

Why did nobody "want" Barry Windsor-Smith? I think the guy is a fantastic artist. I invested in his Weapon X series that I liked it so much.

Also - why does he have two last names?

ja said...

Proofreading mistake. My first paragraph should have read:

"I love how you're so offended by someone else's life experience of which *you* truly have no idea, as you did not live it, nor do you know exactly what is/was in his mind."

jimshooter said...

Dear Dimitris,

RE: Kanigher's plots. They were just stories. Possibly they could have become the bases for graphic novels or specials. I don't think he was trying to beat anyone's time and take an assignment away from anyone.

jimshooter said...

Dear Kid,

Steve Ditko was very clear to me that his work was what was public, not him. His work should be judged by the audience, not him. It wasn't about him. It was about the work. His way of expressing that position was no photos, no appearances, no presence in the media. Steve, please correct me if I have misstated your position.

I entirely agree with your views regarding personal invective.

jimshooter said...

Dear Sanjiv,

RE: "Blackballed everywhere." Yes, it was that bad. You cannot imagine, and I don't fault you if you cannot believe how bad it was. Ask JayJay. It seems unreasonable. But that's how it was, and that's how the bad guys win. Some Marvel people made Marvel a no-fly zone for anyone associated with me. DC people already hated me and anyone who dared to be associated with me because while at Marvel, we ate their lunch. And everyone else believed the Shooter-is-the-Anti-Christ hype. The Comics Journal and others who made their living bashing me pitched in.

Trust me, I never got the time of day from anyone in the industry while I was out of work. My phone never rang. Am I so bad a writer that no one had any use for me?

I was seriously hated. People who worked for/with me were hated. It was an act of great courage to work for me, especially for an old guy like Don Perlin. We'd meet (secretly) for lunch. He'd bewail how awful and stupid my successors at Marvel were, how idiotically horrible the place had become. He'd beg me to take him on at VALIANT. I kept telling him that he should stick with Marvel, that there, at least, he had a secure job. A fragile start-up was not the place for an old guy. Etc. He wore me down. Eventually, I said VALIANT would hire him if he quit Marvel.

Best decision I ever made, and it turned out all right for him.

ja said...

Kid,

Well said. I agree with you.

Joe StPierre said...

hey Jim, I still have vivid memories of a Valiant plotting session you let me sit in on between you and Mr. Ditko. You were working on an issue of X-O, batting ideas back and forth like I imagine an old school Marvel-style process would be like. Steve had one of those yellow legal pads, sketching, I would swear he was laying the book out right there on the spot. GREAT fun, thanks a lot for that--Joe St.Pierre

ja said...

Jim,

You did have an advocate for a brief moment after being ousted from Marvel. Art Nichols hooked you up with Neal Adams' Continuity comics.

Unfortunately, that didn't work out. Gene Colan certainly had a vociferous reaction to your being involved. Can you elaborate on that brief experience? I'd love to know what work you did do, and what problems you saw with the Continuity line of books that you thought you had solutions for?

Nick Ahlhelm said...

I could read details about Dixon, Drake, Ditko and Perlin at the early Valiant many times over. A group of grandmasters that still remain far less respected than they deserve.

JayJayJackson said...

About being "blackballed"... one thing you have to understand is that the comics industry, back when I worked for Marvel and VALIANT, was very interconnected by gossip. I can recall times when something would happen, a comics creator would be fired, become seriously ill or pass away maybe, and within hours most staff people and freelancers would know all about it. But has anyone here ever played a game of telephone? This was before the internet, and news was spread by rumor... on the telephone. Seriously, the weirdest things would happen. Suddenly something that seemed completely off the wall (if you were close to the source of the event) would be "common knowledge."

Combine that with an industry of people who love heroes and villains and who sometimes see the world in those terms and you have an industry with some built in flaws. And it's a small industry. It's bigger now, the world is very different, but we are talking 20 years ago and more. Things were flawed. People mostly had their hearts in the right place, but there is nothing more unfair than misdirected vengeance.

Misunderstandings could practically turn into hate campaigns. There were and still are many misconceptions about people who didn't or couldn't articulately defend themselves. I've seen people who were intense and passionate labeled as nuts by folks who just didn't bother to try to understand their point of view. I've seen people's motives misconstrued and the incorrect conclusions become "common knowledge." There were people in positions of authority who indulged what I believe to be petty urges and choose to justify them with some flimsy rationales that grew into a "common knowledge" belief that the victim deserved it. And there were some pockets of the industry that were very political, in the sense that if you were friends with "certain people" you couldn't be friends with some other people. Hey, remember high school? lol.

Some of my favorite people that I've met in comics have some weird reputation for being difficult, whereas I would say they stood up for what they believed and were passionate. Unfortunately, social ostracism in the comics industry isn't only hurtful, like in high school, it impacts a person's livelihood. Which isn't fair.

I'm not trying to point a finger or place blame, just pointing out that there was an unintentional system that was rife with what I would call a kind of unperceived confusion that led to many misunderstandings and injustices. And a real lack of checking. So many things could have been cleared up if people had just calmly sorted out their problems with each other, but that was actually pretty rare, I think. Just human nature? Maybe. But I will tell you one thing, what I've experienced has made me always question "common knowledge."

So people being blackballed because they were supposedly difficult, arrogant, insane, or even "evil" did happen. Wrongly. Irresponsibly. Unfairly.

Bosch Fawstin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bosch Fawstin said...

I reread Eternal Warrior #1 recently, loved the set up/story & John Dixon did a hell of a job telling the story, solid art on every level.

jimshooter said...

Joe St. Pierre is one of the amazing talents to come out of the early days of VALIANT. A groundbreaker. A kid who was a pain in the ass often who grew up to be a star. I hope all is well, Joe.

jimshooter said...

My experience at Continuity Comics is in the queue. Thanks.

Urk said...

Jim

Just a note to say that you're a very good storyteller in prose and not just in sequential art.

jimshooter said...

Dear Mister.44,

Yikes. This may start trouble.

Barry had major altercations with both Marvel and DC shortly before coming to VALIANT. We were his last resort.

When Barry started at Marvel, he called himself "Barry Smith." His work was very Kirby-derivative. Later, as his style evolved, he called himself "Barry Windsor-Smith." He is, as you say, a fantastic artist and storyteller.

I had an English girlfriend for a while in the early 2000's. A wonderful guy named Joe Petrilak hosted a convention at a venue in Westchester County, New york, near White Plains. The con was intended to feature old guys, founding fathers, people like Matrin Nodell, Shelly Moldoff, Carmine Infantino and many more. Among the young pups present were good friend Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith and me. BWS's and my table were close to each other. We were both swamped.

As the final day of the con was winding down, my girlfriend came into pick me up. We planned to go to dinner after the show. I started packing up, the remaining attendees graciously gave me leave, and I finally I had a minute to go over and say hello to Barry. He still had a small squad of admirers hanging around.

I introduced my girlfriend, Gillian who was utterly unfamiliar with comics. Barry said, "Pleased to meet you." And then Gillian spoke. Gillian was from an upper crust background on the better side of London. She recognized Barry's accent as an East Ender's sort. Gillian (a bit of a snob about such) asked Barry where, exactly, he was from.

Barry changed his accent completely, from wrong side of town to proper upper crust! And he refused to answer where he was from. Gillian asked "Black Heath?" He said, no. She said "Stepney?" He said no, but wouldn't say where he was born. This stuff is apparently important to Brits.

As we left, Gillian said that she found this posuer appalling. Bad enough that he would pretend he was of upper crust descent, but hyphenating a royal name to his own? Outrageous.

Whatever.

Kid said...

Jim, I'd say only SOME Brits regard where one is from as important. The fact that your then girlfriend even asked where BWS was from suggests that she was one of that kind. In my experience, it's usually only snobs who look down on others. And it's to avoid being unfairly looked down on based simply on where one is from that leads some people to conceal their social origins.

Sometimes it works in reverse, however. Apparently movie director Guy Ritchie and violinist Nigel Kennedy are both from posh backgrounds, and affect East End 'working class' accents because they imagine it gives them greater credibility with the guy in the street.

I'd always assumed that perhaps 'Windsor' was Barry Smith's middle name, which he only decided to reveal later once he was doing 'fine art' prints to give his name greater impact. If it's not on his birth certificate, then perhaps he's actually from Windsor and his 'Cockney' accent was an assumed one.

Or, of course, he may simply be a poseur.

May I ask? Why did you insist on Don Perlin resigning from Marvel before you'd give him work?

Kid said...

Sorry, forgot to mention - I can understand, based on what you say, why Steve wouldn't want his photo taken for public consumption (although I think it's taking things to extremes), but not wishing to even have his photo taken at a party with his friends and colleagues seems to border on obsessional behaviour. It's his right, of course, but it leads to the opposite of what he aims for, in that it tends to create an interest in the man beyond his work.

Anonymous said...

I believe 'Windsor' was his mother's maiden name.

Kid said...

Just did a little research. According to Wikipedia, apparently 'Windsor' is his mother's maiden name, and he was born in Forest Gate, London. (Which is quite a posh area.) Interestingly, 'though, there is a road called 'Windsor' in a nearby conservation area.

DJ said...

Ha.
Strangely, Windsor is a made up name, in connection witrh the so-called royal family. They are in fact descendants of German stock (well, pretty much the major families of Europe interbred, German, English, Russian). George V adopted the name Windsor to avoid anti-German sentiment during the first world war, and it was taken from Windsor castle. Thereafter the Royals took this as their official surname - before this royalty never really had surnames, and were only refered to by their dynastic name eg Tudors, Saxe Coburg Gotha. It has since been amended to Mountbatten-Windsor.
So Barry is in pretty good (or bad, depending on your point of view) company - if indeed it is not his real name.
Know your enemy :)

Cheers.
David J.
David J.

gn6196 said...

I am surprised when people are surprised by petty gossip , grudge holding and blackballing in the comics industry. This takes place in every business. And it is part of human nature to want to "go along" in order for you not to be blackballed yourself. I see it in my job, and I'm sure the readers of this blog see it where they work. Could it be that comic book readers that read about noble and heroic themes transfer those noble characteristics to the people in that industry?

ja said...

Kid,

It's the same here in the USA. Any opportunity to look down upon someone for:

- Your looks
- Your weight
- What postal code you're from
- What school you went to
- Associating with 'undesirables'
- Etc.

Any excuse to hide the fact that they're even more afraid of being judged than you are, so they'll preemptively treat you as if you're nothing, so you'll be too busy defending yourself (or feeling bad about yourself) to notice that they're - GASP! - the same as you are.

You know, like when I went to London several times, and would order ice with my Coke. Ohhh, the looks and treatment I got! You'd think they believed I just crawled out from under a rock, or something.

=P

Kid said...

Ice with your Coke? In no part of Britain I've ever been in, would anyone even look twice at me for asking for ice in my Coke - not that I'd ever have to. Whenever I ask for a Coke, I'm always asked "Would you like ice with that?"

If you asked for 'Coke on the rocks' however (which is the same thing), they probably just wondered what you meant. Or perhaps that's just the way some Londoners regard Americans. The 'class' mentality can be quite strong in some parts of London.

Because I've got a Scots accent, some Londoners had difficulty understanding me, no matter how much effort I took to enunciate. Lazy ears, you see. Or perhaps just ripping the p*ss from the 'tourist'.

Anonymous said...

There's a picture of Ditko, maybe early 60s, where he looks annoyed or surprised that the picture has been taken.

I've think i've only see 2 or 3 shots of him plus his high school yb pic someone sold on ebay once.

It's a little strange to never want your picture taken. It's like amish lol

It explains why he was always absent from the Marvel pictures though.

and why he lost a lot of fame and luster. part of what Stan was doing was making stars of the talent and Ditko didn't want that.

His essays in The Comics show though that in retrospect, it wasn't just the work that mattered to him, and that he wanted people to know a little bit more about the behind the scenes stuff. teasing the reader with stories never to be revealed.

Even if he would never admit it.

Rob

bmcmolo said...

"He's no fanatic, just a deep thinker with deeply held beliefs who practices what he believes in. He's intelligent and well read, articulate and affable."

Well put, JayJay - I could have quoted everything you wrote above with an "amen," actually. You're on a roll today! Or yesterday - I'm only seeing this thread this morning.

It has been my experience that those who seek a philosophy beyond left and right (or grounded in age of enlightement/ deist values) terminally confuse those are attached to either. Therefore, the fanatic/ douche/ narrow-minded characterizations come out. Setting straw men ablaze has become too much a part of our political discussion. It's always been that way, I guess, but these days, it's worse than ever.

Also, appropro of nothing, but I was just outbid on the Ditko eBay auctions I'd found after reading the first blog about him. I bet it was someone from here! Enjoy the Charltons, you outbidding bastards... (

jk - well, enjoy them, yes, but jk re: bastards)

I'll never understand the sustained blackballing of Jim Shooter. I'm happy this blog exists and hope it is in some way a corrective for that. Based solely on the Dark Key stories, you're still writing rings around most professionals. Sad state of affairs.

ja said...

Kid,

So with your Scots accent, you could never be the second Scottish James Bond, eh?

"Ripping the piss from the 'tourist'"? I love that. I don't know what it means, but I love that.

Everyone needs to loosen up and be more patient with each other. Especially the snooty people.

Chris Arndt said...

Does the Dark Key fit the Dark Lock? Does it open the Dark Door to enter the Dark Room?

bmcmolo said...

Perhaps the Dark Dimension?

"Everyone needs to loosen up and be more patient with each other. Especially the snooty people."

A-frakking-men.

Ole M. Olsen said...

Jim,

I don't care what anybody thought or said. As far as I was and am concerned, you had the top of the crop, the greatest, working for you at Valiant.

It's a pity it lasted such a short time and ended so abruptly. Still, 20 years later the Valiant output up until and including Unity still gives me a lot of joy.

As far as Steve Ditko is concerned... I may disagree with some of his personal views. So what? That's been known to happen from time to time. I may wish I could read interview with him or see his photo, but it's his choice and, I believe, his right to expose his work rather than his person.

I have seen nothing that would make me think that he isn't a great person to be around on a personal basis. What if he wasn't? There are many people whose creative work I enjoy immensely that I wouldn't like to spend much time with. That doesn't make their work any less great.

And my, has Steve Ditko ever done some great work! I've been a big fan ever since I read Norwegian translations of his Spider-Man stories in the early 80s. To see his art appearing in Valiant and Defiant books just served to underline the fact that this was some great stuff being put out.

Michel Fiffe said...

Really liking these Ditko stories.

For future Valiant stories, what are the odds of any Ernie Colon yarns (another underrated great)?

Re: comments. It's always baffling when Ditko's sweepingly dismissed on philosophical grounds. It proves his point, in a way, that fans have warped entitlement issues. Was it not enough that he created thousands of pages for our pleasure? He has no interest in being our buddy, being put on a pedestal, or in commodifying his "brand" (which is something people are TOO eager to do these days). Don't like what he has to say? Move on.

Nick Caputo said...

It's easy to judge someone like Steve Ditko by accepting many of the urban legends that are passed around in articles, books and online. It is also easy to label Mr. Ditko "a fanatic", "an oddball" or "disturbed". I've heard all of these statements over and over, and they will surely continue, but I've also heard from people like Mr. Shooter who have associated with him directly, and the picture becomes very different.

Ditko follows a road vastly different than many of us. I salute him. It is what makes his work so exhilarating and unique. Regarding the fan community, early on Ditko was very responsive to fans, doing sketches for fanzines, providing information and allowing them to publish his stories. It was only when the fan community took advantadge of his generosity that he pulled back. Still, I've heard too many stories of Ditko's giving his time and advice to think he has a grudge against all fans. One can only imagine what Ditko has gone through over the years with constant "requests" for original artwork, commisions, sketches, interviews, autographs and convention appearances. Perhaps if strangers constantly called or came to your door unanounced you'd be a little upset too.

Ditko has clear thoughts on how he conducts his life and business. Many of his choices keep him far away from the mainstream, and much of his independent work (which he is still doing, by the way, for publisher Robin Snyder) is either ignored or reviled. I question the inference that Ditko has given less than his best when he is working professionally. He may not be personally invested in some of the stories he has worked on, but he always rolls up his sleeves and gets to work on any project he does. Like many artists of his age, Ditko has a work ethic that shines through.

Ditko is a cartoonist that does not look on himself as a "celebrity", and while that might be hard for some to conceive, its not a crime. Ditko has been painted as a reclusive artist, hidden away in some alcove, yet that has been refuted over and over by those who work in the indistry. I've spoken to many people who have had contact with Ditko and he is a gentleman.

I've enjoyed, studied and written about the work of Steve Ditko for many years. He is one of the outstanding talents of the industry, and his work will be analyzed and admired as long as comic books are appreciated.

Nick Caputo

William said...

Steve Ditko (one of my all-time favorite artists, BTW) doesn't want his picture taken for the simple fact that it steals your soul. Duh!

Dimitris said...

Thanks for the answer Jim. I didn't want to imply that Kanigher had any "invading" intentions in regard to other people's books, so I shouldn't have used that expression (take over). I just meant whether he presented you with complete story ideas or directions for longer runs and plotlines but you covered me with your answer anyway.

Anonymous said...

If Barry Windsor-Smith is from Forest Gate then his accent is more likely to be "Cor Blimey, Guv'nor" than Received Pronunciation! As Stepney is only a short hop on the number 25 bus away from Forest Gate, Jim's ex girlfriend was pretty much spot on!

By the way, I love this blog, it is the only comic book blog worth reading quite frankly and so many thanks to Jim for sharing all his stories and story telling wisdom with us.

Daz White (posting from just up the road to Forest Gate!)

Anonymous said...

Great stuff Jim, as always.

Stéphane Garrelie.

Kid said...

I do not a bad Sean Connery impersonation if I say so myself. I think I'd make quite a good '2nd Scots James Bond'. And I have all my own hair and teeth. "Q - you're a shight for shore eyesh!" Told ya.

('Ripping the p*ss' means 'extracting the urine' - making fun of someone.)

JayJayJackson said...

A Scots accent is music to my ears! Funny story: I flew to Glasgow with a friend of mine and we took a cab from the airport. The driver had quite a strong accent and my friend could hardly understand a word. So I ended up translating for her. It felt silly to be translating English into English. I wonder what he must have thought of us!

Steven R. Stahl said...

Steve challenged that. Where in the Constitution is the “right to know?” How is it any of the public’s damn business what happened in non-public circumstances?

Ditko's views seem to be very much in line with those of the tea party sympathizers, constitutional originalists, et al. The philosophy works well if someone wants the nation's businesses and social order to be what they were in the 19th century.

I might summarize one or more of them here one day, if anyone’s interested.

I'd also be interested in seeing Kanigher's submissions.

SRS

bmcmolo said...

"The philosophy works well if someone wants the nation's businesses and social order to be what they were in the 19th century. "

Sigh.

Read FA Hayek and Frederic Bastiat and Murray Rothbard. You won't find anything in there yearning for the good ol' days of slavery.

Not that that stops anyone from continuing to make the comparison. It makes for good soundbite/ convenient shortcut-for-thinking.

Kevie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven R. Stahl said...

You won't find anything in there yearning for the good ol' days of slavery.

But that's what eliminating wage controls, child labor laws, and other protections for workers would effectively lead to. The libertarian dream society only works if its citizens share the same social values. Dissents can't be tolerated, and predators can take advantage of those unable to defend themselves.

Social Darwinism is wonderful for people who don't consider themselves at risk of losing their places in society. For people who believe that society has obligations to care for people, libertarianism fully realized would produce a hell on Earth.

SRS

bmcmolo said...

I respectfully disagree. Your conclusions and analysis do not match my own.

I only responded because I feel there is so much misrepresentation of these issues you describe. (I include the Tea Partiers in this - I doubt Mr. Ditko, for example, has much sympathy for their position. That's just a guess. I'd love to ask him and hear his thoughts on it.) I doubt I'll change your mind, nor is that really my intent. To each his own.

As for this "society has obligations to care for people" meme that keeps making the rounds, painting the picture as caring citizens living in harmony on one side and greedy social darwinists on the other, this is just another divide and conquer strategy of the same robber barons the former claim to be fighting. Hucksterism: My two cents.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis

And while I'm quoting...

"In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other." -- Voltaire

czeskleba said...

Barry Smith can apparently be quite touchy about his name. Clifford Meth has told the story about how he was assigned to interview Smith for Wizard magazine, back in the 90's. He called and spoke to Smith's assistant, and was told that he would need to fax his questions in advance. He did so, but made the error of addressing the fax to "Barry Smith" rather than "Barry Windsor-Smith." Smith responded by calling Wizard and having Meth taken off the assignment for being "rude" to him. Meth attempted to call and apologize for the mistake, to no avail.

Meth's original column about the incident is no longer available online, but Mike Netzer writes about the incident here: http://tinyurl.com/6mrvgsu

Paul Dushkind said...

So, it's not true that BWS took his name from the Windsor-Newton brush.

People ask people all the time where they are from. It's a way to make small talk, break the ice, establish rapport. It doesn't *necessarily* mean that the inquirer is a snob.

I agree with every word dan said. Philosophy is worthless without reality checks. Overrated intellectuals—Mortimer J. Adler, for example—run on and on with arguments that sound logical. There conclusions come from previous rhetorical arguments. But they never look at real life.

Jim stands accused of lacking people skills. The evidence for this is the many writers and artists who left Marvel for DC, and who refused to work with him after. But I too am impressed that he was able to work with creators who burned their bridges elsewhere. Reminds me of the Legion of Super-Rejects.

Kid said...

JayJay, you are obviously a lady of taste and discernment. Hoots, mon.

Paul, I didn't say that everyone who asks someone where they're from is a snob, only that snobs often ask people where thry're from. And not just to make conversation.

In some parts of Scotland, there is a strong sectarian divide. Some people ask others what school they went to as a means of finding out whether they're Catholic or Protestant. However, others ask merely to find out if others went to the same school as themselves.

It's the same sort of thing as the "where are you from?" question.

DJ said...

So, whit fit dae ye kick wi Kid? :)

David J.

Kid said...

The ither yin.

DJ said...

No the big yin?

Harry said...

Big yin or the Big Yin...? ;)

Paul Dushkind said...

Of course I meant their, not there. Some forums let you edit messages after they're* posted, but this one doesn't.

*See? I got that one right.

Miguel Rosa said...

"The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated..."

Are there any signs that the robber barons of today's cupidity will be satiated any time now? Considering unemployment is on the rise everywhere in the world, wage values are in decline at the same time corporate profits are beating records, I have my doubts. They'll just want more and more and more...

jimshooter said...

Dear Kid,

I could not agree with you more. That girlfriend and I didn't stay together long. Not my type, as I found out, and looking down on people was on reason. I reported her assessment accurately. Whether it was correct or not, I don't know, or care, really.

I was taught that it was a good and noble thing to come from humble beginnings and work hard. And maybe make a better life for yourself. And maybe achieve great things. Abe Lincoln was a railsplitter, etc.

I have no idea what constitutes a "working class accent" as opposed to an upper crust accent. Barry just sounds British to me. But, apparently my ex-girlfriend could tell a difference and I could hear the change in Barry's accent once he knew he was speaking with a Londoner. I surmise that it means something to HIM.

I don't care if Barry's name is on his birth certificate or not. All I care about is the man. He's a tremendous talent. One of the best of all time in our business. He can call himself whatever he wants as far as I'm concerned.

I would give Don Perlin work anytime, anywhere if he wanted it and I had any to give. I didn't "insist on (him) resigning from Marvel," in fact I told him it was crazy for an old guy to leave a well-paying, secure job to come to work for the pariah of comics at a shaky start-up. HE insisted, not me. He did not like Marvel or the trolls in charge, and he liked working with me. Go figure. He kept asking me to hire him. Eventually I caved in and said yes. He quit Marvel and started at VALIANT.

jimshooter said...

Dear Kid,

Steve made his position clear regarding having his photo taken, even at the party: The best way to keep photos from somehow finding their way into print or publication somewhere was to simply not allow photos.

JayJayJackson said...

At the VALIANT party some of the young guys from knob row tried to get me to take Steve's picture on the sly so they could have one of him. But something about the man inspires respect and I wouldn't do it. I'm telling you, if you know Steve you just can't be sneaky or wrong around him. He's like the ultimate good example. :)

jimshooter said...

Dear Kid,

Could well be. I have no clue. My mother's maiden name is McDonald.

jimshooter said...

Dear Michel,

Ernie Colon stories coming up. He is a great guy.

jimshooter said...

Dear Daz,

I am pleased to see that we all seem to agree that the name and accent are important only to my snooty ex-girlfriend.

jimshooter said...

Dear Paul,

May I ask who are the "many" writers and artists who left Marvel for DC and refused to work with me afterward? How does that list compare with those who came to Marvel, or came back to Marvel during my tenure? Now, that is quite a list. And is it possible that a writer or artist may have left to work on a series they'd always wanted to do (Perez, the JLA) or because DC offered them a ton of money? Or that they wound up at DC because we at Marvel didn't want them?

DJ said...

So Jim,
Do you have Scottish roots then?

DJ.

Jason said...

"I'm telling you, if you know Steve you just can't be sneaky or wrong around him. He's like the ultimate good example."

No one could ask for a finer endorsement of a man's character. Wow. :)

Gregg H said...

Jim, do you have any idea if Ditko is still working? Retired? Looking for work to do to keep busy? Teaching?

Salamandyr said...

To put aside Steve Ditko for a moment, I just wanted to say Wow, Stan Drake certainly knew how to wear a suit. I can certainly understand how he got himself in all the alimony trouble. He looks quite dashing.

Paul Dushkind said...

Jim, please don't be defensive. You've already expressed your side of many conflicts. You do make a good impression in your writings on this blog. You did get BWS and Ditko to create comics for you, even though it's implied in things you wrote and that other posters have written right here, that they're both prima donnas. (For example, Ditko's insistence that his stories not suggest a supernatural is an eccentricity, especially coming from the creator of Dr. Strange. Doesn't he realize that fiction is just pretend?) That, I presume, takes good people skills.

You were in a difficult position at Marvel. It's well-known that if a boss (or teacher) starts out tough and then backs off, everyone thinks, "Say, he's not such a tyrant after all." But start out lenient and then clamp down, and people think, "What happened to him? He used to be so nice." (Of course, in your situation, it was your predecessors who were loosey-goosey.)

It looks to me like the editors under you were also in a difficult situation. I know from personal experience working on mail order catalogs, not comic-books, what a dilemma it is to be expected to approve or reject something, when it's likely that someone higher-up will overrule my judgment. It makes me and other employees in similar positions indecisive.

You know better than I do the personnel involved. Yes, the things you say are possible. My use of the word "evidence," not "proof," means that it *looks* like there is something to the other parties' sides. For whatever reason, regardless of whose fault it was, George Perez, Roy Thomas, Gene Colan and I believe others, didn't do their best work for Marvel under your tenure. They worked for DC.

jimshooter said...

Dear DJ,

My mother's father was Scottish-Irish, or as they say in Pittsburgh, "Scotch-Irish." I kid you not. The first and only time I said that outside the 'Burgh I was emphatically corrected.

jimshooter said...

Dear Gregg,

I haven't spoken with Steve for a while. Anybody know?

Paul Dushkind said...

Stan Drake used his first wife as the model for Eve, the beautiful young blonde in The Heart of Juliet Jones. Later, his second wife was the model for Eve, and Eve still looked the same.

I wonder why he left Blondie.

JayJayJackson said...

I believe he is still working:

http://ditko.blogspot.com/p/ditko-book-in-print.html

DJ said...

Hi Jim,
Scotch-Irish sounds like a great drink all the same :).
DJ.

Kid said...

Jim, you could probably say Scots-Irish okay. It's the use of the word Scotch, which is whisky (or whiskey as Americans spell it) which rankles some people.

Perhaps I misunderstood you. When you said to Don Perlin that if he resigned from Marvel you'd give him work, his getting work sounded dependent on his resignation. Maybe you only meant that should he ever feel like resigning (or feel compelled to), you'd be able to give him work?

DJ and Harry: In the case of Billy Connolly, it's 'The Big Yin' (caps), because it refers to him specifically - it's his 'title' so to speak. As you'll know, the word 'yin' merely means 'one', but it can also be rendered as 'wan' (as in "give us that wan over there". So 'yin' or 'wan'? Either, or, depending on what part of Scotland you're from, and context too, probably.

DJ said...

Hi Kid,
Ahm fae Glesca, so it's wan fer me, but I was punning on The Big Yin, who is fae Govan, so it's horses for courses I guess. :)

DJ.

stephen said...

I keep meaning to buy some of those recent Ditko books. They look so good. I genuinely think that some of the art he's been doing these past few years is the best he's ever done. And that's quite an achievement. Its only the postage costs that put me off. One of the many downsides to living in the UK...

william byron said...

I can't thank you enough for sharing your stories, your wisdom, and your sense of humor with us Mr. Shooter. These stories have been especially interesting to me being that I've had some discussions with Mr. Ditko. What I would like to say is that speculation is easy to do for most people until they've spoken with the man. Thanks again, and I am looking forward to Defiant Ditko.

Kid said...

DJ, Ah wuz born in Glesga, lived up the West End (Great George Street), but ma faither wuz frae Brigton Cross. (Or Bridgeton Cross, as the posh people say.)

Defiant1 said...

Steve Ditko is a time traveler from the future. He went back in time to inject morals and integrity into a decaying society. He has to stay out of sight or his mission will be compromised. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Mister.44 said...

Mr Shooter,

RE: Barry Windsor-Smith's place of birth.

Yes - in my experience, there is a social hierarchy based on where one is born/raised. I wonder if it was always that way, or influenced by the caste system in India.

Everyone I know in England are Aussies or Kiwis, which are breeds of their own, and generally way more fun.

Mister.44 said...

re: BWS

"he was born in Forest Gate, London. "

Hey - thats where my friends lived and I stayed at for 2 weeks.

Jerry Bonner said...

There's a great book on Ditko, his life and his work, called "Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko" by Blake Bell. It's really interesting stuff and vividly depicts the evolution of his work and philosophies. Anyone who reads this blog would be interested in it, I'm sure.

Mister.44 said...

One last comment - my grandmother on my moms side is a McKinley. We have a nice tartan that I want to get made someday.

botolo86 said...

Dear Jim,

Your posts are always a pleasure to read and so interesting! I love all the archive stuff that you show us periodically, such as these great photos at Valiant with these incredible artists.

I keep on thinking that you should start a new comic books company and hire all these people to produce amazing products. I suggest you - in order to look for fundings - to submit a proposal to http://www.kickstarter.com. With your fame and passion, I am sure so many comic book readers would love to chip in and fund your new company! Let's do it!

jimshooter said...

Dear Kid,

Aha. Easy to see why you misunderstood re: Perlin. I wasn't imposing conditions on him, I was saying that if he insisted on jumping ship at Marvel the door was open for him at VALIANT. It's hard on the web to be clear sometimes. It sounds right in my head, but later, I can see how it can be understood differently.

Mort Todd said...

Some notes about Ditko, from someone who spent hundreds of hours with him over the years, directed to those detractors posting here.

About fans & cons: Both can be a pain in the neck. Modern fandom owes a debt to Steve as he was one of the first professionals to appear at a comic convention in the 60s and he also contributed many drawings to early fanzines gratis. He sure doesn't owe fans anything, having been considered 'boring' by most fanboys from the 70s on.

His philosophy is his own matter and he spent time as a student of Rand at her classes held in the Empire State Building. Why 'compromise' on issues that you disagree with? Rather than being 'childish,' it's a sign of self-confidence and security in your positions. Some violently disagree with his ideas but an artist puts himself into his work whether liminally or not. Too many comics people put their own lefty ideas into comics and make what are supposed to be superheroes into non-heroes.

As far as being unapproachable, that's rubbish. He has had his address and phone number in the phone book for decades and it's still accessible. That's how I originally contacted him for work and he soon dropped by my office and became a regular visitor even if he wasn't working on anything particular for me. A friend of mine who Steve doesn't know from Adam sent him a birthday card last week and he replied with a hand written thank you post card. It's very understandable how he could be curt with fanatics wasting his time, though.

About 10 years ago I asked him to do some work and he told me he had officially retired. He was receiving his Social Security (which is not a contradiction to accept it, after all, he paid into it!) and the rules then were that he could be penalized for accepting additional income. I think that changes after a certain age, which may explain his current output through Robin Snyder. I also suspect he got some money from Sony for them to be able to use his name in the Spider-Man films. People would whisper about him at Marvel when he would show up to see me because he would sometimes wear loafers duct-taped together. I don't think it was a sign of him being broke, but being a 'conservationist' that didn't care what other people thought.

I'm sure there were more things I was going to rant about in reaction to the Ditko-haters posting here, but he doesn't need me to speak for him. His incredible output does that and articulates louder than all the squawks of the small-minded... and it will speak for as long as humans can read comics!

Bosch Fawstin said...

Thanks for writing that, Mort, it's always great to get first hand accounts about the man.

JediJones said...

Too bad there would be little to no chance Ditko would return to do a Spidey special of some sort for the 50th anniversary. That'd be just about as cool as a Beatles reunion would have been.

Mister.44 said...
in my experience, there is a social hierarchy based on where one is born/raised. I wonder if it was always that way, or influenced by the caste system in India.


I once heard Stuart Varney, a British commentator from the Wall Street Journal, say on TV in reference to his country, "we invented class warfare." Made me laugh. It's sad to see the idea seems to be spreading to the Americas in recent years. Hatred of someone based on the wealth they do or do not have is no less bigoted and destructive than any form of sexism or racism.

Here's an interesting stat. When Bank of America announced they were going to charge a $5.00 debit fee, a survey showed that more people earning over $100,000 a year planned to switch to another bank as compared to those making less money. Maybe that shows that people who are more conscientious about how they manage their money end up having more of it. I've seen too many people who don't understand the value of money live beyond their means, ending up with crushing debt and interest charges sucking away their ability to invest and build wealth.

Steven R. Stahl said...
For people who believe that society has obligations to care for people, libertarianism fully realized would produce a hell on Earth.


Or, the opposite may be true. "A democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority will always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

A good first step to caring for people would be to stop seizing vast amounts of the money we earn and then wasting most of it. An income tax is just a notch or two below the scale under slavery and indentured servitude. A middle class person spends somewhere around half their working life earning money that's immediately seized and distributed to someone else against our will, by threat of imprisonment. If this is what being "cared for" feels like, I say no thanks.

There is a fundamental problem with an economy based on cradle-to-grave entitlements. It reduces the incentive for people to work. Without productive work being done, we can't compete for resources on the world stage and we can't generate wealth.

Someone may become a billionaire off of microwaves or cell phones, but each one of us gets to own a microwave or cell phone as a result. The Occupy Wall Street types don't have any appreciation for the non-monetary wealth that capitalists add to our lives (otherwise no one would have paid them the money they earned).

The protestors wouldn't approve of a monopoly in the business world. So why would they want the government to take over our health care or other industries and create their own monopoly? The same principles apply either way. When human beings have no one to compete with, they tend to do lazier, lower quality, less efficient work at a higher cost. Since the government can get more funding by threatening to throw anyone in jail who doesn't pay them what they demand (see Wesley Snipes), they don't even have to prove they'll do a good job to investors, as a real business would. Free markets have infinitely more checks and balances than government-run operations.

As Dennis Miller says, I'm all for helping the helpless, but not for helping the clueless. A bolstered, competing force of charitable organizations could care for people in need much more efficiently than the government can. If we had our tax dollars back so we could choose which charities we wanted to support, that would help the rest of us as well.

Anonymous said...

Actually with all the tax credits and deductions that were added in the Clinton and Bush years, a middle class person, after they get their refund, doesn't really pay that much in taxes percentage wise. Especially if they have a mortgage and kids.

Now, the super committe wants to get rid of the mortgage interest deduction, which would change that.

But right now the average middle class person pays nowhere near 50% of their income in income taxes

and 46% pay no federal income tax at all.

Rob

Chris Arndt said...

He didn't say I get taxed 50 percent, he said I get taxed 50% of my life.

Mind you our society is crapped in so many ways... We don't get to have careers until you are in your mid-twenties. You are expected to retire in your sixties. Only so many jobs are such that you work into your eighties. Most people my age are being conditioned or have been conditioned to move the care of their parents and grandparents to other people and others' wallets.

Our lifespan is getting longer and our work years are capped at 40.

Most institutions would block you from starting a career with then unless you have a degree that would not train you for that job anyway.

Now I am not a libertarian because I believe Americans are too cutthroat for the stripping down in rules. But I am Conservative enough that I think centralizing so much power is part of the cause of our problems.

Chris Arndt said...

In the mean time I daresay Ditko would puke at the Spidey of the nineties.

Rather than being an evolved version of his character in the sixties he is a derived version. Rather than learning from the mistake of the Burglar there are still stories where he lets killers go. Or at least in the nineties that was the case.

DJ said...

Hi Mort,

Well said.
Steve Ditko has given me so much pleasure over the years. He was the first artist I could identify as a child. He is a unique stylist, a unique thinker (within comics anyway), and a unique personality (from what I know about him. It's good to know that he is well, happy and healthy.
Please pass on my regards, and my thanks, to him the next time you see him, and I'm sure many others on this list would echo my sentiments.
Great name by the way.
Cheers.
David J.

Jerry Novick said...

Mort Todd - Thank you for that insider's/first-hand account of Ditko.

JediJones - Excellent point on money matters, using the BofA example. This line is quotable: "Maybe that shows that people who are more conscientious about how they manage their money end up having more of it."

JediJones: Curious - where did the following quote you used come from: "A democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority will always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

It's very insightful and true.

JediJones: As to your popint about charity being more powerful and reliable than government -- the Occupy Wall Street movement is a prime example of this. While the government and media turn a blind eye to the actual crimes being committed at these continuous rallies, it's the charity of individuals, private organizations, and (gasp!) corporations that have been providing food and needed services to the protestors.

Rob: Excellent point of fact on actual tax paid vs tax rates.

Anonymous said...

Jerry, that quote has been attributed, usually as part of a longer passage, to Alexander Fraser Tytler, an 18th-century democracy cynic, but there's no evidence that he said it, and that particular portion of the quote appears to have originated in a Daily Oklahoman editorial from the 1950s, by Elmer T. Peterson.

More to the point, there's no evidence that the quote is actually true. Can anyone point to a democracy in history that's actually collapsed in such a manner as claimed in the quote? Indeed, some of the countries faring best in the current economic crisis--Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden--are also countries with robust social safety nets. They also have higher voter participation rates than the U.S. (and in the case of Sweden and Canada, much higher). Finally, conventional wisdom holds that voting correlates with wealth (getting hold of raw data on this is difficult, it must be said), which suggests that if anyone is voting themselves generous gifts, it's the upper and middle classes, so if there is a democratic breakdown, it's tied to wealth, not welfare.

--kgaard

Mister.44 said...

re: "why would they want the government to take over our health care or other industries "

Yay - politics. Hopefully we won't get toooo far off topic, but I wanted to comment on this.

Name one thing the government does well. The bloated bureaucracy,out-of-touch government - what do they do that is considered a success, supported by just about all? Have you ever dealt with the gov, from the DMV to the IRS to paying property taxes or dealing with building codes?

The gov. is full of convoluted laws, many of them self serving, and run by the inept and apathetic (and I say this with my wife working for the Fed.) The TSA? How is that working out for us. And then people want them to become a bigger part of our lives with health care or other services? Health care is broken, but having the gov run it is NOT the answer. Ask a doctor. Everyone I talked to said tort reform would lower the costs over night. (My family practitioner pays more in malpractice insurance than she takes home.) Making health care not linked to employment is another good idea.

Also - with OWS protestors come in many flavors, from the radical anarchists, to reasonable, frustrated people. I support them over all simply because the GAP between the 1% to the 99% is soooo much wider than it ever has. In the last 50 years their increase in wealth is dramatically higher than any other class, which has been fairly low. Higher taxes may be appropriate. Simpler tax code with less loop hols is certainly an answer, along with corporate tax.

Miles McNerney said...

Does anyone know what Steve Ditko used as criteria for determining if a character is "flawed"? Was Reed Richards a flawed character? Thor?

Jerry Novick said...

RE: Mr.44 - "bloated bureaucracy"

I find bureaucracy to be such a terrible thing, that I think even the word being so hard to spell is part of the problem! I almost always misspell that word! I should just start keeping it in my clipboard to cut & paste.

As for healthcare reform - I agree, tort reform is a must. A friend of mine who is a noted surgeon actually shut down his practice for a year because the cost of malpractice insurance is so outrageous.

I also think doctors, hospital, surgeons should have to post a basic price list, and give estimates like auto mechanics so people can pick and choose doctors and services based on cost. Yes, I think the doctor's opinion of need should outweigh the decision on cost, but an informed consumer is a more responsible consumer.

gn6196 said...

Sorry Jim

Anonymous said...

Tort reform would resolve, at best, a tiny percentage of health care costs: according to this report from the CBO in 2004: "... [E]ven large savings in premiums can have only a small direct impact on health care spending--private or governmental--because malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of that spending." That's not to say there wouldn't be marginal benefits from tort reform, or that it shouldn't be examined, just that there is little evidence to support the claim that it's a primary driver of health care costs. For an exploration of the cause of high U.S. health care costs and possible solutions, see this blog post (disclosure: the author is a friend of mine).

--kgaard

Anonymous said...

JayJay and Mort, thanks for the first person perspective on Mr. Ditko. Maybe Jim should do a segment on him called "Don't Believe the Hype". I follow this blog daily but very rarely comment. I'm going to admit with some embarrassment that I myself was one of the fanboys in the late 70's that really did not appreciate Mr. Ditko's art, or Kirby's for that matter. I idolized John Byrne. No exaggeration. But later I saw Ditko from a more mature perspective. I thought to myself "My God,how did i dis this guy?" But I was 12 so cut me some slack. Point being, I think you have to have a more mature appreciation for art to really get Ditko. It's not just flash. In my humble opinion, he is on a different level than comic art today. It truly is a higher level of art.

P.S. I still love Byrne's stuff to this day.

Neil

Salamandyr said...

As an aside from the political musings, On this Veteran's Day, could we recognize that of the grandees mentioned by Mr. Shooter above, Don Perlin, Stan Drake, and Steve Ditko all served in the armed forces, during dangerous times in our country. (I could not find if Ernie Colon had as well, apologies Mr. Colon if that is the case and I left you out).

Regardless of their politics, each interrupted the lives they were building for themselves in order to fulfill that which their country asked of them. Thank you gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

Hm, one of my posts seems to have vanished. Apologies if it shows up twice.

Tort reform would resolve, at best, a tiny percentage of health care costs: according to this report from the CBO in 2004: "... [E]ven large savings in premiums can have only a small direct impact on health care spending--private or governmental--because malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of that spending." That's not to say there wouldn't be marginal benefits from tort reform, or that it shouldn't be examined, just that there is little evidence to support the claim that it's a primary driver of health care costs. For an exploration of the cause of high U.S. health care costs and possible solutions, see this blog post (disclosure: the author is a friend of mine).

--kgaard

Anonymous said...

Re: "the countries faring best in the current economic crisis--Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden--are also countries with robust social safety nets."

These are countries with small populations, with their specificities. I don't think it's easy to extrapolate something from these examples. There are more examples that are in the opposite direction.

JL

Mister.44 said...

re: "because malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of that spending"

It isn't the direct cost that is the main issue (though for many Doctors it affects them greatly). The main issue is doctors have to cover their ass sooooo thoroughly they order lots of unnecessary, expensive tests.

RE: bureaucracy

OMG - that IS the hardest word to spell. I NEVER get it right, and if it weren't for spell check, I'd sound like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

JL,

Again, though, there's no real world example that I know of of a democracy collapsing into dictatorship because its citizens voted themselves too many benefits. The point about those countries is to note that there are actual examples of democracies with high voter turnout and strong welfare programs that are not in decline (maybe that will change, of course!). I'm just skeptical that democracy's fatal flaw is that poor people will vote themselves state-paid doctor visits and free lunches, when corporatism appears to be a much more realistic threat.

I'm not sure what you mean by "examples that are in the opposite direction". Maybe you mean the PIIGS states in Europe that are suffering from sovereign debt crises? I don't want to turn this thread into a symposium on the causes of the crisis, but it's more complicated than to just lay the blame at social programs (for example, tax evasion is a huge problem in Greece), and the solution is complicated by the existence of the Euro, which means countries can't debase their currency to ease debt woes. That's not to say the Greeks did not build a huge amount of public debt, then hide the problem under credit derivative swaps. But the response--austerity--has had the effect of crippling growth and exacerbating the problem.

Mister.44,

In the link, the COB goes on: "Advocates or opponents cite other possible effects of limiting tort liability, such as reducing the extent to which physicians practice 'defensive medicine' by conducting excessive procedures; preventing widespread problems of access to health care; or conversely, increasing medical injuries. However, evidence for those other effects is weak or inconclusive." To the extent that this is a problem, it's unlikely to be such a huge problem that tort reform would resolve it.

--kgaard

Jason said...

Defiant1 wrote:

"Steve Ditko is a time traveler from the future. He went back in time to inject morals and integrity into a decaying society. He has to stay out of sight or his mission will be compromised. That's my story and I'm sticking with it."

I'm sold! :)

Anonymous said...

JL,

Again, though, there's no real world example that I know of of a democracy collapsing into dictatorship because its citizens voted themselves too many benefits. The point about those countries is to note that there are actual examples of democracies with high voter turnout and strong welfare programs that are not in decline (maybe that will change, of course!). I'm just skeptical that democracy's fatal flaw is that poor people will vote themselves state-paid doctor visits and free lunches, when corporatism appears to be a much more realistic threat.

I'm not sure what you mean by "examples that are in the opposite direction". Maybe you mean the PIIGS states in Europe that are suffering from sovereign debt crises? I don't want to turn this thread into a symposium on the causes of the crisis, but it's more complicated than to just lay the blame at social programs (for example, tax evasion is a huge problem in Greece), and the solution is complicated by the existence of the Euro, which means countries can't debase their currency to ease debt woes. That's not to say the Greeks did not build a huge amount of public debt, then hide the problem under credit derivative swaps. But the response--austerity--has had the effect of crippling growth and exacerbating the problem.

Mister.44,

In the link, the COB goes on: "Advocates or opponents cite other possible effects of limiting tort liability, such as reducing the extent to which physicians practice 'defensive medicine' by conducting excessive procedures; preventing widespread problems of access to health care; or conversely, increasing medical injuries. However, evidence for those other effects is weak or inconclusive." To the extent that this is a problem, it's unlikely to be such a huge problem that tort reform would resolve it.

--kgaard

Anonymous said...

The first Ditko comic book art I ever came across as a kid was a reprint of Amazing Spider-man #28 and I still think it's one of the best covers ever drawn. I love the stark black which seemed to add menance to the situation as well as showcasing the red in Spideys costume to make him almost ghostly in appearance and also the metallic effect of the Molten Man.

Daz White

bmcmolo said...

Good call, Daz - I had a similar experience but with the Marvel Tales reprint of the same cover.

Daniel K said...

I really like the look of the Sadistik photo comics Mort Todd publishes.

Steven R. Stahl said...

Liberals would like to see healthcare costs stop their steady increases as much as anybody else, and to separate health insurance from employment, but the only way to do that, quite possibly, is the individual mandate. Unless the entire population is in the pool, people with preexisting conditions can't afford to buy coverage. National healthcare systems also hold down the prices of prescription drugs.

A free market health care system isn't workable, because people with serious illnesses and injuries aren't positioned to seek competing bids and nobody who isn't independently wealthy can cover, say, the costs of a heart attack and surgical treatment for it.

Treating uninsured people for their medical problems has costs, even if those who are insured don't know what they are. Unless one is willing to let them die in the streets, the optimal system is one that makes insurance affordable for everyone.

SRS

Anonymous said...

The mandate is likely going to be found unconstitutional. It seems very odd that you can be forced by the federal government to buy a product.

What's next, we all have to buy Chevys?

I agree that the health care plan collapses completely without the individual mandate, but that's why it was foolish to make that the centerpiece of the plan.

I will fight my entire life re: government taking over healthcare. Never have i felt so strongly against something in my life.

but anyway, this is comics, not politics.

Rob

Anonymous said...

if you go to dcbs, you can order a ton of Ditko's newish stuff that he is selling at a good discount

(click preorders, other comics, and then find Ditko on the drop down list)


I believe the Avenging Mind and Avenging World collect many of his essays, including whatever comments he has made on Marvel and what not for Snyder's The Comics.
http://www.dcbservice.com/category.aspx?id=6

Rob

Sanjiv Purba said...

Hi Jim,
Thanks for your response. I completely believe you when you discuss the professional isolation hoisted on you by others who should have been more proefessional and human in their behavior. It greatly saddens me that they behaved so poorly and unfairly.

Steven R. Stahl said...

The mandate is likely going to be found unconstitutional. It seems very odd that you can be forced by the federal government to buy a product.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the PPACA this week for the same reasons that two other appeals courts have: the Commerce Clause and the fact that everyone needs health care. The people who don't participate in insurance plans are financial burdens on the people who do.

SRS

Jason said...

Steven Stahl:

Everyone needs food, too. Yet, somehow, the constitution does not require the government to feed everyone in the nation. Funny, that.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Again, though, there's no real world example that I know of of a democracy collapsing into dictatorship because its citizens voted themselves too many benefits."

Well something very close to dictatorship can happen when you have too many entitlements going to select groups.

"I'm just skeptical that democracy's fatal flaw is that poor people will vote themselves state-paid doctor visits and free lunches, when corporatism appears to be a much more realistic threat."

The last thing I want to do is defend corporations.

"(for example, tax evasion is a huge problem in Greece),"

That is because state is perceived as not helping them, taxes aren't therefore paid. Taxes then go up. Which feeds into the evasion. And so those paying taxes are paying too much while others are not paying enough. The fault isn't only on the evaders but primarily on the state who collects and misuses the funds.

Back to comics now. :)

JL

Anonymous said...

1. There is no statistical evidence to suggest that states without "tort reform" have less doctors per captia coming or going than states with tort reform.

2. According to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, preventable medical errors cause between 1,200 and 2,800 deaths and 18,000 injuries each year in North Carolina (my state). That was before any tort reform. About 650 medical malpractice lawsuits are filed (not won or settled, just filed)were filed each year from 2000 to present. The best way to end medical malpractice lawsuits is to end medical malpractice.

3. lack of payouts due to tort reform will not cause doctors to do unnecessary tests or reduce their premiums, it will just increase insurance company profits.

Defiant1 said...

For those who miss DEFIANT, here is a scan of color art from Schism #4. I believe JayJay said it was the only page colored for the series..

http://bit.ly/tCjUdt

Here is the color art for a promo piece drawn by Neal Adams..

http://bit.ly/u6yklR

Here is the color art to the Wardancer #5 cover...

http://bit.ly/syQ96i

Mat Planet said...

In 1991 I was working in the only comic shop in Washington DC, and the VALIANT books started to come out. I picked some up and set them aside. And when I took the time to read Magnus: Robot Fighter 1-4 I was hooked. Man oh man, those were some great comics. I was locked into Magnus, Solar, X-O and Rai for quite some time, until after Unity the whole thing went to hell.
It's cool to hear stories about all the guys involved, thanks, and also, thanks a lot for some of my favorite comics made to this day.

Anonymous said...

"Name one thing the government does well."


Health care. I'm a veteran and have used the VA for many years. The doctors there are able to care for their patients without calling some insurance rep that doesn't know thing one about medicine for their permission. I know where you're coming from though, for years I bought into the scare tactics about the boogeyman of government run healthcare. My buddy kept telling me it was propaganda, I finally gave it a try, and he was right.

Is it perfect? Of course not, but closer than than the insurance run healthcare system that is based on denying care for profit.