Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Marvel Super Heroes, 1966 ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

In late 1966, thanks largely in part to the immediate success a few months earlier of the campy Batman TV show, Marvel Comics licensed the rights for five of their superheroes -- Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Sub-Mariner, and my favorite Marvel hero, Captain America -- to Grantray-Lawrence Animation. They produced several episodes of these characters, in what can only charitably be described as "limited animation."

This is the theme song for the main show itself, featuring all five characters.

Nice that the guy who posted this on YouTube messed it up with his email address, innit?

Some of those heroes' individual theme songs have been stuck in the minds of many for over fifty years. They used the theme for the Iron Man cartoons not once, but three times in the first Iron Man film in 2008!

The artwork was pretty much taken directly from the comic issues that supplied the cartoons with their stories. So we got to see crude copies of art by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck...

The studio used the most rudimentary methods to "animate" these drawings. Check out the horrible animation quality on the first Thor episode. And try to bear with it for at least the first four or five minutes, willya?

That over-the-top rendering of the voice of Loki was provided by Len Carlson (1937-2006). And that was the voice I "heard" every time I read an issue of Journey into Mystery (later renamed Thor), at least until Tom Hiddleston first played Loki in 2011.

Boston viewers got an additional treat, if one can call it that. We not only had The Marvel Super Heroes cartoons, we also had Captain America himself to introduce the episodes I'm not 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure only the New England area (Boston's Channel 7, WNAC-TV) had him.

Cap was played by an actor named Arthur Pierce (née Levy). And Mr. Pierce is still alive! Click here if you'd like a recent photo and some up-to-date information.

Pierce's Captain America was scripted to be pretty corny, but I suppose we can thank the tone of the Batman TV show for that.


Major Mudd (Ed McDonnell, 1926-1979) was a local Boston kiddie show host who also played
the characters of Feep and Lord Bumblebrooke! Someday I may post about him alone!

Well, that's it for today, fellow babies. NO COMICAL WEDNESDAY POST NEXT WEEK! Instead, I'm going to be posting a five-part piece of fiction called "For Baby (For Bobbie)" which I've been threatening you with promising you for a few weeks. That will probably begin this Saturday. I sincerely hope I'll see you then.

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

"Mt th Btls" ~~ An All-BEATLES "Short Shorts" Post!

1. If I were stranded on a deserted island with only five LPs...

Okay, I'll start over.

If I were stranded on a deserted island which somehow had electricity available for my use, plus a working turntable (a/k/a "record player"), plus only five LPs of my choosing (and "greatest hits" collections don't count), the five LPs would include the first or second rock'n'roll LP I ever heard in its entirety, "Meet The Beatles!", released in the USA by Capitol Records on January 20th, 1964. The other "first or second rock'n'roll LP I ever heard in its entirety" was the Beatles other "first" album, "Introducing... The Beatles," released by VeeJay Records only ten days earlier! I don't remember which LP my older sister Kathy bought first!

2. (Reprinted from 11/30/09) I was seven years old when the Beatles and their music made their big splash on American soil. (A "splash" on "soil?" Am I mixing metaphors there?) Therefore, while the teenage girls mostly chose -- "chose" meaning "had the hots for" -- Paul or John, my favorite Beatle was the comical, goofy Ringo. That changed as the years went by and I entered my so-called adulthood. George became my favorite. For some reason, I identified more with the spiritual, so-called "quiet Beatle" more than the others. (And to anyone who read that and said "You identified with somebody described as spiritual and quiet?"... leave the room, wiseguy.)

Although I was shocked and saddened at the fatal shooting of John Lennon in 1980, it was Harrison's 2001 death that had a more profound effect on me. Something about the youngest Beatle dying of lung cancer, a disease more associated with older people -- and yes, of course I realize that cancer far too often claims the lives of young adults, and even children -- forced me to face my own mortality.

3. My sister bought all the USA versions of the Beatles albums up to and including "Revolver" but lost interest in their music as they entered their more psychedelic phase. Accordingly, my interest in the Beatles is much more prominently focused on their earlier stuff.

4. One day, I was sitting on the floor of Kathy's bedroom while she played "Meet The Beatles!" I was singing along with "All My Loving." Suddenly, my sister started yelling at me, although I don 't remember what she was saying. I didn't care. I was engrossed in the music. Our mom came in, asking what the problem was, and my sister exclaimed "He's singing it wrong!" My mother listened to me for a few moments, then calmly told Kathy "He's singing the harmonies!"

From the start of my own personal Beatlemania, I was confused -- in a good way, actually -- by the Beatles' harmonies. They were well-constructed and stood out to the point where the young Fox wasn't always sure what vocal parts were harmonies, and what parts were the actual melody. I still marvel at songs like "She Loves You," where John and Paul sing/yell "Woooo!" in two-part harmony. Years later, I wrote a rockabilly song called "Because You Lied" for my second band, Viper, and "borrowed" a harmony from the Beatles' "Tell Me Why." To his credit, our keyboard player Sid smiled and recognized the tribute immediately.

5. At seven (then eight, then nine...), I had no sense of musical history. A lot of songs which the Beatles covered on their early albums were originally done by artists like Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, the Cookies, the Shirelles, Buck Owens, Larry Williams, and others. (Most so-called "British Invasion" groups did that during the '60s.) I didn't learn that until years later.

6. I sang "Back in the USSR" in my first band, Shudr. I didn't really care for that song, though. In my second band, the aforementioned Viper, I helped the other band members combine four or five Beatles tunes into a medley. The crowds loved it!

7. One night, my friend and writing partner Skip and I were at a nightclub where his boss' son was performing in a jazz band. When the band learned that I was a singer, they invited me up on stage for a few numbers. One of the songs they asked if I knew was "Slow Down," Larry Williams' 1956 r&b tune which the Beatles had redone six years later. I sang it as close as I could to how John Lennon had sung it. Of course, it did strike me as odd that a jazz band would do a rhythm and blues song, but hey...

8.  (Reprinted from 5/21/08) I love it when an article talks about "the surviving members of The Beatles," like there are three or four dozen of them floating around the planet. Folks, there are two surviving members. Half the group. Period. There were four in the real core group -- John, Paul, George, and Ringo -- and that's not trying to insult Pete Best, or Stu Sutcliffe, or any of the people who've variously been referred to as "the fifth Beatle" someplace because of their amazing contribution where blah-blah-freakin'-blah was concerned...

And no, no fair counting Yoko.

Let's face it, if you were one of The Beatles, you were one of the coolest people in the universe, ever. Or at least you were cool for a period long enough so that you'll be indelibly stamped in the minds of Earth's citizens as a "former Beatle," and nothing you can do -- not even a stint as Mr. Conductor -- can take that away from you.

I mean, if Paul McCartney -- I'm sorry, I meant Sir Paul McCartney -- were to be elected Prime Minister of Great Britain, you just know that even if he were assassinated in office we'd read this: "British Prime Minister and former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney was shot today outside of... " Hell, Ringo could become an astronaut and a serial killer, and the eventual news article would read, "Ringo Starr, former Beatle, astronaut, and accused mass murderer, was apprehended today... "

9. Something really cool I recently found online. It's almost half an hour long, so it's not for everyone, but if you're a serious Beatles fan, you ought to like it.

Thanks for your time!

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (No, really!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Brother Vampire." No, Seriously. "BROTHER Effin' VAMPIRE." ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

I've often used certain comic stories to justify why I still read comic books, although I'll admit I haven't read the new ones on a regular basis in over fifteen years.

Well, I'll also admit that there are certain comic books, comic characters, or comic book stories that make me say "I still read comic books despite things like these." (For example, see "Superboy Meets Bonnie and Clyde!")

Today we focus on one of the latter.

The above comic cover is that of a comic book published in 1954, Astonishing #35, published by Atlas, which was Marvel Comics before Marvel Comics was Marvel Comics. Sorta.

However, while the cover-featured "The Dinner Guest" does look intriguing, that's not the story I'll be tearing apart commenting on today. I'll be talking about a five-pager originally published in Astonishing #35 and reprinted (Lord knows why) in 1973's Vault of Evil #8.

I have no idea who wrote this story, but although many people seem to think Stan Lee wrote almost everything Timely/Atlas/Marvel ever printed, Stan apparently did not write this one.

The two blurbs below are perhaps the only new additions to the original tale. Starting in the 1970s, Marvel put "Stan Lee Presents" on almost all their stories. (Do they still do that?) Plus there's a reference to the title of the new comic book.

One thing they did not change, but should have, was the caption at the very top, which tells you that this short story is the last one in Astonishing #35. As it happens, however, it's the first story in Vault of Evil #8.

First, they introduce the problem:

Now, at this point, like myself you're probably already saying "Are you f***ing kidding me?" But hold on, it gets better. Or should I say, worse?

And don'tcha just love how the vampire's fangs look more like a mustache?

Anyway, we're immediately told that Eric, the non-vampire brother, has the same questions we do.. but no answers are forthcoming from his creepy, blood-sucking brother, Hans.

Wow. Isn't all of that convenient!?!

Anyway, in this story, vampires can exist and operate in the daytime, in their human form. The story goes on to talk about vampire hunters who can't find Hans because he's hiding in plain sight, as it were.

But one night, Hans goes too far!

Hm. Not too bad-looking. Funny how artist Al Eadeh (1913-2005), who drew such doofy-looking vampires, could turn out a pretty woman like this!

Anyhoo, Eric finally rebels against Hans, who's obviously been draining the blood from male victims for Lord knows how long!

Suspenseful, huh, fellow babies? (By the way, don't you love Hans' funky little wings?)

The ridiculous plot gets even more ridiculous here! The shock of staking his brother returns Eric's memory! No, I swear! That's exactly what it does! And before you can even say "Are you f***ing kidding me?" a second time, they lay this on you:

Never mind all of that, I wanna know where the hell Hans got the drugs he "doped" Eric with! Did he just happen to carry them around with him, jusssst in case he ever encountered an amnesia victim who closely resembled him? If so, boy am I impressed!

Whoa! Here comes the Moment of Truth!

Uhhh, isn't Eric feeling any pain? And isn't there any blood? Shouldn't this tip him off that something's not kosher?

And now, folks, the punchline!

Did I just hear you say "Are you f***ing kidding me?" a third time? I mean... How did Hans attach this "loose plastic?" What the hell is "loose plastic?" And... and... Eric never discovered this before? It's been two years! Two freakin' years!!! Didn't Eric ever get undressed in all this time?!? Not to change his clothes? Not to shower? Not to...???

Oh, never mind. Never mind!!! I give up.

I wonder which Marvel editor decided that this story was one worth reprinting?

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (No, really!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

History's Bravest Two Men? (Edited from 6/5/10)

A question that often arises is "If you could hold a conversation with (or have dinner with, etc.) any five men and/or women you want (living or dead), whom would you choose?"

Answers usually include those that history regards as great men, such as -- in no particular order -- Lincoln, Jesus, Muhammad, Einstein, Gandhi... Others prefer celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, one or more of the Beatles, or Elvis. Personally, I don't have a definitive list of five, but I'd probably go with five that would include some or all of the following: Orson Welles, Johnny Carson, Barbara Stanwyck, Jack Benny, Harold Lloyd, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Natalie Wood, Wallis Simpson (Duchess of Windsor), George Harrison, Charlie Chaplin, Abraham Lincoln (yeah, me too), Buster Keaton, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Harlow, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, Alexandre Dumas, June Foray, Paul Frees, Cyrano de Bergerac (the real guy they based the play on), Katharine Hepburn, Thomas Jefferson, Debbie Reynolds, Dorothy Parker... at least one star from the early rock'n'roll era, like Gene Vincent or Roy Orbison... and probably (okay, definitely) some comic artists (comic books or comic strips) like Wallace Wood, Jack Kirby, Milton Caniff, Windsor McKay, Jack Burnley, John Rosenberger, or... Hell, my biggest problem would be trimming down my list of "wants" to only five! Or ten! Or twenty!!!

Especially since I'd wanna add one -- maybe two? -- others. I've long been of the opinion that one of the bravest men in history was the first person to eat an egg. No, really. Say all you want about about how hunting may have been scarce at some point, and so some caveman scooped a handful of eggs from a bird's nest, but think about it: Would he have done so, no matter how hungry, if he'd seen where the egg had... umm... originated?

Here are two scenarios, featuring cavemen (Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, who cares?) whom I've named Oog and Uk, as they sit around the campfire:

* * * * *

First Scenario

Oog: Hey, Uk, are you hungry? Want some of these left-over mastodon steaks?

Uk: No, thanks, dude. I'd much rather chow down on these oval things I saw a big bird squeeze out of its butt!

* * * * *

Not bloody likely.

* * * * *

Second Scenario (again, with Oog and Uk sitting around the campfire, and we'll stick to Uk's dialogue only, here)

Uk: Hey, Oog, what's that yellow stuff you're eating? (pauses, as Oog replies) Scrambled what? (Oog answers again.) Any good? (Oog nods.) Mind if I try some? (Oog nods again. Uk takes a mouthful and chews it.) Not bad. Where'd you get this stuff? (Oog tells him. Uk immediately looks nauseous.Don't tell me that, man...

* * * * *

So, was Oog the bravest man in history, or was Uk (who probably continued eating, even after Oog's "revelation?") Food for thought... no pun intended.

And how about the guy who gave the artichoke its English name? Why on Earth would you name any food something with the word "choke" in it?!?

Okay, I'll stop there.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Terrificon 2018, BONUS ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

I've done several long "Comical Wednesday" entries lately, in spite of the fact that most of my readers aren't comic book fans (unlike myself). So instead of long-winded multi-part CW posts on various subjects, I'm going to trytrytry to keep the posts fairly short. Well, for a while, anyway.

Let's see how I do.

Back in Part Three of my series about Terrificon 2018, I showed two photos (courtesy of my friend John) of the line for writer/artist Jim Starlin. I'm going to show those photos again, and follow each with some close-ups, and my own smart-ass comments. Here goes.

First is one part of the line to see Jim Starlin.

There are many convention attendees who are what are called "cosplayers" (costume players). If you've ever seen any local TV news coverage about a nearby convention, you've seen cosplayers. That's pretty much the only type of person they interview, so we all look a big loony!

Cosplayers dress up as anyone they want to, whether it's a comic character, a movie character, a science fiction character, a character from Japanese anime... the list is endless. Some cosplayers are featured guests with their own tables at conventions! Cosplayers often cross-dress, meaning you may very well see some guy dressed as, say, Harley Quinn!

Harley Quinn

Two Male Harley Quinn cosplayers! (Photo NOT taken at Terrificon!)

Anyway, the following close-up focuses on two cosplayers waiting in Jim Starlin's line. I must admit I have no idea who the young lady in purple or the person in the ringmasterish costume are supposed to be.

And I must also admit, I don't know if this convention-goer in the background of the previous shot is wearing a costume or not!

In a previous chapter, I mentioned that some folks (like myself) bring small stacks of comics or magazines, to have them autographed by one or more convention guests. The next two photos show people carrying what I would call "normal" stacks.

Even this next guy, who seems to be carting around more, evidently has an item or two other than a comic book that he wants signed, or maybe he's got something or some things he purchased at the convention.

Now let's move to another section of the line!

Hm. Looks like this person has a lot of stuff to be signed! Damn!

This trio really caught my eye. I'm not 100% sure if the young lady on your left is wearing an actual costume, but regardless, I really like her look! The orange cat lady outfit is nice, and I thought the Boy Scout uniform was an inspired touch.

Oh, wait. Maybe that kid was a real Boy Scout, one of several? Ya think?

Interesting how many of us comic book geeks wear glasses (as shown in the next photo), innit? Anyway, the short-haired, bespectacled dude on your far right seems to be noticing what I did: The big guy in the middle has a stroller which has probably never seen a child! Instead, it carries items which are much more important to their owner.

Oops. Spoke too soon. There is a child there, but she -- I'm assuming it's a "she," but it could be a boy cosplayer -- has obviously been supplanted in her stroller by what I just described as "items which are much more important to their owner."

And with that, I bid you farewell (well, for today)! Thanks for your time!

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

So, How Did I Do?

On this blog (and elsewhere, too, when I get the chance), I'm constantly bragging about showcasing my knowledge about comic books and their history, knowledge which I've amassed over the last fifty-plus years of reading, collecting, writing, and selling the blasted things. But comics are not my only interest, y'know. No, really, they're not! I like to think I know more than a little about pop culture in general, too, mainly that of the 20th century, as well as a good chunk of the 19th. (Just don't ask me too much about modern stuff. In a strange combination of aging and apathy, I started losing touch somewhat with music, celebrities, and various related aspects of what we used to call “show business” back in the good old days – and please notice I did not say “back in the day.” – somewhere around the time Kurt Cobain committed suicide. However, I hasten to add that my “losing touch somewhat” was certainly not because he did so. Just a touchstone, as it were.

Okay, okay, okay, end of digression, I promise!

I gave myself a little challenge on the afternoon of Friday, December 28th. As I perused an old (1953) TV magazine (shown above), which featured Arthur Godfrey – Remember him? – on its cover, I found the following quiz:

To make a long story short, being the arrogant li'l bastard that I am, I decided to take the test, published three years before I was even born, just to see how well I'd do!

I should take this opportunity to point out that I took the quiz without accessing the internet or any of my other magazines or books. That would have been cheating. I was testing my own knowledge. In fact, this entire post is comprised of information from what I already know... or think I do... so if you spot any goofs, please tell me. Contrary to what you may have heard elsewhere, I'm not perfect. Ha.

Question #1 was absurdly easy. Ozzie Nelson had been a band leader and singer in the 1930s and Harriet Hilliard, whom he eventually married, was a featured singer in his orchestra. Their television program, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, also co-starred their sons David and Ricky. Ricky Nelson went on to be a teenage singing idol!

#2. Another easy one. Televised episodes depicting scenes from history were broadcast by CBS-TV under the title You Are There.

#3? The Philip Morris tobacco company sponsored I Love Lucy for most, if not all, of its 1950s run. I've seen plenty of vintage commercials where Lucy and/or her husband, Desi Arnaz, touted the great taste of their product. Of course this was long before the government outlawed televised advertising of cigarettes and cigars in the early 1970s.

#4 was the first question to give me trouble. The wording of the question told me that the show wasn't one that starred a famous singer, like Frank Sinatra or Dinah Shore. I took a guess and answered Your Hit Parade, although I was 99% sure I was wrong. I was certain that the stars of Your Hit Parade actually did sing. In fact, IIRC, the format of that show was that each week, they'd act out the nation's Top Ten pop tunes, and sing the songs themselves. Oh, well.

I'm not familiar with The Big Payoff, admittedly. For #5 I almost guessed Lee Meriwether, a former Miss America who went on to fame as an actress. But then I realized that Lee Meriwether was Miss America 1955, and the quiz was dated 1953! I thought a bit and decided on Bess Myerson... although I honestly can't tell you what year she wore the crown, and I won't cheat and look it up.

#6 was another easy one. I knew Ray Bloch was an orchestra leader, best known for working on Ed Sullivan's and Jackie Gleason's shows for decades. Goodson-Todman was the team of producers responsible for game shows such as Match Game and over fifty others. The name Sidney Lumet threw me for a brief moment. I know him as a film director – 12 Angry Men, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Verdict, and others – but I don't really know anything about his television background. So I just assumed he was a director for TV shows as well before he went into motion pictures, and went with “director.”

My brow furrowed when I got to #7. (Okay, not really, but I've always wanted to use the word “furrowed” in a sentence, haven't you?) B was simple; Joe Friday was the main character of the long-running cop show Dragnet. But A, Mike Barnett? Never heard of him. And for C, I guessed Lloyd Nolan, but I was almost certain I was wrong.

And #8? Ha. Another cinch. I have never seen an episode of I Married Joan, but nevertheless, I knew that the husband was played by none other than Jim Backus, probably best known as Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island. But if I hadn't known the answer, the “Mr. Magoo” clue would have tipped it off.

And now, the answers:

As I said above, not one of the first three was a problem for me.

The Paul Dixon Show, #4, was one I'd never heard of.

#5 was Bess Myerson. Yeah!

As for #6, the three-parter? I got 'em all. So glad I went with my gut and assumed Sidney Lumet was a TV director as well as a movie director later on.

I only expected to get one of the three questions contained in #7. I'm pretty familiar with actor Ralph Bellamy, but I still never heard of Mike Barnett. I was wrong about Lloyd Nolan, but I kinda expected to be. But like I said, Dragnet's Joe Friday was a sure bet.

The Jim Backus question was probably the simplest one in the bunch. And by the way, if you ever meet me in person (and get me really drunk), I'll gladly sing the entire theme song from I Married Joan... although, as stated above, I've never seen the program!

Unfortunately, the magazine didn't give you any way to score yourself, especially since #6 and #7 were three-parters. But how do you think I did?

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Terrificon 2018, Part Four ~~ A "Comical Wednesday" Post

In my previous Comical Wednesday post about last summer's Terrificon 2018, I said "So, there you have it, fellow babies! Three chapters talking about every comic pro I got to talk with at Terrificon 2018. Everybody! Evvvvvvvv'rybody! Ummm... except one..."

Today we... okay, I... talk about that “one,” Roy Thomas.

I've probably read more comic books written by Roy Thomas than any other writer, except maybe Stan Lee.

Maybe you recall my earlier account of meeting Roy at Terrificon 2017? Well, just to refresh your memory if you did, in that post, I told how I met artist Jerry Ordway, who drew All-Star Squadron #20, and had him sign it.

However, although I met the comic's writer, Roy Thomas, later in the day, I didn't even think to have him sign it, even though there was an absolutely perfect spot for him to do so!

For those of you who don't know the name Roy Thomas, here's a relatively brief quote from my earlier post:

Roy was a BNF (Big Name Fan) in the early 1960s, eventually taking over the editorship of the fanzine Alter Ego from another BNF, Jerry Bails. In 1965, he was a school teacher who became a comic book pro and worked for DC Comics for about an hour... Okay, okay, it was really eight days, which isn't much longer. He then went to work at Marvel. His first extended writing job for Marvel was on Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, a title which I read, but admittedly, I didn't immediately notice that the book was being written by someone other than Stan Lee. From there he progressed to another of my favorites, the original X-Men title. He also wrote The Avengers for quite a while. He was the second person to write The Amazing Spider-Man, and the third to write Fantastic Four. He was responsible for Marvel's acquiring the rights to Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian in 1970, which began the "sword and sorcery" trend in comics. Thomas had (and has) a real love for the Golden Age comics he read as a boy -- he often revived or re-imagined Golden Age characters in the titles he wrote -- and he put that love to use in a series called The Invaders, which was set during World War II and featured 1940s Marvel characters such as Captain America (and Bucky), the original Human Torch (and his kid sidekick, named Toro for some unknown reason), and Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. In the mid-1970s, Thomas was instrumental in arranging Marvel's comic book adaptation of a new science fiction film... a little something called Star Wars. Roy wrote and Howard Chaykin drew the first six issues, which followed the plot of the movie. And I've left out a lot.

Probably due more to good timing than anything else, the line at Roy's table at Terrificon 2018 was much shorter than the one at Terrificon 2017. The very first book I had him sign of the three I'd brought was – you guessed it – All-Star Squadron #20. And needless to say, he automatically signed it right where I hoped and expected he would!

Much better, eh?

A few paragraphs back, I mentioned that Roy edited the comic fanzine Alter Ego in the 1960s. Well, in the 1970s, two additional, “professional” issues of Alter Ego appeared, and I'd brought both for Roy to sign.

Roy and I briefly discussed the caricature of artist Gil Kane (no relation to Batman co-creator Bob Kane) on the cover of Alter Ego #10. Roy remarked that even though Kane's face in real life was nowhere near that thin, the drawing by the late Marie Severin (1929-2018) was unmistakably that of him.

It was when I handed Roy my copy of Alter Ego #11 that things got... interesting.

The cover of that issue featured yet another Marie Severin caricature, a spot-on sketch of legendary artist Bill Everett, creator of (among many other characters) Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

Severin's original sketch (which follows) was redrawn slightly and “framed” by several examples of Everett's own characters, as were drawn by Bill for Alter Ego's long-awaited issue #11.

Roy took the book from me, but before he even signed it, he turned to the young guy seated on his right (Roy's friend and manager/agent John Cimino), and said, “This is the one I don't have.”

I immediately – immediately – said, “You can have that one.”

At first, Roy's attitude was something along the lines of how he didn't want to take my book away from me... but I wasn't having any of that.

Then he offered to buy it from me, and asked how much I wanted for it. I thought Okay, wiseguy, and calmly said “Three thousand dollars.” He knew I was joking, of course, but his eyes grew wide and he rapidly thrust the book back toward me like it was a poisonous snake.

Please keep in mind that this was/is not a rare and/or pricey collectible. A search on eBay will produce up to a dozen copies for auction at prices varying between five and twenty dollars. So it's not like Roy couldn't have found one if he'd made the effort himself. But he hadn't, for whatever reason.

And that was the point.

I told him I didn't want any money from him, and I tried to think of a way to tell him that after having enjoyed his writing for fifty-three years, it would thrill me no end to be able to repay him in even the tiniest of ways. I didn't actually say that, because I realized how corny it would sound even before I'd assembled all the words in my mind.

Finally, Roy told me about a two-volume set of trade paperbacks collecting the “best of” Alter Ego #1-11. These volumes went for about twenty bucks apiece. Roy offered to trade both of those books for my Alter Ego #11. That, I agreed to!

Roy asked for my mailing address, so I wrote it on the front cover of Alter Ego #11, and...

No. Come on now. You know I didn't do that.

I wrote it on a piece of cardboard handed to me by John Cimino. (John, by the way, writes a blog entitled Hero Envy -- The Blog Adventures. And that's far from all he does!)

John Cimino and Roy Thomas. (Photo NOT taken at Terrificon.)

But just to be safe, since he was afraid he might lose my address, Roy handed me his personal business card. I'd have scanned that for this post, but I would have had to redact almost all of it. His home address. His email address. His phone number.

Looking at that card in my hand, the eight-year-old comic fan deep inside of me felt like I felt the day I spoke with Jack Kirby on the telephone.

Or the day I visited Dick Ayers at his home. (I'll tell you about that someday soon.)

I received the two books in less than a week.

Both were signed "Thanks + Best Wishes -- Roy Thomas 2018."

In spite of suddenly having all of this contact info for Roy, I resolved not to make a pest of myself, and, seeing that I'm not eight years old... I haven't. Roy and I have exchanged a handful of emails on several subjects since then, and there is one bit of cool news which I'd dearly love to share with all of you, but I can't... yet.

Anyway, it wasn't until after I left Roy's waiting line that it even occurred to me that while I was doing all this chatting, negotiating, and all-around schmoozing there were probably a slew of people behind me wondering why the hell this white-haired bearded dude dressed in black was spending so much time talking to Roy Thomas. And usually, I sympathize with such people and try to make my own "business" brief.

But this time?

F*** 'em.

Thanks for your time, fellow babies.

P.S. ~~ COMING SOON! (Watch for it!) A Re-Posting of One of the Best (and Longest) Stories I Ever Posted on This Blog!
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