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20 December 2014 @ 10:45 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Sam Maronie continues to be my personal time machine. After turning up old cosplay photos of me bare-chested and wielding a broadsword, he’s now shared something far more horrifying.

I mean, would you take a look at that shirt!


I completely understand why Don Perlin, the artist for my Captain Midnight Action Book for Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, can be seen averting his eyes.

This pic is from the 1975 Mighty Marvel Comic Convention. I was 20 years old. Remind me to tell you sometime how a 20-year-old kid ended up in charge of programming and putting together the program book for Marvel’s first convention …


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

While serving myself some of Todd Supple’s turkey meatballs during Sunday’s Writers Group From Hell holiday party, I made the joke that “you get no bread with one meatball” and was met with nothing but blank stares. I’d thought that if any group would catch my reference to a 1944 Tin Pan Alley song, it’d be that one. But no!

So I pulled out my iPhone and sought out the version I knew best (by Josh White) and while doing so found something better—this comic interpretation by Candy Candido, delivered in three different voices, that gave me a big, goofy smile.

Who was this guy? And why had I never seen a performance of his before?

It turns out I had, but hadn’t known it. And you’ve probably experienced Candy Candido, too, whether you knew it or not.

How?Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

When I was a kid, ads in comic books were all Sea Monkeys and X-Ray Specs and P. F. Flyers, which says a lot about who the target market was considered to be at the time. But a couple of decades before that, the ads in comics were aimed at an audience a little bit older.

Check out the inside front cover from the December 1945 issue of Airboy Comics. Doesn’t seem as if the same readers who’d want to order 200 plastic World War II soldiers would need insurance paying $1,000 in the event of “accidental loss of life, limbs, or entire sight.”


But maybe that’s just me …

01 December 2014 @ 02:09 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

My father, Barney Edelman, should have turned 82 today. But instead, I lost him on January 27, 2009, when he was only 76. I’m missing him, and one of the ways I’m dealing with that is by communing with his artwork. Luckily, he left behind a lot of it.

I’ve shared many of Dad’s paintings with you before, and here he is with four more, a quadriptych of birds he painted to fill a large wall in our new home.


He was an artist his entire life, and his output consisted of far more than the oil paintings I’ve previously posted. Earlier this year, I brought home more than 100 pieces of his artwork, and this morning I looked through them again. Here are just a few.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Friday, I finished a new story—my sixth of the year, so yay, me!—and sent it off to market.

Yesterday, I reread the full manuscript of a novel of mine—one that three major publishers sat on for a combined nine years—in order to decide whether it was worth revisiting.

And today, having come to the conclusion that, yes, there is enough good and true and real in for me not to abandon it, I’ll begin the work of bringing it up to my 2014 standards. (Or trying to anyway.)

What do I mean by that?

I’ll let Kenneth Koch explain.

While in the basement looking for an electronic file of the piece so I won’t have to re-key in every word before beginning revisions, I came across my copy of one of my favorite poems, a poem which, among other things, will show why I’ve vacillated for so long about whether or not I should try marketing this work again.

It’s Koch’s “The Art of Poetry,” which to me rings true about all writing, not just poetry, and you can read the whole thing over at the Poetry Foundation site. I urge you to do just that, but the relevant section explaining my hesitation is this:Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

21 November 2014 @ 03:36 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I learned of Mike Nichols’ death yesterday, which set me to thinking of my second cousin, the actor Herb Edelman. (At least I think he’s my second cousin. Perhaps he’s my first cousin once removed. I’m not entirely sure how genealogists parse these relationships. He was my father’s father’s brother’s son, if that makes things any clearer. Probably not.)

The reason thinking of Nichols had me thinking of Herb is because it was their accidental meeting that got my cousin into the acting business. Per Wikipedia, after getting out of the Army, Herb “enrolled in Brooklyn College as a Theater student, but eventually dropped out. He later worked as a hotel manager and as a taxicab driver. One of his fares was director Mike Nichols, who in 1963 cast Edelman in his breakthrough Broadway role, as the bewildered telephone repairman in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park.”

An interesting factoid. But you might ask, where’s the serendipity?

Here’s the serendipity.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

17 November 2014 @ 10:28 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

When it came time to choose where I’d eat during the recent World Fantasy Convention—and you know me, I hate to waste a meal on a hotel restaurant—my number one choice was Rose’s Luxury, judged by Bon Appétit as 2014’s best new restaurant in America. Getting the chance to eat there represented a different sort of challenge than most popular restaurants I’ve been to, which have involved using my Internet-fu to snag a table the instant reservations for the date I needed became available online.

Rose’s Luxury, however, doesn’t take reservations. Which results in the kind of wait one Yelp reviewer recently experienced: “We waited in line approximately 1h45m before putting our name down. After that was another 2h30m wait to get a table.” And another, who waited even longer: “I waited about 5 hours for a table on a Saturday night, starting from lining up outside at 4:30 to being seated around 10:00pm.”

There seemed to be only one way to avoid that kind of wait—arrive around 90 minutes before the restaurant opens, guaranteeing you’ll be part of the first seating. That will keep wait time to a minimum. I was up for standing outside the restaurant before it opened—hey, I had no problem getting to Franklin BBQ three hours before it opened, so 90 minutes was nothing to me—but would I find others foodies at WFC who’d think the experience worth the wait?

I did!


Here I am with Rajan Khanna, Jenn Reese, Liz Argall, Greg van Eekhout, and Barry Goldblatt after we’d ordered and eaten EVERY FREAKING DISH on the menu that night.

But let’s go back in time, and see how the night began …Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

If you worked at Marvel or DC in the mid-’70s, and were not lucky enough to have connected with a counterpart at your competitor who was willing to trade you a weekly package of all of their company’s comics for those published by your own (as I sadly was not), you surely ended up at Ed Summer’s Supersnipe Comic Book Emporium.


I can’t count the times someone in the Bullpen would cry out, “I’m heading up to Supersnipe” as the day wound down, and we’d march en masse from 575 Madison Avenue to 84th Street and Second Avenue to squeeze into the tiny store (seen above in an image borrowed from Sean Howe’s blog) that was the comics shop of the day. And when I say tiny, I mean it. In my memory, no more than half a dozen people could squeeze inside at a time, as most of the narrow store was behind the counter.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

12 November 2014 @ 10:49 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Of all the photos I took during last weekend’s World Fantasy Convention, I’m proudest of this one, snapped of Sofia Samatar after she took the stage during Sunday’s banquet to accept the Best Novel Award for A Stranger in Olondria.

Sofia SamatarWFC2014

I was proud because the dramatically posed image came out so crisp and clear, even though I was sitting way in the back, in the last row of tables, and using a zoom with no flash, since one wouldn’t have worked at that distance anyway.

But more importantly, I’m proud of Sofia, because she used her time onstage to address the elephant in the room that is the H. P. Lovecraft trophy. (Here’s what she later had to say about the moment.) I was extremely upset there was no panel at the convention devoted to that topic, so after I saw the convention program, and noted the absence of one, I tweeted my disappointment.

When I learned via the official WFC Twitter feed that the programming committee had been instructed by the board not to have a panel, I was even more upset.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Well, it’s that time again! October’s over, so I’m once more gathering together the dreams I shared on Twitter to see what poetry can be made of them when they’re assembled in one place.

Last month, my subconscious delivered me Jesse Pinkman, Harlan Ellison, Lena Dunham, Robert Downey, Jr., and more.

Dip into my brain below …

October 2014

I dreamt I was one of the human survivors on a boat cruising through the zombie apocalypse. No idea of our plans or where we were headed. Oct 31

I dreamt I was zooming down the highway when a bicyclist suddenly appeared in my lane. She grew slower and slower, but I couldn’t pass her. Oct 27

I dreamt that the state was auctioning off parts of my land without informing me, and I was running around trying to stop it from happening. Oct 27

I dreamt I was rushing around the house packing for a trip to North Korea, and realized my flight was only two hours away, so I was screwed. Oct 27

I dreamt I shared ukulele sheet music with a friend, and as I touched each page, a video popped up. Looking forward to paper doing that IRL! Oct 26

I dreamt I hung out with Jesse Pinkman, and we wanted KFC, so we stole a car and robbed people leaving a KFC. But we only took their KFC. Oct 26

I dreamt I moved back to NYC, and immediately regretted it. I felt claustophobic as I wandered the streets. Would I ever see the sun again? Oct 25

I dreamt I bumped into Harlan Ellison, who was immediately mad at me for not sending him a Get Well card. I apologized, but it didn’t help. Oct 25

I lost a dream because I no longer know what this middle-of-the-night note means: SO THERE BE PRO BALL Oct 24

I dreamt I was very carefully boxing up a complete run of Science Fiction Age magazine and preparing to ship it off to Paul Di Filippo. Oct 24Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

This year’s World Fantasy Convention starts Thursday in Crystal City, Virginia, but before it begins, why not take a look who we used to be? Instagram may not have existed a decade ago, but that didn’t stop me from taking eight photos I snapped back in 2004 and treating them as if it had.

Gordon van Gelder


Here’s Gordon grimacing. At least I thought it was a grimace. He told me he preferred to think of it as a sneer.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I’ve been reading J. Redding Ware’s 1909 book Passing English of the Victorian Era, a collection of words and phrases once used—some by many, some only by a few—during the period of the book’s title. It’s so fascinating, it’s hard to stop reading.


Now that I’ve made my way through the letter C, here are the ones that tickled me so far.

Acknowledge the Corn (American English)

Adroit confession of minor offence to intensify the denial of the major offence: e.g., “Sir, I believe you are after my wife—and you certainly pocketed my meerschaum last Sunday evening at 10.30.” To which the answer might be: “Well, I acknowledge the corn—I took the pipe by incident, so to speak; but as to Mrs H., I’m as innocent as the skipping lamb.” Said to arise from an ordinary horse-lifting case in the West of U.S.A. The victim was accused of stealing four horses from one point and four feeds of corn from another for the said four horses. “I acknowledge the corn,” said the sufferer—but legend says he was lynched in spite of the admission.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

01 November 2014 @ 10:33 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

We’ve eaten at Bryan Voltaggio’s Frederick restaurant Volt multiple times, both in the Main Dining Room and the Chef’s Dining Room. But somehow, we’ve never been able to snag reservations at Table 21, the 8-seat counter which wraps around the open kitchen, where you’re served a tasting menu comprised of (what else?) twenty-one courses. Reservations become available at 9:00 a.m. exactly one month in advance , and I guess I just never jumped quickly enough for the days I was seeking.

But last week, serendipity worked in my favor. Old friends who’d long been drooling over my various Volt reports were visiting from out of town, and I’d gotten reservations for us in the Chef’s Dining Room. But the day before, I received a cell from Volt asking whether we might like to move to Table 21, as there were suddenly four available seats.

Who could say no to that?


And so last Thursday, the four of us headed over to Maryland to join four strangers (who due to the intimate nature of the seating would soon become friends) around the kitchen as Chef de Cuisine Scott Muns (recently of Rose’s Luxury) led his team to serve up a delicious and inventive meal.

And so it began …Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Last weekend, I accompanied Irene to the New Jersey Romance Writers conference, but I didn’t hang around there with her. All of my fun occurred outside of New Jersey. And serendipitously, each of the three days of my trip delivered a comics-related delight.

On Friday, I headed to the Comics at Columbia exhibit, which was held in the Butler Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Highlights for me included a George Herriman Archy and Mehitabel illustration, a nostalgia-inducing photo of Chris Claremont taken around the time I would have met him in the ’70s, Jerry Robinson’s sketch of Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne made during class in 1940 when he was supposed to have been taking notes, and this 1970 letter in which Joe Shuster thought he and Jerry Siegel were “very close” to settling the Superman lawsuit.


That last one made me a little sad.

The Columbia University exhibit will continue through January 23, 2015 and is well worth your time. It’s one of the better comics exhibits I’ve seen.

Saturday, I visited the Society of Illustrators to catch an exhibit on Dick Dillin, who was the primary Justice League of America artist of my youth. Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

27 October 2014 @ 03:41 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Unlike Mark Evanier, I never met Marcia Strassman, who portrayed Julie Kotter, the wife of Gabe Kaplan’s character on Welcome Back, Kotter. Strangely, though, I felt as if I had, because I wrote two issues of the DC Comics series based on that TV show, and so got paid to put words into the mouth of an actress who never actually got to speak them.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I believe I was given the chance to script that comic because I was a Sweathog. (Don’t believe me? Just listen to what I sounded like back then.) Which meant that I had far more in common with guys from Brooklyn than those who would marry them after they grew up. (Or, to put it more accurately, after they didn’t grow up.) But still, I did my best to channel the character she embodied.

In my first issue, that consisted primarily of her reacting to the antics of those around her …


… which while accurate to the show, was also what, according to Evanier, had her dissatisfied with it.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

25 October 2014 @ 09:11 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Remember the Sansaire immersion circulator I bought earlier this year, which I used to prepare the best steak I ever cooked? I loved all the food it helped me sous vide, but there was one relevant issue which prevented 100% satisfaction.

Food cooked via that method ends up pale and unappetizing on the outside, and requires searing to develop a nice crust. I was using a hot pan to achieve this, but in addition to that being messy, not all food is flat, so it’s difficult to reach all the nooks and crannies of a chuck roast, for example.

Something more was needed. That something is my new toy, the Searzall.


The Searzall, which I’d backed on Kickstarter, is a cone that attaches to a blow torch head, basically turning it into a radiant broiler, achieving much higher temperatures than can be reached in a home oven broiler. Additionally, the Searzall is meant to protect the meat from what’s known as “torch taste” which can sometimes occur with an open torch flame. For both of those reasons, I signed on for a Searzall as soon as I heard of it.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

25 October 2014 @ 04:31 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

It’s been two weeks since Capclave, which means I’m violating Edelman’s First Rule of Convention Reporting by waiting this long to tell you about my experience. You remember the rule, don’t you? It’s that all convention reporting has to take place while a con is still happening, not merely after the fact, because it’s not enough that I be having a wonderful time—you’ve got to know that I’m having a wonderful time and be grumbling because you’re not with me having a wonderful time, too.

But bandwidth around here being what it is, I had to wait until the following weekend while I was traveling to upload my Capclave videos, and then we had friends visiting this week who only just left, which means it’s a rule that in this instance had to be broken.

Anyway, here’s what the weekend of October 10th through the 12th was like for me …

On Friday, my first panel was at 4:00 p.m.—”The League of Substitute Heroes and the Inferior Five”—during which we were to talk about the B- and C-level superheroes we loved, and I arrived about a half an hour before it was to begin. The ones I reminisced about the most were The Prankster, a one-shot back-up feature from Charlton with overtones of Harlan Ellison’s “”Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman,” and Brother Power the Geek, about a mannequin brought to life and given superpowers after being struck by lighting, who then lives among hippies. But I also talked up Matter-Eater Lad as well, a hero after my gastronomic heart.

My next panel wasn’t to be until 9:00 p.m.—”Ending Stories – Bang or Whimper?”—and you’d think that would leave me enough time for dinner. But instead, dinner didn’t leave me enough time for my panel! I went with friends to a nearby restaurant where the service was so slow that a meal which should have taken less than two hours took more than three. And since I was a passenger for this outing, rather than a driver, it meant I didn’t arrive back at Capclave until 15 minutes before that panel was to end. Thanks to Twitter, I was able to send out an alert using the Capclave hashtag that I wouldn’t be joining the panel, but still, I felt bad. I guess I learned my lesson—no more dinners at the Golden Bull on Friday nights!

My final panel that day was at 11:00 p.m.—”Why Do We Like Being Scared?” (And no, it’s not the latest panel I’ve ever done. Sometimes I’ve pontificated past midnight.) There was much talk of zombies. I also put out there that it might be my luck in having had a happy, untraumatized childhood which allows for me to be scared without being triggered. It’s a privilege I’ll have to consider in more depth later.

A little past midnight, I headed home. I rarely stay overnight at local cons such as Capclave and Balticon, preferring to pay for hotels only when the event isn’t drivable, even though that can lead to commutes of anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours. So I arrived home around two in the morning, and then by 10:30 a.m. Saturday, I was back on the road again …Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

20 October 2014 @ 10:36 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

While on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn yesterday heading for a visit with Mirthful Marie Severin (about which more later), traffic came to a standstill. Not really a surprise on the Belt Parkway, but in this case, the reason was.

Up ahead, we could see a police car’s flashing lights, and on the other side of the vehicle, motorcyclists circling, with nothing but clear road beyond them. After 5-10 minutes of blockage, the motorcycles moved on, the police car shut its lights, and we were free to continue.

Then, one exit down the road, it happened all over again!

What was this about? I had no idea, but since since my wife was driving, I was free to search Twitter to see whether anyone had tweeted what was going on. I never did find out whether it was some strange police exercise, a biker protest, or perhaps even (yes, my mind went there) the scattering of a dead friend’s ashes.

After another 5-10 minutes, they took off, and we weren’t stopped again. (At least, not by that. After all, it is the Belt Parkway.) I never did find out had happened, but I did discover that the collected tweets about Belt Parkway paint a pretty noirish picture … one Irene classified as existential angst.

If you’ve never driven the Belt, this will give you some idea what it’s like. And if you have … well … these ought to bring back some pretty crappy memories.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

10 October 2014 @ 10:53 am

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Well, here it is, the second week of October, and I still have one final meal to tell you about from my London trip, a restaurant I visited all the way back during the second week of August. What’s up with that?

One reason is that the food at St. John Bread and Wine was just that good. The fact life threw so much at me during the past two months that I was delayed in getting to this shouldn’t prevent me from sharing the experience with you.

But the other reason to write this up even after all that time has passed is to once more praise the serendipitous power of Twitter.

Lisa Gemino, whom I’d somehow managed never to meet before even though we both have many years of parallel convention-going, reached out to me on Twitter (my foodie frenzy had caught her eye, I guess) to ask if I wanted to join her and her merry band of eaters for a trip to St. John, the Fergus Henderson restaurant known for its nose-to-tail menu. And I thought … why not?

It’s far too easy in our field to stick with the known, create cliques, insulate ourselves among our friends, and never make new ones. So I’ve often broken bread with total strangers at conventions. Though if we’ve both come to the same place out of our shared love of science fiction or fantasy or horror (depending on the con), are we really strangers?

So the Friday of Loncon3, nine of us headed to St. John Bread and Wine. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to the originally planned St. John due to a mix-up—that entire restaurant was closed for a private party, and our reservation had been taken in error.

The dish I’d earlier seen on the menu that I was lusting after the most was ox cheek pie—a dish which was unfortunately being crossed out on the chalkboard just as our server reached us, because another party had moments before ordered the last one!

But don’t worry. What we had was amazing.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Back when I worked for Marvel Comics in the ’70s, the Dreaded Deadline Doom was (to steal a phrase Stan Lee often used in comics) wreaking havoc. Late writers and artists were resulting in thousands of dollars in penalty fees from the printer. And it was no fun for readers either, who wanted their comics on time. The only ones who benefited were beginning writers like me, who thanks to Marvel’s attempts to prevent those delays from messing up publishing schedules got to write fill-ins and back-ups.

That’s how I got to script issues of Master of Kung Fu and Omega the Unknown, as well as countless shorter stories, such as John Romita, Jr.’s first published piece.

But not every story I pitched or plotted made it to the page. Amazingly, there were a few, approved by editors, which were never turned in by the artists, creating their own Dreaded Deadline Doom. You wouldn’t think a new artist would blow a chance to get published by Marvel, but several did.


One pitch, however, meant for a fill-in issue of Marvel Team-Up, never made it to an artist, for it was presumably rejected. I have no memory of the circumstances, and only know that it was submitted on August 14, 1978 because that’s the date written on it.

As it’s the only Marvel method plot in existence for any of my published comics (none of my DC Comics full scripts survive either), I thought it worth sharing here to give some idea of how I worked back then, when I was 23 and still trying to figure out how to write comics. (And just in case it’s not obvious—the images below that I grabbed to break up the text here were not a part of my original proposal.)

And so …

Spider-Man’s Lonely Hearts Club Fans!

SPLASH: Spidey is swinging by the main branch of the New York City Post Office. His patrol is interrupted by a cry for help coming out of an upper window of the building.

THE STORY CONTINUES: Spidey-sense tingling, Spidey swings in the window. From inside we see a costumed goon with a futuristic gun on either side of the window. Spidey, still holding onto the webbing, does a split-kick, knocking each thug back off his feet. Spidey sees no sign of the person he’d heard cry for help just seconds before, and he thinks this odd. Spidey disarms the crooks with webbing and a tug. He grabs an empty mail sack and then, flipping over so that his feet are holding him to the ceiling directly above the two crooks’ heads. he grabs them by the scruff of their necks and stuffs them in the sack as they protest:

“Wait, Spider-Man, you don’t understand— ”

“I only understand that something wacky’s going on here!” says Spidey, as he holds the sack out the upper story window and begins questioning the crooks. Suddenly, from behind Spidey, a dry, cracked, withered, and shaking voice says:

“Stop that right now, y’hear, you young whippersnapper!”Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )