Todd Klein recently posted a wonderful report about a visit to DC Comics in the ’60s, which included a floor plan of the company’s offices at 575 Lexington Avenue, and made me realize—Hey! I have a map of Marvel’s 575 Madison Avenue offices from the ’70s.
A map unseen for more than 35 years.
And mine was drawn by Mirthful Marie Severin!
I can’t say for sure exactly when this map was sketched, but it was obviously begun when Roy Thomas was still Editor-in-Chief (since his name is visibly crossed out), but finished before Len Wein resigned and ceded the position to Marv Wolfman, which to me places it somewhere between late 1974 and early 1975.
This map was created to figure out where to put all the warm bodies, and not as a guide to the famous cover Marie drew around a year later for FOOM #16 (December 1976).
Looking at the scribbling on Marie’s map, you might be wondering … who’s The Jap? And who’s The Turk? And what’s Marie doing calling people The Jap and The Turk?
Well, The Jap was Morrie Kuramoto, seen below center in a page from the 1975 Marvel Comics Convention program book.
And if you think it was politically incorrect for Marie to refer to Morrie as such in those (or any other) days, I’ll add that no one at Marvel had a monopoly on politically incorrect humor. Each Pearl Harbor Day (holidays, I should point out, which were much closer to the actual event than they are now), Morrie would come to work wearing a leather aviator’s cap. And during the workday, while sitting at his drawing board, he’d toss paper airplanes at his coworkers and anyone else who happened to pass by.
And while doing so, he would, of course, shout “Banzai!”
Morrie, who was also jokingly known as “The Ancient One,” because he had worked at the company for so long, wouldn’t have minded at all.
As for The Turk, I can’t say 100% for sure, but I believe that referred to then assistant production manager Danny Crespi. I’m saying so more because he sat in the spot on the floorplan where that name is written rather than because I remember any of us calling him that. After all, he wasn’t Turkish—he was a Sephardic Jew!
Did Marie nickname him that because he looked Turkish? I have no idea. Judge for yourself—that’s him up above under Morrie.
As for the years I spent sitting where my name is scribbled on Marie’s map—they were wonderful. And the most important reason of all is the name you see scribbled next to my own.