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

Thanks to a Tumblr post, I was reminded of a Marvel Bullpen moment I’d completely forgotten. The following response apparently appeared in answer to a reader’s letter about Wolverine’s height, and was published in X-Men #103 (cover dated February 1977).


Did we really say those things? I’m no longer sure.

If we didn’t say those things, then who put those words in our mouths? I’m no longer sure of that either.

It was probably Chris Claremont, as he was writing X-Men at the time, and the writer of a book always got first shot at putting together that title’s letters column unless there was a compelling reason against it. But all this time later, I don’t feel comfortable guaranteeing it was him and not one of the Assistant Editors.

I guess I could always track down Chris and see whether his memory is any better than mine …

06 October 2012 @ 09:57 pm

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

I was tweeting last night about Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, which I’m currently about 75% of the way through (more on that later), and in response to my statement that I was glad I’d left Marvel before things got truly ugly there, I was asked whether I’d moved on before or during the Jim Shooter era.

Well, not only was I there during the beginnings of the Shooter era, but he and I actually once fell from the sky together!

In case you didn’t know that, check out this sidebar I wrote that appeared in the December 1976 issue of Marvel’s fan magazine FOOM.

And since the pics accompanying the article are quite fuzzy thanks to FOOM‘s far from state-of-the-art printing process, here are some of the original pics to show how insane (and young) we once were.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

16 June 2011 @ 08:37 am

Former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter posted an essay the other day which makes it sound as if, once Stan Lee no longer had the time to oversee how others were playing with his toys, no other editor-in-chief paid much attention to what was going in any books except for those he wrote himself until Jim arrived to take the reins and put things right. Shooter repeated this line of thought in a second essay, writing that “any outside observer would have guessed that [Production Manager John Verpoorten] was the boss, at least during the time that Len, Marv, Gerry and Archie were Editors in Chief.”

As someone who was hired when Roy Thomas was in charge, and who continued on staff at Marvel under Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Gerry Conway, and Archie Goodwin, I feel called upon to defend my former bosses and say—not so! Verpoorten, though important, was not acting as de facto editor-in-chief, making all art assignments for editors who were supposedly uncaring of what was going on in the rest of the titles. While Verpoorten made sure that Vinnie Colletta, who hit his deadlines, got more assignments than the rest of us would have liked, he wasn’t running the show. I witnessed this on a daily basis, as editors held plotting sessions with writers, were deeply involved in art assignments, and pushed all freelancers to be accountable.

In lieu of an elaborate rebuttal right now, here are a few memos to let you see that even though once in a while a slip-up might let a superhero do something preposterous like drag Manhattan Island, not only did the editors who came before Jim try to make the trains run on time (something Jim was admittedly very good at), but they also paid attention to what the heck was happening on those trains.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.

07 March 2011 @ 10:03 pm

Back on September 12, 2009, I hinted at an April 20, 1976 memo from Sol Brodsky that somehow related to Jim Shooter. And ever since then, every couple of months, Sean Howe, the guy who’s writing that history of Marvel in the ’70s, has emailed to tell me that he really wants to see that memo. So I figure it’s time I put him out of his misery.

But I’m afraid that for most of you, the memo (I almost typed “email,” which shows how much difficulty I have in looking back so far into the past) will be anticlimactic. Because there won’t seem to be anything intriguing about it at all. For some small number of you, though, it will open a mystery for which I have no answer.

As you can see, Sol’s memo states that Jim had resigned his position as Associate Editor, and that his last day would be May 6, 1976.

But (you might be asking yourself) how can Shooter be quitting? Didn’t he hang around to later take over as Editor-in-Chief in 1978?

Why yes. Yes, he did.

And if you are one of the few who knew that factoid, you probably wish I could explain the meaning of this memo. Well, I can’t. Too much time has passed.

Did Jim quit, take a hiatus from his employment at Marvel, and later return to eventually ascend to the position of Editor-in-Chief? Or did he instead just threaten to quit for some forgotten personal or political reason and get talked out of it, so there was no break at all? I seem to recall the latter, but my memory is so hazy it could just as easily have been the former.

And so I hand this memo over to the care of the corps of truly dedicated Marvel historians out there to figure out what it truly means.

Which may just mean I’m handing it over to Sean and Sean alone. But that’s OK. As I’ve said before, the truth wants to be free.

Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.


The Champions was a Marvel Comics supergroup of the mid-’70s created by Tony Isabella which starred Hercules, Ghost Rider, the Black Widow, Angel, and Iceman. Except for a fill-in issue by Chris Claremont, and one scripting assist by Bill Mantlo, Tony handled the first seven issues.

But with The Champions #8, the October 1976 issue (cover below), Bill took over the title and wrote the book until it was cancelled with #17, the January 1978 issue.

But before he began, he laid out his plans for the book in a two-page memo to Gerry Conway and Jim Shooter. Would you like to be able to compare his plans for the group with what actually happened? Well, thanks to my Marvel memo packrat ways, you can. Because here’s that memo!

I’ll leave it up to someone else to check the memo against the books themselves and provide a point by point comparison.

Why am I sharing this with you now? For those who haven’t seen my other findings from the vault (and by vault I mean the couple of file folders I’ve been lugging around for more than three decades)—

First, Sean Howe, editor of the fascinating Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers!, is working on a history of Marvel in the ’70s, and I’m trying to make sure he has all the info he needs to make it the best possible book it can be. And since I’m going to the effort of scanning these memos and letting him see them, I figure you should get a look at them, too.

But also—when Len Wein suffered a house fire a few years back, which damaged not only his comic book and original art collections but also many historical documents about the secret history of the business, I started to think … what if my house burned down, and it turned out I had the only copies of some of these memos? So I decided to get as many of them online as I could, because the info doesn’t just belong to me, it belongs to everybody who loves comics.

So when you see other posts like this from me in the future … now you’ll know why.

Originally published at Scott Edelman. You can comment here or there.