THE UNTOLD STORY

Go ahead, ask a question.   Images are an online-only supplement to the book MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY (plus occasional unrelated arcana )
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"A WILD-RIDE ACCOUNT" —The Hollywood Reporter
"EPIC" —The New York Times
"INDISPENSABLE" —Los Angeles Times
"DEFINITIVE" —The Wall Street Journal
"SCINTILLATING" —Publishers Weekly
"AUTHORITATIVE" —Kirkus Reviews
"GRIPPING" —Rolling Stone
"PRICELESS" —Booklist
"ESSENTIAL" —The Daily Beast
"REVELATORY" —The Miami Herald
"AS FULL OF COLORFUL CHARACTERS, TRAGIC REVERSALS AND UNLIKELY PLOT TWISTS AS ANY BOOK IN THE MARVEL CANON" —Newsday

twitter.com/seanhowe:

    Batman #315, September 1979.

    Batman #315, September 1979.

    — 1 hour ago with 15 notes
    #batman 
    Press release for Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, 1986:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 27, 1986 DARK KNIGHT* RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE Frank Miller continues to break new ground in the comics industry. He revolutionized the comic book when he wrote and illustrated the six issue mini-series RONIN*, published in 193-1984. Now, Frank’s treatment of Batman* in the four issue DARK KNIGHT series will prove equally ground-breaking. “We’re always talking about how important it is to expand the market for comics,” explains DC Comics Vice President-Executive Editor Dick Giordano. “We know comics aren’t just for kids anymore, but it’s difficult to convince people of that.” Miller’s treatment of the Caped Crusader will prove revolutionary for both DC Comics and the comic industry overall. In feature stories schedules to run in upcoming issues of Rolling Stone and Spin, both available nationally and internationally through newsstands and subscription, Frank will discuss DARK KNIGHT and the comics industry. DC Comics plans to advertise the series in both rock music publications. Other national media coverage of the series is pending.  Notes Richard Gehr, editor at Spin, “I think comics and science fiction are once again on the cutting edge of popular culture. They deserve their rightful place in magazines like Spin.” The DARK KNIGHT series of four 48-page issues depicts Batman’s last stand. The story takes place 10 years after Batman has retired, when he’s pushing 50. Circumstances in Gotham City* combine with his personal life to put Bruce Wayne back into action for one final time. The series introduces a new, female Robin*; several classic Batman villains; and Batman paraphrenalia [sic] updated and computerized. Superman* will appear in two of the four issues.  The series will be printed in a deluxe format comparable to the RONIN series. Art Director Richard Bruning describes it as “the best of the traditional format with the advantages of new technologies. DARK KNIGHT is more like a series of comic book-sized graphic novels than a comic book series.” In addition to the national media coverage, DARK KNIGHT will be supported by a four-color retail poster that sells for $4.95 in comic book specialty stores; and a unique three-dimensional 9” x 13” counter display card. A recent innovation for the printing world, the three-dimensional point-of-purchase poster has never been used in the comics industry before.  The DARK KNIGHT series reunited for the first time the penciller/writer, inker, and editor of Marvel Comics Group’s DAREDEVIL: Miller, Klaus Janson, and Denny O’Neil, respectively. The series is colored by Lynn Varley. Each contributor has done his/her best artistic work to date.  DARK KNIGHT #1 ships on February 25, 1986, to comic book specialty stores nationwide. Each issue sells for $2.95. *indicates trademark of DC Comics Inc.

via Mike Sterling

    Press release for Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, 1986:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    January 27, 1986

    DARK KNIGHT* RECEIVES INTERNATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE

    Frank Miller continues to break new ground in the comics industry. He revolutionized the comic book when he wrote and illustrated the six issue mini-series RONIN*, published in 193-1984. Now, Frank’s treatment of Batman* in the four issue DARK KNIGHT series will prove equally ground-breaking.

    “We’re always talking about how important it is to expand the market for comics,” explains DC Comics Vice President-Executive Editor Dick Giordano. “We know comics aren’t just for kids anymore, but it’s difficult to convince people of that.”

    Miller’s treatment of the Caped Crusader will prove revolutionary for both DC Comics and the comic industry overall. In feature stories schedules to run in upcoming issues of Rolling Stone and Spin, both available nationally and internationally through newsstands and subscription, Frank will discuss DARK KNIGHT and the comics industry. DC Comics plans to advertise the series in both rock music publications. Other national media coverage of the series is pending.

    Notes Richard Gehr, editor at Spin, “I think comics and science fiction are once again on the cutting edge of popular culture. They deserve their rightful place in magazines like Spin.”

    The DARK KNIGHT series of four 48-page issues depicts Batman’s last stand. The story takes place 10 years after Batman has retired, when he’s pushing 50. Circumstances in Gotham City* combine with his personal life to put Bruce Wayne back into action for one final time. The series introduces a new, female Robin*; several classic Batman villains; and Batman paraphrenalia
    [sic] updated and computerized. Superman* will appear in two of the four issues.

    The series will be printed in a deluxe format comparable to the RONIN series. Art Director Richard Bruning describes it as “the best of the traditional format with the advantages of new technologies. DARK KNIGHT is more like a series of comic book-sized graphic novels than a comic book series.”

    In addition to the national media coverage, DARK KNIGHT will be supported by a four-color retail poster that sells for $4.95 in comic book specialty stores; and a unique three-dimensional 9” x 13” counter display card. A recent innovation for the printing world, the three-dimensional point-of-purchase poster has never been used in the comics industry before.

    The DARK KNIGHT series reunited for the first time the penciller/writer, inker, and editor of Marvel Comics Group’s DAREDEVIL: Miller, Klaus Janson, and Denny O’Neil, respectively. The series is colored by Lynn Varley. Each contributor has done his/her best artistic work to date.

    DARK KNIGHT #1 ships on February 25, 1986, to comic book specialty stores nationwide. Each issue sells for $2.95.

    *indicates trademark of DC Comics Inc.

    via Mike Sterling

    (Source: seanhowe)

    — 4 hours ago with 52 notes
    #frank miller  #klaus janson  #lynn varley  #batman  #batman: the dark knight returns 

    From the First Page Not As Good As the Cover Department:
    Bodies Are Dust by P.J. Wolfson.

    Elmore Leonard would not approve of this opening.
    Read more about Wolfson here.

    — 1 day ago with 17 notes
    #bodies are dust  #lion books  #p.j. wolfson  #pulp 

    So Who Exactly Are the Guardians of the Galaxy?

    Glad you asked.

    In 2004, Marvel was in the midst of a giant crossover event titled Civil War, and while everyone was distracted with that, a handful of restless creators began to carve out their own corner of the comic publisher’s universe. “A lot of these characters were sort of laying around,” says one former member of the editorial team involved in their resuscitation. “We thought, ‘No one really seems to have a great deal of affection for them, so maybe we can push the Marvel science-fiction universe a little further.’” Whereas a story that involved A-listers like Wolverine or Spider-Man required bureaucratic hurdles, Groot and Rocket Raccoon guaranteed creative leeway. Their efforts culminated a couple of years later, when the characters landed their own big crossover event, called “Annihilation.” It was a breakout hit, and by 2008, the team was formally gathered as the Guardians of the Galaxy. (Even that name was something of a leftover, having once belonged to an earlier abandoned group.)

    Keith Giffen, who co-created Rocket Raccoon in the seventies and then helped reintroduce him in the aughts, says the tone of the comic is a natural match for Hollywood. “It’s the lighthearted, fun, quip-filled, bouncy stuff that fits in pretty well with all the stuff they’re already doing, and going out into space will be a nice change of setting.” And although it would seem a safer bet for Marvel to exploit slightly more established characters—Doctor Strange, say, or Black Panther, or even Iron Fist—the lack of expectation that liberated the creators of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book may be a similar boon for the filmmakers. “Everyone has a firm idea of who and what Spider-Man is,” says the ex-staffer. “If you stray too far from that, people will say, ‘That’s not the Spider-Man that I know,’ and they’re disappointed. Whereas if you throw a bunch of characters like Drax on a movie screen, there are relatively few people who have some idea in their head.”

    And it’s easy to see why. Simply put, these characters are weird. Here’s a quick Guardians guide.

    Groot
    In the late fifties, Marvel Comics had fallen on hard times and laid off nearly its entire staff. In the months before 1961’s The Fantastic Four marked the rebirth of the Marvel superhero, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby turned out a parade of bizarre aliens and monsters that menaced American cities, with names like Monstrom, Krang, and Droom. And then there was Groot, the Monarch of Planet X, a walking and talking tree that consumed fences, cabinets, and barrels. Or, as one member of the panicking populace exclaimed, “A creature of wood, who feeds on wood!” He was primed to become the overlord of all the timber in the galaxy, had a shrewd scientist not thought to breed termites and let them loose on the barky beast. Over the next 45 years, Groot appeared exactly twice.

    Drax the Destroyer
    After the evil alien Thanos — a.k.a. “The Mad Titan,” a death-obsessed, craggy-faced bruiser from one of Saturn’s moons — thought that pipe-smoking, saxophone-playing real-estate agent Arthur Douglas had blown his cover, he aimed a death blast at Douglas’s car, killing him and his wife. Shortly thereafter, Thanos’s estranged father merged Douglas’s spirit with a bunch of earthen rubble to create the green, caped, and very powerful Drax the Destroyer, whose all-consuming mission was to destroy Thanos. Writer-artist Jim Starlin introduced Drax in the pages of Iron Man in 1973; within a month, Stan Lee had him removed from the title. In 1982, Marvel’s editor-in-chief Jim Shooter wrote an issue of The Avengers in which Drax was killed. He remained dead for the rest of the decade, until Starlin revived him in the early nineties. Giffen, who dusted Drax off again in 2004, says that although he increased the character’s intelligence, he remains “too macho for the room,” noting, “I just turned him from a green imbecile into a green douchebag.”

    Gamora
    After Jim Starlin was booted from his Iron Man gig, he continued to chronicle the dastardly actions of Thanos in both Captain Marvel and Warlock. By this time, Starlin was having problems with editorial constrictions, and the 1975story in which the alien assassin Gamora debuted was, in part, a metaphor about Marvel Comics as a purveyor of conveyer-belt junk. Green-skinned and decked out in a fishnet unitard cut down to the navel, Gamora wielded a dagger and called herself “the Deadliest Woman in the Whole Galaxy,” but when she tried to slay her adoptive father Thanos, he killed her instead. She was out of the picture for nearly a decade and a half, until — as he had done for Drax — Starlin raised her from the dead.

    Star-Lord
    Test pilot Hal Jordan became the Green Lantern when a dying alien bestowed a powerful ring upon him. Astronaut Peter Quill, on the other hand, achieved the Star-Lord power a little more dishonestly — by taking out his compatriots with a rifle, hijacking a rocketship, and flying off to visit the godlike Master of the Sun. Steve Englehart, who created the character in 1976, intended to write a series of adventures for the hero — a love story on Venus, for instance, and a war story on Mercury. “I deliberately made him a complete asshole,” Englehart says, “with the idea that I was going to write twelve stories about him as he worked his way through the galaxy, and by the end of it he would have become this great hero.” But Englehart, citing editorial interference, quit Marvel Comics soon after the first issue was published. X-Men writer Chris Claremont experimented with a less prickly version of the character before abandoning it completely in 1981, and 23 years passed before he was revived again. However, the character’s very name still carries the seeds of Englehart’s sharp humor. “Peter Quill — Peter as a reference to a dick, and Quill as a reference to a dick,” he explains. “I wanted him to be completely unlikable.”

    Rocket Racoon
    Originally named Rocky Raccoon, this gun-toting alien from “somewhere near the black holes of Sirius Major” debuted in a 1976 short story by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen in the back of Marvel Preview, a black-and-white magazine-size comic. The legal department was skittish about the prospects of a character named after a Beatles song, so five years later, when he finally returned for a guest appearance in The Incredible Hulk, he was given the sobriquet Rocket Raccoon. Writer Bill Mantlo received considerable amounts of hate mail for that issue (“Are you all regressing to your childhoods?” wrote five enraged University of Maine students), but in the wake of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles phenomenon in 1984, a four-issue Rocket Raccoon miniseries was green-lit. It was hardly a best seller; the character popped up exactly four times over the next two decades.

    This appeared in different form on New York magazine’s Vulture blog in 2012. Marvel Comics: The Untold Story is on sale now.

    — 1 week ago with 199 notes
    #Guardians of the Galaxy  #drax the destroyer  #gamora  #Rocket Raccoon  #star-lord  #groot 
    The Giants of Jazz, Columbia Records, 1963. Illustration by Tomi Ungerer.

    The Giants of Jazz, Columbia Records, 1963. Illustration by Tomi Ungerer.

    — 1 week ago with 16 notes
    #tomi ungerer  #dave brubeck  #jimmy guiffre  #thelonius monk  #bud powell  #chico hamilton  #miles davis 
    Jerry Garcia and daughter, 1964.

    Jerry Garcia and daughter, 1964.

    — 1 week ago with 119 notes
    #jerry garcia  #grateful dead 

    From Glow, Rick James’ forthcoming (posthumous) autobiography:

    I’m having these crazy dreams in jail. The dreams are so vivid—so wildly creative—that I know God is in charge of my imagination. I couldn’t dream up this shit without God. God has to be the author of my dreams. In one dream, I’m with Miles Davis. We’re dressed like African princes. Our robes are blue and gold. Miles is singing and I’m playing trumpet. Black angels are surrounding us. We’re bathed in sunlight. We’re on top of the Empire State Building and everyone in the city of New York can hear us. The people are assembled on the street; they’re hanging out their windows and waving flags from office buildings. Helicopters are flying over us, but our music is so powerful that we drown out all noise. Our music is some symphony that has the angels dancing in the sky.

    “Didn’t know you could play jazz so good,” Miles says to me.

    “Didn’t know you could sing so funky,” I say to him.

    The music is so beautiful I start crying through Miles’s horn.

    Someone says, “The hospitals are clearing out. The patients are healed.”

    Someone else says, “The churches are clearing. The congregations are in the streets.”

    “I told you,” says Miles. “I told you we could do it.”

    When I put the trumpet to my lips again, the horn turns into a megaphone. When I start to speak, I hear the voice of my mother.

    “My son has the answer,” she says. “Miles gave him the answer. Listen to my son.”

    I turn to Miles, who rarely smiles, and see that he is smiling.

    When I wake up from this dream, I am smiling.

    But I’m still in jail.


    — 1 week ago with 13 notes
    #rick james 
    "Brooklyn’s Comic Artists" at the Brooklyn Museum, 1974:
A Community Gallery Exhibition of the work of 13 Brooklyn professionals, Brooklyn’s Comic Book Artists includes original drawings and layouts by the creators of such popular comic books as “Batman” (Carmine Infantino), “Green Lantern” and “Spiderman” (Gil Kane), “Captain America” and “Fantastic Four” (Jack Kirby), “Little Anny Fanny” (Harvey Kurtzman), “Richie Rich” (Dom Sileo), and “Flash Gordon” (Al Williamson). Other comic books represented are “Deadman” (Neal Adams), “The Spirit” (Will Eisner), “Tommy Tomorrow” (Lee Elias) , “Archie” (Victor Gorelick) “Tarzan” (Joe Kubert), “El Diablo” (Gray Morrow) and “Creepy Comics” (Angelo Torres). A photographic essay explains the process of comic book production from conception to newsstand delivery. Organized by Phil Seuling, a Brooklyn high school teacher and founder of the annual New York City Comic Art Convention, the exhibition was installed by Richard Waller, Coordinator of the Community Gallery, with the aid of a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

    "Brooklyn’s Comic Artists" at the Brooklyn Museum, 1974:

    A Community Gallery Exhibition of the work of 13 Brooklyn professionals, Brooklyn’s Comic Book Artists includes original drawings and layouts by the creators of such popular comic books as “Batman” (Carmine Infantino), “Green Lantern” and “Spiderman” (Gil Kane), “Captain America” and “Fantastic Four” (Jack Kirby), “Little Anny Fanny” (Harvey Kurtzman), “Richie Rich” (Dom Sileo), and “Flash Gordon” (Al Williamson). Other comic books represented are “Deadman” (Neal Adams), “The Spirit” (Will Eisner), “Tommy Tomorrow” (Lee Elias) , “Archie” (Victor Gorelick) “Tarzan” (Joe Kubert), “El Diablo” (Gray Morrow) and “Creepy Comics” (Angelo Torres). A photographic essay explains the process of comic book production from conception to newsstand delivery. Organized by Phil Seuling, a Brooklyn high school teacher and founder of the annual New York City Comic Art Convention, the exhibition was installed by Richard Waller, Coordinator of the Community Gallery, with the aid of a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

    — 1 week ago with 12 notes
    #brooklyn museum  #carmine infantino  #gil kane  #steve ditko  #jack kirby  #harvey kurtzman  #dom sileo  #al williamson  #will eisner  #lee elias  #victor gorelick  #joe kubert  #gray morrow  #angelo torres  #phil seuling 
    Frank Miller’s 1997 Eisner Awards keynote speech, as printed in The Comics Journal.

    Frank Miller’s 1997 Eisner Awards keynote speech, as printed in The Comics Journal.

    — 2 weeks ago with 24 notes
    #frank miller  #will eisner  #speeches  #tcj 
    boomerstarkiller67:

Original art by Jim Starlin (1973)

“I was just as crazy as everybody else post-Watergate, post-Vietnam,” said Starlin, whose hobbies included motorcycles, chess, and lysergic acid diethylamide–25. “Each one of those stories was me taking that stuff that had gone before and trying to put my personal slant on it. Mar-Vell was a warrior who decided he was going to become a god, and that’s where his trip was.” In the pages of Captain Marvel, existence itself might be altered several times in the course of an issue. “There is a moment of change, then reality becomes a thing of the past!” howls the evil ruler Thanos, before everything morphs into funhouse-mirror images. His sworn enemy Drax responds: “My mind and my soul are one—my soul—an immortal intangible, nothing and everything! That which cannot die cannot be enslaved, for only with fear is servitude rendered!” On the following page, Drax’s shifting realities are represented by thirty-five panels of warped faces, skulls, eyes, stars, and lizards. Captain Marvel had practically become a black-light poster with dialogue. Its sales kept increasing. Soon Starlin was opening his fan mail and finding complimentary joints sent by grateful, mind-blown readers.—Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

    boomerstarkiller67:

    Original art by Jim Starlin (1973)

    “I was just as crazy as everybody else post-Watergate, post-Vietnam,” said Starlin, whose hobbies included motorcycles, chess, and lysergic acid diethylamide–25. “Each one of those stories was me taking that stuff that had gone before and trying to put my personal slant on it. Mar-Vell was a warrior who decided he was going to become a god, and that’s where his trip was.” In the pages of Captain Marvel, existence itself might be altered several times in the course of an issue. “There is a moment of change, then reality becomes a thing of the past!” howls the evil ruler Thanos, before everything morphs into funhouse-mirror images. His sworn enemy Drax responds: “My mind and my soul are one—my soul—an immortal intangible, nothing and everything! That which cannot die cannot be enslaved, for only with fear is servitude rendered!” On the following page, Drax’s shifting realities are represented by thirty-five panels of warped faces, skulls, eyes, stars, and lizards. Captain Marvel had practically become a black-light poster with dialogue. Its sales kept increasing. Soon Starlin was opening his fan mail and finding complimentary joints sent by grateful, mind-blown readers.

    Marvel Comics: The Untold Story

    — 2 weeks ago with 270 notes
    #jim starlin  #drax the destroyer  #captain marvel  #excerpts 
    Stan Lee: The Beard Years.From The Duke Chronicle, February 28, 1969.

    Stan Lee: The Beard Years.

    From The Duke Chronicle, February 28, 1969.

    — 2 weeks ago with 134 notes
    #stan lee  #photos 
    How Kerouac Almost Got Me Killed →

    trainwrite:

    I was smoking a cigarette in the café car of a Minneapolis-bound Amtrak train, watching Wisconsin race by through the window, when a nearby conversation distracted me.

    A middle-aged woman with her tween son at her side asked a simple but very specific question of a grey-haired man sitting…

    — 2 weeks ago with 18 notes
    seanhowe:

Detail from original art for Rocket Raccoon #1 by Mike Mignloa and Al Gordon, 1985. Words by Bill Mantlo. Letters by Ken Bruzenak.

    seanhowe:

    Detail from original art for Rocket Raccoon #1 by Mike Mignloa and Al Gordon, 1985. Words by Bill Mantlo. Letters by Ken Bruzenak.

    — 3 weeks ago with 84 notes
    #rocket raccoon  #guardians of the galaxy  #mike mignola  #bill mantlo