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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:

    The Mighty Marvel Bullpen, circa 1970.Of course, the idea of the Bullpen was mostly exaggerated at this time, and so some of these folks must have come in specifically for the photo. But still: [Unknown], Gil Kane, Stu Schwartzberg, Gerry Conway, Bill Everett, Herb Trimpe, Marie Severin, John Verpoorten, [Unknown], Roy Thomas, Larry Lieber, John Romita, Morrie Kuramoto, [Unknown (Allyn Brodsky?)]This will be updated if more people are identified…
 

    The Mighty Marvel Bullpen, circa 1970.

    Of course, the idea of the Bullpen was mostly exaggerated at this time, and so some of these folks must have come in specifically for the photo. But still:

    [Unknown], Gil Kane, Stu Schwartzberg, Gerry Conway, Bill Everett, Herb Trimpe, Marie Severin, John Verpoorten, [Unknown], Roy Thomas, Larry Lieber, John Romita, Morrie Kuramoto, [Unknown (Allyn Brodsky?)]

    This will be updated if more people are identified…


     

    (Source: seanhowe)

    — 6 months ago with 87 notes
    #gil kane  #stu schwartzberg  #gerry conway  #bill everett  #herb trimpe  #marie severin  #John Verpoorten  #roy thomas  #john romita  #morrie kuramoto  #larry lieber 
    Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel’s original art from Wolverine’s first appearance, in Incredible Hulk #180. Scanned nicely enough that you can see pencil marks if you enlarge it.

    Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel’s original art from Wolverine’s first appearance, in Incredible Hulk #180. Scanned nicely enough that you can see pencil marks if you enlarge it.

    — 6 months ago with 763 notes
    #wolverine  #hulk  #original art  #herb trimpe  #Jack Abel  #artie simek  #len wein  #roy thomas 
    Roy Thomas Signing Autographs
From Fantastic Fanzine Special #1, 1969 via Ken Meyer Jr.

    Roy Thomas Signing Autographs

    From Fantastic Fanzine Special #1, 1969 via Ken Meyer Jr.

    — 7 months ago with 30 notes
    #roy thomas  #marvel comics  #fantastic fanzine  #fanzines  #inkstains  #photos 
    Steve Gerber at the San Diego Comic-Con, 1978, holding a copy of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Silver Surfer graphic novel. (Photograph by Jackie Estrada)





In February 1978, Steve Gerber, the last to sign a writer-editor contract, and falling behind on deadlines once again, was relieved of his duties as the writer of the Howard the Duck newspaper strip. Gerber’s lawyer informed Marvel that this was a violation of his contract, and that he was considering legal action regarding the ownership of the Howard the Duck character; shortly thereafter Marvel terminated Gerber’s contract altogether. Asked by the Comics Journal if chronic lateness was the reason for the company’s decision, Shooter replied, “I would just say that we found it advantageous to get out of the contract we were in.” Gerber maintained that he and Gene Colan were not getting advance payments on time. 
Stewardship of Howard was split up: Marv Wolfman took over the newspaper strip, and Bill Mantlo took over the comic book. When the strip was canceled later in the year, Gerber complained publicly about the “downright horrible” quality of Wolfman’s work. “Once I was gone,” he told the Village Voice, “Howard was lobotomized, devoid of substance, and turned into a simple-minded parody. So, they’re putting him out of his misery.” 



An ending to Gerber and Skrenes’s Omega the Unknown saga, repeatedly promised in letters columns and repeatedly rescheduled, was finally written without its creators’ input. “It just got to the point where we couldn’t work with Shooter anymore,” Skrenes said. “He was screwing with us and punishing us and trying to have somebody else write it, like they always did with Howard.” Omega was killed off in an issue of The Defenders. Gerber and Skrenes swore to each other that they’d take their original plans for the character’s ending to their graves. 




Jack Kirby’s contract was up for renewal in April 1978. At a convention in West Virginia, Stan Lee announced that Kirby had signed a long-term contract as an artist only; he said Kirby’s scripting was “imaginative but undisciplined,” but Lee was confident that the artwork would return to form once Kirby was paired with other writers. (Lee also characterized Kirby’s work on their just-completed Silver Surfer graphic novel, two years in the making, as “better than recent stuff, but not his best.”) 
But there was no new contract. Kirby’s tour of duty was, in fact, coming to an end. His latest return had been a major disappointment, to him and to Marvel. None of his books had sold as well as hoped, the reaction from readers was less than enthusiastic, and even his supposed autonomy had been undermined. “The editorial staff up at Marvel had no respect for what he was doing,” said Jim Starlin. “All these editors had things on their walls making fun of Jack’s books. They’d cut out things saying ‘Stupidest Comic of the Year’… . [T]his entire editorial office was just littered with stuff disparaging the guy who founded the company these guys were working for. He created all the characters these guys were editing.” 
Tensions were now worse than they’d ever been in the sixties. Kirby reportedly received hate mail on Marvel letterhead, and crank phone calls from the office. When Roy Thomas persuaded him to draw an issue of the imaginary-tale series What If? (it was a self-reflective story called “What if … The Fantastic Four were the Marvel Bullpen?” starring Lee, Kirby, Thomas, and Flo Steinberg), Kirby refused to allow Thomas to script it, and replaced the Thomas character with a Sol Brodsky one. Once the pages arrived at Marvel, an editor went through and changed all of Kirby’s references to “Stanley” to “Stan” and corrected all the grammar in the dialogue—except for that of the Jack Kirby character. 



“I didn’t really get a shot,” Kirby later said of his 1970s work at Marvel, pointing to professional jealousy. “A guy will create a book, another will fill his book up with knock letters—he’s off in five months, or three months, and the other guy’s got his shot… . I see it as a serpent’s nest. And in a serpent’s nest, nothing can survive. Eventually all the snakes kill each other. Eventually they’ll also kill whatever generated them.” 
In the end, Kirby’s exit plan from the frustrations and limitations of the comic-book industry was the same that Stan Lee’s had been: Hollywood. Kirby was invited by Hanna-Barbera to produce storyboards for NBC’s new Fantastic Four cartoon—for which both Lee and Thomas were writing. Kirby still wasn’t calling the shots—because the Human Torch had already been optioned by Universal, Kirby had to create a cute robot named H.E.R.B.I.E. to be the Fantastic Four’s fourth member—but the pay was better, and the treatment was more respectful. 
Jack Kirby would never work for Marvel Comics again. The above text is excerpted from Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.[Note: Jackie Estrada is raising funds to publish a book featuring hundreds of the photographs of comics giants she’s taken over the years. Check it out!]

    Steve Gerber at the San Diego Comic-Con, 1978, holding a copy of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Silver Surfer graphic novel. (Photograph by Jackie Estrada)

    In February 1978, Steve Gerber, the last to sign a writer-editor contract, and falling behind on deadlines once again, was relieved of his duties as the writer of the Howard the Duck newspaper strip. Gerber’s lawyer informed Marvel that this was a violation of his contract, and that he was considering legal action regarding the ownership of the Howard the Duck character; shortly thereafter Marvel terminated Gerber’s contract altogether. Asked by the Comics Journal if chronic lateness was the reason for the company’s decision, Shooter replied, “I would just say that we found it advantageous to get out of the contract we were in.” Gerber maintained that he and Gene Colan were not getting advance payments on time.

    Stewardship of Howard was split up: Marv Wolfman took over the newspaper strip, and Bill Mantlo took over the comic book. When the strip was canceled later in the year, Gerber complained publicly about the “downright horrible” quality of Wolfman’s work. “Once I was gone,” he told the Village Voice, “Howard was lobotomized, devoid of substance, and turned into a simple-minded parody. So, they’re putting him out of his misery.”

    An ending to Gerber and Skrenes’s Omega the Unknown saga, repeatedly promised in letters columns and repeatedly rescheduled, was finally written without its creators’ input. “It just got to the point where we couldn’t work with Shooter anymore,” Skrenes said. “He was screwing with us and punishing us and trying to have somebody else write it, like they always did with Howard.” Omega was killed off in an issue of The Defenders. Gerber and Skrenes swore to each other that they’d take their original plans for the character’s ending to their graves.

    Jack Kirby’s contract was up for renewal in April 1978. At a convention in West Virginia, Stan Lee announced that Kirby had signed a long-term contract as an artist only; he said Kirby’s scripting was “imaginative but undisciplined,” but Lee was confident that the artwork would return to form once Kirby was paired with other writers. (Lee also characterized Kirby’s work on their just-completed Silver Surfer graphic novel, two years in the making, as “better than recent stuff, but not his best.”)

    But there was no new contract. Kirby’s tour of duty was, in fact, coming to an end. His latest return had been a major disappointment, to him and to Marvel. None of his books had sold as well as hoped, the reaction from readers was less than enthusiastic, and even his supposed autonomy had been undermined. “The editorial staff up at Marvel had no respect for what he was doing,” said Jim Starlin. “All these editors had things on their walls making fun of Jack’s books. They’d cut out things saying ‘Stupidest Comic of the Year’… . [T]his entire editorial office was just littered with stuff disparaging the guy who founded the company these guys were working for. He created all the characters these guys were editing.”

    Tensions were now worse than they’d ever been in the sixties. Kirby reportedly received hate mail on Marvel letterhead, and crank phone calls from the office. When Roy Thomas persuaded him to draw an issue of the imaginary-tale series What If? (it was a self-reflective story called “What if … The Fantastic Four were the Marvel Bullpen?” starring Lee, Kirby, Thomas, and Flo Steinberg), Kirby refused to allow Thomas to script it, and replaced the Thomas character with a Sol Brodsky one. Once the pages arrived at Marvel, an editor went through and changed all of Kirby’s references to “Stanley” to “Stan” and corrected all the grammar in the dialogue—except for that of the Jack Kirby character.

    “I didn’t really get a shot,” Kirby later said of his 1970s work at Marvel, pointing to professional jealousy. “A guy will create a book, another will fill his book up with knock letters—he’s off in five months, or three months, and the other guy’s got his shot… . I see it as a serpent’s nest. And in a serpent’s nest, nothing can survive. Eventually all the snakes kill each other. Eventually they’ll also kill whatever generated them.”

    In the end, Kirby’s exit plan from the frustrations and limitations of the comic-book industry was the same that Stan Lee’s had been: Hollywood. Kirby was invited by Hanna-Barbera to produce storyboards for NBC’s new Fantastic Four cartoon—for which both Lee and Thomas were writing. Kirby still wasn’t calling the shots—because the Human Torch had already been optioned by Universal, Kirby had to create a cute robot named H.E.R.B.I.E. to be the Fantastic Four’s fourth member—but the pay was better, and the treatment was more respectful.

    Jack Kirby would never work for Marvel Comics again.

    The above text is excerpted from Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.

    [Note: Jackie Estrada is raising funds to publish a book featuring hundreds of the photographs of comics giants she’s taken over the years. Check it out!]

    — 8 months ago with 107 notes
    #steve gerber  #howard the duck  #jack kirby  #silver surfer  #omega  #photos  #jim shooter  #mary skrenes  #roy thomas  #H.E.R.B.I.E.  #jackie estrada 

    Warlock #12, page 15. Words and pencils by Jim Starlin. Inks and colors by Steve Leialoha. Lettering by Tom Orzechowski.

    From Marvel Comics: The Untold Story:
    Roy Thomas had made the Warlock character a Christ
    figure; now Jim Starlin, the recovering Catholic, used him to deliver a critique of organized religion, as well as a protest against systemized stiflings of creative voices.

    Wandering space, Adam Warlock comes upon a “non-believer” who’s being pursued by armed soldiers; he tries to save her, but fails. Using the “dread power” of his mysterious Soul Gem, he revives her just long enough to learn that her killers were from the Universal Church of Truth, an iron-fisted group with intergalactic reach, led by a being called the Magus—who, Warlock is shocked to learn, is his own future self.

    As Warlock journeys to find the Magus, he gains unlikely allies (the foulmouthed troll Pip; the green-skinned, fishnet-wearing alien assassin Gamora) and several more enemies (including Captain Marvel’s old foe Thanos). But the greatest threat to his survival, and to his sanity, is the powerful crystal on his forehead—the vampiric Soul Gem—which, he slowly realizes, is thirstily absorbing the spirits of his enemies.

    Adam Warlock’s adventures were perfect vehicles for Starlin’s meditations on the price of power, and for the suspicions he harbored toward rigid institutionalism. Plotting, scripting, penciling, inking, and coloring, Starlin was, in a sense, the first auteur that Marvel had seen since Jim Steranko’s early carte blanche days.

    — 11 months ago with 152 notes
    #warlock  #jim starlin  #steve leialoha  #Tom Orzechowski  #roy thomas  #adam warlock  #magus  #gamora  #thanos  #soul gem  #jim steranko 

    STAR WARS publicity team assures the press that the STAR WARS Marvel Comic is “now on the right track,” as of issue #11, with Archie Goodwin and Carmine Infantino.

    — 1 year ago with 178 notes
    #archie goodwin  #carmine infantino  #star wars  #rbcc  #fanzines  #roy thomas  #howard chaykin 
    The latest Marvel news from the Yancy Street Gazette!

    The latest Marvel news from the Yancy Street Gazette!

    — 1 year ago with 64 notes
    #Roy Thomas  #Wally Wood  #fanzines  #Stan Lee  #Flo Steinberg  #Tower 
    'KRAKEN' AWAKES: SCIENTISTS CAPTURE FIRST IMAGES OF GIANT SQUID FILMED IN DEEP OCEAN OFF JAPAN
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/images-giant-squid-filmed-deep-ocean-article-1.1235493(Image: Sub-Mariner #27, 1970. Art by Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito. Words by Roy Thomas. Lettering by Sam Rosen.)

    'KRAKEN' AWAKES: SCIENTISTS CAPTURE FIRST IMAGES OF GIANT SQUID FILMED IN DEEP OCEAN OFF JAPAN

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/images-giant-squid-filmed-deep-ocean-article-1.1235493

    (Image: Sub-Mariner #27, 1970. Art by Sal Buscema and Mike Esposito. Words by Roy Thomas. Lettering by Sam Rosen.)

    — 1 year ago with 18 notes
    #Kraken  #Roy Thomas  #Sal Buscema  #Sam Rosen  #sub-mariner  #Mike Esposito 
    Doctor Strange #180. Art by Gene Colan. Words by Roy Thomas. Happy New Year!

    Doctor Strange #180. Art by Gene Colan. Words by Roy Thomas.

    Happy New Year!

    — 1 year ago with 55 notes
    #Doctor Strange  #Roy Thomas  #Gene Colan 
    

Fantastic Four #126, 1972. Art by John Buscema and Joe Sinnott. Words by Roy Thomas.
    Fantastic Four #126, 1972. Art by John Buscema and Joe Sinnott. Words by Roy Thomas.
    — 1 year ago with 13 notes
    #Fantastic Four  #John Buscema  #Joe Sinnott  #Roy Thomas 
    Smilin’ Stan, your host in the Chamber of Darkness.

    Smilin’ Stan, your host in the Chamber of Darkness.

    — 1 year ago with 49 notes
    #Chamber of Darkness  #Don Heck  #Roy Thomas  #Stan Lee  #Sam Rosen 
    The Thing meets John Romita…in 1942. Marvel Two-in-One Annual #1, 1976. Art by Sal Buscema. Words by Roy Thomas.

    The Thing meets John Romita…in 1942. Marvel Two-in-One Annual #1, 1976. Art by Sal Buscema. Words by Roy Thomas.

    — 1 year ago with 49 notes
    #Thing  #John Romita  #Sal Buscema  #Roy Thomas  #marvel two-in-one 

    What do Archie Bunker and H.P. Lovecraft have in common?

    They’re both covered in this memo from Roy Thomas to Stan Lee, from 1972. There’s a note in Stan Lee’s writing: “I’ll ask M.G.”—since Stan Lee replaced Martin Goodman as publisher by May, this must have been written only weeks before Goodman’s departure.

    — 1 year ago with 91 notes
    #Archie Bunker  #Spoof  #All in the Family  #race relations  #Martin Goodman  #Roy Thomas  #Stan Lee  #h.p. lovecraft  #timely  #All-Winners  #Letters