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How-To & History Lessons From The Pros !

Figure Drawing &
Writing Tips Breaking Down A Story
by WRITE NOW’s by DRAW’s Mike Manley & Bret Blevins
Danny Fingeroth
Art Critiques
by ROUGH STUFF’s Bob McLeod

Comics History
Roy Thomas
Michael Eury


Since 1994, TWOMORROWS
PUBLISHING has been celebrating
the art and history of comics
with its award-winning line of
magazines and books about
comics. By covering all aspects
of the creative process, and
documenting the fascinating
history of comics, we’ve
established ourselves as the
industry authority on the inner
workings of the medium.

BOOK DAY, we’ve tapped the
TABLE OF combined knowledge of our
magazine editors to assemble
CONTENTS this all-new 32-page comics

primer, created just for this
giveaway! In it, DRAW!
magazine’s MIKE MANLEY and
BASICS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 for DC and Marvel Comics) will
by Bret Blevins, contributor to Draw! magazine walk you through “Figure
Drawing Basics” and “How To
HOW TO BAKE A Break Down A Story”! ROUGH
COMIC BOOK PAGE IN STUFF magazine editor (and
THREE EASY STEPS . . . . . . . 5 veteran comics inker) BOB
C o l l e c t o r

by Mike Manley, editor of Draw! magazine McLEOD provides “Art Critiques”
of promising newcomers (see
ART CRITIQUE . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 how your work compares)!
by Bob McLeod, editor of Rough Stuff magazine WRITE NOW! magazine’s
TOP TEN TIPS major Marvel Comics writer) reveals “Writing Tips” for potential
FOR WRITERS . . . . . . . . . . . 11 comics authors. There’s even a “Comics History Crash-Course”,
by Danny Fingeroth, editor of Write Now! assembled by ALTER EGO magazine editor ROY THOMAS (former
magazine Marvel Comics editor-in-chief and top writer) and MICHAEL EURY,

editor of BACK ISSUE magazine (and former DC and Dark Horse

Comics editor). These top professionals cover the basics of comics art
and appreciation, making it a must-have item for fans old and new.
And TwoMorrows is proud to offer it FREE from your local retailer.
HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS So sample the features presented here, and
(The 1930s To 1970) . . . . . . 16 get a taste of what TwoMorrows is all about.
by Roy Thomas, editor of Alter Ego magazine If you see something that whets your appetite
for more, consider ordering it from your
SO, WHO’S THIS local comics shop, or online from us at
“KIRBY” GUY? . . . . . . . . . . 24 We look forward to
by John Morrow, editor of The Jack Kirby having you as a customer for years to come!
Collector magazine
THE BRONZE Publisher
AND BEYOND . . . . . . . . . . . 25 COMICS 101: How-To & History Lessons From The Pros, 2007 Free Comic Book Day edition. Published
by Michael Eury, editor of Back Issue magazine annually by and ©2007 TwoMorrows Publishing, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA.
919-449-0344. All rights reserved. John Morrow, Publisher, Editor, and Designer. Single issues: Free at
your local comic book shop on May 5, 2007. All characters and artwork are TM & ©2007 their respective
owners. All editorial matter is ©2007 the respective authors. First printing. Printed in CANADA.

TwoMorrows. Celebrating The Art & History Of Comics.
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E-mail: • Visit us on the Web at

BASICS by Bret Blevins,
contributor to Draw! magazine

he keys to good
T figure drawing are
gesture and form, in that
order. Find the action and attitude
of your figure through loose gesture
drawing first—this is important. Most
failed figure drawings are a result of jumping
ahead to detail and rendering before the gestural
framework is completely and clearly worked out.
Use a simplified “directional line skeleton” such as
the male and female shown here to begin your drawing—
although extremely
simple, these skeletal tools
establish an enormous amount
of crucial information in the first
phase of bringing your figures to
life. They contain all the basic
proportion and structure rela-
tionships of the body, as well as
underlying anatomy rhythms
and form details—note that the
fundamental typical differences
between male and female are
already obvious in these “wire
frame” designs, the joints that
control the movements of the
various parts are clearly indicated,
and even structural facts such as
the absence of a single straight
line are evident. (No bone in the
human body is perfectly
straight—each large bone and
the spinal column have a distinct
characteristic curve.)


2 . the female accents curves. draw what he or she is doing. Study the set of sample wire frame gestural sketches shown here and notice how easy it is to complete the figures in your imagination—all the basic informa- tion is clear and easy to grasp at first glance. This principle also adds grace and movement to any pose. In active poses (running. and creating a clear silhouette of your figure are much easier to solve in this initial phase than it is after the image has become a heavy mass of detail and rendering. too: The male is more angular. As you begin your sketch. Although it can be difficult. These wire frame tools automatically force you to think about all sides of the figure—including the parts that won’t show in your final image. concentrate on capturing the attitude and intention of the personality you are drawing—never draw “a body”. A few tips to keep in mind are obvious in these drawings. Most of the problems of pose. This helps enormously in establishing the figure’s three-dimensional solidity in space and also makes it easier to ensure the correct proportion of body parts that will eventu- ally be partially obscured by other forms in the fin- ished drawing. crouching) the limbs alternate direction—if the right arm is forward the right leg is back and vice versa—this is a natural physical law of balance and makes the action of your figures convincing. proportion. don’t allow yourself to think about the complex forms of surface anatomy and other details at this stage—keep your mind on using your line-skeleton to express as much about the personality and action of your figure as possible before you move to the next stage. leaping.

gesture and attitude has been “nailed down” using the simple mannequin forms—now it is comparatively easy to render these forms with surface detail. sharpening this awareness of physical solidity in your mind as you draw. You can see center lines indicated on the forms of the exploded mannequin— these refer- ence marks clarify the depth and breadth of space that the figure occupies. The other key is to establish the centerline of each separate form. Notice in these drawings that every important aspect of structure. as if your figure was made of malleable glass or plasticene. You will encounter no structural confusion as you embellish—every part of each figure is clearly placed. 3 . The most important element to remember is to draw transparently— complete your forms by “draw- ing through” to the opposite side. This awareness is suggested by the arrows—your forms are always moving through space in three directions—up and down. left to right. in correct physical balance and proper proportion. The next stage is “building” the forms of anatomy and solid flesh over your wire frame gesture—a simplified mannequin of body forms is shown here. front to back. either by actually indicating it in the drawing or holding an awareness of it in your mind.

plus storyboards for Warner Brothers' Superman. Static Shock. Batman. Spider-Man. It is a simple matter to adapt the wire frame and mannequin designs to fit any character proportion. Superman. and Star Wars. and painter. and the easiest part of drawing images. texture and other finishing details—each too large a subject to cover in this short space. having done work for Marvel. Learn to concentrate on building a thorough foundation and your final artwork will always be stronger. But in essence they are just “dressed” wire frame- and-man- nequin structures—all the important elements of these figures were established by the understructure we’ve discussed here. animation storyboard artist. light and shade. massive or thin and any variation between the two. DC. as well as Tarzan and Atlantis for Disney. and Dark Horse on Batman. but in terms of process that phase is the veneer. and Justice League cartoons. Bret Blevins is a regular contributor to TwoMorrows’ Draw! magazine. 4 . The polishing of an image is important. and an art instructor at Yavapai College. Batman Beyond. The two rendered figures have been fleshed out with anatomy. X-Men. Hulk. He is an accomplished comic book artist.

and figures and background details have to fight for space. so often the art gets cramped. proceed to the next step. editor of Draw! magazine story is paced and how much room their script takes up visually. unreadable stories. This is also something all comic writers should do so they also have a good idea of how their by Mike Manley. and they always have a story they want to comic page. the result after all their labor is an inedible lump—and in the case of comics. etc. Very often writers will figure brother. so that—focus on a they can’t show me the story—nope. Like the baker leaving out a crucial ingredient. along like crazy. you ask? Well that’s because in their enthusiasm they’ve skipped a huge step in the process of storytelling. buy some cheap copy paper from the local have to see. Office Max. We can’t have the artist an eraser. Comics are a visual medium. they didn’t break down the story first into a series of panels. Another thing that often vexes the young artist is leaving enough space for word bal- BOOK PAGE loons and captions. the exciting part. we Next. the artist didn’t work the story out first. They may I approach me at a con. in the gaps. Sharpen a few pencils. if entire panels left blank. they have to tell clear beginning. triangle and a black Sharpie or similar mark- standing there narrating to us to fill er. They’ve skipped ahead. to read visually what’s Staples. is basic and simple. drawing the final pages. “You see. by skipping a step. I’ve used it to help people who’ve never drawn a comic be able to tell a story. but as HOW TO BAKE they say. me the story. solid story. you can do this for each page or do it once have even sometimes gone in and and make copies of it. and better stories. but a story isn’t exciting unless you build up to A COMIC the excitement. unfinished. get going on. and eventually cause most artists to lose enthusiasm and probably abandon the story. leaving the rest of the page or story down into pages half-drawn. The formula for a successful comic story.” Of course there is no out the end first and then work their way back to the space station to be seen. jump ahead to the fun part. Young artists always want to skip steps. no more than a tially penciled panels. often a huge Lord of the Rings multi-verse epic. Sometimes they even have a few half-drawn pages start simple. with figures floating or even few sentences. or as a student in one of my classes. Before you leap in and run draw. IN THREE THE RECIPE EASY STEPS So here is my simple recipe that should help you make better comic pages. you can do avoiding that part they haven’t figured out yet. The worst case is that Then draw a six-panel grid layout like the example on some pages the young artists shown. beginning. Their pages are covered with par. pages with holes that sideline the work. inked up something while the rest of the page remains unfinished: A big no-no! And why is this a common factor in so many aspiring or young storytellers’ work. no mat- ter the subject or style. and boil your cool or easy stuff. the real estate they have to play with on a see them all the time: fresh-eyed artists. and just like a baker who leaves out crucial ingredients in a cake recipe. or what we call a layout—and only once that was done with the details of exactly what is happening. this is where Vortox enters middle and into the space station to have his end—you will showdown with Wolverine’s twin have a good. The purpose here is to break 5 . “Simple is hard”. Try where they’ve usually gone and drawn all the fun.

STEP 3: Once the layout is done. I know it will be tough. and an art instructor at Delaware College of Art and Design. STEP 2: Some artists will work directly on the final board from this stage. sound effects and narration as well. no problem. all I had to do was concentrate on doing the best. buildings. etc. I played around with camera angles from what I had on my initial stick-figure layout. but I did this after the specific actions (story beats) in the story where broken out into panels. I guarantee you will end up with your entire story finished and told instead of half-drawn pages filled with missteps and wasted effort. and ABC’s One Saturday Morning and Clerks: The Animated Series. and then once they are done. grab anoth- er sheet and redraw it. we just want to draw out our story. but I suggest for you beginners to do a layout at printed comic size of what your final page will look like. not skipping steps. If something isn’t working well. Now go draw some comics! Mike Manley is editor of TwoMorrows’ Draw! magazine. when it came to draw the final page. Once you have your entire story worked out in your stickman style. Manley currently works for Disney as a storyboard artist. or doing a great drawing that just doesn’t work. including titles such as Batman. They can even be stick figures for this part. At right is the finished penciled page. you are ready to go to the next phase: To do an actual layout. and The Power of Shazam!. Here you can adjust panel sizes and shapes very easily because now you know exactly what story you are telling and what you have to draw. DON’T SKIP STEPS! Complete each stage. you can go on to do the final pencils. DC and Dark Horse. STEP 1: Work out your story using the simplest drawings you can do. 6 . As you draw out your story. only to scrap it. you need to see how much space the dialogue and narration take up along with the drawings—what I call the visual real estate. He's been an animation storyboard and background designer on Kids WB shows The New Batman/Superman Adventures and Batman Beyond. Captain America. and see what happens. the point here is not to do great drawings or fall in love with rendering tricks. you’ll be tempted to jump in a draw the fun stuff first—but if you follow the recipe I’ve given you here. He has drawn for major publishers like Marvel. As you can see. most exciting drawing I can do. The idea here is to work out the story in as clear and simple a way as possible and to give you a clear idea of what is happening and how the story flows. If you have writing. trucks. Spawn for HBO. You may at this point also need to gather reference for places and things like cars. draw the balloons with all the dialogue. Spy Groove for MTV. which made the final page more dramatic. Since I fol- lowed the recipe. final inks. By doing these simple drawings you are not committing hours of labor.

7 .

areas. with distance with close-ups and long shots. ART CRITIQUE by Bob McLeod. as you’re keep them from being too wooden. Now for what I don’t like so much: Comics are so have him leaning forward much more. These are not minor that the Thing is a bit of a pain to draw. And the Thing’s tell an interesting story. and that’s vital to creating a professional panel 1 is just not Johnny Storm. Inc. distance between them is not sufficient for them to M any beginners struggle with the same problems. Your panel will enable you to keep your faces looking more con- layout is easy to follow. I know from experience clear. and I think it’s often very helpful for them to see a critique of someone else’s work. what makes a page figures. and all you yourself and see what feels natural. Backgrounds require a knowledge of Franklin is OK. I really like your sample very much in some When drawing established characters like the FF. He’s much more rounded in every body way you’re moving the camera. but don’t do it on small bravely consented to having it critiqued here. I also really like the personality have to take the time to draw all those bricks. This is where and how the figure moves. natural feel for figures. I like that much bigger feet and hands. The background is the dominant element in a panel. That’s not his nose. and it’s up to the penciler to anatomy is not based on a normal human’s. It often helps to get into the pose They’ve done your homework for you. editor of Rough Stuff magazine Hulk. but not so much in others. Yes. The which doesn’t apply in any of these. Franklin’s pose you need to study Jack Kirby. level page. you’ve attempted some dramatic lighting. Keith Grachow vary in size so much. I also like the attempting. Torch’s hands in panel 4 are too exaggerated. and varying the part. You’ve also need to do is imitate what they do. and has no neck. A better understanding of the skull and facial features and don’t spend nearly enough effort on. but of Charlie Brown upside-down with his socks knocked you still don’t really know the basic muscle groups off by a batter hitting the ball at him. begin by placing 8 . is awkward. and you’re giving your actors. Thing TM & ©2007 Marvel Characters. but you do accomplishments. you cast shadow in panel 2. That face on the Torch in backgrounds. want to have him put his whole body into the punch. place the various elements in a panel. You show a nice. and your storytelling is sistently like the same person. I said actors. It’s also always a exaggerate action! good idea to consider the silhouette shape of your Beyond being able to draw. Think drawing. Keith. Unless the Contrast it with my Torch figure’s silhouette. figures like this. The there’s a certain interlocking way of drawing them. as yours is. There are times when you’ll want to exaggerate the foreshortening like this to sent me this very nice Fantastic Four sample page and make a more dynamic pose. even without a script. if characters in a comic book need to be good actors to you want to do them properly. or John Buscema. Your Torch in panel 1 has an awkward shape look professional is thinking more about where you with his arm parallel to and equal in size to his leg. perspective and set design that most beginners lack. but inconsistent from panel to panel. You simply must being punched needs to be knocked for a loop. In panel 2. He only has three fingers. I’ll begin with what you need to be able to draw them similar to the way I like: It’s rare that I see a sample page with so many we’re used to seeing them. not study anatomy more and improve your figure just knocked slightly off-balance. with the When you draw a figure throwing a punch. Always drawn his legs too long for his body. The figure first and foremost about people.

9 .

com or mail a photocopy to: Another important thing to consider is leading the Rough Stuff Critique reader’s eye. the Thing figures are shoved up near the panel border.bob@gmail. instead of toward Bob McLeod is the editor of the right panel border and off the page. and Torch can come in from a different angle to better balance the panel. In panel 1. you barely get Franklin’s head into the panel. In panel 2. it’s always better to design your elements in the comics industry. What is that on the and is the author of the book right and the upper right? Otherwise. and is one of the top inkers Finally. In panel 5. this panel is Superhero ABC. The Thing figures need to be moved down away from the border. The gun in panel 4 should be angled rather than and main background elements. I like using him as a framing device to focus on the Torch. Heads and hands are usually what we want to see. When placing figures. In the same way that you want your individual Keith for sharing his page with us. into a panel. you also to submit a page for a critique in future issues of want to group your forms into a pleasing shape. 10 . you’ve using diagonals. If you must crop something. while empty space is left below the Torch. group them. But why not get the whole figure in. your figures are on the left and your backgrounds are on the right.the figures. you need- lessly crop off Franklin’s head. painted yourself into a corner. try to parallel to the panel border. rather than thinking of them as separate Keep studying and you’ll get there. crop off his knee. Thanks to forms. Invisible Girl looks squeezed up against the panel border. Similarly. PA 18049 the next panel. I’d rather see him flying toward us and the last panel. but he needs to be more in the panel. Better to turn him around and lead us to Emmaus. Box 63 off the page. You need to center the figures in the panel. in panel 5. In panel 1. but keep in mind speech balloons need to go co-creating the New Mutants for somewhere. Torch almost appears to be bumping into a building. your Torch is taking us right P. He’s best known for good. as I’ve done? In panel 4.O. Rather than carefully arranging your figures. mcleod. Readers who want figures to have an interesting silhouette. Panel 6 is too heavily weighted on the left with large forms. TwoMorrows’ Rough Stuff magazine Panel 3 looks unfinished. Look Rough Stuff should e-mail a 300dpi scan to me at how the figures in my panel 6 form a united arc. You want to focus on them in a more deliberate way. then design the backgrounds around them. Marvel Comics with writer Chris Claremont. rather than horizontals and verticals. Reed can be moved over a bit. dividing the panel in two.

as I did. And you said to yourself: “This’d be cool to do for a living. too. TOP TEN TIPS FOR WRITERS by Danny Fingeroth. Maybe it really was. usually have some kind of job. And the hours go way beyond 9-to-5 Mona. The person who tells the compelling version knows when and how to introduce elements of the story. LEARN STORY STRUCTURE. even reasonably successful ones. Most stories. Warrior Princess. and some fall into territory that’s partly both—because as a professional. there’s no question that there’s a lot of work involved in being Shakespeare and DaVinci's little-known collaboration on a writer. tially means your story has to have a beginning. They like to be surprised. and various sorts of genre writing easier and more rewarding. You may have and Robert McKee’s Story: Substance. while writing—if you’re truly the writer type (meaning. that you enjoy spending a lot of time alone in a room facing a computer screen when your friends are out party- ing)—is indeed more fun than most jobs. Ever notice how two people can be recounting the same event. sometimes both. in 8th grade. ©2007 DC Comics and ©1997 Robert McKee. structure. Another thing to consider in choosing the writing life is how you will feel when the thing you currently do out of passion and inspiration becomes the thing you must do whether you feel like it or not. It’d sure beat having a real job!” ©2007 Mark Bagley Well. A joke has structure. minimalist writing doesn’t. People seem to like to be led down familiar paths of story. Maybe you did it a second time and a third and got more positive reactions. in addition to their writing. and yet one of them makes it seem exciting and the other dull as dishwater? A big part of the reason for that is structure. Knowing how to balance familiarity with surprise is a big part of the writer’s job. It essen- and the Principles of Screenwriting. editor of Write Now! magazine f you’re reading this article. This is not brain surgery. or several. Monday through Friday. the creative and the business aspects are often totally intertwined. without further ado. we have learned that the most effective ways to do this are with structures that humans respond to. here are some tips for how you might make your life as a writer of comics. but that is writing with a purpose other than that of most fictional storytelling. And most writers. Pencils and inks by Mark Bagley. Style. Structure. some are hard-nosed business tips. Knowledge of structure is an important tool to balance the familiar and the surprising. Over time. Maybe someone even told you that you wrote something really good. you probably have I written stories at some point in your life. are intended to entertain or to educate. among other things. A nursery rhyme has Dennis O’Neil’s The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics. certainly most genre stories. Some of them are creative advice. Maybe avant- garde. If you’re serious about making all or part of your living as a writer. here are my top ten tips for writers… 10. in all senses of the word. animation. Every story needs structure. learned structure. And so. you have to be able to use all those parts of your brain—or at least know enough to delegate the things you can’t or don’t like to do to someone else. 11 . But if you’re determined to pursue a writing career to whatever extent.

it “theme.” the one readers get. there must also two people. Hopefully. then your characters Of course. and their actions—and reactions—will convey what Trends in different eras may dictate that stories be your message is without anyone having to say it longer or shorter. but if there weren’t a want to get married. I’m no him or herself. the first time in Stan Lee and come great responsi. That places to learn more about structure. That’s part of the fun of writing. wrong and nothing (And when I discuss was at stake. internal and personal conflicts. one partner in a romantic relationship may even be aware of the message. In other words: conflict defines character.” or even nothing went “moral” of a story. says: “Choice want to convey) that certain kinds of vigilantism are must not be doubt but dilemma.—would be forms of physical conflict. Just sitting down to write a superhero comic means you think (or at least Robert McKee. “Crime does not pay. Also. message. CONFLICT IS THE HEART OF presentation of a given story. good yarns. battling.”) in Amazing Fantasy #15. THE CONFLICTS IN YOURS ARE. two characters Man isn’t “responsi. Conflict can be: the theme of Spider. in his book Story. to the best of your ability. what you obvious. 12 . A STORY HAS TO BE conflict. and an end. “topic. How the ABOUT SOMETHING. across.” about a day where “message. synonymous with ©2007 Marvel Characters Inc. This may seem ridiculously sure the story says. torily presented. an alcoholic desperate for moralist. the what it is until you finish a first draft or at least an thing that Spider-Man needs to save Aunt May is the outline.” It’s “with great arguments or intricate psychological conflict between anything) themes was stated for power. This involves a character at odds with ©2007 Marvel Characters Inc. I just want to tell crackling must choose between need and desire. saying: “Hey. external obstacles—hurricanes. but between either positive okay. Since your story is unavoidably conveying some Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man: Master kind of message—maybe more than one—you should Planner trilogy has one of the more elegant mergings try to be aware of what is. But once you’ve gotten to that point. not Issue #6 of Marvel Comics’ recent story about some- the meaning that’s Civil War. the other may not. make same thing Doc Ock needs to rule the world. particular point of view.a middle. The message doesn’t have to be profound.” Guess what: there’s no such thing as a Personal. and is the theme of most superhero stories. In it.” For example. Robert McKee’s book Story and Dennis O’Neil’s One definition of a story is: somebody wants The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics—as well as something. and someone or something else keeps my and Mike Manley’s TwoMorrows book How to him or her from Create Comic From Script to Print—are all good getting it. You may not instance. Under this could be included emotional One of the great comics (or bility. For instance.” I’m referring wouldn’t be much to something that of a story.” can be the theme of your True Character can only be expressed through choice story. it wouldn’t be a story. “someone or something” is the 9. your message will be subtly put how many of them don’t have these elements satisfac. structure is a pretty malleable thing. etc. commonly known If a story were as the “theme. protagonist (or SO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW hero) of the story WHAT YOURS IS ABOUT. I’m interesting and talking about what is exciting.” that will make up one longer story. you may be Internal. Your intended theme may not be truer and deeper the choice to character. Has aspects of the first two types. unless you’re writing for very young children. SO KNOW WHAT same elements of structure. a limited series that thing is the conflict. not between right/ okay—unless your story is about how they aren’t wrong or good/evil. but read through a bunch of comics and see want it to. But no matter the length or means of 8. but knowing if he takes one he will be lost. For story without a message of some kind. Physical or external. If you’re in control of your craft. it will still utilize the ANY STORY. bombings. that individual comics may be part directly. desires or negative desires of equal weight and value. Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man origin bility. of a longer “arc. involves conflict on several levels. deals with it is what I’m not referring makes the story to “plot” here. I don’t want to write propaganda for any a drink. For instance. the by different readers. Now. The makes a point about thing that makes a some aspect of life. and so on. You may not even know of external. How the person chooses to act under be aware that themes will be interpreted differently pressure is who he is—the greater the pressure. Just in dilemma.

That’s fine. words are your tools. original or clever enough. and the more you’ll feel like you might want accepted or rejected. and even more against the odds ask. don’t revise it forever. If you just read comics. • Assign work. See all kinds of movies and shows. novels. things aren’t that simple. the editor business altogether. And larly employed as a comics writer for more than ten what makes it even less simple is the fact that the years are pretty slim. That’s With cable TV. video stores. That way. DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! Read fiction and non-fiction. ship. story structure—but the way a culture addresses and handles these topics at any given point in history means 6. don’t let reading work you do will probably be imitating someone else’s be an excuse for not writing. you have to keep producing to try your hand at other types of writing. own voice without even realizing it. plays and stage plays. That’s how you develop And don’t just watch movies or TV shows in your your own voice. non-fiction. possible. If the imagined reader in performing as well or better than when they were big. as well. you can also make sure you learn how to write In companies where the stories are corporate- screenplays. the entire history of TV and movies in all those writers you admire and you’ll arrive at your genres and about all subjects is readily available to you. The more you put in your brain. involved with your characters from the beginning. even though they may be also represents the reader. “Why should my creative vision be subject to you become a regular writer for a company. the editor will: with other humans. How many of the names from back in the ’80s are the same as the ones now? Hardly any. then lose work and decide if it’s what the company he or she heat and end up playing small clubs or leaving the represents wants to publish. Of completed works. editor’s role is so amorphous. advertising. against the “Who is this editor person. But newsstands or in the bookstore when it is promised. Look how many non-original and non-wonder. DON’T JUST READ COMICS. It varies from company Most writers get better as they age.” Read about science and history. your odds of staying regu. relationship to relation- may be a drop-off in youthful passion. DON’T JUST WRITE COMICS. style or even plots. Read everything you can get your hands should ever not strive to do your best work. of course. Especially at the beginning. that you have to keep aware of what’s happening Take a look at the credits of the comics you most and try to intuit what will be happening. comic to comic. twenty years ago. someone else’s work off as your own. the editor’s head isn’t interested in something or As a writer. Read screen- done. 13 . read memoirs and how-to- ful things get produced and published. imitation of other people’s work. anyway?” you may odds. Not that you write books.) Journey through the stages of imitating like NetFlix. and where recently bought. Even if. Needless to say. and words are. keep the difference straight) will have to process into And you can’t stop at one. suggest. the course. Your competition piece of writing because you think you’re not being sure is. genre fiction and Don’t worry about whether or not what you’re “literature. IT HAS TO BE GOOD—BUT IT that will subtly and/or overtly affect your own work. as with using the Internet. something of as high quality as possible appears on of course. That should be a clue to you. but in on. controlled (anything dealing with big-name properties and so on. a major way we do that. Get a first draft of whatever Being a cultural omnivore will also help you see it is done. The more you read. you break in. movies. Editors represent the creative Think of comics—and animation. Oddly enough. Whether your work is writing. Then dig some up from ten and your own unique point-of-view fits into the picture. and character points. your own work will read like an And that’s a good thing. It has little to do with your talent. Eventually. and so is a thing finished and move on to the next thing. but what’s gone before and what’s over the horizon. Humans need and love to communicate like Spider-Man and Superman). Then you can go back and revise it. person to person. Try to introduce your story’s conflict(s) as early as 5. finishing something is the most important your subconscious (or unconscious—I never could thing. and that’s something many people do. CARE & FEEDING OF EDITORS. don’t ever try to pass favorite genre. you have to consider Human nature and conflict may be eternal. Someone may be The editor has to look at a submitted piece of at the top of the charts for a couple of years. you’re never left holding the bag when you or the • Approve. Maybe you’re not considered in demand by demand it be changed or may even reject it outright. You can self-publish. writers and artists like rock musicians. and even anyone’s meddling and tinkering?” a fan and critical favorite. the Internet and services plagiarism. teleplays. editors in the majors and can’t afford to work for the Bottom line: The editor’s job is to make sure low rates at a smaller company. you have more options than that doesn’t understand something. your reader becomes emotionally There’s a big world of written material out there. and so people to the business people and the business people on—as something like the music business. the more you’ll learn about a whole range of topics 7. (Of course. As a writer. Learn to use them in a wide variety of ways so that • Put together creative teams. the editor may musician. and of the to the creative people. although there to company. Make use of this amazing point in history where all But don’t keep yourself from starting or finishing a these resources are available to you. 4. Read writing is the most original or wonderful thing ever about topics you never even thought of. or even mandate certain story type of thing you do go out of fashion. the more data many ways.

the editor here may the rights to your have more of an advisory role and not be empowered material for low-end to make you do anything with the story or characters money and also not that you don’t want to and www. This includes asking for or demanding changes to including artists you may want to work with. You can find an artist at a comic convention. And they are the Michael Bendis first rose to your work. the major companies had copied version. It’s not as them well—and who treated them badly—before crime noir series as Goldfish. Inc. of your favorite comics. professional-looking body of work you can in-house development of talent has pretty much gone show to a comics editor or publisher or to a movie or the way of the manual typewriter. Your goal—assuming you will Characters TM & ©2007 Marvel somehow find the money to do that. Campbell. Be sure things are different. while a good one can elevate it.drawingboard. you can see that most of the they may want to buy it. Don’t negotiate like Donald 3. They can to follow their publish- champion your work when their boss is too busy to ing passion. people to work for free. epic that will “fix” the Marvel or DC Universes. if your But the important work violates certain standards the publisher has. A bad artist will drag the level of by Stan Lee. This is where you’re hired to to read any contract write and/or draw stories that are based on your own carefully. If you’re dead serious about your work. And if no notice it. about webcomics by T. including alternative festivals like SPX or the MoCCAfest—are good places to get your work seen • Accept or reject the work you do. of course—but you may end up getting what you pay for. This entails hooking up with a good artist to define the role of the draw it. You can get Characters. Usually they’d start with short back-up type read and respond to your work.) 14 . comics editor. or what used to be called “inventory” or your endgame is more than just having a copy of the “fill-in” stories to be used when the regular team on comic you can hold in your hand—is to have a fin- a series couldn’t make their deadlines. and to meet other folks putting out their own comics.moderntales. even if you promise him a piece of guardian of the character and has to look out for the the ever-elusive back end. “farm teams. They won’t pay you Excelsior! The Amazing webbing. GET YOUR WORK OUT THERE! even cheaper to put together a nice looking photo- Once upon a time. This method of ished. But your idea here is not to sell a million copies. Perusing the credits TV producer. expensive as you’d they were promoted. your work. novelists or screenwriters or TV writers or who have a Putting your comic up on the Internet is another body of comics work that was put out by a small option for getting it out in the world. They can make sure your invoices get Marvel mainstay Brian one wants to publish processed as quickly as possible. ©2007 Brian Michael Bendis think to publish a black and white comic. but ultimately. You can politely argue with the editor’s Once your comic is done. of course. You can put it publisher or even by the writer and artist themselves. such as www. publish it editors of tomorrow. it’s just that—the editor’s decision. Comics conventions— interest of the franchise. ©2004 Stan Lee and George Mair. TODAY’S ASSISTANT IS Trump with a small TOMORROW’S EDITOR-IN-CHIEF. but you’ll In a situation where the material is “creator-owned. In such a situation. they already have staffs of people they can turn to for ideas.” probably get to retain the rights to your work. or at websites like www. Even a well-intentioned collaborator will tend to do paying work before he This may seem “unfair. If they like your work. try to get a small publisher decision. though! The properties (although you’d better read your contract worst of both worlds carefully—ownership’s irrelevant if you sign various would be signing away rights away). This will all depend on controlling it! what the deal you signed on for is. What you need to spend your time doing is Autobiography of a writing your work and then somehow getting it man who helped published. work out there. your story down. or may give you a shot at writers are people who already have reputations as one of their properties. to publish it. They won’t forget who treated comic book prominence as the writer and artist of such yourself. It’s 2. If (See Write Now! #12 for a comprehensive article those companies think their universes need fixing. threatening!) fans would be given the chance to write although. The hard part is getting it distributed.” Staff people or persistent (but non. company whose owners have to work day jobs Always be nice to assistants and it’s always great to have people for them. or to an agent. they thing is getting your can probably simply refuse to publish your work. You may have to actually pay someone to draw your story. on your own website or try to get it on one of the So don’t waste your time writing the twelve-part many webcomics sites. at an art school. However.” but the editor is the does your freebie. with George Mair. And make Life Of Stan Lee sure they’re good.

Go to a museum—even a museum that deals with some subject you think you have no interest in. Interview an elderly relative or acquaintance. That’s okay—I’m a generous guy. I gave you multiple tips within each one. enter- tain. GET A LIFE! Everybody has their own risk comfort level. those are ten important things to know about writing for comics and related media. 15 . then you’d better learn how and why other people do things. Try some new kind of food you’ve never eaten. I’d love to hear what you thought of them—and what you did with them! You can write me c/o TwoMorrows at 10407 Bedfordtown Drive. if you aim to spend all or part of your working time writing about people other than yourself. He was Group Editor of Marvel’s Spider-Man line and has written numerous comics series. If skydiving and traveling to exotic locales aren’t your idea of a good time. NC 27614. But don’t forget that words. But the more life experience you have. X-Men TM & ©2007 Marvel Characters Inc. writing at New York from Uncanny X-Men #475. and the pencils are University and by Billy Tan. Take some time to talk to the people you encounter on your everyday errands. The more of a life you have. They may inspire. and vice versa. the more material you’ll have for your writing. and co-author of How to Create Comics From Script to Print. or e-mail me at: WriteNowDF@aol. 1. take a trip to the country. Bottom line. Learn a new language. I hope they’re helpful and maybe even inspire you to get more and better writing done. so it’s a lot more than ten. Raleigh. If you live in the city. including Darkhawk and Deadly Foes of Spider-Man. the better your writing will be. He teaches comics An example of a professional comics script and the pencil art drawn from it. inform. Anyway. The New School. Take a course in something totally out of character. author of Superman on the Couch. educate—but they aren’t a substitute for actual experience. Go for a week without using the Internet! (Gasp!) Walk instead of you can still shake things up a little. Actually. The writing's by Ed Brubaker. even the best-written ones. Write away! Danny Fingeroth is editor-in-chief of TwoMorrows’ Write Now! magazine. are just a reflection or simulation of life. Every writer needs to spend significant time reading and writing. Dress differently.

NY. in 2000. Was the magic year perhaps 1929. Gaines discovered kids would actually pay for the darn things? Or even 1935. direct ancestor of comic books. Popular Comics. etc. the first regularly-published comic book featuring original material instead of strip reprints? Be that as it may: it was 1938 when things really started happening. when Dell Publishing Co. that reprinted comic strips—were being sold by the first decade of the 20th century. etc. By then. goes back at least to The Yellow Kid in 1896… and one-panel cartoons with balloons appeared even in the pub- lications of ol’ Ben Franklin. there were some Silver Age icons in evidence. 16 . Funnies on Parade (1933)—considered Detective Comics. put out a dozen issues of a newspaper-size collection of original “comic strips” called The Funnies? Or maybe 1933. there were both newspaper-reprint comic books (Famous Funnies. IN THE BEGINNING he roots of comic books reach as far back in time as primitive man’s T drawings in caves in France and Spain. The newspaper comic strip. which measures 20 feet by 60 feet—and yes. editor of Alter Ego magazine and copyright holders.” something to come along and really put it on the map.) and all-new comic books (More Fun Comics. “Comic books”—real books. artist Russell Rainbolt stands in front of the gargan- tuan color-splashed mural he was painting—which featured the greatest (The 1930s To 1970) characters of the Golden Age of Comic Books. when Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson started New Fun Comics. produced magazine-size reprint giveaways like Funnies on Parade and Famous Funnies—and salesman M. This shows less than half of the mural.C. Heroes TM & ©2007 the respective trademark by Roy Thomas. Comics History Crash-Course ALTER EGO ’S BRIEF HISTORY OF At the All-Time Classic New York Comic Convention held in White COMIC BOOKS Plains.)… but the newborn industry was still waiting for the first true “comic book. when Eastern Color Printing Co. too! Photo courtesy of Joe Petrilak.

and was ready to launch a fourth title. THE MAN OF TOMORROW—HERE TODAY! Major Wheeler-Nicholson had lost his company. as bystanders fled in A page from an never-published 1940 Superman story that would’ve introduced Kryptonite. his creators. 17 . National Allied Publications. the Man of Steel’s lone weakness. Inc. ©2007 DC Comics.k. Action Comics #1 went on sale—and there on its cover was a scene that went way beyond cops shooting robbers. and. (a. complete with cape. were being lionzed in the mainstream press. his printer. They told Action Comics #1 (1938) introduced the world to Superman—and vice versa— the story of an alien who grew up and by 1939 he was starring in his own title. reporter Clark Kent. New Adventure Comics. true identity beneath spectacles as as per this vintage photo from the 1940s. were already doing other series for Donenfeld’s company. Gaines (remember him from 1933?) was now working for the McClure Syndicate. and Detective Comics. writer to be Earth’s champion. cartoonist Sheldon Mayer. was hoisting an automobile over his head.C. at the urging of his teenage editor. he sent Superman to DC’s editor. Vin Sullivan. or even Tarzan and Buck Rogers. now called Detective Comics. to Harry Donenfeld. In ’38 Donenfeld was already publishing More Fun (formerly New Fun) Comics. Ere long. Superman’s creators. ©2007 DC Comics. That’s when a bunch of dailies from an unsold newspaper comic strip called Superman got their chance at the spotlight. DC)… but the newspaper syndicates had universally rejected Superman. hiding his Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. to be called Action Comics.a. A fierce-looking man in a red-and-blue acrobat’s costume. M. Thus. in the spring of 1938 (with a June cover date). That something was a guy called Superman. Sullivan needed a lead feature to persuade young readers to part with a Depression-era dime for the new comic—and he decided Superman was it. writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster.

Finger and Kane (aided by art assistant Jerry Robinson) gave Batman a kid partner named Robin. red-white-and- The rest of the country soon sat up and took blue hero who notice—not of the character’s boundless possibilities. the kids of America had Marvel Comics #1. but wearing a domino mask and bones. who drew for DC under the name Pines/Nedor “Bob Kane. and soon starred in his own solo mag. Kane wasn’t really a writer. in Wonder Comics but had picked up a boy partner by the time of 1940’s Batman #1. suggested a mask Wonder Comics #1) and Captain Marvel (who debuted in Whiz soon the infinitely with bat-ears. to script the actual story. the Both Wonder Man (from Doll Man. “Batman” (as the name was soon spelled) was an instant hit. into the field at 18 . A mild- IT’S A BAT… mannered chemist at the Bob Kahn. Sullivan liked “Bat-Man” and made it just like Superman—but the Man Fawcett the cover feature of the 27th issue of Detective of Tomorrow had better lawyers. and sometimes wielded a pistol. and new hero’s uncredited co-creator. Only. and-yellow-clad hero was so similar to panic. and Batman was soon second only to Superman in DC’s pantheon. from publisher Victor Fox. Man. he wasn’t a solo act any longer. Inc. Youngsters lapped it up. but once he did. starring Carl Burgos’ Human Torch a new hero. but of the piles Shield and all of money he was making for Detective Comics.” Kane conceived the idea of a emblazoned with “Bat-Man” who fought crime in yet another red-and- skull and cross- blue acrobat outfit. other super- patriots in the LOOK! UP IN THE SKY! shade. another costumed hero made the “The Bat-Man” was a loner on the cover of 1939’s Detective Comics #27— scene: Wonder Man. Quality sporting batlike wings. of the night. the first hero to wear patriotic first several stories. (hastily pasted together from those unsold newspaper Martin Goodman’s new Timely Comics launched dailies) ended on a cliffhanger. Siegel and loomed. #1. as the spectre of World War II soon quickly became a regular publication. though. white. he Mariner (who lived underwater). too. you needed one different enough from By the time the 13-page “Superman” story inside Superman that there was scant basis for a lawsuit. good or evil. 1940) could stretchable Plastic scheme. Comics. It took some issues for Donenfeld to realize (who could turn to flame) and Bill Everett’s Sub- what was selling his new comic. Bill Finger. by then. making him a true creature leap tall buildings at a single bound. under the title Superman… and it red. Publications. and blue. dated May 1939—only one month less than Captain Marvel TM & ©2007 DC Comics. The Blue Beetle in Mystery Men Comics Shuster had their hands full. and before long a small wore chain-mail armor. MLJ’s Pep Comics #1 quickly issued a one-shot reprint comic featuring the introduced The Shield. and other changes. ventured a year since Superman had flung his first flivver. So when became The Black editor Vin Sullivan suggested he try making up a hero Terror. There was just that huge Art Deco Other publishers quickly saw the light: to publish title—Action Comics—above a drawing that certainly a colorful “mystery man” (as they called them in lived up to the name! those days).” liked money. an act which altered the feature from its grim beginnings into one wherein man and boy slugged hoodlums while bantering back and forth. army of artists was working under them producing Writers/artists/partners Joe Simon and Jack Kirby tales of this strange being with powers far beyond created Captain America Comics for Timely. Comics launched Only thing is. THE SUPER-HERO EXPLOSION The same month Bat-Man made his debut. a more somber blue-and-gray color Comics “#2. There was no mention on the cover of this Superman that DC sued—and Wonder Man fearsome character’s name—let alone whether he was quickly faded into the mists of history. So he got the diminutive a friend. Finger. starring a those of mortal men.” but felt he was getting nowhere. his outfit “like Superman. This red- ©2007 DC Comics. Who doesn’t? By company drank a 1939 he was drawing humor features such as “Peter potion and Pupp. let soon left The alone of the imagination of his creators.” Feb.

Archie Comic uniform. Inc. Captain Marvel. then Dr. DC decided that Captain Marvel was nonetheless a rip-off of Superman. Captain America. The bitter legal struggle lasted for years—during which period Fawcett’s Captain Marvel Adventures became for a time the best-selling comic book in the world—but in 1953 Superman won out. In the meantime. who shouted the magic word “Shazam!” and turned into the World’s Mightiest Mortal. Wonder Woman debuted in All-Star #8 at the end of 1941. The above.C. Marvel Characters. in 1939-40. in the initial issue of Whiz Comics. And in late 1941. ©2007 DC Comics. and sued Fawcett for copyright infringe- ment. 19 . if Superman were to be copied. Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Fascist Italy. Inc. in Adventure Comics (the “New” had been dropped)… and Green Lantern and The Atom in All-American Comics. Within days. These were terrible times for human- kind—but glorious ones for the American comic book industry. launched a virtual army of super-doers: The Flash and Hawkman in Flash Comics… The Spectre. 1941. eight of DC’s greatest heroes—after Superman were literally hundreds of super-heroes and Batman. the USA was at war with imperial Japan and her Axis allies. And who could have possibly made better the turn of 1940. of course. who soon outdistanced all co-ed competitors to rival Superman and Batman in popularity. his company should be the one doing it. then Hour-Man. in More Fun Comics… Sandman. All- American Comics (in which Donenfeld was partnered with M. in All-Star Comics. Hawaii. The situation was pumped up to the max by a little event called the Second World War. Paper was in short supply during wartime. Fate. Gaines). of course—joined forces as the Justice Society of America. Publications. DC/AA launched Sensation Comics #1 (cover-dated Jan. looking for an idle hour to kill. foes for Superman. Fawcett folded its tents. they even combined these eight heroes in the first super-hero group ever: the Justice Society of America. there With All-Star Comics #3 (1940). are just the iconic tip of the iceberg. DC and a new sister company. In late 1940. the first issue of Sensation Comics. who was very much like Superman in terms of pow- ers.. star- ring another mutation in the super-hero concept: Wonder Woman. At one time or another during the 1940s.. and Captain Marvel was no more. with Captain Marvel. America got fully involved in it on December 7. 1942). Inc. then leaped into of one stripe or another. but any mag that A super-hero explosion! The covers of Wonder Comics #1 (1939)—Marvel reached the newsstands was snapped up Comics #1 (1939)—Pep Comics #1 (1940)—& Captain America Comics #1 by a legion of kids and young men in (1941). when Japanese aircraft attacked US military installations at Pearl Harbor. © respectively: the respective copyright holders. Marvel Characters. Donenfeld had long since decided that. His “difference” was that he was actually a young boy. Thus.

which hero. by the Simon & Kirby team that had conceived Captain America. Weird Science and Weird To the rest of the planet. and didn’t much like what they saw. had a sinister bent. Even aviators like Quality’s Blackhawk and Hillman’s Airboy Congressional sub-committees investigated the lowly filled the skies with machine-gun fire. In 1952 Gaines and writer/editor/ of popular comic books in genres besides the super. Their two comics genres. telling them where to they began to drop by the wayside. to be look and what to see. & E. publisher William Gaines soon turned the small company he’d inherited from CHANGING TIMES— his father (the late M. Gaines. it was World War II. there were a growing number do-gooder’s hatred. Tales from the Crypt—the archetypal grotesque twist. it was a Golden Age. 20 . especially after North Korea invaded South Korea in the summer of 1950.C. Blackhawk’s in Military Comics #1 (1941)… while Archie Comics #1 (1942) premiered after the Riverdale teenager had been jitterbugging in Pep Comics for a year. in Crime SuspenStories horror comic. but colorful campaign—for censorship of comic books. In 1941 The first half of the 1950s saw an explosion of MLJ began a backup feature about the humorous horror comics. and Haunt of Fear. Love comics. Crime comics. EC (Entertaining Comics) didn’t initiate the trend toward tales of terror and the supernatural. too.. The result was a rising changed its name to Archie Comic Publications. few with the good writing first Pep Comics. and their ilk than the hated Nazis and Japanese? science-fiction comics.” led by Lev Gleason’s Crime Does Not Pay.).C. Inc. Dell initiated funny-animal comics. artist Harvey Kurtzman also midwifed Mad. working hard to outdo each other in antics of a teenager—and soon “Archie” took over depicting fear and loathing. Donald Duck’s first comic book bow occurred in Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #1 (1940). Inc. etc.. War comics. right in the forefront of the crusade was a psychiatrist heroes had faded. starting with 1947’s Young Romance. ©2007 respectively Walt Disney Productions. And horror comics. But in the early 1950s EC took the lead with its beautifully drawn and gruesomely written Tales from the Crypt. licensed (from Disney. Mad #1 (1952) started out parodying horror and other and Shock SuspenStories. most of them began life as a color comic. And After the war. DC Comics. writer/editor Al Feldstein. Working with But to comics readers. EC’s Crypt of Terror #17 (1950) was actually the first issue of EC also gave crime comics a more what was retitled. much of the excitement about super. In the second half of the 1940s named Dr. There cry—half grass-roots movement. featuring cowboys and Indians… mostly cowboys. Publications. which and art the EC comics had. Warner Bros. Vault of Horror. half orchestrated were few real “war comics” during WWII. Agent. often based on “true police cases. but was soon lampooning everything! ©2007 respectively by William M. replaced by other genres: Westerns. comic book. Fredric Wertham. with issue #20. and then the entire company. Archie Comic Publications. Fantasy. Gaines) into the envy of AND EC COMICS other comic book moguls—and the object of many a During this period.

with an October comic book: no more vampires or cover date). most of the major publishers Showcase. only three solo super-hero stars survived from the WWII years: Superman. decided to try a new super-hero. Green approval had to appear on virtually all now rechristened National comic books for decades—except on Lantern. It appeared unlikely that ever Kirby). parental or more streamlined version of the otherwise… no sexual suggestive. the Kane to update the next most converted into a black-&-white 25¢ Comics Code Authority’s seal of magazine—to great success. its successors. with Showcase #4 (1956) & #22 (1959). But neutered. in the gave was the comic book industry. literary masterworks. The Julius Schwartz was put in charge written-out Code spelled out what of Showcase #4 (which went on could and couldn’t be done in a sale in July 1956. mere four issues of Showcase. entire industry. in 1956. and on Gilberton’s quickly. with a jazzier name. then topped it off with The Brave and the Bold #28 (1960). casting about for new lights Aquaman and The Martian Manhunter were projects. By then. Superman. (working with his ex-partner Jack field. Batman. Over the next ness… no overt violence. lesser DC’s publishers and editors. 21 . The Flash appeared in a Comic books were reined in. since comics combined in the Justice League of America. Yet. Within a year. Many in 1959 The Flash was awarded his publishers abandoned the field. Archie Comics signed Joe Simon increasingly. Now he retooled the latter OF THE SUPER-HERO concept. Their reviving the most popular of DC’s censoring body was called the vanished stars: The Flash. and someone suggested Association of America. to gauge popularity more with its lucrative movie/TV licenses. the late 1940s. Wonder Woman. squeaky-clean Dell and in a row. with writer Robert werewolves… no titles featuring the Kanigher and penciler Carmine words “Horror” or “Terror”… no Infantino. as well. and the result was a again would comic books make any waves in the revamped Shield (who didn’t last larger ocean of society. Fastest Man Alive. but Fly. DC needed a feature for an issue for By the end of 1954. In It was called Showcase #4. there came… not a wave. the comic book industry The Comics Code seal is TM & ©1977 Comic seemed to those in it like a dying Magazine Association of America. Schwartz enlisted its comics except Mad. and the Justice Society of DC SPARKS THE RETURN America super-hero group. three years. ten years after the unable to compete in this new and original Flash Comics had died. EC soon dropped all That same year. Green Lantern. This new readership was assumed to totally turn over every five combo was given a three-issue trial in a Showcase- DC Comics led the way in the 1956-1960 super-hero revival. something had to give—and what years or so. Flash. Green Lantern. ©2007 DC Comics. a new Green Classics Illustrated adaptations of Lantern #1 followed. It was DC. long) and a far more successful Adventures of The And then. a comic which spotlighted a different genre formed a self-governing group: the Comic Magazine in each bimonthly edition. Batman. Meanwhile. a ripple. and Wonder THE COMICS CODE YEARS Woman. Schwartz devised a new. disrespect for authority. Eventually. that played the trump card. led the comic book pack. DC— famous defrocked hero. homogenized. Schwartz had edited comics starring Flash. which it writer John Broome and artist Gil Beginning at the turn of 1955. though. in three issues of Showcase Periodical Publications—and Dell. Editor Comics Code Authority. blander arena. own magazine. self-regulated. as kids reached puberty. a hero with vaguely insect-like powers.

THE MARVEL AGE OF COMICS Actually. bringing back Golden Agers Human Torch. and The Spectre. these comics gained a slightly older average- age readership than fellow DC mags featur- ing Superman. Sub-Mariner. Lee proudly proclaimed by artist Jack Kirby—Fantastic Four swiftly changed “The Marvel Age of Comics” on covers month after the way comic books were written and drawn. and. Strange. such breakthrough concepts as The Incredible Hulk. and gave DC a competition for super-hero 1963. and others—as well as known as The Thing—and augmented by the action. It roused a sleeping giant. Here’s Kirby’s pencil art. and Wonder Woman. characterizations and particularly the monstrous “hero” The Avengers. in spearheading this revival. came up with The Fantastic Four. But. of the strong story that introduced the character in Fantastic Four #48-50 (1966). The collapse of its distribu- tor circa 1957 had left it with only a handful of titles. Iron Man. through the latter’s company Independent News. Next day. By month. Thor. Steve Ditko. Dr. The X-Men. packed artwork and additional story elements supplied and especially Captain America. DC Comics also ran afoul of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Martin Goodman’s Timely Comics (occa- sionally called Marvel Comics in the late 1940s) looked less like a giant than like a comatose dwarf. The Atom. With its more realistic The Amazing Spider-Man. 22 . DC. he directed his longtime editor (and chief Group for keeps. distributed by its far larger rival. with sales of DC’s new Justice Lee’s script already lettered in ink. Inc. Partly because a number of “oldtimers” in their 20s and 30s picked up such comics largely out of nostalgia. by Kirby. But Goodman learned. League of America title. with stories by Lee and art-plus writer) Stan Lee to introduce a super-hero group comic. and Don Heck. for the first page of #49. had introduced pronto! Lee. Batman. at the time. who was thinking of leaving the field.type comic called The Brave and the Bold— and it was an immediate smash beyond even The Flash and Green Lantern! There soon followed new versions of other DC heroes such as Hawkman. Fantastic Four ©2007 Marvel Characters. while playing golf with another pub- lishing bigwig one day The Fantastic Four movie sequel “Rise of the Silver Surfer” is based on the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby in 1961. Timely Comics had become the Marvel Comics dimes it hadn’t known for a decade and more.

but Marvel and DC were the twin kings of that hill. Marvel introduced additional concepts that examining comics history. increasing amount of their work for Marvel… and in 1970 there was an even greater seismic Marvel’s mutant approach to comics gained it an shock when Jack Kirby abruptly left Marvel to draw audience slightly older than DC’s—e. DC stars such as Fantasy #15. and be) considered as ending around 1970—was coming by 1970 was probably in the mid. in its turn. Inc. DC fought back with chief of the company. late teens. Paradox Entertainment/Conan Properties. and eventually editor-in- got his own extra-size comic. two years later he the 1970s. and Archie with its campy “Mighty Comics Group” revival of 1940s heroes. Conan the Barbarian #1. He began would move and shake the comic book world. perhaps it was less a mountain than a volcano. Deadman. Marvel. and the Civil Rights movement. Volumes books both reflected and occasionally influenced that 1-3.g. starting with acquiring the rights to a 1930s pulp magazine hero who was newly popular in paperbacks. Metamorpho. The latter was created by The Silver Age closed on a series of high notes.. 23 . as well as other books change. such as his career in comics as Stan Lee’s Lee and Kirby’s outer-space sentinel The Silver Surfer right-hand man at Marvel Comics in 1965. was published with an October 1970 cover date. tried to gain a foothold on the super-hero hill. with such key moments as the debut of Deadman in Strange Adventures #205 (1967)—a solo Silver Surfer comic (1968)—and Conan the Barbarian #1 (1970). numerous comics today. followed in 1962 by Amazing players. written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Barry Smith. Inc. with fluid molten lava forever Marvel Comics began its second climb to success with shifting beneath the feet of the two principal The Fantastic Four #1 (1961).. Other companies. He still writes livelier concepts such as Doom Patrol. ©2007 Marvel Characters. and which may (but need not age of comic book readers was slowly going up. Marvel Characters. The history of comic books was poised to enter a THE REST OF THE ’60S new phase… While America was changing in the garish light of Roy Thomas is the editor of TwoMorrows’ Alter Ego the murder of two Kennedys and Martin Luther King. becoming their star writer in in a 1966 issue of Fantastic Four. By the late 1960s. The average which began in 1956. ©respectively by DC Comics. comic All-Star Companion. and. to a close. which introduced everybody’s friendly neighborhood Neal Adams and Gil Kane were doing an Spider-Man. such as Tower with its Wally Wood-generated THUNDER Agents. writer Arnold Drake and artist Carmine Infantino and brought to full fruition by scripter Jack Miller and illustrator Neal Adams. several Marvel and write a new line of titles for DC. fan clubs were started on college campuses—without The period now hailed as comics’ “Silver Age”— relying heavily on the nostalgia factor. magazine and is the author of The the Vietnam War. most of all. looked around for non-super-hero fields to conquer.

and continues to be. and many others. and editor of their Jack Kirby Collector magazine. he worked on such TV series as Thundarr the Barbarian and Super Friends. His creations are nearly countless. Kirby was known to pencil up to five a day when the need demanded it. with no end in sight. the Marvel Comics Universe (including the Fantastic Four. of comic book store where you probably picked up this Free Comic Book Day publication. Inc. he never actually worked in the comics field before starting TwoMorrows Publishing in 1994. which began as a Jack Kirby 16-page hand-xeroxed newsletter. Support the John Morrow is publisher of TwoMorrows Publishing. “Kirby Krackle” (the glowing blobs of energy that artists draw in nearly every outer space or “cosmic” scene in comics). including the two-page splash (where two side-by-side pages are drawn as one large image. org 24 . X-Men. a major influence on the writers and artists from the Golden Age of the 1930s and ’40s. After departing the comics field in 1978 to pursue a career in animation. Thor. which launched the way comics A 1960s drawing by Kirby. WHO’S THIS “KIRBY” GUY? by John Morrow. He pioneered numerous innovations in how artists draw comics. so perhaps it’s fitting that no other creator has an ongoing magazine devoted to their life and career. His ideas and innovations in the field are innumerable. Kid Gang comics. No other creator left such an indelible mark on the comics industry. and the outrageous perspectives and camera angles that artists use to add dynamism to their pages. being creator or co-creator of Captain America. and more). and has now morphed into an Museum: internationally-distributed tabloid-size magazine. “King” Kirby was. as are the number of pages he drew in his lifetime. and even self-published his work back in the 1950s. Characters TM & ©2007 Marvel Characters. the Boy Commandos. it’s due to his amazing output during a 50- year career as a comic book creator that began in the late 1930s. He then came back into comics to produce the first comic sold exclusively to the then-new comic book shop market in 1981. Although he’s honored to www. before it was in vogue like it is today. celebrating the life and career of the “King” of comics. Silver Surfer. rub elbows with top comics pros like the ones that edit the kirbymuseum. editor of The Jack Kirby Collector magazine ack Kirby (1917-1994) isn’t known as J the “King” of comics for nothing. company’s other magazines. up through today’s comics. Hulk. While many artists have trouble drawing a single page each day. He worked for nearly every publisher in comics history. It takes that level of creativity to produce a body of work that could sustain such a publication. the New Gods. depicting many of the Marvel Comics characters are mainly sold today—through the kind that he co-created with Stan Lee. Romance comics. and each was a work of art. after nearly 50 issues. for extra impact). SO.

reeling from declining sales. things looked bleak in 1970. Inc. and for comic-book readers. Back Issue is your fast-paced. and go behind the scenes of the comics pub- lished during those years. one-way ticket to the era when comic books transformed into what you know today. but the characters he introduced series of comics. Mister Miracle and Big Barda. the year that began the era now known as the Bronze Age. ©2007 DC Comics. Distribution was scattershot: To get all of your comics you had to huff it to multiple locations. Nor were there comic shops. Since many of you weren’t reading comics back then (not surprising since you might not have been alive). the Hulk. “What do we try next?” Writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Their answer: Try everything! The 1970s was the decade of excess. spin racks found in convenience stores and newsstands. THE BRONZE AGE It was 1970. that’s Jack “King” Kirby. There were some things in life you just didn’t question. as a culture. ©2007 DC Comics. scratched their heads and pondered. and Jack Kirby being a Marvel Comics man was one of them. It’s true! Comics were mostly sold in metal Wolverine TM & ©2007 Marvel Characters. The bottom had dropped out of the TV Batman super-hero boom of the mid-1960s and publishers. Neal Adams ushered in a new era when there was no such thing as “too much” and nothing we. hoping you’d find what you were looking for. allow me to walk you through a quick tour. of “relevant” themes in comics wouldn’t try. Orion. and Omac—energized the often-bland DC Universe and remain vital to the company today. after all. Kirby’s move to DC aside. and the X-Men. the Fantastic Four. the artist who co-created Captain America. Unfortunately. New Gods. they might be dog-eared from kids’ grips or yellowed and brittle from being displayed too close to the window. Welcome to the 1970s… In Back Issue magazine. from the chairs of comics’ head honchos. reality was changing. And even if you found your favorites. drugs got mainstreamed… and Mom wore pantsuits while Dad sprouted #76 (April 1970). DC Comics readers had been teased by promo lines announcing that “Kirby is Coming!” For you newbies. There was a time F when there was no such thing. movies got with Green Lantern/Green Arrow bloodier. Kamandi. There are many theories why Kirby’s Jack Kirby’s New Gods #1 (1971) so-called “Fourth World” failed after a few launched his “Fourth World” short years. For months. plus his own creations Forever People. music got louder. 25 . and later. to DC—such as Darkseid. So Kirby jumping ship to competitor DC was as big an event as anyone could imagine. we take readers to the ’70s and the ’80s. which I’m proud to edit. data-loaded. editor of Back Issue magazine ree Comic Book Day. THE BRONZE AND BEYOND by Michael Eury. the Demon. bras got burned. Kirby’s first DC projects— Jimmy Olsen. and Mister Miracle— didn’t set the market ablaze as DC had hoped. Hair got longer.

first seen in Marvel Spotlight the utter strangeness before the movie debuted. and encouraged imitators includ- (TOD). who debuted invaded the racks. brought his claw- Gold Key). was DC was less ambi- first out the gruesome gate). Hero for Hire. as drawn by artist George the comics world. and the newly created had Bram Stoker’s Dominic Fortune and the Scorpion mined this pulp vein. developed a growing audience. Sword-and-sorcery comics know that Ghost Rider was the star of a 2007 motion soon cut a swath through the stands. Man-Thing. and while Conan the Barbarian #1. the Son of Satan. Fu Manchu. the new popular sci-fi films to the 1971 lifting Ghost Rider debuted in Marvel of the Comics Code Logan’s Run. Rock stars KISS domain. ©2007 Lucasfilm 26 . werewolves. Authority’s prohibi. Marvel found mass not fallen into public media a ripe market for exploitation. TOD and became super-heroes. the first appearance of his created- some of. the fictional “Yellow Peril” mastermind continuing the numbering from previous publisher created by Sax Rohmer in 1913. and new formats. written by Roy Thomas and drawn by newcomer Barry (Windsor-) Smith. were also popular (and were Back. of the Apes. Writer/artist/editor Joe Kubert produced #15 (Dec. Brother Voodoo. the first place publishers looked was outside of comics. Swamp cinematic properties. and 2001: depiction of vampires. Bruce Lee—Master of Marvel a few years Kung Fu became a long-running success for Marvel later. which added another craze—motor- other than caped crusaders. you now teens. and IronJaw. 1972). Howard’s most famous savage hero in 1970. miering in a magazine-formatted comic featuring the which preceded it audacious stunt of into print by two mixing the band’s months in Marvel blood with the Spotlight #2. Kung Fu Fighter. didn’t instantly ignite Johnny Blaze transforms into the Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider TM & ©2007 Marvel Characters. Inc. Doom (pre- Werewolf by Night. Claw the comics and chose his stage name from Marvel’s own Unconquered. and Taking his name from a Western Marvel’s response comics based upon hero of the Golden Age. (most notably under writer Doug Moench and artist Tomb of Dracula Paul Gulacy’s tenure). 1972). Frankenstein. Inc. were printer’s ink!). Shang-Chi. is a training ground for new talent). new ideas. 1973). and proved to publishers that they could sell material #5 (Aug. another product of the ’70s. and the undead A Space Odyssey (although Morbius the Living Vampire. Luke Cage. with licensed picture featuring Nicolas Cage—but what you might acquisitions like Kull and Red Sonja joined by original not know is that the actor was weaned on Bronze Age characters including the Warlord.muttonchops. Marvel licensed author Robert E. although its “DC and the Living Mummy were among the macabre TV Comic” line. In 1972 DC released its first issue of Tarzan (#207. even fighting Dr. sort of a distant cousin to the sword-and. in October 1971’s Amazing Spider-Man #101. timeless stories recently reprinted in hardcover Master of Kung Fu. The Lord of response to the trend of Hong Kong–born martial-arts the Jungle leapt to movies and their patron saint.” trying new genres. and the Avenger were but might have been introduced to comics audiences. perhaps the. Thing. was not Another 1970s trend was pulp heroes. better known as the ever. like Doc Savage. all in a hungry pursuit of the one thing there could never be too much of: money. the Shadow. early 1972. fingered menace to comics in Special Marvel Edition sorcery comic. finest illustrated Tarzan stories for-comics son. 1897 vampire novel Beyond the world of pop lit. noteworthy if for no No ’70s-born horror hero was hotter than the other reason than Star Wars #1 (1977) went on sale hellspawn Ghost Rider. first seen in ing Iron Fist and Richard Dragon. Marvel’s response to the TV hit by Dark Horse Kung Fu (1972– 1975)—which itself was television’s Comics. like including Welcome DC’s House of Mystery. Kotter. Planet Spotlight #5 (Aug. Marvel and DC also got “with it. Of course. before long the series Tuska in the ’70s. lovesick all-American cycle stunt riding—to the mix. Old classics a licensed property. and cartoon mice. In their quest to find the next big thing. ©2007 Marvel Characters. protagonists in 1970s—and mystery anthologies. tion against the Godzilla. and spawned one of the tious in adapting decade’s most popular trends.

new artists stormed the medium. produced some of their best work in the the shocking murder of Spidey’s love Gwen Stacy in 1970s.of it all. stodgy panel layouts. That creative duo also Sienkiewicz. which premiered a few months before the May 25.” Among the artistic new- comers of this era were Neal Adams and Jim Steranko. as did Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson with issue #121 (June 1973). 1974) introduced 27 . and the introduction of the their “Swanderson” pairing on Superman. Marshall Rogers. The transition. Chaykin as Lucas’ go-to artist illustrates another hall- mark of 1970s’ comics: the emergence of young talent. from Amazing Spider-Man #275 (April 1986). and Rom: Spaceknight. and John to The Amazing Spider-Man while writing that title: Romita. Mike Ploog. Bill Batman #251 (Sept. 1973). but while looking outside of the field for new properties. No 1970s screen property was more popular as a comic book than Star Wars. still in pencil. that he was “told by one of the functionaries not to walk past the Big Boss’ office ‘looking like that. and Berni(e) Wrightson collaborated on the award-winning. Roy Thomas was at the writing helm. Walter Simonson. and as he told Back Issue in 2005. however. Lantern/Green Arrow. O’Neil and García-López. which explored “realistic” terrain Not to rest on their laurels. Inc. Sr. 1977 release of the film. writer Denny O’Neil revealed. “villain of the month” who soon became a mega- DC and Marvel took chances with traditional star—the Punisher—in issue #129 (Feb. returned the Joker to his homicidal roots in Miller. daring to do things differently. George Pérez. with fighter to a brooding “creature of the night.’ to take the long way around. Following recapping Spidey’s origin. became energized by this exciting new climate: John Gerry Conway made two substantial contributions Buscema. John Byrne. an anticipation-build- ing maneuver brainstormed by Jedi master George Lucas. was not without its bumps in the road. Gil Kane. provocative Green among their number. José Luis of the main architects of that revamp. Stan Lee. their lead. such as Battlestar Galactica.” Star Wars’ success title paved the way for other popular late-1970s Marvel titles based upon sci-fi and toy prop- erties. established talent such as prejudice and drug abuse. Comics publishing houses had been the exclusive domain of stuffed shirts in elbow-patched tweed jackets. Michael Golden. Batman was retooled from a campy crime. The Micronauts. the medium also looked within its fan base for the next talent wave. Frank Adams. The Incredible Hulk #181 (Nov.” and two Frank Brunner. characters. Dave Cockrum. As one of the “long-hairs” who broke the barrier. Gene Colan. reflecting upon his visits to DC’s headquarters. Lucas “had in mind the idea of Howard Chaykin as the artist. who demonstrated that comics story- telling was not restricted to An unused Ron Frenz page. 1974). Mike Grell. Spider-Man TM & ©2007 Marvel Characters.

iron-on clothing patches. and digests (Archie Comics’ digests remain a durable fixture today. Last time I revival of the X. DC and Marvel’s first super- hero team-up). Eisner essentially recreated the art form by producing this pioneering collection of intensely personal stories. which Age. The Overstreet limped into near. Colossus. 100-page Super Spectaculars. 7-11 Slurpee cups. 1975’s Giant-Size the Diamond Age. so calling 1980 “modern” is a stretch. The biogra- phical “comix” found in the under- ground comics movement motivated Eisner to return to the fold after a hiatus. The final. then. coloring books. Wolverine was one THE SORTA. Howard the Duck. 28 . With new properties. readers by surprise. and/or the Modern X-Men #1. Kenny Loggins was no longer at the top of Men—which had. black-and-white comics magazines. 1974). the Dark Age. Sin City creator Frank Miller drew this meeting between Batman and other items. Comic Book Price Guide has expanded the Bronze obscurity as a Age into the mid-’80s. Wolverine went soon-to-be-stars at the highlights… from secondary character to one of Storm. 80-page “Dollar Comics. scruffy Superman: The Movie’s elevation of the comic-book scrapper named film to blockbuster status in 1978. records. but widest-reaching. Batman TM & ©2007 DC Comics. culminating in and his creation Elektra in the mid-1980s.” 10 1⁄4" x 13 1⁄4" tabloid-sized comics (home of the 1976 mega-event Superman vs. Ouch! Does this make your head hurt like it From his first appearance in Hulk also introduced does mine? Let’s drop the labels. Inc. whose of 1970s publishing rebuilt the industry from within. thanks to Will Eisner’s A Contract with God (1978). comic-book characters became household names during the 1970s due to a ubiquitous barrage of Saturday- morning TV cartoons and primetime live- action dramas. little stability was to be found in the shapes of the comic books themselves. ©2007 Marvel Characters. most comics collectors regarded created for a 1980 as the beginning of the Modern Age. The graphic novel was also born in the 1970s. the charts and Dallas wasn’t TV’s number one show. and Nightcrawler. Elektra TM & ©2007 Marvel Characters. and Firestorm) bom- barding the reader at a dizzying pace. action figures. new talent. Perhaps the most influential innovation of the Marvel Comics’ most recognizable. a squat. believe it or not. and at a time when he could have easily retired. looked. While the innovations Wolverine. Inc. New formats seen during the 1970s included the 48-page (52 counting covers) comic. and depending upon whom reprint title—with you ask the subsequent periods are the Copper Age. breakthrough of the Bronze Age was merchandising. and the digest itself has morphed into a popular format for manga). and new characters (including Jonah Hex. atypical violent the non-comics retailing of its characters cemented nature caught their statuses as cultural institutions. Halloween costumes. The Amazing Spider-Man. and just look #181 (Nov. While popular comics stars had long been licensed for various products. KINDA of several mutants “MODERN” AGE gathered and/or Until recently.

29 . Dave Sim’s Cerebus the Aardvark. some- Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg. as the Punisher/ Marvel’s first attempt at uniting all of its heroes— Wolverine trend of 1982’s Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions— anti-heroes with gave way to 1984’s smash Marvel Super Heroes ambiguous motiva. X-Factor. 12-issue maxiseries that overhauled DC’s lengthy favorite. writing to new heights. Joe was incredibly successful and lured Love and Rockets. I. and Comico Giffen’s collabora- appeared. included Wolverine which brought together virtually every character from (whose first solo DC’s 50-year history. Perhaps the most signif. were a TV cartoon. mostly from DC. toy line. where the in 1980: Marv comics were ordered in specific numbers on a non. Joe. Secret Wars is best tions. based upon Hasbro’s “Real American introduced new talent to the medium. continuing The big-event crossover was born in the 1980s. tion on Legion of DC Comics started a revitalization and Dark Horse Comics. On its this new mode of distribution. Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer. From this trend evolved the icant highlight of his run was the introduction of “mature readers only” title.’ Marvel’s G. which. growing history into a streamlined continuity. which we now know as the alien creative guidance of symbiote that became Venom. and Kevin Eastman times more dystopian edge to American comics books and Peter Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. premiered a released its first slate of innovative titles that excited readers and issue of G. American reprints of the UK’s Judge Mainstream comics got a shot in the arm in the Dredd introduced many readers to imported creators early 1980s when Frank Miller took over Daredevil like Brian Bolland and Kevin O’Neill. Silver Age Flash (plus a score of second. Supergirl and the into a franchise that. Eclipse. Jan. In the early ’80s sales. Groo the Wanderer. ©2007 DC Comics. anyone other than became DC’s best- Marvel and DC—began to flourish in the ’80s under selling title. thanks to the Nov. by John Byrne) and a new Frank Miller). followed shortly thereafter by Mutants. I. ultimately breakout character Elektra (Daredevil #168. released a hit publishers tested this “direct sales” market. Most of these companies heels was Paul have faded into history. Wolfman and returnable basis (as opposed to the traditional news. providing a “one-stop shopping” source for trailed Marvel in the previously harried comics fan. outing was a popular No single year of the 1980s packed more wallop 1982 miniseries by than 1986: DC followed up Crisis with a Superman Claremont and Many of the themes of the revamp (Man of Steel. Pacific. and Marvel’s title. Freelance. at DC. that debuted in 1964. X-Men kingdom: Crisis on Infinite Earths. last year after Infinite Crisis. cover-dated May 1979. An influx of British talent brought a harder. Inc. the Hernandez Bros. 1980 relaunch remain active.early 1980s was the way the comics were sold. where distribution was unreliable and Teen Titans. remembered for the first appearance of Spider-Man’s Under the black costume. G. From those independents. which launched in 1986. New recent X-Men movies have their Flash and Justice League. writer/artist team Bolstered by the success of Titans. (Sort of sounds like what happened X-Men comics. Moore elevated comics watchdogs the Comics Code. I. Super-Heroes. the 1985–1986 became a fan. Secret Wars. Mike Grell’s Jon Sable. only Fantagraphics. and Starfire comic books. Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones’ a new generation of readers into the fold. and their warm reception led stars Cyborg. George Pérez’s New stand method. stringers) did not survive the “housecleaning” event. This unsold materials were returnable): Marvel released merger of Titans old Dazzler #1 and DC released Madame Xanadu #1 and new (media directly to comics shops.and third- throughout the ’80s. were introduced) Independent publishers—usually. ©2007 Marvel Characters. DC handed Chris Claremont and that series’ Wolfman and Pérez the keys to the John Byrne. Miller started as the DD penciler with rise to acclaim on US titles. today. No Brit issue #158. doesn’t it? Trends. Mike Baron and of multimedia exploitation: Simultaneously striking Steve Rude’s Nexus. but throughout the decade Levitz and Keith names like Capital. before ascending captivated American readers like Alan Moore: from his to the role of writer/artist). First. founded in 1976. in the 1980s. 1981). publishers to cater to direct sales as the way to sell Raven. and origins in the 1970s and ’80s Wonder Woman. DC Comics. however. Joe was a textbook example Matt Wagner’s Mage and Grendel. During the late 1970s comic-book shops trickled into which had for years existence. grew into its Vertigo line. In 1982 Marvel of Teen Titans. who would soon (technically. Some of the Hero” reworking of the classic military action figure ’80s greatest indie hits: Bill Willingham’s Elementals. over 20 years later. Miller showed that gritty cerebral Swamp Thing to his occasional brilliant forays realism could work under the scrutiny of the content into the Superman mythology.

including lauded of 1986’s the defection of comics were Frank McFarlane and com- Miller’s “future pany from Marvel to Batman” The Dark form Image Comics. Knight Returns and a speculator’s boom Alan Moore and that later fizzled and Dave Gibbons’ threatened to wipe “super-hero decon. niques on glossier. The most events. usually witnessed some happen in 20-year groundbreaking cycles). as well Larsen. comics with his 1986 “flexographic” Publishing. ©2007 DC Comics. Those Miller’s sequel. clear that the creator was now king. and Rob Liefeld. which I Again. did not live up to the artist’s original epic). His career includes tenure as Sandman in 1989 and Marvel released Spider-Man #1 an editor for DC Comics. by permission of rivaled DC and Marvel Comics for Writer Alan Moore redefined such as the garish Gemstone dominance. participation. current comics. the process Guide. Adam Hughes. Quotes Watchmen mini-series with process of the mid. A new flock of creative talent Comics Gone Ape!: The Missing rose to prominence in the late 1980s.” are bursting artist David with behind-the- Mazzucchelli. 36th Edition signaled a big change in the improved—but not (2006). the struction” maxiseries “death” of Superman Watchmen. The author wishes to thank Who’s Who—and by decade’s end comic books were Dennis O’Neil and Roy Thomas for their produced with enhanced computer coloring tech. with era. in 1987 Miller. 30 . And national attention to comics with startling terrain.” in the comics page— Batman #404–407. have the comics of the critics agreed that ’70s and ’80s to thank for their very existence. ing and collecting 1986 mini-series Batman. With trailblazers like Miller and Moore proving that Michael Eury is the editor of creator-driven series could be hits. in The Overstreet Throughout the Comic Book Price The first issue of Spawn (1992) decade. as Image Comics without mishaps. ’80s that marred Back Issue magazine and the book The Justice early issues of DC’s League Companion. unmatchable (most and their writers and artists. at times. Reprinted comics industry. scenes stories that reimagined the are. and Comico. as hero’s origin in the interesting as what landmark “Batman: you might read on Year One. 2001–2002’s The Dark Knight Strikes decades. fed into the comics tights concepts into universes you are Writer/artist Frank Miller brought unfamiliar and often Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1 reading today. out the business. By the time as other books examining comics DC published writer Neil Gaiman’s fantasy opus history. Inc. these series are remember that they. for this article originally appeared in interviews in artist Dave Gibbons. including Erik Link to Primates in Comics. it was Comics. so (1990) stands today as one of the while you’re enjoy- his reimagining of Batman in his raising the bar that best-selling comics of all time. ©2007 Todd McFarlane. Dark Knight Returns. publishers courted TwoMorrows’ Back Issue magazine and is the author of the just-released the industry’s next wave. The some might argue ©2007 Marvel Characters. whiter paper. call “the Back Issue After surveying Batman’s future. originally published duction techniques. Dark Horse in 1990 as a showcase for Todd McFarlane. and lots of Watchmen took other dark stuff that familiar men-in. including comics The 1990s also revamps. ©2007 DC Comics. and are available Joining new for you every other distribution venues month in Back and new directions Issue! in storytelling as 1980s innovations Portions of was an upgrading this article were of comic-book pro. Dark and the breaking of Knight and Batman.

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