A cold heartbreaker in Ohio last night as Glenville High School fell short in securing their first high school football championship, falling to Loveland 41-23 in inclement weather.
Glenville football was equally big in the ’30s. As you see in the book, it gave Joe the opportunity for his first major, public work of art. And their mascot was a science fiction robot.
Tough loss for Glenville, Cleveland, and Ted Ginn, Sr., who is an all-time force for good in the area.
Now in its 5th year, Genghis Con is a local comics show celebrating the indie spirit of comics in the Rust Belt. They hold it in the Beachland Ballroom, a great place to see shows. Guests included Gary Dumm, international superstar Derf, and co-founder John G., Charles Cassady, and many others — lots of great talent in this area. I bought 12 old Choose Your Own Adventure Books. I sat next to pal Marc Sumerak which was great — check out his site for his books (he is also selling his legendary toy collection). Marc created the Eisner and Harvey-nominated Franklin Richards series, which I have always really liked.
So this nice guy named Steve (left) bought my book (thanks dude) and had a really unique request (he asked Marc first and then me). He gave me a blank cover Justice League book and asked me to write on it. Total victory for writers everywhere. Marc got an Avengers and wrote instructions for a splash cover. I wrote a scene on mine where Superman fights Black Manta (it was one of the “Throne of Atlantis” issues).
I also got to hang out with MJ Robinson, who did “The School” with me. Her new zine “Rind” is really great. Check out her work here. I did a podcast afterwards with the Comics Are Go guys — will post here when it’s up.
Still one of my favorite Joe images — from the front page of The Glenville Torch on the day before Thanksgiving in 1932.
I think that this image — and its popularity — made Jerry begin to think that illustrated stuff — comics — might be a better thing to try than the weird short stories he had been writing.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.
Brian Doherty reviews Super Boys for the L.A. Review of Books:
Ricca did the Clark Kent/Lois Lane reporter job well: he went out and got the story…I hope it’s true, as Ricca reports, that Jerry Siegel died happy. He deserved it. He and his partner were clearly vibrant, and full of wit and a winning desire to make real the dream that was uniquely theirs. While they made some regrettable decisions regarding their Kryptonian creation, their decision to create him, however much grief it cost them, was ultimately a great gift to them, to comic book history, and to American pop mythology.
Read the whole thing here.
Brian Steinberg at Variety writes about the maybe/maybe not lure of Aquaman:
In the comics, Aquaman is, more or less, King of the Seven Seas. In Hollywood, the veteran superhero is treated like a three-day-old tuna fish sandwich. Despite his long tenure in the pages of DC Entertainment’s comics, the sea-soaked adventurer has, over the decades, seemed all wet.
Steinberg quotes ‘ol pal Pete Coogan — and me (talking about the Super Friends). Read the whole article here.
I do think Aquaman can be interesting. I’ve loved Geoff Johns’ take on him — not only because of the stories themselves, but for the way the writer (Johns) uses his medium (and his status) to bring one of his personal favorite characters back to prominence. There is a real power (and purity?) to that — something you don’t really see in mainstream comics. Like at all. So I like Johns a lot for that. He is also a writer who worked his way up to CCO. Nice.
Somehow the holiday season is already upon us. People on my street have lights.
So here’s where I’ll be around Cleveland if you want a signed copy and free stuff. If you live elsewhere and want a signed copy, just have one sent or gifted to me (email me for address) and I’ll sign and send back. Send it to me by Dec. 15 if you want it by Christmas.
Saturday, November 30
Mac’s Backs on Coventry from 10-11 AM as part of Small Business Saturday.
Saturday, November 30
Comics & Friends in Great Lakes Mall, 2-6 PM.
Sunday, Dec. 1
Genghis Con at the Beachland Ballroom, 2-7 PM.
Tuesday, Dec. 3
Brews and Prose at Market Garden Brewery, 7 PM (w/Tessa Mellas!)
Over at The Beat, Jeff Trexler explains and analyzes yesterday’s decision that affirmed that the Shusters could not terminate their half of the Superman copyright. According to Deadline, WB said that ”We are obviously very pleased with the court’s decision.” Jeff provides his usual incisive commentary:
Is it fair that the Shuster heirs only secured a meager pension while the Siegel heirs stand to gain tens of millions of dollars in exchange for the same rights? Arguably not, but from a legal perspective it’s a cautionary tale as old as the biblical story of Jacob and Esau, who sold his precious birthright for some lentil soup. Immediate benefits can be extremely costly in the longer term, especially if an attorney isn’t on hand to negotiate a better deal.
Read Jeff’s entire analysis here. Also news articles at Deadline and Variety. You can read the actual (unpublished) decision here.
I’ve made my opinion known on the Shuster side of the case before. The lawsuit is as complicated, dramatic, and unbelievable as any issue of Superman ever was. But it is real, and thus completely separate in a way that affects real people through (literally) life and death decisions. I present all sides (there are more than two) in the book so you can make up your own mind. Many people have told me that they really liked the way I did the lawsuit — though they hated having to read it.
So in footnote #1 of this new court document:
Cue me blinking. I know other authors and collectors who have worked with lawyers on both sides of this case in terms of providing information — I have not. It’s kind of cool to be part of the record, but it still feels a little strange.
November 18 is Mickey Mouse’s 85th birthday. I talked to Joal Ryan from Yahoo News who wrote this list of “85 things that can be traced, directly or indirectly, back to the mouse that roared.”
17. Superman: “The publisher who finally bought Superman from its two young creators—for a measly $130—did so because he was interested in creating an international-transmedia property like Mickey Mouse,” says Brad Ricca, author of “Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster—The Creators of Superman.”
The list is pretty interesting — though some entries may be eye-opening (Miley Cyrus), I don’t think #17 is at all. One of the great mysteries of Superman is why Donenfeld & Co. finally bought the proposal after so many rejections. My answer — and theory — has a lot to do with The Lone Ranger, and some to do with Mickey Mouse. For just as Harry really wanted to control a property as popular as The Lone Ranger (see the book), Mickey Mouse was also in the news at the same time the decision over Superman was being made. For these reasons on the right:
Being “banned” or “forbidden” might not seem like a good thing, especially to a publisher, but it was a much longer follow-up in the Times that I think caught National’s attention. This article parodied Mickey’s international power:
Everything in the article — which also pointed out Mickey’s various names in 12 different countries — only underscored how incredibly popular the character was. And press, negative or positive, usually meant money. All from one unique comics character who could live in print, newspapers, and on the screen.
Every hardluck publisher wanted the next Mickey Mouse. Wouldn’t you?
To see the whole list on Yahoo, click here.
This past weekend, I went to the Akron Comic-Con, a good local con in its second year. Thanks to the incredibly nice Michael Savene for inviting me. It was fun — I finally met all-timers Tony Isabella and Tom Batiuk, both of whom said really nice things about the book, so that was crazy. There were lots of good people there like Marc Sumerak, John Dudas, John Haines, Jon Judy, Sean McArdle, Adam Luhta, and Bob Ingersoll (though I didn’t get to talk to him). I met a lot of great fans, including a guy named Dennis Fitzgerald, who told me how he grew up on a farm and how his best friend was named Jimmy Olsen. His whole life, people called him “Superman.”
Here’s a video of the panel I was on with Mike Barr (Camelot 3000), Mike Olszewski (The Siegel & Shuster Society), Mike Sangiacomo (Phantom Jack, The Starlight Drive-In), and Jon Bogdanove (uh…Superman). All dudes, though I still can’t believe I can do stuff like this. Excuse my cold and coughing throughout. We had a great crowd for this. Nothing better than talking comics in a carpeted hotel room on a dreary Saturday. That’s it, man.
Unasbashed: if you’ve never read Tales of the Starlight Drive-In, track one down — great storytelling, also includes some early Francesco Francavilla art. Plus Derf does a chapter as well.
My table was two down from Tom Scioli, who I have been a big fan of for years. I was shocked to learn that his magnum opus American Barbarian is now out-of-print (even though it basically just came out!!). CRIME. Check out Tom’s work here and on the upcoming G.I. Joe/Transformers from IDW. He gets it/has it, obviously:
From The Pacific Stars & Stripes, September 5, 1945.