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Friday June 12, 2009 7:03 pm

WEEKEND READING: STEVE DITKO, SPIDER-MAN, VAL MAYERIK & ELMORE LEONARD




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials

Ironman
There’s lots of cool stuff on the internets, and I had lots of free time to find all of it, I mean most of it, okay, some of it. If you like your “Tales of Steve Ditko,” have a memory of comic book artist Val Mayerik, love the idea of Dave Berg getting looked at, or want to know about someone who slept their way into comics, this is the place for you. Let’s get it started:

STEPHEN DESTEFANO & STEVE DITKO: A long time ago, Stephen DeStefano, one of the industry’s premiere cartoon people, worked in a near-forgotten department of DC Comics and without really realizing it, he ran into Steve Ditko. At his blog which he no longer seems to update, Stephen relates the story and draws a picture of Ditko from memory. It’s an old post, but worth a visit.

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN: I’d forgotten that Steve Vrattos used to dress up as Spider-Man, not because of a particular fetish or a desire to pretend to fight crime, but because his employer Marvel Comics used to pay him to do it. If this sounds like perfect blog-fodder it is; it’s a fascinating side of the business of comics that most people don’t know about.
(h/t Scoop at Diamond Galleries)

“I SLEPT WITH A GUY AND ALL I GOT WAS A STORY IN AN IRON MAN ANNUAL”: Before she went on to become “Operations Manager for a telephone answering service,” Carrie Lowry was Carrie Barre, and she was married to an assistant editor at Marvel Comics back in the go-go 1990s. That was

instrumental in getting her a gig writing the occasional fill-in story, one of which was illustrated by Steve Ditko. We should all be so lucky. She talks about those days at her blog.

PAT BROSSEAU is one of the industry’s best letterers and an old pal (he worked for Malibu Comics when I was there, usually for editor Chris Ulm). Now he’s blogging with his own infrequent webcomic about juvenile delinquency (his own). You can read the first two installments at his blog Seduction of the Innocent.

ELMORE LEONARD: This is way off-topic for comic book fans, but I loves me some Elmore Leonard. His new book, Road Dogs, just came out in hardcover, and Barnes & Noble has a lengthy interview with him that should be required reading for anyone who likes Mr. Leonard or likes to read about writing or who wants to write.

VAL MAYERIK: Hey, do you remember Val Mayerik? He was a Marvel Comics artist back in the 1970s and 1980s and did a lot of work with Steve Gerber on stuff like Howard The Duck and later, the infamous Void Indigo. Over at Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot, Marty McKee not only remembers him, but also remembers a movie that he was in over 30 years ago: 1977’s The Demon Lover.

BILL SHERMAN: One of the great pop culture reviewers (you might have seen his stuff in The Comics Journal) and a long-time blogger (here he is reviewing a collection of Modesty Blaise comic strips) Bill Sherman (and his wife) is also a published novelist. Their book, “Measure by Measure,” began as an online serialized soap opera and is described as “a Tales of the City for the fat and fabulous!”

DAVE BERG: When I was little, cartoonist Dave Berg used to write and draw the foibles of suburban adults for MAD Magazine. I never understood a word of it until I got older. Now he seems like the original “get-off-my-lawn!” cartoonist and I agree with this review by Tom Spurgeon.

MUPPETS V. 30 ROCK: Brian Lynch schools us all (Liz Lemon IS Kermit the Frog), and we are a better TV watching audience for this knowledge.
(h/t TVTattle)

CHARLES SCHULZ’ PEANUTS AND OTHER THINGS: Jaime Weinman runs a fantastic blog called Something Old, Something New. In a response to Terry Teachout, Weinman posits how we’re supposed to read comic strips and how the device of the daily reading causes the strip to seep into our brains. I don’t envy him reading the godawful Li’l Abner strip whether or not it’s in a-strip-a-day ration or in bulk (a task I will never complete), but I love reading Popeye, Krazy Kat and Peanuts in huge chunks.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend!

[Artwork: I just wanted an excuse to run this cover to Iron Man #1, © Marvel Comics]

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