One of the big upsides of being a member of the League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen (and there are many) is that it keeps me in fairly constant contact with my man Leon. Don't read to much into that. The real source of joy is the fact that in Leon I found somebody I can actually talk about the nuts and bolts of comic books with-not just the story or the artwork but the guys behind the scenes that make the magic happen. Colorists. Inkers. Editors. Before I could bring nearly any well-intentioned discussion to a screeching halt with just the mention of a Jim Mooney or Artie Simek. Or a rather long and esoteric rumination on the ramifications of the death of Mark Gruenwald...
See? A lot of you stopped reading right there.
I've always been a little disappointed that more people aren't as, well, geeky as I am when it comes to the folks behind the scenes of their favorite comics. Maybe it's the free floating format of most DC and Marvel titles-that maintains the characters but utilizes many different writers and artist throughout any given run regardless of who created them. Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased as hell to be able to read the Fantastic Four by Kirby or Byrne or Millar-but it's kind of rough that a lot of heroes of the silver and bronze age have either yet to get their due or have been forgotten over the years by the newer multitudes of fans. It's like millions of people loving baseball and yet having no idea who Babe Ruth is.
Case in point? Julius Schwartz
If you happened to read Superman or any of the Superman related titles in the 1970s or 80s you would see in nearly every issue in some panel or other a note from somebody named "Julie". "Julie" this and "Julie" that. "Julie""Julie""Julie". For a while I was firmly convinced that all Superman comics were written by a girl named "Julie". I was wrong. "Julie" wasn't a chick, HE was the editor of the entire Superman family of titles from Jimmy Olsen to Supergirl to Action Comics.
Oh, and he started the silver age of comics
Julie was the guy in charge over all of DCs hero revamps of the late 1950s-Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, The Katar Hol Hawkman, and the Atom all were reworked under Julie's auspices. A longtime fan of the Sci-Fi genre, Julie brought in a lot of the science fiction elements which dominated the next two decades of comics and still is the basis for comics best loved tropes. He also formed a team out of many of those new heroes and christened it the Justice League of America. JLA quickly became a hit, inspiring publisher Martin Goodman to ask a writer named Stan Lee to come up with his own team of super powered heroes...and I believe we all know how well that turned out.
Not a bad track record all and all.
This being close to the anniversery of Julie's passing I thought I'd share this link with ya'll (which I yoinked from Mark Evanier's always facinating POV online
website). Jud Meyers is the owner of Earth-2 Comics
and an all around good guy from most accounts. Here, Jud recounts one of the most amazing fan experiences I could ever imagine happening to anyone. In fact, I am firmly convinced that if it had happened to me everything that is bad in my life would now be good. It's just that incredible. No really, it's the equivalent of reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and being told that it's a true story.
But enough of my yakking. Go read Jud's story of a young Green Lantern fan meeting one of the grand old men of the comics biz. Try not to be bitter that it didn't happen to you: