Paul Kupperberg on October 21st, 2020

While the countdown continues for the Kickstarter campaign for Crazy 8 Press’ Thrilling Adventure Yarns Volume II, here’s a little taste from my story, the sixth outing starring Leo Persky, aka Terrance Strange, investigative reporter for “the world’s only reliable newspaper,” the Weekly World News. Joining me in this titanic tome of tales are stories by my fellow Crazy 8’ers, Aaron Rosenberg, Michael Jan Friedman, Glenn Hauman, Mary Fan, Bob Greenberger, and Russ Colchamiro, as well as stories by David Mack, Paige Daniels, Will Murray, Karissa Laurel, William Leisner, Danielle Ackley McPhail, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Greg Cox, Heather E. Hutsell, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Michael A. Burstein, Richard White, Scott Pearson, and Sherri Cook Woosley… and another previously unpublished story by the legendary creator of Doc Savage!

Thrilling Adventure Yarns II, cover by Cary Carbom

“Man-Bait for the Snake God”

My name is Leo Persky. I’m more popularly known as Terrance Strange, my byline in the Weekly World News, the tabloid newspaper next to the other tabloids at the supermarket checkout. Most people assume that because of our subject matter — the unusual, the supernatural, extraterrestrials et al — that we’re being ironic with the slogan, “The World’s Only Reliable Newspaper.” Ironically, it’s all really, if weirdly, true. Well, except for my byline. And the photo of the handsome, square-jawed adventurer that goes with it. Those came from my grandfather, Jacob, the foremost monster hunter of his day, who thought “Strange” sounded better in his line of work than Persky. So did the News.

“Don’t we have a stringer in Peru we can use instead of flying me halfway around the world?” I asked. Whined.

“If you’d rather,” Rob responded in the tone of voice he uses when he’s about to delight in telling me the even more repulsive alternative he’s got planned, “it is possible to drive from New York City…”


“… By bus, to Peru, a total of about 12, 13,000 miles, through South American…”

“Jesus, Rob,” I moaned.

“… Across the 90-miles of roadless swamps and rainforests called the Darien Gap that stretches to the tip of Columbia and…”

I threw my up my hands. “I surrender.”

“You’re getting easy in your old age,” he grinned, exposing the prominent canines that helped fuel the rumors I’d started that he was a vampire. “So. Peru. Up until last week, a country known to be home to 51 indigenous tribes. Now there are 52, thanks to a group discovered high in the mountains of northern Peru by remote mapping drones.”

“And we care… why?”

Rob sailed a photographic print across his desk.

It was a snake.

“It’s a snake,” I said. “I hate snakes.”

“Funny. They speak well of you. Check out the lower left of the shot. See that bundle about halfway down the length of the snake’s body?”

I brought the print closer and squinted at the indicated item. Between the bird’s eye angle and some shadows on the jungle floor, it was hard to make out very many details.

“That’s a man,” Rob said.

“What is? This?” I took a second, even closer look. “Was this taken at some weird angle or with a long lens? Because from this perspective, if that’s a human being, then this snake…”

“… Yeah, factoring in the average height of other indigenous folk in the region, that would make it about 50 to 60 feet long.”

“Holy crap! Amazing, but, you know, cryptozoology isn’t exactly my jam, boss. There’s gotta be somebody better qualified to handle this than…”

He raised a finger to silence me and said, “But, wait! There’s more,” and slid a second photo across the desk to me.

Ten hours and 3,700 air miles later, I was in Peru.

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Paul Kupperberg on August 21st, 2020
From Vigilante #45 (September 1987), art by Tod Smith and Rick Burchett

From July 1985 to February 1988 I wrote Vigilante (#19 – #50) for DC Comics. When that title ended with Adrian Chase/Vigilante’s suicide death, I followed it up with Checkmate!, which carried over several of the previous series’s supporting characters and ran for 33 issues, from April 1988 to January 1991. One of the transported characters was Black Thorn, Vigilante’s female counterpart, co-created by me and Tod Smith and introduced in Vigilante #45 (September 1987). After Checkmate ran its course, I thought I’d try to go for three in a row and keep the thread going with an ongoing Black Thorn series.

It didn’t happen. But if it had, it might have looked something like this…

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Paul Kupperberg on July 31st, 2020

“Keeping Comics All in the Family!”

Buffalo Avenue Comics are Kupperberg family comics, DIY compilations of the writing of Paul Kupperberg, the art of Alan Kupperberg, the photography of our father, Sidney Kupperberg, or any combination thereof.

For Signed & Personalized copies

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Paul Kupperberg on July 28th, 2020

In 1961, comic fandom founding father and The Comic Reader editor/publisher Jerry Bails added the Comicollector to his schedule. The Comicollector was primarily what we used to call an adzine, devoted to publishing ads for back issues and other fanzines by fans for fans at the rate of $1/quarter page and was sent out free to subscribers of TCR. It also featured a news column (under a revival of the “On The Drawing Board” title that was the original name for TCR) and articles.

In 1964, the Comicollector merged with Florida fan Gordon B. Love’s Rocket’s Blast to become The Rocket’s Blast and the Comicollector, which evolved into a full-fledged magazine with slick color covers that would run for 153 issues until 1984 under editors Love and, later, James Van Hise.

But it started here…

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Paul Kupperberg on July 26th, 2020

Continuing a look at fanzines from yesteryear, scans of photocopies of fandom’s first ‘zines by founding fan-fathers Dr. Jerry Bails and Roy Thomas. Today, Alter-Ego #1 (Spring 1961), “a new comic fanzine devoted to the revival of costumed heroes” and published months before the Fantastic Four and the future Marvel Universe was even a twinkle in Stan’s eye (FF #1 on-sale date, according to GCD was August 8, 1961). The cost to order the next issue of AE was “24¢ in postage stamps.”

Combining comic book news and historical essays on DC characters the Wizard, the Specter, and Wonder Woman, AE also featured the first chapter of a Roy Thomas written and drawn parody, “One for All and All for Wonderous Woman” starring the Bestest League of America. (The seeds for Not Brand Ecch! were planted early and deep in this one…!)

I especially love that the issue features a look at the first issue of DC’s 80-Page Giant Secret Origins , one of my all-time favorite single comic books. It should be noted that in order to repro that cover, it had to be laboriously traced by hand onto a mimeograph stencil, the work I assume of Roy, who provided most of the art for the issue.

Next: Alter-Ego #2!

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Paul Kupperberg on July 25th, 2020

From November 1962, the thirteenth issue of comic fandom founding father’s Professor Jerry Bails’ The Comic Reader, continuing the posting of scans of photocopies of these classic fanzines, HERE and HERE. Comics industry news… fanzine reviews… letters of comment from Julie Schwartz, E. Nelson Bridwell, Don Glut, and others. Try not to cry when you look over the price list of comics for sale.

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Paul Kupperberg on July 21st, 2020

Continuing the scans of the granddaddy of comic book fanzines, The Comic Reader (formerly On the Drawing Board), shot from the 1970ish photocopies of the zines made from copies lent us by publisher Dr. Jerry Bails, that began HERE.

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Paul Kupperberg on July 20th, 2020
A circa-1970 self-portrait by Dick Giordano

Hard to believe it’s been almost a decade since we lost Dick Giordano, artist extraordinaire, human being extraordinaire-plus. In the decades we knew each other, he would be an object of my fannish admiration, my boss, my co-worker, my collaborator, someone in my employment as a freelancer, and, always, an inspiration. He was also, on occasion, a mentor, shepherding me through minefields at DC during trying times with a less-than-truthful direct report, and other dilemmas.
I wrote this short tribute to Dick that originally appeared in Charlton Spotlight #6 (Winter-Spring 2011-2012):
# # #

The first time I became aware of Dick Giordano was during his tenure at Charlton Comics. As much as I loved his art (what’s not to love?), it was his editorial transformation of tiny Charlton from major cheese factory to creative competitor that earned him my admiration. Later, Dick loomed large in my career, being the top guy in DC Comics’ editorial when I went on staff in 1991; in fact, it was Dick who essentially hired me. Dick was one of the nicest human beings on the face of the planet, which always struck me as a bad quality to have when you’re managing a large number of people, especially a large number of flaky, creative people. I figured you were better off being able to raise your voice and be mean to get people to pay attention. But Dick knew better. Plus, everyone he oversaw as DC’s editorial director knew damned well that when Dick asked you for something, he was asking you as someone who had done your job before, no matter what your job happened to be. And done it well, likely under mediocre conditions. He had the love and respect of everyone there. Dick always spoke in low, measured tones and we all leaned in to hear what he had to say.

One of my rare pairings with Dick doing the full art job. THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #163 (June 1980)

Dick, as was no secret, had a hearing problem and wore hearing aids in both ears. He often missed what was being said, especially in meetings when several people were speaking at once. My voice happened to be pitched to whatever frequency Dick could still hear in, so I never had a problem talking to him.

Dick grew up professionally at Charlton, on staff and as an artist throughout the 1950s and 1960s, but I only ever recall two or three times spending any time talking about the old days with him. The first time was during one of the few and far between lunches we had after he had retired from DC but before I left my editorial position. Over a Rob Roy (or two) and a good meal at a pub down the street from the office, Dick talked about some of the talent he had worked with.

The second was on the drive back to Connecticut (I live in lower Fairfield County, he, at the time, in upper) from Shea Stadium where a bunch of DC staffers had just seen the Mets game, viewed from the Warner Bros corporate box (with wait staff! ballpark hotdogs served on trays! by waiters!), a birthday present to Mr. Giordano from DC’s upper management. I don’t follow sports, not any of ‘em, so I could care less about going to a Mets game, but I went because it was Dick’s birthday and, let’s face it, whether you care about baseball or not, how often do you get to hang in a corporate skybox and get served wieners by waiters?

On the drive home, I asked Dick how long he’d been living in Connecticut and he said he moved up here to work at Charlton in Derby and I just started asking questions about the physical plant and how things worked there and some of the people he’d known. Dick loved the place as you can only love somewhere you spent so much fun and formative years; it’s the way I feel about the “old” DC, the company as it was in the mid-70s at 75 Rockefeller Center, with a staff of maybe 35 or 40 that interacted like one, big sick, dysfunctional family. It was an amazing time to be there, at the nexus of the Silver and Bronze Ages, where you still had Swan and Infantino co-existing with Kaluta and Wrightson. Dick was there for, and instigated, the Charlton equivalent of that time during his Action Hero phase.

The last was in 1991, fresh on staff at DC as an editor, and, having just been handed DC’s revival of the Charlton Comics character, Peter Cannon—Thunderbolt to work on, I found myself invited to lunch at New York’s Society of Illustrators with Thunderbolt’s creator, Pete Morisi, and his old pal and Charlton colleague, Dick. To say that there was ever a more content fly on the wall than me, listening to these two old buddies exchange stories about the good old days.

Even after Dick retired from DC and returned to fulltime freelancing, we kept in touch, most often when I would call him with work for everything from custom comics to an illustration for an issue of Weekly World News. Dick was always happy to hear from me and took the job, delivering precisely what I had in mind, only better than I had envisioned it. Because he was Dick Giordano, one of the masters of the art.

I was fortunate to know Dick as an artist, a boss, and, best of all, a friend.

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Paul Kupperberg on July 19th, 2020

Yes, I cut up some of my comic books in the late-1960s. Get over it!

Books and histories about comics were virtually nonexistent. Reprints, especially from the Golden Age, were few and far between. And the big “and”… and, there was no internet! Those hooked into fandom could share their mania through the mail in the form of fanzines, but access to most of the good stuff was limited. So when DC started running these “Fact Files,” the stories of their only sometimes-seen Golden Age heroes, I was hooked. These, and other pages aimed at fans, their own stilted, insurance business-mindset attempt at what Stan Lee was doing in his own Bullpen Bulletins, were the closest thing to a comic history education I could get at the time.

My guess was these were written by DC’s resident historian, E. Nelson Bridwell*… though Paul Levitz (post-posting) sends word he believes fan turned assistant editor Mark Hanerfeld wrote them. (Rendering moot my little aside about Nelson: Ironically, while I ate up his 1960s history lessons, when we worked together on two 1970s comic book miniseries (World of Krypton and Secrets of the Legion of Superheroes, the first of which he edited, the second we co-plotted), I often wanted to strangle him for trying to choke the stories with all his damned historic details.)

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Paul Kupperberg on July 18th, 2020

What was the comic book news in 1961?

Many, many (many!) years ago, when Paul Levitz and I were first starting to make our mark, Jerry Bails, comics historian, indexer, one of the fathers of comic book fandom, was kind enough to lend his personal collection of the early print fanzines he had produced that had helped kickstart our hobby to a couple of fans halfway across the country. By himself, and later in collaboration with another fan, Roy Thomas, Dr. Bails was a pioneer of the fan press, helping spread news of early 1960s (mostly) DC Comics and connecting fans across the country via his mimeographed publications, starting with On the Drawing Board in 1961.

Bail sent those early fanzines to Paul and I, teen publishers in 1971 of a zine called Etcetera, that would eventually inherit (five publishers after) the title of another Jerry Bails creation, The Comic Reader. He popped them into the U.S. Mail, which delivered them to us in Brooklyn from his home in Michigan, where we each made photocopies (some of my copies of the earlier issues, presented here, were made on some early thermal copying process that have tanned with time but were kept out of the light and remain thankfully readable), before shipping them back to Bails.

Presented here, OTDB #4 – 8. The title changed to The Comics Reader with #8, and the stash of copies I came across begins with OTDB #4 (October 7, 1961), and runs through #13 (November 6, 1962), by which time the title had changed to The Comic Reader, and was running a dozen pages.

More to come!

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