Paul Kupperberg on July 18th, 2020

Or, How I Stopped Worrying and Started Cutting Up Silver Age Comic Books

First of all, I didn’t know it was any age of comic books at the time. I was a reader making the transformation to fan; readers read comics, maybe saved them, but didn’t collect and wasn’t aware of their history. In the late-1960s, DC Comics ran a series of fan pages in their comics, no doubt in reaction to Stan Lee’s popular Bullpen Bulletins and Soapbox at Marvel. But, like all attempts back them to emulate Marvel’s growing success, instead of matching Stan’s easy, breezy style, DC’s pages (mostly written by fans-turned-professionals E. Nelson Bridwell and Mark Hanerfeld, although there’s at least one among my clippings signed by Marvin Wolfman) were kind of the stodgy, informative side.

But that was cool with me! As much fun as Stan’s pages were, they were mostly hype and happiness. It was like the difference between Marvel’s “thanks for writing!” postcard and empty-envelope No Prize and DC’s 1960s form letter reply to fans, a double-sided 8.5″ x 11″ letter printed in teeny 9-point type and so stuffed with information about all things DC (or National Periodicals in those days) and where to go to learn even more that I read and reread it for months after getting it in response to some letter I’d sent in! (Scans available here) I never learned a thing from a No Prize!

“The Wonderful World of Comics” was one of those regular text features; I also threw in “The Spectre Interviews Neal Adams!” because I’m that kind of guy. “Fact Files” and “The Greatest Heroes of Them All” and some miscellaneous pages to come in future posts.

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Paul Kupperberg on June 12th, 2020

I’ve always admired the hell out of Denny O’Neil (May 3, 1939 – June 11, 2020). I admired his skill as a writer. I admired his ability to continually grow and hone his craft, whether in comic books or prose. I admired the simple, surefooted way he approached story and dialogue and his calm, confident style of editing, as well as his knack for explaining and teaching what he knew.

Brooklyn Book Fair, 2009. From left to right:
Bob Kahan, Ed Catto, me, Jim Salicrup, Denny O’Neil, Tom DeFalco, Marifran O’Neil, Peter Sanderson, Danny Fingeroth, Heidi McDonald, and Keith Williams.

But what I admired most about Denny O’Neil was the man he had become.

I first met Denny when I was a kid doing fanzines in Brooklyn and just starting to hang out at the fringes of the professional world of comic books. I was already familiar with his name and his pseudonym from Charlton Comics and some early DC Comics work, Sergius O’Shaughnessy (the name borrowed from a character in Norman Mailer’s The Deer Park), having been a reader since 1967’s “Children of Doom” (with Pat Boyette, in Charlton Premiere #2), 1968’s Wander (with Jim Aparo, in Cheyenne Kid), through to his groundbreaking work at DC on Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Justice League of America, Bat Lash, and others. As an aspiring comic book writer, I read Denny’s stories and despaired. How was anyone supposed to compete with somebody this good?

I won’t go into details because it’s not my story to tell, but suffice it to say, the Denny O’Neil I met in 1971 wasn’t the same man I got to know several years later, when I had myself, finally (I was 19 at the time but very impatient) broken into the comic book business. Denny had found a way by then to master the demons he had manifested in his younger days and emerged from his struggles a changed and better person. Eventually, Denny would become a sort of comics Zen-master.

It just so happens that Denny was my editor on the very first story I wrote for DC, “The Stranger,” a “World of Krypton” story for 1975’s Superman Family #182 (with art by Marshall Rogers and Frank Springer). I have no recollection of the plotting session except for being scared (as we used to have to say in those Comics Code days) spitless that I had to somehow convince the guy who had written “No Evil Shall Escape My Sight!” (Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76) and “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge!” (Batman #251) and “A Vow from the Grave!” (Detective Comics #410) that I had a story worth telling. Looking back at the story, even by 1975 standards, I have to believe Denny was just taking it easy on a newbie.

Denny never stopped being an influence on comic books and creators. His work wasn’t about over-the-top, larger than life superhero bombast; you could almost feel his disinterest in the comic booky/science fiction/outrageous elements of superhero comics. He brought a lot to his runs on Justice League of America and Superman, but most of his contributions there were to the group dynamics and relationships between the characters.

In the mid and late-1980s, before he assumed the monumental task of overseeing the Batman line of comics as group editor, I would stop in his office on a fairly regular basis to say hello and shoot the shit. In 1986, I pitched a Phantom Stranger miniseries to Denny. Knowing my audience was a lapsed though still guilty Catholic, my verbal pitch likened the Stranger to Jesus as a character who is on Earth to suffer for humanity. I laid on the symbolism pretty thick and Denny threw in helpful suggestions to shape and build the story. Then he sent me off to write it up, saying, “Don’t think this former altar boy didn’t see what you did there.” (P.S. on PS, Denny gave me notes on the first draft of the pitch before he had to give it up to make room on his schedule; the project was turned over to Mike Carlin, who steered it the rest of the way to completion.)

Denny’s 37-issue run on DC’s The Question (with Denys Cowan) that began in 1987 remains one of the best series of its day (possibly in comics) and one of my favorite runs of any comic book. He wrote a 1994 bestselling novelization of the epic Batman: Knightfall storyline, as well as some earlier novels, and he literally wrote the book on how to write comic books, 2001’s The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics.

Denny also wrote a bunch of DC Universe novels in the early-2000s. After reading his 2009 Helltown (featuring the Question, Batman, Lady Shiva, Richard Dragon, etc.), I asked him how the hell he was still doing it, better than ever, after all those years. Denny thought about it for a moment, then shrugged, and offered, “Practice?”

Practice that sometimes made for damned near perfect.

Rest in peace, Dennis J.

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Paul Kupperberg on May 12th, 2020
Keith Giffen, me, Marty Pasko, at Terrificon, August 2017.

I made Marty Pasko my comedy bitch one night at a comic book convention in the late-1970s or early-1980s. I could always make Marty laugh; I’m a fairly funny guy and he was a fairly easy audience, but I didn’t own him until that night when a bunch of us were gathered in somebody’s hotel room where some drinking might have been taking place, and I announced, likely apropos of nothing, that I could crack Marty up in just three random phrases. The challenge was accepted.

I opened with, “Yellow pages.”

Like I said, Marty was an easy audience, but he managed to keep his reaction down to a tight little smile.

“Direct dialing.” I added. That quick, Marty started to lose it.

“Wankel rotary engine,” I said, stretching out each syllable until Marty exploded, literally falling to the floor in hysterical laughter.

That did it. I owned him. I could make Marty laugh whenever I wanted, and I usually wanted. It was that much fun.

I’ve known Marty Pasko since I was a kid. We met way back in our early-1970 days of comic book fandom when we were still teens (I can’t for the life of me remember the circumstances of our first meeting) and were friends from the start. He preceded me into the comic book business by only a couple of years, but Marty’s abilities began at a level that I was still trying to reach several years into my career. His credits in comics and animation and television are well established and his reputation as a writer hard-earned and wholly deserved and covered elsewhere—Marty, who once told me that Turner Classic Movie channel host Ben Mankiewicz had his dream job, would be thrilled to know his obit made Variety—but my favorite memories of Marty aren’t professional.

Not that I wasn’t a fan. I read everything Marty wrote, not just for enjoyment but to learn a thing or two about making comic books. One of the earliest and best lessons I received in comics writing from Marty was in 1976 when he hired me to help him break down the script for what was to become the unpublished tenth issue of DC’s The Joker. I had a handful of five-, six-, eight-, and ten-page scripts for Charlton Comics and DC’s anthology titles under my belt and had never worked on a book-length story before, let alone one populated with established characters. I don’t know if I was of any help or if my presence saved Marty any time because he spent a lot of it explaining to me the why of everything he was doing in the story and how the pieces connected to the whole. Maybe he just needed someone to bounce ideas off of, but in the end, I believe I got a lot more out of that afternoon with Marty than he got from me. Forty-plus years later, when I wrote a book on writing for comics, Marty’s name was included in the dedication and acknowledgement page. (Our only other “collaboration” came in 1983 when I was asked to dialog three issues of First Comics’ E-Man over Marty’s plots. The next time I saw Marty after they had been published, he gave me a nod, accompanied by the comedy writer’s straight faced, “Funny.”)

The Joker plotting session took place in the loft in the West 20s in New York where Marty rented space from the owner, a friend of his who produced low budget porn films. It wasn’t unusual for Marty to wake up in the morning and have to pass through an active “sound stage” on his way from his room to the kitchen for coffee.

At his 1975 New Year’s Eve party at the loft, he told us all the story of being awoken one morning several months earlier by a man in a bloody butcher’s apron who mistook his room for the bathroom. Going to investigate, Marty discovered filming was in full swing for a special effects heavy scene involving the murder and dismemberment of a young woman tied to a bed. As Marty recalled, “The chicken blood was flowing like wine.” In January of 1976, the film Snuff was released in America to great controversary as it allegedly depicted an actual murder on film. Only the “murder” had been committed by a special effects crew in 1975 against the very interior backdrop we had been sitting in front of when Marty told us the story and then edited into the 1971 grindhouse movie Slaughter, filmed in Argentina. I was twenty years old, still living with my parents in Brooklyn, and I wanted Marty’s life. (That insider knowledge got me and my friends thrown out of the packed Manhattan movie theater we’d gone to see Snuff at when, in a stoned frenzy and to the shocked horror of the rest of the audience, we started laughing hysterically at the otherwise poorly executed execution.)

Marty gave me a good lesson in writing funny in 1976 when he and I were part of a group of comic professionals who had gathered at Paul Levitz’s Brooklyn office (former home to The Comic Reader fan publishing empire) to write the material for an auction catalogue for something called the Narrative Arts Alliance, proceeds from which were to stage “The Great American Comic Book Arts Exposition.” I don’t remember who else was there (Steve Gerber, perhaps?), or whether or not the auction ever occurred (I’m certain The Great American Comic Book Arts Exposition never happened), but I do remember us having too much fun as we tried to top each other’s jokes. My tendency was to go big and broad; Marty showed me how to sneak a joke up on the reader instead of slapping them in the face with a wet flounder. He also provided the cover art for the auction catalogue.

Around 1980, Pocket Books published a series of eleven novels based on the Marvel comics characters. Number nine was an anthology, Stan Lee Presents the Marvel Super-Heroes, and one of the stories was Daredevil in “Blind Justice” by Kyle Christopher, aka Martin Pasko. I’m still not quite clear why he chose to use a pseudonym on that story because he had nothing to be ashamed of. On the contrary! Not only was it well written and conceived, but Marty used the opportunity offered him by prose to delve far deeper into the character than writers are usually able to reach on the comics page. He took the time to put himself quite literally in the character’s head and show us the world the way the blind Matt Murdoch would “see” it.

As far as I know, that was the only piece of prose fiction Marty ever published. I regularly praised him for the story (I had done two Spider-Man novels in that series, neither anywhere as well written), and some twenty years later, I tried to get him to have another go at it when I was an editor in DC’s Licensed Publishing department. I offered him several prose fiction projects, but he always turned them down, citing time as the factor. But I think his creative heart was really in the “script,” whether it was for an issue of Superman, or an episode of Simon and Simon or Batman Adventures.

Elsewhere, others have mentioned Marty’s meticulous attention to detail in his writing. The truth is, Marty was neurotically meticulous. He quite literally could not relinquish a job until it was as good as he could make it. That sensibility extended to the work he oversaw as an editor, as I learned when I worked under him in DC’s licensing department. We worked on high profile campaigns with DC’s characters for the United Nations, General Motors, the U.S. Postal Service, NASCAR, Six Flags, and others, and Marty’s eye for the minute was impressive. And often exhausting for those of us who worked for him. When I showed him the final revisions for a particularly troublesome double-page spread for an issue of the Celebrate the Century Superhero Stamp Albums we created for the USPS, he sighed and said, “I guess it’s as good as it’s gonna get. Not as good as I wish I could make it, but…” and signed off on it. Another time when we were talking about writing, I said I never felt like I could get much more than 60% or 70% of what I thought a piece should be successfully down on the page. Marty ruefully responded, “I envy you your high percentage.”

At the 1977 Chicago Comic Convention (L to R): Paul Levitz, Don McGregor, Mike Grell, Stan Lee (behind Grell), Len Wein, me, Marty

I ate a lot of meals with Marty Pasko. For years, he was part of the regular lunch crew at DC, with Bob Greenberger, Brian Augustyn, and others. But the best meals were the ones Marty and I shared with our families, at our homes, in the mid-1990s. Marty and his (then) wife Judith and daughter Laura Kate (now Simcha) lived in Secaucus, New Jersey and my (then) wife Robin and son Max lived in Stamford, Connecticut, and we would take turns entertaining. Marty wasn’t exactly equipped for suburban Connecticut though; he came to our backyard barbecues in slacks and dress shoes. Once, when we took the kids apple picking at an orchard in a neighboring town, we had to leave Marty behind in the car because he refused to hike up the hill in the rain.

The last time I saw Marty was in 2017 when we were both guests at Connecticut’s Terrificon. Marty had flown in from L.A. for the weekend show and stayed with me Sunday night before his return flight the next day. I had recently completed writing a memoir about my abusive childhood, and that night, Marty was one of the first people I told about my experiences. We sat in my living room talking until 3 a.m., and it was Marty’s loving and empathetic reaction to my story that convinced me, finally, to try to get the book published.

Looking back over it, this remembrance rambles all over the place. As an editor, Marty would probably toss it back and tell me to find a narrative thread and try again, but I think I’ll leave it the way it is. I will, however, employ a narrative device to end it that I learned from him: the “comedy callback,” or a joke that refers to an earlier joke in a routine.

Ready?

“Hey, Marty… Wankel rotary engine.”

I love you, old friend. Rest in peace.

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Paul Kupperberg on April 19th, 2020

From Weird War Tales #76 (February 1979), here’s “The Fire Bug,” a 5-pager I wrote that was illustrated by Howard Chaykin, lettered by Ben Oda, colored by Jerry Serpe, and edited by Paul Levitz.

How ironic! >Choke!<

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Paul Kupperberg on March 21st, 2020
Cover by HOWARD PORTER.

I’ve always liked this story, “Visions of Glory,” the framing sequence for the 80-page Justice League Quarterly #16 (September 1994), the “All Glory Issue” featuring four stories starring General Glory. General Glory was a star spangled parody of the straitlaced, upright Captain America created by the irrepressible Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis in Justice League International. Part of the conceit was that though Joe Jones/General Glory was a real person, his adventures during and after World War II appeared as comic book stories so the world would think he was just a fictional character.

I don’t recall if I was the first writer to do pastiches of General Glory comic book stories from across the character’s history, but I did at least four of them, which ended up being used in the penultimate issue of JLQ, surrounded by the aforementioned 21-page “Paths of Glory” by me, artist Vince Giarrano, lettered by Albert DeGuzman, colored by Patricia Mulvihill, and edited by Brian Augustyn and Ruben Diaz. The glorious cover was by Howard Porter.

… Which led into the 12- page “I Fought Groout, the Creature Who Came from the Cracks in the Earth!” (and HERE) a parody of the 1950s Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Marvel Monster stories. The art was Rick Stasi and—for verisimilitude—Dick Ayers, the actual inker of many of those 1950s Stan Lee/Jack Kirby Marvel Monster stories! It was colored by Jerry Nicholas, and lettered by… I’m not sure. Comics.org has it credited to Ruben Diaz, but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong.

… Bringing us to a take-off of the goofy 1950s Mort Weisinger-era Superman versus gangsters in suits stories, “Moolah Murphy Goes Straight!” Once again, we lucked out by getting an artist who had actually worked on those stories at the time, the legendary Curt Swan. Curt played it absolutely straight and the result, inked by Jose Marzan Jr., lettered by Gaspar Saladino, and colored by Nicholas, was dead on.

… Our cue to go back to the 1980s and “A Return on a Dark Night,” (and HERE) taking off on Frank Miller’s landmark storyline. While it was beautifully drawn, it was beautifully drawn all wrong by the artist Khato. My script called quite explicitly for the artist to mimic—at the very least!—the layout of Miller’s Dark Knight; any similarity to Frank’s actual style the artist brought to it would be gravy. But Khato was, if memory serves me, from Argentina, and the scripts he received from the U.S.A. had to be translated for him, so this was most likely a case of something literally getting lost in the translation. Phil Allen colored and Agnes Pinaha lettered.

… And then came “The Power… and the Platitude!” featuring the Wildbloods (“a new group of heroes for our generation!”) and my too-cute swipe at the nascent Image Comics. I think I tried too hard and went too obvious on this one, but parody is a cruel mistress, and print is for posterity. The art was by Danny Rodriquez and Andrew Pepoy, lettered by Chris Eliopoulos, and colored by Greg Rosewall.

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Paul Kupperberg on March 19th, 2020

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
George Santayana

In the early 2000s, I wrote several nonfiction books for middle school/high school readers for Rosen Publishing. These slim books, typically 12,000 – 25,000 words each, were volumes in series for school libraries, like “Astronaut Biographies” or “Histories of the American Colonies,” or this one, “Great Historic Disasters.” I imagine there have been hundreds of bad school reports cribbed from the fourteen books I wrote for Rosen (and later, Chelsea Publishing).

This one seems relevant for the current times.

Great Historic Disasters
by Paul Kupperberg
1st Draft: 4/8/07
(23,120 words)

Introduction: “Influenza of a Severe Type”
When Dr. Loring Miner came to Haskell County, Kansas in 1855 after graduating from Ohio University, the science of medicine was still struggling to gain footing amid thousands of years of accumulated knowledge of healing based on well-meaning but faulty premises of the nature and causes of disease. Many believed, in this era only a decade before the Civil War, that illness was caused by “miasma,” or foul emanations from soil, air, and water. These emanations created an imbalance of what was known as the four “humors,” or fluids; yellow bile (urine), black bile (feces), blood, and phlegm (saliva). Too much of one or not enough of another caused various health problems which, doctors believed, could be cured by, among other methods, inducing vomiting or bleeding the patient to restore harmony.

The true cause of illness, known as the germ theory of disease which states that disease is caused by microorganisms which infect the body from outside through the air or through contact with infected individuals. was just beginning to gain slow acceptance in the medical community. It would not be until the last quarter of the 19th century that the old theories would finally be discarded with the discovery of microorganisms as the true carriers of disease.

But even with acceptance, few tried and true medicines existed to prevent or cure disease. Vaccination, the introduction of a small dose of a disease into the body to force it to develop disease-specific antibodies and immunity to that disease, had been proven successful by Dr. Edward Jenner (1749-1823) in Gloucestershire, England against cow pox in 1796. The concept of sanitation and personal hygiene being connected to health was only beginning to gain currency; in 1854, Dr. John Snow (1813-1858) traced the source of an outbreak of cholera, an acute intestinal infection causing diarrhea and vomiting that can quickly lead to severe dehydration and death, to a single infected public water pump on London’s Broad Street. Deducing that the water was tainted, the pump removed and within three days, the spread of the outbreak was stopped.

Two decades later, Dr. Robert Koch (1843-1910), a German physician, proved that anthrax, a disease common to cattle, sheep, horses, and goats in the area in which he lived, was caused by the microorganism anthrax bacillus, which had been discovered in 1850. This was the first time a disease had been linked to a specific bacteria, an idea which the French physician and research scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) later expanded on in his research of the infectious disease rabies.

By the early decades of the 20th century, medical science had left the old ideas behind. The cause of disease was understood, even if treatment was still beyond its means. Doctors who half a century earlier might have moved from the dissection room to the operating theater without a stop in between to wash their hands, were now conscious of such hygienic practices as sterilization of medical instruments by high heat to kill microorganisms.

But, even by 1918, when Dr. Miner saw the first cases of influenza in Haskel County, the treatment of disease was still in its infancy. Doctors could diagnose an illness and try to make their patients comfortable, but there were precious few medications to alleviate symptoms, including aspirin and morphine, and less to actually cure diseases. So when case after case of an unusually intense and rapidly progressing influenza struck, swiftly killing dozens of formerly strong and healthy patients, there was little this country doctor, though a progressive man of science, could do except study the killer.

Dr. Miner had, of course, seen outbreaks of influenza before, but none as severe as this. He collected blood, urine, and sputum samples from his infected patients and scoured the medical literature for answers. Though the outbreak began to subside by March 1918, Dr. Miner’s concerns did not. He wrote to the U.S. Public Health Service’s weekly journal, Public Health Reports to warn of “influenza of severe type,” but his was the lone voice of warning on the possible outbreak of a virulent new strain of a deadly disease.

Since April 1917, the U.S. had been involved in the war then raging across Europe. Indeed, in expectation of entering the conflict, the country had been mobilizing, enacting the draft in May 1918 and building military camps and training facilities as fast as possible. Never before had so many men been brought together in so tightly confined quarters in so short an amount of time.

But as deadly as the European conflict was expected to be, there were those who knew of an even deadlier threat facing America’s military forces, a threat responsible for more deaths during wartime than combat: disease. Among those sounding the warning were the army’s Surgeon General William Gorgas (1854-1920) and Dr. William Henry Welch (1850-1934), the influential head of Johns Hopkins University, the first modern medical school in America. Both men knew that throughout history, not only had disease claimed more soldiers than had the wars they fought, but that disease routinely and swiftly spread from armies to civilian populations.

In spite of their records in the field of contagious diseases—Dr. Gorgas was responsible for implementing the sanitary conditions that halted the rampant spread of malaria in Panama and allowed for the completion of the Panama Canal at the turn of the century—their calls for measures to prevent the spread of disease among the growing army were given scant governmental attention, much less support.

Thus, in early September 1918, the first cases of influenza (which, because it was first recognized and reported upon in Spain, would become known as the Spanish flu) were being seen at Camp Devens, near Boston.

Dr. Miner had sounded the first warnings. But before the deadly disease could run its course in 1919, more American soldiers would die from the flu than in combat, over one-fifth of the world’s population would be infected, and as many as one hundred million people worldwide would die from the disease that caused the most devastating pandemic in history.

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Paul Kupperberg on March 17th, 2020

Glossary: Tandy Corporation was the parent corporation of Radio Shack.
Radio Shack was a chain of stores that sold electronics.
TRS-80 (i.e. Tandy/Radio Shack 80 Micro Computer System), a desktop computer launched in 1977, running TRSDOS, with 48KB memory.

I wrote this Tandy Computer Whiz Kids comic, a Radio Shack custom comic giveaway, in 1985 for Archie Comics. It was my third time around with “Alec and Shanna, the TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids,” the second for Archie. The other had been done for DC Comics—which had the contract before Archie—and had featured Superman, Wonder Woman, and Lex Luthor (in his purple battlesuit, yo!).

The rest is self-explanatory and state-of-the-art 1985 technology. Script by me, pencilled by Dick Ayers and Chic Stone. “Editorial Director” William Parker was some Tandy exec in a brown suit and cowboy boots from Texas ; the comic was actually edited by Archie mainstay Victor Gorelick.

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Paul Kupperberg on March 13th, 2020
Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics
by Paul Kupperberg. Cover by Steven Butler. Foreword by Joe Staton.

PAUL KUPPERBERG’S ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO WRITING COMICS
By Paul Kupperberg

Foreword by Joe Staton • Cover by Steven Butler
Charlton Neo Media
Trade Paperback, Illustrated, 126 pages
CONTACT: Pkupperberg@gmail.com

Signed & Personalized copies available
$20 shipped/US * $32 shipped Canada
Payable to PAYPAL.ME/PAULKUPPERBERG

ALSO AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM!

“I may not know much,” says veteran comic book writer and editor Paul Kupperberg, “but after writing about 1,400 stories for DC Comics, Archie, Bongo Comics, Marvel, Charlton, and other publishers — not to mention editing hundreds more during my 16 years as an editor for DC Comics — one of the few things I do know I know is how to write a comic book story. More specifically, how I write a comic book story.”

Now Paul shares the methods and processes he’s developed over his 45-year comic book writing career in PAUL KUPPERBERG’S ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO WRITING COMICS, the new book from Charlton Neo Media. This valuable guide provides aspiring writers and working professionals with step-by-step techniques for developing characters and stories, world building, plotting, and writing a finished comic book script.

“No two writers work the same way,” Paul said. “My method’s going to be different than yours, just as yours is going to be different from other writers. But the only way I know how to explain how to write is the way I do it, relying mostly on examples from my own career. They’re the only ones I can fully understand and explain the thought, motivation, and processes that went into writing them.”

Along with his own methods for taking ideas from words to art, Paul also shares professional tips from his colleagues in the comic book industry, including Harvey and Eisner award-winning letterer Todd Klein’s do’s and don’ts for “Preparing Comic Book Scripts for Lettering,” as well as words of wisdom from a variety of his comic industry colleagues, such as editors, writers, artists, and letterers Pat Brosseau, Janice Chiang, Tom DeFalco, Steve Erwin, Danny Fingeroth, Robert Greenberger, Rick Hoberg, Todd Klein, Stuart Moore, Michael Avon Oeming, Rick Parker, Clem Robins, Alex Segura, Rick Stasi, and Darren Vincenzo. Also included is “One Story, From Concept to Completion,” recounting the genesis of a 10-page Charlton Neo Comics story featuring a new character created by Paul, with art by Andrew Mitchell.

PAUL KUPPERBERG’S ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO WRITING COMICS, designed by Mort Todd for ComicFix, also features a foreword by comic book legend — and Paul’s frequent collaborator of more than 40 years — artist Joe Staton (E-Man, the Huntress, Dick Tracy), and cover art by Steven Butler (Badger, Sonic the Hedgehog), over 100 illustrations, as well as instructive writing exercises to perform yourself, along with personal anecdotes of his creative interactions with comics legends he’s worked with.

About the author:
As a writer for DC Comics, Archie Comics, Bongo Comics, and others, Paul Kupperberg has written more than 1,400 scripts for characters ranging from Archie to Zatanna, including Superman, Supergirl, Aquaman, Green Lantern, The Doom Patrol, The Simpsons, and Scooby Doo. He is the creator of Arion, Lord of Atlantis, Checkmate, and Takion, the writer of the 2014 “Death of Archie” storyline, and numerous characters for Charlton Neo Comics, and has been an editor for DC Comics, Weekly World News, and WWE Kids Magazine.

PAUL KUPPERBERG’S ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO WRITING COMICS will launch with a Kickstarter campaign at 12pm EST on Friday, March 19. It will feature printed and digital copies of the book, along with rewards including signed comic books and scripts by Paul Kupperberg, t-shirts, prints, Charlton Neo Comics bundles, the original art for Steve Butler’s cover, and more.

Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics, page 22
(c) Paul Kupperberg & respective creators
Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics, page 23
(c) Paul Kupperberg
Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics, page 55
(c) Paul Kupperberg & respective creators
Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics, page 60
(c) Paul Kupperberg
Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics, page 61
(c) Paul Kupperberg & respective creators
Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics, page 85
(c) Paul Kupperberg
Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics, page 93
(c) Paul Kupperberg

Signed & Personalized copies available
$20 shipped/US * $32 shipped Canada
Payable to PAYPAL.ME/PAULKUPPERBERG

ALSO AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM!

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Paul Kupperberg on March 10th, 2020

I’ve written all sorts of different things in my career, from your basic short stories and novels and comic books to marketing and licensing material in every shape and form. One of those marketing jobs was Weird Organic Tales for Stuart Gordon, the brains behind Chicago’s famed Organic Theater Company, whose productions included WARP!, Bleacher Bums, Ray Bradbury’s The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, Huck Finn, and David Mamet’s first professional production, Sexual Perversity in Chicago.

The Organic depended on subscriptions to maintain itself, and in 1981 I wrote this 16-page self-covered promotional comic book that went out to all of the company’s subscribers, as well as appearing as an insert in the Chicago Reader. It was printed on standard old school comic book paper in Sparta, Illinois (below are scans of reduced b&w Xeroxes of the original art). The back page was designed so that the comic could be folded in half and mailed, with a mailing label on one side and the message “Here’s Your Collector’s Item Copy of Weird Organic Tales” on the other.

My frequent collaborator Joe Staton provided the wacky art — along with Chuck Fiala, artist of the “Don’t be Left Out!”, “The 1981 Organic Theater All-Stars,” and a (not included here) subscription page — with Bruce D. Patterson on letters and colors.

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Paul Kupperberg on March 1st, 2020

The second of my Phantom Stranger scripts for Action Comics Weekly to be drawn by the legendary (even then!) Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. “Tommy’s Monster” in ACW #641 (March 7, 1989) is an unabashed homage to one of my earliest comedy influences, the television and absurdist humor writer Jack Douglas‘ “The Boy Who Cried Dinosaur” from his first short story collection, My Brother Was an Only Child (Dutton, 1959), which, for your entertainment pleasure, follows the PS tale in this post.

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