THE MOST ORIGINAL NAME IN THE COMICS
The celebration of an anniversary in publishing is a unique occasion. For instance. This year marks the 215th anniversary of The New York Post. The 200th anniversary of The Saturday Evening Post is coming up in 2021. We are now reminded of key events in the comics and a very special book we have planned for 2017.
Many years ago we observed that there were a number of publishing anniversaries coming up, right around the corner, and thought it might be an interesting idea if we were to promote and celebrate those august occasions. We worked up, designed, planned and/or contributed to several. Perhaps you have seen and/or read a few of them.
One of the first was Detective Comics no. 512 March 1982. The 45th Anniversary number. Dick Giordano gave me three pages. I wrote to four men, Creig Flessel, Sheldon Mayer, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, who had contributed to the first issue away back in 1937. They gave me one-of-a-kind, first-person testimony of what they had accomplished in those far away days. Yes, this is several years before we developed and created The Comics!
We spoke to Robert Kanigher of the 30th anniversary of his book, Sgt. Rock, for DC. As usual, he feigned disinterest in the occasion and dismissed the idea. The next time I turned around he came into the office to celebrate that signal event in his own unique manner. He had produced two manuscripts instead of one. “Thirty Year Man”, to be illustrated by Frank Redondo. And “30 Years of Dogtags” that Joe Kubert would draw. RK had an unusual idea for that second story. The story would begin on the cover with writer and illustrator credits, continue on the inside front cover (in black and white. RK, as Rock, explained the transition from color to black and white by stating that the bullet that hit and killed the kid on the cover he was protecting “took all the color out of the world” for him. The story would pick up again in color on p. 1 of the comic and continue through to the explosive conclusion. Dick Giordano nixed the idea saying he needed the inside front cover for an advertisement. RK revised the ms. so that second page would appear in color and contain the credits. Kanigher chose to publish a portion of my Men of Easy roster, a listing of every single soldier who had fought with Easy Company, in the special edition. The August number, the 30th anniversary issue. Whoever was in charge in Production was unable to find August on the calendar and improperly placed the material, “Thirty Year Man” was placed in the July 1982 issue, no. 366. “30 Years of Dogtags” and the editorial page that featured Men of Easy were published in no. 368, the September number.
The veteran Murray Boltinoff, who began all the way back in 1940 for the company, had an office across the hall from mine. He had seen more history, edited more comics, had made more of a mark in the company than any other. I told him what I had been doing in other comics and advised him that an anniversary of G.I. Combat was not far off. He jumped at the opportunity to publish something distinctive. Boltinoff called in RK to plot a multiple chapter, 64-page poetic narrative, “Tomorrow’s War Today”. It was the most complex story in the series featuring The Haunted Tank and one of the most complex stories ever published by the company. The distinctive E.R. Cruz was chosen to illustrate two special chapters in an epic otherwise illustrated by Sam Glanzman the regular artist on The Haunted Tank. As he was working up a schedule for the production of this issue, Murray asked me to join him in the celebration. He offered me one page of his book and gave me carte blanche. In return, I gave to him a history of The Haunted Tank, its trek across Europe and through the years of the world war, a terrific mistake. Kanigher’s work did not, and was not intended to, follow a chronology. His characters, from Airline Stewardess to The Flash and Rock, remained true to themselves but not to history and continuity, chronology or biography. I ought to have known better. All of this and more is in the 30th anniversary issue of G.I. Combat no. 246, October 1982.
We put together a little celebration for the 10th anniversary of Ghosts, a title inaugurated by Boltinoff. Look to no. 105, October 1981 for that event.
There was one more special project in this period. Ditko produced a 20th anniversary cover for Martin Skidmore’s publication, Fantasy Advertiser, no. 97, June-July 1986.
In the last several years, we have published the 20th anniversary edition of The Comics!, the 40th anniversary edition of Mr. A. no. 4, the 60th anniversary of Tales of the Mysterious Traveler and the 25th anniversary number of The Comics!
Two more publications have appeared in the last year. We published the 60th anniversary number of Out of This World…
… and the 25th entry in the 32 Page Series.
Now comes the 50th anniversary of the most original name in the comics. Coming next. From Robin Snyder and Steve Ditko. A very special comic book celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mr. A.
We have been publishing since 1988 and have been pleased with our accomplishments. We are especially proud of this next production and will welcome your support.
Risks and challenges
Our challenge is one that is self-imposed. It is our intention to equal and top each of our earlier productions. Can we do it?
We have completed work on all previous campaigns and mailed the Rewards. We have completed work on this new book except for the editorial pages. This is where you come in. Where we gratefully acknowledge your participation, your support.
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- (32 days)