As you were head of the production department at DC, I guess you would be the man to ask my question regarding the ARCHIVES. The first Superman volume has the full page repro of an issue’s cover and the next page had smaller images of the inside and back covers of that issue. The first Batman volume doesn’t do this, nor does the Plastic Man volume I’ve seen. Why were the inside and back covers dropped and when was it effective?
— Sean Dulaney (email@example.com)
Reproduction of the covers (and the ad pages that appeared in the issues) was used in the first three volumes of SUPERMAN ARCHIVES as well as the first ALL-STAR COMICS volume. At the time, the intent was to present the entire issue. As more ad pages started to appear in the issues, this became impractical.
The BATMAN ARCHIVES and PLASTIC MAN ARCHIVES feature stories from DETECTIVE COMICS and POLICE COMICS, respectively, but these tales were only a small part of the complete issue. There was no reason to reproduce ad pages in those books.
Bob, this is a LONG complicated question. However, I hope that you can send me a reply with your best answer because it would really help me with a project I’m working on.
I’m in love with 70s DC heroes and villains and Mego Toys action figures. As you probably know, there are people out there who are great artists and pay homage to DC Megos by creating custom works of DC characters that were never made by the Mego company for their World’s Greatest Superheroes line in the 70s.
Personally, I prefer only having dolls that DC would have licensed in the ’75-’78 era, around the time that Mego ceased creating any new DC dolls. I am a horrible artist, and sadly I am not as educated on the bronze age good guys and baddies as I’d like to be.
My question is: With all of this above taken into consideration, what characters do you believe are the most important to immortalize in custom form in order to add to great roster that Mego began with their incredible toys?
Superman, Batman, Robin, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Shazam, Green Arrow, Speedy, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, and Mr. Mxyzptlk were all made by Mego. Lex Luthor, Ocean Master, Cheetah, Black Manta, Mirror Master, Captain Cold, Black Adam, Clock King, Sinestro, Brainiac, Bizarro, the 70s Toyman, Dr. Sivana, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Flash, Atom, Black Canary, Plastic Man, Red Tornado, Martain Manhunter, and TV’s Black Vulcan, Samurai, Apache Chief and the Wonder Twins are all in my collection too.
Characters that I feel should be there and aren’t at the moment due to monetary reasons include: JSA members, select members from the Legion –which would you pick if you were limited to the most popular Legionnaires? — Dr. Light, Gentleman Ghost, Elongated Man, Chronos, Creeper, Woozy Winks, Capt. Marvel Jr., Black Lightning, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Star Sapphire, Hawkgirl, Zatanna, Scarecrow, Ra’s Al Ghul, Metallo, Pied Piper, Captain Boomerang, Weather Wizard, Parasite, Terra Man, Abra Kadabra, Grodd, Solomon Grundy, Man-Bat and a few I haven’t mentioned.
I’d like to see if there are any that you’d suggest due their popularity in that era or because of their ability to be paired up with their popular arch-rival (i.e. Atom/Chronos) That’s why I included Clock King so early on. Mego made Green Arrow, so why not a bad guy for him too? I got two bad guys apiece for my Shazam and Aquaman who also never had any rival made for them. Any insight on my project would be key from you because I know that is where you were really involved.
On a side note, I’d love to know what you thought of the Mego line, but now I’m really pushing my luck here, aren’t I? Best Regards.
— Hugh Asnen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You’ve amassed quite a list already, Hugh, and there aren’t any characters who come to mind that aren’t already there. (On the subject of the Legionnaires, I’d opt for Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, and Saturn Girl, expanding the group to include Chameleon Boy, Sun Boy, Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy, and Duo Damsel – a.k.a. Triplicate Girl.)
So I’ll open this one up to the readers as well and let’s see what we get.
A QUICK TRIO OF REVIEWS:
GREEN LANTERN: LEGACY by Joe Kelly, Brent Anderson and Bill Sienkiewicz. [96pp — $24.95 HC]
Why do so many writers in comics these days seem to take it for granted that their readers know all the back story of the characters they are using? There is virtually no explanation of who Thomas “Pieface” Kalmaku is in this book, making much of it unfathomable for someone not versed in the history of the DC Universe.
Transitions to flashback sequences were hard to follow; more than once I had to stop and go back to figure out what was taking place in the present and what was in the past. And I’m still not sure why the Justice League was involved.
On the production side, there was some pretty ragged-looking lettering on some of the pages. As this was a big bugaboo when I was Production Director, I’m surprised how often it seems to turn up these days, especially in high-priced volumes.
All in all, this could have been a really nice book if more attention had been paid to actually TELLING the story.
BATMAN: NINE LIVES by Dean Motter and Michael Lark [96pp — $24.95 HC]
It takes a little bit to get into the story here – a bit more upfront exposition, including identifying the characters, would have helped – but Motter and Lark have succeeded in their attempt to create a “film noir” tale of Batman in an Elseworlds Gotham City of 1946. The sideways binding did not seem to serve any major purpose, but it didn’t detract from the story-telling either.
One thing I wondered about: At one point in the story, Harvey dent flips a coin to determine who will get the serve in a tennis match. He tells Bruce Wayne that the coin came up heads when it clearly shows tails. Okay, I presumed this was a subtle way of showing that Harvey was a liar and/or a cheat. However, later in the book, Dick Grayson shows a coin (obviously meant to be Harvey’s) and says it has two heads. Perhaps they’ll clear up this confusion when they produce the eventual paperback version.
THE NAME OF THE GAME by Will Eisner [176pp — $29.95 HC]
Eisner covers ground here that he’s explored before, this time telling the tale of three generations of Jewish families and their rise to status as the result of the “right” marriages. Over all, it’s a good read and his art never disappoints.
However, I found the personalities of some of the characters, particularly that of Conrad Arnheim, seemed to change abruptly. While I don’t disagree that this does sometimes happen in real life, a few hints earlier on might have made it more believable.
FEEDBACK ON PAST COLUMNS DEPARTMENT:
In your April 15th column when you were asked about your dealings with the Comics Code, I’m surprised you didn’t mention the issue of ‘MAZING MAN that wasn’t code approved, “Writer’s Block,” in which Denton had writer’s block and everyone tried to help him by suggesting a story. I assumed it was Eddie’s contribution of his zombie story, although his frisky behavior with wife Brenda was a close second.
Oh, I’m sorry, you’re wondering if I have a question? Okay, have you ever thought about approaching DC about optioning or leasing ‘Mazing Man and publishing stories with a different publisher? I don’t think DC has any plans…
— Tony Collett (email@example.com)
Gee, ‘MAZING MAN #5 doesn’t have a Comics Code symbol on it, does it? I don’t recall them objecting to anything in the issue (zombies or Brenda and Eddie’s friskiness), so I suspect it was just inadvertently omitted. I don’t recall the Code objecting to anything in later issues either, including the stories which showed characters drinking and the one in which Guido reveals his secret drink recipes, all of which involve beer!
It’s been suggested a few times that ‘MM co-creator Stephen DeStefano and I try to get permission to do the series for another publisher. He and I haven’t discussed it, but, despite our small but loyal group of fans, I don’t think there’s enough of a financial reward involved.
Speaking of icons:
So you, Mr. Rozakis, “don’t think we’ve seen a comic book character in the past quarter century who matches up with Supes, Bats or Spidey.” What about The Punisher?
At the peak of his popularity, Frank Castle had his own 3 monthly series, plus a lot of special editions and guest appearances. Back then, nobody would note the difference with those other icons in terms of commercial success.
Yes, he was wiped out of view in the mid-90s, but it only was necessary to relaunch the franchise with the adequate creative team behind to put it again in the Top 10, outselling all the Supes and Bats titles and almost all the Spideys.
If only they could make a good, big-budget movie with this character, instead of the piece of crap that Marvel let Dolph Lundgren perpetrate years ago, this great icon would reach the role that he deserves in the popular culture as the ultimate superhero of the nasty 21st century, and the Skull logo would
become as unmistakable as that big red S.
Speaking of trade-paperbacks: I totally agree with you about WATCHMEN, but the rest of your list… DC gets 11 choices out of 12, and Marvel only one. And what about all the other comic companies? Doesn’t life exist beyond DC and Marvel?
It is possible that the Punisher may someday reach the iconic level of Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, but he hasn’t gotten there yet. Check back in a decade or so and let’s see where he stands.
As for my choices on the graphic novels and TPB collections: I worked for DC for 25 years, so those were the ones I read.
In your 100-question quiz, you have two questions with an answer of 47 and none with an answer of 46. Just thought you’d like to know.
— Hoags (firstname.lastname@example.org)
That’s only because of a typo that lists DC’s first issue of KORAK as #47 when it was, in fact, #46. Thanks for pointing it out.
“In 2002, my age will match the year of my birth; what is it?”
I had no idea you are almost 1001 years old, Bob. That’s incredible. You don’t look a day over 45 to me.
How do you stay so young?
I work out at the gym a lot.
Next time: More questions, more answers.
Meanwhile, don’t forget my daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia
Need some answers from the Answer Man?
Ask BobRo at It’s BobRo’s Answer Board.
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.