By Beau Smith
The Civil War Part Two or The South Shall Rise?And Hit Ya Again
The time was the 80s. Bad music was caked in the ears of the public like sweaty gobs of hardened ear wax.
America was wrapped in an unmanly wardrobe provided by Chess King and Members Only.
The place was New York City. Where they called pop by the Yankee name of soda. Where they swore their haircut was a “Bi-Level” instead of what it really was—A Mullet.
The scene of what should’ve been a crime was Marvel Comics. They were the number one comic book publisher on the block. At the time they were still holdin’ DC Comics off with a stiff arm that Walter Payton would be proud of. It was a different Marvel Comics than the one I grew up on. Stan Lee had left the building. There was a new guy in charge and he ruled it with the iron glove of Victor Von Doom. Who was this cigar chompin’, pizza eatin’ man with a voice like that of a longshoreman?
Tom DeFalco. The 80s Live Again!
His name was DeFalco. Tom DeFalco.
His work ethic came from the labors in his family’s grocery store as a kid. It was said that nobody ever tried to shoplift in the DeFalco’s store. As a child DeFalco’s favorite toy was his baseball bat. Only thing is he didn’t have a ball to hit. The heads of shoplifters allowed a young Tom DeFalco to perfect his deadly swing.
Later on after college, DeFalco decided that being a prison warden was too soft of a job for a man of his special talents, so he decided to become a writer. He was soon employed by Archie Comics. He flourished there. It was the perfect cover for a man that would rather poke your eyes out, feed em’ to ya and tell ya they were grapes.
It wasn’t long after that he headed to Marvel Comics. It was there that he found his true calling. Writing comics with “Hoo-Ha” action and being the emperor of editors. Legend has it that DeFalco had his baseball bat mounted on the wall behind his desk. They also said that he had a Thompson Machine gun named “Mayday Parker” that he was ready to use if DC Comics ever tried to storm the joint. He surrounded himself with an editorial staff that was just as terrifying as he was. Men like Larry Hama. It was an urban legend that Hama carried a loaded .45 auto in his portfolio. Now ya know why no one missed a deadline with him. There was a young Mike Carlin. Beneath his Joker like sense of humor was a temper so twisted that Batman refused to do a crossover with Marvel.
Marvel was a deadly place in the 80s.
DeFalco was like a hardened hired gun in the old west. One that would be hired by the townsfolk to come in an rid the place of outlaws, thugs and men of low moral fiber. He would come in and like a vengeful flame and reduce the unwanted trash into a smoldering cinder. With that done it wouldn’t be long until the townsfolk would show their gratitude by asking the hired gun to leave town. The town he cleaned up was now too wholesome for a so called violent man such as himself.
It happened to Tom Horn in the old west. Now it happened to Tom DeFalco at Marvel.
DeFalco took some time off and pondered his future. It wasn’t long before he decided to get back to his roots. To once again dance with the girl that brought him to the ball so many years ago.
That girl was writing comics.
Out of fear and respect for his talent, Marvel continued to hire DeFalco for such fan loved books as Spider-Girl and the rest of the MC2 line. Besides, DeFalco knew where all the bodies were buried at Marvel. Even the young turks and corporate goons knew better than to open that closet door. Skeletons would fall out like they were hung on cheap wire hangers.
DeFalco spread his talents around to other publishers like Image Comics. With him he took Marvel icons like Ron Frenz and Ron Lim. The beast known as DeFalco was off the leash and roaming all over the comic book landscape.
DeFalco’s Deadly Head Dentin’ Amigo
Today, he continues to write Spider-Girl and the series is still much loved by the readers that enjoy a Marvel comic with action, interesting characters and art that smells of craftsmanship and ultimate story telling. Recently DeFalco has taken up his Editor-in-chief duties again with the newly reinvented Cracked Magazine. The first issue should be out some time later this year. I’m sure that his well-worn baseball bat will once again hang on the wall for all to see and fear.
I met up recently with To DeFalco in Pittsburgh where he was there to bail his long time buddy and Marvel artist, Ron Frenz out of jail. It seems that Ron was finally subdued by the Pittsburgh S.W.A.T team after he hospitalized a mob of coked up graphic arts designers that were trying to manhandle some of Ron’s favorite dancers at a strip joint that Ron owns a piece of.
As Ron sought the comfort of his dancer friends, Tom and I sat at the bar over cold beers and started my Five Manly Questions. I turned on my recorder much like I turn on every woman with a heartbeat.
Beau: What annoyin’ celebrity would ya like to smack in the head with a shovel or stab in the eye with a rusty fork?
Tom: Aside from all the usual suspects, I’m tempted to swing my shovel in your direction Beau. You keep claiming to be the last real man in comics and the only one of who still knows how to write a rip-roaring fight scene. I’d take you up on both of those challenges, but I don’t want to endanger your amateur status… and I hate to dent my favorite shovel.
Beau: Ok, I’ll ignore that lame remark tossed my manly way by a man whose better days are way behind him, Much like your fat ass. Tom, Name some of the sexiest babes on the planet, in your manly opinion.
Tom: I’d have to go with Jennifer Garner and all those wonderful women on Desperate Housewives, with a special nod to Terri Hatcher. (Of course, I ain’t telling a dog like you the names of any of the sexy babes that I actually know.)
Beau: Smart move on your part, Tom. I’ve been known to snake a friend without much remorse. Name some manly movies that every real man should see if he wants to rev up his testosterone.
Tom: You can’t be a real man with multiple viewings of Casablanca, Streets of Fire, Midnight Run, Field of Dreams, and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Beau: Streets Of Fire has always been a hidden gem of Walter Hill’s. Good choice, amigo. What CD’s are on your manly play list right now?
Tom: Music is for wimps, but I’ve been known to occasionally play the sound tracks for Midnight Run, Rocky, and Independence Day… and, whenever I feel exceptionally manly, I also like Lee Ann Womack’s I Hope You Dance.
Beau: I hope I never see you dance, Tom. Name your latest and upcoming manly work in comics and entertainment so my manly readers can steal the money from their mom’s purse to buy it. Name the publisher as well.
Tom: I’m currently doing Spider-Girl (it takes a real man to write the adventures of a sixteen year-old woman) and Last Hero Standing limited series for Marvel. I’m also doing Khan: The legend of Ghengis Khan for Moonstone which will be on sale this summer. I also have a pair of comic-related books headed your way… FANTASTIC FOUR: The World’s Greatest Guide from DK books and Comic Creators on Fantastic Four from Titan Books.
Beau: Real nice! I’ll be lookin’ forward to that Ghengis Khan book from Moonstone. Sounds damn manly to me. Ok, Tom. Time for the favorite BONUS QUESTION: Who are some of the manliest comic book creators that you have ever worked with in comics?
Tom: The manliest of the all would have to be Big John Buscema, closely followed by his brother Sal, Rampaging Ron Frenz, Powerful Pat Olliffe and of course, Blushing Beau Smith.
Beau: All real men for sure, Tom, but uh? you and I have never worked together. In fact, Marvel is the only publisher that I’ve never worked with. Why is it you never hired me to write there durin’ your near eternal run as Editor-In-Chief?
Tom: I thought you said there wouldn’t be any easy questions, Beau?
Beau: What do ya mean by that?
Tom: Well, I never hired ya at Marvel for a real good, manly reason.
Beau: What’s that?
Tom: I’ve read your comics.
At that moment North and South collided all over again. It was the Civil War Part Two. Teeth littered the floor like Chicklets that were spilled from the bottom of a wet paper sack. Blood red was the color of the day and we were wearin’ it like cheap suit.
DeFalco was pretty spry for a man of his age and he was unloadin’ on me like I had missed the deadline on Kickers Inc. (Shame on ya if ya don’t remember THAT Marvel comic.)
I made sure I unclogged Tom’s sinuses with a few well-placed knees to the nose. He grunted like a pissed off boar that had been shot at once too often.
I could hear Ron laughin’ with the ladies at the bar as Tom and I butted heads. Our brain cells commited suicide like kamikaze pilots over the Pacific in the final days of World War II.
The tussle would have gone on for hours, but as Tom and I were takin’ turns beatin’ on each other with pool cues, Dana White, president of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), walked in and offered both Tom and I a cool million dollars to do this rematch of the Civil War on a UFC Pay Per View battle to be held at the San Diego International Comic Con.
Being that both Tom and I are freelancers, always in need of the money and an audience, we accepted.
Dana also signed Ron’s dancers up as ring girls and promised Ron he could carry the spit bucket. The fight of the century was signed. Comin’ soon to your cable bill?Beau “The Cowboy Warrior King” Smith vs. Tom “Dead If They Do, Dead If They Don’t” DeFalco.
Or as Ron calls it?”Two Old Guys Beatin’ The Medicare Out Of Each Other While You Pay To Laugh.”
Make sure you’re at San Diego Con or check your local cable station for Pay Per View prices.
I Hear Your Girlfriend Callin’ My Name
If I were a weaker man or a Wizard staff writer I’d be plumb tuckered out my now, but I’m not.
All this tossin’ of testosterone has got me all wired up and ready to head butt a Buick. (A well known sport here in West Virginia when ya feel extra manly!)
I wanna thank all of ya for checkin’ in to Busted Knuckles this week for my Five Manly Questions. As always I wanna hear who you wanna see on the wrong end of my manly knuckles. So keep the emails and letters comin’ in with the names of your favorite comic book creators and my favorite targets. Remember, it takes two British writers to equal one American writer. Scots, Irish and those other guys that live near or around England get a ½ point more because they can hold their liquor better than a Brit. ‘Sides, they got better teeth. Harder to knock out of their heads. The Brits have those teeth that look like little rotten pieces of corn. They fall out at the drop of a manly scowl.
Be here next week when I continue to lead my life as all others should. I’m more than a role model. I’m a way of life.
The Flying Fist Ranch
P.O. Box 706
Ceredo, WV. 25507
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