When will the industry and excellent websites like yourself start inquiring about the status of the DARK KNIGHT STRIKES BACK #3 and ORIGIN #6 and the reasons why they are so late? It seems like everyone is afraid or unwilling to touch these subjects. Why not do a survey of all the top artists to see how much time they devote to penciling their work per day and contrast it with CrossGen?
— Craig (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The simple reason they are so late is that the artists working on them have not finished drawing them … and that these are not projects in which the publisher can bring in a fill-in artist to complete the work.
In the last update I saw of DC’s late shipping books, DKSB #3 is listed with a “To Be Announced” ship date. Based on how we did things during my days as Production Director there, this means the art is not yet finished, so they cannot commit to a firm printing schedule. [I’m presuming a similar situation exists with ORIGIN.]
I heard last fall that when the DKSB was scheduled Frank Miller told the folks at DC there was no way he would be able to meet the deadlines set for #3. Despite this, I would speculate that DC wanted #1 to ship in 2001 so that they could add its sales (and the sales of the related DC Direct merchandise) to their bottom line for the year. [Again, I’ll presume a similar situation existed for Marvel with ORIGIN.]
How much time an artist devotes per day to his or her work varies drastically from person to person, and is often based on the individual’s work ethic. The late Curt Swan set as his goal two pages every day, five days a week. If he was able to finish those pages by midday, he would have his afternoon free; if they took all day, he continued to work until they were complete. As a result, Curt could pencil two twenty-page stories a month. When Jim Aparo was doing BRAVE & BOLD, I believe his output was a single page – penciled, inked, and lettered – per day.
I’ve worked with other artists over the years who would set a time limit per day (regardless of how many pages they completed). I’ve also worked with artists whose page output was often at the mercy of the weather – on good days they would choose to play golf or tennis, go to the beach, or mow the lawn rather than draw.
Ultimately, it comes down to a sense of responsibility on the part of the artist (or writer or letterer or colorist, for that matter). You’ve been hired to do a job. If the company that hires you is willing to live with the way in which you deliver the work, you’re free to go on that way. If they’re not, you’d best adapt to their schedule or find another line of work.
FEEDBACK ON PAST COLUMNS:
I think I may have caught a mistake to one of the answers you gave for the “100 Questions” quiz: “19. In proclaiming page counts, only two included the covers; one was 100, what was the other? The “52-page” count was actually 48 plus the covers.”
When DC went to its 50c size in 1978 (DC Explosion time, September to November 1978 cover dates), they proclaimed “44 Pages — All New” on the covers, when there were only 40 pages of interiors, plus 4 pages for the covers!
Michael Casselman (email@example.com)
You have indeed caught a mistake, Michael. The “44-page” size lasted such a short period of time that I had forgotten all about it.
The recent question involving 1970’s Mego action figures has prompted me to ask a question of my own. I was four or five when the first Mego superheroes came out. They started out with Superman, Batman, Robin, Aquaman, Captain Marvel and Tarzan (published by DC at the time). Mego later added Green Arrow, the Teen Titans, and some villains, but no Flash or Green Lantern. I can understand Aquaman because he was on the Super Friends and had his own cartoon in the 60s, but how did Green Arrow make it but not Green Lantern? More importantly, how did Kid Flash warrant an action figure, when Flash did not? How much say did DC have in determining which characters were made into action figures and who made the final decision?
Jim Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It is most likely that DC presented a variety of their heroes to Mego and allowed the toy company to decide which characters it thought would sell the best. In the case of GA versus GL, I suspect they thought a Robin Hood-type character might be more interesting to non-comics reading kids. Similarly, Kid Flash was part of the Teen Titans, so he came as part of a group, whereas his mentor did not.
Licensing the characters, while a nice source of extra income for the company, did not have the importance then that it carries today. Back then, stock pieces of artwork (from old covers or pin-ups, usually) would be provided to the licensees to use on their packaging or products. [As I’ve mentioned in a previous column, the art which was used on the sixty DC superhero Slurpee cups produced by 7-Eleven in the early 70s was dug out of a filing cabinet of photostats and cut up original art by yours truly – one of the first tasks I had at the company.] Nowadays, much more attention is given to producing original artwork for the licensees – and, presumably, collecting lots for money for the licensing.
In response to the “Kid Cannibal” question: I know there were at least three issues printed by Eternity. I got issues 1, 2, and 3 in a collection I bought. Not sure if it went any further.
Billy Cox (email@example.com)
Eternity Comics published four issues of the KID CANNIBAL miniseries. I have all four. And before you ask, I’m afraid that they are not for sale. Good hunting!
David Peattie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
According to Mile High Comics.com, KID CANNIBAL had five issues published. Issues 1-4 are available and on sale.
Mike Falcon (email@example.com)
Despite what the Mile High site says, only four issues appear to have actually been published… unless someone out there HAS a copy of the fifth one.
AND MORE FROM THE EMAILBOX:
Idle curiosity here, but does DC keep a storehouse or something of the old comics they’ve published?
— Rhys (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DC maintains a library of virtually everything they’ve published. The individual issues have been bound into hardcover volumes, usually with a year’s worth in a single book. This archive collection, which is overseen by longtime DC employee Allan Asherman, is not open to the public.
It seems like Supergirl was doing well in ADVENTURE COMICS, so why was she spun off into her own series in 1972? E. Nelson Bridwell was a much better editor for Kara than Bob Kanigher in my opinion.
— John Lynch (JohnIAT@aol.com)
Obviously, the powers-that-be at DC at the time thought Kanigher would deliver a more salable version of the Girl of Steel… and that it made sense to have a magazine titled SUPERGIRL Just as obviously, since the title lasted only ten issues, they must have been wrong.
I’m looking for superhero insignia. Can you send me a link to a site if possible?
Josh Kelly (email@example.com)
Superhero imsignia are trademarks of the companies which own the characters. Any legitimate use of them would be at their sites or those of licensees.
I want to know what you know about Jim Shooter? I think he is great writer.
— Temo Osuna (firstname.lastname@example.org)
He’s very tall. He was a very intense competitor when DC played softball against Marvel back in the 70s. And I just recently read that the Avengers project he was supposed to be writing for Marvel has been shelved.
Has DC any plans to complete their TPB reprinting of the excellent HITMAN series?
Matt Adams (email@example.com)
Any chance of us ever seeing a USS STEVENS ARCHIVES edition now that the SGT. ROCK ARCHIVES has appeared and ENEMY ACE ARCHIVES is on the horizon? Any other war reprint editions planned?
— Allan Rosenberg (ALLLAL@aol.com)
Who can I pester to collect all your ‘Mazing Man stories in a trade paperback? Talk about something that I’d pay 50 dollars to buy!
— JJ Ferro (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Well, my old pal Bob Greenberger returns to DC this week as Senior Editor of the reprint and collected editions. I’ve already told him I expect a ‘MAZING MAN TPB, but I’m sure it doesn’t hurt for him to hear it from other people as well. As for the other titles, I’ll let you all know what Bob has to say.
THE QUESTIONS I CAN’T ANSWER DEPARTMENT:
Is there anyway I can include a picture in my email other than attachments?
Possibly, but I don’t know what it is.
What happened to the Alex Ross Lounge? Please return it. It’s my favorite site!
It’s gone… into the ether.
When is AUTHORITY going to ship?
Gord W (email@example.com)
Presumably when it is finished. See my comments above about DKSB #3 and ORIGIN #6.
Will Bruce beat Clark in DKSB #3?
I guess we’ll find out… eventually.
In the movie “True Romance,” Christian Slater’s character takes his girl to the comic book shop he works at. He asks her if she’d like to see a SPIDER-MAN #1, then proceeds to show her another comic. He says, “There’s this guy Nick, who’s got a ring from his sweetheart around his neck and this Nazi bastard grabs the necklace and it goes into the ocean. Nick, he dives in to get it… Isn’t that cool?”
My question: Is this a real comic book he’s talking about? If so, what nbook is it?
— Lindsay (TrueRomance78@aol.com)
Comic books may ship late, but there’s a new question every day at my 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.