‘I started as an assistant editor and became assistant production manager. Now I work as production manager and I do the writing as a freelancer. When I was an assistant editor, I worked with editor Julie Schwartz and started writing stories for him; that was my first foot in the door. I’ve done more than 300 stories by now.”
– Bob Rozakis, 1986
In 1986, WCEYE, the in-house newsletter for employees of Warner Communications, interviewed yours truly about ‘MAZING MAN and the CENTURIONS tie-in book DC was about to publish. If you missed last week’s column, you might want to read it before continuing.
Q: How does DC promote its new books?
“We advertise them in our own books. There are also a number of comic book fanzines that the fans read and we advertise in those. We’ve done posters, postcards, buttons and bumper stickers. It varies from book to book. Those decisions are made by the marketing department.”
Q: Where are comics sold besides newsstands?
“They are sold in comic specialty shops and in places like 7-Eleven and in ‘mom-and-pop’ candy stores, if there are any of THOSE left in the world.”
Q; How much of a success does a book have to be to stay on the market? How much of a chance does it get?
“We’ll keep publishing it if it makes money. ‘MAZING MAN had a lot of fan support and good reviews, but it was just on the wrong edge of acceptable sales.
“We’re usually committed to twelve issues. It’s not like the TV networks where they cancel a show after one week. Also, by the time the first issue goes on sale, if you haven’t finished issues four and five you’re in a lot of trouble on a monthly book.
“The audience can be very strange. I would think that an interesting set of characters, with good stories and artwork, would sell a comic book, but that’s not necessarily the case. I look at some of the things being published and say, ‘Why is this a big hit?’ What seems to be selling these days is teams of super-heroes.
Q: So how do you think THE CENTURIONS will do?
“I hope CENTURIONS will appeal to a different audience in addition to the normal comic book fans. We’ve got a pretty good shot with the younger audience, the kids who are watching the cartoons and playing with the toys, assuming that the toys do well. My son keeps asking if I’ve finished an issue yet. I try to explain to him that it takes six months from beginning to end to get an issue published.
Q: But based on his reaction, it looks like a hit?
“I hope so. The licensor has given us some free rein. I’ve established a history of the characters that wasn’t done with the cartoon show or with the toys. I’ve fleshed out a kind of 21st century civilization that ties in with the things going on in the book. I think it’s interesting and fun. Hopefully, the readers will think so too.”
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
1. No matter how unethically, Crusher Crock wanted to win; what criminal guise did he use?
2. On Terry Sloane’s super-duds is a message; what is it?
3. Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto were among those spotlighted in what book (formerly titled “DICK COLE”)?
4. A single green vegetable gave this swabbie amazing strength; name him and it.
5. In a vision, Malcolm Duncan won the shofar; what did he do to win it?
6. Name the former football pro who became a WGBS-TV sportscaster.
7. Now he owns a bar in Metropolis, but once he was a boxer; who is he?
8. One member of Hero Hotline is forever changing his name; give me two of them.
9. Gorillas and invisible players took the field in what series?
10. A touch from Willie Walker means death; on what does he travel?
11. In Riverdale, Midge’s beau is a dumb jock; what’s his…uh, name?
12. Name the sport at which Betty Kane made a new name for herself.
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. In 1986, Danny Heap became the first player in a World Series to be a
designated hitter with the initials D.H.
2. Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.
3. In 1963, baseball pitcher Gaylord Perry remarked, “They’ll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run.” On July 20, 1969, a few hours after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Perry hit his first, and only, home run.
SOME ‘MAZING MAN BACKSTORY
Much, if not all, of the plotting of issues of ‘Mazing Man took place in a fast-food chicken place called Bojangle’s. (While its franchises still exist in some parts of the country, it did not survive in New York City.) Once a month, artist Stephen DeStefano, editor Alan Gold and I would dine on crispy, spicy (greasy) chicken and come up with the story or stories for the next issue. Sometimes, we had an easy time, other times it was more difficult. At some point during the year we worked on the book, I made up a list of possible ideas.
In the same box that contained the interview I’ve been excerpting, I found a few other interesting items from the same time period. One of them was that list of possible plots to consider for upcoming issues of ‘MAZING MAN. Fans of the series will note that a few of them actually made it into the book.
- Grandma comes to visit (KP and Denton’s maternal grandmother – a cross between Rhoda’s mother and Maude)
- Maze wants everybody to donate blood at the blood drive
- Waiting for the mailman (Maze wants his sea monkeys, KP wants her alimony check, Denton wants a reply to a story he submitted, Guido wants his car magazines)
- Dinner at the Garibaldi house
- Maze the cat-sitter
- Guido’s girlfriend moves in with him
- An evening at Brenda and Eddie’s with some of their other friends with Maze in the living room watching TV because his is broken
- Eddie at work interacting with other people there (including a girl from high school who always had a crush on him)
- A follow-up between Brenda and Hank
- Face to face with KP’s ex-husband
- A day on “patrol” with Maze
- Bernie Cornfeldt has a heart attack while screaming at Denton about a script
- Maze goes to Manhattan
- The sea monkeys finally arrive
- Maze goes with Denton to meet Bernie Cornfeldt
- Brenda and Eddie are both up for promotions
- Bob and Stephen decide they should blame everything on Alan (or maybe Karl)
Missing from the list (and, in fact, from any other ‘Mazing Man information or lists) is a story which got plotted, thumbnailed by yours truly into panels and written up for Stephen DeStefano to draw… but never went any further. Next week, for the first time anywhere, you’ll see a ‘Mazing Man story that almost was: “It’s Magic!”
As you read this, I’m in the second week of my six-week teaching stint in Maryland. The columns appearing during this time have been prepared in advance, so I won’t be answering any Answer Man questions in the immediate future. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send them… using the handy box in the column on the left. Remember, if they are used, you’ll get a 10% discount on anything you buy from Comics Unlimited that week.
And, on that note, this “pre-recorded” version of me is outta here…
It’s a Phys Ed special this week. If you didn’t get all the answers, drop and give me fifty.
2. Fair Play
3. SPORTS THRILLS
4. Popeye, spinach
5. Fight and beat the Angel of Death
6. Steve Lombard
8. Flex, Mr. Muscle, Brother Bicep
9. STRANGE SPORTS STORIES
11. Big Moose
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.