Vampirella #10 (Warren Publishing, 1971) and later switched to writing chores at Marvel under Roy Thomas where his plots and dialogue were more sophisticated–and far more fun–than most of what his contemporaries were doing. To this day, my favorite Captain America run (issues #152-156) was that forever memorable resolution of the 1950’s Cap/Bucky conundrum with a plotline that also hit upon the racial issues of that period.

Tor Books is reissuing Steve’s The Point Man, which Dell first released in 1981. Theodore Sturgeon called the novel “Full of reach and astonishment…few working writers alive have [Englehart’s] sense of sound and of scene.” What Mr. Meth wouldn’t give for a Sturgeon blurb!

I apologize for the brevity of this interview and lack of follow-up questions. Emailed interviews are terribly limited and should be banned by the government after they get around to banning everything else. Thus:

: Anyone reading The Point Man can see the Marvel references, the pop culture and soap influences…but why a d.j.?

Englehart: Why not? But I suppose the answer is, d.j.’s in those days were hands-on performers, kings of their markets, running their own shows–thus, a guy primed to be an action hero coming out of the normal, non-action world.

Meth: Why reissue The Point Man… and why now?

Englehart: It’s the jumping-off point for the Max August series. I wrote The Long Man to work without a reissue, because I didn’t know if there’d be one, but Tor wanted it, so it adds a lot to the picture… As to why now, I’d have preferred it a year ago.

Meth: You had time to revamp the book but only adjusted the protagonist’s age. What were some of the other elements that you considered playing with?

Englehart: None. I stand by what I wrote then, with no need to fix anything–and it does insure that the 1980s are completely authentic. The Point Man captures pretty well what life was like then, and that’s important in the overall scheme of the series.

Meth: If memory serves, you wrote this around the same time that you were contributing to Byron Preiss’ Weird Heroes anthology. That was an excellant series–and you were in impressive company. Other than Aardwolf Publishing, I don’t see anyone doing illustrated fiction anymore. Do you have any thoughts on that?

: It’s a shame. Weird Heroes was fun.

Meth: I grew up on your Avengers and Captain America work. Did you prefer writing any titles?

Englehart: I liked pretty much every series I wrote, because I was in a position to make them likeable, for me and hopefully for you.

Meth: Why did you leave Marvel?

Englehart: Editorial interference.

Meth: If you were assembling a bullpen from any writers, editors, pencillors and inkers either living or dead, who would you select?

Englehart: Sorry, I’m not into comics any more. I’m all about novels.


© 2004, Clifford Meth


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