#627 Walt Simonson’s “Thor”

Thor and Beta Ray Bill

 

One of the most acclaimed Marvel runs of the 1980s was by Walt Simonson on The Mighty Thor. He began writing and drawing it with #337, continued through to #367 (with a quick break in the middle), then gave up art duties but continued writing through #382. This run set aside Dr. Don Blake, focused on mythical threats rather than earthly ones, and injected some humor into what had sometimes been a fairly dry, dour book. Tim and Kumar look back to assess this important run.

#612 RIP Stan Lee

Stan Lee

Stan Lee, Marvel Comics writer, art director, publisher, promoter, and icon, died November 12 at age 95. While he is loved by many, and undoubtedly had a hand in some of the greatest stories of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and more, he was also known to aggravate disputes over story credit and art ownership with the likes of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. In this episode, Tim, Kumar, and Tom Spurgeon wrestle with the legacy of Stan the Man.

#567 Paul Gravett

Koom with Paul Gravett

At London Super Comicon last month, Koom got to sit down with Paul Gravett, a comics journalist and exhibition curator. Gravett is currently preparing the touring Asian comics show Mangasia, which will debut in Rome next month. This is a guy who’s read a lot of comics; do they all become a blur after a while? Koom asks him about avoiding burnout, the amount of progress comics have (or haven’t) made toward being accepted by the “art world”, and much more.

#528 Lenny Schwartz: Comics and the Theatre, Act III

Co-Creator

While we’ve talked before with Austin Tichenor and John Roberson about adapting comics to the stage, we’ve never talked about (or even thought about!) adapting the lives of comics creators to that stage! But Lenny Schwartz has done it, and more than once, writing and directing “Co-Creator” (about Bill Finger and his claim to the Batman legacy) and “The Man Who Saw Snoopy” (about Charles Schulz, of course!). And he has another in the works on Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko.

This week Lenny tells Tim about writing these plays, just how much credit Bob Kane and Stan Lee may actually deserve, how Schulz used Peanuts as his diary, and much more.

#410 Marvel Comics: Telling the Untold Story

Avengers 4

If you’re into American comics at all, you undoubtedly know how Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and others changed the industry with their work in the 1960s, and set the template for kinds of stories Marvel still publishes today.

That’s just part of the story that Sean Howe researched for his 2012 book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Through interviews, research of media reports, and of course tons of comics reading, Howe uncovered the backgrounds of many comics stories and rumors that longtime readers may have wondered about. There’s plenty of intra-creator acrimony to be found in its pages, yet Howe found that the book helped some of those involved to move on from decades-old wounds.

This week Tim talks to Sean Howe about the research, the reaction, and what this book has to say to aspiring creators.

#183 The World of Steve Ditko

6/8/09 The World of Steve Ditko

Spidey 33 coverWhile he’s never stopped working, Steve Ditko’s most celebrated work was done decades ago, and he’s slammed the door on many opportunities for further success. If sticking to your principles prevents fame and fortune, is your career a failure or a success? Tim and Paul discuss the Fantagraphics coffee table biography “Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko” by Blake Bell.