Monthly Archives: January 2010

Tuska book almost sold out

If you read our publications, you likely already know about George Tuska, one of the most prolific artists of the Golden and Silver Ages. He died last October at the age of 93, but we were honored to produce the first career-spanning book on George and his life, titled The Art of George Tuska (by Dewey Cassell, with help from Aaron Sultan and Mike Gartland). The book features a Foreword by Stan Lee, and is chockful of great Tuska art, as well as a career-encompassing interview.

I wanted to alert fans that Diamond Comic Distributors has just snatched up almost our entire remaining stock of that book, and we only have about two dozen copies left here at TwoMorrows. So if you missed this book, this is probably your last chance to pick up a copy without paying exorbitant prices on eBay. Here’s the link to order:

And if you’re a Tuska fan, keep your eyes peeled for Jack Kirby Collector #54, which’ll FINALLY be shipping (if I get my can in gear over the next week and complete it) on March 5. It not only features George’s final (albeit brief) interview (conducted by his good friend Mike Gartland), but I’m going to totally mess with our distributors, retailers, and customers, and pull a last-minute switch of cover art—taking the Kirby/Tuska collaboration that I’d planned for the BACK cover of that issue, and moving it to the FRONT cover as a long overdue tribute to Mr. Tuska, and a nod to Mike Gartland, who (as you’ll see in that issue) really busts my chops for not featuring George’s work on a TJKC cover while he was still with us. New cover art is below!

Guest post by JIM AMASH

Alter Ego associate editor Jim Amash added this post to his own blog, and I’m offering it here as well, as I think it conveys some great info:


The January issue of Alter Ego is out now, printing part one of my two part interview with First Kingdom creator Jack Katz.  In this issue, Jack and I spend a lot of time talking about his childhood memories of Alex Toth, Pete Morisi, Alphonso Greene, and their visits with comics’ legend Frank Robbins (writer/artist of the Scorchy Smith and Johnny Hazard newspaper strips). Some of these stories were told to me by Alex Toth during our many long phone calls, and so I found it interesting to hear Jack’s take on those events.  The stories were similar in the telling – the difference being that Jack had quite a bit to say about the young Alex Toth.

Alex had told me a fair amount about his childhood, which was often not a happy one. Jack and I talked about some of it (though not all of it, for print, anyway).  Jack spoke eloquently about his old friend, and how Alex was an intense personality even in his teen years.  Our sadness about Alex and his problems has always been a topic for private discussion between Jack and I, and I confess to having lingering thoughts about how much of it to print.  We loved Alex, and there was no joy in taping this part of the interview. It was very emotional for both of us, especially for Jack, who knew Alex long before I was even born.

Yes, there were a couple things Jack and I discussed that we were not comfortable in printing.  I faced this same problem when Alex died, and Roy and I decided to devote Alter Ego #63 to Alex.  Alex told me much about his life, good and bad, and in seeking a balanced look at the man, I had to seriously weigh not just what to say, but what not to say.  It’s one thing to write biography about someone you don’t know, and another thing when you knew the person, and knew him as well as I did Alex.  I wrote as objective a piece as possible, realizing that someday, I would have more to say on the subject of Alex Toth.  Alex was a complicated man (as I’ve found most people to be), and undoubtedly, Dean Mullaney – who is writing an authorized biography of Alex’s life – faces the same concerns.

The problem is that too many people concentrate on Alex’s foibles, often neglecting his virtues.  I worried about that when I wrote about him, and interviewed those who knew him in AE #63: Jack Mendelsohn, Sy Barry, Joe Kubert, Lew Sayre Schwartz, and Sparky Moore.  Jack Katz and I had the same fears during our interview, and while we privately questioned (off tape) what we were doing, we both realized the importance of Alex’s legacy, good and bad, and the necessity of speaking our minds.  Otherwise, we wouidn’t be giving an honest evaluation of a man who was, at times, a big part of our lives.

Many of my interview subjects face this dilemma when I ask about people they knew.  Sometimes, they clam up, and say very little, and sometimes, they have no fear in saying what they think.  We know that what gets into print becomes part of a historical record, and there is a responsibility that goes with it.  Everyone, from Roy Thomas, John Morrow, the interview subjects, and myself, recognize that, and operate within that framework.  In doing so, we hope that you find the work informative, honest, revealing, and historically important in understanding those who made the comics.  Some of it is cold, hard fact, and some of it is personal opinion.  That’s what oral history is about.  That’s a large part of what Alter Ego is about it.  At times there is a Rashomon effect in oral history, but that’s part and parcel of biography.  People are entitled to their point of view, and we do our best to relate their experiences.

I’m curious to hear what you think when you read what Jack and I say in this issue, and the next, too, when we talk about Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.  Jack Katz’s memories of Kirby are extensive, describing aspects of Jack Kirby that no one else has said in print.  I think you’ll find it worth your time.

A sad note: Rick Vitone 1953-2009

Via John Stangeland at Atlas Comics in Chicago: Rich Vitone, an early and frequent contributor to the Jack Kirby Collector, passed away at age 56.

Despite numerous phone conversations with Rich, and many articles for the Kirby Collector, I only got to meet Rich in person once. It was after a Chicago Comic-Con in the 1990s; we drove over to his comic store and my wife Pam and I spent a delightful afternoon chatting with him. I remember asking, “Rich, why don’t you ever actually go to the Con, since it’s right here in town?” His response was, “I do comics all day, every day; why would I want to spend my free time at a comic convention?” But this curmudgeonly response wasn’t really genuine, since Rich was a devoted Kirby fan, especially of Jack’s Golden Age work—and he spent much of his free time writing some of our most interesting and informative articles on Kirby’s work.

It’s a big loss, for me, and for Kirby fans everywhere.

Two from TwoMorrows

Check it out; latest issues of Alter Ego and Back Issue are both now shipping. Subscribers, you should’ve already gotten your links to the FREE digital edition of each issue a week or so ago, and the copies are in the mail, and on the way (and with the US Postal Service’s track record, they’ll hopefully be there before the next issues ship).

Happy anniversary to Morrows

Tomorrow, Jan. 16, is a pretty important day around Casa de dos Morrows. It’s (not necessarily in order of importance, except for the first one):

Pam and my 23rd wedding anniversary

20th anniversary of the day we started TwoMorrows Advertising (our original business before we added publishing to it in 1994)

Pam’s parents’ wedding anniversary (I believe it’s 64 years; have to check)

Pam’s godmother’s birthday (she’d be, if I recall correctly, 124 tomorrow if she were still with us; alas, she ONLY made it to 103)

As you can see, January 16 is pretty significant to us. I, naturally, have sprung for a babysitter, and I’m heading out for a night on the town! (And to clarify that last statement, yes, Pam is going with me…)

So tomorrow, I hope you’ll all go out and have a little fun in honor of the occasion. Enjoy the day!

Wonder what I did on my Christmas vacation?

Mike Sekowsky rocks, and rocks hard. If you don’t agree, you’re simply wrong, wrong, wrong.

Case in point: over the last two weeks, I dug out my collection of Sekowsky Wonder Woman comics (#178-196, plus two reprint issues in #197-198), and pored over the luscious Sekowsky/Giordano art (and yes, Dick G’s inks were a big part of what made the art so lovely). I haven’t read those issues in a few years, so it was almost like reading them for the first time. And my opinion still holds; these are some of the best comics of the 1970s, or any decade.

I was never a fan of Wonder Woman, and apparently neither were most readers of the day, since they made the commercial decision to make a drastic change in Diana Prince from costumed/super-powered heroine in an invisible robot plane, to powerless/go-go-boots wearing/martial arts master, who hung out with an intriguing Asian mentor named I-Ching. Sekowsky not only drew those issues, he edited and scripted most of them (after a kick-start on the dialogue by Denny O’Neil). There’s not a bad issue in the batch, but a few really shine above the others. They guy could not only draw, he could WRITE!

I’ve long loved Sekowsky’s work, but have known so very little about him. Since I was on a Sekowsky high from all that reading, I queried Mark Evanier (who knew Big Mike and worked with him later in the animation field before his death in the late 1980s), and Mark graciously spent a solid hour on the phone talking about the multi-talented creator, filling me in on the history of perhaps the most under-rated artist in comics history. (Thanks, Mark!)

These Wonder Woman issues were always sort of a joke with my fellow comics fans as a kid, but only those who never actually read them. Shortly after Sekowsky was taken off the book, she reverted back to her super-powered, costumed self, and she got, frankly, boring again. But I see that some wise person up at DC finally decided to reprint all those Sekowsky issues in a series of trade paperbacks a year or so ago. You can find them on and other places, and I heartly recommend you get ’em.

Me, I’ve got the originals, and would never part with them. I’m about to dig out all his issues of Adventure Comics (with Supergirl stories), Metal Men, and Showcase I’ve got socked away in boxes, and re-experience all that fun stuff too. And then, I’m going on a new crusade to track down as much of the Sekowsky material from that era I’m missing as possible. Under some inkers’ brushes, the work lacked the polish that Giordano brought to the work, but the storytelling was always first-rate.

Here’s to “Big Mike” Sekowsky, a true gem of comics Silver Age!

Happy New Year, y’all!

After an absolutely fabulous two solid weeks without touching a computer or generating a single e-mail, the TwoMorrows crew is back to work today, fully recharged and energized! I’ve just finished plotting out our publishing schedule more or less through April 2011, which’ll see a number of exciting new books, as well as increased frequency and the addition of color to our current magazine line.

Thanks for everyone’s patience while we were closed the last couple of weeks, and I hope you’re having a Happy New Year. We’re working diligently to get caught up on answering voice and email messages that came in while we were on vacation, and will be spending this week frantically shipping all the orders that accumulated. And hey, maybe I’ll even concentrate on more frequent postings here this year. (Soon as I get the new Jack Kirby Collector to press, that is…)