Jerry Robinson discovered Steve Ditko. Jerry (Bob Kane's first ghost artist, therefore the second-ever Batman artist, and the creator of The Joker) taught a course on comic art at New York City's School of Visual Arts in the '50s. One of his students was Steve Ditko. Jerry was working at Timely Comics at the time (usually known as Atlas Comics, after the distributor's name which was on each cover), he connected Steve and Stan Lee. Ditko went on to make comics history after Timely became Marvel Comics, creating or co-creating Dr. Strange and Spider-Man.
Hal Jordan's Green Lantern oath was originally used by the Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott. It was written by science fiction author Alfred Bester with some input by editor Sheldon Mayer. Alan Scott used four oaths, two of them only once.
Classic underground artist and writer Robert Crumb also played banjo in a jazz band, the Cheap Suit Serenaders.
In the mid to late 1970s, one of the most common topics of conversation when comics pros got together was the demise of the comics industry and what they would do after the comics industry collapsed.
Mad Magazine was originally a comic book and was created to give Harvey Kurtzmann another comic book to edit in order to increase his income. Since Harvey was a humorist, a humor book was created. Few people, if anyone, expected it to be a big hit.
During Stan Lee's first 20 years in comics, he had talked about getting out of comics. Finally, in 1962, his wife told him that he'd been in the comics field 20 years and would probably be there the rest of his life and to stop complaining about it and do the type of comics he really wanted to do. He knew that DC was doing well with its team book (Justice League of America) and created the Fantastic Four. So in a way, we owe the Marvel Age of comics to Stan's wife.
The first Marvel/DC team-up is generally thought to be the Superman/Spider-man comic from 1975, but there was actually an unofficial team-up in 1973. Thor 207 & JLA 103 crossed over with each other. Both comics featured Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway and Len and Glynis Wein traveling from New York City to Rutland, Vermont in Steve's car. They wore identical clothing in both issues. Englehart's car was the same model and color and had a bad muffler in both comics. In Thor, the car was stolen. You didn't find out who stole it unless you read Justice League.
The first comic book super-heroine was the original Red Tornado. She pre-dated Wonder Woman by about a year. Her secret identity was Matilda Hunkle. She was created by Sheldon Mayer, who also assisted in the creation of Wonder Woman.
The creator of Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marsden, was a psychologist and a major critic of the comic book industry before he created the famous Amazon. He invented the lie detector.
Marvel writer Steve Gerber actually had no plans for the homicidal Elf character when he wrote him into The Defenders. The Elf was hit by a bus and killed because the writer who took over the series didn't know what to do with him, either.
DC's classic science fiction series Atomic Knights (written by John Broome) was created simply because Murphy Anderson didn't have enough pencilling work.
Although Jerry Robinson is best known as the creator of The Joker and Bob Kane's first ghost artist, he worked longer for Stan Lee than he did for DC. Two of the reasons he gives for leaving Batman is that he was tired of drawing the same character over and over and wanted variety. And he also wanted to write (he majored in journalism and looked upon drawing comics as a way to earn money to put himself through college). Drawing comics was meant to be a temporary job.
Joe Orlando, DC's former vice-president, got his first job at DC via E. Nelson Bridwell, whom he knew because they both worked for Mad magazine.
Mike Hammer creator Mickey Spillane used to work for Timely Comics. Timely is now known as Marvel Comics.
Science fiction authors Alfred Bester, Henry Kuttner, C.L. Moore and Manly Wade Wellman all wrote Green Lantern stories in the '40s. Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett were Batman writers. Leigh did one story when her husband Edmond was sick and couldn't make his deadline.
Silver Age DC artist Kurt Schaffenberger (the definitive artist on Lois Lane for a long time) called himself Lou Wahl when he worked for ACG (American Comics Group) in the 1960s. Lou Wahl is his grandfather's name.
Kurt Busiek, the acclaimed writer of Astro City and the Marvels mini-series, pronounces his last name to rhyme with "you sick" (those are his words, not mine).
The Golden Age Green Lantern's secret identity was originally going to be Alan Ladd, a take-off on Aladdin and the magic lamp, but the editor, Sheldon Mayer, thought it was "a little much" and it was changed to Alan Scott. A couple years later, an actor named Alan Ladd hit it big in Hollywood and Shelly regretted the lost publicity. DC eventually published an Alan Ladd comic book.
Steve Englehart started his career in comics as an artist
The "Crusty Bunkers" was an inking credit that popped up in various Marvel and DC comics in the '70s. They were various people (different on each job) who worked at Continuity Associates, the studio Neal Adams and Dick Giordano ran, and usually included some of their work. Neal still runs Continuity today; most of Continuity's work is for advertising and public relations.
Jim Shooter, former editor-in-chief of Marvel, Valiant Comics, Defiant and Broadway Comics, was only 13 when he became a professional comic book writer.
Steve Gerber was voted "Funniest Boy of 1965."
Years ago, when Dick Debartolo received a thick envelope from Mad, he didn't open it at first because he figured it was his unsolicited manuscript. But inside was a big folded piece of cardboard with his check stapled to it and a message "Ha, Ha! Bet you thought you got rejected. Please call us about future work." Dick is still working for Mad magazine.
Joe Rubenstein went to New York City's High School of Art and Design. One of the teachers there at the time was EC artist Bernie Krigstein, who taught water color and illustration.
Steve Skeates' story for Sub-mariner #72 (the last issue of that run) was originally written for Aquaman and is a continuation of Aquaman #56 (the last issue of THAT run). The "gloved hand" early in the story is supposed to be Aquaman, although it's colored wrong.
Terry Moore was the songwriter in a hard rock band before he published Strangers in Paradise.
Steve Bissette's self-published comic book, Taboo, was originally going to be published by Dave Sim.
The Hildebrandt Brothers did documentary films before they did paintings and illustration.
Howard the Duck was "killed" off in the Man-Thing comic before getting his own title. Reader reaction included sending a carcass of a duck that had been eaten to Marvel Comics with a note that read "murderer."
Bill Everett was the artist originally slated for Tomb of Dracula. Gene Colan "auditioned" for the series.
Vidorix the Druid creator/writer Alexei Kondratiev spoke over 60 languages. Depending on your definition of fluency, he was fluent in 13-20 of them.
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