Category Archives: Road Warriors

MARTIN POWELL: Robert Bloch and bloody roses

FANATIC R.S.V.P. from writer MARTIN POWELL

This is a red-letter day at Funny Book Fanatic. One of the goals I’ve had for a while is to get others in the comic business to share their “behind the scenes” stories. I’ve had a lot of nibbles, but the first comic book professional to answer my invitation is the multi-talented Martin Powell.

Scarlet in Gaslight #3 from Eternity

Scarlet in Gaslight #3 from Eternity

I’ve frankly been struggling with this introduction because if you go to Wikipedia (my usual crutch in situations like this) you’ll only find a British musician and a 19th Century baseball player from the Detroit Wolverines.

Martin Powell is very familiar to me (because as you’ll read below), he was one of our g0-to writers at Malibu Comics. He wrote at least eight different comic titles/series for Malibu. Scarlet in Gaslight (a story where Sherlock Holmes met Dracula) was nominated for a 1989 Will Eisner  Comics Industry Award (it lost to the Stan Lee/Mobius Silver Surfer mini-series).  Continue reading

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Artist Brent Anderson, Shanna, $30 and an elevator

I had breakfast with Marv Wolfman this morning (no fanatic fear of name-dropping here) and he mentioned he was working on a project with Astro City artist Brent Anderson and it reminded me that I needed to post the following story.

Alex Ross Cover to Busiek/Anderson ASTRO CITY

Alex Ross Cover to Busiek/Anderson ASTRO CITY

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was a San Diego hotel during Comic Con International sometime in 1989 or 1990. After a long day of pressing the flesh and manning the Malibu booth, I was exhausted, standing in a small crowd, waiting to take an elevator to my room. Then I saw him, comics veteran artist Brent Anderson approaching where I stood. Immediately the “small voice” of guilt started to nag at the back of my brain. I couldn’t avoid him any longer. I was going to have to DEAL with Brent Anderson.

To understand my dilemma, dear fanatic reader, you’re going to need some background. (Sorry, I just channeled Stan Lee’s Soapbox there for a second.) Continue reading

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Milton Griepp, Capital City and nearly naked television

In the comics hey-day (at least for me) of the late 1980s/early 1990s there were a number of companies distributing comics. Distributing meant that these companies put out catalogs, collected orders from retailers and then shipped the new releases to the shops. As the industry grew, more and more focus was put on the “business” of the business. I’ve mentioned here before how these distributors started sponsoring get-togethers, bringing their customers and suppliers together.

Dave Scroggy, Brian Talbot, JOHN DAVIS, Bob Burden, Jeff Smith

Dave Scroggy, Brian Talbot, JOHN DAVIS, Bob Burden, Jeff Smith

One of the best … and always strangest … was the Capital City Trade Show in Madison, Wisconsin. Capital City Distribution was owned and operated by longtime comics professionals Milton Griepp and John Davis. They provided high quality service and had a well-deserved reputation for putting the interests of their customers first.  Continue reading

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Stan Lee was freezing in Hawaii

There is always a disconnect that happens when you meet a famous person, especially one you hold in extremely high esteem. There is that moment when you realize that you’re not in the presence of the image/icon that you had in your head, but in the presence of the actual person. You know the old saying, “They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else.” Such was the case when I found myself in a multi-passenger van headed to a Hawaiian luau with Stan Lee, John Romita, Sr. and his wife Virginia Romita.

Does this look cold to you?

Does this look cold to you?

But first … a little background … 

In the late eighties and early nineties, there were a good number of comic book distributors from which comic book shops could order their products. Big, small and medium size distributors offered both competition and a little bit of choice. Often the choice of distributor a retailer used had more to do with which one had a warehouse closest to your shop.  Continue reading

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It isn’t my fault that Alan Davis retired

Alan Davis seemed like a very nice man when I talked to him in England. He was being polite, that’s the only excuse that I can up with. I had come a long way to talk to him and he didn’t want to just come right out and say it. So he lied to me. It was a reasonably small lie and who knows maybe he even meant it when he said it … or time passed and he changed his mind.

The Talented Mr. Davis

The Talented Mr. Davis

How did I put one of the best pencillers in comics and myself in this position requires a little background.

As publisher of Malibu Comics, I had just returned from Palm Springs (a truly horrible place) and an event to be known as the First Ultraverse Conference. The executives and editors at Malibu, along with the writers who had been tapped to come up with the Ultraverse bible had spent a number of days hold-up in a hotel working out the details of our new universe.

Continue reading

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