Category Archives: Road Warriors

Professional wrestling was the basis of my secret relationship with Archie Goodwin

I have a not-so-secret appreciation and understanding of professional wrestling. It is probably rooted in my childhood when my Dad and I would watch Verne Gagne’s AWA promotion from our farmhouse in southern Minnesota. Like comics, it has a very active fanbase. Just like my relationship with comics, it is also an interest that I carried well into adulthood.


A Great Pro Wrestler: BOBBY EATON

You may be asking yourself what this has to do with comics legend and all-around good guy Archie Goodwin. For that you’ll have to read more.

When Tom Mason, Scott Rosenberg, Chris Ulm and I were starting Malibu Comics, I was living in a double-wide trailer that was a little off-the-beaten path. That is a nice way to say it had electricity, but wasn’t wired for cable television. In those days, satellite television wasn’t really available. Eventually I saved up enough money to pay a HUGE premium for the local cable company to “drag a line” to my trailer. Getting non-antenna reception on my television was very exciting. I remember the TV program I looked forward to the most was the TBS broadcast of NWA Wrestling (eventually it would become WCW).

I hadn’t been a “mark” since my early teen years. I had long understood that pro wrestling matches involved all the athletes in the ring working together to put on a show … and tell a story. The goal of the story was to inspire fans to buy tickets to the live shows as the wrestling promotion traveled around the country. With this understanding, it changes how you watch the matches. My favorites were always the guys that were both exciting and good at telling the story.


A Great Pro Wrestler: ARN ANDERSON

I liked Ric Flair and the Four Horseman. Great heels that could REALLY sell tickets and tell a great story. I liked Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage. I like Michael P.S. Hayes of the Freebirds. Three of my favorites are shown here. I attended at least three different Wrestlemania shows. There were years in my 20s and 30s when I couldn’t get enough.

One of the things that tends to “put off” casual audiences from enjoying pro wrestling is how carefully (in years past) wrestling organizations protected what went on behind-the-scenes. They worked very hard to make it seem real. This never bothered me. I am aware that Seinfeld is a show. It no more bothers me that wrestling isn’t “real” than it bothers me that Nathan Fillian isn’t a famous crime-writer named Castle or a spaceship captain named Mal Reynolds.

However, there were “secret” newsletters (before the advent of the internet) that you could get in the mail that would write stories about all the behind-the-scenes drama of the real wrestlers and the organizations they worked for. I was a subscriber for years to two very good newsletters, Wrestling Observer and Pro Wrestling Torch.

A Great Pro Wrestler: Michael P.S. Hayes

A Great Pro Wrestler: MICHAEL P.S. HAYES

So when I met Archie Goodwin (probably during the days when Marvel was buying Malibu), I some how let it slip that I was a wrestling fan. I was shocked to learn that Archie Goodwin was also a fan. We talked at length about what we loved about wrestling while everyone around us was talking about comics. During one of these early talks with Archie, I reached into my briefcase and gave him one of my wrestling newsletters. He loved it.

From that day forward, I would save up a recent newsletter or two as soon as I found out Archie and I would be at the same convention. I remember a particular Chicago Convention when Archie was very busy with some fans at a convention table. He saw me walking by and flagged me down. I stopped, reached into my briefcase, retrieved a couple newsletter and slyly handed them to him (so that fans couldn’t see). His eyes lit up like Christmas morning. He thanked me, gave me a wink and went backed to helping the fans. Later in the show, we found each other again and he gave me the keepsake you see below. It is a special treasure and now I’m sharing it here for the first time.


Make special note that “Pro Wrestler Archie Goodwin” wears tights featuring Batman logos. I miss you Archie!

I am not much of a wrestling fan anymore. Not enough time. But the good memories remain.

That’s my version of the story.

— Dave Olbrich (July 17, 2015)

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Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Road Warriors

Where I will be during Comic-Con International: San Diego 2015

San Diego ConThe 2015 edition of Comic-Con International is almost upon us (Wednesday, July 8 through Sunday July 12). I would like to brag about my 30 consecutive years attending this geek gathering, but I know lots of people with much longer runs.

With an anticipated attendance in excess of 130,000 people, it is often difficult to find the people you are looking to see. If you are attending the show, these are the days, times and places you can find me.

THURSDAY 3:00pm – 5:00pm: Space Goat Portfolio Review. Under the “sails” near the Autograph Area.

Space Goat Publishing logoFRIDAY Noon – 1:00pm (Rm 28DE) Space Goat Publishing Panel. Click HERE to get the details. Be sure to click through on the panel description and you can confirm your attendance at the panel.

FRIDAY 3:00pm – 5:00pm: Space Goat Portfolio Review. Under the “sails” near the Autograph Area.

FRIDAY 8:00pm – 10:30pm: Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards. Gala Ceremony at Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

SATURDAY 4:00pm – 5:00pm: Space Goat Portfolio Review. Under the “sails” near the Autograph Area.

I love comic conventions. I like the energy. I feel at home. Seeing old friends, making new friends. Seeing the amazing projects and the talented artists. It is a meeting of the tribe where I belong. Who could really ask for more?

That’s all for today. Hope to see you at the show!

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MARTIN POWELL: Robert Bloch and bloody roses


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


Filed under Fanatical History, Product Plugs, Road Warriors

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


Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Road Warriors

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


Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Product Plugs, Road Warriors

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


Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatical History, Road Warriors