Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

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

CAPTAIN AMERICA #140 – My favorite covers: Part 1

If I could own only one piece of original art, this might be it. I can’t even imagine what the price would be. (Perhaps someone can tell me.) John Romita Sr. really knocked it out of the park on this one, in my humble opinion.

Yeah, okay, I admit that part of it is nostalgia. It was released in August of 1971, the end of summer vacation when I was 11 years old. This was no doubt a sweet spot for the fantastic adventures of costume heroes to entrance of young Minnesota farm boy.

Written by Stan Lee and interior pencils also by Romita, this issue had A LOT to like: a cool looking villain that I’d never seen before, Nick Fury on the Helicarrier, Sharon Carter (who never looked better than when drawn by Romita), Cap trying out a secret identity as a policeman, the Falcon’s “radical” girlfriend Leila (who hated cops), the Falcon in his original green-and-gold costume, and a new threat to the world destined to fall into the hands of the Gargoyle, Element X. Thrills and chills in the Mighty Marvel Manner.


And don’t miss my personal story of attending a party in Hawaii with both Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. HERE.

That’s my version of the story.

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Filed under Fanatic General, My Favorite Covers

Thank you Wolverine … or Hugh Jackman is the holy grail of comics


I’m assuming that at this point, with the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie opening just days away, that most comic book fans have already seen the Public Service Announcement that was recorded by MOVIE STAR Hugh Jackman. If you haven’t, I’m including it here and now because there are many longtime comic book professionals that wondered (mostly in the past) if it would ever happen.  


When the news broke many days ago about this video combo promoting the Wolverine movie that included a PSA for Free Comic Book Day, I got on the phone and called one of my favorite retailers, Joe Field. Joe’s store, Flyer Colors is, regrettably, one of those great comic book retail outlets that I’ve never had the good sense or good luck to actually visit. Continue reading


Filed under Behind the Scenes, Fanatic General, Fanatical History, Point-of-view, Product Plugs

Vixen, Quiz Question Answers and Black Widow in the shower


What with the trifecta of nicotine withdrawal, calorie counting and excess exercise, I’ve been ignoring my responsibilities to my fanatic fan base. I’ve not made myself available as the stunning font of knowledge through the regular program we (how many of me are there?) like to call “Ask The Dwo.” Okay … okay … everyone stop laughing.


askthedwoThe reason that this upsets my longtime friend Tom Heintjes is two-fold. First he’s responsible for my DWO nickname (yeah, you pronounce it like it was a word … you say du-woh … it doesn’t rhyme with “two”) so he thinks he retains some control over its use. Second he disapproves of “the Dwo,” it is his opinion that my nickname should be “dwo” without the “the.”

Now that I’ve completely bored everyone who stopped by to read about funny books, let me say this to Mr. Heintjes. Get Over It.

None of this changes the goal of this humble program. Ask me a question. Any question. I’ll attempt to answer it. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like the answer. So put on your thinking caps. And if you’re stumped for ideas, you can always check out the BACKGROUND page for ideas. I’ve got an answering “Ask The DWO” post coming up next week. Continue reading


Filed under 2nd String Characters, Ask The DWO, Behind the Scenes, Gene Colan project, Quiz Questions

MARVEL’s Black Widow, Thundra, Deathlok and more Gene Colan Project


Strap in. I’m back. If you need an explanation, that’s fine. But be careful what you ask for. I’m going to do this is the dreaded ask yourself a question and answer it format that is so annoying when you see someone do it live. It may even be more annoying when you see it in print.

Dave Olbrich (me) San Diego 2009

Dave Olbrich (me) San Diego 2009

Am I glad that I quit smoking? Yes, of course I am.

Was it easy? No, it wasn’t easy. I used comfort food to make up the lack of nicotine, but I did it cold turkey. And I gained about 18 pounds. 

Am I glad that I started Weight Watchers about three weeks ago? Yes, I’ve lost 12 of the 18 pounds that I gained, but it completely wrecked me in ways that I didn’t expect. My mood has been really REALLY crappy. It is now very difficult to work in my office where I enjoyed my cigarettes and chocolate. 

What am I doing to turn things around? Exercise seems to help a little, releasing much needed endorphins. Time used for exercise also leaves less time for this fanatical blog. Continue reading


Filed under 2nd String Characters, Gene Colan project, Point-of-view, Product Plugs

Jack Kirby vs Gene Colan … really?

Really … JACK KIRBY vs GENE COLAN in some kind of legendary “silver agey” comic book artist smackdown … really … well not really. But it is an interesting thought, you have to admit. If you want to get directly to the controversy (or non-controversy if you actually apply any critical thought to it), you’ll just have to scroll down a little bit.

But first, a tiny bit of unnecessary and probably unwanted non-comics stuff…


If you know me in any small way, you can probably guess where I come down politically. This is not a political blog. This is also not a personal blog, a music blog or a journalistic blog. That said, don’t be surprised if I talk briefly about my life, my daughter, Jim Croce, The Kentucky Headhunters, The Dan Band, or my degree in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.billo

I don’t really see this as a left/right, blue/red issue, but an issue regarding journalistic integrity, but you be the judge.

That said, I thought that this was a piece of information worth passing along … doing my small piece of the effort. I don’t have any plans to bore you with this kind of polarizing material very often. So if you want to pitch in and help, click the picture at the right (it is a link) … and if you’ve come for a funny book fix instead … just scroll down and away you go. Continue reading


Filed under 2nd String Characters, Gene Colan project, Point-of-view, Quiz Questions

The Scarlett Johansson/Black Widow School of Casting

Scarlett Johansson as Marvel Comics’ tough-as-nails, world-weary Avenger and former Russian spy The Black Widow in the Iron Man 2 movie? I don’t think so ! ! ! 


The guys at Marvel Studios haven’t made many mistakes in their history as movie makers. A misstep here … an Elektra there, but overall you have to admit that they have done a pretty good job.


S. Johansson: As dangerous as a dishrag!

S. Johansson: As dangerous as a dishrag!

Now the internet is teeming with recent news coming out of Marvel Studios. One story talks about how Marvel has adjusted their original release schedule for their upcoming slate of movies. Good move. One huge round of fanatic APPLAUSE. We’ll get to that important news after we dispatch with the more entertaining and more trivial news of the recent casting announcements for Iron Man 2.

Continue reading


Filed under Fanatic General, Point-of-view