Saturday, September 12, 2015

an excerpt from TWO FISTED CARTOONISTS

excerpt from...... two fisted cartoonists by Julius Shwortz



danny sulivan led a short but charmed life, with a flame that seemed to burn a bit hotter than most. danny spent his formative years growing up in various circus' and sideshows with his family the sensational sulivans. traveling the countryside of the early and mid sixties north america. in the off season he worked with gus shineola the famous sideshow banner painter in gainesville flordia. and also spent some time with the great ozmo, the tattoo artist in gibbstown who would sometimes go out on tour with the circus.

when his circus troupe passed thou new york in 1968 a then 8 year old danny was treated to a tour of the skidmore offices. the skidmore's were dannys favorite comics and he was sure to bring along samples of his art. particularly  impressive were mock up pages of a mystic knights story that danny had done a few months before.

john zarina made sure he went out for lunch on the first and third tuesdays of the month. they were the days that skidmore held afternoon tours of the office for fans and the general public. it was bad enough that he had to give all new employees the 'what skidmore is all about' speach, that mel skidmore used to take such pleasure in. he really had no love for it. found it 'a godamned pain in the ass' as he put it in a 1975 interview. he knew he'd be suckered into giving the tours if he hung around there on those days, so he always managed to find some excuse in the mid morning to get out of there. twice a month zarina would stay way too long at the art stores and magazine stands of Manhattan. grab lunch and manage to avoid the whole ugly process. it was a system that worked for years.

some of the fans were just out of hand! demanding sketches of spidora, asking inane questions about continuity that he had never for a moment considered and then having to look at all thoes god awful portfolio's! it was a real shame all those trees had to die for most of these artistic efforts. razina hadnt seen a decent one in five years. then again he wasn't really looking either, but somehow they were always forced apon him. when skidmore hired a new artists razina always felt like he was geting the honor of training his replacement. it was the nature of the business all to often.

then a day in 1968 fate intervened. razina somehow forgot his wallet in the skidmore office. besides worrying if one of those god damned hippies who now invaded skidmore's office, wouldn't steal it. it also meant that he had to go back to the office for it. he knew what would be waiting there and didn't even have enough cash in his pocket for a hot dog vendor.

at about 2:30 razina only had about five more portfolio's to get thru before he could finaly get a sandwich in his growling stomach. when he came upon danny sulivan's mystery school story, he couldn't believe his eyes! here was a style that was able to combine the best parts of steven dio and jake kilineberg into one! there was a little bit of horace woodly in there too but you had to look for it. at last here was an artist that razina considered up to the quality that he himself considered the standard of skidmore comics. it was sharp, clean and professional! it featured a crazy new lay out style that was inspiring, yet had the same kind of feel or 'hand' of the old comic masters.  he wandered out to the lobby and looked around to find out what hippie or old weirdo was still hanging around there, and all he saw were a bunch of kids who refused to leave. at least they were relitivly quiet, reading their new copies of complementary skidmore comics. some of the young mod mom's were kind cute this time around. one looked particularly good in a short white mini-dress and matching white go-go boots. maybe he could coax her into posing for a mary jo watkins panel in the new spidora story he was falling behind on. it was a tactic that hardly ever worked but it was always worth trying. because who knew? stranger things had happened around the skidmore office almost daily. he didn't want to miss out. maybe this danny sulivan was a chick. so with that in mind..........

he called out, 'sullivan?'......"danny sulivan?'


a young kid threw down the new copy of misery in space, blew out a cloud of smoke and crushed out a lucky strike that razina hadn't noticed the kid was smoking. and danny said 'yo.... right here chief!'

razina thought somebody was putting him on. he looked around for melmon or bolingweather or some other smart ass  that was trying to play some kind of practical joke on him. they would always walk by when he was bogged down in the office, with portfolio's. give a little laugh and pat the mountain of atrocious art and say "happy reading" to him on the times he was caught in this nightmare.

this time was different though. he had found something.
'what's up pappy?' the kid said to razina.
' did'ja get to check out the mystery school pages yet'
razina was incredulous. then he was dumbfounded, stymied, strictly bamboozled! all in a matter of seconds.
'your danny sulivan?'
'at's what they call me. chief.......who the hell are you?'
'i--i'm john razina. you drew those mystery school pages?'
'yeah, a few months ago when it was slow in the sign painting shop. i coulda gone back into tattooing with the great ozmo, but i've had it up to my eyeballs with that shit. i'm done with it!'
danny then signaled to his mother, who opened up her purse, pulled out a fresh pack of lucky's and gave them to danny.
he packed them with all the enthusiasm of an eight year old kid!
'you his mother?' asked razina, still incredulous and now only half stymied.
'and you let him smoke?'
'oh. that.......' she said and gave out a little laugh. 'you see mr.....?'
'razina..... john razina'
'well mr. john razina, you see we are circus people. our world is considerably different than the square world..... sometimes we tend to forget when we're out among the rubes.....i'm sorry....... danny put that out. your upsetting mr. razina!she said in a thick european accent,......'you have no idea, mr. razina, no idea!' she smiled a smile that made razina feel like an idiot.

razina knew that this was the truth! he had no idea.

'the circus you say?'
'oh yeeees! hi, kathy sulivan, of the sensational sulivans. if fact we're preforming tomorrow night at the garden.'
she was a looker all right. dressed up in a sequined cowgirl out fit that did indeed look like she steped straight out of the circus, but styles were constantly changing then. so seeing a woman dressed in a sequined cowgirl outfit was not something that would seem very odd. well not to odd anyway. not for skidmore comics.

'so, whacha think of the pages there pappy?...... do i get the gig?' said danny.
 john razita looked around for melmon or bolingweather again. all he saw was mike sikorski getting his claws into the hottie with the white mini dress on. he couldn't believe it...... she was falling for it and started posing right there in the lobby! the albino bastard!


'you drew these?' razita said to danny.
'sure....i all ready tole ya' that ....... jake klineberg around here at all ..... ya think maybe i could talk to him instead?'

'no....no klineberg's a freelance'

just then hansel zoff and barlington windheim  smyth, the two forigners, came thru the front doors to deliver their monthly assignments. suddenly the smell of strong freshly smoked marajuana was almost overpowering. kathy sullivan sniffed and smiled broadly.

'come over here a minute barlington.' razina called out.
smythe and zoff made their way over.

he laid the pages out on a table and smythe and zoff's jaws droped to the floor!

'young danny here drew these'...... razina said.
'nooooo waaaayyyy!.....' barlington windhiem smythe said with his extremely impressive english accent, zoff's mind was just blown, and he stood there just muttering something in german, that only smythe seemed to understand.

'danka shane' danny said to the german artist.
 

chapter 2


they would have to check out the child labor laws but john razina and manely s! melmon were sure that they had struck gold once again!

it was amazing, he felt like he was talking to a three foot tall jake klineberg. a circus kid......jeezus, what next?
     

razina had two tickets to the next nights circus performance that he had gotten from danny's mother for a signed spidora sketch that danny said he would ink and 'fix up' when he got home.

son-of-a-bitchen kid probably would razina thought to himself and laughed, as he closed up his briefcase and headed downstairs to the bar on the street level of the empire state building. drinking on an empty stomach had sometimes been a problem for razina, but after today he needed a few! he just hoped that mike sikorski wasn't in there. of course he was, with the white mini-dress sitting on his lap as he swilled his drink and sang along to some hokey pop song from the forties that was blaring out of the jukebox. it was even square for razina. but what the hell, he wanted to get a swerve on quick and ordered a double vodka martini.

a few seats down from him was mervin glookman from nationalistic comics but he pretended not to notice him as he gulped down the chilled vodka and started feeling human again. he couldn't believe that kid or his art! it still worked on his mind as he tried desperately to work it out of his mind with the martini. the kid had what it took, there was no denying that, and that mother of his...... jeezus! it took all kinds, he supposed as he ordered another round. thinking of that gold la-may' ass on katie sullivan. good god!

sikorski was pawing all over the chic in the white mini-dress and her kid was on a bar stool playing an illegal slot machine, as smythe and zoff walked out of the mens room rubbing their noses and laughing hysterically as they approached john zarita.

" 'ow's about that kid johnny boy...... think he'll take over the spidora dynasty?' smythe smugly asked. razita was in no mood for it.  he only had about 25 miniutes before the next train. so he could get home to his kids who would pester him all night with more questions about comics. why didn't i keep that job where i designed cardboard boxes all day long. he thought.
'piss off limey...... the beatles suck!' razita said as smythe and zoff continued to laugh even harder. they knew they had gotten his goat!

there were some free happy hour sandwich or hot dog things over in the corner by mervin glookman. at first john resisted them just to avoid talking to glookman, but by now old mervin was already plastered and talking into his drink.  he looked like he was about to snooze. so john flipped off smythe and zoff and headed over there.

he was still trying to figure out just what the hell he was eating when he heard sally tane's loud mouth over at the end of the bar. she was off on another wild rant about the current state of comics and other crap that razita just didn't need to hear. he picked up his briefcase full of spidora pages that he never got to that day, and resigned himself to heading out the door and catching his train.

chapter 3

melmon was in early today, razita thought. he generally wouldn't get in until well after noon. it must be that kid bugging him, as much as he was bugging me razita thought.
'ready for the big top johney?' melmon quiped when he finaly came out of his office. 'sure... manely, sure.' john said, but he wasn't. his wife was highly suspicious of a trip to the circus for the job......and he didn't dare mention it to the kids! he would never hear the end of it if they found out.
mel skidmore was thru yelling over the phone at someone when he called melmon and razina into his office.
'have a seat boys.' mel said as he slid open a file cabnet and grabed a bottle and three glasses.
'so's ya think ya found a ringer..... eh johnny?' said mel.
it was only a little past noon but mel poured them tall. what the hell, john thought. you don't turn down a drink when the old man is pouring them and he could always order liquid lunch.
'yea, s'posed to meet him at the circus tonight if ya'can believe it!'
'kids some kinda escape artist or something.' melmon chimed in.
'and it's just a little kid?' mel asked.
'yea, damnedest thing huh?' said melmon in between gulps.
'well, that turns out just fine, as it looks now. i'm about to let sikorski go. he didn't show up again ta'day. most likely got his dick stuck in some trap and his hands wrapped around a bottle.' mel lamented.  'let glookman deal with him for a while.'

john razina thought back to happy hour yesterday. he knew exactly where sikorski was. probably hungover and drawing pin up pages for that chick's kid by now as he waited for his breakfast. mel skidmore bullshitted and complained about the distributors for awhile. even ended up pouring another round before telling john and melmon to try and pick him up one of those light up tiger heads from the circus. mel said he just loved thoes things as he laughed and shooed them out of his office. mel skidmore was an o.k. guy to work for most of the time, sure as hell beat working for mervin glookman.


chapter 4


melmon couldn't wait to get out of that bar in the empire state building. it was not his scene. strictly no-wheres-ville! nothing but forties and fifties warblers oozing out of the jukebox and full of all the old comicbook drunks that he didn't want to see. he lit up a joint as they cleared the doors of the empire state and offered john razina a  hit, john declined. he had never smoked dope.

when they hit madison square a few blocks away they headed imeditly for the beer stand. melmon ordered two. at which john thought he was buying a round, but melmon payed for and grabbed the beers then wandered off double fisted. leaving razina to sheepish order his own. they were looking at the concessions stands for one of those light up tiger heads for mel and checking out their tickets as they spotted sikorski with a kid on his shoulders. right next to him was the white mini-dress. the poor doomed fucker they both thought. as they headed down an entrance tunnel.

the show was pretty good. neither of them had been to a circus in a dogs age. about half way thru the show the spectacular sullivans came on. at first there was a knife throwing exibition, where presumably his father expertly thru knives all around the body of young danny! next up was danny solo escaping from some ungodly looking death trap that seemed like it was strong and powerfull enough to take out the first ten rows of the audience as well. after a hearty round of applause a girl dressed only in a wreath of laurels, announced the next part of the act as the whole family raced around a steel cage on dirtbikes. not bad at all! they were heading towards the tunnel as the ringmaser was announcing the next act 'the aristocrats' but decided to miss them in order to catch and figgure out what to do with danny sullivan.
 
chapter 5

john zarita didn't remember much. but he did remember, that was an awful lot of tequila that he drank after the circus, he also wondered about the tattoo that he found on his ass in the shower that morning. it stung like hell and he didn't even want to sit down on the train. he was almost sure that they had worked out some sort deal with the kids parents, or guardians or whatever the hell they were, that part got blurry. he did remember melmon getting along quite shamelessly with that kathy or katie or whatever her name was sullivan. the fuckin' irish he thought. they'll screw anything with a pulse! and for the most part it was true.

sally tane was the last thing he needed when he walked thru the doors at skidmore, but there she was waiting for him right next to his desk. she was clicking her heels and puffing unmercifully on a virginia slim. he almost turned around and walked back out. then melmon saw him. what the hell was he doing in here at 9am! zarita thought. he didn't have to wait long for an answer.


melmon led zarita straight into the editorial office, leaving sally tane rolling her eyes and cursing the  both of them.
'jeezus john i didn't know you could drink like that....... you feel as horrible as i do?' melmon asked.
'worse' zarita said. 'know anything about any tattoos last night?'
'tattoos? no why?' melmon asked, questioningly.
'nothin' never mind,' zarita said as he  very gently scratched his ass.
'did we get the kid?' john razita asked as he looked around for a trash can that he felt he might have to puke in.
'that son of a bitchin kid drank more than you did last night....... but yea we got him!' melmon said as he shuffled some papers on his desk began rolling a fat joint. 'soon as his circus thing is over he starts drawing spidora! i'm giving you a break john.'
what the shit? john thought, he had grown comfortable on the spidora book and it was kind of a shock to realize he was loosing it. monetarily it didn't matter much. he was on staff and drew the same paycheck no matter what he what he was doing, but still......spidora. shit! and to some smart assed kid that was calling him pappy? shit.
'and don't worry about sally tane' melmon said as he licked and rolled the joint, "send her in here and i'll take care of her."

when he walked out of melmons office the kid was there smoking one of jake klineberg's roi tan cigars with him and yucking it up with the senior cartoonist like they were old war buddies or something. razita couldn't believe it!
son of a bitch john thought as he headed towards the mens room to check out the tattoo that was burning on his ass, he locked the door and pulled down his double knit bellbotoms to get a look in the mirror. son of a bitch john mumbled to himself, it was a tattoo of one of those light up tiger heads that you get from the circus, that mel wanted! how the hell did that get there?

end of excerpt    (for now)


some of Danny Sulivans best work was for the short lived Red recluse series in the mid 1970's here are but a few of the famous Sulivan covers!










Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Saga of SALLY TANE

SALLY TANE BROKE INTO COMICS IN 1968, AS CONSUMMATE ILLUSTRATOR AND INKING EXPERT! SHE WAS FIRST PIGONED HOLED INTO SUE ANN RENOLDS TEEN ROMANCE BOOKS. BUT HER HEART WAS INTO ADVENTURE! THE BURNING DESIRE TO SCREW HER WAY TO THE TOP PROVED EVEN BETTER THAN NEPOTISM IN THE COMICS INDUSTRY! AS SALLY SOON LEARNED.
SALLY WAS A FREE SPIRIT PERFECTLY MATCHED TO MELMON AND HIS CABAL OF ARTIST AND WRITERS.

BEING THE ONLY WOMAN ON THE CREW MEANT LITTLE TO NOTHING FOR SALLY, A SELF STYLED ANARCHO-CHIC TYPE OF WOMAN, WAY BEFORE IT WAS Fashionable. SALLY FORGED HER OWN PATH IN THE WORLD OF COMICS LIKE NO OTHER MAN OR WOMAN BEFORE HER. except maybe for HORACE WOODLY who she tended to copy alot.

SALLY LIVED HER LIFE, AND EVENTUALLY DIED FOR ART. HER WORK ON THE ASTOUNDING SUB-HUMAN WAS NOTHING LESS THAN Astounding! FOR ONCE THE COVER BLURB LIVED UP TO IT'S HYPE! SHE APPRENTICED UNDER HORACE WOODLY FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS, UNTIL HORACE SAID 'I CAN'T TEACH  YOU ANY MORE...... YOUR TEACHING ME NOW!'

AFTER THAT IT WAS A BLUR OF  PAGES BEFORE SALLY, FROM ADVENTURE INTO WEIRDNESS TO THE MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF THE MYSTERY SCHOOL, WHERE SHE CO-CREATED THE SUPERGROUP "THE BURNERS" WITH BILL Bollingweather.

HER RUN ON bill TSO'S "MEET THE STRANGERS" WAS EXCELLENT, MELMON AND CREW WERE WATCHING..... ACTUALLY A LITTLE MORE THAN WATCHING.

SALLY TANE WAS A BRIGHT BRIGHT STAR IN THE BRONZE AGE COMIC SEEN, BUT THE COMPANY THAT SHE KEPT WAS SOMEWHAT QUESTIONABLE
.

BEING A FREELANCED ARTIST HAS IT'S PERKS, THE ARTISTS WOULD LEAVE YOU TO BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE SLAVISHLY CHAINED TO THE DRAWING BOARD, BUT IN REALITY MANY RELY ON CRUISING ON THEIR TALENT WHEN INSPIRATION FAILS TO SHOW UP OR REAL LIFE ANNOYINGLY INTERVIENS.
 SUCH WAS THE CASE IN 1979 WHEN SALLY AND HER POLITICAL BELIEFS MET UP WITH TEN STATE TROOPERS OUTSIDE THE 1ST NATIONAL BANK ON ST.PAUL STREET IN DOWNTON BALTIMORE.


IT WAS AN OPEN SECRET THAT TANE WAS COVERING FOR HORACE WOODLY FOR QUITE SOME TIME BEFORE HER FIRST SKIDMORE ASIGNMENT. WOODLY'S HEALTH WAS FAILING AND TANE JUST COULD NOT STAND THE THOUGHT OF LOSING  HER MENTOR. HER POLITICAL CONTACTS From THE SOCIALIST LIBERATION FRONT WERE  RIGHT BEHIND HER. IF A TALENT LIKE HORACE WOODLY COULD GO  UNAPPRECIATED AND UNDER-INSURED IN THIS WORLD. THEN SALLY TANE COULD REASONABLY AND WITHOUT ANY GUILT, KNOCK OFF ONE OF SKIDMORE'S DISTRIBUTORS EASILY AND EVEN THE SCORE.


BY 1975 THE DIMES HAD TURNED INTO QUARTERS FOR THE POOR DOWNTRODDEN COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS AND LOOP HOLES IN THE CAPITAL GAINS TAX MEANT THAT OWNERS WERE SWIMMING IN THE DOUGH THAT THE YOUTH OF AMERICA WERE WANTONLY SPENDING. SALLY'S FIRST ACT OF REBELLION  WAS SABOTAGE! SALLY WAS NEVER WHAT YOU WOULD TERM 'A COMPANY GIRL' SHE  WOULD STIR UP THE SHIT WHEREVER SHE COULD FIND IT, IN INTERVIEW'S FROM THE TIME. SALLY WOULD NOTORIOUSLY  DERIDE THE CONCEPT OF ADOLESCENT  POWER FANTSAY . ALL THE WHILE EXTOLLING  THE BRAVE AND BOLD CONCEPTS OF THE NEW SCIENCE BASED BOOKS SHE WAS WORKING ON! SHE WAS A PROUD AND VOCAL MEMBER OF THE CREATORS CODE WHO PLEDGED  AN OATH OF SERVITUDE TO COMICS IN A 1974 MANIFESTO ENTITLED, 'WHO ME WORRY?'. PUBLISHED INDEPENDENTLY  WITH HORACE WOODLY IN HIS PRO-ZINE 'WIT'S END'.

 



ALL THIS WORK WAS WAS noticed and welcomed with with open arms as sally brought their coffee into the SKIDMORE SCIENCE HERO COMMUNITY, SALLY TANE WOULD BECOME A PIVITOL  PART OF THE COMICS INDUSTRY AS MORE AND MORE YOUNG MALE ARTISTS WERE DRAFTED INTO THE VIET NAM CONFLICT. IN RETROSPECT  IT WAS A PATHETIC AND A HORRIBLE WASTE OF AMERICAN TALENT SENDING ARTIST, WRITERS. ROCK AN ROLLERS AND DOPERS ALIKE INTO A IDEOLOGICAL STALEMATE THAT ONLY ROBBED WORLD CULTURE OF THE THINGS THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN. AS MELMON ONCE QUOTED- 'SALLY KNEW THE HELL WE WERE ACTUALLY  LIVING IN ..... MAYBE  NOT CONSCIOUSLY.  BUT SHE KNEW! INTELLECTUALLOR META PHYSICALLY  SHE KNEW..... SHE HAD THE GIFT OF SEEING THE BLACK IRON PRISON THAT DEFINED OUR EXITANCE AND WAS ABLE TO EXPRESS HER DISCONTENT AS ELIQUINTLY  AS ART ALLOWS, SHE WAS A NATURAL FOR THE ADVENTURES OF ADAM O'BLIVION!'

ADAM O'BLIVION ROCKED THE  CORE OF SALLY TANE'S VULVA. ORIGINALY BROUGHT ON BOARD AS INKER FOR YOUNG ARTIST DANNY SULIVAN BUT EVENTUALLY  SIGNED ON AS ADAM O'BLIVIONS  PRIMERE ARTIST. TANE AND MELMON PRODUCED A TANTALIZING  TALE OF THE SKIDMORE UNIVERSE AND JUST HOW YOU THE READER FIT INTO IT!  THE SERIES WAS META-PHSICS 101 THAT QUICKLY ADVANCED INTO THE CURRENT STATE OF MANKIND. WHILE MOST AMERICANS WERE STRANDED IN GAS LINES AND OLD FOLKS WERE EATING DOG FOOD IN 1972.
MELMON AND TANE WERE CREATING A WORLD WHERE THE NEO-ROBBER BARONS OF 20TH CENTURY AMERICA WERE HELD HOSTAGE TO THE dark lords of the ANTI-UTOPIAN CONSPIRICY THAT WAS ENSLAVING A WORLD. 'ARE YOU READY FOR THE WORLD TO BE'...... WAS THE CONSTANT TAG LINE FOR ADAM O'BLIVIAN. MOST SKIDMORE READERS WERE WELL AWARE THAT THIS WORLD TO COME WAS IN FACT THE WORLD THAT WAS OUR FALSE REALITY! IT DIDN'T TAKE A GENUIS TO FIGGURE IT OUT, JUST A FEW DOSES OF LSD. WE HAD BEEN BOUGHT AND SOLD BY THE VARIOUS DIVISIONS OF THE CORPORATE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL MEGA-COMPLEX. A SAD EXISTENTIAL  FUNK FLOWED THRU THE BOOKS AND THE COUNTRY ITSELF AS ONE BY ONE THE TRUE ENEMY'S OF MAN WERE EXPOSED NIGHTLY ON THE LOCAL TV NEWS.  ADAM O'BLIVION SUCKED IT ALL IN. AND GAVE IT BACK OUT IN SPADES!

IN ISSUE #25 OF ADVETURES INTO OBLIVION  TANE MANAGED TO EXTRAPOLATE FROM MELMONS SCRIPT A SCATHING CAULDRON OF CORUPTION AND DECAY  THAT WOULD HAVE MADE THE OLD WRITERS AND ARTISTS OF 'G'WON CALL THE COPS' CORPORATE CRIMES DIVISION PROUD! TROUBLE WAS NOBODY COULD DO A DAMN THING ABOUT IT! THE ULTRA-RICH AND PRIVILEGED  CLASS HAD SUCESSFULLY HI-JACKED THE AMERICAN DREAM, AND SOLD IT BACK TO US AS A CHEAP IMMITATON OF FREEDOM AND CHIOCE. LUCKILY MEL SKIDMORE WAS ON HIS DEATH BED, SO MANY OF MELMON AND TANE'S DIATRIBES WENT UNOTICED.....FOR AWHILE!

READERS WERE LISTENING AND WATCHING and looking out for cops AS THE SAGA UNFOLDED, BUT THEY WERE NOT AMUSED! THE SERIES HAD CUT TOO CLOSE TO THE BONE AT THIS POINT IN TIME. RIGHT THERE IN THE AGE OF IRREVELANCY IN COMICS MELMON AND TANE HAD CREATED AN OPIS THAT WENT CONTRARY TO THE ACCEPTED IDIOMS IN COMICS OF THE DAY! IT WAS REVOLUTIONARY BUT IT TOOK A FEW YEARS OF HINDSIGHT TO FIGURE  THAT OUT!

IN LATE 1975 'SIR' NICK DIXON ABDICATED THE THRONE OF AMERICA AND OPENED UP A CAN OF WORMS THAT ARE STILL SQUIRMING AROUND TO THIS DAY. MORE IMPORTANTLY HORACE WOODLY HEALTH WAS GETTING WORSE. THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT SALLY TANE COULD NOT STAND FOR! IF SHE COULDN'T SAVE THE WORLD WITH HER ART, SHE SURE
AS HELL COULD SAVE HER BELOVED MENTOR HORARACE WOODLY!


WOODLEY HAD BEEN INKING STEVEN DIO OVER AT AXIS COMICS ON 'THE DETERORATOR'
SERIES. A SHORT LIVED LINE OF BOOKS PUBLISHED BY MARvIN GLOOKMAN IN HIS DEATH THROWS, AS AN ULTIMATE REVENGE PLOT AGAINST NATIONALISTIC/TIMELY COMICS! WOODLY HAD ALSO PRODUCED A LINE OF HILAROUS PORNOGRAPHIC COMIX THAT PUT THE UNDERGROUND CARTOONIST TO SHAME IN MAL GOLFINK'S 'SCREWED' MAGAZINE. IT WAS REAL BOTTOM OF THE BARREL  STUFF ACCORDING TO MOST COMIC FANS, BUT FOR ADMIRERS OF WOODLY IT WAS PURE GOLD! BESIDES BEING SOMEWHAT OF A GUN NUT, WOODLY WAS ALSO A CONFIRMED LIBERTINE IN THE  AREAS OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION THAT WAS BREWING IN THE MID 70'S.   TOPLESS, BRA-LESS AND GUILELESS WAS HOW WOODLY LOVED HIS WOMEN, NO SMALL WONDER WHY WOODLY AND TANE GOT ALONG SO FAMOUSLY! LEGEND  HAS IT THAT WOODLY WOULD GET THE BEST WORK OUT OF TANE IN THE SUMMERTIME WHEN IT WAS HOT AS ALL HELL IN WOODLEY'S CRAMPED STUDIO AND THEY WERE BOTH FORCED TO WORK IN THEIR Skidmore Comics Underwear  ON THOSE HOT 1960'S NIGHTS! A FACT THAT TANE HERSELF ONCE ALLUDED TO IN AN EARLY INTERVIEW!


AS WOODLY'S  HEALTH WORSENED. TANE NOW INSESSED  AT HOW SKIDMORE WAS TREATING ONE OF IT'S TOP TALENTS, UNDERTOOK A SERIES OF ARMED ROBBERIES WITH THE HELP OF HER PALS AN FELLOW COMICS FANS IN THE SOCIALST LIBERATION FRONT!  SHE SUCCESSFULLY  PULLED OFF A SERIES OF ARMED ROBBERIES  IN THE GREATER N.Y.-N.J. AREA BEFORE ELECTING TO HIT SKIDMORE WHERE IT HURT. middle America!


INSTINCTIVELY  SEEING THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEMS IN THE COMICS INDUSTRY, TANE WENT HUMORLESSLY....FOR THE JUGLER VEIN! THE CORUPT DISTRIBUTORS AND MIDDLE MEN THAT PLAGUED THE COMICS INDUSTRY SINCE IT'S INCEPTION. ALL TOO OFTEN MEN WITH NAMES LIKE SOL OR MERL OR BUBBA HAD BEEN THE DISTRIBUTING  ARM OF SKIDMORE, UNDERCUTTING  THEIR SALES AND RE-SELLING WORTHLESS, COVERLESS  COMICS TO AN UNSUSPECTING PUBLIC. IT WAS BLATENT AND OBVIOUS BY THE late 70'S THAT THESE REJECTS FROM A JAKE KlINEBERG COMIC WERE THE RATS WHO WERE LIVING FAT OFF THE BACK OF SKIDMORE COMICS!
SHE WAS ON A ROLL WHEN SHE TOOK OUT VINNIE CORNBLAT IN PHILADELPHIA AN ROBED HIM OF A MONTHS WORTH OF PROFITS FROM SKIDMORE. IT WA S A HOP SKIP AND A JUMP OVER TO ELIZIBETH NEW JERSEY TO LIBERATE 10 GRAND OFF OF Sy GLOOKMAN, ALL WAS GOING WELL AS SALLY TANE HIT HAL snUChMORE IN DOVER DELAWARE, ALL PROFITS GOING TO THE MEDICAL CARE OF WOODLY. THEN SALLY MET HER WATERLOO IN BALTIMORE.

ON THE TAIL END OF A 5 DAY CRIME SPREE, SALLY RETURNED TO HER HOMETOWN OF BALTIMORE MD. SHE STAKED OUT AND STRUCK LONGTIME DISTRIBUTOR ABE SHERvAN AT HIS MONEY LAUNDERING HONEY HOLE, THE 1ST NATIONAL BANK. SHOWNG ABSOLUTLY NO MERCY TO THE CAPITOLIST CRIMINALS IN THEIR SEAR SUCKER SUITS AND THE SOULLESS LACKIES THEY EMPLOYED, SALLY WENT BALISTIC! ONCE CONFRONTED WITH ABE SHERvAN AND THE ILL GOTTEN PROFITS FROM HIS "NEWS-STAND"OPERTION, A KNOWN FRONT FOR NARCOTICS AND AN ARRAY OF OTHER VICES THAT SALLY HAD KNOWN SINCE CHILDHOOD.......  SALLY TANE'S MIND SNAPPED!

THE BALTIMORE SUN REPORTED IN THEIR AUGUST 30TH EDITION FOR 1979 THAT A LONE GUNWOMAN BENT ON REVENGE FOR PERCIVED INJUSTICE'S ACCURED IN THE COMICS INDUSTRY HAD ATTEMPTED TO ROB THE 1ST NATIONAL BANK AND REGRETFULLY MURDERED BELOVED  NEWSVENDOR AND ROTERY CLUB MEMBER ABE SHERvAN BEFORE BEING CUT DOWN IN A HAIL OF BULLETS FROM MD, STATE TROOPRS ON LUNCH BREAK FROM COURT next to THE 1ST NATIONAL BANK ON ST. PAUL STREET. WHILE THEY WERE ATTEMPTING (UNSUCESSFULY) TO PICK UP HIPPIE GIRLS. the orioles also lost that night 3 to 7 against kansas city in a rain delayed game. there was a really nice cartoon of the oriole bird walking away dejected underneath a rain cloud on the top box in the corner of the front page of the paper.

IT WAS A GRIM DAY FOR COMIC FANS NATIONWIDE. SALLY TANE WAS DEAD...... CAUGHT WITH HER PANTS DOWN ONCE AGAIN, WHILE HORRACE WOODLY LANGUISHED IN A CHEAP WELLFARE HOTEL IN NORTH HOLLYWOOD. TWO DAYS LATER WOODLY ATE A BULLET FROM HIS 44 MAGNUM.

THEN IT WAS A GRIM WEEK FOR COMIC FANS....... POSSABLY THE WORST WEEK EVER!

THE FAN PRESS REPORTED THAT YOUNG COLLECTORS ACROSS THE BALTIMORE AREA
HOPELESSLY FELL IN LOVE THAT DAY. with Sally Tane comic books, BACK ISSUE SALES OF JOURNEY INTO OBLIVION SOARED! PART TIME COMICS DEALER MARTI RESNIC OF MARTI'S COMCWORLD EXCLAIMED THAT HE HADN'T SEEN  ANYTHING LIKE IT SINCE THE SPECULATORS MARKET SALES ON SHA-BOOM #1.


MELMON AND SKIDMORE RAN A TASTEFULL OBITUARY ON THE 'LET'S RAP WITH MELMON' PAGE IN ALL ISSUES OF THE NEXT MONTHS SKIDMORES. ADAM O'BLIVION AND SKIDMORE WOULD SURVIVE FOR A FEW MORE YEARS BEFORE SUCUMING TO THE FORCES THAT SALLY TANE SO ADMANTLY ABHORED. 'SHE WAS A TRUE VISIONARY AND WE BARELY LISTENED' EXCLAIMED MELMON IN A 1985 INTERVIEW. 'IF I HAD HALF THE BALLS OF SALLY TANE SKIDMORE WOULD STILL BE OUT THERE AS KINGS OF THE COMIC BOOK MARKET.' LAMENTED SKIP SKIDMORE IN A CRESTFALLEN SPEACH TO SKIDMORE EMPLOYEES AS THEY RECIVE THEIR FINAL PAYCHECKS IN 1982.
AT  HER FUNERAL BARLINGTON WINDHIEM SMYTE WAS ELECTED TO GIVE HER EULEGY. BARLINGTON HAD ONLY MET SALLY TANE ONCE OR TWICE BUT HAD SUCH AN IMPRESSIVE BRITISH ACCENT THAT HE WAS A SHOE-IN FOR ALL DEAD CARTOONIST FUNERALS FOR THE NEXT DECADE.
THE AGE OF SKIDMORE WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE. IT'S JUST AS WELL THAT SALLY TANE NEVER SAW WHAT THEY DID TO HER BELOVED COMICBOOKS IN THE 1980'S AND 1990'S. FOR MOST COLLECTORS OF THE BRONZE AGE , COMICS DIED WITH THE DEATHS OF WOODLY AN TANE. EXCELSIOR PILGRIM! EXCELSIOR.




Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Legend of Robo and Bobo The World's most commercialized punk rock comic book ever!

Robo and Bobo were of course the breakout characters of Top notch Detective comics and the first of the new science heroes to make it really bis after the collapse of the Comics Code. With a prime time TV show from 1965 to 1967, Robo and BoBo were riding high in the comics until the age of Irrelevancy began in the early 1970's. After that the Dyslexic Duo seemed old fashioned and a bit corny in the face of the Far Out Generation. It wasn't until the early Eighties when Manley S! Melmon moved out to LA after the death of his girlfriend Sally Tane, that he re-imagined the characters as a pair of sociopathic punk rock science heroes on the mean streets of Los Angeles during the birth of the American hardcore punk rock music scene!
Melmon was no stranger to punk rock and had been hanging out at CBGB's in New York since before the Ramones even began practicing. LA punk was a bold new breed of the genere and seemed to translate well into comics! There weren't a hell of a lot of Punks around the country outside of LA,  and for some unknown reason Washington D.C. but one thing was for sure..... They All Read Skidmore comics! Robo and BoBo became the unofficial mascots of the early punk rock movement and will be forever be associated with this particularly ugly time in music history!

It was also a new innovation in comics by Melmon, the world's first sideways comics! It never took off though. the comics got lost in the spinner racks and the tiny print ruined everybody's eyeballs. To this day collectors curse Melmon, Robo and BoBo and even Skidmore comics for their myopic vision and the commercialization of the punk rock movement in general. Within half a year nearly half of the Skidmore Science Heroes would be sporting Mohawk hair cuts and wearing Leather jackets.
 After about 1983 when the scene had died away, no one had a steady job and they had no place to stay. Robo and BoBo were cancelled just before the Skidmore Implosion would occur and the company would close it's doors forever. Ownership of Robo and BoBo would be claimed by breakfast cereal giant Quaker Otis and optioned off to Hollywood where in 1989 a new 'Goth' BoBo would hit the movie screens for a series of progressively dismal movies that verged on the ridiculous toward the end.
Today the old 1980's Robo and Bobo comics are commanding a small fortune, as they were mostly kept around squats and punk rock houses and got beer spilled all over them and had Hitler mustaches drawn all over the covers and were generally mishandled and bent out of shape by non comic book readers who thought it might be cool to read a comic book in the middle of a basement show or keg party or something. Finding a NM (near mint) copy is next to impossible. trust me. Here now are a few select covers of the infamous series that still ring true for the kepers of the flame of true punk rock. All twelve of them!
Sadly just as the Skidmore comics was about to implode on itself, Bobo was awarded his own series. It only saw one issue before the walls came crumbling down and has the unique distinction of being the last original comic book to be published by Skidmore before going into the All Classic Reprint comic that would be the beginning of the end for the comic book giant. Quaker Otis wisely converted the comic into a crappy newspaper strip that ran in many community newsletters and even penny saver ad zines that were popular with cheapskates of the early Eighties. The popularity of Bobo rose once more and became one of the most heavily bootleged T-Shirts of the time!
The movies, the newspaper strips and the bootleg T-Shirts meant little to the comic collectors of the day, what they wanted was more Robo and Bobo comics. But that was just not to be. Somehow they found out that you just couldn't exploit comicbooks the way you could with science hero bricabrac and gee-gaws, which seemed to fly off the shelves. Even if people had never seen the comics. It was a marketing strategy that worked for Quaker Otis and his crew of trend setters! To this day you will occasionally find a Bobo prize inside your breakfast cereal or a commemorative jelly jar glass of Robo stuck all the way on the back of the shelf in your local supermarket, courtesy of the money grabbers at Quaker Otis. As of this writing America is eagerly awaiting the release of the Bobo meets Gooberman Movie which is due to hit the screen for the Christmas shoping season and it is expected to be one of the most exploited charters in action figure history. With several hundred variant versions and slightly different and totally worthless packaging plans going in to effect as we speak, thanks to someone at Quaker Otis who found an old copy of Skidmore's "Crisis of Infinite Births" comics.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Manley S! Melmon- Worlds greatest Comic Book Writer

- MANELY S! MELMON WORLDS GREATEST COMICBOOK WRITER.

MANLEY S! MELMON STARTED HIS WRITING CARER AT SKIDMORE PUBLISHING IN LATE 1963 and SHORTLY AFTER  he was a key player in THE ILL FATED COMICS CODE CONTROVERSY THAT HAD SOILED  THE INDUSTRY. IN AN ATTEMPT TO PUT TOP Sellers Skidmore and ERrIONIOUS COMICS OUT OF BUSINESS THREE OF THE FIVE TOP COMIC BOOK HOUSES CONSPIRED WITH CRACK POT PSYCHOLOGIST DR. PHIL WORSENING TO STIR UP SOME resentment AGAINST THE THEN POPULAR, SCIENCE COMICS. CLAIMING THEY WERE IN ACTUALLY A CLEVER INDOCTRINATION TOOL PROMOTING SECULAR HUMANISM AND THUS UNDERMINING THE STATE RELIGION OF CREATIONISM. AND THAT WAS A NO NO. EC HARDLY HELPED THEIR CAUSE BY PUBLISHING STORIES LIKE THE FAMED- CHRIST ON A CRUTCH - AND THE NOW CLASSIC- FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! IN THEIR COMICBOOK 'PICTURE STORIES FROM THE forbidden books of cain'.
SO THIS BREW-HA-HA WAS THE CLIMATE INTO WITCH MANLEY S! MELMON HIT THE FUNNYBOOKPAGES,,,,,


the first few years were unremarkable for melmon. he ground out bland scripts for the sanitized books under the the thumb of the newly appointed comic code authority. a hodge podge of do gooders and anti-intellectuals who were  CLEARLY WAY TOO thrilled and overwhelmed seeing their ugly mugs on television and meddling in other peoples affairs. these groups of publicity whores were way overly concerned ABOUT the well being of america's youth. deciding what children can and cant read clearly opens the door to the hideously unamerican practice of censorship and the crimes of these neo-fascists would be dealt with accordingly in a few years but for the mid sixties it was only the children and weird old dudes in their 40 and 50's that still read comic books.

The kids hated the books..... so did the artists and writers. and it showed. kids didn't want minski the model or Vince Lombardi's TALES OF victory comics......they wanted science! cold hard scientific fact. illustrated in a style SO CLEAR that even their parents could understand.......and not dispute!
some pretty far out science fiction was starting to pop up around college campus' in the mid 60's and experimental young writers like memon were prone to try new and exciting formulas to elivate comics back to the artform status THEY once had. the kids could see right thru the ruse.......thankfully! science fact. disguised as science fiction. melmon had hit a winning formula. His Abraxis run, first illustrated by h.g. liberman ( a man who seemed born to be in the comics industry in one way or another) was a good start! the cosmically charged Abraxis seemed ripe with the possibilities.
old man skidmore himself, THE ORIGINAL ARTIST gave his blessings and was even convinced to draw up a pin-up page for the new saga.

The inaugural"tomorrow ends today" story arc was nothing less than a masterpiece from the poison pen of Melmon, IT WAS NOTHING MORE THAN an indictment of the comics code and the corrupt society that it thrived in. all thinly disguised as a mystery man story with harmless science fiction undertones. and no one ever read it. kids by that point were so over the boring comics of the period that it wasn't even recognized. it was the art of 'the chairman" jake klineberg that would ultimately bring some attention to manely s! melmon. "the dance of 1000 clowns" along with the short story "while i was drunk" both illustrated by klineberg  in adventures into weirdness #121 were the tipping point for melmon. after a slew of stories for g'won......call the cops. skidmore laid to rest their last remaining crime comic. and maneley s! melmon could not have been happier. together with top new talents like neal adkins and brothers sammy and jim bucerra, he would set the four color world of comics on fire......


"The day we put a monkey on the moon" FROM BALLISTIC COMICS #73 took one giant step forward in COMICS FOR the fight against creationist thought.......the code put up a fit! especially over the last panel where VETERAN COMCIS LEGEND Steve Dio depicted, in his intimitable style, a crucified monkey crying on the moon.....as the earth explodes to smithereens in the eternal black BACKDROP of space! powerful stuff. it won the first Eisenhower award.

'the grey flannel felon' in the new improved spidora stories, only added insult to injury for the comics code. after that story was published first term republican senator and avowed comics fan Richard TUSKAgeegee, began introducing wildly radical charges against the comics code. in print and on radio and tv,,,, the code was under attack!


no one had heard the term science-hero before 1966. Melmon came up with the monicker in issue 16 of '5 star fantasy' (may 1966) in those pages  in no less than three different stories Melmon created an atmosphere so dense in science theroy and fact that it stymied the censors. in the first tale-  'come again?'  isiac rebak the de-evolution man stared as  an unlikely hero in a tale of  time travel and adventure in the earths near past and future. first Reback travled to the far flung future of 1997 to meet the future family. in a dystopian society where creationist thought reigned as torental acid rains, pollution and overpopulation plagued the earth. thru a series of misadventures reback and the future family are thrown back in time to a picture perfect post ww2 america and the cause of earths problems in 1997...... that cause was the military industrial complex who would eventually parlay it's power and join forces with big business to enslave the world! i don't wan't to spoil the ending for anyone who has never read it, but i can tell you that in a strange twist of fate, the people of dystopian 1997 and the future family themselves......do not even realize that they have been enslaved! fantastic stuff!
the second tale- 'after the accident' wove a tale of mystery and intrigue centering around a wheelchair bound rogue physicists who ends up creating a vicious black hole that nearly destroys northern europe. it ends up taking the entirety of the mystic knights of the mystery school plus the cosmic power of of the recently introduced starlight society to put a stop to an out of control partical colider and save the earth! the hidden messages were there if you looked for them. a scene that featured miss miracle and her explanation of string theory in priceless! sure it was a mystery man book but it was coming awful close the old tru-science comics of a decade before.  and that made the censors very uneasy!
but the most amazing story of the issue was hidden in the back pages where no one would notice. that was the introductory origin of "the entirely creditable human genome" the genome became a major hit for skidmore comics and set them far and above their competition with the introduction of this "science hero" veteran artist osbourne whitly was the perfect choice to illustrate this tale of suspenscience as the genome was later dubbed. the sixities were in full swing as 5 star fantasy hit the newwstands and the college kids loved it! two issues later a letter column appeared called, let's rap with melmon! in which melmon and staff artist GIL KAGE took turns pontificating on the troupes of theoretical arts and science. it was a wild departure from the run of the mill horror books that were still overwhelming the comic racks across america.


and it was in that psychedelic atmosphere that melmon wrote the classic "my stars" for horace woodly and the story that finally blatantly broke the
 code........"judgmental dave" about an astronaut sent to pass  judgement on a planet ruled by robots, computers and other forms of artificial intelligence. electronics were still a big no no as far as the code was concerned. and giving an artificial intelligence a right to choose it's own fate seemed sorely sac religious to many. but the real message of the story was intolerance and bigotry toward scientific advancement, the idea of an anti-Utopian conspiracy was first put forth in this story.....something that melmon would greatly expound on in the pages of the adam o'blivion series after the ugly death of the comics code.


the spring of 1972 brought manely s! melmon and comics in general smak dab into the age of irrelivency. it was an era of comics that somehow seems totally misinterpreted today. a prime example of this seems to be mysterio diablo jr. comics  #67 - 72. the story was an early cross over event with  jake klinberg's micro world.....sure there were loads of social issues covered in the series. for one episode "en el bario" mysterio diablo jr, laments the fate of his drug addicted brother loco diablo while demolis the destroyer from the microverse raps to the kids about rebuilding low rider engines using nano technology!  i know it's hard to understand now. but the 1970s were  a really weird time in america. unfortunately due to the passage of time, no one now can really ever understand what phrases like "Right on" or 'far out' really meant. it was one big lsd inspired mess.......psychedelia was in the air....... and from the way they read today, most likely in the water supply too! even the most average of the squares under the influence of psychedelic drugs, could talk or write or draw about anything for hours on end,,,,,with amazingly enuff, not really saying anything! are you down? power to the people!...... can you dig it man?.........sock it to me! that was the age of irrevelancy in comics! and it wasn't just the young turks of cartooning either. old pros like jake klinebeg with his innovative micro-verse line of short stories was just as likely to drop a bit of psycho babble as melmon or even fab british import barlington windheim smythe ! and he could babble on forever, with out ever really saying anyhing at all! sheeesh!
LtoR Melmon, Bill Bollingwaether, Ashford Simpson, Barlington Windheim Smythe and Hanzel Zoff, in Melmon's office circa 1973

the college lecture circut beckoned and melmon was more than happy to oblige. getting down and rapping to the kids was really what skidmore comics were all about, well that and sales. Mainly the sales now that i come to think of it. that all culminated in a spectacular event at new york's famed VOCATIONAL SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS, WHERE FOR ONE MAGICAL NIGHT ONLY ITS STAGE WAS  TRANSFORMED INTO A CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS SKIDMORE!  SCIENCE-HEROES, SOLILOQUY'S, AND SOUL POWER WERE IN THE SKIDMORE SPOTLIGHT, THAT EVENING AND SKIDMORE WAS CERTAINLY IN THE PUBLIC EYE!  THE EVENING WAS TOPPED OFF BY SKIDMORE STAFFER AND PRODUCTION WHIZ, SOL GRODZECKI LEADING AN ALL SKIDMORE ROCK AND ROLL BAND IN A 45 MINUTE RENDITION OF INNAGODDA DIVITA. IT WAS A HIT!
                                   
Lto R Rusty Stubbs, Bill Bollingweather, John Razina, Manley S! Melmon, Hanzel Zoff (seated)


AS A SIDE NOTE, IT IS WORTH MENTIONING THAT NATIONALSTIC COMICS PUBLISHER MeRVIN GLOOKMAN, AFTER HEARING ABOUT THE RESOUNDING SSUCCESSOF THE SKIDMORE SHINDIG.  IN A SHOW OF ONE UPS-MANSHIP,  DEVELOPED AND PRODUCED AN OFF BROADWAY MUSICAL ENTITLED "ROCKETS rOBOTS AND RAY-GUNS!" HOPES WERE HIGH BUT AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT, IT TURNED INTO A CATASTROPHIC FAILURE. Which FORCED GLOOKMAN TO EEVENTUALLYSELL OFF THE NATIONALISTIC DYNASTY TO MEDIA MAGNATE TIMLEY-WORMER THUS FOREVER CHANGING THE BRAND NAME TO TIMELY COMICS.
THEY WERE NEVER THE SAME AFTER THAT AND CEASED ALL PUBLICATIONS AS OF 1980.


AS THE SEVENTIES WORE ON MORE TITLES WERE INTRODUCED BY MELMON, 'THE GODLESS SAVAGES' WAS A WINNER RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE. 'SHA-LA-LA-LA THE SHAMBLER' TOOK SOME GETING USED TO. WITH A NOD TO PULP FANTSAY WRITER H.P.HATEFULL AND MOD SIXTIES GIRL GROUP THE SHANGRA-LAS, IT WAS A WEIRD HYBRID OF GODS AND MONSTERS TRAGICALLY INTERTWINED WITH THE LIFE OF A RUNAWAY TEEN AGE GIRL NAMED ramona AND HER BOYFRIEND "SPAIN". THE LEADER OF THE PACK!   IT LASTED FOR SIX ISSUES BEFORE IT WAS REPLACED ON THE SCHEDULE BY 'THE CLAWS OF THE CAT-GIRL' BY HORACE WOODLY.


CLAWS OF THE CAT-GIRL WAS ANOTHER EXCITING NEW TREND IN COMICS IN THE 1970'S. SCIENCE-HEROES FOR GIRLS, DRAWN BY DIRTY OLD MEN! ALL TO OFTEN THE COMICS FOR GIRLS HAD BEEN SUBJUGATED TO THE GHETTO OF LOVE-GONE-WRONG BOOKS AND THE TYPICAL TEENAGE HUMOR GENRE. WITH "CLAWS" THE FORMULA WAS ONCE AGAIN FLIPPED ON IT'S EAR! EDITOR ROYCE TOMPKINS WAS HOT TO TRY SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT AND WITH THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION OF 1970 AT IT'S CUSP. THOMKINS PULLED TOGETHER A TEAM OF OLD PROS AND YOUNG LIBERTINES ALIKE, TO PRODUCE A NEW SCIENCE-HERO COMIC FOR THE FEMALE MARKET. PUBLISHER HARRY FLYNT OF RUSTLER MAGAZINE FAME WAS BROUGHT IN TO PACKAGE AND DEVELOP AN ENTIRELY NEW CONCEPT IN COMICS FOR GIRLS! GONE WERE THE DAYS OF FASHON DESIGN, CARDBOARD CUT-OUT DOLLS AND FAKE ADVICE TO THE LOVELORN. THE CLAWS OF THE CAT-GIRL WAS A ROLLICKING 1970's BRALESS ROMP THRU THE STREETS AND SKYSCAPES OF MANHATTAN, WITH JUST ENUFF  PSUDO-LESBIAN-FEMINIST IDEOLOGY TO KEEP IT INTERESTING. TIMES WERE A-CHANGING ONCE AGAIN AND WITH THE NEW LIBERATED WOMAN ON THE MOVE IT WAS NO WONDER THAT THE  TEENAGE GIRLS OF THE 1970'S MOVED FROM THE KITCHEN STRAIGHT INTO THE Topless BARS of the eighties! OH..... DON'T BE FOOLED. THE BOYS LIKED IT TOO! IN 1974 NEWSWORK REPORTED THAT "THE CLAWS OF THE CAT-GIRL #1" SPILLED MORE seeds THAN LINDA LOVELAKE AND MARYLAND CHAMBERLIN COMBINED!  THERE WAS NO REASON TO KEEP THAT ONE IN A PROTECTIVE MYLAR BAG, IF YOU GET MY DRIFT! ,,,,,,SHE'S A SWINGER BABY!

MELMON HIMSELF WAS NON PLAUSED BY THE SUCESS OF CLAWS OF THE CAT-GIRL. TO HIM IT WAS JUST ANOTHER $1.53 PER PAGE SCRIPT, MANLEY S! MELMON'S HEAD WAS IN THE CLOUDS AS AMERICA'S BI-CENTENIAL QUICKLY APPROACHED. HE WAS PLANING SOMETHING BIG FOR THE COUNTRY'S BIRTHDAY. NOTICING THAT YOU COULD  WRAP A FLAG AROUND A TURD BACK THEN AND SOMEONE WOULD WAN'T TO BUY IT, MELMON'S HEAD WAS SPINNING WITH POSSIBILITIES.

MELMON HAD ACHIEVED THE POST OF EDITOR OF SKIDMORE COMICS IN january OF 1975 AND THE FIRST OF HIS SWEEPING CHANGES WAS IN DESIGN AND PACKAGING.  THE RESULT WAS BUNTING, LOADS AND LOADS AND LOADS OF RED WHITE AND BLUE BUNTING! AS SOON AS THE CHRISTMAS EDITIONS FOR 1975 WERE OUT,,,,,BUNTING WAS IN! YOU COULDN'T SWING A STICK IN A 1976 SKIDMORE COMICBOOK WITH OUT ENTANGLING YOURSELF IN BOATLOADS OF THE STUFF. IN KEEPING WITH THE NEW PATRIOTIC THEME. MELMON RE-INVENTED ANOTHER OLD FAVORITE, "NICK FURROR-THE UGLY AMERICAN!"
THE TIME WAS RIPE FOR SOME SERIOUS FLAG WAVIN' AND NOBODY DID IT QUITE AS SHAMELESSLY AS SKIDMORE! THE NOW CLASSIC COVER OF THE UGLY AMERICAN #1 DRAWN BY JOSE LuiZ SANTANA WAS SPOT ON! IT FEATURED NICK FURROR AND PRESIDENT NICK DIXION, INTERRUPTED FROM PLAYING A GAME OF PING PONG AND GIVING THE OLD ONE-TWO PUNCH TO NOne OTHER THAN CHINEESE LEADER, poppa om mau mau, SENDING HIM CARTWHEELING OVER THE GREAT WALL! ALL WITH THE PRE REQUISIT BUNTING ADORNED OVER EVERY THING THAT WASN'T A NEEDLESS COVER BLURB! IT WAS A PROUD MOMENT FOR MELMON!


THE ARTIST FOR THE UGLY AMERCAN WAS OF COURSE NONE OTHER THAN "THE CHAIRMAN' JAKE KLINEBERG WHO HAD BEEN WRAPING UP TURDS IN THE AMERICAN FLAG SINCE COMICS BEGAN,AND WOULD CONTINUE TO DO SO UNTIL HIS DEATH. IF YOU WANTED NEEDLESS PANDERING AND HOOPLA...... YOU NEEDED KLINEBERG! AND MANELY S! MELMON KNEW THAT WELL. THEIR SPECIAL, major disaster BI-CENTENIAL BATTLES TREASURY  EDITION WAS A THING TO BEHOLD! KLINEBERG'S ART WAS CHANGING IN MID SEVENTIES, BECOMING DISTORTED AND SCRATCHY, MUCH OF THIS CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO KLINEBERG'S INKER OF CHOICE VINCENT (BLIND VINNIE) STILETTO..... HOWEVER YOU CAN SEE THE CHANGES CLEARLY IN THE PENCIL STAGES OF HIS ART, SOMETHING WAS GOING ON IN THE HEAD JAKE KLINEBERG. SOMETHING THAT THE WORLD JUST WAS NOT READY FOR YET, WELL EVERYONE BUT MANLEY S! MELMON.

WORKING IN THE PATTENTED SKIDMORE METHOD OF
 STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE, IT WAS MELMON  WHO WAS QUICK TO SUGEST TO KLINEBERG THAT A BOOK FULL OF PIN UP PAGES, DIAGRAMS OF SECRET HIDE OUTS AND PUZZLE PAGES COULD CUT HIS TIME IN HALF AND NOT SERIOUSLY ENDANGER THE SALES OF ANY KIND OF GIANT SIZED OR ANNUAL COMIC BOOK. IT WAS A REVELATION FOR KLINEBERG. TO PITCH IN MELMON WROTE ONE OF THE MOST DISJOINTED..... TWISTED, CIRCLUARLY ILLOGICAL SCRIPTS OF HIS CARRER. A TRICK THAT "THE CHAIRMAN" WAS QUICK TO PICK UP ON AND USED TO GREAT EFFECT ON HIS NEXT PROJECT- "THE NOCTURNALS"

TRUTH BE TOLD ON THE NOCTURNALS,  KLINEBERG MANAGED TO OUT-MELMON, MELMON  BY STICKING IN LOADS OF EXCLAMATION "POINTS" AND "QUOTATION" MARKS! IN ALL THE WRONG "PLACES"!!!! GIVING THE STORY THAT, WOUND WAY TOO TIGHT, CRACKPOT "MANIFESTO" FEEL THAT KLINEBERG WAS ALWAYS TRYING TO ACHEVE in his work.


THE KIDS ATE IT UP!
 BUT INTERNALLY THERE WERE PROBLEMS AT SKIDMORE COMICS. AFTER THE DEATH OF MEL SKIDMORE IN 1973. ALL SKIDMORE PROPERTIES WERE CONSOLIDATED INTO THE SKIDMORE FAMILY TRUST. SKIP SKIDMORE WHO HAD BEEN DIRECTING THE FORTUNE COOKIE INSERT DIVISION OF SKIDMORE NOW WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMICS DIVISON AS WELL.
IN 1978 THE TRANCE-LUX ANIMATION STUDIO WERE WINDING DOWN THEIR PRODUCTION ON THE SATURDAY MORNING ABRAXAS CARTOON, AND WERE EAGER TO START PRODUCTION ON A NEWLY REVAMPED VERSION OF THE ONCE SUCCESSFUL SPIDORA SUPER STORIES. UNEARTHLY TALES OF ABRAXAS HAD SEEMED TO RUN IT'S COURSE AND ANOTHER REVAMPING OF SPIDORA WOULD AT LEAST SEEM NEW AND ORIGINAL TO A FOREVER GROWNG ARMY OF 8 YEAR OLD SKIDMORE FANS. DETAILS ARE STILL SKEThCHY AT BEST BUT BY ALL ACOUNTS SKIP SKIDMORE WOULD SIGN ANY PAPER THAT YOU PUT IN FRONT OF HIM. HE WENT FINANCIALLY OVERBOARD WITH A LINE OF MICRO WORLD STICKERS AND TRADING CARDS AND LUNCH BOXES. TO WHICH JAKE KLINEBERG NEVER SAW A DIME OF, AND THRU A SERIES OF LEGAL ENTANGLEMENTS LOST CONTROLLING INTEREST IN THE SKIDMORE COMICS LINE TO A SERIES OF FLY BY NIGHT OPERATORS AND MIDDLE MEN.

just before the slow and ppainfulfive year death spiral of skidmore comics, Melmon wrote what many consider a minor classic. in the revamped, New IMPOSTERS! With Melmon's take over of the book from writer, Bill Bollingwather, Melmon introduced mOnsieur Excelsior's new rag tag team of science heroes and celebrity impersonators who's mission was to destroy the propaganda machine of the Anti-Utopian Conspiracy and save america itself from the clutches of commercialitic consumerism! they did all right for a while, infiltrating many top television shows and comicbooks of the day. however the team did eventually succumb to the typical traps that ensnare hollywood and the rot and decay infested the team and even Skidmore Comics it's self! Skip Skidmore's  licensing deals were growing out of control! By late 1978 only the rock group KISS would out do Skidmore in their attempts to ccommercializeevery piece of property they owned. the vultures were circling over Skidmore. One could almost see and feel the Implosion coming, it was a really greedy time for comic books, cerial makers, toy manufactures and rock bands alike. We can only thank God that we survived it!

MANELY S! MELMON HAD BOXED SEATS TO THE WHOLE DEBACLE, AND HE COULD SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL. AFTER  SOME DISCUSSIONS WITH TRANCE-LUX STUDIO (WHO NOW ON PAPER OWNED PRACTICALLY HALF OF THE SKIDMORE PROPERTIES) HE QUIETLY WRAPED UP HIS RUN ON THE SWORD AND SANDAL EPIC 'THE BALEFUL BITCH-SLAP OF BLACK BATHSHEBA' AND EXITED THE DOORS OF SKIDMORE COMICS FOREVER.
Final Days at Skidmore Melmon and Colorist Cindy Snowjob

SKIDMORE WOULD CONTINUE TO PRINT CERAL BOXES AND CHINESE FORTUNE COOKIE INSERTS along with a few reprint comics UNTIL 1983 BUT THE OLD P.K.DICK PRESSES BECAME OLD AND UNRESPONSIVE WITH OUT THE NIGHTLY RITUAL OF PRINTING COMIC BOOKS, TOWARD THE END OF THEiR DAYS IT IS SAID THAT THE MACHINES HAD DEVELOPED A MIND OF THEIR OWN AND WOULD SPIT OUT RANDOM OLD COMIC PAGES UNEXPECTEDLY SENDING THEM CAREENING ACROSS THE SKIDMORE WAREHOUSE FLOOR WITHOUT RHYME OR REASON AS THEY SHORTED OUT wireing AND CAUSED ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS FOR BLOCKS AROUND THE SKIDMORE PLANT.

MANLEY S! MELMON KICKED AROUND THE UNDERGROUND COMIX COMMUNITY FOR A FEW YEARS AFTER THE DEMISE OF SKIDMORE AND MANY OLD FANS FOLLOWED. BUT BY THE END OF THE 1980'S MELMON HAD, HAD HIS FILL OF COMICS. HE RETIRED TO ARIZONA AND NOW WRITES CRIME FICTION NOVELS UNDER THE PEN NAME CARY BATES.

Real World Disclaimer

Real World Disclaimer.......for readers on Earth prime, Earth primate, and Earth X-X-Dumb.

We've gotten a hell of a lot of disturbing mail lately, where folks are asking me just where the heck they can get their Skidmore comics? Seasoned collectors, who should really know better, claim they don't remember them and a few people out there have even accused me of simply putting these comics into photoshop or something and screwing around with the covers of obscure foreign comics! Nothing could be further from the truth! I don't even know how to work the photoshop program that well and really just prefer the standard paint box program that comes on all PC's. That being said this whole Skidmore comics Blog is really just and artistic excersise in Bunkum, Bull DaDa and Tom Foolery with a bunch of Weird Old Comic Books! And a minor theme of this story happens to the asking of the age old science-fictional question, that even comic book publisher to this day are asking themselves; 'just what is copyright infringement, and when does the universal laws of PARODY over ride such nonsensical laws and become basically a get out of jail FREE card when you go up against a corporate media giant in fedral court'? It's a tough question.Especially when all the lawyers  for corporate giants go out to lunch at the country club with the judge and well um.... hopefully that won't happen now!  For chumps like me ARTISTIC EXPRESSION is about all we got, and a big part of ARTISTIC EXPRESSION around here includes an ungodly amount of PARODY. because really if you can't laugh at it all you'd probably just sit around all day reading old Marvel Two-In-One comics and questioning your own sanity! I've been there, it's no fun! Except for when The Thing started to clobber the shit out of Ghost Rider! That was kinda fun.
So my advice to you my friend is to just sit back, read your blogs and forget all about collecting Skidmore comics! Really! For one thing they are hard as hell to find in this dimension! Forget E-bay. they banned all Skidmore comics related material years ago! Stick to REAL COMIC BOOKS..... the kind kids (and 50 year old men) Like! And save yourself the headache of never being able to complete your whole run of REVENGE SQUAD or even the French version of Monsieur Excelsior! You should all realise by now that the whole comic book collectors market is a total sham to begin with and free your minds from such mundane completest exercises in anal retention! but if you happen to find a copy of FATMAN The Human Flying Saucer #3 let me know, quick! It had low distribution.

Other then that, I would like to remind you that below every post there is a comments section that you can click on to. You don't have to fill up my damn mailbox with inane questions like "Who's Stronger, The Savage Sub-Hu-Man of Major Disaster?" (The Sub-Hu-Man is technical Stronger but that doesn't necessarily mean he would win a battle with Major D or anything! Don't you know Nuthin' Kid?)
Lastly, is that even a word? Lastly? Well it is now!  Let me clue you in to some spectacular super science features that are bound to come up on the blog (after I get done with all the artist and writers bio's)
Skidmore's "OF THE APES" series was and extremely popular run of comics all through the seventies and that will soon be dealt with extensively. From Manny Stallman of the Apes, to the final days of ARTIE SIMIK of the Apes! You can even expect a full explanation for the mysterious John Teshla -Time Traveler! Also a full review of spin off series Kamanchi The Last Girl on Earth! Look for it soon, then remind me I once said all this!

A whole lot of masked detective work has gone into tracking down the Bootleg Skidmore Comics from around the world! See how poor coimc bookless countries from arouond the world uniquely  interpet copyright infringement laws and guffaw at the clueless treatment for some of Skidmore's Best Selling Characters!
The French Invasion! A comprehensive essay on the influence of some of the French bootleg Skidmore comics!, on the REAL Skidmore comics! The Origin of Monsieur Excelsior!  What's Up with The Westchester Weirdo's?  Who is Doc Puzzler? Find out as soon as I can think of more funny French Jokes!
And a look at Skidmore's Distinguished Competition, Nationalistic Comics! It's gonna have Mervin Glookman in it and everything! Everything you wanted to know about GOOBERMAN! and WET-WILLY of the NYPD. wow!
Plus bio's on Inker Sally Tane! Jake 'the chairman" Klineberg, and a visit with Skip Skidmore circa 1977.plus a whole bunch of stuff I forgot about.
Other then that keep those Cease and Desist Orders coming! They make excellent rolling papers when I run out of them here in international waters, where I post this stuff.

Now go get a san'wich and get ready for Manley S! Melmon, Worlds Greatest Comic Book Writer.......or if your reading it backwards get ready for The Incredibly Strange Saga of Bill Tso! either way it kinda works. but the sandwich part is essential! trust me.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

the Big Build Up for The Incredibly Strange Saga of Bill Tso

Bill Tso was a strange man. brilliant, but a strange man. his first writing credits began to appear around 1949 and for the most part he wrote a pretty decent crime-noir comic. in top selling crime comic, 'g'won.......call the cops!' tso made 'em grim and bloody. his stories swam in coruption and sweat. moody thrillers that centered around dive bars and opium dens, written with the voice of one who knew all too well the unsavory addictions of these nefarious vices, and the crimes they breed.


born in Shang hi, tso emigrated to the united states shortly after ww2, alegidly as a stowaway aboard a Scandinavian freighter! bill tso was a man of many talents not only a good writer and accomplished competitive eater, bill was a master robot builder. yet some say sadly, shunned by the world of science. his first robotic creation dubbed by Tso, Anihila-tron 5000 was destroyed by a public out cry and riot in july 1950. the world simply was not ready for bill Tso.

well if america and the world of robotic engineering was not yet ready for Tso, there was always the comics! yet there again tso met with a bitter crushing defeat. 1n 1952 Skidmore began with their 'new decision' line of books. titles like scintillating science stories and strange physics were made for bill Tso! his knowledge of the subject matter was was boundless and his design skills were impecible. if a kid could read in between the lines of these stores he could almost build his own thermo nucular device! and they practically did! comics were selling as hot as newly minted transistors to the teenagers across america. with a shop bench in the garage and a copy of strange physics, kids began soldering away with reckless abandon. constructing hoover cars, ray guns, chemical bombs and self replicating artificial intelligence with dangerous regularity. in 1953 a boy in san diego  california built and deployed a dangerous robot called Killbot, that he lost control of after annihilating  his local high school.the national guard had to be called in, early 1954 saw a 16 year old youth in new orleans built a death ray gun that took out a quarter of the krewe of mokus parade during mardi gras. later that year five boys were killed by a rocket explosion in a garage in dayton ohio. numerous other lab accidents and near misses were reported, all had been influenced by the science comics!



the comics themselves were very good sellers and enjoyed by all walks of life.  praised by the country's top scientists and astro physicists, who themselves were pounding away at the same problems during the early days of the space race. but there were grumblings too, do gooder and safety groups were getting irate and with the assistance of crackpot psychologist dr. phil worsening, managed to stir up enough to public out cry to eventually ban science comics in late 1955. tso was heartbroken. he muddled thru the late fifties writing Abraxis in adventure into weirdness. the tone of the stories began somewhat subdued due to strict comics code enforcement, but bill tso slowly turned a now earthbound abraxis into a comedy gem that is still remembered fondly by some fans today. others, eh,....not so much.

however tso could not leave robotics alone, he secretly began construction of a new version of his anilhlitron design. new developments in transistors along with tso's advanced research in micro processing proved successful once again.   Tso along with his robotic assistants created an outstandingly superior version of the anihilitron. the result was challenges from the illegal robot death match contenders. outlawed virtually world wide, robot death matches were clandestinely held in havana cuba once a year. 1959 was the year that saw bill tso win the competition with his anihilitron 10.000 but it also was the year he decided to give up making robots forever and concentrate on his comicbook writing. after the escape of the anihilitron unit during shipment back to the united states. bill decided it was best to let such things go and return to comics wholeheartedly. after all the mystery men were getting popular again!

'Meet the strangers' was one of bill tso's better creations, a dark and creepy metaphysical tale about the psychic explorers of atlantis and the worlds they tamed! yet it is nowhere near as well known as  his run on, Mister Wolverbone- werewolf by rights! featured in SHOWBOAT comics, starting in the fall of of 1959. it won him several fan favorite awards and the series is remembered for the introduction of his icy cold villain, Ripsaw!




As the sixties began Bill Tso began to hit a stride.
bill's tenure on mystic knights of the mystery school is among some of the best storytelling in that titles long history. the science-heroes were taking off and Bill Tso took off right with them. he seemed to really get into the whole spirit of things with, the incredible mister richter! geology was always an interest of tso and with all those huge underground caverns that Richter plowed thru Tso came up with some mighty big props to showcase in science-hero trophy rooms forever! to this day science heroes and fans alike cherish those giant penny's and little bottled city's that clutter up diagrams of secret hideouts! yes Bill Tso was on a roll!


by the mid 1970's Bill Tso's interest turned to competitive eating, he was a familiar  face at the fourth of july national hot dog eating championship each year and even won in 77' and 79' other milestones for tso include a couple of chili cook offs in texas and monstrous five pound hamburger that he encountered outside of Richmond va. few had been able to finish the burger but bill packed it away with a few Irish beers and had some pie for desert! Skip Skidmore even worked up a sponsorship deal with Hostall, the makers of Twinkels and the all the fruit pies, where bill would not only write all the fruit pie advertisements in the skidmore comics but he would also set the record in eating them! no small feet. having the world record holding fruit pie eater writing the ad's would give a  competitive edge to the lack luster fruit pie industry and really give it a  shot in the arm that it desperately needed!
all that eating was all fine and well but there were comicbooks to be written and the science-hero was never done better than in this period by tso, when tso went into his wild and humorous explanations on say, partial psychics or rocket technology. it was fascinating! Tso had an inate understanding of the stuff and it showed. no one really knows what happened to Bill Tso, he disappeared as mysteriously as when he arrived. last seen bill tso had ballooned up to 400 pounds, and was winning a pinball tournament in times square, just before Skidmore went to the all classic re-print format. then he seemed to disappear.

there are many great strips written by Bill Tso. over half of which are uncredited, but they are easy to pick out if you are looking for them, he had his own unique voice that put Skidmore in the major leagues of comics and left it there until it's demise due to poor licensing deals.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


An interview with mel skidmore-1972 transcribed from a cassette tape found in the old offices of the skidmore fan club. unfortunately the first 15 mins. of the tape was recorded over with the first side of an Emerson Lake and Palmer record (and it wasn't even that good!)We pick up the conversation in mid conversation with Mel Skidmore speaking.....

well it wasn't always like this,,, these days the fortune cookie presses are running most of the time. if not them were  printing up cereal boxes, we run the comics at night now. where they wont offend our more sensitive employees. when we had the plant over the bowling alley in the old days it was the comics! comics! comics!..... none of this damn inteulectual egghead stuff like today either. good old mystery men......ghosts, goblins, demons and the undead! ya know comics that kids could really sink their teeth into.....something to inspire em to give there kid brother a good whap inna head, or inspire a kid to give out a  good old fashoned indian sun burn or swirlee!......sure we gave em that month after month. and you know what? it sure toughened em up!.....you could always tell a comic reading kid from the dopes who always had their  nose in some schoolbook! they just seemed to carry themselves different or something........

q; i understand that back in the day you used to write a few abraxis tales yourself.


a; write em? hell i invented em! we used to sell almost a million copies of the old equonox quarterly's at a clip! but ya gotta remember that things was different then, this was before the war and then it was just like printing money. they were sold before they even went to press. today..... i dunno, i can't even understand what the hell is going on with the goddamn zeta beams and cosmic rays and whatnot. i let melmon figgure it out. he speeks the kids language. what the hell do i know anymore?

q; and you drew a bit in early days too didn't you? i've tracked down some examples that have been puzzeling historians for years.......(shows him full page splash from sub zero #4 )

a; jeeze .....yea it looks like mine. probably had to be done at the last minuite cuz of some old hack slackin' off........now this spot illo. i remember doin' over the bowlin'alley when we used to have bill tso over here......musta been around 43? 44?.......i dunno comics was different then. not as science-y as today. our only real competition was sha-zoom that forcett was putting out. and i sued the hell out em! then sha-zoom went to sha-zit!.... for a time there cease and desist orders were flying out the door more often than the amazing avian! don't remember that one? well yea....it was a long time ago. before the new decsion books even.
an we finaly bought out the sha-zoom character when the forcett brothers quit the comics buisness alltogether.


q; I wanted you ask you about the new decision books.....you were.....

a; oh the new decision titles were just a product of their times. as much as all thoes old horror books are loved to this day.......it was the damn true science books that nearly did us in. I blame in on influence of the college crowd, who were getting into comics at the time, some these long hairs and over educated shit heads had some mighty wild ideas about what kids wanted to see, of course the crime comics were doing extreemly well then, but they were meant for an older crowd......some thing for a boy about 15 or 17 .......something they could enjoy after a night of knocking off the corner liquor store or mabey while they was in prison or juvie....... boy you wouldnt believe the subscriptions to prisons alone on thoes books! they did have a certain appeal......no denying that!

q; but the science books...... they were really scapegoated.....they....

a; oh the goddamn science books....i'll never hear the end of it! thing is today they seem almost reviered. who can tell whats going to be popular.....or when. i can remember a time we were hedging our bets toward, true tales of hobo's! addiction, alcholism.....insanity....whores......general madness .....stuff like that. we had this writer once named henry chinaski.......swore up and down that these kinds of stories would click...... where is he now? writing for one of thoes underground newspapers in l.a. last i heard.......probably still drunk......i doubt he'll ever amount to anything.......but at least there was no damn science in it...... and he was kinda good in his way......damn shame.


q; the horror books went on to achieve  financial and critical sucess, how do you think that came to be?

a; well i can tell you a couple of things that the horror comics got that most other comics don't......and thats death.....and lots of it! gore! bloodshead......decapitations! the general fear of the unknown.....even the mystery men comics had that,,,,,we just expanded on that idea. the one that really put us over with that one was- "a corpse is a corpse, of course, of course!" we published in an issue of screaming bloody murder comics. they even made a tv pilot out of that one......but by the end of it.... it turned into a comedy about a guy and a horse...... i shit you not.

q; many renound artist worked on "screaming" along with the romance title 'revoltin' developments' ........ i was wondering if you wouldn't mind commenting on some of the finer talent that came thru the doors .....

a; sure,,,,what about em?


q; well..... horace woodly for one,,,,,,

a; woodly,,,,,, sheesh! yea he was a real talent......but allathe time with the space stuff,,,,, he was real a nut about it, with all of the knobs and dials,,,dynamc lighting,,,,the whole schmere.......thing about it though he never quite understood that leather spacesuits would just disentigrate in space....... made for a helluva pichter though....... and could he draw a female ass! hips.....boobs, they was right there where they were supposed to be......thats what probably sold all thoes tru-science comics.......not the skeematics and wireing and nuts and bolts and whatever the hell else was in there.......good ol' tits and ass......who who would imagine it would sell.....crazy goddamn world!


q; steven dio, did some time at skidmore......i understand he has recently returned to revamp doctor dreadnaught.......

a; yea! dio's back! and skidmore has him! steve is really like the last of the old school comic artist, very professional very philosophic,,,,, you can put anything down in front of steve and he'll bat it out of the park...... no matter what the subject matter is! lets see they just brought the new dreadnaught comic down yesterday.......oh yea....i got it here......."a real turned on swinger for the super seventies.......take a trip with.........doc dreadnaught!".........well...ummmm.....                       i guess.........ummmmm.....i guess i haven't seen this one in a while........ what the hell?..... i think i'll be having a confrere with steven dio soon....... very soon.


Q; you were one of the prime motovaters for the creators code a few years back.....could you expand on the workings of that movement?

a; well the creators code came about because we were saddled with these damn corner boxes that you see on all of the comics.....it never occured to us that you simply don't need them......you could really get rid of them if you wanted to...... but.....yea, i know ......hindsight!.......well for some time we were kind of between a rock and a hard place with the original comics code being investigated for rackettering and un-american activities in general. they was giving the industry a black eye. so's we got this big blank box up inna corner of all our comics, ya see......it just wasn't very appealing. we tried puttin the price in there.....tried putting a close up of mysterio diablo in there at one point......but nothing seemed to work quite right. we were confounded! only that official looking stamp of imaginary government approval seemed to look right.....and they (the code) were being raked across the coals in kangeroo court,,,,,,the poor bastards.....but they brought it on themselves, especially dolt comics. with their mcginnty mouse in dolt whizney's comics and stories!
so like i said it was the talk of the industry,,,,,, what the hell are we going to do with these damn empty boxes on the covers? nobody could figgure it out, well ledgend has it that one night while drawing a cover for nationalistic's iron sam comic, jake klineberg slyly inserted the name of the then unknown creators code up there in that stupid little box that we are so used to on our comics. after that was published .....then...... the meetings were held.....unions organised and the general quality of comics went up a notch again....... it was more than just a pledge to quality and craftsmanship....... it was a promise to the parents of america that their childrens reading material would never be watered down again!...... and so far it's worked! not to mention it solved the problem of filling up thoes little boxes...... but thats what good comicbook artists do......fill boxes! same could be said true of undertakers.....i guess.



and on that note our visit with mel skidmore would end. by the end of the year he would be dead at the age of 72. the family soldiered on for 10 more hectic years under the leadership of son skip skidmore but after going to an all classic reprint series for the last 8 months, one could see the writing on the wall......the age of skidmore was more than in decline, it was as dead as doctor dreadnaught! over the years there have been many a court battle over ownership of the skidmore properties due to skip's many licensing deals, even the spidora character was made into a saturday morning cartoon for girls and foolishly bartered off in a toy/made for tv movie deal in 1978. currently there are 27 active lawsuits against skip skidmore and an investigation is pending due to an unexpected fire at the old skidmore wherehouse. where it is reported that hundreds of thousands of pages of original art have gone up in flames