Martha Thomases

Martha Thomases brought more comics to the attention of more people than anyone else in the industry. Her work promoting The Death of Superman made an entire nation share in the tragedy of one of our most iconic American heroes. As a freelance journalist, she has been published in the Village Voice, High Times, Spy, the National Lampoon, Metropolitan Home, and more. For Marvel comics she created the series Dakota North. Martha worked as a researcher and assistant for the author Norman Mailer on several of his books, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Executioner's Song, On Women and Their Elegance, Ancient Evenings, and Harlot's Ghost.

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18 Responses

  1. John Tebbel says:

    I coped with the lack of comics money by plunking my behind on the lowest shelf of the magazine rack at the Rexall Drugs next to the Eavey's supermarket until Mr. Rexall would shoo me away. If he ever actually said, "this isn't the library," I don't remember.

  2. Rick Taylor says:

    I agree, Martha. It was a lot more fun to me when each issue or story was a little more stand alone and the 'event' was a 'novel length story' or the occasional cross-over or guest star was a special thing. Now when things get 'slow' they just blow up the universe/multiverse and do the super hero scramble.But they don't think 'setro' Titans stories have a place/market.*sugh*

  3. John McCarthy says:

    Y'know, Martha, I really enjoy your columns. Well-constructed, well-thought out with a lot of heart. I didn't realize that until just now when I got to, saw your piece at the top and went to myself, "Ooh, Martha's posted." I'm a few years behind you, but much of my comic-buying childhood was the same. It was Eileen's candy store (on the corner, of course), then "The Stationary Store" (no one knew or used the "real name), on the way home from school every week with my allowance. When I was young, say, 6 to 10, getting your issues was sometimes spotty. But from 11 to 20, it wasn't SO bad. The crossovers then were the Avengers vs. the Defenders, looking for the Evil Eye (was that it?). There were actually three places within a kid's walking distance from the house where you could buy comics. Not so any longer. I've since left the old neigborhood, but when I go back I lament at the lack of stores carrying comics.

  4. Arthur Tebbel says:

    I particularly like that the Marvel Universe is quickly moving towards this Orwellian continuous conflict.We have always been at war with The Incredible Hulk.

  5. Norris Mailer says:

    I'm so happy Martha didn't outgrow comics. I, like everyone else, wishes I had all the ones from my childhood. My kids DO have all theirs, gotten on many happy weekends at Forbidden Planet. They learned the joys of collecting early. Great column, Martha. Keep up the good work.

  6. Walt says:

    Martha, you rock!

  7. Rick Taylor says:

    Your posts have stirred a great childhood perk I used to have.The lady who worked at the local drug store used to 'let me' unbundle the comics weekly and rack them.First pick was a 'good thing' for this young fanboy.

  8. Nan Lasser says:

    Hey there Martha — is is true that you had your own comic book series??? I'd really like to see those in print. You must have had a magical childhood. Have you ever thought of publishing another edition?

  9. Howard Cruse says:

    Y'wanna talk about big comic book events of yore? I'll tell you what were the twice-a-year big events for me: the 100-page Halloween and summer camp bonus issues of Little Lulu. One Halloween edition had a 12-page Lulu story in it; stories of that length were normally unheard of in Lulu Moppet's world. And what's more, that story still stands as a model of comedic structure and hilarious developments.The Dennis the Menace vacation specials were pretty cool, too — better than the regular issues. And would a kid in rural Alabama have ever known that Monterey, CA, has a cool amusement park (or did in the '50s) if Dennis and his parents hadn't gone there during one of their summer jaunts?

  10. h c beck says:

    it's surprising, when you consider how catered to the boomer gen is, that we don't have our own amusement park, circa 1959 I suppose, a rexall (drugstore) or buy low (grocery store) or mom & pop shop we can wander into, buy some crummy candy and sort through the comic stacks. The Classics Illustrated, always at the top, the mixed Marvels(Timely, Atlas, whatever), Superman (DC's), Archies, ACG's, Charletons, Harvey's and Dells. The entrance to the place would be free, but we'd have to go in and be allowed to spend only 50cents or less per week. Each week would parallel a week in those years and we'd discover a three-part Superman epic, feel the flush of embarrassement when we–the boys–bought a Lois Lane or a Wonder Woman. Go gaga over the first Superman or Batman or Secret Origins Annual. And don't forget the 3-for-a-quarter half or coverless comic bags, when you knew something rotten was stuck in the middle between the two books you wanted–we learned bait and switch that way, though I once found a coverless Hulk #1, an FF#5, and the first Thor JIM in a single bag in Hammond, In. Still have 'em, too.took a while to catch up with the Marvel Age because I'd become so accustomed to seeing the same old monster stories time after time. Didn't discover the change until FF #8, but I was stuck thereafter. It was like seeing a movie that starred all your favorite character actors–Magnificant Seven, Great Escape. Maybe the Marvel era was a sort of John Sturges event in the comic world, epic adventures in a familiar genre driven by character.The comic buying revelation came when one entered a magazine store and saw a variety of unfamiliar titles–The Three Rocketeers, the reissued Planet and Jet Powers comics, the Harvey Spirit–stunning stuff. A look into a different plane of existence.

  11. Russ Rogers says:

    I want to tell you once again how much Lone Justice has become a highlight to my Mondays. It's so sweet! If it's Monday, I know a new episode of Lone Justice will more than likely be at ComicMix.Here's a question: How much does Robert Tinnell do at this stage of the process? Was his part of the process mostly done at the beginning, brain storming, developing, polishing completing the script? In other words, are you working from a finished script with finished dialog? Or are you working from an outline, a general idea of what the action will be and a rough idea of where dialog will go and then finalizing the words after the pages are drawn? Has the direction of the story changed since you started drawing it? Have the characters surprised you with how they wanted to say things or new scenes or directions they wanted to story to go?I like how you are letting tension grow over these pages. I'm glad that McDuff and Octavius don't buy into the Mayor's line of hooey. I like the implied threat of the Mayor telling McDuff that he will be listening to his broadcast of the events of the evening from a safe distance. I'm assuming that Scion's cue to begin with the mayhem will be when McDuff begins his broadcast.I've decided that drawing realistic smoking characters is even harder than kissing characters. Why does McDuff's cigarette have that HUGE plume of noxious smoke wafting off panel? Is that just to make him recognizable in a crowd? Smoke just doesn't billow out constantly from a cigarette like that. Ah, why do I have this neurotic need to incessantly nitpick!

    • MARK WHEATLEY says:

      At this stage of the process, Bob Tinnell basically tells me what a great job I'm doing. The main reason is – I'm working from a full script that Bob and I finished almost a year ago. But – I'm also ignoring a lot of what is in the script. I tend to re-stage the action and pacing as I go along. This also results in my needing to write additional dialog. I consider it a success if Bob doesn't notice. This is a normal working style for me – even when I'm working from my own solo full script.When we were writing the script the characters did haul us off into some interesting territory on several occasions. But they never really surprised us. It was more a case of Bob calling me and saying, "We should have expected this, but you know what Jean just did?" I'm always most delighted during the writing process when a character does something delightfully on target – something that defines them and reveals them. Not so much a surprise as a recognition factor.Drawing characters kissing is harder. The smoke is indeed a visual aid. In fact the only reason McDuff smokes is so we can see him wandering about in a crowd.

  12. Kyle Gnepper says:

    I always look forward to the next installment in this series. Please keep em coming.

    • MARK WHEATLEY says:

      Thanks Kyle – we've got quite a bit of material to cover before the story ends – so you should be able to count on a LONE JUSTICE Monday for a while yet!

  13. Kyle Gnepper says:

    Mark, you've just made me day. I don't know if this has already been covered, but do you know when I might be able to get my hands on a collected copy somewhere?

    • MARK WHEATLEY says:

      Unlike the publishing plan for EZ STREET, HAMMER OF THE GODS and FRANKENSTEIN MOBSTER that will be going straight to a graphic novel, the IDW/ComicMix plan for LONE JUSTICE is to launch with a monthly comic book series beginning in April 2010. Bob and I could not be happier!Meanwhile – your only recourse is to show up here every Monday!

      • Lord Snooty says:

        Great to hear Lone Justice is getting an monthly book as I feel it helps the "pulp" story to have it in parts ! Just a quick question, seeing you have put this on comicmix in smaller parts do you as a writer/artist miss the "22 paged" format or even worry how it will look seeing you have had more freedom in putting it out as you saw fit ?

        • MARK WHEATLEY says:

          Interesting question. I have to admit that my first response on having to fit any of these ComicMix web comics into a print format was a bit like trying on an old coat that was now several sizes too small. And the process of segmenting LONE JUSTICE will be a challenge to get a reasonable chunk of story that will make for an exciting issue and not get chopped off at an unfortunate place. We have been playing with it a bit and it looks like it will work great on just about every issue – with one issue being just a bit tricky.