MIKE GOLD: A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste
I’m writing ahead so I can properly annoy people at this past weekend’s San Diego Comic Con, so here’s some massively random thoughts from a probably senile old fart.
Remember the old Batman villain Doctor Double-X? Detective Comics #261, November 1958? The idea was, this guy Doctor X could split into two villains, the second known as Doctor Double-X. Okay, he wasn’t one of your better villains. But now that I think of it – and Crom knows why I was thinking of it – when he split into Doctor Double-X, shouldn’t Doctor Double-X have been a woman?
Back when the Chicago Tribune was still running Lee Falk’s The Phantom, their feature editor told me the strip ranked first among black males. I like The Phantom, but let’s face it: the story is about 21 generations of white men who rule (they each sat on a throne) Africa and the black natives who think he is really one 400 year old man. Was there a severe self-image problem amongst those polled, or what?
You probably remember Marvel Comics’ adaptation of the Planet of the Apes. What you might not know is that what you may have read from Marvel was not their original adaptation. They did the story, printed it and received a few untrimmed copies from the printer. Only then did it come to Marvel’s attention that star Charlton Heston had approval rights to all depictions. Marvel trashed the print run, made the appropriate changes, and went back to press. But at least one of those untrimmed, uncollated copies still exists. It’s not noted in the Overstreet Guide (at least not volume 35, the one closest to me). I wonder what it’s worth on the collector’s market?
Back in the height of the alternate / silver foil / prism / wacky numbering fad (as opposed to today’s alternate / pencil cover / second-printing cover fad), Mike Grell and I wanted to publish a special issue of Shaman’s Tears between issues 3 and 4. It would have been called Shaman’s Tears #π, and it would have been printed on bubble gum stock. We were overruled. Within a year or so, Marvel licensed their comics out to be printed on bubble gum.
Why is George W. Bush considered a Texan? Because he was governor of Texas? Okay, but he was born in New Haven, Connecticut, attended Yale University (as a double-legacy) in New Haven Connecticut, his grandfather was U.S. senator from Connecticut, his family headquarters in Maine, and he was busted for DUI in Maine in 1976. Maybe because Bush failed to win either Connecticut or Maine in both 2000 and 2004. Was it their way of disavowing the expatriated New Englander?
Speaking of 1950s Batman villains, did you know that both Doctor Doom and Thor were the names of Batman villains before Marvel got back in the super-hero racket?
Did you know that artist extraordinaire George Pérez is also an actor? I’m not referring to his great work at A.C.T.O.R., now known as the Heroes Initiative. I mean “actor,” as in: he played Li’l Abner and Daddy Warbucks, separately, on stage.
Underground comix god Robert Crumb started out as cartoonist Stan Lynde’s assistant. Lynde created the classic comic strips Rick O’Shay and Latigo, and, believe me, one does not associate the type of stuff Crumb does with the type of work done by Lynde. But Stan thinks it’s real funny.
Will Eisner liked Bob Kane. To be fair, about 15 years ago I had a backyard barbecue and a lot of old-timer cartoonists were invited. For obvious reasons, I won’t rat out who attended. For me and my fellow baby boomer fanboys, the highlight was when the old-timers got into a discussion about who was the bigger asshole: Bob Kane or Al Capp. Al won. Hands down. And the seas parted.
Well, my plane from San Diego should be in about now. I gotta go pick myself up.
Mike Gold is editor-in-chief of ComicMix.
Thanks to the late, great Syndey J. Harris (Google him; you’ll be glad you did) and the living David Letterman’s writing staff for the concept. Artwork copyright whenever by their respective legitimate owners. All Rights Reserved.