Filling The Big Shoes, by Mike Gold

Mike Gold

ComicMix's award-winning and spectacularly shy editor-in-chief Mike Gold also performs the weekly two-hour Weird Sounds Inside The Gold Mind ass-kicking rock, blues and blather radio show on The Point, and on iNetRadio, (search: Hit Oldies) every Sunday at 7:00 PM Eastern, rebroadcast three times during the week – check above for times and on-demand streaming information.

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14 Responses

  1. mike weber says:

    It's noteworthy that Kitchen Sink's "New Adventures of the Spirit" came out some time before Eisner's death, so apparently he relented edventually. (And further worth noting that "Last Night I Dreamed of Dr Cobra" by Alan Moore and i-forget-who is, in my opinion, the single best "Spirit" story i have ever read – even better than Eisner's own favourite, "Gerhard Shnobble, the Man Who Could Fly"…)To be honest, my biggest gripe with the new "Spirit" issues was radical changes in established characters – specifically Silk Satin, who was made virtually the diametric opposite of Eisner's original – small, compact, blonde, mother of a child who had died, CIA agent vs. tall, almost "amazonian" brunette with a child definitely alive, international adventuress/insurance company troubleshooter.My reaction whenever that sort of thing happens – usually in a movie "adaptation" – is "If you wanted a completely different character, why didn't you take one small additional step and give them a different name, too?"(Of course, putting the Spirit and Sand Saref in bed struck a false note for me, and i reallt thought that giving P'Gell a backstory was unnecessary, at least…)While i may sound as if i have nothing but complaints, it's just that the things that jarred like that jarred *hard*, and the Spirit is special for me.Haven't been able to get to my comic shop in a while, but i am lookiong forward to the Aragones/Evanier/Ploog "Spirit" with bated breath. (Nice to see Mike Ploog's name again on a comic from a major publisher, too.)

  2. John Ostrander says:

    I would point out that the character in Bloody Bess who says, "My words shall live forever. . ." immediately has his throat cut by another character who disdainfully replies, "Your WORDS."I think there's no hard and fast rule on the continuation of a series. No one else has done PEANUTS as a strip since Charles Schultz passed away. OTOH, I've worked and re-worked any number of characters and/or concepts long after their originators left. Sometimes not so long — my first big comics job was following Mike Grell on STARSLAYER. I seem to remember you (as my editor) reminding me at the time that if Iron Mike didn't care for what I did he would let me know AND that he had more guns than some third world countries.I'd be more leery of further SPIRIT stories is Eisner himself hadn't opened it up some years ago. Tom Mandrake and I were among those at the time who were tapped to do a SPIRIT pastiche. Since Mr. Eisner gave his permission and blessing for further SPIRIT adventures, who am I to quibble with that decision? And i have certainly benefitted from George Lucas' decision to let others play in his STAR WARS sandbox.Where the creator doesn't own the copyright and/or trademark, I think it's a given there will be more stories on a given character. If the creator, however, DOES own the property and they DON'T want further exploitation/exploration of that character, I think that should also be their right. I'm sorry that CALVIN AND HOBBES was taken off the market but I certainly don't question his right to do so. And perhaps its better that way. Like I said, I don't think there's a standard rule.

  3. Mike Gold says:

    "I would point out that the character in Bloody Bess who says, 'My words shall live forever. . .' immediately has his throat cut by another character who disdainfully replies, 'Your WORDS.'"Indeed. But there was a performance where YOU played the writer hanging upside down from the yardarm, with his throat about to be slit by the pirate, as played by William J Norris, your co-writer. And on THAT occasion, you said "My words shall live forever" and your co-writer started sawing at your throat, muttering "Your words? YOUR words, you FAT turkey?" One of the finest moments on stage. I still want to adapt Bloody Bess to comics. And thanks for the set-up.

  4. Rick Oliver says:

    The only time I ever liked Dick Tracy was when they went to the moon. And Chet was basically right about two-way wrist radios.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Chet was right about a whole lotta stuff — Dick Tracy was one of the first (some say the first) ongoing police procedurals, and he was way ahead on a great many technological advances, not to mention the trench coat. But the early sixties he invented the flying magnetic police bucket and then he took Dick Tracy to the moon. That's pretty wacky for a police procedural. Although it might get Law & Order another season…

      • Rick Oliver says:

        I loved those anti-gravity buckets. I wanted one so bad. Where's my damn flying car or personal jet pack? This is not the future I signed up for — and the problem with those darn wrist radios is people keep calling you all the time.

        • Mike Gold says:

          Will you settle for a Segway? You can race the Chicago Police through Grant Park.By the way, the Segway was invented by Dale Kamen, son of the classic EC horror artist Jack Kamen. I love that.

          • Marilee J. Layman says:

            Dean Kamen also invented the iBot, which I would like. I'm going to start whining at the doctors again. I want to be able to go to museums and fairs and maybe even malls. It would make things a lot easier if I could cross grass or gravel.

  5. Alan Coil says:

    Darwyn Cooke was signed to do the 1st 2 years of The Spirit. He did 10 issues. I am SO angry about that, but not angry at him, if that makes sense. Today's market is essentially slanted toward drooling knuckledraggers. A pox on them, I say. Give me quality. The perfect example is the movie Independence Day. I tried to watch it, found it totally lacking, yet several acquaintances tell me how great it is. Blechh. Gimme quality, dammit.

    • John Ostrander says:

      Don't get me started on INDEPENDENCE DAY. That film is so many layers of stupid I couldn't plumb them all. I had friends try to tell me to just put my mind in netral and relax — it was just a popcorn movie. I did try. It wouldn't let me. It defied my willing suspension of disbelief. So did the second ZORRO movie with Antonio Banderas. And the GODZILLA remake with Matthew Broderick. This is from the guy who sat through JESUS CHRIST, VAMPIRE HUNTER.

  6. Marilee J. Layman says:

    Apparently comics are better at continuing with a different artist than books are. I can't think of a series of SF books that's been continued by anybody other than the author that's any good. (That doesn't mean some of them aren't bestsellers.)

    • Mike Gold says:

      I can think of one example in the pulps, but it's a doozy: The Spider. R.T.M. Scott's initial stories were quite good, but Norvell Page's were far superior. Ernie Tepperman and Wayne Rogers had some really solid contributions. Great stuff.

  7. Darwyn says:

    Great discussion. I will always bear the damage of trying to do what I hoped would endear Will's creation to a new generation and I have many sleepless nights about my tinkering.If I may. though—I did always try to leave a certain 'out' for the longtime fan. For example, P'Gell is the world's most famous seductress. That whole story she gave Denny could have been a total pile. Silk was my favorite of them all. The readers as well. Wildstorm actually wanted to do a spin-off mini with her solo. I never have felt the exact occupation, nationality, or even race of a character was sacrosanct…I look for the core of the personality as constructed by the creator. Satin and Spirit were competitive equals, in the tradition of Tracy and Hepburn and that was the key to her for me. And who's to say her child is dead? She certainly thinks she is, but we had a second year of stories that we never got to tell.This is offered less as a defense and more an explanation. With something this monumental it is always going to be a roll of the dice. A final note- Hello Mr. Ostrander. I'm just a longtime fan that would like to say hi.Best regards,Darwyn

    • MARK WHEATLEY says:

      For my money and enjoyment, Darwyn, you need no defense. Your SPIRIT issues were top quality entertainment. The stories were fun and the art and storytelling was frighteningly good. And as far as I'm concerned I was reading your SPIRIT not Eisner's SPIRIT. No one could ever take Eisner's SPIRIT away from us (unless they burned a lot of comics). The only thing I don't like is that we will not be seeing your second year on the SPIRIT. But I have no doubt that I'll enjoy your next project, no matter what it is.