Marvel Millie and Me
So the third New York Comic Con is one for the annals and I have stopped twitching.
It was, at its Saturday afternoon height, a cauldron of mad, chaotic energy. (And wasn’t it dangerous? Couldn’t all that energy, confined and concentrated by four walls, affect the hearts of atoms and cause the forces that bind them together to disintegrate us all into quarks that would join the neutrinos in spewing through the universe?) That’s okay, for me, in small doses, and maybe in large doses for you, especially if you’re young and new to the megacon scene.
I won’t bother describing the event for you. If you frequent this site, you probably already have all pertinent information. Instead, a tiny, personal note:
Every one of the panels on which I sat was interesting and, I was happy to see, well-attended, which hasn’t always been the case in huge cons, where it sometimes seems that the exchange of currency is more important than honoring and discussing and learning about an art form. But the absolute, stone, hands-down high point came early, on Friday night, when I shared a stage with Peter Sanderson, who moderated, and Gary Freidrich, Joe Sinnott, and Stan Goldberg. Except for Peter, we were all veterans of Marvel’s early days, before the company became Marvel Entertainment and attached its logo to vastly expensive motion pictures, soon to play at a multiplex near you, back when it just published comic books – all kinds of comic books, not just the superhero kind – and there were no multiplexes in which to show ridiculously costly films, even if such films had existed.
I hadn’t seen Stan in…oh, say, forty years? Back in the day, he was my first collaborator. We did Modeling With Millie, Millie The Model and, I think, Patsy & Hedy. Girls On The Go Go; Stan’s pictures, my words. These titles were aimed at girl children, a group to which I have never belonged, and the ones with “Millie” in the title concerned, among other things, the world of fashion, which I have long believed to be one of mankind’s more egregious follies. I can’t say I was delighted with the chance to script these books.
Not then. Now? Call me grateful. The stories were simple, as were the characterizations, and there was little continuity to fret about: keep names and jobs and relationships straight, and you were pretty much all the way home. Doing these scripts gave me an opportunity not many young comics writers have nowadays, the opportunity to learn the ABCs of the craft. Faultfinding was apparently not on the readers’ radar and, frankly, nobody in the business seemed to be paying much attention to them. So I could make my beginner’s mistakes and maybe be told about them, with no great consequences.
Stan and I had a pleasant little visit and I did something I never expected to do – reminisce about good ol’ modelin’ Millie.
RECOMMENDED READING: Writing for Comics With Peter David.
Storyteller / teacher Dennis O’Neil exposes his mind every week here on ComicMix.