Ed Summer, the man who opened one of America’s first comic book stores and went on to a varied and significant media career, died Thursday from cancer.
A graduate of the New York University School of the Arts (his classmates included Oliver Stone, Jonathan Kaplan and Alan Arkush), Summer opened the Supersnipe Comic Book Emporium on Manhattan’s upper east side in 1971. The store was named after the Street and Smith comic book character who owned more comic books than anybody else in the world. In the late 1970s he opened a comic art gallery, also one of the first, near his store. His friend George Lucas was an investor.
Moving on to motion pictures, Ed wrote or co-wrote Conan the Barbarian (and also was associate producer), Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons for Disney, and Shinsha (a anime take on Little Nemo). He was marketing and script consultant for Star Wars: A New Hope and advised Lucasfilm Ltd on numerous projects over the years.
Summer also wrote comics for Gold Key, DC and Marvel and he wrote numerous articles for a wide variety of magazines, including Time, Skeptical Inquirer (a science magazine) and Video Watchdog. He also edited and published Walt Disney’s Uncle $crooge McDuck: His Life and Times, one of the first detailed retrospectives on the work of master storyteller Carl Barks, and was an adjunct professor at New York’s School of Visual Arts.
And that just scratches the surface of Ed’s vast media career.
A native of Buffalo New York, In 2005 Ed started the Buffalo International Film Festival, one of his proudest achievements. He told ComicMix’s Martha Thomases he did it not only to bring some tourism to his hometown, but also because there were so many fabulous old movie palaces there. The Festival continues to this day.
Ed truly loved the movies.