Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Number 1045

A heretofore untold story, now told

Here's a story I have never told publicly. In 1962, at age 15, I wrote DC editor Julius Schwartz a suck-up letter. I told him he was my favorite comic book editor, I loved all his comic books, and hoped someday to write for him. Could I please get a look at a script to see how it's done? After I sent the letter I told Big Pappy, thinking he'd congratulate me for my cleverness. He snorted, "He'll see right through that, boy. Your letter will just get thrown away." I burned crimson with the realization that Big Pappy was right. I had humiliated myself and my name would be forever branded onto Julius Schwartz's brain as a brown-noser looking for a freebie.

A couple of weeks later I got a Gardner Fox Hawkman script in the mail, inscribed by Julie himself. I took it to Big Pappy and, gloating, showed him. He didn't react as I expected. He just shrugged. Oh well. I got what I wanted. While still embarrassed by my ploy to get it, it's time to show you what Mr. Schwartz sent me nearly 50 years ago. (When I scanned it I removed my name.)

Julie rewrote a lot of Fox's captions and dialogue. He was the editor, so he edited. The only copy of the finished story I now have, beautifully drawn by Joe Kubert, is in the DC Hawkman Archive, so I scanned it from that volume. I'm not showing you the script and finished product page-by-page for comparison, but take it from me: it was published word-for-word from the Fox/Schwartz script.

P.S. I never submitted a script to Julius Schwartz or any other comic book editor. Big Pappy saw what Mr. Schwartz apparently didn't: I was just a brown-noser looking for a freebie!

From The Brave and the Bold #44, 1962:


Chuck Wells said...

That's a great story from your early years and of course, you're not to be blamed for youthful exuberance since it all worked out for the best.

Not the part about having never submitted a script though, since you might have ended up as the greatest the media ever saw. We'll never know!

However that truly lovely Kubert Hawkman tale really makes me angry. It is so wonderful, and he is such a cool character when depicted properly, it just riles me up at all of the ridiculous spins that the hero from Thanagar has endured in recent decades by lesser talents.

Odyzeus! said...

This is incredible! I don't think I've ever seen a comics script from this era - and post annotation to boot!

Thanks, Pappy!

Kirk said...

I was curious so did some research. There is indeed such a thing as fulgurite. As Hawkman said, it's formed by lightening and is sometimes called petrified lightening. I never heard of it before reading this story. Must have been on that geology quiz I flunked in the 9th grade.

Pappy said...

Kirk, there was a pride with Julius Schwartz to show real science facts in these stories.

Chuck, I would have made a really crappy scripter. The discipline I've forced myself to have in order to produce Pappy's is something I've learned late in life. Had I worked in comic books in any capacity I would have been living constantly with the specter of the Dreaded Deadline Doom.