Back to School

Several weeks back I answered the phone.

�Is this Bob Greenberger?�

�Yes.�

�You may not remember me, but my name is Camille Murphy and I used to work for you at Marvel.�

I�m only 46, a little early for me to start forgetting the names of people who worked for me four years ago. Camille, it turns out, did some freelance work after we were both laid off by Bill Jemas. She has been also teaching design and other topics at the Katherine Gibbs School in mid-town Manhattan. However, she missed publication design and had applied for a job at Simon & Schuster and they wanted to speak to someone from her Marvel days.

I subsequently spoke to several people, extolling Camille�s design virtues and work habits. For fans of Marvel�s Masterworks series, let it be known that it was Camille who did the redesign currently in use (the black with silver ink). She spent weeks coming up with options that would restore some sense of weight to the books after I summarily rejected the Comicraft redesign. Jemas tweaked Camille�s ideas a lot but the final version is pretty much all Camille and she should be proud of it. Anyway, she got the job at S&S, working on their Nickelodeon line of kids� books.

While playing catch up, Camille invited me to speak to her classes, which I did yesterday.

I first spoke with her web design class and more than half the people in the room were comic fans, one going so far as to wear a Superman shirt for the day. We talked about web-based comics but most were curious how comics were actually put together and where ideas for new characters came from. The second class was on the History of Media so I spent the first several minutes walking them through the invention of the color Sunday comics section to Action Comics #1 and then repeated the information on new characters and job opportunities. They were filled with questions and seemed attentive which was nice.

And it�s always good to see good things happen to good people so with luck S&S will be a very good step for Camille.

(Side note: two weeks ago, I read an item that Frank Fochetta had been promoted over at S&S in their Sales area. Frank was one of the people to hire me at Marvel and then left two months later. I sent him a congratulatory note that day only to run into him in the concourse under Rockefeller Center that night. So I guess S&S is a good place to be for ex-Marvel people.)

3 comments

  • If you had a hand in rejecting the Comicraft redesign on the Marvel Masterworks series, I applaud you. It’s not that the design was bad; it just looked like everything else with the Comicraft stamp on it. I suppose people have different ideas about how seriously you should treat this stuff, but I personally think it needs a sort of timeless quality. One of the ideas I always thought was inherent in reprinting this material in a high quality format was that it was meant to last a long time, unlike the original format these comics were presented in. The Comicraft redesign seemed to me to be a look that would clearly mark itself of the era it was produced in. To a certain extent of course, the original Masterworks design now looks dated itself, and definitely got off track when they changed that marble background to garish pinks, yellows, etc. And I think the latest redesign is a bit too generic. But I think ultimately that’s probably better than the tongue-in-cheek retro and garish Comicraft redesign. I think with these collections, the material should just speak for itself. The idea should just be to have a permanent copy of this stuff you can keep and read forever, not to ogle at the jacket it comes in.

  • Who else is over at S&S from Marvel? There’s Margaret Clark, of course… Marco’s from DC… Joe Illidge was at S&S, then went to DC… I was at DC, then worked at S&S Interactive a number of years later…

  • I just came across this post and thought I’d reply and say that Bob is an amazing public speaker. (And he was a great boss, back at Marvel) My students loved him when he came to talk. He was very informative and charming. Bob could go on a college tour lecturing on the comic book industry.

    I also really appreciate his recommendation to S&S. I’ve been here at Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon for a month now, and I love it! The people are great and the work is varied and interesting. I’m getting to work on books and novelty items like puppets, lift-a-flaps, stickers and paperdolls for the Dora the Explorer, Totally Spies, Spongebob & All Grown Up licenses. So, hopefuly you’ll all get to see my work in stores again soon.