In Today’s Mail

I love receiving mail. Most days, we toss the vast majority of it since it’s all junk. There are the numerous magazines and bills but rarely are there surprises.

Today, there was a surprise.

The Comics Journal has begun mining their past for trade and hardcover collections of themed subjects. Most are very handsome and worth a look. Volume six in The Comics Journal Library is entitled The Writers and two copies of the book were in a box when I brought the mail in.

A glance at the cover shows that some of the biggest names of the 1970s and 1980s are interviewed in one place – this back in the day when TCJ actually covered mainstream comics on a regular basis. While the most commercial interview included is the one with Harlan Ellison (since he and the magazine got sued after he complimented a comics writer but the writer took umbrage at the exact phrase), the one that means the most to me is the Len Wein conversation.

This interview closes the book, and was conducted by me in 1985 when Len was still editing titles at DC and just coming off his aborted run as writer/editor of Green Lantern. In flipping through it, I see we were comfortable with one another but the questions weren’t terribly meaningful or insightful. Len can be a glib speaker, falling back on practiced phrases, when not poked and prodded. I wish the introductions to each interview would have allowed these to be placed in perspective, but hey, like I said, the entire package was a pleasant surprise.

For those interested in hearing the “voices from the re-birth of American comic books, 1975-1985” and what was on the minds of Chris Claremont, Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber, Archie Goodwin, Alan Moore, Denny O’Neil, Marv Wolfman, Harlan and Len can find the book here.

2 comments

  • I saw that book in the comic store a few weeks ago, but it looked rather expensive for its size. Now that I know that you conducted the interview, maybe I’ll use one of my New England Comics birthday coupons towards it.

  • Bob, now that the Comics Journal is publishing collected editions of their previous work, do you think they might have a place for someone with your experience in producing trade paperbacks and hardcovers?