Secret Histories1 of 35Today, Newsarama continues our series of little known facts about comic books, highlighting bits of trivia that paint well-known creators in a brand new light.
And after this, go back to Part 1 of Newsarama's Little-Known Facts about Comic Books.
672 of 35Artist and one-time Valiant Comics Vice President Bob Layton used to refer to the young artists in the Valiant bullpen as “The Knobs” because he would turn them whichever way he needed to teach them. He also used to ink at the Valiant office while wearing a three-piece suit!
663 of 35Other Valiant artists would swing by the Valiant bullpen, including veteran Steve Ditko. Maria Lapham, wife of artist David Lapham, would play the “proper little lady” when Ditko would show, as Ditko was from an earlier era, and she got a kick outta doing it.
Once, Ditko showed up, and she cheerily greeted him, “Hello, Mr. Ditko! Can I get you a cup of coffee?”
He stared back at her and said quietly, “No. Production before consumption.”
Ditko sat down, and wordlessly started drawing. After several hours, not uttering a peep, he finished a page. He got up, handed it off to production, and looked toward Maria. “I’ll take that cup of coffee now,” he said.
654 of 35Steve Ditko was slated to draw a “Batman: Black and White” back-up story in Batman: Gotham Knights #7 written by John Arcudi. But when he got the script, which featured Batman fighting a motorcycle gang, he refused, stating only, “Bikers are a negative element in society.” John Buscema eventually drew the story.
645 of 352009’s El Diablo #6 is said to be the worst-selling DC Universe comic of all time at 3997 copies. 1984’s Jemm, Son of Saturn #10 was sold returnable and is reputed to have had a 90% return rate, but its initial print run was well above 40,000 copies.
There have been Wildstorm and Vertigo comic books that have sold less at DC, but El Diablo #6 remains the worst selling DCU comic of all time.
636 of 35Former Marvel President Terry Stewart went on to become the CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
627 of 35Current Disney CEO Bob Iger’s great uncle was cartoonist Jerry Iger, Will Eisner’s business partner and co-founder of the Eisner-Iger Studio.
618 of 35Will Eisner’s The Dreamer graphic novel contains many fictional interpretations of real people from the Eisner-Iger Studio and the comic book world of the 1940s. Some include:
Bill Eyron = Will Eisner
Jimmy Samson = Jerry Iger
Lew Sharpe = Lou Fine
Gar Tooth = George Tuska
Jack King = Jack Kirby
Ken Corn = Bob Kane
Donald Harrifield = Harry Donnenfeld
609 of 35Chew was turned down by Vertigo - twice! - before matriculating to Image Comics, where it enjoyed a 60-issue run.
5910 of 35Fables was originally conceived of as only a five-issue series. It went on to run for 150 issues, and spawned ten spinoffs.
5811 of 35DC Comics’ highest starting page rate for pencils plus inks was given to Walter Simonson in 1972 for his DC debut. Simonson got $40 a page for a story in Weird War Tales #10.
5712 of 35Mike Grell beat Simonson’s starting mark with $43/page for his debut, a seven-page Aquaman story in DC’s Adventure Comics #435. Editor Joe Orlando liked the job, and immediately bumped Grell up to $45/page.
5613 of 35Writer Mark Millar inked Joe Quesada’s “Sucker” piece in 2004’s The Wanted Dossier from Top Cow Productions. It took him two hours, 50 minutes.
5514 of 35Writer Mark Millar is a devout and practicing Catholic and briefly considered the priesthood as a boy. In his late 20s, he served as a Eucharistic minister for three years, dispensing Communion during Mass under supervision of a priest and taking it to the sick and infirm who were too frail to attend church.
5415 of 35On April 13, 2005, legendary editor and artist Dick Giordano said, “I've had at least one Rob Roy to drink every day for the last 40 years. It's kinda become my signature drink.”
That’s 14,600 Rob Roys!
5316 of 35Prior to its publication in 2005, WildStorm editor Scott Dunbier visited Alan Moore in England, where Moore drew out a mock-up of Promethea #32 (the final issue) on his floor to show him how the mega-poster, all-pages-fit-together issue would work once series artist J.H. Williams III illustrated it. Dunbier was concerned about the logistics of it until they did a print test, and all worked out.
5217 of 35On March 18, 2002, Stan Lee bought Marvel stock. The stock was at $7.48, and Stan figured it wasn’t going to get any lower. When Disney bought Marvel, Stan Lee made a 4x multiple on his investment and was given a partial share of Disney stock for each Marvel share he owned – each of which would be worth the equivalent of $78.80 today.
5118 of 35The Sam Kieth Heroes piece auctioned as part of Marvel’s September 11 Heroes benefit auction was so popular that three people commissioned Sam Kieth to do the exact same piece for them. One of them was Joe Quesada.
5019 of 35Kurt Busiek got a cease-and-desist letter from the Houston Astros over Astro City, and Christian Gossett once got similar from Heineken for The Red Star, as Heineken’s logo is a red star.
Both sent copies to their lawyers and continued publishing as-is, natch.
4920 of 35Back in the days of Wizard: The Comics Magazine magazine, fan art contests were won by current pros including Leinil Yu, Paolo Rivera and Frank Cho.
4821 of 35The advertising revenue from Wizard: The Comics Magazine #141, June 2003, was $125,056.25.
4722 of 35In 2005, comic artist Dave Johnson was the background/vehicle designer on Cartoon Network’s Justice League cartoon. He moved on to design and produce the Ben 10 cartoon, and taking his place, his office, his phone number and even exact freakin’ chair was…comic artist Jeff Johnson.
A change of a first name only!
4623 of 35Mark Waid started as an editor at DC Comics in 1987, just after editor E. Nelson Bridwell died. He got Bridwell’s old office, old desk, and the shadowlike stain on the back of the office door where Bridwell hung his coat every day. DC staffers called it “The Shroud of Nelson.”
4524 of 35Bettie Page: Queen of the Nile and Rascals in Paradise artist Jim Silke also wrote more than 40 movie screenplays including King Solomon’s Mines, Revenge of the Ninja, and The Barbarians.
4425 of 35When Alex Ross did the 2002 Academy Awards poster art, he prepared two versions: One with a blue background, and another with an American flag background. The Academy went with the blue.
4326 of 35Writer Kevin Smith bought all the Green Arrow cover originals from his 15-issue run from artist Matt Wagner.
4227 of 35In February 2002, Dave Johnson auctioned off the 100 Bullets #17 cover to help pay his friend’s dog’s vet bills. It sold for $785.50. The winning bidder? Avengers artist Kieron Dwyer.
4128 of 35In 2002, Copies of Kieron Dwyer’s LCD sent to customers ordering from Texas prisons were rejected by the Texas penal system, having been found to be “detrimental to prisoner’s rehabilitation because it would encourage deviated criminal sexual behavior.”
4029 of 35Longtime Star Trek artist Gordon Purcell was a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire in October, 2005…and won $50,000! He was also a Jeopardy! contestant, but lost to a three-day winner.
3930 of 35Artist Christian Gossett and actor Cuba Gooding Jr. were childhood friends. They once won $1000 when they did a duet version of “The Show” by Doug E. Fresh on Puttin’ On the Hits, a 1980s lip-sync TV show.
3831 of 35George Pérez has had only two jobs in his life: Bank teller and comic creator. Interestingly enough, the bank he worked at was at Rockefeller Center in New York, right across the street from the Warner Communications building where DC Comics’ offices were located at the time!
3732 of 35George Pérez has always kept track of characters he's asked to do sketches of at conventions. Wonder Woman is his top request. Characters he’s only been asked to draw once include Dogpool, and famed Mexican wrestler Mil Máscaras.
3633 of 35In 2002 when DC Comics did Batman: The 10 Cent Adventure, 16 comic stores ordered 10,000 or more copies.
3534 of 35When Marvel responded with a nine-cent Fantastic Four #60, retailer Mike Banks of Samurai Comics in Phoenix, Az. slapped a store sticker with address and phone number on more than 1000 issues and gave them to a local Dominos Pizza to be delivered free with order. It was great cheap advertising that got him some new customers.
And after this, go back to Part 1 of Newsarama's Little-Known Facts about Comic Books.
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