Marvel Silver Age Legend & Indy Comics Pioneer 'Fabulous' Flo Steinberg Has Passed Away

Flo Steinberg
Flo Steinberg
Credit: Herb Trimpe
Flo Steinberg
Flo Steinberg
Credit: Marie Severin

Florence “Flo” Steinberg, a renowned figure from the Marvel Bullpen and pioneer of independent comics, passed away on Sunday, July 23, 2017. Her death was reported by longtime friend and comics creator Larry Hama through an announcement on his Facebook page.

"I am grieved to report that 'Fabulous' Flo Steinberg passed away this morning after complications from a brain aneurism and metastatic lung cancer. She will be interred at the Jewish cemetery in Kerhonkson NY. We are making plans for a memorial in September or October. I will update on this page." 

Steinberg achieved fan recognition in the Silver Age of Marvel Comics as the “Girl Friday” to Stan Lee, where she was often referred to as “Fabulous Flo.” Her presence was deeply felt at Marvel Comics both behind the scenes and on the page, where she provided humorous answers to the fan mail sent in and the letters column pages for Marvel books, along with copy for the “Merry Marvel Marching Society” fan club. As Marvel’s only other full-time staffer along with Lee, Steinberg was in many ways responsible for coordinating the company during a period that would become known as the “Silver Age” of comics, and is credited with helping create the dialogue with the fans that became part of the company’s persona.

Credit: Jack Kirby (Marvel Comics)

As Marvel grew, Steinberg became a favorite figure of many staffers and freelancers, renowned for her kind and supportive personality. She left the company in 1968, citing an overwhelming workload. She was associated enough with the Silver Age of Marvel that she was featured as the Invisible Girl in a Jack Kirby-drawn story in What If? #11 depicting the Silver Age Marvel Bullpen as the Fantastic Four.

Though less recognized for this work than her time at Marvel, Steinberg was also a key figure in the independent comics scene, launching what many consider to be the link between “underground” comics and modern-day “alternative comix” with the 1975 one-shot Big Apple Comix. Featuring work by such luminaries as Neal Adams, Wally Wood, Mike Ploog, and Marie Severin, Big Apple Comix broke ground in employing “mainstream” comics creators in stories featuring more sexual and real-world elements than most typical fare of the time.

Steinberg later returned to Marvel as a proofreader, and maintained a strong reputation among comics fans and professionals for the rest of her life, often contributing to histories of Marvel Comics.

Sunday afternoon, Marvel released the following statement and this tribute.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear of Flo Steinberg’s passing and send our deepest condolences to her friends and family. Flo has always been the heart of Marvel and a legend in her own right. She will be forever missed and always loved by all of us here at Marvel.”

According to Hama, a memorial for her is being put together in New York City for September or October.

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