Monday, December 15, 2014

“Batman ’66: The Lost Episode” and Bill Finger

Legendary Batman (and the Outsiders) writer/Bill Finger advocate Mike W. Barr wrote in with an interesting observation:
At least the climax of the recently published Batman ’66: The Lost Episode—adapting a Two-Face story from a treatment by Harlan Ellison in which Batman compels Two-Face to surrender by substituting a flawed duplicate of Two-Face’s lucky coin—was foreshadowed by Finger’s script to “The New Crimes of Two-Face!” from Batman #68 (12/51-1/52), in which Batman defeats Two-Face by exactly the same method.

Mike also noted that this story has been reprinted in the following:
  • Batman Annual #3 (1961)
  • Batman From the Thirties to the Seventies (Crown, 10/71)
  • DC Comics Classic Library: The Batman Annuals (DC, 4/09)

from Son of the Demon, written by Mike;
too bad Bob is not here to see that Bill
is no longer forgotten...too bad Bill is not,
either... 

Thank you to Michael Savene for the scan.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Trivial Pursuit perpetuates the Nazis-banned-Superman myth

In 2008, both in Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and here, I addressed the recurring claim that Hitler or his Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels personally indicted and banned Superman at a Nazi meeting. 

It turns up in sources including Superman at Fifty (1988; page 32), Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones (2004; page 162), and Jerry Robinson’s essay in the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum exhibition catalog Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero—The Golden Age of Comic Books 1938-1950 (2004; page 21).

However, the Nazis were famously fanatical about documentation and we haven’t found mention of this incident in their—or any other—records. So believable though it may be, there is no known proof that it really happened. Researchers including Dwight Decker determined a likely source of what we must consider a myth.

I learned recently that Trivial Pursuit (Genus 5 edition) isn’t helping:



Friday, December 5, 2014

Student research challenge: find the oldest house on your street

Teachers tend to love when authors who visit their schools excite students about research. It’s one thing to say research is adventure and quite another to show that…but it’s not always easy for teachers to come up with effective, age-suitable examples.

My school visit presentations emphasize the thrill of primary research, focusing on the detective work I did to write Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman. This involved everything from tracking down Bill Finger’s son Fred’s 1992 settlement of estate document at a New York surrogate’s court to cold-calling everyone in Florida with the last name “Finger”—not the kind of things most elementary students can or should be doing.

So how to make primary research accessible to young people?

Doing is believing, so I suggest challenging them to determine which house or building on their street is the oldest. It’s localized and limited (well, depending on how long any particular street is), so in most cases, it’s an assignment that young researchers can embrace. A street’s oldest house is not information a Google search will provide, so it will require them to think creatively. How else can they find out the answer?

Teachers, if you put this challenge to your students, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear some stories.

Monday, December 1, 2014

“Holding Kryptonite: Truth, Justice, and America’s First Superhero”

To paraphrase the back cover of the 2014 self-published book Holding Kryptonite by Lauren Agostino and A.L. Newberg: “In 1997, a young law firm assistant stumbled on a secret cache from Superman’s creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. These original documents, private correspondence, legal papers, and artwork expose the muted history of the relationships of the early Superman family.”


In other words, this is a study of Jerry and Joe—particularly Jerry—that we haven’t seen before. Not even close. The authors reproduce a fascinating series of letters in order from 1937 to 1947, which reveals to an unmatched degree just how noodgy—whether justified or not—Jerry was, and just how much this exasperated Jack Liebowitz, co-owner of National Allied Publications (later DC Comics).

Naturally I’m interested in any book about Siegel and Shuster, but this one struck me on another level. Lauren was neither a more-than-casual Superman fan nor a writer before she discovered this discarded collection of materials. But she took the time to read it and was inspired to not only share it but also do additional research to expand on it. An interview with Lauren and A.L. is below, but first…

I took notes as I read:

page xv – For Jerry’s retyped letters, the authors used the font that came close to matching Jerry’s typewriter, a Royal Portable Quiet Deluxe. Nice touch.

14
$6 to draw a cover of Action Comics!

18 – Upon reading the 1938 Jerry letter here, I noted “neither dumb nor greedy.” (Though as Jerry’s frustration mounts over the coming years, a lack of clarity—and eventually a sense of desperation—begins to seep into his correspondence.)

21 – Jack to Jerry: “If I thought for a moment that our magazine depended on your strip…” Perhaps it was too early to see this, but within a year of debuting, it was clear to anyone paying attention that
Action very much depended on Superman. Kids asked not for Action but for the comic “with Superman in it.”

Also on 21, in response to Jerry stating (top of page 18) that Superman was the most popular feature in
Action, Jack cites that while Superman got 30% of the votes in a reader poll, each of the remaining characters got between 15% and 25%. In other words, Superman did not win by a landslide. (However, this is a bit manipulative on Jack’s part—Superman was still the favorite, which is all Jerry said.)

25 (and subsequent chapter-ending pages) – I see the point in comparing Jerry and Joe’s salaries to the national average, but on one level that’s unfair. Jerry was not asking to be paid more than anyone else; he was simply asking to be paid what he felt he and Joe deserved based on the success of their creation.

30 – I don’t think I knew that the assistant artists were paid solely from Joe’s half.

34 – I don’t think I knew that Jerry and Joe got a 5% royalty on commercial use.

50-51 – I wonder if anyone has tried to track down the Pauls, Cassidy and Lauretta (and other assistant artists named here and on page 162 of Super Boys). I’m sure they’re gone, but if not, they’d have some stories.

54 – There was a Superman song and Jerry wrote lyrics. Why couldn’t those have been salvaged?

By now, a pattern is clear: Jerry often makes what I feel are valid points. However, he makes them in a long-winded manner, and too often. The more resistance he got, the more he pushed. As a creator and freelancer myself, I understand.

64 – The Hitler myth again.

65 – I love that the glass pane in the door of Joe’s studio door was frosted to reduce the risk of fans walking in. I’d love to know if that ever actually happened. I will never know.

81 – Jerry signed away rights to Robotman, too! Sounds funny, but at least Robotman wasn’t a big hit…

97 – Jerry on Joe: “He seems to have developed a genius for saying the wrong things at the wrong times to the wrong people.” Ouch. A side of Jerry I wish I hadn’t seen.

98 – When Jerry and Joe collectively signed autographs for fans, Jerry said he always passed the sheet to Joe but Joe didn’t always pass it to Jerry. More ouch.

112 – They hired Winsor McCay Jr.! They considered “lending” him to Superman! Worlds almost collided.

116 – “I’m pretty sure, though, that I won’t be a civilian much longer.” Haunting, even though Jerry did not end up serving in a combat capacity.

137 – Though it’s a bit wackadoo, I love that editor Mort Weisinger (who developed a quite fearsome reputation) advises Jerry that he’s spending too much on postage. His suggestion on what to do with the extra money: “buy Junior some ice cream cones.”

Q&A with Lauren and A.L.:

Were you a Superman fan before finding these documents?

Lauren: No. Wonder Woman was my girl.
Andrew: I was a Superman fan in the way many kids were—by movie and by “legacy.”  There’s a great oral history attributed to Superman.  Generations of kids are referred to Superman to “be brave…like Superman,” “be strong…like Superman.”





Why did you decide to do a book, and how long after you found the documents?

Lauren: A book was the best medium to share my find and tell this fascinating story. It was 13 years after I found them.

Did you first try to publish the book through a traditional publisher? If so, what happened? If not, why not?


Lauren:  I explored the traditional route and chose self-publishing because it allowed me to include a lot of material that told the authentic story. 
Andrew: We wanted the control of presenting these documents as Lauren wished—“as I found them…without all the mildew and mold.”

Why did you write the book in the third person even though you, Lauren, are listed as the co-author?


Andrew: We had many versions with different structures, different story elements and dabbled with first and third and even second person. What was important and remains important to Lauren is that the reader finds these documents the way she did. Third person seemed the best POV to give the reader this opportunity.

Where did you find the annual earnings for Jerry and Joe?


Andrew: In the documents that Lauren found, the information of their annual earnings was included in the court-ordered audit that was submitted as evidence by Joe and Jerry.

What is a favorite reaction you’ve gotten on the book?


Lauren: I have had so much amazing feedback that it’s hard to pick just one. 
Andrew: My favorite reaction is from the readers who respond to me with a surprised lilt in their voice “I actually really found this interesting—and I’m not even into comics!” I do feel this book appeals to people whether they’ve read a comic or haven’t.

Have you heard from anyone whose opinion about Jerry changed after reading your book?


Andrew: I have and it is largely from people who are in the creative arts. They were unaware of the relative success that Jerry and Joe had. Yes, it is not comparable to the ledgers of DC, but relative to the industry—they were paid well. As you see from the correspondence in the book, DC knew they had a hit and kept it a hit through hard work and diligence. Many artists who read this go into it one way and come out with a different experience. Our job isn’t to make that decision; we wanted to provide the material to let people arrive at their own conclusion. As inequitable as the relationship appeared, agreements and terms were not hidden.

Have you gotten a copy of the book to the Siegel and Shuster families?


Andrew: We have not. We haven’t sent this to Detective Comics or Warner Bros. either.

What is your overall takeaway from the Siegel and Shuster story?


Lauren: This is a large chunk to an even bigger story. It’s an important one so I hope whatever people can take away is useful in their understanding. 
Andrew: Well, the toughie with that question is that whatever my takeaway is will be entirely different than someone else. It’s complicated…just like the story.

Where are the letters now? Do you plan to keep them, sell them, donate them?


Lauren: I don’t have any plans of selling them.

Are you writing another book—or planning to?


Lauren: At the moment, no. 
Andrew: When Lauren wants to share her personal journey with this material—that will be the next book I’ll write on the subject of Superman. She’s the story.

Anything you’d like to add?


Andrew: I have been introduced to a community of amazingly talented writers, researchers, and scholars on the subject of not only Superman but the entire comic industry. They continue to preserve the rich history of one of our culture’s most important exports: imagination. Through the years, no matter what was going on, to escape or re-imagine things through the comics has proved incredibly valuable; that has helped many to personally navigate tricky times. We hope that this information Lauren has generously and bravely shared will help those scholars complete a picture that has faded in some panels of the overall story. The men and women of both the creative and business side must coexist to exist. They each need recognition.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Grantland, girls, and geeks

You haven’t noticed (because why would you) that I rarely post about sports. (Tangential exception.)

However, to my surprise, sports posted about me. Or rather about sports posted about my post about girls. The site Grantland, which is apparently huge (“apparently” because I wouldn’t know), gave one of my interviews a much-appreciated shout-out.



This is where that hyperlink goes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

“Dynamite” Magazine (1974-1992)

If you grew up in the 1970s, you remember this magazine. I remember ordering an issue with Superman on the cover through the Scholastic Book Club, or maybe I had a subscription. I thought the image on that cover was this:


But no such cover exists. So I have either the image wrong or the image right but the magazine wrong. This was the Superman cover at the time (1981) that I remember getting it:


(Yay, Greatest American Hero. No, the other one.)

What I did not know till now is that Dynamite outlasted my childhood. The second-to-last cover featured Beverly Hills, 90210, a show that hit big during my college years.


Dynamite came back into my mind (and my possession) because I bought a few back issues for research for a project. One issue had an interesting line in an article about Robin Williams (RIP stranger-friend)—interesting in that you can’t imagine that line running in any children’s periodical today. I’m sure it will pop out at you:


“…pretended to put a hamster into a microwave oven!”

I also noticed several covers featured performers from shows not aimed at kids, notably Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live.



Lastly, one of the issues I got was practically nonstop with references to disco—another topic that would’ve meant little to most elementary school kids.

But then that was also the era of spotty parental supervision in the neighborhood, no bike helmets, Fluff-stuffed white sandwiches and Twinkies for lunch, and other defunct dangers for kids. What’s a little sexually charged dancing, racy humor, and animal cruelty between bites of your trans fats?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Picture books vs. children’s books

“…I have come to realise over time that I call them just that. Picture books. Not children’s books…I don’t believe they are just for children. I have met countless adults that collect picture books for themselves, and they are growing in confidence about openly admitting this in a book-signing queue. It’s not for my daughter, or a friend’s nephew. It’s for me…people who have discovered the joy of a story unfolding visually over a few dozen pages.”

—Oliver Jeffers in The Guardian, via This Picture Book Life

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My first-ever book signing

Not to be confused with my first-ever bookstore signing

The first time I signed books in public was on 11/9/96 at the Rizzoli Book Fair held at the World Trade Center. The book: The Felix Activity Book. I was with my co-author Leslie Moseley (in pink) and others from the publisher, Abbeville Press…including one (in black, looking at camera) who would become my wife.

Apologies for the goatee. And the tie.





Monday, November 3, 2014

Ally Sheedy wrote a children’s book…as a child

In 1975, Ally Sheedy’s first novel came out.

She was 13 years old.



The name on the cover is “Alexandra Elizabeth Sheedy”…but yes, it’s the Ally Sheedy who later acted in memorable films including The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire (both 1985).

The title of her story makes it seem like a cuddly picture book, but the subtitle reveals (as if it weren’t already clear) that something rather sophisticated is going on: She Was Nice to Mice: The Other Side of Elizabeth I’s Character Never Before Revealed by Previous Historians.




Apparently, the book was published on the McGraw Hill adult list. And became a bestseller.

This uncommon accomplishment landed Ally on the game show To Tell the Truth:


Here’s Ally’s priceless expression when one of the celebrity panelists said that Ally already looked like a writer:


In January 2014, I contacted Ally’s management. I expected that if I heard back at all, it would be to turn down my request for an interview about a book that goes back decades and doesn’t directly tie in to the career that made her famous. Plus I’m not exactly Rolling Stone.

But as often happens, I was wrong…and thankfully so. Ally not only agreed but was honored someone was taking an interest. And not only that.


Because the book is so personal to her, she suggested we talk on the phone or meet. She asked if I lived in New York. I don’t but if that seemed like the only way to get the interview, I probably would’ve said I did and figured it out afterward.

By chance, however, I was planning to be in New York two weeks from then, so we arranged to meet—not to do the interview itself but rather so she could get a better sense of what I was about.

We had a long, lovely afternoon chat over hot drinks while the aftermath of a snowstorm had its slushy way with the city outside. We talked a little about the book, but more about other aspects of her life—her film career, her family, her work with students, what’s next
and life in general. Not long into it, I felt we’d been friends for a while.


I considered holding off on posting this till 2015, which is the 40th anniversary of the book (as well as the 30th anniversary of the two iconic films mentioned above), but you don’t hold off on Ally Sheedy.

I sent Ally what is, for me, a typical number and range of interview questions. Like many interviewees before her, she responded “That’s a lot of questions.” She asked me to narrow it down to four, which was far fewer than what I wanted to capture the process, but I was grateful for whatever she was willing to contribute:

What inspired you to write this book?

I was writing short stories all the time when I was a kid. I also acted them out as little plays for my family. I had an obsession with novels such as Stuart Little that used animals as major characters. I had also seen the movie Anne of the Thousand Days and was swept up in reading about the history of Henry the VIII and the Tudors. This story marries those two interests.

How did you get it published?

My mother, Charlotte Sheedy, was a writer at the time and is now a literary agent. She often had writers and editors over as they were a part of her circle. Her great friend, Joyce Johnson, was with us when I read and acted out the characters for the story I was writing about a mouse and a historical document. It was Joyce’s idea to bring it to McGraw Hill as a possible project.

What did your parents think of you publishing at a young age? What about your friends?

My parents were happy for my success but also wary about the fallout. Having a level of recognition was a double-edged sword. It was wonderful but it also set me apart from friends and caused me a bit of trouble there. It’s all fine. I think it gave me a blueprint for dealing with fame later on as an actor.

Did you write—or plan to write—a sequel, or another book entirely? If so, what happened?

I did not write a sequel. I had no plans for one. I did publish some articles in different publications and also wrote a book of poetry called Yesterday I Saw the Sun, which came out in 1989. [MTN: Looks like it was actually 1991.] I love to write and perhaps will do so in the near future!


I encouraged Ally to answer more questions if ever time and mood permit.

I also tried to find Jessica Ann Levy, the illustrator of the book; Ally is no longer in touch with her and I was unsuccessful. If you have any leads, please email me!

And on a lark, I searched the names of the two Ally impersonators from To Tell the Truth—and, astonishingly, found both with one click. Both now teach at universities. And one, Priscilla Craven, kindly shared her recollection of her game show experience:


How did you get onto To Tell the Truth?

My father, Richard Craven, was a writer on the show. He wrote the affidavits which were read at the beginning of the program and did the briefings of the contestants before each show. I had actually been on before, playing a 9-year-old water skiing champion. My mom was on as well, as was my younger brother. My dad would often call us in at the last minute. Cynthia Nixon’s mother, Ann, also wrote for the show and Cynthia was also on at a young age. So I knew both Cynthia and Ally before they became famous actresses.

You seemed perfectly comfortable. Were you nervous?

I was definitely a little nervous. I still get butterflies when I hear the opening music for the show, and I remember what it felt like to be standing behind the curtain when it was about to open. I settled down once the questions started…until I got the tough one from Bill Cullen—“What was the opening line of the book”?  I really had to think on the fly for that one!

Did you get paid, and if so, how much?

The stakes were $50 for each wrong vote, $500 if you stump the panel completely. So since Maria and I each got a vote, we got $100—split three ways! So it wasn’t a big payoff. (smiley)

How did your friends react?

It was exciting! I remember when the show aired and everyone was talking about it at school. My parents were divorced by then and we were living in Jacksonville, Florida, so it was a pretty big deal down there. I never thought I’d see the episode again, and then it appeared on You Tube a few years ago. It is just wonderful to be able to see it again and to share it with my friends and family. I’m a college teacher now, so my students think it’s pretty cool.

A decade later, when The Breakfast Club came out, did you make the connection to the Ally you were with on TTTT? If so, how?

I actually made the connection when I saw WarGames. Even though she and I didn’t keep in touch after TTTT, I recognized her right away. I didn’t know she had become an actress but she turned out to be in some of my favorite movies. The Breakfast Club came out when I was in college. The movie that was the most impactful for me was High Art. I was just out of graduate school in Boulder and struggling with my own coming out. Her performance in that movie was so strong and so moving to me. I’ll always be grateful to her on some level for playing that part, and it’s amazing that we had that small window of time together so many years prior to that.

Any other anecdotes?

I think what I remember the most was how much I loved Ally’s book. I was a huge reader of young adult fiction at the time—Elaine Konigsburg, Madeleine L’Engle, and the like. To prep for the show, I read Ally’s book—in one sitting. So I had a lot of respect for her before I even met her. I remember how friendly and funny the panel was—especially Kitty Carlisle and Peggy Cass. I don’t
at all remember Ally giving me the signed copy of her book in 1975—but it is still on my bookshelf!




Thank you again, Ally (and Priscilla) for revisiting this sweet overlap in children’s literature and pop culture.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thirteen schools in Nebraska

As has happened multiple times before, I spent the second two weeks of October speaking in schools far from home. This time, in the unspoiled Nebraska towns of Elkhorn and Gretna. Hearty, lovely folks.

Glimpses along the way:

 Overseen at one school. Self-explanatory.

 This and the next two images are from 
West Dodge Station Elementary.



 Picturesque Zorinsky Lake, 
where I ran every other evening.
Most nerve-racking part:
finding a place to hide the keys to my rental car. 
I think I can trust you:


At Westridge Elementary, they ordered Superman and Batman
cookies for a staff lunch...


...but the bakery heard a name other than “Superman”:

(the bakery owned the mix-up, giving the school the 
Spider-Man cookies anyway and making the Superman ones)


Students at Hillrise Elementary decorated pumpkins based
on books they like, and three chose Boys of Steel:
 



On 10/23/14, thanks to Stephany Albritton, the kind media specialist who initiated this trip, I had the privilege of speaking to a fun class of teachers-in-training at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. A tangent or two floated to the surface, including an anecdote I shared about an author who signed 150 copies of his books...only he was not the real author.

Several days later, as thanks to me for visiting her class, Stephany gave me a copy of Boys of Steel...signed by people who were not the authors: the students. But this time, it was welcomed! They even posed as a bunch of Supermen, Superwomen, Batmen, and Batwomen:


Skyline Elementary a) held a contest for students to design posters announcing my visit and b) created a cool display true to its name:



Manchester Elementary was one of the schools that treated me to a homemade lunch, including this cake which cheekily welcomed not me exactly, but my blog:


Lastly, at Spring Ridge Elementary, I ran a game I regularly play during author visits in which I call up five pairs (each time one boy, one girl), one pair at a time, to answer certain questions. For the first time ever, I unknowingly called up two consecutive pairs who had the same two names...Ben and Ava. It may not seem noteworthy at first, but considering I have done this game for almost ten years, and considering "Ava" is not so common a name in my world, it sure shocked me!

Thank you, Nebraska! See you again soon, I hope.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chupacabra restaurant in Washington DC

Chance brought me to the almost inevitable place to celebrate when my book The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra comes out (hopefully in 2016).

Spotted from a bus:



The home page of what turns out to be a restaurant:


Best part? That phone number.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Robert Porfirio (interviewed Bill Finger in 1972), 1938-2014

On 10/19/14, Robert Porfirio passed away. I never met Bob and know little about him. What I do know is that he was wonderfully kind...and one of the most important people in the story of documenting Batman co-creator Bill Finger.

Bill’s legacy is lousy with people who—like Bill himself—have not gotten sufficient credit for their contributions:


  • Jerry Bails—the fan who “discovered” Bill, was the first to interview him (in 1965), and singlehandedly spread word to other Batman fans
  • Tom Fagan—another pro fan who interviewed Bill, also in 1965
  • Jim Steranko—the only author to publish an interview with Bill in Bill’s lifetime, in 1970
  • Thomas Andrae—the primary writer of Bob Kane’s autobiography (1989); it was Tom who urged Bob to give Bill as much credit as he could in the book

And Bob Porfirio.

On 5/20/07, which was at the tail end of my research for Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, a generous novelist and popular culture historian named Will Murray contacted me (what follows is a consolidation of multiple emails):


I have discovered there exists an unpublished Bill Finger interview. Probably substantial. I and another researcher and looking at trying to get it into print. The interviewee is retired, but interested. The interview is at a university and will have to be released.

It shapes up like this. Robert Porfirio interviewed Finger late ‘60s or early ‘70s. [It turned out to be 1972.] And others. Never did anything with the interviews. He had worked at DC as office help, and through DC got this [entrĂ©e] to numerous comics people. Then went into teaching. When he [retired] from teaching, he left his papers at the university where he taught. They were forgotten.

But one of his other interviews fell into my hands in a strange way. I contacted [Robert]. Learned of these [other interviews].

On 6/30/07, thanks to Will, I first spoke with Bob. Nice as all get-out. He’d interviewed Bill at Bill’s place in New York. He remembered that Bill was a gentle guy who made Bob shut off the recorder for certain anecdotes, i.e. how editor Mort Weisinger would haunt Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, calling him at odd hours to rip apart his scripts.

When Bob left his job at California State University, Fullerton in 1980, he left the interview there and kept no copy for himself. Upon hearing from Will in 2007, Bob asked Fullerton if they could track down the interview and they tried—but they found neither tape nor transcript.

In early 2008, when considering going to my first San Diego Comic-Con, I asked Bob (who lived in San Diego at the time) for advice on scoring a hotel room in the ultra-competitive crucible of Comic-Con booking. Though he barely knew me, he graciously offered me to stay with him. (I didn’t end up going.)

On 11/25/08, while packing for a transcontinental move, Bob emailed “I found some of the tapes I made of comic industry people back in the seventies.”

Then:

“I do see one tape marked ‘Finger.’

JACKPOT.

On 12/2/08, Bob’s son-in-law emailed me a digital copy of the 28-minute interview—the first time I’d heard Bill’s voice. It is only one of two known audio recordings of Bill speaking, the other being his 1965 panel at a New York comic convention. Bob’s full interview was subsequently transcribed in Tom Andrae’s book Creators of the Superheroes. And a clip of it is in the book trailer I made for Bill the Boy Wonder.



Bob, thank you for interviewing Bill Finger and for taking the time, 25 years later, to look for that interview for me. I know you had other accomplishments worth noting, but this is the way I knew you. I regret that we never met in person. You were a good man.


Special thanks to (and photo courtesy of)
Lareesa Mumford-Pope.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Getting to know the “Getting to Know Jon Scieszka” DVD

Like many authors of books for young people, I’ve long admired Jon Scieszka for his humor, his generosity, and his grooming. Once I had the pleasure of being on a panel with Jon, though this photo offers no proof.

I recently learned that a book I wrote makes a nonspeaking cameo in a Weston Woods film about Jon’s life, Getting to Know Jon Scieszka.

 

(The director’s cut was released under a different name—The Wolf of Wall Street.) 




Thank you, Jon, for including of Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, and thank you for all you do to motivate boys to embrace the adventure of reading. You are the Wolf of Book Street.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Krypton of Omaha

Thank you again to Dean Phillips, owner of the spacious and special comic book shop Krypton Comics in Omaha, for inviting me to do a signing. I appreciated your initiative and generosity. You are a man with his finger on the pulse of both comics conservation and good hostmanship.

Plus you made one of the coolest promo posters I have had the privilege of appearing on (perhaps tied with this one):

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My sequels

Felix Explores Our World (1999) sequelizes (and incorporates) The Felix Activity Book (1996). 



Vocabulary Cartoon of the Day Grades 2-3 (2010) sequelizes (prequelizes?) Vocabulary Cartoon of the Day Grades 4-6 (2005).



Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman (2012) sorta sequelizes Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (2008). Well, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster do cameo in it...


The “Girl in the Video” interview series had a round 2 (2014)...following, of course, a round 1 (2013).

logo adapted by Leigh Cullen @DesignLeigh

The kidlit authors read bad reviews series launched with three videos and no certainty of continuation, but a month later, three more appeared.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...