Walt Jaschek’s first published comic strip: Christopher McKarton, dramatic thriller, serialized weekly in The UMSL Current, Fall, 1974. Script and pencils: Walt. Inks and letters: Gary Hoffman.
It was a dramatic debut for Christopher McKarton, my rookie homicide investigator called to an ominous and familiar location. Here are the first four panels as they appeared on September 12, 1974, in the weekly newspaper distributed to 7,000 students of the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL.) It garnered some fans.
Christopher McKarton™ Week 1
By Walt Jaschek and Gary Hoffman
Keep scrolling for Week 2 of Christopher McKarton.
Bonus feature: Here is how this comic appeared as published in the September 12, 1974, issue of The UMSL CURRENT. It is, in fact, issue #200.
Who is the mysterious intruder who has taken over UMSL’s administration building? Why is he demanding to see the University President? And who is… the hostage? Watch for more of Christopher McKarton — as soon as I find more of the art!
The St. Louis Media History Foundation asked writer Walt Jaschek to add some comedy to its 2021 Hall of Fame video. This “Zoom call” is the result. Congratulations to the new honorees in the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame, which due to The Current Situation is a video celebration only, archived on YouTube.Ken Ohlemeyer … Continue reading Walt Jaschek “calls in” to St. Louis Media Hall of Fame
Oh, creatives! Don’t fall on that sword over your favorite idea. Certainly don’t pull pistols! “How to Kill a Pitch” is a cautionary comedy video Walt Jaschek wrote on this subject, directed by Angie Lawling, shot by Chris Lawling, produced by Mercury Films. All in good fun: it’s movie blood. Client not loving your latest idea? There’s … Continue reading How to Kill a Pitch: Ad Biz Satire, Walt Jaschek Script
Overcome procrastination and writers’ block! In a new “timed writing” video, writer Walt Jaschek prompts you to join him as he writes uninterrupted for 22 minutes. (It works!) Is there something you need to write? Are you in avoidance mode? Would a timed, 22-minute deep dive move something along? And would watching Walt write at … Continue reading 22-Minute Writing Sprint
Copy and layouts: Walt Jaschek. Art: Don Secrease.
Q. Are you and your collaborators getting a piece of the action from the new movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” opening January 16, 2009, in theaters everywhere?
Q. Why is that?
Walt: Paul Blart: Mall Cop is not (as far as we know or can legally prove) based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop®, the long-running comicbook and web series created by Don Secrease and me in 1995, even though there was both a Mel Cool feature film screenplay and a cartoon series pilot script floating around Hollywood for years.
Q. What is your reaction to that?
A. Existential sadness mixed with raging anger.
A. No, I’m just playin’ with you.
A. I’m cool with it. Mel Cool with it. I’m philosophical about the whole thing.
A. Yes. In fact, let me put on this toga. [Rummages through a box of costumes, looking for the toga.]
Q. [While he does so.] But you just said there was a completed screenplay…
A. [Still rummaging.] There was. Cary Anderson and I wrote the story, based on the comic; Cary wrote the screenplay. Paul Fey produced. It’s a funny script. But in Hollywood, you gotta be your own agent and work the thing on a daily basis. I was in St. Louis, Cary is in Baltimore, and Paul has World Wide Wadio to run.
Q. Quit rummaging.
A. [Finds toga, puts it on.] Ah, here it is! My philosophy is, “live and learn.”
Q. All that for that?
A. “Live and learn.” To the victor, the spoils. That is, to the first one to actually get a star and a deal and Happy Meal tie-ins, the spoils. Have we gleaned nothing from “Entourage”? Next time we bring a comedy concept to Hollywood, we dig in like a pit bulls on amphetamines.
Q. You have more movie-worthy comedy concepts?
A. What, are you kidding me? I’d tell you, but…
Q. …you’d have to kill me?
A. [stares at him from an angle] No, but what an odd thing to say.
Q. [quickly changes subject] So: you’re not bitter about Paul Blart and you’re not suing?
A. No. I really think it’s just great comic minds thinking alike. The movie looks really funny, actually. Kevin James. He knows from funny.
Q. Any sales of your work in the wake of publicity from the movie?
A. We’ve sold one comicbook, one t-shirt, and made about 46 cents in AdSense revenue.
Q. So it looks as if you’re raking in some dough from the whole Mall Cop thing, after all.
A. Praise the mall gods. There are mall gods, you know.
Q. We believe you. Um, are you going to leave that toga on?
Walt Jaschek’s first published comic strip: Christopher McKarton, dramatic thriller, serialized weekly in The UMSL Current, Fall, 1974. Script and pencils: Walt. Inks and letters: Gary Hoffman. It was a dramatic debut for Christopher McKarton, my rookie homicide investigator called to an ominous and familiar location. Here are the first four panels as they appeared … Continue reading Christopher McKarton: 1974 comic strip debut
Here’s a preview image and description of BAD ASH™, Overdue Accounts Collector, the new comic book action hero created by Walt Jaschek, and coming soon from Walt Now Studios. This rare, original concept art of Bad Ash by Walt Jaschek is for sale. Bad Ash is a high-tech bounty hunter in a glistening city of … Continue reading Bad Ash™: Coming Soon from Walt Now Studios
Bad Ash is a high-tech bounty hunter in a glistening city of the near future. Located somewhere in the Americas, it’s even called… Future City.
Ash is beautiful yes, but also tough. She’s half-Italian (Dad) and half-Latina (Mom,) and her light brown skin sheens. But never sweats.
Clad in thin, chain-mail fabric-armor; steampunk-like goggles for enhanced perception; and fingerless gloves with circuits controlling her tech, Bad Ash is brash. As an athletic 26-year-old with ninja training, her strength and agility are enhanced with injections of Martian vitamins given to her by her Mars-born lover, D’Arx D’Rax.
Bad Ash is known as the most persistent finder in the field. She doesn’t like the term “bounty hunter,” though. She prefers to call herself an “overdue accounts collector.” Makes a whole lot of commission$ for it. But she’s also a gum-popping wisecracker, and has been since high school; that hasn’t changed.
Her most recent employer: Bigg Bounty, a skyscraper-dwelling corporation whose sole service is bounty hunting on a global scale. B.A. is one of their star hunters. But as we shall see in her first story, she’s trying to quit Bigg to go freelance. She already resigned, but now she must collect the hundred grand in severance pay Bigg’s contract promised her.
She’ll get it. Or die trying.
“Bad Ash: In It to Quit It.” Coming soon from Walt Now Studios.
The short answer: not as far as we know or can legally prove. In fact, bless that Paul Blart. Somebody had to be “the” Mall Cop in pop culture. He won. But here’s a longer Q&A with Walt Jaschek about that, originally published in 2009, when the movie was coming out but more than a decade … Continue reading Is Paul Blart: Mall Cop Based on Mel Cool: Map Cop?
With great power comes great responsibility. And with great responsibility comes fame, fortune, last-act misfortunes, a cross-maze of lawsuits, and a boatload of movie cameos. Walt Jaschek reviews Abraham Riesman’s new biography, True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee. It’s in hardcover and Kindle on Amazon. Check current price. #affiliatelink Here are my … Continue reading Review of True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee
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With great power comes great responsibility. And with great responsibility comes fame, fortune, last-act misfortunes, a cross-maze of lawsuits, and a boatload of movie cameos. Walt Jaschek reviews Abraham Riesman’s new biography, True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee.
Here are my 10 take-aways from this terrific tome.
It’s a “toupee-and-all” tell-all, and I’m all in.
The book works to be clear eyed, to peer through the mist of myths surrounding Stan to something more layered, more substantial, and ultimately sadder, than previous bios, many of which merely amplified the breezy public persona he crafted. That was “Stan the Man,” which became “Stan the Brand.” But it’s Stan the (lower case) “man” who gives us pause, as we examine his great talent and great personal flaws.
2. The Marvel Method < Rhythm Method.
Turns out the Marvel Method of creating comics – art first, then script – was created by Stan in the 50s, as a way for artists to get paid faster, not having to wait for, you know, scripts. That part is cool; I’m in favor of artists getting paid faster. Where that gets tangled later is in “who-created-what” debates and lawsuits. I’ve followed Marvel for decades. Who created what? The artists who wrote the stories in pencil art: Jack Kirby. Steve Ditko. John Romita. Don Heck. John Buscema. And Stan Lee. After the art was turned in. The process was wonky and fraught with danger, but it worked. In that regard, The Marvel Method is like birth control’s rhythm method, only slightly more reliable.
3. The book’s biggest surprise isn’t.
The hog-the-credit aspect of Stan’s story arc is well known. His books and interviews basically rewrite history so that it seemed like he came up with every character and character name. This comes as a great surprise to absolutely no one. It’s no less exasperating to revisit, though.
4. When he moved on, he moved on.
Stan left Marvel’s day-to-day operations in the late 90s, and seldom followed Marvel’s books thereafter. For example: When the producers of the (now beloved) 1990s animated X-Men series approached Stan for approval on their adaptation of the Wein-and-Cockrum-created characters, they realized he didn’t know who these “new” X-Men were. Can you imagine? I can just hear him saying, “These characters don’t look familiar. I like the guy with the claws, though. What’s his name? Wolverine? I like it. In fact, I created it. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”
5. He had a job description to admire. And a salary to desire.
A 1998 lawsuit revealed that Marvel was paying Stan one million dollars a year for quote “basically doing nothing” unquote. I pass no judgement, because that is, in a nutshell, my exact career goal. He continued to be a cheerleader, of course, at cons and everywhere. True story: at San-Diego Comic-Con in 2010, I was walking down a packed-with-people corridor when I almost ran into Stan, who was with Joan. He wasn’t happy with the dense crowd, or with me in the way. He grunted past me. So my one real-life interaction with Stan involved him being annoyed at my physical presence. I decided not to ask for an autograph
6. His Third Act was filled with the third rate.
Stan was sadly surrounded the last third of his life by lawless con-men and grifters scheming and double-dealing behind his back. And sometimes behind his “Face Front!” Before Stan Lee Media went bankrupt in 2000, stock manipulation took it from $9 a share to pennies a share to into The Negative Zone. Even Reed Richards couldn’t bring it back. Stan said he “didn’t know a thing” about all the stock hi-jinx and bad behavior, but he should have been suspicious when his partners kept greeting him with, “Hail Hydra.” But seriously, all these lawsuits, all these downward spires: was he that bad a judge of character? Or was bad character seeking same?
7. “Striperella:” For completists. Or masochists.
The biggest series success Stan had after Marvel was the Spike TV animated cartoon “Striperella,” voiced by Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson. That’s right, I said his biggest series success. so that sets the bar right there. All Stan came up with was the name, and the pitch to Pamela. When the showrunners, who were to write all 13 episodes were given the name they asked who the character was. And the answer came: “Whatever you guys want to do with her.” They went with an out-there “adult” humor, not for me. I went to YouTube and watched a few minutes of the character throwing a sledgehammer at a villain’s testicles. He was in pain, I was in pain, it was all about the pain.
8. Celebrity begats celebrity.
Stan sat next to Bill Clinton at a big Hollywood fund-raiser. There’s no record of whether or not they ever shared a cigar.
9. For richer, for poorer, but especially for richer.
Stan’s wife Joan, by all reports, went through his earnings at lightning speed, buying everything in sight at the speed of light. If she was a Marvel character, she could be called … The Slender Spender. (Slender Spender trademark Walt Now Media.) Stan and Joan held lavish cocktail parties at their L.A. home, many recorded on video. I can be glad there’s wasn’t yet Tik Tok. But it was a long and happy marriage, by all accounts, symbiotic at least, real Hank and Janet Pym stuff, without anyone being lost in the Quantum Realm.
10. I’m still a fan.
Stan is one of the top writerly influences in my life. I read his work almost daily as a kid then teen from 1963 to 1973. His voice, style and point of view are all over my work. I can relate to Jim Shooter, who, when asked to write a tribute to Stan, said, “Everything I write is a tribute to Stan.” But my fandom has limits. I find it good, nay, healthy, nay cautionary, to examine and consider the journey of a talent too easily flattered, too reckless in judgement, too quick to pass responsibility.
Copywriter Walt Jaschek recalls a college poster campaign concept he pitched to the Budweiser team at Anheuser Busch. Did the Cooler Heads prevail? Happy first day of Summer! Here’s a seasonal flashback from back in the day, when I was invited by the Budweiser promo team to pitch ideas for a college poster campaign with … Continue reading Cooler Heads Prevail in this Beer Promo Pitch
Writer Walt Now has “a line in the sand” when it comes to a certain controversial herb. He’s talkin’ cilantro, and he says the only right way to think about it is: love. As I was saying: There are two kinds of people in the world. People who love cilantro. And people who are wrong. … Continue reading Walt’s Words of Wisdom: Cilantro
Scriptwriter Walt Jaschek finds rare, 1992 CBS-TV holiday spot with performances by dozens of TV stars of the day. It’s enchanting. Here’s a holiday TV blast from the past, never before seen on the internet, at least as far as we know. In 1992, CBS-TV offered our agency Paul & Walt Worldwide the opportunity to … Continue reading Rediscovered! Rare, Star-Studded 1992 CBS-TV Holiday Spot
The lost art of the panel cartoon came roaring back when comedy writer Walt Jaschek teamed with illustrator Tony Patti for Smirk Du Jour, a series of gags about life, love and laughs.
These New Yorker-style panel cartoons originally appeared in Slightly Bent Comics #1, an American humor series distributed to comic book stores in 1998. The Smirk Du Jour cartoons, featuring Patti’s unique style of illustrations, served as a nice counter-point to the more narrative, multi-page features in the anthology. The two St. Louis-based creators also teamed up for the Corp Rut feature in Slightly Bent #2.
This post transcribes an interview with me from Advertising Age in 1989, when my taste in funny advertising exceeded my taste in ski sweaters. That photo, oy! Did I not own a normal shirt? Article transcribed from the version published in Advertising Age magazine, March 19, 1989. BY JUDITH VANDEWATER ST. LOUIS – Walter Jaschek … Continue reading St. Louis V.I.P: Jaschek Wins With Humor
“Positioning + creativity + guts = effect.” That was my formula for successful advertising, as quoted in this 1984 article from the Colorado Springs Business Journal by Ron Wallace. I was 29 years old. The Ad Vantage: On Words And Up Words“Positioning + creativity + guts = effect”By Ron WallaceColorado Springs Business Journal, January, 1984 … Continue reading My Copywriting Tips and Advice from 1984
Misery, they say, loves company. Here’s the company it loves the most. Corp Rut™. It’s not just a place to languish for decades. It’s the subject of a funny, two-page comic book story by Walt Jaschek and Tony Patti, as it appeared in the second issue of Slightly Bent Comics, 1998.
Copywriter Walt Jaschek remembers St. Louis Post-Dispatch ad columnist Jerry Berger, and being lifted from obscurity by the reporter’s generous coverage. Certain graces boost us in our careers, inadvertently or otherwise. In my career, one of those graces was named Jerry. Newspaper writer Jerry Berger (1933-2021) was on the advertising and marketing beat for the … Continue reading How Jerry Berger Rocket-Boosted My Career
The lost art of the panel cartoon came roaring back when comedy writer Walt Jaschek teamed with illustrator Tony Patti for Smirk Du Jour, a series of gags about life, love and laughs. These New Yorker-style panel cartoons originally appeared in Slightly Bent Comics #1, an American humor series distributed to comic book stores in … Continue reading Smirk Du Jour: Slightly Bent Panel Cartoons
Danger Dad™, the superhero with “paternal parent power,” was created by Walt Jaschek and first appeared in Slightly Bent Comics, 1998. Here are two of the strips. “Stop and Think!” That’s the motto of the over-protective parent Danger Dad, a parody superhero created by St. Louis writer and humorist Walt Jaschek. “At the time, I … Continue reading Danger Dad™ Superhero Parody, 1998
Danger Dad™, the superhero with “paternal parent power,” was created by Walt Jaschek and first appeared in Slightly Bent Comics, 1998. Here are two of the strips.
“Stop and Think!” That’s the motto of the over-protective parent Danger Dad, a parody superhero created by St. Louis writer and humorist Walt Jaschek. “At the time, I had a young, growing family, and I had a reputation for worrying about the dangers all Dads fret about: sharp objects, falls, accidents, etc. Taking it to a humorous exaggeration, I imagined a normal Dad, tugging his tie, transforming into the ultimate protector.”
Here is Danger Dad’s first comic strip appearance, from Slightly Bent Comics #1, 1998, which was sold in comic book shops across the United States that year. In it, Wilber Blane transforms into his alter-ego in order to (gasp!) change a tire.
And here is Danger Dad’s second appearance, in Slightly Bent Comics #2, also 1998. (Art by St. Louis comics illustrator Darren Goodhart.) In it, Wilber Blane must summon his powers to find a contact lens adrift in the neighborhood pool.
Misery, they say, loves company. Here’s the company it loves the most. Corp Rut™. It’s not just a place to languish for decades. It’s the subject of a funny, two-page comic book story by Walt Jaschek and Tony Patti, as it appeared in the second issue of Slightly Bent Comics, 1998. Buy Slightly Bent Comics … Continue reading Corp Rut: Funny Comic About Careers
Slightly Bent #1 and #2 are black-and-white anthology comics written by Walt Jaschek, starring creator-owned characters. Top St. Louis comic artists supplied visuals. This 2-issue series, self-published as “Slightly Bent Entertainment,” was distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors to comic books stores across the United States in 1998. Walt Jaschek designed the Slightly Bent logo and … Continue reading Slightly Bent Comics: Mall Cop, Dude-Guy, Danger Dad & More
In “A Tale of Two Conans,” heroic fiction fan/student Jim Theis (“Eye of Argon”) casts a critical eye at Marvel Comics’ newly launched Robert E. Howard adaptation (1971.) Swords clash. Rare fanzine: GRAFAN 9, May, 1971GRAFAN 9 is for sale as digital download pdf.Publisher: Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis, Missouri18 mimeograph pages + wraparound coverCirculation: … Continue reading Jim Theis “Conan the Barbarian” Comic Review in GRAFAN 9, 1971
Slightly Bent #1 and #2 are black-and-white anthology comics written by Walt Jaschek, starring creator-owned characters. Top St. Louis comic artists supplied visuals.
This 2-issue series, self-published as “Slightly Bent Entertainment,” was distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors to comic books stores across the United States in 1998. Walt Jaschek designed the Slightly Bent logo and the covers, and hired his talented friends to draw scripts for his creator-owned characters. Don Secrease served as art director on both books.
Says Walt: “The series was a fun experiment, a deep-dive immersion into self-publishing during the black-and-white comics boom, and a launch for characters and concepts bouncing around in my brain. It was also a nice, creative distraction from my day job writing funny radio commercials.“
Approximately 800 copies of Slightly Bent Comics #1 were ordered by comic book stories, according to statistics from Diamond. Approximately 400 copies of issue #2 were ordered. These are the only copies of these two issues in circulation. Some issues are often spotted on eBay and other “back issue” platforms.
Some in fandom think “Eye of Argon” author Jim Theis “never wrote anything again.” Not true. He wrote at least one more Grignr the Barbarian story, “The Sacred Crest.” Son of Grafan 13 printed part of it. As the 17-year-old editor of the May, 1972, issue of SON OF GRAFAN, the mimeograph newsletter of the … Continue reading James Theis’ “Eye of Argon” sequel in Son of Grafan 13, 1972
Walt Jaschek recalls his first published comic book story: “Last Dance Before Daylight,” starring The Savage Sisters, a pulpy tale of the demands of the Old West. You never forget your first. Your first published comic book story, that is. Mine was a two-part Western tale starring those heroic, young “Savage Sisters” in One-Shot Western, … Continue reading One-Shot Western, Caliber, 1991 Comic Book with The Savage Sisters
St. Louis comics fandom wraps up its 1970 interview with native son and DC comics writer O’Neil, weeks away from revamping Superman, Batman. Rare fanzine: GRAFAN 8, February/March, 1971[This issue is for sale as a digital download pdf.]Publisher: Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis, Missouri18 mimeograph pages + offset coverCirculation: < 100 copiesEditor: Walt JaschekCover by: … Continue reading GRAFAN #8, Feb. 1971, Denny O’Neil interview, Part 3
In “A Tale of Two Conans,” heroic fiction fan/student Jim Theis (“Eye of Argon”) casts a critical eye at Marvel Comics’ newly launched Robert E. Howard adaptation (1971.) Swords clash.
Rare fanzine: GRAFAN 9, May, 1971 GRAFAN 9 is for sale as digital download pdf. Publisher: Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis, Missouri 18 mimeograph pages + wraparound cover Circulation: < 100 copies Editor: Steve Houska Cover by: Larry Todd Main feature: “A Tale of Two Conans,” a review of the new Marvel Comic “Conan the Barbarian” series Additional features: Editorial, Fandom Report by Mike McFadden Comic-related book reviews by Dev Hanke and Tom Zygmunt Fredric Wertham interview by Len McFadden and Walt Jaschek Letters from Dennis Rogers, Charles Spanier, Tim Seidler, Ed Spring, Tiny McClemmons Poem by Ed Spring Inside Back Cover by Joe Caporale Back Cover by George Barr Mimeograph production: Walt Stumper
I’m listed as “Editor Emeritus” on the inside cover of this, the 9th issue of GRAFAN, but I remember having a hand in much of it, especially the Fredric Wertham interview, and the presentation of Jim Theis’ Conan comic review. [See below.] The issue opens with an editorial by Mike McFadden, and a comprehensive “Fandom Report” on club meetings and other fan-related activities, including cons in other cities.
Page 6 begins a Fredric Wertham interview I had conducted by mail with questions submitted by Len McFadden and me. Dr. Wertham and I had earlier struck up a friendly correspondence when he subscribed to a previous fanzine I published; from that experience, a few paragraphs of my writing ended up in his subsequent book, The World of Fanzines: A Special Form of Communication.
By page 9, we come to the main feature, the James Theis review of Marvel’s new Conan the Barbarian comic book series. The header illustration is by Mike McFadden, and the headline is by me. In 1971, 18-year-old Jim was a huge fan of Robert E. Howard, had read every piece of Conan content out there, had written his own heroic fiction (“Eye of Argon,” starring Grignr the Barbarian, published in another zine, OSFAN) and was the most qualified among us to address the potentials and pitfalls of the Roy Thomas/Barry Smith comic adaptation.
The review begins:
Recently comic books have acquired a new character who has no need for the isolated telephone booth or computerized lab: Robert E. Howard’s bloody barbarian – Conan – is here. However, many of Howard’s techniques are purely literary, and as such, are inapplicable to graphic story form. The comic book writer is necessarily limited to those aspected of a character which can be rendered both visually and literarily – he cannot really develop either quality completely. Therefore, Barry Smith and Roy Thomas are fared with the necessity of separating those unusable qualities from the usable. Here, unfortunately, they have fallen short.
Jim takes lengthy exception to the choices and execution of writer Roy Thomas, seeing the Marvel adaptation something other than the Conan readers came to know in the pulps and paperbacks.
Howard depicted Conan as the brooding savage. Conan seldom spoke, and when he did, it seemed incongruous with his character. Thomas’ Conan, however, babbles incessantly. I realize this is necessary, in part, to move the plot, yet Thomas could produce more coherent adaptations by moving his stories through the dialogue of other characters. Possibly, this action is nothing more than an attempt, conscious or unconscious, to transform Conan into a common superhero.
Speaking of superheroes, the review is interrupted by this full-page pin-up, penciller Mohow, inker Mike McFadden, reproduced in the glory of what was then known as the “electro-stencil.”
After this interlude, Jim has much more to say about the comic, including Barry Smith’s art, “which, unfortunately, illustrates towns with bright, colorful towers which reek of gaety and good cheer … Smith totally destroys the atmostphere.”
Then, after a recognition of the impact on this series of the restrictive Comics Code, making it “necessary for the artist and writer to improvise,” Jim comes to this conclusion.
Room still stands for the argument of whether or not Marvel’s free adaptations are legitimate and worthwhile. Certainly, they have been approved by such people as Glenn Lord. However, Lord, though the manager of the Howard estate, is not Robert E. Howard. Robert E. Howard created Conan, along with ab entire entire world, equipped with workable governments, racial strains, geographic features, etc., and did not give permission to any others to utilize their creations. Thusly, since Howard is no longer alive to give permission, I believe that his memory should be honored to the extent of accurate adaptations.
Followers of the Jim Theis story and his treatment post-mortem might find extra nuance in that sentiment.
The issue keeps going, including a robust letters column…
…and concludes with this delicate ballpoint convention sketch from the amazing George Barr, a science fiction and fantasy artist whose work has graced hundred of pulps, magazines, books and gaming kits.
I thought “A Tale of Two Conans” was a smart, informed review when it was published, and I still think so now. I squirm at the misspellings and typos – hard to know which was the work of 18-year-old Jim or us 17-year-old typists – but if a college freshman had cleaned this up and submitted it to an introductory English class, it would have gotten an “A.” Or maybe an “B+” It was also refreshing to read a critique that came from a less gushing “Make Mine Marvel” point of view than I was used to in comics fandom.
In first issue under new editor Walt Jaschek, St. Louis fanzine GRAFAN continues in-depth, 1970 conversation with writer of Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Justice League. GRAFAN #7 is available as a digital download pdf. Rare fanzine: GRAFAN 7, January, 1971Publisher: Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis16 mimeograph pages + offset coverCirculation: < 100 copiesEditor: Walt … Continue reading GRAFAN #7, Jan, 1971, Denny O’Neil Interview, Part 2
The second fanzine/newsletter of the Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis was edited by a dedicated few, including me. Fun times! A long time ago in a St. Louis comics and science fiction fandom far, far, away – well, darn close, actually – I was an on-again, off-again editor and producer of SON OF GRAFAN … Continue reading SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) zines 1971-75 | St. Louis comics fandom
Covers and content lists for ATLANTIS #1 and GRAFAN #2-9, 1970-71, “official propaganda organs” of the Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis. I love the smell of mimeograph stencils in the morning. Good thing, because as a teen-age fanzine writer and editor in 1970s St. Louis comics fandom, I smelled a lot of ’em. And … Continue reading GRAFAN zine, 1970-71 | St. Louis Comics Fandom Remembered
Walt Jaschek recalls his first published comic book story: “Last Dance Before Daylight,” starring The Savage Sisters, a pulpy tale of the demands of the Old West.
You never forget your first.
Your first published comic book story, that is.
Mine was a two-part Western tale starring those heroic, young “Savage Sisters” in One-Shot Western, a (you guessed it) “one-shot comic” published in 1991 by Caliber Press of Plymouth, Minnesota, one of the leading independent comic companies of the era. It sat amid other black-and-white indy publications on the shelves of comic book shops back in the day. Here are the first three pages, recently re-lettered by me to fix (ahem) a little bit of amateur verbosity. We open on… the moon. Or is it the moon?
The story, “Last Dance Before Daylight,” puts into action characters created by Don Secrease specifically for this title. Don was the penciller and the creative director of this feature, and Mark Lamport the inker. Famous DC comics artist Rick Burchett contributed the cover and cover logo. Rick also has a feature in this issue: “Torn Path,” starring a John Wayne look-alike.
As I reread “Last Dance Before Daylight,” I expected to squirm at my writing, but the story isn’t terrible. The opening 9-panel sequence and splash page seem to really hold up, and Don did a great job creating what was described in crazy detail in the script: a vivid dream sequence of illusion and foreshadowing.
The story itself is, like the metaphor of “last dance,” a pulpy meditation on loss of innocence. The story’s young heroine must endure a kind of hardening that might be required of otherwise idealistic settlers in the 1870s frontier. There is also romance, gunplay and implied nudity, so we have those going for us. More pages to be scanned soon, so saddle up. And remember, if you want to see it as it appeared: eBay.
Bonus: Here are Don’s first sketches of the Savage Sisters, circa 1991.
In a video interview with Ken Ohlemeyer, longtime St. Louis copy and comedy writer offers in 44 minutes his learnings from 40 years. “Put your heart into it.” That’s one of the biggest pieces of advice Walt Jaschek has for aspiring or new copywriters. “By heart, I mean two different kinds of energy,” he explained. … Continue reading Copywriter’s Lucky Charm: “Red Underwear”
3-D fetal ultrasound of pregnant actress adds authenticity to this Walt-written, well-shot TV spot. The heart, not the head: that’s where we make decisions about where to go for healthcare. That’s why, as previously reported, my award-winning “This Is Care” advertising campaign for Central Baptist Hospital used minimal copy and maximum empathy to connect patients … Continue reading Baby Ultrasound Picture Makes Hospital TV Spot Heart-Warming, Helpful
Hello, creators. I hope you are feeling well. I hope you are happily creating. Most of all, I hope you see how that first thing influences that second thing. Today we’re going to put forth a few new ways to look at those productivity-sappers: • procrastination• avoidance• lethargy Or, maybe we should delay that and … Continue reading The Power of Procrastination in Writing, Thinking
St. Louis comics fandom wraps up its 1970 interview with native son and DC comics writer O’Neil, weeks away from revamping Superman, Batman.
Rare fanzine: GRAFAN 8, February/March, 1971 [This issue is for sale as a digital download pdf.] Publisher: Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis, Missouri 18 mimeograph pages + offset cover Circulation: < 100 copies Editor: Walt Jaschek Cover by: Vaughn Bode Main Feature: Part 3 of interview with DC writer Denny O’Neil by Len McFadden, Mike McFadden, Bob Schoenfeld, Bob Gale and Walt Jaschek Additional features: Editorial, Fandom Report (member and meeting news), Miami-Con 1971 report by Steve Houska, letters from from Ralph Green, Tony Foster, Joe Caporale, Ruben Hayes Interior art by: Joe Caporale, Tom Foster, Chester Gould, Steve Houska, Len Wein Mimeograph production: Walt Stumper
In January, 1971, at the ripe young age of 15, I was putting finishing touches on the 8th issue of GRAFAN, the mimeograph fanzine newsletter of the Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis, the enthusiastic, young fan hub of this Midwestern city back in the day. The zine was, according to the indicia, “conjured every month with a little bit of luck… and magic.” All the issues included “Fandom Report,” a preview of upcoming meetings, TV airings and movies of interest, and minutes of previous meetings.
We were a tight and dedicated bunch of what we now call nerds (I say proudly,) and I really don’t know how I would have survived my teen-age years without this funny, supportive group of fellow fans and aspiring writers and artists.
The highlight of this issue was Part 3 our our round-table discussion with St. Louis native and ascendant DC Comics writer, Denny O’Neil (“Wonder Woman,” “Green Lantern,” “Justice League of America.”) The recorded and transcribed conversation took place in Bob Gale’s basement late in 1970, with questions from Bob Schoenfeld, Len McFadden, Mike McFadden, Bob and me. Most of these guys were in their late teens; Denny was in his late 20s. I was, as mentioned, 15. Imagine my thrill.
Here’s the first page of the interview, with a header designed by me right on the mimeograph stencil, and an opening cartoon by me, as well.
This part of the discussion was focused on comic book sales and the target audience. Is it spontaneous (“That looks interesting, I think I’ll buy it”) or uniform (“I will buy this every month no matter what.”)
GRAFAN: It seems to me that the company should either go to an all-spontaneous audience or a uniform audience.
DENNY O’NEIL: Well, we’re not going to be able to go to a spontaneous audience for a number of reasons, among which are merchandising problems. We can’t put comic books out like they put TV Guide out, with point-of-purchase displays and that sort of thing. It seems to me, that our best hope is to try to build a solid audience; to do that it’s going to require some major upheavals. A lot of attitudes are going to have to be changed. The Academy of Comic Book Arts is in business to change the attitudes. First we have two change the attitudes of the readers— the public — toward comic books. For years comics have
been synonymous with the most imbecilic entertainment. And we are going to have to change the attitudes of the publishers…
GRAFAN: And the editors…
DENNY O’NEIL: Well, no, you give the editors a good product, and they get turned on. Julie Schwartz is a fantastic man now… he’s bubbling and happy because he’s doing science fiction.
GRAFAN: Growing long hair, wearing beads…?
DENNY O’NEIL (smiling): Not quite like that.
Much of the discussion was about declining sales and the potential demise of comic books altogether.
GRAFAN: So you’re going to have a good time as the comic industry slides downhill, is that it?
DENNY O’NEIL: Well., that could be. We may be on a real Ragnarok trip. The end may be very soon. But I think there are things that can be done. A lot of business things–thing that should have been done ten years ago. But ten years ago, Superman was good for 750,000 copies and the money was just rolling in. I guess at that time they didn’t see any need to engage in what I feel are very simple basic business practices that would tend to build an audience am get the magazines displayed. Practices that would broaden the base of the operation, so that if you had a bad year with the comics, you don’t stop altogether. Well, obviously, [ownership by the] Kinney [Corporation] is good for that, so that’s at least one thing that has been done.
And some of the discussion was prophetic: talk of new formats and distribution models that would take years to manifest.
GRAFAN: Is the Kinney Corporation significantly interested in DC Comics to really institute some revolutionary changes in distribution?
DENNY O’NEIL: Sure. They’ re talking about all sorts of things.
GRAFN: What sort of things?
DENNY O’NEIL: Oh, there is the package concept, the subscription concept, the bigger-magazine with higher-price concept, which would make comics more attractive to retailers. People are talking about paperback book formats, and even hard cover formats. A lot of things are being kicked around….
Here on the back page is an actual sketch of Dick Tracy by creator Chester Gould. It was an original I received in the mail from Mr. Gould after I sent him a fan letter. But of course it had to be traced onto the mimeograph stencil by someone. You guessed it: me.
Walt’s alarm about “double-dipping disasters” spurred his desire to “shop for the apocalypse.” Here are 10 things he bought, and why. Reviewed in this post: specific, excellent products within categories suggested by Ready.gov for inclusion in an emergency supply kit, with Amazon affiliate links for easy browsing, buying. Weather radio: RegeMoudal Emergency Solar Hand-Crank Weather … Continue reading Shopping for the Apocalypse: How I Learned to Love Buying Emergency Supplies
Get the look! The Jean-Luc look! Like Jean-Luc Picard, the bold, bald head of Star Trek: The Next Generation. By Walt Jaschek Here is a funny, 1996 TV spot for the syndicated run of the beloved TV series, part of a promotion campaign aired on WCIX-TV, Channel 6 in Miami. It’s also the most-watched-ever video … Continue reading Jean-Luc Picard Fans Shave Heads In Honor of Their Hero
After decades of writing marketing copy and content in every medium in our time-space continuum, I have been asked about my “copywriting process.” For visual learners, I try to capture it in this chart. Study creative brief. Ask for clarifications. Research Feel sorry for myself and vow to quit copywriting forever. Sit butt in chair … Continue reading Walt’s Copywriting Process (With Chart)