GRAFAN #7, Jan, 1971, Denny O’Neil Interview, Part 2

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 cover

GRAFAN #7 is available as a digital download pdf.

Rare fanzine: GRAFAN 7, January, 1971
Publisher: Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis
16 mimeograph pages + offset cover
Circulation: < 100 copies
Editor: Walt Jaschek
Cover by: Steve Houska and Mike McFadden
Features: Editorial, Fandom Report (member and meeting news), book reviews
Main Feature: Part 2 of interview with DC writer Denny O’Neil by Len McFadden, Mike McFadden, Bob Schoenfeld, Bob Gale and Walt Jaschek
Mimeograph production: Walt Stumper

Covers and content lists for all 9 issues of GRAFAN (originally ATLANTIS.)

GRAFAN 7 page 3

50 years ago this month, at the unripe young age of 15, I was putting the finishing editorial touches on the 7th issue of the fanzine GRAFAN, “official propaganda organ” of the Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Lous. I inherited the Editor role with this issue from beloved, late founder Mike McFadden. Oh, how I remember being excited that this January, 1971 issue was to feature original cover art by Steve Houska; the second part of our in-depth, far-ranging interview with the late Denny O’Neil, superstar DC comics writer [see below;] and other fun fannish fodder. The mimeograph machine was running hot that cold Midwest winter.

GRAFAN 7, page 4

GRAFAN the organization was a St. Louis-based, comics-focused fan club, composed mostly of teens and young adults with passion for storytelling, writing, art and collecting. It met regularly in the homes of members and fostered creative collaborations of all kinds. One subset of members met on a dark, 1970 night in Bob (“Green Vomit”) Gale’s basement to interview a guest: DC Comics writer and St. Louis native Denny O’Neil on a brief return visit home. I was with Len McFadden, Mike McFadden, Bob Schoenfeld and Bob Gale for the long, recorded conversation with Denny. It was transcribed and ran across three issues. The second part ran here in issue #7.

GRAFAN 7, page 6

Here is an excerpt from the interview.

QUESTION: You’ve scripted all of The Creeper stories so far, right?

DENNY O’NEIL: All but the first one, in Showcase.

QUESTION: How did you like working with Steve Ditko?

DENNY: Yeah, sure is nice weather we’re having.

(Laughter)

DENNY: Oh, Steve is a very talented guy, but we disagree in every possible way to disagree, on politics, on morality. So after the second issue of The Creeper, I wasn’t working with Steve anymore, I was working through Dick Giordano. It was even worse for Steve Skeates, who looks like a hippy, and was doing Hawk & Dove with him. Ditko is very big on Ann Rand, and Mr. A really sums up his philosophy. He didn’t like — I think he didn’t like — The Creeper because we had the character sort of self-satirizing in the thought balloons. He made fun of himself, and it’s one of Ditko’s tenets that heroes have to be serious and straight. I don’t think he liked how we handled the character at all…

GRAFAN 7, page 7

Another section of the interview, from page 8:

Q. With National trying out these new Western titles, I don’t suppose there’s any chance they might revive Bat Lash?
Denny O’Neil: There is a chance! There’s no chance of it being feature in his own book; Bat Lash had the worst sales in the whole 30-some-odd-year history of National Periodical Publications. We’re targeting it for a back-up feature in one of Giordano’s books.
Q. Was Infantino as excited about Bat Lash as everyone else was?
Denny O’Neil: Oh, it was Infantino’s baby. He kept it alive three issues after the business office told him to stop publishing it.

Shortly after this interview, the same group of fans escorted Denny to St. Louis tv station KPLR-TV, where he was interviewed live on-air about his comic book work as we watched from the green room. Could there have been a bigger thrill for me, a 15-year-old comic book fan also fascinated with journalism TV production? No, of course not. But there was hardly time to take it all in. There was another issue of GRAFAN to put out…

To read this part of the Denny O’Neil interview:
GRAFAN 7 as a digital download pdf
And to read the rest of the interview:
GRAFAN 6 as a digital download pdf
GRAFAN 8 as digital download pdf

For more of GRAFAN, see also:
ATLANTIS 1 and GRAFAN 2-8 (1970-1971)
SON OF GRAFAN (1971-1975)
granfan.org

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) zines 1971-75 | St. Louis comics fandom

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 (nicknamed SOG,) the newsletter of the fan club and community GRAFAN. This was 1970 – 1975, when I went from being a 16-year-old high school nerd to a 20-year-old college nerd.

Don’t worry. I had a serious girlfriend or two in there. I wasn’t completely hopeless. In those years, I was also serving as editor my high school newspaper and my college newspaper, all concurrently with fandom activities. The connective tissue was writing. Editing. Typing. I must have been always typing.

“GRAFAN is dead! Long live SON OF GRAFAN!” So declared our club, the Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis in 1971, when its “official propaganda organ,” became too unwieldy under ever increasing expectation of editorial and production pizazz. GRAFAN lasted 9 storied issues; I edited a couple of those, too. On both runs, I was happy to be involved and part of the fun.

The leaner, more streamlined (at least at first) SON OF GRAFAN kept the mimeograph machine cranking with meeting news, minutes, reviews, announcements, article and art, all revolving around St. Louis comics fandom and its enthusiasms, and expanding to science-fiction in those early 1970s, as well.

Here are the covers to the only issues of SON OF GRAFAN I still have in my files. All of the printing, unless otherwise noted, are by friend, master of the mimeograph Walt Stumper.

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 1

July, 1971
2 pages
Edited by Mike McFadden
“Son of Editorial” by Mike McFadden
“Son of Fanac Calendar”
Member and meeting news

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 2

July, 1971
2 pages
Edited by Mike McFadden
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
“Filthy Pro News” by Mike
Letter from W. C. Rhomberg

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 3

September, 1971
4 pages
Edited by Walt Jaschek
Features include:
Upcoming meeting details
Previous meeting minutes
Member news
Fanzine reviews by Walt J
“Pro News”
“In the Mass Media” news

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 5

October, 1971
6 pages
Edited by Walt Jaschek
Features include:
“Fanac Calendar”
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
“Dreck” column by Dev Hanke
Fanzine reviews by Walt J.
Non-subscriber list [weird]

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 6

November, 1971
6 pages
Edited by Walt Jaschek
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
“Dreck” column by Dev Hanke
1971 Goethe Awards ballot
“Pro News” from Newfangles
“Around Town” news

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 11

February, 1972
Edited by Walt Jaschek
Cover art by Larry Nolte
Features include:
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
“Human Violence Can Be Abolished” by Frederic Wertham, M.D.
“Coming Attractions” by Paul Daly
Fanzine reviews by Walt Jaschek

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 12

March, 1972
6 pages
Edited by Walt Jaschek and Walt Stumper
Staff and club officials list
“Dreck” column by Dev Hanke
“Coming Attractions” movie news by Paul Daly
“From the Outside” fanzine reviews by Walt Jaschek
Letters from Paul Daly and Charles Spanier

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 13

SON OF GRAFAN 13 is for sale as a digital download pdf.

April, 1972
16 pages
Edited by Walt Jaschek
Cover by Larry Nolte
“Editorial Notes” by Walt Jaschek
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
“Coming Attractions” movie news by Paul Daly
“The Sacred Crest: Part 1” fiction by Jim Theis
starring Grignr the Barbarian
“The Spider and Mr. Moke” comic strip by Paul Daly
Upcoming conventions list
“From the Outside” fanzine reviews by Walt Jaschek
1971 Comic Art Fan Awards ballot

More information about SON OF GRAFAN 13.

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 14

April, 1972
Edited by Walt Jaschek
Cover by Mike McFadden
[I have only the cover to this issue. Weird.]

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 15

May, 1972
16 pages
Edited by Walt Jaschek
Cover by Paul Daly
“Editorial Notes” by Walt Jaschek
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
“Upcoming Comic News”
“Coming Attractions” movie news by Paul Daly
“From the Outside” fanzine reviews by Walt Jaschek
“The Sacred Crest: Part 2” fiction by Jim Theis
“Howls from the Belfry” club news by Walt Stumper
Current release science fiction paperback book list
1972 Albuquerque Science Fiction Society “Bubonicon” promo flier
“Reference Guide to Fantastic Films” promo flier

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 16

July, 1972
18 pages
Edited by Walt Stumper
“Howls from the Belfry” by Walt Stumper
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
“Coming Attractions” by Paul Daly
“Comics of French Canada” by Ralph Alfonso
Fanzine reviews by Walt Jaschek
Letters from George Vincent; Harry Warner, Jr.; Frederic Wertham

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 17

August, 1972
10 pages
Edited by Walt Stumper
Cover by Larry Todd
“Fandom Report” by Walt Stumper
“Coming Attractions” movie news by Paul Daly
Letters from Gary Goersch, Steve Frischer, Celia Tiffany, Ed Hummeny

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 19

October, 1972
8 pages
Edited by Walt Stumper
Upcoming meeting news
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
Book and magazine news
Phantasmagoria ad flier
Upcoming conventions list
Letter from Ralph Alfonso

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 22

December, 1972
14 pages
Edited by Walt Stumper
“Fandom Report” by Walt Stumper
Club library list
“Coming Attractions” movie news by Paul Daly
Los Angeles Science Fiction & Fantasy Film Convention Report
by Larry Arnold
Upcoming conventions list
Fantasy and science fiction book news & reviews
“Color It: Comics” Comic reviews by Don Secrease
Reviews of TV shows “U.F.O.” and “The Protectors” by Paul Daly

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 23

March, 1973
Edited by Walt Jaschek
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
[My issue is incomplete. This is the only page I have.]

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 24

April, 1973
16 pages
Edited by Walt Jaschek and Walt Stumper
Cover by Larry Nolte
Editorial by Walt Stumper
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
News release about Frederic Wertham book about fanzines
“Coming Attractions” movie news by Paul Daly
Books of interest by Walt Stumper
“Color Them: Comics” reviews by Don Secrease
Fanzine reviews by Walt Stumper
Letter from Chuck Kallenback II

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 29

February, 1974
10 pages
Edited by Mike McFadden
Cover by Vince Rhomberg
Editorial by Mike McFadden
“Fandom Report” by Mike
“Coming Attractions” by Vernon Shelton
“So Speaks the Stump” by Walt Stumper

SON OF GRAFAN (SOG) 36

August, 1975
Edited by Walt Jaschek
Cover by Mike McFadden
[GRAFAN Mini-Con promotion]
Editorial by Walt Jaschek
“Fandom Report” by Mike McFadden
“Dreck” column by Dev Hanke

See also: ATLANTIS 1 & GRAFAN 2-9, 1970-71

Montage of GRAFAN covers. These were the zines that came before SON OF GRAFAN.

Club info: Grafan.org

GRAFAN zine, 1970-71 | St. Louis Comics Fandom Remembered

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 so did my pals and fellow members of the Graphic Fantasy Society of St. Louis, who co-created dozens of mimeo zines throughout the decade, bursting with news, reviews, articles and artwork, often accompanied by covers featuring sketches we begged from pro comics and science fiction artists at conventions.

GRAFAN, as the “graphic fantasy society” was known, was a well organized, fee-based club, with regular monthly meetings for years (in the basement of members’ parents’ homes,) and kept a fairly rigorous monthly schedule for its zine/newsletter, containing at very least minutes of meetings past and previews of meetings upcoming. “It is published every month,” the indicia of every issue said, “with a little bit of luck… and magic.”

The club was a warm community of nerds; I say that proudly as one then and now. It was a self-selected tribe of fast-frozen and long-held friendships among talented young people sharing enthusiasms, putting their still-forming work out there, and squinting together into adulthood and creative careers.

Some were “older” teens and even 20somethings – a few in college, a few in Grad School. Founding members in my memory, were brothers Len and Mike McFadden; Bob Schoenfeld (of “Gosh Wow”;) and Bob Gale (of “Green Vomit,” then later, “Back to the Future.”) Len and Bob were at the older end of that age range. But when I first joined the group, in 1969, I was 14 years old, and when I inherited the editor position of GRAFAN, its monthly zine, as of issue #6 in 1970, I was 15.

The regulars who leaned in to publication of GRAFAN and its follow-up zine SON OF GRAFAN were founders Len and Mike McFadden; Walter Stumper, Steve Houska, Jim Theis, Joe Caporale, Dev (Brock) Hanke, Paul Daly, Don Secrease, Larry Nolte, me, and others I’ll remember as soon as I’m done posting.

Here are the covers and overview of contents of ATLANTIS # 1 and GRAFAN #2-9. The name changed with issue #2 to align more closely with club name. (Better branding, I said back then, and still say now.)

Atlantis 1 cover

ATLANTIS 1

June, 1970
18 mimeograph pages + photo offset cover
Editor: Michael McFadden
Cover: Vaughn Bode
Features include:
Editorial
Fandom Report
Meeting minutes and news about next
Ozark-Con 5 flier
Zine reviews
Upcoming con listings

Grafan 2 cover

GRAFAN 2

July, 1970
6 mimeograph pages + photo offset cover
Editor: Michael McFadden
Cover: Mike Royer
Features include:
Editorial by Len McFadden
Fandom Report
Meeting minutes and news about next
Member survey

Grafan 3 cover

GRAFAN 3

August, 1970
4 mimeograph pages + photo offset cover
Editor: Michael McFadden
Cover: Larry Todd
Features include:
Editorial by Mike
Fandom Report
Meeting minutes and news about next

Grafan 4 cover

GRAFAN 4

September, 1970
6 mimeograph pages + photo offset cover
Editor: Michael McFadden
Cover: Joe Caporale and Mike
Features include:
Editorial by Mike
Fandom Report
Article on Ozark-Con 5 by Marsha Allen and Mike
Meeting minutes and news about next

Grafan 5 cover

GRAFAN 5

October, 1970
6 mimeograph pages + photo offset cover
Editor: Michael McFadden
Cover: Vaughn Bode
Features include:
Editorial by Mike
Fandom Report
Meeting minutes and news about next
Member survey

Grafan 6 cover

GRAFAN 6

GRAFAN 6 is available as an instant download pdf here.

November, 1970
16 pages + photo offset cover
Editor: Michael McFadden
Cover: Larry Todd
Features include:
Denny O’Neil interview, part 1
Editorial by Mike
Fandom Report
Meeting minutes and news about next
Book reviews by Len McFadden

Grafan 7 cover

GRAFAN 7

GRAFAN 7 is for sale as an instant download pdf.

January, 1971
A typo in this issue incorrectly lists date as January, 1970
16 mimeograph pages + photo offset cover
Editor: Walt Jaschek
Cover: Steve Houska and Mike McFadden
Features include:
Denny O’Neil interview, part 2
Editorial by Walt Jaschek
Fandom Report
Club Election Results
Book reviews by Len McFadden
Read more about GRAFAN 7

Grafan 8 cover

GRAFAN 8

GRAFAN 8 is for sale as an instant download pdf here.

February-March, 1971
18 mimeograph pages + mimeograph cover
Editor: Walt Jaschek
Cover: Vaughn Bode
Features include:
Denny O’Neil interview, part 3
Editorial by Walt Jaschek
MiamiCon 1971 Report by Steve Houska
Grafandom letter column:
Letters from Ralph Green, Tony Foster, Joe Caporale, Ruben Hayes
Read more about GRAFAN 8

GRAFAN 9 cover

GRAFAN 9

GRAFAN 9 is for sale as an instant download pdf here.

May, 1971
20 mimeograph pages + photo offset cover
Editor: Steve Houska
Cover: Larry Todd
Features include:
Fandom Report by Mike McFadden
Conan the Barbarian Comic Book Review by James Theis
Fredric Wertham Interview
Book Reviews by Dev Hanke
Comic strip by Vince Rhomberg
Granfandom ketter column:
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

Here’s more information about GRAFAN 9.

Longtime followers of fandom might recognize quite a few of these names. The late Editor Emeritus Mike McFadden went on to be a prominent comic book grader for CGC in Florida. The late writer Jim Theis became well-known in science-fiction fandom for his fiction, including the story “Eye of Argon” starring Grignr the Barbarian, originally published in another St. Louis mimeograph fanzine of the era, OSFAN. Bob Gale, who was part of the group who interviewed Denny O’Neil (issues #6, 7 and 8) became a Hollywood screenwriter and part architect of the “Back to the Future” franchise. As for me? Well, you’re on my site! Click around.

Len, Mike, Bob, Jim and other prominent figures in GRAFAN have since passed – see grafan.org for dates. It is to honor their memory I post these covers.

A robust follow-up zine, SON OF GRAFAN, would carry on from 1971 until years later; I shared editorship of that publication with Walt Stumpers and others. It, too, was packed with cool, mimeograph content. But that, son, is a story for Part 2.

Part 2: SOG / SON OF GRAFAN

SOG / SON OF GRAFAN cover collage. Photo by Walt Jaschek

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Recycled Man™ was created by Walt Jaschek and Paul Daly. The star of dark drama first appeared as a preview in Slightly Bent Comics #2, published in 1998. His most recent appearance is in a full-color, one-shot comic for mature readers available now on Amazon Kindle.

When Endings Begin: An Introduction

By Walt Jaschek

What goes around, comes around.”

A somewhat world-weary, cigarette-smoking art director I worked with back in my ad agency days used to say that a lot. 

He was right a lot.

He wasn’t talking metaphysically. More transactionally. If the flu is going around, you’re going to get the flu. (That was before the the shot. I am pro-shot.) If a client pays late, the agency is going to pay late. If somebody buys lunch with a counterfeit dollar, you’re going to get it as change.

He also used lean back, blow a smoke ring, and say, “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” My younger self had to actively shrug that off. My carefully crafted optimism had to be shielded. 

But he was right about that, too, in his way. We’re here for a blink, the challenges never stop, and if you don’t hone optimism and resilience, life will seem, as per Thomas Hobbes, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”  

“Life’s a bitch and then you die” is snappier, I think.

All those quotes were on my mind when the notion of Recycled Man was born a few years ago, in a notebook, late at night.

My concept of Karma – as in, creating your ultimate fate through the arc of your daily behavior – was continuing to evolve. I kept seeing both good and bad behavior manifest fate indirectly, and over time. Thieves don’t necessarily get robbed in return, but check out prematurely. Robbed of time. The corrupt are called out, at least by history. The poor winner loses it all.

Eventually. But often the pace of Karmic repercussions can be glacial, as in glaciers, which we used to have.

My impulse for Recycled Man was that he could accelerate Karma. He could cut to the chase. See the nasty out the door.

This introductory story, in which he does just that, hints – not subtly – at a backstory I worked out in the very same notebook.

It is, I hope you’ll understand, a deliberate change-up for me: a toe-tip into (what I hope is) pulpy drama. That’s new for a writer whose work is typically more light-hearted. Or was.

Recycled Man page 02

But as Don Secrease started adding seer-your-retina color to Paul Daly’s evocative art, I knew we had to get a print and digital edition out there – partially to gauge reaction, partially to give our new publishing company, Comicmood, a jump-start. (Will the story continue? Oh yes, if engagement and sales warrant. Let us know what you think in the comments below.)

Filling out the issue: a new story I guest-wrote for Terranauts: 2020, an incarnation of the long-running team created by Paul and Don, and on loan for this appearance. “The Call of Cold, Dark Places” matches the book’s tone, I thought. 

More characters are in development — get ready, here they come —and I think they all have a certain Karma of their own. The unworthy will vanish quietly. (Or maybe not-so quietly. I’m a comics fan, too. I know how we are.) The worthy?

They’ll come around.  •

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In 7th grade, I wrote a gushing fan letter to Stan Lee. The letter was subsequently published in its entirety in Captain America #107, November, 1968. A thrill. Here’s the cover, by Jack Kirby (another hero:)

captainamerica107

But it got better. Stan deemed the letter worthy of a “No-Prize,” his inside-joke “award” for fans – an envelope with literally nothing inside. So when, a few weeks later, said envelope from Marvel arrived, my 12-year-old head hit the ceiling.

This is my way of saying… RIP Stan, entertainer extraordinaire, wizard of words and worlds, and an outsized influence on many, including me. I’m so happy you lived long enough to see your co-creations explode into every corner of pop culture. Thanks for the ride.

And thanks also for this little envelope: no prize I’ve gotten since surpasses.

noprize

“Congratulations,” it says. “This envelope contains a genuine Marvel Comics No-Prize which you have just won. Handle with Care.” I did, through the decades. That’s a pic I shot recently. The outer envelope (from 625 Madison Avenue, New York, 10022) has yellowed. The No-Prize itself… is mint. 

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Walt Jaschek looks back on his story in What The–? #5, Marvel’s self-parody comic, originally published in 1989. Walt recalls:

“Just as my freelance writing business was heating up, my friend and superstar comic artist invited me to do a short piece in Marvel’s humor anthology. His idea was teaming up characters who really didn’t belong together. I called it ‘Ill-Conceived Character Couplings.’  As I look back now, I see it was really a bunch of inside jokes for those reading comic at the time. But it was such a privilege to work with Jim and get that first check from Marvel. Even now I think back and say, ‘Did that really happen?’ In other words: ‘What The–?'”

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whatthe-5-coverwhatth-couplings1whatth-couplings2whatthe-couplings3

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Walt Jaschek is a writer of comics, comedy and copy for big brands. For his work creating funny, award-winning ad campaigns for the entertainment industry, he was inducted in 2018 into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Declaring “I’m not history yet,” Walt is writing away on his original I.P. at last. Netflix gets first look.

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Read issue #1: “Slap-Shot to Destiny!” | Read Issue #2: “Power Play: 2094!” | Read series backstory and full credits | Walt Jaschek home

Walt Jaschek is a writer of comics, comedy and copy for big brands. For his work creating funny, award-winning ad campaigns for the entertainment industry, he was inducted in 2018 into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Declaring “I’m not history yet,” Walt is writing away on his original I.P. at last. Netflix gets first look.

Did you enjoy this content? Buy Walt a coffee and he will toast you with it.

St. Louis Comic Creators Invade St. Louis Bread Company

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A crazy, creative, collaborative crew. I am blessed to have incredibly talented artists as co-creators and friends here in St. Louis. Tonight wife Randy and I joined some of them for brainstorming, project development, catching up, and eating. Of course, eating! It was a Bread Company, after all.

Going around the table, counter-clockwise:

Kimberly Austin Daly, artist of the charming and delicate and delightful, and wife of Paul Daly (we’ll get to him.)

Rick Burchett, Eisner-winning artist of Batman Adventures; co-artist of The Death of Superman; and artist on the I-hope-gets-completed (some day) true “Help” story.

Randy Rosenbaum, artist with food; my wife; and fellow adventure-seeker on my blog, Walt A Life.

Walt Jaschek, writer of all this stuff, and then some.

Jeff Weigel, current artist on the Sunday Phantom comic strip; creator of the Dragon Girl graphic novel and The Sphinx; and many more amazing comics-related wonders.

Sam Maronie, long-time pop culture journalist and author of Tripping Through Pop-Culture!: (Mis) Adventures of an Entertainment Writer. Sam is leaving St. Louis for life in Columbus, Ohio! We miss you already, Sam.

Don Secrease, co-creator (with me) of Mel Cool: Mall Cop®: Comics, the Herobots Coloring & Games Book and newly-launched Terranauts 2020; artist on our Brett Hull comicbook series; and owner of the eBay store Pop’s Culture.

Lorenzo Lizana, creator of Scarab; comic convention sketch artist extraordinaire; and collaborator with me on a project so secret, he doesn’t even know what it is yet.

Paul Daly, artist of Julie Walker is The Phantom; pencil artist of the splash page of Terranauts 2020; artist of Recycled Man (both written by me); and fan-favorite artist on his own amazing properties, which you’ll experience soon.

P.S. Some of the comics and books mentioned above are on Amazon. Like these:

            

See you all again soon, artist friends! Typing… scripts… fast… as I… can…

Walt Jaschek

Terranauts: “The Call of Cold, Dark Places.” Page 1 art — and Walt’s script

Happy to report I’m writing adventure comics again! Just completed a script (scroll to see it) for a deep-diving tale of The Terranauts, the team created by Paul Daly and Don Secrease. Splash page complete. What new menace taunts the ‘nauts? We’ll find out — in a cold, dark place.

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Credits on this page: Pencils by Paul Daly. A great composition meticulously realized. Coloring by Don Secrease. Masterful. Look at that water. Copy and inks by me. (Yeah, inks, too. “Walt Jaschek inking” is not something you usually see in any reasonable reality. But I wanted to try it. Let me tell you, inking Paul’s beautiful pencils is daunting. Fun, but daunting. Also, now my carpel tunnel has carpet tunnel.)

Here’s the fully inked page, just before I sent it to Don to do his amazing color stuff.

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Bonus! Here is the 

SCRIPT

TERRANAUTS 2020
“CALL OF COLD DARK, PLACES”
8-Pager
Script by Walt Jaschek

++++++ SPLASH ++++++

CAPTION: In the middle of the Aegean, we locate the anomaly.

CAPTION: We are warned it will sense us.

CAPTION: And will not be friendly.

CAPTION: But we are…

[LOGO] TERRANAUTS 2020

CAPTION: So we dive.

++++++ PAGE 2 ++++++

PANEL 1

A hero shot. Under the surface as Adam and Maria complete the dive, each arcing upward to stabilize, a trail of bubbles indicating their trajectory.

SFX: KER-SPLASH!

ADAM: Read me, Connie?

MARIA: Si, Adam. It’s as if we’re in the same ocean.

ADAM: Very funny, Terranaut.

ADAM: Propulsion mode.

PANEL 2

Having stabilized after the jump, Adam and Maria have activated the propulsion packs: they are jetting swiftly through the water in a downward diagonal,

ADAM: How ‘bout the ship? You with us, Harry?

HARRY (from off): With you and remind you…

PANEL 3

Back in the ship, Harry is standing with his walker, but is surrounded by sensors and screens and sonar, some of which are hologram projections.

HARRY: The sentient is self-replicating.

HARRY: It doubles in size every 6 hours…

HARRY: …along the top of a seamount ridge…

PANEL 4

Close on Maria as, through her mask, her eyes go big. She sees something.

HARRY (through transmitter): …close to surface.

Maria: Madre de Dios!

PANEL 5

In the foreground, a jagged “arm” of ice, coming from bottom right corner of panel and seeming to reach out like a warning finger to our oncoming divers in the distance.

And in alien letters and/or alien balloon, the word: S T O P

++++ PAGE 2 ++++

PANEL 1

And there is the creature in full, as seen by our divers in foreground. They are about a mile away. The creature is a huge, octopus-shaped alien crystal. It sits atop a mountain in a mid-ocean ridge. Gigantic tentacles are growing down the side of the rigge and into the surrounding ocean. It’s half holding on. And half spreading out.

Near the the top of this icy mass a “face” has formed, chunks forming brow and dark holes in the ice forming “eyes.” At the moment, the face is glowering..

Alien balloon: G O A W A Y

PANEL 2

ADAM: Getting this, Harry?

HARRY: Threat projections.

HARRY: Translated by your partner’s telepathy.

PANEL 3

Adam turns to look Maria in the eye, through his goggles and hers.

ADAM: You heard him, Connie. You’re our conduit.

ADAM: Can you get in there

ADMA: And read its “mind”?

PANEL 4

Maria is “floating” in an all-white panel with no background, to suggest she is in some other place, some netherworld of telepathy. She has her hand to her temple, reading incoming signals.

MARIA: Memory synapsis evasive…

MARIA: Like static…

MARIA: Wait… I have something…

PANEL 5

Outer space. Earth a blue ball in background. A huge comet is hurling in blackness, rocky, irregular, minerals in catching distant sunlight. But attached to the bottom is of the comet much, much smaller version of our creature, an irregular mass of icy lichen on a rock. A piece of it, though, is tugging away.

MARIA (from off): It was using a comet…

MARIA: (from off): As habitat.

MARIA: (from off): On a near-Earth pass…

MARIA: (from off): It tore itself off.

++++ PAGE 4 ++++

PANEL 1

Long shot as the creature crashes hard into the ocean, speed lines indicating its trajectory, a circle of waves where it hits.

MARIA (from off): After eons inert, all it needed was…

PANEL 2

Back in the ship, Harry has taken off his glasses and is holding the bridge of his nose with his fingers. A realization is sinking in.

HARRY: Something to drink.

PANEL 3

As close as we’ve been on the creature yet. We can see its whole “face.” And its “scrowl” is deep.

ALIEN: I DRINK.

ALIEN: I GROW.

ALIEN: I TURN YOUR SEAS…

ALIEN: INTO ME.

PANEL 4

Maria and Adam are jetting through a “cave” – AKA a hole — at the edge of a tentacle. Maria is shining a light into the foreground, where we see floating dead fish and brown, limp sea plants, and a murk of grey gasses.

MARIA: Not good, Adam.

MARIA: Whatever alien chemical stew it’s excreting…

MARIA: …is killing sea life for kilometers.

ADAM: Roger that. “Sentient bad.”

PANEL 5

Adam presses down one of the buttons that make up a grid of rectangles on his high-tech band on his wrist. The button he’s pushing is green.

ADAM: But as I’m sure Harry would agree:

ADAM: “Sentient” does not equal “smart.”

++++++

PAGE 5

PANEL 1

In the ship, Harry is looking at a looking at a screen. It shows a large panel opening at the bottom of the ship. Emerging from the panel are five, high-tech harpoons, pointed down, ready to be launched.

HARRY: It does not.

PANEL 1-A, small inset panel. Closer on the screenshot of the harpoons. Words appear over picture: HARPOONS BOOTING

PANEL 2

Wider shot as Maria and Adam make a loop around a tentacles and shoot off in the opposite direction, away from the creature.

ADAM: Yo, cranky alien! Ever heard of the internet?


You should have used it to search… 

“Where Not to Breed Underwater.”

PANEL 3

The creature squints, trying to understand.

 ADAM (from off): Top answer:

ADAM (from off): “Above a Geothermic Vent.”

PANEL 5

Adam and Maria are booking out of there, full propulsion speed, diagonally up and away.

CAPTION: They’re all over the ocean floor.

CAPTION: Temps up to 3000 degrees Celcius.

PAGE 6

PANEL 1

Looking up at bottom of the ship. The panel is fully open and the harpoons have been fired. They’re raining down on us.

CAPTION: The vents it’s sitting on have been clogged for a while.

PANEL 2

The high-tech harpoons shoot through the surface of the ocean.

CAPTION: We’re the plumbers.

PANEL 3

Harpoons penetrate the surface of the ocean

BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

PANEL 4

Alien: M I S S E D

PANEL 5

Unclogged, the geothermic vents turn into geysers of super-hot water. All around the geysers, the tentacles of the creature are instantly melting and dissolving.

ADAM (from off) Didn’t. 

PAGE 7

PANEL 1

The face of the creature as it knows it is doomed. Already the ice of its face is melting and dissolving into streams shooting upward with the hot water.

ALIEN BALLOON: [SCREAMS WHILE DISSOLVING]: AAAA

PANEL 2

ALIEN BALLOON (GETTING SMALLER WHILE THE LIST OF LETTERS GETS LONGER):   AAAAAAA

PANEL 3

ALIEN BALLOON (GETTING SMALLER WHILE THE LIST OF LETTERS GETS LONGER):   AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

PANEL 4

Now back outside: long shot of the ocean as seen from the ship. A mile or so away, globules of dissolving creature are sending up wide showers of steam. A piece of the ship in foreground suggests scale and distance.

No copy

PANEL 5

Inside the ship, Harry is looking very closely at a censor and tapping on it as he does so.

HARRY: 99.9% decrease in sentience.

ADAM (communicator balloon): Not 100?

HARRY: 1% margin of error.

SFX (as Harry taps on censor screen) TAP TAP TAP

ADAM (communicator balloon): Well, I’ll round up and call that…

PAGE 8

PANEL 1

The surface of the ocean. The large raft we saw hanging from the ship is now floating on the surface, waiting, stocked with containers for food and dry supplies. On either side, rope ladders. A dripping wet Adam and Maria are climbing the ladders and climbing into the raft. The sun is low in the sky.

ADAM: …“mission accomplished.”

MARIA (a disappointed grunt): Hurmph.

PANEL 2

Maria pulls off her hood and goggles: we are seeing her face full for the first time. She is looking at Harry pointedly.

MARIA: Shortest. Mission. Ever.

PANEL 3

Reverse angle looking at Adam as he removes hood and goggles, too. Also, in the background, the silhouette of the hovering ship against the late afternoon sun. (A silhouette to save you from drawing those details.) Its presence subtly underscores what Adam is saying.

ADAM: Be thankful, Terranaut.

ADAM: They get longer.

PANEL 4

Maria hugs herself, shoulders hunched, cold. Her wetsuit is now slighting zipped open at the neck, revealing a small crucifix necklace. Adam is reaching out to her, handing her the cup from atop a Terranauts-branded thermos. It steams with a hot beverage.

MARIA: And I’m still cold.

ADAM: Warm your core, Maria Consuela Santos…

PANEL 5

Deep down below. A tiny chunk of the creature, sinking even farther into the crevices of the ocean. A stream of bubbles follows it down. It is breathing.

ADAM: “They also get colder.”

End of script

 Update: Read the finished, full-color comic now!

Walt Jaschek likes spending time in warm, bright places. 

Stoogecoach: A “Three Stooges” Western, 1987

 

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3stoogespg1-stoogecoachYou probably don’t remember “Stoogecoach,” our 1987 Three Stooges comic, but that’s because it was never printed. Ask Don Secrease or me about it sometime when we’re drinking.

Those are the first two-pages of a completed,  22-page second ish. A first issue, “Of Stooge and Screen,” is around here somewhere, too. It has some great pin-up pages by Paul Daly.

Let’s just say the indie publisher who told us he had the licensing rights to the Three Stooges turned out to be… wrong. But only after we completed two full comics.

It was 1987. We were learning. Contract first, then the fun begins.