Friday, May 13, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 13: Happy birthday, Marv Wolfman!

Let's all wheel out a big-ass birthday cake for Marv Wolfman, award-winning comic book writer, co-creator of Deathstroke, Blade, Nova, Bullseye, Terrax, Black Cat, Lilith, Big Wheel, Karla Sofen, Modred the Mystic, Debra Whitman, Hannibal King, Copperhead, Corruptor, the Brothers Grimm (inhale)...

from Mighty Marvel Calendar 1979 and 1980 (Marvel, 1978 and 1979)

...(exhale) Nightwing, Tim Drake, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, Terra, Jericho, Kole, Brother Blood, Jinx, Mammoth, Psimon, Shimmer, Blackfire, Ravager, Trigon...

from (top) FOOM #8 (December 1974), (middle) #2 (May 1973) and (bottom) #7 (September 1974)

...Vigilante, Wildebeest, the Shadow Thief, Doctor Light II, Bibbo Bibbowski, the Monitor (and his dad's sister, the Anti-Monitor), Harbinger, Pariah, Lady Quark, Professor Hamilton, and many more! Whew! And Danny Chase, but you can't win 'em all.

from (top) Crazy Magazine #7 (Marvel, October 1974),
(middle) FOOM #10 (Marvel, June 1975), and
(bottom) 1975 Mighty Marvel Convention Program Book (Marvel, June 1975), photograph by Michele WOlfman

Along with John Byrne, Marv is also the creator who shaped the rebooted Superman, giving us mega-industrialist Lex Luthor, Cat Grant, Gangbuster, Bibbo Bibbowski, and other fun Post-Crisis Supes concepts and characters.

from "Meanwhile..." in DC comics cover-dated February 1987

Here's your shorthand cheat-sheet on all things Marv!:

from DC Comics cover-dated March 1981

Is Marv Wolfman his real name?

from Dracula Lives #4 (Marvel, January 1974)

Marv is one of those fans-turned-pro whose love for and attention to the genre was evident even in his early letters to comics!

letter columns in (from top) The Atom (1962 series) #19 (DC, June 1965),
Hawkman (1964 series) #9 (DC, August 1965)
Strange Adventures (1950 series) #175 (DC, April 1965), and
Tomahawk #85 (DC, March 1963)

He's had a huge influence upon superhero comics in general, but his biggest triumph: the creation with (the late great) George Pérez of The new Teen Titans in 1980, which began the DC renaissance through and beyond Crisis on Infinite Earths (also created with Pérez).

from Fifty Who Made DC Great one-shot (DC, 1985)

(I guess DC hadn't noticed Marv puttin' them down as "The Declining Competition" in this Marvel text page from '75!)

"Old Funny Animals" from Skull the Slayer #1 (Marvel, August 1975), text by Marv Wolfman, art by Marie Severin; (and Steve Gan?)

Marv wrote Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter at DC in backup stories for The Tarzan Family, and then wrote the first fifteen issues and two annuals of Marvel's '70s adaptation John Carter, Warlord of Mars Unlike a certain mouse-run company, Marvel was smart enough to keep the Mars subtitle for extra action excitement!

from FOOM #20 (Marvel, January 1978)

Did Marv himself appear in comics as a character? You bet your sweet patoot he did. Here, Marv, Roy Thomas, Len Wein, and Archie Goodwin appear as "teen fans" transformed into the DC Universe's version of Marvel's Invaders (Americommando, Rusty, Barracuda, Fireball, and Sparky)! This delightful DC data was brought to my attention last year by Twitter pal @wardhillterry; many thanks!

from Freedom Fighters (1976 series) #9 (DC, July 1977), script by Bob Rozakis, pencils by Dick Ayers, inks by Jack Abel, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Here, with Julius Schwartz:

from The New Teen Titans (1984 series) #48 (DC, October 1988), script by Marv Wolfman, pencils by Eduardo Barreto, inks by Romeo Tanghal, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by Albert DeGuzman

Here, Marv only appeared in the reprint (lower image), following an editorial dictate that the writers serve as the horror hosts of 70s Marvel chillers! That's Gene Colan in the original printing (upper image)! It's Marv's first published story for Marvel, so he deserved the pasted-in head update!

from (top) "One Little Indian!" in Tower of Shadows #4 (Marvel, March 1970), script by Marv Wolfman, pencils by Gene Colan, inks by Dan Adkins, letters by Sam Rosen, and
Giant-Size Chillers #3 (Marvel, August 1975), Marv Wolfman head by Marie Severin

And there's a Marv on Earth-616, when he and Sal Buscema appeared auditioning Wolfman's own creation Nova to headline a Marvel book! Whoa, meta, man.

from Nova (Marvel, 1976 series) #5 (Marvel, January 1977), script by Marv Wolfman, breakdowns by Sal Buscema, finishes by Tom Palmer, letters by John Costanza

Until head honcho Stan Lee vetoed the idea of giving Nova his own book. Wow, Mister The Man, that's cold.

Here's Marv (with John Verpoorten and Jack Kirby!) in a story guest-starring the Impossible Man, who wants his own Marvel comic! Give it to him, Stan!

from Fantastic Four (1961 series) #176 (November 1976), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by George Pérez, inks by Joe Sinnott, colors by Michele Wolfman, letters by Joe Rosen


Marv, among the group of Marvel staffers playing softball (with Iron Fist!). I not 100% certain which one is him, tho'—the guy in the middle?

from Marvel Premiere #24 [Iron Fist] (Marvel, September 1975), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Pat Broderick and Marie Severin, inks by Vince Colletta; letter column from Iron Fist (1975 series) #2 (Marvel, December 1975)

A caricatured Wolfman interviews the American public about pop culture celebrities running for President. Thank goodness THAT never happened, huh?

from "What If...Celebrities Ran for President?" in Spoof #3 (Marvel, January 1973), script by Marv Wolfman, pencils and colors by Marie Severin, inks and letters by John Costanza

Marv and George (sniff, miss 'im) get tossed from Earth-Prime to Earth-1 and get to meet the Titans! Also present: the rest of the New Teen Titans creative staff! So, y'know, we didn't just forget them.

from "A Titanic Tale of Titans' Tomfoolery!" in The N,ew Teen Titans (1980 series) #20 (DC, June 1982), script by Marv Wolfman, breakdowns by George Pérez, finishes by Romeo Tanghal, colors by Adrienne Roy, letters by John Costanza


Happy birthday, Marv Wolfman, and many more!

from FOOM #21 (Marvel, Spring 1978)

C'mon everybody, sing along and CLAP FOR MARV WOLFMAN!

"Clap for the Wolfman" by The Guess Who (RCA Victor, 1974), written by Burton Cummings, Bill Wallace, and Kurt Winter

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