Sunday, May 15, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 15: Happy birthday, John Verpoorten!

Born on this day in 1940: John Verpoorten, Marvel's production manager in the 1970s: beloved both in real life and on the comics page as a four-color larger-than-life figure.

from (L) Fantastic Four Annual #7 (Marvel, November 1969),
(middle) 1975 Mighty Marvel Convention Program Book (Marvel, 1975), photograph by Michele Wolfman, and
(right) Foom #15 (Marvel, September 1976)

Wherever there's a gathering of Marvel creators within the pages of a book and the realities of Earth-616, you'd usually find John there. Can you find him here, hoping the Sub-Mariner will cough up that easten-too-fast carp and awaken?

from Sub-Mariner (1968 series) #19 (Marvel, November 1969), script by Roy Thomas, pencils and colors by Marie Severin, inks by Johnny Craig, letters by Artie Simek

You couldn't miss him! That's why they nicknamed him (affectionately, I hope!) "Jumbo!"

from Iron Man (1968 eries) #85 (April 1976), co-plot by Len Wein, co-plot and script by Roger Slifer, breakdowns by Herb Trimpe, finishes by Kim Seong Hwan, colors by Marie Severin

Here's John (and a guy you might know named Jack Kirby):

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

A slightly grouchier Verpoorten hassles Marv Wolfman. Well, if you'd turn in your scripts on time, Marv! I don't care if it's the day after your birthday!

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

John Verpoorten died much too early, at the age of 37 in 1977.

from Mighty Marvel Calendar 1979 (Marvel, 1978)

Here's a pair of lovely obits for him by his peers.

from (top) Marvel Comics cover-dated June 1978. by Jim Shooter; and
(bottom) Savage Sword of Conan #29 (Marvel, May 1978), by Roy Thomas

A happy birthday to you, John Verpoorten.

from FOOM #2 (Marvel, May 1973)

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