Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meth on Steve Englehart

Steve Englehart was a very terrific writer of comics at a time when I was reading nothing but. I'm conducting a brief interview with him regarding his Max August series for this blog. Should be ready by tomorrow.

Englehart began his pro comics career assisting art legend Neal Adams on Vampirella #10 (Warren Publishing, 1971) and later became a writer at Marvel under Roy Thomas, where his plots and dialogue were, more sophisticated--and far more fun--than most of what his contemporaries were doing. To this day, my favorite Captain America run was his, especially that forever memorable resolution of the 1950's Cap/Bucky conundrum with a plotline that also hit on the racial issues of that period (issues #152-156).

Englehart and Frank Brunner (who illustrated the cover of my own Wearing The Horns for Aardwolf Publishing), created a multi-issue storyline for Dr. Strange (Marvel Premiere #14) in which a sorcerer named Sise-Neg (Genesis backwards) travels back through history, collects magical energies, then finally reaches the beginning of the universe only to become omnipotent and re-create it, leaving Dr. Strange to ponder whether this was, paradoxically, the original creation. Story has it that Stan Lee (then EiC of Marvel) ordered the pair to print a retraction to avoid problems with religious leaders, saying this was not "God" but a god... and that Englehart and Brunner penned a fake letter from a fictitious minister praising the story, then mailed it to Marvel from Texas. Marvel unwittingly printed the letter and dropped the retraction order.

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