Posts tagged Stan Lee

Kurt Busiek

New & Old Portraits of the Creators

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Kurt Busiek (above) is a new drawing rounding out his Wikipedia biograpahy. Dave Cockrum, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (below) are older drawings for various uses that have been adapted for Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

Stan Lee

Between A Man and His King

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The case made in The Jack Kirby Trigger continues to ripple through the comics community. As expected, the California District Court decision to deny the Kirby Estate a trial is eliciting not only industry-wide indignation, but also gutter level fandom bickering between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby camps. Here are some highlights:

  • Stephen R. Bissette has written two sequels to Honoring a Fallen King. Good reading in Part 2 and then also Part 3.  He is meticulously dissecting the history and details of the creative process relative to Marvel, particularly regarding the Lee/Kirby collaborations. He’s also bringing outside sources and comparisons that reflect on this process relative to the court decision. From the momentum on  his site, it seems he has a lot more on his mind and is determined to keep the debate on the front lines, at least in the periphery he reaches with his web site, which can be quite extensive given the volatility of talk in the comics community. His analysis is expressive of a fighting spirit that needs to become an epidemic. Part 2 delivers a condemnation of Stan Lee’s deposition testimony that continues to agitate many fans and professionals alike:

* If bile is being cast at Stan Lee, it’s because he hasn’t risen to the behavior of his heroic characters. 

Look, I like Stan (I met him once during my second visit to the Marvel offices in 1977; he smiled at me and was very kind and supportive in about two minutes).

The worst I’ve said (I think; correct me if I’m wrong) is he “damned” himself with his deposition testimony. I stand by that perception and statement.

I have great respect for Stan, what he did, what he wrote, what he built, but his deposition is shameful.

  • Heidi MacDonald’s coverage of Stephen’s first article at The Beat spurred a spirited but demonstrably civil debate in reader comments. Writer Kurt Busiek peppered the discussion with well researched analysis, as he’s prone to deliver, of the case history.  We’ve straddled opposite sides of creator/publisher issues in the past, but it’s no small satisfaction to see Kurt’s position and sharp review applied in this way to the case. John Morrow, one of two witnesses, along with Mark Evanier, whose deposition testimony was stricken from the record in the proceedings, also makes an appearance in the comments thread, in support of Kurt’s effort.
  • Michael Dean provides a little more perspective on the court documents at The Comics Journal. His summation becomes a reminder of how the intent of the 1976 copyright law has become near-castrated by Marvel and other entertainment media proponents:

Under pressure from entertainment companies, however, Congress has repeatedly extended the maximum limits of copyright terms, thereby adding value to intellectual property that it didn’t have at the time creators like Siegel and Kirby were turning their brainstorms over to publishers in exchange for modest pay checks. The Copyright Act of 1976 was meant to redress that to a degree, by giving the original authors a chance to benefit from the extended copyright terms. Arguably, the same principle ought to apply, whether you created something and then sold it as Siegel and Shuster did or simply accepted payment for your creative labors page by page as Kirby did.

  • Arlen Schumer joined a heated debate on Bleeding Cool Forums, posting The Auteur Theory of Comics, based on French cinema culture, wherein he stands in defense of the Kirby Estate by comparing an artist in the visual comics medium to a director in film. Such an analogy, Schumer states, would entitle Kirby with co-creation of the Marvel Universe that he contributed to. Arlen will be presenting his thesis during a panel at New York Comic Con, this Oct 13-16, as a visual presentation, followed by a panel discussion on the Kirby ruling, conducted by moderator Peter Coogan, Director of The Institute for Comics Studies and the Comics Studies Conference, and Rand Hoppe, Director of the online Jack Kirby Museum. A must event to attend for Kirby lovers at NYCC this year.
  • The Bleeding Cool Forum discussing Stephen Bisette’s first article and the Kirby/Marvel decision has mushroomed to a burgeoning 55 page thread with more than 650 posts as of this writing. I’ve been active in a lot of it and I can safely say it’s one of the more entertaining forays into discussing a legal battle that exists anywhere. It is also perhaps a more concise reflection of the spirit in fandom right now regarding the case. Though it may be winding down, it is a good read for tapping the pulse of fandom, which also carries quite a number of gems in single and multiple post exchanges.

Aside from trying to understand the legal issue of the 1976 copyright law addressing Work for Hire and reclamation of intellectual property rights by creators, upon which the Kirby/Marvel decision hinged, fandom appears to be locked in a sometimes furious battle of camps, each backing either the Lee or Kirby significance to Marvel, at the expense of the other. Indeed, many Kirby supporters are suggesting a sort of betrayal by Marvel, and de facto by Stan Lee, of the moral justice ideal, after which their superhero mythology is fashioned. It is not a small issue at all, which was also voiced by Tom Spurgeon in his report on Stephen Bissette’s first article calling for a boycott of Marvel.

I do know that we live in a world where lottery winners will sometimes give money to the people that did nothing other than print their tickets, where fans will give money to someone if they express a need and do so based on the fact they benefited not to the tune of billions of dollars and enduring wealth for generations of their families but based on a satisfying artistic experience or series of them, where people routinely share their good fortune with others without a court telling them to do so — and all without trafficking in some heroic ideal as their stock in trade. None of this makes sense. It needs to matter more than it does.

In support of Stan Lee, and as part of an effort to diminish from Kirby’s significance to Marvel, it’s been said that it was Lee himself who invented the title King Kirby as part of a branding gimmick that helped make Marvel a more attractive House of Ideas, and sell more comic books. It’s been further said that if Stan had not done so, no one would be calling Kirby a king today.

If it wasn’t for the cynicism in this charge, trying to further injure Kirby’s historical role at Marvel as crucial to its effective rise in the medium, then we might reflect on this historical tidbit with a certain musing, in that it is basically true as a launch pad for the nickname. However, the attempt to paint a distorted picture of the Lee/Kirby team, as if Kirby owes the perception of being king of comics art to Lee, well, that’s a very argumentative extrapolation that wouldn’t necessarily endure a test of simple logic.

For better or worse, the nicknames Stan Lee gave to creators were based on catchy rhymes, or complimentary sounds, with their names. Thus Kirby was dubbed ‘King’, while Stan, in ironic humility, settled for being merely ‘The Man’. That’s how it also was, for example, with ‘Jazzy’ John Romita, ‘Gentleman’ Gene Colan and ‘Nefarious’ Neal Adams. Even going by this result, it may be possible to conjecture that a ‘King’ could owe his kingship to ‘The Man’ who made him king. But such an allegorical reach also places a responsibility on a king to live up to his title in order for it to become embraced by the reading public. Indeed, such was the case with similar titles given to Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson, as examples, who would not have been remembered as such had they not risen to the occasion. Likewise, as far as most other such names Stan gave back in the days, few of them would have stuck if the creators could not live up to them. And it is ultimately one thing to try to live up to being ‘jazzy’, ‘gentlemanly’ or ‘nefarious’, but it’s an entirely different story to live up to and earn the title of being a King.

If Jack Kirby did not meet the expectations of professionals and fans with his work, as some have tried to suggest, then no one would remember him as a king today. More so, the title might become a source for scorn to the creator instead of reverence, if their work fell evidently short of the expectations that come with it.

This is clearly not a legal argument and is only raised in face of some rather disingenuous attempts to rewrite comics history and trivialize Jack Kirby’s role within it. Anyone suggesting that Kirby’s output after his collaborations with Stan, did not live up to his work at Marvel, which is an argumentative position in itself, well, it then becomes necessary to remind that the quality of Stan’s output also fell after the Lee/Kirby era. There is simply no way to make a reasonable case for Stan being the master writer without whom Kirby could not have risen to the heights he did. The very opposite of such a possibility, it would seem, is more likely.

At the heart of the litigation to reclaim the rights to Marvel properties by the Kirby Estate is an issue of a moral injustice and personal humiliation that Marvel, aided by Stan Lee, tried to inflict on Jack Kirby because he dared ask that their promises to reward him, should his work help the company succeed, be fulfilled. It is painfully human and humane to understand the combative mode Kirby entered into during his latter years, which ultimately brought upon him the bitterness of betrayal that caused him to lash out in all directions. It’s a natural reaction for someone who trusted the people he worked with, and reacted with resentful emotion upon having that trust become so horrendously shattered. It becomes a much more understood reaction when seen in light of how Marvel tried to destroy Jack Kirby morally and in spirit, by attempting to turn him into the villain, when he was in effect their victim.

It thus seems ludicrous to make any claims about Stan lee’s creative superiority to Jack Kirby in light of this sad history that Stan himself has lent a hand to the attempted revision thereof.

Stan Lee’s shared responsibility in the travesty rendered to the co-creator he’s most identified with, screams into the comics community these days and demands that moral justice be served between them. It may be that Stan Lee’s memory fails him in these later years, as some are saying. Or it may be that Stan Lee’s moral fiber is not made of the stuff that’s needed to make things right again between these two dearly beloved founders of the modern Superhero.

In either case, the result strengthens claims by Kirby historians who say it was the King himself who led the definition of the stories, plots and characterizations of the Marvel universe, and that Stan Lee’s part in it was, in essence, the more trivial.  For how are we to believe that the wonderful mind who gave us all of this fabulous mythology is the same Stan Lee who tramples the notions of moral justice and responsibility that the stories themselves exude? And all seemingly for his exclusive benefit, while towing the company line, at the expense of the artist who most contributed to his own success?

A King who earns his title will always be a king in the eyes of the people. But The Man who first gave him the title and then betrayed him, will not be favorably remembered by the same people who’ve come to love and honor the king.

jimmooney

Gentleman Jim Mooney | Print Edition

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Gentleman Jim MooneyDaniel Best‘s latest foray into biographical books on comics creators, Gentleman Jim Mooney, is now available in print at Lulu.com.

Gentleman Jim Mooney was written with the direct involvement of Jim Mooney. It features rare and unpublished art, direct from Mooney’s files, plus previously unseen personal photos. The book features contributions from Steve Gerber, Gene Colan, Roy Thomas, Joe Sinnott and others, plus all-new art as Sinnott, Norm Breyfogle, Bob Almond, Mark McKenna, Jim Tournas and Bob McLeod exclusively ink previously unpublished Mooney pencils. Also features is Mooney’s niece Libby Titus, wife of Steely Dan Founder Donald Fagen plus an introduction by Stan “The Man” Lee.

Published in conjunction with Blaq Books, it promises to be 111 masterful pages on one of the more memorable icons of comic art in the Silver Age.

Order your copies at Lulu.com and help support the chronicling of comics creator giants by Daniel Best.

mooney

Gentleman Jim Mooney

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Daniel Best, who just gave an enthusiastic review of our new commissioned art, is soliciting his new artist history project, in collaboration with the subject, Gentleman Jim Mooney, in CD format.

In their first publishing venture, BLAQ BOOKS proudly presents the long awaited official biography of one of the finest, and most prolific American comic book artists of the 20th century, GENTLEMAN JIM MOONEY!

Gentleman Jim Mooney was written with the direct involvement of Jim Mooney. It features rare and unpublished art, direct from Mooney’s files, plus previously unseen personal photos. The book also features commentary and contributions from Steve Gerber, Mark Evanier, Richard Howell, Gene Colan, Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella, Joe Sinnott and others, plus all-new art created especially for this book, as Joe Sinnott, Norm Breyfogle, Bob Almond, Mark McKenna, Jim Tournas and Bob McLeod exclusively ink previously unpublished Mooney pencils. Capping it off is an interview with Mooney’s niece Libby Titus, wife of Steely Dan Founder Donald Fagen and an introduction by Stan “The Man” Lee.

The CD is available for download at BLAQ BOOKS.  Have a look and buy the product to contribute to Daniel’s marvelous work in chronicling the life and times of landmark comics creators.

tcr

Tom Spurgeon | On the Serious Side

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By its very nature, pop-culture is most often seen and presented as a light and fluffy affair. And though there are always exceptions, or perhaps even that exceptions abound, the general thrust of major pop-culture news and commentary institutes, and especially these of the comics, is to keep their content, look and feel on the lighter, more colorful, side of the attitude scale. This is not necessarily a criticism of the prevailing phenomenon, magnified by the proliferation of such outlets on the web. It is simply a persistent reality, for better or worse, which rules the thrust of most all sources for news and information on the medium. And even though more exceptions abound in the private expanse of the blogosphere, this has not proven enough to have a lasting visible impact on the big league trend setters.

Standing apart from all these are a few notable enterprises, to whose credit a more selective and in-depth approach to news and commentary remains a mainstay. Tom Spurgeon, proprietor and operator of The Comics Reporter, whose professional origins as editor of the equally serious Comics Journal, has successfully established himself as a unique leading voice for a more insightful approach to comics journalism.

Though it doesn’t cover all the current news items appearing at major outlets, TCR has carved a niche for itself for its commentary on major events and behind the scenes of the industry. The analysis always digs deeper beneath the surface of convention to reveal new insight, driven by a prevailing sense of the betterment of the industry, and seen in a more long-range historical perspective, unhindered by what’s necessarily viewed as being currently popular.

An additional aspect of the site is the array of material it covers, bringing together the wide range of genres from Indies, manga, cartooning and mainstream superhero, and everything in between, under one roof, giving them all their due regard as equal constituents of the comics world. Every visit to the site becomes a treat of sometimes obscure but pertinent information that major outlets can’t  allow themselves the time or space to carry. From publications to exhibits and other events in the comics periphery, the impression one gets from visiting the site regularly is that nothing truly eventful is able to slip under its radar.

TCR also carries some of the more comprehensive listings for creator and publisher websites, along with an ongoing bibliography project, and topped off by an array of indexed compilations of comics stores, distributors, and other useful utilities.  When adding Tom’s daily birthday wishes to comics and comics related notables, which is of the most extensive seen anywhere, viewing the site becomes a sojourn into another realm, unmatched in its vibrancy and rich in unique detail, leaving a lasting and fulfilling impression that there exists nothing else like it for an all-encompassing serious approach to comics related content.

Tom Spurgeon is co-author of Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book along with Wildwood for King Features Syndicate, which also makes him a comics creator and certainly a candidate for Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook. That his Wikpedia biography was lacking a copyright-free image clinched the subject for our next entry.

Tom Sppurgeon: Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

vinnie

Vince Colletta Remembered

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Had Vince Colletta been the type of comics artist whose self esteem was dependent on his peers’ opinion of his work, it’s very likely that he would not have lasted out his career as a comics inker during the 60’s decade at Marvel.

Those familiar with the controversy over Coletta’s craftsmanship, know that perhaps no other comics creator has been the subject of personal and professional criticism of the type leveled at him. While he also elicits notable praise from the comics readership, many of the great artists whose work he embellished have been noted to say that he was the last choice they would make for an inker of their pencils, and such are not of the least flattering comments. Writer/historian Mark Evanier, of Colletta’s more vociferous critics, who led a charge to remove the inker from Jack Kirby assignments at DC in the early 70’s, explains his position here and here, in response to favorable commentaries on Colletta’s art by Eddie Campbell and Stuart Immonen.

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Artist Eric Larsen also posted an opinion on the debate, opening his short essay with the statement: “Vince Colletta was one of the most prolific inkers in the history of comics.” Considering the duality inherent in any controversey, the following quotation currently adorning Vinnie’s Wikipedia biography, stands out in its praise of his inking over Jack Kirby pencils in their critically acclaimed run on Thor during the 1960’s.  From Marvel Comics in the Silver Age, by writer and comics historian Pierre Comtoise:

. . . Colletta’s hair-thin, detailed inking style . . . seemed devoid of large areas of black, [which are] used to give figures weight and heft but an artistic concept yet to be fully explored by the time of the Middle Ages, an era whose crude woodcuts most reflected the art style needed by the Thor strip[. It] captured the elusive quality of otherworldly drama that the strip would increasingly demand as [Stan] Lee and [Jack] Kirby took it away from the everyday world of supervillains to a mythic plane where the forces of evil were on a far more gargantuan scale. Despite the serendipity of the two men’s styles, Colletta would later be criticized, with good reason, for compromising Kirby’s artistic vision by eliminating much of the detail that the artist put into his work. Be that as it may, what Colletta chose to keep, he rendered in such a way that showed off aspects of Kirby’s art that no inker before or since has ever been able to reproduce.

Our good friend Daniel Best has also posted extensively, and quite forthrightly, about the Colletta controversy over the years. Childhood comics reader “Dan McFan” dedicated an entire blog in praise of Colletta, named after his contentious view of Evanier and other detractors, where he cites a remark I once made at Imwan Forums about the personal nature of Vinnie’s reputation amongst his colleagues. Forum discussions such as this 98 page thread at Comicon.com, or these here, here, and here at The Comics Journal Message Boards, paint a largely accurate picture of the love/hate sentiment in comics fandom for the legacy and art of Vince Colletta.

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Immersed into the world of comic books at youth, I remember having a reverence for the Thor comics, much for the same reason cited by Pierre Comtoise. All that changed, however, as I edged closer towards fandom and came into contact with other aspiring artists. The mere mention of Vince Colletta was often synonymous with “the worst inker ever in comics”. The phenomenon only intensified when I became a professional artist working at Continuity. Still, Vinnie was art director at DC where I’d pretty much settled in as a penciler – and he was inking a great deal of books at the time. One can thus imagine my apprehension upon learning that he’d ink the fill-in issue of Wonder Woman, #232, that I penciled in 1976.
It wasn’t the type of apprehension based on an independent artistic assessment of the pros and cons of such a collaboration – rather on how that work would be viewed by the professional and fan community which largely saw Vinnie’s work in a negative light. In retrospect, I have nothing but good sentiment towards that project today as it’s clear to me that Vinnie’s sensitive line and professional experience contributed towards making that early work look a little better.  The same is true for a Flash story I penciled in World’s Finest Comics that Vinnie inked several years later.  There was a similar tension in the air then about Jack Abel inking my Legion of Super-Heroes stories, but it never reached the intensity that it did with Vinnie – perhaps because Jack was working from Continuity and was considered one of the good guys, while Vinnie was mostly villified as a distant “hack”,  worthy of the most dire slander as a destroyer of comics art, by the sometimes overly proud community of artists that we are.

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As a pertinent digression into the expectations that a comics penciler has regarding their work, it seems that submitting pencil art to be inked and colored by others is by itself a relinquishing of any rights the artist holds over the finished work. Though we should hope for the best effort possible by everyone contributing to the final product, the nature of the beast necessitates that we understand how unenforceable such expectations truly are. In that some artists are able to command a better personal result for their work, it cannot be said that any such collaboration is able to entirely satisfy a penciler’s expectations. This is inherent in the nature of a collaboration and has little to do with the degree of proficiency or artistic merit of an embellisher.

More so, there exists a quality to pencil art which an ink line can never capture for print, and which further stretches the divide between the potential inherent in the pencils and the finished product in a printed book. Thus, every inker must take a certain measure of liberty in order to interpret pencil art. And regardless of the degree of liberty taken, the finished product will never live up to any penciler’s vision for the potential their art holds for them. When compounding an independent artistic vision of an inker, such as Vinnie had, and considering his propensity for keeping the trains running on time, it’s more understandable how he’s come to evoke such a polarized range of sentiment regarding his work.

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This is not, however, about the artistic merit of Vince Colletta. Not about his 1950’s, mostly romance, comics which he penciled and inked exquisitely. Not about his subsequent inking for Marvel and DC beginning in the 1960’s, for which he gained the unflattering reputation. It is not even about whether it’s fair for a community of comics creators and fans to so injuriously malign one of our very own, whose contribution to the medium is indisputable.  No, good readers, this is not about any of these. It is only about the unfathomably resilient spirit of Vince Colletta. An artist who was more than confident about his approach to inking some of the best pencil art of his time. Certain of his own self esteem and unique uncompromising artistic vision, balanced by the time commitments he made. Resilient in that he never allowed his colleagues’ resentment of him to sway from the path he charted.  Good natured in that he never answered any of his detractors in kind, and maintained a warm and personable friendship with everyone whom he knew was maligning him behind his back.

It was a privilege and honor to have known and collaborated with you, Vinnie.  Time to join Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook and perhaps finally offer a copyright free image for your Wikipedia biography. If this portrait doesn’t quite live up to the standard of others I’ve drawn, the only explanation I have is that it’s the best I could do in the short time I could allow myself to do it.

I simply had to hack it out.

Vince CollettaPortraits of the Creators Sketchbook.

* Most images of Vinnie’s art borrowed with gratitude from “Dan McFan”

ericm2

Have Peace, Eric

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Eric Aryeh Mahr 1955-2010

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At first it seemed like a mistake. An email from Joe Rubinstein asking if it was true that Eric Mahr had passed away, and if so, how. I couldn’t understand how such a thing is possible but looked around and found an obituary in the Buffalo News, yet still couldn’t see the connection. It’s not so uncommon a name, after all. I looked at Eric’s website, Mahrwood Press, and saw no indication. Emailed back to Joe that it must be someone else. Keep on checking, he said. I then visited Targum Press, where Eric was CEO. The front page obituary slammed into me like a ten ton truck with a payload of shock and sorrow.

No other news to be found on the web.  Maybe Clifford Meth knows, I thought, but Clifford’s shock was equal to mine. Maybe Sofia.  No.  Hearing the news wasn’t the easiest way for her to start her day either.  Eric’s gone and no one knows.

Stupid. How could I forget his Facebook page. Don’t do Facebook that much anymore, but there was the entire story on Eric’s profile. Countless condolences for Jody and the kids. An audio file of eulogies from the funeral that just took place on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  Eric’s older brother, Sanford, who couldn’t make the trip from the U.S. due to health restrictions, tells the story in a moving written eulogy recited by a friend at the funeral.

Eric and Jody flew to Buffalo NY last week to attend the funeral of Jody’s father… and another one of Eric’s uncle. Eric was very close to both. Way too much sorrow and grief for one family, one man, to suffer at once.  One funeral after the other.  But Eric was almost done.  Only one more eulogy for his uncle left to give.  His heart, ripped into shreds, pressed on with love, grief, memories and praise.  At the grave.  Pressed on so hard that it couldn’t press on anymore.  That’s when Eric collapsed.  Giving the eulogy at his uncle’s grave.  His heart.  His soul.  Collapsed at the grave.

Almost done. Way too much sorrow.

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It was a cheerful spring of 1994 when we first met. Eric called from Jerusalem asking if I was who he thought. Said he was a long time fan of my comics work, ardent comics aficionado and acquaintance of Neal Adams and his family in New York. We’d spend the next few years riding the bridge between the two distant worlds we both shared. The two worlds of comic books and Jewish heritage. Not an easy bridge to play on at all. Two worlds that don’t seem to share much in common, though we both knew how much in common they really shared.  So much so that we could hardly imagine a Jewish heritage without comic books or comics books without Jews.  Like me, Eric was raising a young family with heart stretched across the long divide between past and present loves and lives. Refusing to let go of either. Searching for ways to keep both worlds connected. Here in Israel.  Living only 20 minutes apart on the West Bank of our Jewish heritage… and our comics books.

Eric acclimated to Israeli life and culture quickly. Studied technical writing and secured a position with technology giant Comverse, and soon rose to position of marketing director of overseas projects. Though often on the road, he never forgot the neighborhood. Always thought of his friends. Several freelance design and animation commissions from Comverse that he directed my way were of the most lucrative and creative jobs I did in Israel during the 1990’s.  But that wasn’t enough for Eric. He wanted to work in comics and was intent on bridging the two worlds. By the turn of the millennium he found a way and established Mahrwood Press, beginning an outstanding line of comics books for the Jewish world. Comic books rich with thousands of years of the history and heritage of his ancestors .

During a visit to Israel, Joe Rubinstein talked about Eric approaching him to help illustrate stories for Mahrwood. Joe Kubert was already on board with a project. Eric was publishing one book after the other. It’s enough to simply peruse Mahrwood’s front page to see the rich array of books he produced, almost as a one man operation. He was publisher, editor, writer, coordinator, letterer and anything else that needed to be done to produce the books. It was the only way to raise such an operation from the ground up.

Though I contributed sporadically to Eric’s venture, my former partner Sofia Fedorov-Polonsky became a regular artist and colorist for Mahrwood press. Her Moscow art training and exquisite sensibilities went on to help define the brand name of books he produced.  In 2006, he conceived a project to help Israeli children displaced by the Second Lebanon War. Balm in Gilead featured some of the comic book industry giants, pitching in to help offset criticism against Israel and the financial setbacks the war caused its northern citizens.  Edited by Clifford Meth, it featured contributions by Neal Adams, Jon Bogdanove, Dave Cockrum, Jack Dann, Jeffrey Jones, Joe Kubert, Stan Lee, Robert Silverberg, William Tenn, Marv Wolfman, Michael W. Kaluta, myself and many more.  It was the landmark project that showed how Eric’s love and devotion for the two worlds he was ardently dedicated to, had fulfilled the ambitions he dreamed of  a decade before. Eric’s persistence and perseverance became a shining light in a world often governed by feelings of helplessness and futility.

In recent years, Eric supplemented his commitment to Mahrwood Press by also taking on the position of CEO of Targum Press book publishers, elevating the production quality and output of both enterprises simultaneously.

Eric Mahr’s unique contribution to the global comic book industry was only one side of a man driven by his convictions and commitments to his family, his people and his chosen profession. The other side, evident in the eulogies at his funeral, and well known to Sofia and I who were privileged to work with him, was the more indication of the special soul residing in him. A man with a heart of gold as big as his ambition. A giver at every turn. A father and husband cherished by family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There was not a time that Sofia and I met with Eric, that we didn’t talk on and on about the uplifting experience he left us with. About that soft-hearted man with a zest for life and a vision for tomorrow, to match the expanse of the worlds he toiled to bridge together and enhance.

The comics have lost a unique lover and contributer to its legacy.  The Jewish people have lost a visionary who’s left an indelible mark on its culture.

Our deepest condolences to Jody, the children Benjamin and his wife Shifra Hanna, Chava Sara and her fiance Moshe Yehuda Saposh, Raphael Moshe and Yosef Shmuel Alezer, grandchildren Moshe Yehosua and Sora Brucha, brother Sanford and sister Marilyn. May you be comforted from above with the peace of Jerusalem and Zion.

Michael Netzer and Sofia Fedorov-Polonsky
Ofra, Jerusalem, 2010.

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Family, friends and comics professionals remember Eric

  • Eulogies at the funeral – audio file.
  • Sanford Mahr‘s eulogy of his brother Eric in text format, telling of Eric’s childhood, their growing together and Eric’s last moments in his arms.
  • Clifford Meth‘s moving tribute to Eric at his blog.
  • Tom Spurgeon reports on Eric’s departure at The Comics Reporter.
  • Moshe Chaim Gress, artist and colleague, remembers Eric (from Facebook).
  • Hazon Yeshaya Humanitarian Network dedicates its hot meals nationwide to Eric’s memory (Word document).

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