This is the year that the New York Comic Con, only in its third year, started feeling like the San Diego Comic Con to me.
Part of the reason is its growth in size, stature, and popularity. Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada told Wizard, “I think this show is very quickly becoming the number two show right behind San Diego, and I think given the space allocations, it could certainly grow to the size of San Diego”. I suspect he is quite right that the New York Comic Con is now the biggest comic convention to San Diego (in America, that is).
Could it grow to San Diego size? The Javits Center, where the New York Con is held, doesn’t seem to me to have the same capacity as the mammoth San Diego Convention Center. The San Diego Con now notoriously attracts over 100,000 attendees; since the Convention Center can’t expand any further, that’s likely to be the maximum figure. Reed Exhibitions vice president Lance Fensterman who runs the convention, wrote that ” At least 64,000 people attended New York Comic Con this weekend. . . That’s an intense jump from 49,000 last year and it seems to say this crazy little party we call New York Comic Con continues to grow as fast as a speeding bullet”. That’s still huge, but, I can attest from being there, not overwhelmingly so.
Moreover, even though this was the year that the New York Comic Con started having more than a few movie preview panels with their directors and, sometimes, one or more of their stars–Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, The Incredible Hulk, Will Eisner’s The Spirit, The X-Files: I Want to Believe and more– the New York Comic Con is still clearly, unmistakably dominated by comics. For example, the last two times I went to San Diego, its Artists Alley, where professional comics artists and writers have their own tables to show and sell their work, seemed small and out of the way, but the New York Comic Con’s Artists Alley has grown into quite an extensive area, bustling with activity.
There were times when this year’s New York Comic Con resembled the dark side of San Diego. On Saturday afternoon when I entered the main floor, I quickly encountered gridlock in one aisle and I realized, just as in San Diego, that it was best to stay in the panel rooms when the crowds reach their height. On the other hand, the last time I was in San Diego, I was appalled at how, even in Sunday afternoon, the aisles were packed and the crowd moved at the speed of molasses. At this year’s New York Con, on the other hand, the main floor was well populated on Sunday, even as closing time drew near, yet I could still easily maneuver about.
In short, the New York Comic Con seems to have evolved into a more manageable, user-friendly version of the San Diego Con: what the San Diego Con should be but, due to its extraordinary growth, no longer can. Since I live in New York, I don’t have the sense of adventure that comes from journeying three thousand miles and being away from my own bed for nearly a week. Then again, the New York Comic Con now provides such a satisfactorily complete Big Comic Con experience for me that at this point I don’t feel the need to make a cross-country trek to get my annual Big Comic Con fix. I’ll miss the palm trees and the outdoor jacuzzis, but that’s about it. (And if I move back to the family home near Boston, as is quite possible, I’ll get the sense of adventure back by traveling to New York every year for the convention.)
If the New York Comic Con comes to rival San Diego in size and importance, Quesada told Wizard “that’s how it should be. We’ve needed a show like this in New York for many, many years because this is where the comics industry is. This is where it was born. And not just that. This is where the publishing industry is en masse. So all those things being in place, this is where the biggest show in the nation for our industry should be.” I agree with this, too, in part because I’m a longtime New Yorker, and in part because of my sense of history; New York is not only where the comics industry was born and is still centered, but it is also where the late Phil Seuling founded the first major comics convention back in the 1960s, as I shall discuss later.
Another reason why this year’s New York Con felt like San Diego to me was personal. This year, not only was I to doing a signing at the convention–for The Marvel Travel Guide to New York City, from Simon and Schuster’s Pocket Books line–and reporting on the con for Publishers Weekly’s online newsletter Comics Week, TwoMorrows’ Back Issue magazine, and this column–but, on the request of Danny Fingeroth, one of the Con’s consultant I was moderating three panels and recruiting guests for two of them. As a result I spent much of the two weeks preceding the Con working on the panels, e-mailing various potential panelists until I had assembled a quorum. For San Diego I have to make preparations, like getting airplane tickets and packing. This year I spent two weeks preparing for the New York Comic Con, and that makes it feel more like a major event.
Back in the 1980s I used to take pride in the fact that I wasn’t officially sent to the San Diego Con by an employer, since this meant I was free to go to any panels I wanted to, or even to leave the Con at will and head out to the beach or to the zoo. Trips and hotel stays in San Diego also seemed less expensive then, and there was no need to reserve a hotel room months in advance; now I don’t go unless one of my publishers helps pick up the tab.
Being committed to appearing on panels has its downside. If I had not been moderating two panels back to back on Friday evening at this year’s New York Con, I could have attended a reading by Neil Gaiman, a panel appearance by animation legend Ralph Bakshi. or all of the X-Files movie presentation by the show’s creator Chris Carter–all of which were being held at the same time. On the other hand, I really enjoyed listening to the stories that the comics veterans told on my panels, and wouldn’t want to have missed them. I also discovered that organizing and leading a good panel discussion, like arranging a noteworthy party, is like a work of art. Like a theatrical performance, it’s an ephemeral experience, witnessed only by those present, that leaves not a trace behind unless someone wrote a report about it. But a good panel discussion, among a group of people who may only interact this way on this one specific occasion, can be memorable. I take more pride in my active role in bringing such an experience about than I would in my freedom to passively watch other people’s panels.
Yet another reason why this year’s New York Con deemed to me like San Diego was the fact that this year we had San Diego weather! The first two New York Comic Cons were held in February, and walking from Penn Station to the Javits Center, near the Hudson River, was like traversing an Arctic wind tunnel. We were lucky there wasn’t a blizzard on either weekend, a fate that has befallen New York’s smaller Big Apple Cons in the past.
But this year Reed Exhibitions succeeded in securing Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20 for the convention. I consider mid-April to be the prettiest time of year in New York City. In the fall, New York City, for the most part, doesn’t get the brightly colored foliage you can see upstate or in New England, not even in Central Park: the leaves just turn dull orange or brown colors and die. (A notable exception is the forest in the New York Botanical Garden up in the Bronx, which practically glows with color in the fall.) But in mid-April trees burst into white blossoms–or even pink ones– for a week or so before the new green leaves fully emerge. This year’s New York Comic Con arrived in the midst of this brief period, amidst brilliant sunshine that was a welcome and long overdue relief after a particularly dank and dismal winter.
Moreover, I’ve noticed over the years that around the time of my birthday (April 25), New York City gets a few days of summery weather in the low 70s before returning to more spring-like temperatures. But this year, the weekend of the convention was not only brightly sunny but also astonishingly warm (yes, perhaps due to global warming), up to 84 degrees on Saturday, but without noticeable humidity. It was San Diego weather, it was perfect, and it surely brightened everyone’s spirits. (Alas, Reed Exhibitions had to settle for February 6-8 for next year’s convention at the heavily booked Javits Center. They may have had no choice, but it seems like begging for a blizzard.)
And people were dressing for summer as well. Indeed, walking to the Javits Center on Thursday morning, the day before the Con began, I passed by a woman wearing jogging shorts. That afternoon I saw another woman on the street carrying a popsicle. In the evening, riding on the subway, I watched a woman conversing with two male friends in suits, who were apparently all coming from a day at the office: she had removed her jacket, revealing deeply tanned shoulders and arms. Summer certainly is coming quickly this year, I thought.
But those among us who appreciate the recent return of the 1960s-length miniskirt (another result, I suspect, of global warming and warmer weather) should be warned that its days are numbered. According to an April 24, 2008 article in The New York Times,”the fashion elect, that cabal of malnourished sibyls and self-styled followers of Cruella De Vil, [has] decided that the dress is dead, that what they like to call “the direction” for fall will turn women back, in a sense, toward men’s closets,” namely wearing trousers.” We must enjoy watching the resurgence of summer dresses while we still can.
THURSDAY APRIL 17 10:30 AM
For me the convention began on Thursday morning with the annual meeting of the Publishers Weekly’s Comics Week team of editors and reporters at the Javits Center to determine who would be covering which panels and other events. Held in the press room, this meeting also gives us PWCW writers the chance to pick up our all-powerful press badges, which give us free entry to the convention.
Like two years ago, I’m the first person to arrive. High above the main floor of the Javits Center hangs a video screen showing Pope Benedict celebrating Mass in a park in Washington DC. He’ll be in New York City this weekend, and as a (lapsed) Catholic I’d be tempted to go see him at Yankee Stadium. But I’m going to be so busy this weekend at the Con I won’t even remember to look up at the overhead screen. I haven’t lapsed from reading comics.
THURSDAY APRIL 17 11 AM
This may be the last time that the PWCW team gathers before a New York Comic Con. Its parent company, Reed Business Information (which also owns Reed Exhibitions) has announced it is selling its magazines, including Publishers Weekly. Who knows if the next owners will want to continue publishing Comics Week on the Web?
Nonetheless, our circle of knights of comics journalism formed around a round table in the press room once again. Among them were such familiar faces as Douglas Wolk, who has broken into the Big Time, writing comics reviews for The New York Times Sunday Book Review, The New Republic, Slate and Salon, manga maven Kai-ming Cha, and our editors Calvin Reid and the Beat.
Not for the first time, the Beat brought up my lengthy, detailed convention reports in “Comics in Context” and demanded, in bewilderment, “How do you remember all that?” Well, I do take notes on the panels I attend, but, yes, I do have a good memory. For example, it was during our round table meeting that for the first time I saw someone using an iPhone–namely, Laura Hudson, another PWCW writer, who is also senior editor at the magazine Comics Foundry. So, I thought, it is possible to write comics journalism and afford an iPhone. But how does she do it?
When our meeting comes to a close, I see that another circle has formed at another round table in the room: the ComicMix team, who are also there to cover the con. One member of the circle, Martha Thomases, twice suggested we have a “rumble.” Rather than remain for the comics cognoscenti’s version of West Side Story, I headed back home to work on other business.
THURSDAY APRIL 17 8 PM
Then in the evening I traveled back into Manhattan to attend the presentation of the convention’s first New York Comics Legends award to–who else?–Stan Lee. In first announcing the award, the NYCC’s Lance Fensterman stated, “Each recipient will have made a major contribution to the advancement of comics, either through achievement in art or business; they will have made a significant contribution to the civic life in New York either through charity, education, public service or by advancing the image of New York City through direct involvement with New York.”
Saying that Stan Lee has “made a major contribution” to comics even seems like an understatement; as I’ve written before, I don’t think that the present comics industry would exist without Stan Lee’s Marvel revolution of the 1960s.
As for “direct involvement with New York,” though Lee has long been based in Los Angeles, he was born in New York City, went to school in New York City, and did his groundbreaking work in comics in New York City.
And as for “advancing the image of New York City,” with the Marvel superhero comics of the 1960s, Lee broke away from the superhero genre tradition of setting series in fictional cities like Metropolis. Lee set most of the classic Marvel series in New York City, and it made sense that it was America’s greatest city, which figures so strongly in film, theater, novels and television, would also be the realm of America’s superheroes. The iconic aura of New York City and that of the Marvel superheroes reinforced each other, turning Marvel’s New York into a place that fused fantasy and reality, just as Stan Lee’s Marvel stories did. That’s the underlying point of my Marvel Travel Guide to New York City, which catalogues the real, fictional, and fictionalized sites of classic Marvel stories in New York City, as if the city simultaneously exists both in reality and in fiction. It’s no wonder that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies showcase Marvel locations. In Raimi’s mind, it seems, and in my own, Marvel and New York City are inseparable.
For all these reasons, Stan Lee is the perfect choice as recipient of the first New York Comics Legends award.
The ceremony was held on the lowest level, where books are sold, in the Virgin Megastore in Times Square. It was also co-sponsored by Virgin Comics. None of this seems coincidental, since it was announced that same weekend that Stan Lee would be editing and overseeing a new line of superhero comics for Virgin and would be writing one of the series. Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson said in a press release, “Stan Lee is a cultural icon and we welcome him to his new home, Virgin Comics, for this bold new chapter in his great legacy.”
Only 150 comics fans were allowed to attend this VIP event, for a staggering price tag of $350 each. But as a member of the press, I got in for free.
And you can see it for free, too, on YouTube, in multiple parts, starting here. Or you can just keep reading, and I’ll give you the highlights.
Appropriately, Spider-Man 3 was showing on video screens overhead. Young waiters and waitresses moved among the guests, serving such items as miniature cheeseburgers, and wearing red shirts with webbing patterns. Now there’s something the Metropolitan Museum of Art could add to “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy,” its forthcoming exhibition about how superhero costumes influence or parallel real-life contemporary fashion.
Lance Fensterman opened the presentation ceremony and introduced the first of the three guests who, in turn, wiould introduce the guest of honor, Stan Lee. This was Peter David, writer of The Incredible Hulk, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, and other series based in characters that Stan Lee co-created.
“When you’re talking about Stan Lee,” Peter David began, “you have to divide it into two things: Stan Lee the writer and Stan the Man,” So first, David said, he would “focus on Stan the Man.” He warned us that this meant that at some point during his speech he “will be forced to do a Stan impression,” explaining that Stan was “the Ethel Merman of comics; everyone does a Stan Lee impression.” But how? “It’s easy. You just have to pretend you’re John Wayne doing Maxwell Smart.”
David said that he first met Stan Lee when he was working as direct sales manager at Marvel. (This would have been in the 1980s, when Lee was already based in California and every so often visited the New York offices.) Or, rather, as David put it, he “met Stan for the first time five times,” since Lee has a notoriously poor memory. Finally, for the sixth time, David and Lee “ran into each other in the hallway.” But on this occasion, Lee greeted David by name: “Peter!” Even though he had yet to establish himself as a writer, David told us that he felt that at that moment “I had arrived in comic books” because “I had recognition from Stan Lee.”
And recognition from Stan Lee has its practical benefits. David told us that he was at a party at the San Diego Comic Con “a few years ago” when “Stan saw me from across the room” and hailed him as “Peter David, the greatest writer in the comics industry.” David said that “within five minutes ten different people came over with business cards” to offer him work.
Not only that, but David declared that “Stan Lee is responsible for my having a family.” Intrigued? So was I, and David soon went on to explain that “five years ago my marriage was falling apart” and he was engaged in a dispute over custody of his children. Both David and his estranged wife had to see a court-appointed psychiatrist. Each of them also needed to get letters of “personal recommendation.” David asked Stan Lee for such a letter, and Lee complied.
When David subsequently went to his first meeting with the court-appointed psychiatrist, the psychiatrist exclaimed, “Stan Lee! How do you know Stan Lee?” So that’s what David started talking about in the court-mandated session.
David later got “an angry call from my future ex-wife” who exclaimed, “You got a letter from Stan Lee!?” It turned out that in her own meeting with the “court-appointed psychiatrist,” “all he talked about was Stan Lee.”
So, David’s “future ex-wife” complained in court that the process had been “corrupted” by her husband receiving a “character reference from Stan Lee,” whereupon, David said, the judge exclaimed, “You know Stan Lee!?”
“A week later,” David concluded, “I got the kids.”
As for Stan the Writer, David declared that “In talking about what Stan Lee has brought to comics, truth above all is his major contribution.
“Let’s remember that before Stan was writing comics, the weaknesses and difficulties that heroes had were such easily relatable things as the color yellow, wood, fire [and] glowing green rocks.”
(In case you need this explained, David was referring to the inability of the Silver Age Green Lantern’s power ring to affect yellow objects, the Golden Age Green Lantern’s similar problem with wood, the way the Martian Manhunter grows weak in the presence of fire, and, of course, Superman’s vulnerability to radioactive Green Kryptonite. David was really pointing to the fact that superheroes had one-dimensional characterizations until Stan Lee launched his Marvel revolution in the 1960s.)
In contrast, David continued, “Stan gave us heroes with problems that we could relate to: sick relatives, girlfriend trouble, money trouble. He gave us a family of heroes that we could relate to. His superhero team was dysfunctional. He gave us a guy with major anger management problems”–meaning the Hulk–”before anyone had come up with the term ‘anger management.’”
Perhaps because Lee was receiving the New York Comics Legends award, David then spoke of how Lee used the city itself in his groundbreaking comics work: “He gave us stories set in New York City. You want truth? It doesn’t get truer than New York City.” Stan Lee, David continued, didn’t set Marvel stories in “made-up places”: “not Smallville, not Metropolis, not Gotham City, not Los Angeles!”
David turned more serious in stating that the “reason I came shlepping here” into the city tonight was “so I could have the opportunity” to introduce Stan Lee at this ceremony.
At this point we heard Stan interrupt from one side, “The thing is, he’s funnier when he’s insulting me!” (Former Marvel editor Rob Tokar, standing near me, observed hat “Stan doesn’t need a mike!”)
Well, perhaps Stan should be careful what he wishes for, because then Peter David began, as he put it, to “pay tribute to Stan’s memory.” David recalled serving as M. C. for a panel Lee did at a convention years ago. “Before this young man goes any farther,” Lee said on that panel, he declared that “he is the author of one of the greatest graphic novels ever!” David told us that he knew then that he was “screwed” because he hadn’t written any graphic novels yet. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Lee announced on that panel, “my friend, the author of Greenberg the Vampire!”
Former Marvel editor Jim Salicrup said to me, “You’re one of the three people who got that.” Indeed. As Peter David proceeded to explain to the audience, it was J. M. DeMatteis who wrote Greenberg the Vampire.
“Another Stan Lee tribute,” Peter David continued.
“That’s enough!” loudly rejoined Stan Lee, to laughter from the audience.
But David proceeded to tell us abut a time years ago in Los Angeles when Stan Lee asked him what he was doing with the Hulk, whose series David had recently begun writing. David told Lee that he reinstated the way that Bruce Banner only changed into the Hulk at nightfall. Stan was puzzled, but David explained that was the way the Hulk changed in the original stories, which Stan himself had written. Not only did Stan not remember this, but he even said, “I wonder why we changed that.”
Next at the presentation, Virgin Comics CEO Sharad Devarajan hailed Stan Lee “as a creator, visionary, and storyteller.” Devarajan correctly observed that a culture “can be defined by a mythology” and pointed out that through his comics Stan Lee helped forge a “modern myth of today’s society.” Devarajan also spoke of his personal connection to Lee’s body of work: “As a child, the worlds and adventures Stan took me on made me believe in the greatness of mankind and the optimism of a better world.”
The next speaker was Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada, who told us that he’d get a phone call from Lee “every once in a blue moon.” Quesada then imitated Stan telling him he had “just read the last two- or three months of Marvel comics” and then asking Quesada, “What the fuck is wrong with you!?”
Noting that Lee had co-created so many great characters–”One jewel after the next”–Quesada, with tongue in cheek, started listing some other, less famous characters of Stan’s who “could possibly be [in] the next big Spider-Man movie”: the Porcupine (Tales to Astonish #48, Oct. 1963), the Living Eraser (Tales to Astonish #49, Nov. 1963), the Infant Terrible (Fantastic Four #24, March 1964), the Kangaroo (Amazing Spider-Man #81, Feb. 1970), Sandu the Sorcerer (Journey into Mystery #91, April 1963), “my favorite” Googam, Son of Goom (Tales of Suspense #17, May 1961), the Carbon Copy Men (Journey into Mystery #90, March 1963) and the Asbestos Man (Strange Tales #111, Sept. 1963).
But Quesada turned serious by saying that “Stan’s greatest creation is Stan Lee,” the public persona that Stanley Lieber devised for himself, “this P. T. Barnum, this Svengali.” Quesada concluded, “Thank you for being Stan Lee.”
Then Lance Fensterman returned to tell us that “New York City is the birthplace of comics,’ and that “we stand on the shoulders of Stan Lee.” Noting that though Lee now lives in California, “he’s a New Yorker,” Fensterman said the Con thanked him “for making New York City the greatest comics town” by presenting him with the New York Comics Legends Award, “the very first ever in the history of the world.”
Finally Stan Lee came up to the podium, amidst considerable applause, to demonstrate for us that public persona that Joe Quesada had just praised. In keeping with that character, Stan made light of himself, the award, and the occasion. “You want to hold that?” Stan began, handing the award to someone else.
As if proving Peter David’s point, Lee asked the audience, “Did you ever have a day when you know you forgot something?” In his case, “I forgot to write a speech. Suddenly I’m stuck with a lonely mike” in front of “all these hostile eyes” (which, of course, were far from unfriendly). But Stan need not have worried, since he proceeded to improvise brilliantly, as usual.
“I have to follow a man who made fun of Googam, Son of Goom!” Lee complained. Lee likewise lamented Quesada’s mockery of the Porcupine. “One of my greatest creations! I’m saving it for a movie.” Lee vowed, “I’ll never let Quesada talk about me again.”
You may be wondering, what is the difference between Stanley Lieber and his “greatest creation” Stan Lee. Perhaps Lee was alluding to this when he told the audience, “See, the thing is, nobody really knows me. I like to think of myself as a really mysterious figure.”
On the subject of honors, Lee told us that “they want me to put my fingers in cement.” Stan seemed to be conflating Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with the Hollywood Walk of Fame, since he then told us he was shocked to find out the “amount of money you have to pay to get this thing.” (Recipients of stars on the Walk of Fame do indeed have to pay for the honor.) Lee told us that therefore he “may have to give up the opportunity to be beside such celebrities as Benji and Doodles Weaver” since, he confessed to us, “I’m really a tightwad.”
Turning to tonight’s award, Lee said, “I think I’m very grateful for whatever that was,” and worried that “I have to make some explanation to my wife: ‘You traveled 3000 miles for that?’” Perhaps still regretting not having prepared a speech, Lee told us, “I’m certainly grateful to all of you for coming here and expecting a much better show than you got.” Lee added, “Thanks for coming, wherever we are. Maybe next year we’ll have a valid reason” for getting together. But one could tell from the audience’s reactions that they were having a fine time just as it was.
Characteristically, Lee took the opportunity to promote his new book, Election Daze, which, not coincidentally, was being sold at a counter nearby. This is a book of photographs of George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, and other notable political figures, for which Lee wrote balloons “with, I hope, funny dialogue,” he told us. Stan asserted that he didn’t want us to buy the book for the money he’d make from it; he contended that he wanted us to buy it so we’ll read it and say, “Despite what everyone says, he really IS clever!” (Lee need not worry: I took a look through the book and it is indeed clever and funny.)
Then Stan said, “Thanks a million! You’ve all been wonderful!” and the ceremony was done. He remained a while longer, moving through the crowd, being warmly greeted by enthusiastic fans.
I remained even longer, listening enthralled as Stan’s brother, writer-artist Larry Lieber, regaled myself, Danny Fingeroth and Jim Salicrup, with stories, like how Stan took Larry to see Disney’s Pinocchio at Radio City Music Hall, and how Larry Lieber used to sit in the park, working on stories for Marvel, while old women stared at Percy Kilbride, the retired actor who played Pa Kettle in the movies, who would sit nearby.
When I left, as the party finally broke up near 11 PM, I was handed not one but two Virgin Comics swag bags, including such goodies as a Virgin Comics T-shirt, and–hey! this looks interesting!–a new comic book reviving the classic British science fiction comics hero Dan Dare. So far I was having a fine time at this year’s New York Comic Con, and it hadn’t officially even begun yet!
ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF
You can read my reports for Publishers Weekly on the New York Comics Legend award ceremony, the Steve Gerber memorial at the New York Comic Con, and the Con’s panel about Frank Miller’s forthcoming Spirit movie in the latest edition of Comics Week. I will eventually be writing more extensive accounts of the latter two for “Comics in Context.”
This year Saturday May 3 is “Free Comic Book Day,” when various comics companies make free special issues available at comic book stores around the country. This year TwoMorrows Publishing, which specializes in books and magazines about comics, is offering a free magazine called Comics Go Hollywood, which reprints my article from Michael Eury’s Back Issue from several years ago about the Joker, who is the villain in this year’s movie The Dark Knight. The article includes interviews with writers Denny O’Neil and Steve Englehart, and with artist Marshall Rogers, who passed away a short time after collaborating with Englehart on a Joker storyline once again (see “Comics in Context” #83, 84, 87, 88, 90, 93 and 104). Comics Go Hollywood also includes an article by Mike Manley of Draw! magazine about the storyboards for The New Frontier animated film, an interview with comics and TV writer Jeph Loeb by Danny Fingeroth of Write Now! magazine, an article by Alter Ego editor Roy Thomas about a screenplay he co-wrote for an unfilmed X-Men movie, and The Jack Kirby Collector’s John Morrow’s gallery of Kirby art connected with movies and TV.
LINKS IN THE AMAZON CHAIN
You can order Stan Lee’s Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying? here for only $9.95.
As I mentioned last time, in the late 1980s I co-wrote The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition, which was originally published as sets of pages to be assembled into looseleaf binders. Now Marvel is republishing the Master Edition as two paperback books, and you can find and order the second volume here. And yes, Amazon has fixed the credits on its site to include my name and Murray Ward’s as co-authors for both volumes. Thank you, Amazon!
-Copyright 2008 Peter Sanderson
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