A Tribute to the of

We love the Showcase title at the Silver Lantern. After all, it’s where the Silver Age began, with issue #4 [Sage #3] and the revamped Fastest Man Alive, aka the Flash. Showcase rolled out plenty more over the years, too, and we’ve done our best to document it during the two-decade history of the Silver Age Sage feature.

In many cases, this tryout title launched new series. In a few instances, the offering didn’t see the light of day again after the rollout, despite perhaps a few appearances. We may never know for certain what the tipping point was. Take, for instance, Steve Ditko’s rollouts of both the Hawk and the Dove [Sage #221] and the Creeper [Sage #169]. One lone appearance in Showase in each case. Dolphin [Sage #249] was another one and done, but did not go on to her own series. Then there were others where there were three or four appearances and then nothing further. I guess it was in the hands of whoever made the decisions, in conjunction with sales reports.

So, with that in mind, let’s check out an offering that did not go on to a solo title, despite three Showcase appearances, to include a cover with a cameo by Woody Allen. It’s that swinging group, the Maniaks, described as a parody of rock bands such as the Beatles or the Monkees, though I’d lean more toward the Monkees. The Maniaks are, in no particular order, Jangle, aka Gilbert Jeffries, Silver Shannon, Pack Rat or Byron Williams, if you prefer, and Flip also known as Philip Folger. That cover is by Mike Sekowsky with Mike Esposito inks and Ira Schnapp letters. Interiors are also by Sekowsky and Esposito with lettering by Joe Letterese, all under the editorial eye of Jack Miller and Barbara Friedlander as Associate Editor. “A Cook’s Tour of Palisades Park!” or “How to Cook a Goose!” was scripted by E. Nelson Bridwell. This issue, #68, has a publication date of May/June 1967 with an on-sale date of March 23, 1967. Let’s check out the Maniaks.

The setting is Palisades Park, New Jersey and the splash page shows the Maniaks on stage with vocalist Silver Shannon belting out a tune referring to the last train to Knoxville. Remember my Monkees reference? Then on the first page caption we’re told not to confuse this band with the Beatles or the Monkees. Okay, then. Introductions for the benefit of the readers begin with Jangle, who is described as having the ability to do all manner of voices and sound effects. He also apparently plays guitar.

Next is Silver Shannon, “The go-go girl with the Golden voice…” She is also the keeper of the Maniak’s “bread” and the Mod Miser, according to her bandmates.

Our drummer, Pack Rat or Byron Williams is a collector. He even shows off a large ball of accumulated tinfoil. Pack Rat, indeed.

And finally Flip (Phillip Folger) who also plays guitar and is an acrobat and contortionist in his spare time. So, that’s the lineup and they’re now encountering a group of raucous fans. In order to escape being mobbed, Jangle throws his voice and imitates the Beatles to distract them, allowing the Maniaks to exit, stage left, as Snagglepuss would put it.

A quick segue to another segment of Palisades Park and we’re introduced, one by one, to the inevitable “bad guys,” beginning with a cigar wielding Al Capone lookalike called “Eggs” Benedict, leader of the gang. “He quit the mafia because he considered it too tame.” Other members include “Potatoes” O’Brien, who occupies the FBI’s most wanted list in positions 3, 4 and 5. “Beef” Strogonoff, with muscles to spare, especially between the ears. “Lobster” Newburg, the knife-wielding “Veal” Scallopine, “Oysters” Rockefeller, “Noodles” Romanoff, “Shrimp” Creole, “Chicken” Cacciatore and “Peaches” Melba, who is the moll to “Eggs.” Notice a pattern here?

This eclectic group is now getting down to brass tacks to plan their caper, which is to meet up with and knock off a rival gang. The destination is Palisades Park and the rival goes by “Dutch” Edam. When the gangs meet up, Dutch introduces his associates, “Leader” Krantz, “Gorgon” Zola and “Limb” Burger. More food gags.

And as if things aren’t crowded enough, the Maniaks soon arrive at a “deserted building” just in time to witness Eggs’ mob busily emptying their Tommy guns into Dutch’s gang. Just then, the Maniaks are spotted by Eggs’ gang. He orders the rub-out and the band beats a hasty retreat, closing out Part I. Before we get to Part II, however, there’s a fun little narrative where the letters column will one day be, titled “Maniak Memos,” written by editor Jack Miller:

It all began in the DC conference room. Lounging around the conference table were—Big Boss himself, silently polishing his pearl-handled .45, and sort of chuckling to himself; Mike Sekowsky, nervously nibbling on the business end of his pencils; Mike Esposito, taking little refreshing nips from an ink bottle; Nelson Bridwell, finishing a crossword puzzle in Sanskrit; and the Editor, the only completely normal member of the group, who happens to be writing these lines.

After about three days, Big Boss quietly placed the .45 on the table in front of him, and sort of snickered at the group.

Well, boys, will you do it?” he asked.

No,” said Sekowsky.

Big Boss picked up the .45 and clicked the safety.

Yes,” said Sekowsky.

Big Boss turned to Esposito. “There’s a black ring around your mouth,” he said.

“It’s ink,” said Sekowsky.

Oh,” said Big Boss.

At this point Nelson Bridwell tittered with deep pleasure. “This is just like Hemingway, fellows,” he said.

Big Boss, Sekowsky and Esposito turned angrily to him. “Shut up, stupid!” they said in unison. The Editor said nothing. He had left the group the day before.

Big Boss was now rubbing his hands greedily. When he rubbed off the last of the chocolate éclair goo, he whispered, “Then it’s all agreed—we’ll try out the new mag in a SHOWCASE!”

“Suppose it fails?” asked Bridwell Nelson who had, in the meantime, switched around his name, in order to confuse the others.

“Suppose it fails?” repeated Big Boss, sort of smiling, and twisting around so that the .45 was aimed directly at the writer’s heart—or where his heart would be if he had one. “It won’t fail,” added Big Boss, “now will it?”

Nelson Bridwell (which was actually his real name) smiled back, sort of, then turned to Esposito. “Could I have a little slug of whatever it is you’re drinking?” He asked politely.

Esposito looked back at him and snarled, “It’s only ink!”

“Oh, that’s okay—I’ll just have a drop,” said Nelson (which is either his first name or his last, I forget which), reaching for the ink pot. But Esposito tightened his fingers around it and drew it out of reach. “You must be krazy, or something!” he screamed. “Whoever heard of drinking ink?”

But the argument ceased suddenly as Big Boss stood up. Without a word, he started to leave the room, but then, on second thought, turned back. Still silent he tested the heavy chains that bound the shapeless legs of the three men and, apparently satisfied, walked out.

Nelson tittered. “The Big Boss was in a pretty ugly mood, wasn’t he?” he said.

Sekowsky turned on him, his face contorted with rage. “That wasn’t I.D., the Big Boss,” he snapped.

Nelson’s face registered amazement. “No? Then who was he?” he asked.

Sekowsly let an instant’s pause elapse before answering: “Dick Milgroom,” he answered laconically and cryptically. (And what other comic mag features words of that calibre!)

“Who’s Dick Milgroom?” asked Nelson.

Sekowsky shrugged. “No one knows,” he said, a note of sadness in his voice.

Esposito, who hadn’t been heard from for some time, because I forgot he was even there, nodded his head vigorously, and brightly shouted, “That’s right!” Upon which Nelson and Sekowsky simultaneously turned on him and said, at the same time, “Shut up, stupid!”

Now, who should stroll in at this point but The Editor, himself—and it was like a breath of fresh air, a beam of sunshine, either one, that seemed to enter the gloom of the room. As noted earlier, The Editor was the only completely normal member of the group. He was—and still is, for that matter—a very handsome, distinguished, and nice man, with a fabulous personality, possessing great appeal to all men, women, children, animals, and even certain inanimate objects—oh, I could go on and on about this ginchy guy who also happens to be the only editor at DC who has won the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. (And let anyone over at Marvel tie that!)

Anyway, as I said before, The Editor strolled in—flanked by two of the most gorgeous females a red-blooded American male would ever want to see—Gerda, the unofficial warden at DC, and Barbara, a DC romance editor.

The Editor seemed annoyed. “Please, Gerda,” he said, a sharp edge to his voice, “you must stop kissing me on the hand all the time. I’m not exactly royalty, you know—even though I sometimes feel that if we hadn’t lost the Revolutionary War, and we had an American King today, that I…”

But he never completed the thought, because Barbara broke in, pointing to his right hand, muttering jealously: “Besides, you’re leaving red marks all over the King’s—I mean, the Editor’s –hand!”

Gerda smirked. Her eyes flitted from the lipstick-smeared hand of the Editor to Esposito’s face, and she remarked with petulance: “I would prefer red-stained hands to black-stained mouths.”

“It’s only ink,” explained Esposito.

“Ink!” expostulated Gerda.

“Whoever heard of drinking ink?!” expostulated Barbara.

Esposito pointed to Nelson Bridwell. “He did.”

But now The Editor held up his hands, like a true leader of men—and a few women as well. “Now, now,” he drooled, in that calming way of his, “no more of this badinage. There is work to be done.”

The Editor began snapping out commands, in his forceful, leader-like manner: “Gerda—stand guard at the door!...Barbara—remove their chains! Sekowsky—stop chewing gum!” Etcetera, etcetera…

Now a hush fell over the group. Every one present was hanging onto The Editor’s every breath, as he opened his mouth to speak. At long last, the words came:

“Now hear this—we’ll call our new mag—THE MANIAKS…”

And now, onto Part II and “You Have to Use your Noodle When You’re in the Soup!

The Maniaks are on the lam, lest the baddies succeed in their quest to silence them. Flip reasons that there are too many witnesses at Palisades for them to strike, but Eggs confirms that his gang has their silencers affixed to their “Roscoes” and soon they’re letting the lead fly.

As the band continues their flight wouldn’t you know they’d run smack dab into the screaming fans again. Pack Rat acts swiftly, using his odds and ends and acumen to produce a modified pop gun that acts like one of Batman’s grappling hooks to allow them to latch onto an overhead cable transport car. Eggs dispatches some members of his gang to provide a welcoming committee at the other end.

Upon reaching the *ahem* end of the line, Flip uses his acrobatic skills to slide down the cable, adroitly avoid the bad guys’ weapons and conk each in the noggin for the knockout. The Maniaks then continue their flight. The next attempt at freedom is the roller coaster where the stingy Silver Shannon reluctantly purchases four tickets and they quickly board, but not without interested parties also tagging along.

It's Pack Rat to the rescue again, this time using some more objects he happens to have on hand to assemble a makeshift electromagnet to capture the steel-jacketed slugs that were fired their direction. The chase then continues to the Ferris Wheel and Flip again goes into action, diving into the World’s Largest Salt-Water Pool, only to be netted by one of the gangsters, closing out Part II, but not before the end caption continues on the food gag theme: “Too bad Flip doesn’t belong to Britain’s Conservative Party! Then we could say we’d seen Chicken catch a Tory!” Get it? “Chicken” Cacciatore was the gang member. Anyway… Part III, titled, “Next on the Menu—Just Desserts!” kicks off on page 17 where the Maniaks are in the clutches of the gang and are about to be fitted for cement boots. Pleading for their lives and even offering up their cash over Silver’s protests, the lead singer offers a little tune, which brings the gangsters to tears. Four panels later, the visibly moved gangsters are still going forward with their plans, however, because it’s simply business.

As dusk falls over Palisades Park, the Maniaks are being hauled along the pier to the drink, much like the cover depiction when Jangle whispers to Pack Rat that he has a plan. Bringing into play his impression ability and ventriloquist skills, he creates the illusion that the cops are there, ordering the gang to stand down, complete with gunfire.

Leveraging the distraction, Flip brings down the concrete base he and Silver Shannon are contained in on Beef’s noggin and Pack Rat dexterously picks the locks with his latest contraption, followed up with a good old-fashioned sledge hammer to break up the quick dry concrete. There is enough debris to provide Silver Shannon with some literal concrete boots that she uses to great effect on the gang members. In the ensuing chaos, Flip incapacitates other members of the gang with his own fancy footwork and soon the local PD has arrived to mop things up.

The final panel shows our band, post-performance, thanking their lucky stars and Jangle remarks that he hopes “…the comic-reading public is as groovy over us and we get our own fab mag!” The business-headed Silver Shannon is already doing the tally: “Let’s see…one million copies at .12 each…

And that, friends, was the debut of the Maniaks, who were slated to appear twice more in Showcase, but then faded into the sunset, dashing Silver Shannon’s hopes of a big payday. The other appearances, for the record, were in Showcase #69 and #71.

It’s pretty obvious the creators were having some fun with this one and I am delighted to report that I was able to enjoy a wonderful interview with Associate Editor Barbara Friedlander, who did a lot of work with Jack Miller, primarily in the romance books, but obviously also in the humor lines and…well, let’s hear directly from Barbara, shall we? I proudly present Part I of the interview here:

Bryan D. Stroud: Miss Barbara, I’ve been looking forward to this as a chance to learn more about how DC operated back in the Silver Age, my favorite era. Did you interact with a lot of the freelancers?

Barbara Friedlander: I knew in passing these artists who were doing the superheroes, but I mostly was on the other end with Jack Miller and so I didn’t have conversations with them unless they wanted to be friendly. They were mostly going in to see Murray (Boltinoff) or other people for their own stuff. Some people were just naturally friendly with one another and had relationships, but mostly it was all business. You walked in, took care of your business, you complained and you left. (chuckle). DC freelancers by and large had good senses of humor. You had to.

BDS: Where were you born and raised?

BF: I’m a New York baby if you can’t tell by the New York accent. I loved the city. This is important to me and I always mention it. When I was born and raised, my dad was in the hardware business and he had a hardware business on 52nd Street and 6th Avenue. If you can imagine 6th Avenue, which is now the Avenue of the Americas, with little shops, which it was at that time. Going up and down there were brownstones and little shops and that’s the era that I grew up in. But now it’s all built up and recently I went into the city and I always love to go by 6th avenue because I get a good feeling around 52nd Street.

BDS: Oh, of course. Lots of memories, I’m sure.

BF: Yeah, it was lots of memories and so very different today. But that’s the era I grew up in and I went to a public school on 54th street between 6th and 7th avenue, which would be impossible today. I loved the city for what it was. It was my lifeline. I couldn’t imagine ever leaving it. I did. I don’t know how I did, but I did.

BDS: It’s interesting. When I spoke to Carmine Infantino or Irwin Hasen or any of the others who had lived in the city virtually their whole lives I’d heard the same thing. They couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I’d love to see it sometime, but I think perhaps the era I’d really love to see is only a memory now.

BF: Yes. That’s the unfortunate part. It’s only in memory. I remember being able to walk, which I did, often, to the Museum of Modern Art and just walk right in. Now it’s a big production number. It’s a place everyone wants to go to, so you have to order tickets in advance. All kind of stuff. Metropolitan. I used to go to it every other week because I just enjoyed it and now you can’t get in there. Now you can’t get in anyplace.

BDS: So, what led you to DC Comics initially?

BF: I’m going to go back to that hardware store and tell you that I was graduating from high school at the time and my father had passed away and I didn’t know what to do with myself. My friends were going to college or they were getting married. It was a different time. I was sort of stuck. I didn’t know what to do, so I went to Hunter at night and I enjoyed doing that, but I realized I had to earn some money. I was living with my mother on 54th Street and 7th Avenue. That was my neighborhood, of course.

So, I had a friend who had an agency and he sent me on a couple of job interviews and I had no skills. I was really bad at typing. I still am bad at typing. I couldn’t take shorthand or anything like that, but first I went to a watch company and then I went to DC comics and I said, “Okay, I’m going to work here,” not realizing what DC Comics actually meant. Because I liked Katy Keane and I liked Archie and all that other stuff, but I didn’t really love romance books and I didn’t really read that kind of stuff.

I loved Brenda Starr in the Daily News. I liked pretty stuff and I was 18, 19 years old and I needed direction. It was a very traumatizing thing for me when my dad passed. So, that’s what I did. Have you read any of the stuff that I’ve done before?

BDS: A little bit. Like most young boys I was drawn more to the superhero titles, but I do own a copy of Girl’s Romances and looked at a copy of Swing with Scooter. So, I’m not completely unfamiliar with the things you were working on.

BF: I’m currently working on an article talking about a lot of the people I worked with, including Jack and Nelson (Bridwell) and the illustrator works in kind of a cartoony style, which I think is wonderful. She was asking me how to draw Nelson, for example, and I said, just go ahead and draw him in the cartoony style with his black glasses and his crewcut. My stuff is a very tongue in cheek story in this magazine and it’s going to be several pages of just that. How I got started and then I left. (chuckle.)

BDS: I’ll look forward to hopefully seeing that. You’re absolutely right, too. Nelson was a walking caricature.

BF: Yeah, a lot of these people actually were walking caricatures. (chuckle.) Except for the ones who didn’t really do anything creative. They were very much themselves.

BDS: Were you familiar with the Inferior Five series? I believe Jack Miller edited that as well.

BF: I was there when they created it. I shared that office and I remember all of those people and I remember Joe (Orlando) coming in and creating the look for all those characters.

BDS: I realize I’m really getting into the weeds here, but I actually have a copy in front of me, and issue #6 was where Nelson did the story that lampooned the staff.

BF: No, I don’t remember that. I was there? Tell me about it.

BDS: You actually appear in several of the pages. I was kind of hoping you didn’t know that so that I could share something with you.

BF: Please do.

BDS: Initially when I pulled it out, I thought, “Oh, maybe she can explain to me this one inside joke that I never understood” and then I got to looking more closely and there you were in a couple of panels. Anyway, it showed Jack Miller surrounded by a bunch of miniature Hong Kong tailors… [page 20]

BF: That’s true.

BDS: They’re making a suit for him while he’s standing there and he kept saying, “Make it tighter. Make it tighter.” So, I wondered what that meant.

BF: This is very funny. Jack Miller had all of his suits made. I think he had everything made. When I became engaged, my husband to be had terrible taste in clothes and I took him to Jack’s tailor and as a wedding present I had suits made for him.

BDS: Chuckle.

BF: No, really, because Jack was impeccable. And I wanted my husband Marshall to look good. He was an attorney and I thought he should look good. (chuckle.)

BDS: Oh, absolutely.

BF: So, I did that and then I took him to where Jack bought his shirts. He had these beautiful shirts. It was a place called Hertzfeld and I took him there and I continued to buy shirts there long after Jack was gone for my husband. And Jack always had beautiful, impeccable clothes. It was his thing.

BDS: Okay, so any idea what the tighter reference meant?

BF: No idea, except to say that he was a perfectionist, so he wanted every little angle and line and seam to be perfect.

BDS: Maybe that’s what Nelson was getting at in his story. The shots of you show you on the telephone and it’s…

BF: With my mother.

BDS: Exactly.

BF: Yes, because I was a mother’s girl. (chuckle.) My mother had no idea what I did at DC. None at all. All she wanted out of me was “Get married. Just get married.”

BDS: (Laughter.) Well, that’s precisely the point here, it says in the first panel where you’re on the phone, “Oh, hi, mother baby. No, mother, I’m not married yet. No, nothing’s happened since breakfast.”

BF: (Laughter.)

BDS: And then in another shot it says, “Yes, mother, I hear you,” and you’re carrying the phone with an extension cord into the other room.

BF: It’s true. Now that you mention it, it’s all come back into memory. I have seen it, but I don’t have it.

BDS: Well, I’ll gladly send you a copy. Now backtracking a little bit, where was DC located when you worked there?

BF: 575 Lexington. Which was wonderful, because I lived on 54th and so when the weather was good, I used to walk or take a taxi.

BDS: Who hired you?

BF: Gutowitz. I think his first name was Jack. He was a lovely man. I worked in the clerical department. Anyway, one of the first things he said to me was, “What are you doing here? You should be married.” (chuckle.) All of them said that to me. They looked at me like I was dropped in from a spaceship. Like it was an experiment or something.

So, I worked in the clerical department. I can name all the ladies and Mr. Gutowitz was the only male. He was the head of that department. I took subscriptions for the various titles. Mostly boy titles, Superman, Batman, that kind of thing and there is a very funny story that I’ve told before, but I’ll tell it to you because it’s so typical.

As I moved along, days went by and I would go to classes at night. Irwin Donenfeld wanted me along with another girl I worked with, Jeannie, she was my boss at the time and I was the new girl on the block and he was very upset about Marvel being wonderful and creating angles for their characters. You know, they weren’t just straight heroes, they had problems. So, he put out this huge mailing, which I was in charge of doing. He wanted to know what the readers wanted to see. If the characters should have different personalities or if we should do X, Y and Z. I wish I still had a copy of that mailing, but I don’t.

It was several pages and it was not done in the days when they had a machine to put it all together. It had to be done by hand and it must have been 5 or 6 pages. I think the post office took care of the stamps. The post office was actually in that building. He asked the editors to volunteer their time and come in and fill in these things for this mailing. Now he could have hired other people that didn’t have to put out books and didn’t have to do actual work, but he didn’t. He said, “Come out and help me with this mailing. It will be very good for your books.” Or whatever the hell he said.

And that’s how I really got to know some of the editors and Jack Miller, who also said to me, “What are you doing here?” It became embarrassing after a while. I don’t know what they were getting at, but I guess I needed to be in another realm.

Anyway, I was going to school at night and I was taking writing courses, so Jack said, “Let me see some of your writing,” and that’s how our connection began. He was very nice to me. He said, “Why don’t you do something and make some money.” So that’s what I did. I wrote love stories. And he helped me. He mentored me so that I learned how to do it. And actually, I am doing it again. I’m working for Ken Wheaton now, who is experimentally putting out a book of four love stories that I have written.

I know Paul (Kupperberg) does love stories in his book, but they have something of a tough edge to them. These are the old-fashioned sweet love stories. And I just finished it. I just sent in my copy and I hope it goes someplace, because I really enjoyed doing it. It was something from the past with a today’s kind of edge to it, but it looked more like…it was lovely. Let’s put it like that. Lovely stories without too much heartache.

BDS: It sounds wonderful. I share your enthusiasm and I hope there’s a market for it. I think that would be a nice resurgence.

BF: I hope so. I really hope so. And I had e-mailed Ken and I e-mailed a couple of other people that I’d done some work for recently because I wanted to promote their stuff, but they haven’t gotten back to me. I also did a thing where they’re reviving Jetta from the 50s. I had wanted to say some things about it, but obviously I can’t.

BDS: Right. So other than everyone wondering what in the world you were doing there, especially as a single woman, did it feel at all like a boy’s club?

BF: Yeah. It was a complete boy’s club. At the first production meeting that they had with just the editors, I was not invited. That was the nature of it. A lot of the men, and I won’t mention any names, but a lot of the men did not like the idea that I had gotten this far so fast. Not that I blamed them because I’m a very practical person and I can understand what they were feeling.

I had gone into Irwin Donenfeld, who had hired me and he really liked me, but he had such a gruff manner about him that I had no idea that he really liked me. (chuckle.)

I was completely bulldozed by this whole thing and you have to remember this is the 60s and you have to remember that when I went in and asked for a raise, Irwin looked at me and he said, “Barbara, you live with your mother. These men have families to support. I can’t justify giving you a raise.” And I had so little self-esteem I agreed with him. “Of course. You gave me all the facts. Absolutely correct.” What he did do, I think, was give me a higher page rate. Maybe a dollar. (chuckle.)

BDS: Just a token.

BF: A token to shut me up. You just went along to get along. There was a great fear in that office. Really, you could feel it. Even for the people who had really been established and had a strong personality, there was great fear that they were going to be fired. Especially in the bullpen. All kinds of craziness, because people were screaming at one another. The higher-ups were screaming down at the lower people. It was just that kind of atmosphere. They all heard about Marvel and what Marvel was doing and that made everyone afraid. And of course, you couldn’t work for Marvel and work for DC and have anyone know about it. That would have blown Irwin’s mind.

BDS: Right and that’s why a lot of the guys used to use pen names when they did Marvel work.

BF: Absolutely.

BDS: But you couldn’t blame them. The freelancer’s life is not an easy one. It looks like you both scripted and edited. Did you have a preference between the two?

BF: Oh, I’d rather do scripts. I was horrible at editing. I finally learned to use my computer and it’s smarter than me. (chuckle.) It corrects my spelling. Sometimes it corrects my language. And I’m very happy about that. I don’t know why I didn’t know about this before.

BDS: In my research I see you used a few aliases. Do Jill Taylor, Nilda Storm and Carol Andrews sound familiar?

BF: Oh, yes. Jill Taylor was the column that I wrote. She was my girl and I created her and I think Tony drew her. Tony Abruzzo. I adored Tony. She was a very practical young lady who told you about your makeup and your dating and stuff like that. Now I wasn’t a big dating person, obviously (chuckle) and I had to write those columns. You just have to do what you have to do. People say to me, “How did you do that?” And I will say, “I did it because I had to do it, not because I wanted to do it.”

When we did Swing with Scooter, I had never written anything like that before. But I learned how to do it on the job. Jack was very helpful to me. And I hated it. I mean I really hated writing it. Because it was not something that came natural to me.

BDS: Yeah, out of the comfort zone. I wanted to run a theory by you. Once upon a time I used to do a little radio and people used to ask me why I used an air name instead of my real name. I would tell them that it allowed me more freedom to do some showmanship by being someone else. I wondered if the aliases were helpful for you for the same reason.

BF: Actually, I was too dumb to realize that. (Mutual laughter.) I didn’t have direct contact with the audience like you did. As a matter of fact, Jack and I had to write to the lovelorn letters ourselves. The ones we tended to get were so pathetic. I mean really pathetic. Everything had to be rosy in the comic books, so most of them would say, “Speak to your religious advisor,” or “Go to your mother.” Nothing was resolved. But they continued to have them, so we really had to write them ourselves in order to have resolutions and solve things for people because after all, how brilliant do you have to be to write to comic books when you have a problem? I feel sorry, but that’s the truth. But at least they were reaching out to somebody and certainly they deserved some sort of a semi-intelligent response. It was very sad. Most of the subscriptions, when I was doing that, came from people in prison.

More to come next time, readers, so be sure to return October 1st for the conclusion to the Barbara Friedlander interview and another review.

In the meantime, you know the drill. Reach out any time with questions, comments and all manner of feedback to my trusty e-mail: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you in roughly two weeks and…

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2020 by B.D.S.

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