Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bill Everett Archives v1 Toronto Book Launch Event

On Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7pm, The Beguiling (Toronto's finest book store) is hosting a book launch for the release of my latest book, Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives v1. It looks like the book will make its way into stores on the Wednesday prior, so there will be plenty of copies available for purchase!

The event features a book signing and exclusive slide show entitled "Bill Everett and Steve Ditko: Before the Sub-Mariner and Spider-Man" (as we also preview the third volume of my Steve Ditko Archives series, out in April). Join our Facebook Page for the Event.

The event is being held right next to The Beguiling at The Central (restaurant and bar), 603 Markham St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All those who attend will receive a signed Everett Archives v1 tipped-in bookplate by me!

Bill Everett created the Sub-Mariner (the first anti-hero and mutant of the Marvel Universe), and co-created Daredevil. "The Bill Everett Archives v1" reprints for the first time Everett's earliest work in comics from 1938-42 featuring his creations Amazing Man, Hydroman, Skyrocket Steele and many more!

Steve Ditko is the co-creator and original artist of the Amazing Spider-Man, but produced an entire library worth of work in the decade prior. "Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives v3" debuts in April and focuses on Ditko's stellar work from 1957 for Charlton Comics.

More information on Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives v1
View the Bill Everett Archives v1 promo press sheet for more information on the book, published by Fantagraphics Books, Inc.

Pre-order from or directly from the publisher, Fantagraphics Books Inc.
Listen to me talk about the Bill Everett and Steve Ditko Archives series on and Collected Comics Library.

Watch a video preview below and read a 23-page excerpt featuring three Hydroman stories!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Satanic Torture in the Secret History of Marvel Comics

Last week, we announced that my upcoming collaboration with Dr. Michael Vassallo, The Secret History of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman’s Empire, has expanded from 168 to 300 pages. This is to accommodate the tons of imagery by the top artists at Marvel of the 1940s and 1950s that we continue to uncover since we announced the book last November (still on track to debut in July at the San Diego Comicon).

What is even more intriguing, however, is the content of some of that imagery. Remember those quaint comic-book covers from the 1940s that featured light “bondage” with women tied up by a villain as the hero rushed in to save her? Well, apparently, as an artist finished the latest issue of, say, Captain America, they then took their pens to something a wee bit more extreme.

Below is a handful of illustrations from just one issue of a Martin Goodman pulp, Mystery Tales, from 1940. (Another connection to the Marvel Comics of the 1950s – Mystery Tales was a comic book that had a 1956 issue featured on the TV show, Lost; an issue that featured Steve Ditko’s second story for Marvel.)

These make even those 1960s Eric Stanton/Steve Ditko bondage (and temperate sexual sadomasochism) collaborations look like children’s books. The material below is not representative of all the imagery in our book, by any means, but it is a sub-genre that can’t be ignored because it’s not just limited to one issue or one famous Marvel artist.

Remember Stanley Kubrick’s last film, 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut, and that scene with Tom Cruise entering the mansion where all that open sexual intercourse is being played out amongst the upper crust of Manhattan? Below, that “Yield, Lovely Maidens, to the Blood-Master” double-splash page makes Kubrick look like Garry Marshall! Scantily clad women forced to jump off a raised, fiery platform, destined to be impaled by large spikes laid out in front of tables of laughing rich guys? “Get behind me, Satan!” indeed.

We posted these images (click to enlarge) because, as happened sometimes in those days, they are unsigned and Michael Vassallo, our art expert, is leaning towards Jack Binder. Binder was the creator of the original Daredevil character (the non-Marvel version), and older brother of comic-book writer, Otto Binder. Please use the Comments section below to weigh in with your opinions.

There are other images in the book not featured here by famous Marvel artists that display women being whipped, scars visible all over their bodies, an inch away from death by demons and zombie-like figures in human form; the extremes between the innocence of the Golden Age of Comics and this wing of Martin Goodman’s empire makes you understand why we called this book, The Secret History of Marvel Comics...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Secret History Of Marvel Comics" x 2!

Last week, we revealed the origins of how me and my collaborator, Dr. Michael J. Vassallo, brought our latest book, The Secret History Of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman’s Empire, into being. We promised a big announcement this week and here it is! Originally, the book was going to be 168 pages, but it now can be told that it is going to be increased to 300 pages! The book will make its debut at the San Diego Comicon in July of this year. so we've got some work to do, but how did we almost double the page count, while only raising the cover price by $10?

After you pre-order the book from, I want you to come back here next Sunday night for a showcase of some of the amazing artwork (toe-curling imagery that you won't believe made it onto the printed page back in the 1940s!) that has overflowed our hard drives since we announced the book back in November. We thought we had too much to begin with, but we've uncovered so much more artwork from the creme of Marvel Comics' stable of artists from the Golden Age of Comics that we were able to convince our publisher, Fantagraphics Books Inc., to jump that page count in hopes of containing it all. Remember, virtually no one alive has seen this artwork, buried in owner Martin Goodman's non-comics publications from 70 years ago, and we've uncovered even more of it in the last two months.

I update this blog every week with news about the book, but you can join the Secret History of Marvel Comics Facebook Page, or my Twitter account and Doc V's account, to get real-time updates on how we are putting this milestone book together.

To see a list of all my books available for order (or pre-order), including the first volume of The Bill Everett Archives and the third volume of the Steve Ditko Archives, go to the Purchase My Books page that I created this weekend.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Purchase My Books" Page is now up!

I've just created a "Purchase My Books" page on my blog where you can order (and pre-order) all my books from, and those to which I've contributed, at big discounts! You can also order directly from my publisher Fantagraphics Books Inc. or if you want to order a signed copy of a book directly from me, please email me at A nice checklist of my writing career...which also includes an oddity: I ran a Thompson Twins fan web site starting in 1996 and BMG U.K. hired me in 2003 to write the linear notes and compose the track listing for the Greatest Hits of the 1980s new wave, synth-pop power house (known mostly for their #1 hit, Hold Me Now). Lead singer Tom Bailey still pays compliments to my recap of that era. Anyway, help me feed my hungry mouths with a purchase of my books, thank you kindly!