Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Red Sonja & the Savior of Comics

In the early `70s, the comic book industry was on its last legs (the comic book industry tends to get wobbly legs on an average 10 year cycle. It’s going through another down period as I write this). Mark Evanier has an interesting article about Phil Seuling, probably one of the most influential people in the industry that you’ve never heard of, who near-single-handedly convinced the major publishers that the direct market would be far more efficient than the traditional news stand distribution.

Seuling was right, Marvel and DC eventually bought into the idea, and now most comic fans go to a specialty comic book store rather than the corner drug store (sorry, Jill).

The photo in the link shows Seuling on the set of the Mike Douglas show with Douglas, Jamie Farr, and Wendy Pini(!!) costumed as Red Sonja. If you’re a comics fan, you know Pini as the co-creator of Elfquest, one of the first independent comics. I tend to forget how many authors and artists started as fans – not that surprising when you think about it.

I had an “I’m getting old” moment while reading Evanier’s teaser to the full article, when he found it necessary to explain exactly who Mike Douglas was. Since M.A.S.H. is still in re-runs, I’m assuming Mark was just covering the bases when he also felt the need to explain who Jamie Farr was. I hope, at least.

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