Last time in this space, we offered you insights into the life of talented artist Fred Kida offered by one of his sons and one of his grandchildren. The focus of that companion piece was the relationship between Mr. Kida – who was called “Fritz” by his family and close friends – and his wife, Elly. The couple was together over six decades.
Earlier this spring we released Spider-Man Volume 5, featuring the comic strip adventures of Marvel’s amazing arachnid from 1985-86. In preparing the text feature for the book I was lucky enough to gain additional insights into the life and career of one of the often-unheralded Spidey newspaper creators, Fred Kida. I got them from the most reliable sources available – via interviews with Paul Kida, one of Fred’s sons, and his granddaughter, Lani! One of the first things I learned was Fred’s nickname.
Deadlines, family commitments, and some technical difficulties have delayed our May dip into the LOAC Wheel of Fortune, but it’s not like we forgot or anything, believe me!
Since May is the fifth month of the year,. we opted to look at all our releases to-date that have a “5” in their volume number — that encompasses “Volume 5s,” “Volume 15s,” and in the case of Dick Tracy, even a Volume 25! For the first time, if memory serves, we’re also including a pair of 2019 releases in a Wheel of Fortune population, since both Spider-Man and Donald Duck celebrated their fifth volumes (in Donald’s case, his fifth volume of dailies).
So here’s the population, eleven titles strong:
Looking at the list, I found a few surprises in it — I didn’t realize we finished the Al Williamson run on Corrigan before our seventy-fifth release, or that Bungle Family (which is still fresh in my mind, a testament to the quality of the strip) fell into our first hundred books. Anyway, here it is, loaded into the Wheel and ready for a big spin:
And this month’s featured title is <insert drum roll and dramatic pause here> …
After a few months off, Bruce Canwell and Kurtis Findlay return to bring you the latest news on the Library of American Comics & EuroComics Podcast!
In this episode, Bruce and Kurtis discuss a bunch of new releases, including Dick Tracy, Vol. 25, Steve Canyon, Vol. 9, Donald Duck, Vol. 5, Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 5 and Superman: The Golden Age, Vol. 3! Plus, special guest Rich Handley talks about his love of Star Wars his contributions to the 3-volume Star Wars: The Classic Newspaper Strip series!
As you may have seen if you visit our various social media platforms, during 2019 The Library of American Comics is on pace to release its 200th volume. We call this the “LOAC Road to 200,” and we plan to celebrate our fast-approaching milestone in a number of ways as this still-new-year unfolds.
One new feature we’re adding to this space to mark the LOAC Road to 200: our very own LOAC Wheel of Fortune! Each month we’ll load an electronic wheel with a selection of our past titles, give it a virtual spin, see which title the wheel selects, and spend a bit of time discussing it.
The arrival of the “big” 2018 Christmas gift I received from my siblings (as discussed here) put superheroes in my mind for two reasons. Reason the First: Without those 1970s Marvel Comics letters pages, in which Dean and I regularly appeared, offering words of comment about the Marvel mags of the day, the chain of events that helped create The Library of American Comics may have never come to pass. Reason the Second: Roughly ten percent of our two-hundred-title output is devoted to such characters — from the comic-strip versions of DC’s “trinity” (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman) to the long-running newspaper feature headlined by Marvel’s most popular character, the Amazing Spider-Man, to the Bell Syndicate’s Miss Fury (the first lady costumed hero created by a female cartoonist, Tarpe Mills). Factor in that one of our first 2019 releases on the LOAC Road to 200 will be the fifth volume of Spider-Man and it made lots of sense (to me, at least) to load the LOAC superhero books into the wheel …
… Give ‘er a spin, and see which book came up! In this inaugural spin, it was —
Though not unexpected, it is certainly sad to mark the passing of Stanley Martin Lieber, known the world over as Stan Lee, at age ninety-five.
Much has already been written about Stan’s career while he was with us, and his obituary is appearing everywhere, including The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, The Comics Reporter, BBC News, and elsewhere.
I met Stan once, at a Boston convention, along with my good friend Mike Dudley. Stan was gracious to all, and personalized a bit of Fantastic Four memorabilia for Mike that had been previously autographed by both “King” Kirby and Joe Sinnott.
And of course, in recent years I interviewed Stan in association with our own Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip collections. Stan was forthright and upbeat, and as we wrapped up our twenty-minute session he told me, “You’re a good interviewer, and I wish you a lot of a lot of luck with those books.” A cynic might say he was only being polite, but it was a pleasant moment for me, to have a man whose work brought me years of enjoyment give his brief connection with me a thumbs-up.
It’s natural to want to speak of one’s own brushes with a passing Great, but it also seems right to me to use this occasion to let The Man speak for himself. Here is Stan, on the Soapbox that was familiar to so many of us in our formative years, delivering a message at least as relevant today as it was when it was first published, almost a half-century ago:
Speaking for everyone at The Library of American Comics, our most sincere sympathies are extended to Stan’s surviving brother, Larry Lieber (himself just recently retired from drawing the Spider-Man newspaper comic), and Stan’s daughter, Joan (J.C.) Lee.
Rest in peace, Mr. Lee.
Back after too long an absence: deadlines are implacable (just finished proofing galleys for Steve Canyon Volume 9, which is chock-full of terrific material) and some family commitments placed their demands upon me (including a wedding in my wife’s family, which took me out-of-state earlier this month) … but the crunch is over, so at last I have a chance to offer a hearty “Salute!” to Larry Lieber, who stepped down in September from penciling The Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip after an incredible run that spans more than three decades. I’ve selected ten examples of Larry’s work on the wall-crawler’s newspaper adventures, grouped loosely by theme. Peter Parker’s far-famed bad luck is on display in these three strips from January of 1981 and July and October of 2001:
Walloping Web-Snappers! Another great Spider-Man book is swinging your way in February 2019! AMAZING SPIDER-MAN NEWSPAPER COMICS, VOL. 5: 1985-1986 brings you another two years of action-packed comic strip fun, written by Stan “The Man” Lee himself!