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The Personal is Historical

It was a big turning point in my life, actually. Cain, about obscure B-noirs, about lost Cornell Woolrich novels, etc. They opened my door to even more writers—Manchette, Goodis, Willeford…. But Bouchercon is a fraction of the size of Comic-Con , which is so dazzling in its scope and scale. What was it like as a kid?

Brubaker: Well, compared to what it is now, it was tiny. They held it at the El Cortez hotel in downtown San Diego, and there was a big dealers room, with booths filled with old comics and boxes and boxes of back issues from all over the country. I remember the first thing we did was my dad took me to a panel where Bob Kane was drawing Batman on a big overhead projector, and took questions from the audience. My mind was totally blown—I think I was eight. And I just watched it grow and grow, into a thing that is only about half about comics anymore.

They were all just grinding it out, trying to make some extra money because comics has never paid that well for most freelancers, but to me it was like I was standing next to legends. He said that there were only five stories in the world, and that it was how you told them that made them interesting.

It made me start looking at structure more, and become more inventive with how I wanted to tell stories, even when I was just a teenager doing mini-comics. It was amazing.

Charlie Brown Never Found His Little Red-Haired Girl, but We Did | Vanity Fair

My friend was sitting right between them and I looked back at him and he was just racking his head back and forth between them, looking worried they were going to come to blows. A window into a whole world and its complications and costs. Brubaker: Yeah, completely. It was all right there on public display, in a room surrounded by comics fans. Or where you walk by the table of some writer who meant the world to you as a kid, and no one is lined up to meet them?

Or is that a thing? But I will never forget arriving at another crime convention in Texas, arriving late in the night and landing in the hotel lobby bar and there was James Crumley, surrounded by a coterie of adoring writers. I sat with them a long time, listening to him—just a year or two before his death—talking with an admittedly gimlet eye about publishing…but mostly talking about books.

That was big for me. Same for meeting George Pelecanos, who also seemed thrown off a movie set—in his case a s noir. What about the storied behind-the-scenes convention stuff? Scandals and romances? Did you get a whiff of that? Brubaker: And oh god, yeah, are there scandals and gossip in comics.

I picked from some of it and changed the names, for Bad Weekend , but comic conventions and the industry have always had that stuff. And I heard things like that would go on in the early days of the convention scene, too. And actually, in the early s there was a big prostitution bust at a small convention back east.

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And the guy running the convention was arrested for a cold-case murder a few years later. Man, I sound like Kenneth Anger now. But that same sleazy convention was where I met one of my heroes, Frank Miller , who basically became my mentor and big brother for a few years when I was breaking in. Abbott: Yeah. I remember my legs shaking under the table when I first met James Ellroy—the biggest living influence for me—at the LA Festival of Books. Brubaker: I think that was the same day I met you. I remember seeing him talking to you at the booth and thinking, See? Even Ellroy knows Megan is the real deal.

Abbott: Boy, it has been a crash course for me. Being on set every day, right on the battlelines, the same time as writing and doing post-production—well, often I ponder how a deeply introverted novelist prone to holing up in her apartment for days at a time ended up sitting at the monitors amid hundreds of cast and crew for 13 hours a day?

That Barton Fink feeling, as they say. Abbott: No, and I miss writing novels a lot. John with art by Baker. This digest sized page comic was published by St. John in John and the St. John Romance Comics by John Benson.

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This page paperback is full of well researched information about the St. John romance comics. I particularly enjoyed the interview with Fred Robinson, the half-brother of Matt Baker.


This book does not disappoint and is truly the definitive work on the history of American romance comic books. Nearly 6, were published between and , and there was a time when one of every five comics sold in the U. I read most of the GA romance I can find; the stories are usually quite good and the characters often excellently designed. Unfortunately, the Silver Age Romance stories were not as well-designed although you could catch some upcoming artists like John Romita and Gene Colan before they were doing the superheros.

Jack Kirby Love Comics Vol. 2: Young Romance ('50s era)

I was googling Michelle Nolan to get more info on her and found this entry and blog! This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. The Golden Age of Comic Books. Skip to content. Young Romance 1 Sept. It Rhymes with Lust Love on the Racks by Michelle Nolan