Thursday, March 20, 2008

Episode #10: Happy Birthday, Mark Waid!

Mark Waid was born on March 21, 1962 in Hueytown, Alabama. He is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of DC Comics history and trivia, especially Superman. E. Nelson Bridwell served DC Comics in the same manner in the 1960's and 1970's. For an example of Mark Waid's knowledge, listen to the Fanboy Radio podcast episode Stump Mark Waid, episode #295. Also check out episode #30 for another Mark Waid interview.
He began his comic book career as a writer and editor for Fantagraphic Book's Amazing Heroes magazine, which ceased publiccation in the early 1990's.
Mark Waid moved on to DC Comics as editor on a number of titles, Secret Origins, Legion of Super-Heroes and Doom Patrol, among others. Check out the DVD Countdown to Wednesday, where Mark talks about the advantage working as an editor was for him when he began his writing career. (Order it from, or pre-order it from New copies of the DVD will be available from Amazon on June 1st.)
Some highlights of Mark Waid's prolific writing career:
Mark Waid worked for the short-lived Impact Comics DC imprint, (which licensed MLJ Publications, better known as Archie Comics, old superhero characters) writing for The Comet and Legend of the Shield.
His breakthrough came in 1992, when he became the writer for The Flash. He worked with artists such as Greg LaRocque and Mike Wieringo. His run, along with later Flash writer Geoff Johns, marked a resurgence of popularity in the character.
He moved to Marvel to write Captain America, but his tenure on the title was cut short for the Heroes Reborn storyline.
In 1996 Waid wrote the mini-series Kingdom Come, drawn and originally proposed by Alex Ross. This trade paperback ranks up there close to Watchmen as some of my favorite graphic novels.
Mark Waid returned to Marvel in 2002 to write Fantastic Four.
2003's Superman: Birthright was Mark Waid's retelling of Clark Kent/Superman's origin, from when he left his home on the Kent farm to his premiere in Metropolis as Superman.
From 2004-2007 he wrote the rebooted Legion of Super-Heroes, as well as the 2005 relaunch of The Brave and the Bold, with artist George Perez. He also worked on the weekly comic 52 from 2006-2007, along with writers Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and writer/artist Keith Giffen. Mark Waid also returned briefly to The Flash.
Since last year Mark Waid has served as editor-in-chief of Boom! Studios.
I would like to highlight some of my favorite Mark Waid written comic book titles.

Metamorpho (mini-series) DC Comics, 1993.
Editor: Brian Michael Augustyn, Assistant Editor: Ruben Diaz
Cover artist: Graham Nolan
Plot: Mark Waid and Graham Nolan, writer: Mark Waid, penciller: Graham Nolan, inker: Ron Boyd, colorist: Tom McGraw, letterer: Tim Harkins.
In this four issue mini-series, fellow archaelogist Jillian Conway finds Rex Mason (Metamorpho), and informs him that she has translated the hieroglyphics in the pyramid that contained the metero that transformed him. She has discovered that using the orb, now in possession of Simon Stagg, Rex's father-in-law and nemesis, that was created from the meteor in ancient Egypt, will cure him. After a series of events, she takes Rex's son, along with Stagg and the orb, to the pyramid. Rex follows them and finds the same hieroglyphics that Jillian did, but finds that she mistranslated the key part.
I'll leave the rest for you to read. I could not find a trade paperback reprint from DC Comics, so you will need to find it in the back issue bin of your local comic book store, or on e-bay.

Kingdom Come DC Comics 1996
Writer: Mark Waid, artist: Alex Ross, letterer: Todd Klein
While working on Marvels with Kurrt Busiek, Alex Ross created a proposal for a mini-series that became Kingdom Come. DC Comics hired Mark Waid to write the mini-series, because of his knowledge of DC history and trivia. To read Ross's original proposal and samples of art from this title, find Wizard Entertainment's Alex Ross Millennium Edtion (2003). I could not find a copy from Wizard's web site, so you will have to try vendors on, e-bay, or your local comic book store.
In the near future, Superman has been retired for a decade. The children and grandchildren of the super heroes we are familiar with are running amok all over the world. A nuclear disaster in the midwest summons the Spectre, who uses an elderly minister, modeled after Alex Ross's own minister father, as a guide through the upcoming super hero armageddon.
Part of the fun of reading Kingdom Come is searching the background in several scenes and picking out some of the super heroes, especially in a bar scene and the final super battle.

Fantastic Four: Imaginauts (FF 60-66 and 56) (2003) and Hearafter (FF 509-514) (2004) Marvel.
Imaginauts looked behind the scenes of the Fantastic Four to the business behind the heroes, which allows the FF to be adventurers and super heroes. And Johnny Storm is the most unlikely person to be made Chief Financial Officer by his sister, Sue Richards. Issue #56, Remembrance of Things Past, written by Karl Kesel and drawn by Stuart Immomen is also a treat to read as it explores Ben Grimm's Jewish roots.
Hereafter issue #511 takes Reed, Sue and Johnny to Heaven, after their latest super hero battle with Dr. Doom. Doom possesses Ben's body, forcing Reed to to kill Ben to defeat Doom. Reed's face is also scarred from a blast from Doom's glove. Reed takes Ben's body back to the lab and places it in apreservation tank. Reed discovers a spark of life still in Ben, prompting their trip to Heaven, where they meet God in the form of a famous comic book artist.

Legion of Super-Heroes: vol. I Teenage Revolution (2005) and vol. II Death of A Dream (2006) DC Comics
Although in recent years there seems to have been too many "reboots" of the Legion, the angle Mark Waid takes on the Legion is very original. He looks at the Legion as more of a youth movement than an organized group of crime-fighting super heroes.

Pre-order the book Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman from or your local book store. It is written by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustratedby Ross Macdonald. Check out their web sites:, and the book will be published by Knppf Books for Young Readers and is scheduled to be published on August 26, 2008.

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Also check out my other blog, My Pull List, where I blog about the comic books I buy each week. You can find this blog at Send e-mail about this blog to

Thank you for reading this blog and listening to Superman Fan Podcast, and as always thanks to Jerry and Joe.

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