Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Episode #73: Happy Birthday, Marv Wolfman!

Thanks to the web sites , , and for being valuable resources for this episode.

Marv Wolfman was born on May 13, 1946, which in 2009 makes him 63 years old. Many happy returns of the day to you, Marv! He is known for his very long and prolific career in comic books, as well as TV and animation. Marv worked for a variety of comic book publishers beyond DC and Marvel, from Warren's horror titles to Disney's Duck Tales. He attended the New York School Of Art and Design. Before he began his professional writing career, Marv was active in fandom, publishing his own fanzines. A young Stephen King published first published his story In A Half World Of Terror in Wolfman's horror fanzine Stories Of Suspense #2, 1965.

Marv began his comic book career at DC Comics in 1968, writing for a variety of titles. His first Superman story appeared in Superman #248, February 1972, published on December 16, 1971 and cover priced 25 cents (ah, the good old days!). He wrote the back story All In The Mind for the feature World Of Krypton, drawn by Dave Cockrum. This story was reprinted in the trade paperback Superman: The World Of Krypton trade paperback. In House Of Mystery #83, an anthology title, the nost Abel mentioned that the next story was told to him by "a wandering wolfman". DC editors thought that the Comcis Code barred any mention of a wolfman, but it was eventually allowed if Marv's name was listed as a writer's credit. DC's mystery titles up to that point did not have creator credits. After that DC's mystery titles carried creator credits. To read about this story go to the link below to the Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed column at the web site Comic Book Resources.

In 1974 Marv began working for Marvel under then Editor In Chief Roy Thomas. After Roy left Marvel, Wolfman would eventually become one of a number of rotating editors in chief until Jim Shooter took over. Marv stepped down as EIC because the job left little time for his own writing career. Among the characters he created or co-created at Marvel were: Blade The Vampire Hunter (which became the first Marvel character to be a hit as a movie), Hannibal King for Tomb Of Dracula, Bullseye (originally a Daredevil villain), Nova and Black Cat, among others. His most famous work for Marvel was as writer of Tomb Of Dracula, drawn by the great Gene Colan and inked by Tom Palmer, among others.

Marv returned to DC Comics in 1980 after a dispute with Marvel EIC Jim Shooter. At DC he rejuvinated an old 1960's title, Teen Titans, which teamed all of DC's teen sidekicks. Marv worked with artist George Perez. This is the other regular monthly title Marv Wolfman is known for. For The New Teen Titans Marv and George added such characters as Cyborg (seen in the Smallville TV series), Jericho, Starfire and Raven. They also added such Titan villains as Slade Wilson: Deathstroke The Terminator, Trigon, Brother Blood, The Hive, Mammoth, Gizmo, Thunder & Lightning, and others. Marv and George also created Dick Grayson's Nightwing identity, after Dick quit the Robin mantle. Marv also created Tim Drake, the third Robin.

Among Marv's most notable Superman stories was If Superman Didn't Exist drawn by Gil Kane and published in Action Comics #554, April 1984, published on January 26, 1984. The story was edited by Julius Schwartz, lettered by Ben Oda and colored by Anthony Tollin. This story, which was a tribute to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, was about an alien armada that changed Earth history, causing Superman to disappear and thus eliminating the heroic ideal from the human psyche. 20th century Earth was full of primitive villages that were vulnerable to the aliens attack. Two young boys named Jerry and Joe recreated Superman and weakened the aliens power (you'll have to read the story to find out how). The aliens fired on the villagers, with Jerry and Joe in front and now dressed like Superman, but Superman reappears for real to shield the villagers from the energy weapon. Superman defeated the aliens and forced them to restore history. This story was reprinted in the trade paperback Superman In The Eighties.

In 1985 DC Comics celebrated their 50th anniversary. Over the decades DC had bought characters from out of business comic book publishers. After the multiverse was first created in Flash comics, these various groups of characters were each given their own Earth, including the golden age heroes, who were given Earth-2. By 1985 DC editors felt that the multiverse had become unweildly and sought to streamline the DC Universe continuity. Marv reteamed with artist George Perez on the twelve issue mini-series Crisis On Infinite Earths, which condensed the multiverse into one streamlined universe. Crisis was also known for the deaths of the silver age Supergirl, in issue 7, and the Barry Allen Flash in #8.

DC took the opportunity to update their top characters. Batman was clanged the least. HIs origin was updated in the Frank Miller and Dave Mazzuchelli four issue mini-series Batman: Year One in 1988. Wonder Woman and Superman were changed the most and reappeared, starting from the beginning, in 1986. The new Wonder Woman title was done by George Perez and John Byrne restarted Superman in the mini-series Man Of Steel and a new Superman #1. Adventures Of Superman continued the numbering of the original Superman title. Marv Wolfman wrote the first Adventures story in issue 424, the January 1987 issue, and continued through issue 435, December 1987.

Marv also created the post-crisis Superman characters Cat Grant (who has returned in recent Superman stories), Professor Hamilton and the Milton Fine Brainiac. His biggest influence on the current Superman continuity was in revisioning Lex Luthor as the corporate magnate, instead of a criminal genius bent on revenge against Superman for a lab accident in his youth. Marv gave Lex a new motivation against Superman, to prove that he was once again the top dog in Metropolis by trying to eliminate the Man of Steel.

Marv's most recent DC work was for Nightwing in 2007. That year he also published the nonfiction book Homeland, The Illustrated History Of The State Of Israel with Mario Ruiz and William J. Rubin, published by Nachson Press. He also wrote two novelizations, Superman Returns in 2006 and his own comic book seres Crisis On Infinite Earths in 2005.

His first wife was Michelle Wolfman, who had a long career as a comic book colorist. They had a daughter, Jessica Morgan.

Marv's current wife is Noel Watkins. She is an alumni of Texas A & M University and was a member of the student organization Cephid Variable, a club for campus s/f, fantasy and horror fans, which sponsors the s/f convention AggieCon every year for forty years. She is a Senior Producer for Blizzard Entertainment, where she served as an Associate Producer for the movie Tinkerbell. She is also a dollmaker who owns the web site . Her blog, Wolfmanor Wisdom & Whimsies is at . She is also a member of several doll maker clubs.

Marv would return in the June 2001 issues of the Superman titles for the four part story Infestation. His last Superman story was in Superman: Our Worlds At War Secret Files #1, August 2001 with the story Superman: The Eighth Day.

To read some of Marv Wolfman's best comic book work, look for Essential Tomb Of Dracula in four volumes. DC's Crisis On Infinite Earths is collected in trade paperback and Absolute editions. The earliest post-crisis Superman stories have been collected in the six volumes of the trade paperback Superman: The Man Of Steel.

Additional internet resources:

Marv Wolfman interview:

Another Marv Wolfman podcast interview:

For the story about the "wandering wolfman" go to: for a detailed look at Crisis On Infinite Earths.

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at . Send e-mail to . The theme music is Plans In Motion composed by Kevin MacLeod, part of the royalty music library found at the web site .

My Pull List is my spoiler free comic book review blog of the titles I read every week. It can be found at . Send e-mail about this blog to .

Superman and all related characters are trademark and copyright DC Comics.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Superman Fan Podcast and, as always, thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Superman WebRing

Superman WebRing The Superman WebRing
This site is a member of the best
Superman websites on the Internet!
Previous SiteList SitesRandom SiteJoin RingNext Site
SiteRing by



Total Pageviews