WALT DISNEY'S MOBY DUCK
Not sure who Moby Duck is? Well, I wrote the comic for a while and I'm still not sure. My theory is that, years ago, someone at Disney
was doodling and crossed Donald with Popeye. Then they came up with the pun name and it was too good to resist. Some foreign publisher of
Disney comics had great sales with the guy and — and this, I do recall being told — Gold Key was pressured into doing the comic in
America, so they'd generate pages which could be sold overseas. Anyway, I wrote a batch, cramming in Donald, Scrooge and the Beagle Boys at
every opportunity since Moby didn't seem like much more than Popeye with webbed feet, no decent supporting cast and no spinach.
ALFRED HARVEY'S BLACK CAT
The late Alfred Harvey founded the comic company that bore his name. He eventually sold it and his best-known characters to others but his
heir, Alan Harvey, controls and publishes some of the lesser-known properties. A few years back, Alan was republishing the wonderful Black
Cat comics — the Hollywood-based adventures of what was for me, the best super-heroine of all time — and one of the best-drawn,
thanks to artist Lee Elias. Alan asked me to cobble up a new adventure with artist Murphy Anderson. And hey, I'd have written just about
anything if it meant that I got to work with Murphy Anderson. That we got to handle one of the best female "super" characters of all time was
an extra bonus.
WALT DISNEY'S THE BEAGLE BOYS
It was kinda scary to be writing Carl Barks characters, even his supporting players. The best you can hope for is that folks will say your work
is, "barely within reach of Barks' weakest material." But once I got past that, it was fun to invent tales of Uncle Scrooge's arch-foes and to
occasionally get The Poor Old Duck into them. But I also couldn't resist doing a story where Clarabelle Cow foiled the Beagles' inept
plans. Kay Wright and Jack Manning drew most of these and, one time, Jack told me he enjoyed my scripts more than those of other writers.
Expecting a good, solid ego-boost, I asked him why. He said, "Because you usually put in three Beagle Boys instead of four."
MISTER MIRACLE SPECIAL
I was around when Jack Kirby started Mister Miracle. I helped design the color scheme of his costume and I wrote one whole page of #5...but
otherwise, it was all Jack. Years later, when he had no interest in returning to the character, Steve Rude and I were asked to whip up a
one-shot special, which we did, adding in Kirby's favorite Mister Miracle inker, Mike Royer. This was another of those "labor of love"
assignments. I was especially impressed with how Steve captured most of the energy and "live" quality of Kirby's work without imitating his
actual style. A lesser artist would have traced and swiped and imitated, all in the name of "hommage," and not succeeded a tenth as well
at doing Kirby.
BURGER KING KIDS CLUB
Yeah, I wrote this...and three other issues. Wanna make something out of it? My longtime pal Scott Shaw! and I were engaged by an
advertising agency to package four issues of a comic that you could buy at your local Burger King and read while you lunched. It was one of
those "can't miss," gonna-make-a-bundle-for-everyone deals. We did the four issues, there was a test pressing and a marketing of the books
— God knows where — and then we never heard from them again. But we had some good artists working on them, including Owen
Fitzgerald, Nate Butler, Gary Fields, Dave Hunt and Scott himself. The comics were at least as funny as the burgers...and almost as edible.
HANNA-BARBERA TV STARS
The H-B comics I worked on which Marvel published sold quite well. I'm convinced they were only terminated because Marvel decided they didn't
want to promote the properties of a competitor. Before they came to that position, they were adding new titles left and right. One day,
they told me to produce the first issue of Hanna-Barbera TV Stars. I asked what it should contain. They said, "We're not sure but
the first issue is due in 3 weeks." Eventually, they decided they wanted shorts about then-current H-B TV shows so I threw the issues together
in a hurry. I even drew the cover for this one, inked (and saved) by Scott Shaw! Other issues featured other H-B features.
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