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April 07, 2008

Comments

Joe Lewallen

That's awesome Mark. I was an Army Brat (dependent child of a Soldier) and lived in Germany from 1970-73. There I saw my first Disney Movies and bought my first comic books at the PX. Probably SGT Rock & Superman.

Much much older, I am a reservist, and if I get deployed again, it will be the first time with a wife and child. We have plenty of family around here to make sure my family is taken care of, but it's great to know that organizations like Operation Homefront or Families Honoring Our Troops (FHOT-a local organization) are there for us. I met my wife at a FHOT rally 2 years ago.

Mark Engblom

So, it's probably safe to say you've got a really FHOT wife.

Arrgghhh! Sorry....horrible joke.

Yeah, I knew a number of kids through school back in Duluth, MN who were mostly "Air Force Brats", most of whom had lived many, many places before coming to Duluth (and probably many more before reaching adulthood). Most seemed pretty cool with it, since they'd long gotten used to uprooting every couple of years. Still, it came through loud and clear it wasn't an easy life, and I continue to respect military families for their multiple sacrifices.

So...about Germany: are their doorknobs really square, as Ms. Van Winkle implied? Seriously, thanks for the background on your life as an Army brat, Joe...and thank you so much for your continued service. It really IS appreciated out here.

Wes C

My wife grew up as a "Navy Brat".

I think she said she went to nine different schools in 11 years (she skipped one year - she's the smart one after all) The difference in childhoods still sneaks it's way into our relationship in some of the strangest ways

I couldn't imagine my childhood being like that at all. If I lived that life I'm sure I would have become and even bigger comics "freak".

Boy, I hope she has my slippers and pipe ready for me when I get home. ;)

It always kills me to read old silver age magazines and see them handing out subscriptions left and right (and original art over at DC!!!) That kind of generosity (subscription wise) seems to have completely vanished.

For all that one can complain about ol' Smilin Stan, you have to give it to him, he knew how to write a friendly and fun letter column!


BTW: Thanks Joe!

Mark Engblom

"For all that one can complain about ol' Smilin Stan, you have to give it to him, he knew how to write a friendly and fun letter column!"

You won't find any hardcore complaining about Stan here, Wes. Sure, I'll kid him from time to time, but there are few people I adore more in all of comicdom than ol' Stan. I know it's fashionable in some quarters to denigrate or diminish his contributions, but I can't say enough good about the guy. I believe that without Stan around to bring the fun, creativity, and sense of community he brought to Marvel Comics in the 60's, superhero comics would be long dead by now.

It's really just that simple.

Joe Lewallen

Thanks for the kind words.
My wife is F’n HOT, and I’m a lucky guy.
I was 3-6 years old while I was in Germany, so not many memories remain. We lived in housing for service members and lived on the third floor. The building was on a big grassy hill and I rode my bike down it while I learned to ride w/out training wheels. Soft landings. Fun in the snow. Some of the old German Army buildings were converted to our use. My older sister told me that the place where I went to kindergarten was an old SS headquarters. Real or BS, who knows. Mom did learn to cook a mean schnitzel.

I was lucky with the moving. Only 3 moves in 11 years then the old man retired and we moved to the county I still live in. That was 28 years ago.

I love the old letter columns. Wendy and Richard Pini met through the Silver Surfer letter column. That’s just freakin’ cool.

On to the Man. I just read Mark Evanier’s Kirby King of Comics. Great book. Evanier is definitely a Kirby partisan, but really went out of the way to be fair to Stan Lee. We’ve seen what Kirby did by himself and we see what Lee/Kirby did. Lee is the first ambassador of comics.

Mark Engblom

"My older sister told me that the place where I went to kindergarten was an old SS headquarters."

Woah! Crazy!

"I love the old letter columns. Wendy and Richard Pini met through the Silver Surfer letter column. That’s just freakin’ cool."

That IS freakin' cool. I had never heard that story...and it's even cooler that they met writing letters to a groovy, New Age kinda title like the late 60's Silver Surfer (since they would both go on to create Elfquest, a groovy, New Agey kinda fantasy tale).

"On to the Man. I just read Mark Evanier’s Kirby King of Comics. Great book. Evanier is definitely a Kirby partisan, but really went out of the way to be fair to Stan Lee."

That actually surprises me, Joe. In just about every instance I've seen, Evanier almost seems to go out of his way to diminish Stan's contributions (while simultaneously exalting Kirby)....so it's kinda shocking that he'd say ANYTHING nice about Stan. Glad to hear he could muster up some charity for the guy.

"We’ve seen what Kirby did by himself and we see what Lee/Kirby did."

See, and that's just it: One of the greatest proofs of Stan's "cornerstone" status is Kirby's solo writing...which was just mindblowingly horrible, bordering on the comical.

Joe Lewallen

I've read the Pini/Silver Surfer story a number of times in the 80's in mags like Comics Journal and Comics Interview. Wendy also used to go to early '70's comic conventions dressed up like Red Sonja (yes, in the chainmail bikini) and do some kind of skit with Frank Thorne (Red Sonja artist) dressed up like a wizard. Oh those wacky 70's. I loved the original Elfquest. You could tell Wendy was pouring her heart and soul into it. Very important early creator owned/independent comic. I re-read it a few years ago, and still love it, but my older cynical self said, "Man, what a bunch of hippies."

Evanier's website has a Kirby FAQ http://www.povonline.com/jackfaq/JackFaq1.htm and I think it has a very fair run down on Stan and Jack. If you love comics history, and who doesn't, Kirby King of Comics is a great book.

And since this column was about military wifes, my Mom was a great one. Anyone who knew her was lucky. I'll never know a more kind nor caring person. I miss you Mom, look out for your latest grandchild in Sept!

ShadowWing Tronix

Cartoonist Guy Gilchrest (don't quote me on the spelling of the last name) has been collecting comics here in CT to send to troops overseas. However, considering certain POVs about the war presented in some of today's comics, that might not boost morale the same way the early Captain America comics did.

Evelyn Van Winkle

What a surprise to see a reference online in 2009 to something I wrote 40 years ago!
(In answer to one of the letters that followed: the doors in military quarters don't have doorknobs; they use a lever kind of handle. "Land of round doorknobs" was one of the many ways we thought of the USA while stationed away :)

Mark Engblom

Wow! How wonderful to hear from you, Evelyn! Thanks for stopping by!

Oh, by the way, please tell me you did get a Captain America gift subscription from Stan! It would break my heart if Smilin' Stan didn't follow through!

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