Mr. Bissette Remembers

Battle-scarred freelance veteran and CCS teacher Steve Bissette has been posting his remembrances of some “Forgotten Comics Wars” over at his blog. It’s a fascinating series covering debates that were raging during the years I was just entering the business.

Since the series took the form of scattered blog posts, Mark Evanier has done us all the favor of collecting the links for all 12 parts and offers his own commentary here.

Get ready to start a few tabs:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

…and enjoy a blast from the past.

A lot has changed at “The Big Two” over the years and a lot remains the same, but with recent developments like Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Discussion (6)¬

  1. […] and DC, complete with all sorts of interesting ephemera. He seems to have wound up the series, so Scott McCloud provides a handy index, and Mark Evanier provides a summary and some […]

  2. Sandra says:

    New editor-in-chief? What happened to Joe Q?

  3. Sandra says:

    I was fooled!

  4. Sandra says:

    When I was in my very early twenties and just discovering anarchism, I worked for a short while at a local magazine. Once, there was something we wanted to do, I don’t even remember what it was, but that our editor protested against for one reason or other. When I protested her protest, she said: “Tell you what. It’s my neck on the line. So let’s make a deal. You put your name as publisher for that one issue, so you’ll take the legal responsibility, and we’ll go ahead with it.”
    I backed down but I’ve always thought very highly of her since. (I figured I would’ve gone through with it if it was about something really important to me, rather than whatever childish prank it happened to be about that particular time.)

    So, three things:
    1. Based on the above story, I’ve kinda leaned towards the “the publisher’s can decide” kinda thing. (Unfortunately, the current monopoly situation on distributors is another, more awful, thing entirely. We spent plenty of time driving around personally from store to store distributing that magazine back in those days, so we were freer to do what we wanted.)
    2. I do think that it’s good that we can read things like Love & Rockets and Elektra Assassin. I’m a big fan of plenty of writers and artists on the anti-censorship side of things. Labeling seems like a good idea but hasn’t worked in practice; so it’s best that people give these books a quick read themselves if they’re selling them in a very traditional-minded region.
    3. I really miss comics written with kids in mind. I wouldn’t hesitate in handing kids Zot! (especially the dealing-with-homophobia issue which I love to bits) but I’ve been reading Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, which is really good but also kind of violent. (Not gory—as the amazing Invincible Iron Man #1 which was rated A but which depicted arms dismembered and flying across the room—but the hero is beating people up.)

  5. Joe H says:

    Wow, what an amazing bit of history. I had always heard that Alan Moore had a falling out with DC, but I always thought it was over the rights of Watchmen and not about censorship. Also, DJ Lance is a great choice for Editor-in-Chief. I wonder if he’ll get Of Montreal to write Spider-Man. 😀
    And, I want to thank you for writing both Understanding Comics and Writing Comics. Both brought things to mind that I had always sort of known but never really thought about. Also, it helped me write a bit of my preface for my Creative Writing senior project preface.