Saturday, January 24, 2015

Old Photos of the Week #3

  Most comics fans are familiar with the writers and artists who produce the books they enjoy. Those who are truly devoted can also rattle off the names of letterers, colorists and editors involved. But there are a lot more people who have worked behind the scenes over the years. From that DC retreat in 1985, here are some of those people...

  From the left: Helen Vesik was a longtime member of my Production Department, doing art and lettering corrections as well as other mechanical work on the pages of the books. Ruthie Thomas was DC's receptionist, greeting every visitor to our offices with her warm smile for a number of years, before she moved to Production and became my administrative assistant. Denise Vozzo-Conaty was a long-time member of the Accounting department, one of "the folks upstairs" at 666 Fifth Avenue. Jeanette Winley was in charge of the film library (which has now become Archiving Services or something like that) and is one of the very few folks who were at the retreat who still work at DC.

  Helen ("Helenita") Ramirez was my administrative assistant in the '80s, Bonnie Miller was a member of the growing Marketing department, and Julia (Schick) Sabbagh was an art director working on promotional items and our just-starting line of reprint editions.

  Kathy Petruccio was the art director for the Special Projects department. Terri Cunningham started in that same department, then moved into the editorial administration department and is still in charge of it. Linda Robak was another member of the Marketing department.

  Muffy Greenough was a member of the production department, doing paste-ups of the letter columns as well as on many of the covers. Shelley Eiber started at DC just a few weeks after I did and has remained with the company ever since; she is now the senior-most member on the staff. Another longtime member of the staff was Midge Bregman, who started in the Production department well before the rest of us arrived. Midge was Sol Harrison's administrative assistant for many years and then filled the same position for Paul Levitz until she retired.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Alex's Weekend Adventure

 While his parents spent a long weekend together in the Poconos, Alex came to visit Gamma and Poppa and special guest visitor Aunt Sammi. Yes, I know I've been "Gappa," but that has somehow morphed into Poppa and or occasionally Poppop.

  It was a very busy four days for the little man. He has been very musical since he started walking and talking, singing songs and dancing. After a recent visit to the Liberty Science Center with his parents, he became fascinated with guitars. Thanks to our friend Angela, who had a child-sized guitar on hand, we were able to give Alex the opportunity to put on a number of concerts. He started by having us sit on the couch in the family room while he stood on the "stage" in the kitchen and then treated us to a medley of his hits, including the ABC song, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," and "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." Later, he launched into a rendition of "Happy Birthday to Mommy," which Sammi recorded and uploaded for Rebecca to see. Alex so enjoyed watching his performance on the computer that he continued to sing throughout the weekend, telling his Aunt to get the camera and "Upload."

  The weekend also included a Saturday visit to the Long Island Children's Museum, where we spent two hours playing with various blocks and puzzles and musical instruments.

  There was plenty of fun at home as well, particularly on the very rainy Sunday. Building with Legos, making a picnic out of Play-Doh, drawing pictures, and reading filled the day.

 And there was plenty of time to cuddle with Poppa too.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Old Photo of the Week #2

  Another picture from the DC retreat thirty years ago.
  The powers-that-were decided that bringing in some new editorial staff who had experience in the "real" publishing world -- in other words, the book industry -- might instill a new level of professionalism in the department. Among those recruited were Tom Condon (seated, left), who came in as Managing Editor; Brenda Pope (seated, second from right), proofreader; and Janice Race (seated, right) as an editor. All three eventually returned to that "real" world. In Janice's case, she decided she'd had enough when she was told that an issue of J'emm, Son of Saturn that she'd edited had been the worst-selling comic book in DC's history. (That record has since been eclipsed a number of times.)
  Also in the photo are Andy Helfer (seated between Tom and Brenda), who came in as a member of Joe Orlando's Special Projects department; Arthur Gutowitz, the head of DC's accounting department; and Angelina Genduso, who was Joe Orlando's assistant. (That's a waiter growing out of Angelina's shoulder, not a DC staff member.)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Old Photo of the Week

[My cleaning frenzy of the past two weeks unearthed a cache of photos from events during my days at DC Comics. Above is the first of many I plan to share over the next few months.]

Thirty years ago, the entire staff of DC Comics traveled to a resort in Great Gorge, New Jersey, for the first "retreat" in the company's history. The three days and two nights included a number of meetings about the future plans for the company, but there were also a variety of social events, including the "DC Olympics," which I will discuss in more detail in a future post.

On the left above is Bob Greenberger, whose current exploits you can read about by clicking here; Bob was a relatively new member of the editorial staff at the time. Next to Bob is Super-editor Julie Schwartz, who was on the verge of celebrating his 41st anniversary with the company. Barbara Randall was another new addition to the editorial department; her penchant for playing practical jokes on me resulted in my referring to her as "the kid sister I never wanted." On the right is Robyn McBryde, a member of the marketing department; Robyn and I were the unofficial morale officers at DC and were responsible for a number of crazy events, including some of what went on at the retreat. 

Shatner's World

  Laurie and I went to see William Shatner's one-man show "Shatner's World, We Just Live in It..." this evening. Though there are some pictures and video clips on the projection screen behind him, the majority of the show is Shatner bouncing back and forth across the stage telling stories and anecdotes about his life and career.

  The stories ranged from his first acting role at age six through his days playing Denny Crane on Boston Legal. I particularly enjoyed his story about starring on Broadway in The World of Suzie Wong with actress France Nuyen. On the other hand, his story about a race horse he owned seemed to go on forever. And while he makes some comments about his years as Captain Kirk, Trekkies expecting most of the show to be about it will be disappointed.

  All in all, though, it was an entertaining two hours and it is always nice to see someone live who I've watched on TV for many years.