Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Reggie's Comics Stories ep. 11 - Arnold Drake's Memo

Hello, fans of the weird! In this episode, Reggie talks about one of his favorite creators, Arnold Drake, and concentrates on a memo he wrote in 1966 to DC Comics' executives about changing their content to be more like Marvel. It's very strangely worded, so it requires a little deconstruction! Enjoy this look at a lesser-known piece of comics history, and let us know what you think!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Reggie, I enjoyed listening to this podcast today, and I'd like to make some comments. Drake's memo was right on target. He was recognizing the changes in society as well as in the comics industry. That was a time of rapid social change, even if we just keep the focus on pop culture. London, in the wake of the phenomenon of The Beatles, was known as "Swinging London." With the music, fashion, and films emanating form there, London was the hippest place on Earth in 1966. Consequently, anyone trying to sell stuff, like comics, wanted to associate themselves with "Swinging London," or anything that was "swinging."
    It is hard to discuss DC Comics in the 1960s without acknowledging the separate editorial fiefdoms that produced the comics. Also, it's pointless to ignore the inter-office corporate politics going on at National Periodical Publications. However, this is just a note to a podcast, not an in-depth essay. So, taking a look at Mike's Amazing World website, I concur with Arnold Drake. Mort Weisinger's Superman books look like they could have been published 10 years earlier. By 1967, styles in fashion and typography had changed drastically. DC seemed to recognize this, as evidenced by the increase in the number of covers designed by Carmine Infantino, and drawn by Neal Adams. By the time Drake's last issue of Doom Patrol is on the stands, DC had already hired Dick Giordano as editor, and his books definitely sport "swinging" covers. It is too bad that Drake's suggestion of focusing books on different age groups wasn't followed, as the number of books deliberately aimed at younger readers diminished considerably. Archie and Harvey were still finding lots of young readers then.
    Arnold Drake was the prophet, but Murray Boltinoff and Mort Weisinger didn't listen.


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