february ninth Two Thousand and Four jerusalem


dave cockrum?

when the news hit a few weeks ago, we were busy launching The New Comic Book of Life website. Dave Cockrum's illness is apparently not a very simple situation at all and the comics community is beginning to turn an ear to Dave's plight.

Neal Adams and Clifford Meth are spearheading a campaign to help get rightfully owed monies for Dave from Marvel Comics. Dave created the X-Men's Nightcrawler, among other X-Men characters and was a key creator in the revival of the Marvel comic book in the mid-seventies. Anyone who remembers the plight of Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, Superman creators, and Neal's public relations campaign to persuade Warner Bros. to partly reimburse them for their creation, will know what Marvel's up against. Harlan Ellison and Frank Miller have joined the campaign.

Clifford Meth, author of Aardwolf Publishing's god's 15 minutes, recently joined Silver Bullet Comic Books for a weekly column on the heels of the news and had this to say on Dave's situation on an SBC message board:

"If anyone could see Dave Cockrum at the VA Hospital where he's been for nearly five weeks now, they'd understand my devotion to this cause. He can't go home. He's too sick. And, at the moment, he doesn't have a dime coming in, other than the Tribute book and Benefit Auction we're holding. This is the sad reality."

Clifford Meth has put together an eloquent profile of Dave in his first column at SBC, click here to see it. Clifford's spearheading the publishing of a tribute for Dave in order to help out with the enormous expenses his treatment needs. Aardwolf Publishing is accepting pre-orders of the book and every sale will help Dave out immensely. Click here to read about the project - and be sure to order a copy.

I have very warm memories of Dave during my first few years of drawing comics. The goodness that exuded from him was always a source of wonder to me. Dave just gave people a good feeling. You could feel this man's love all the way from the other side of a convention floor and he usually left those around him feeling a little better that they did before they ran into his bright eyes and big smile. Even before we came to know each other, his warmth to me knew no limits. Dave Cockrum is one of the gentlest and nicest men comics have known. A big happy guy with not a spec of any bad feelings for anyone.

Years after we met, I chanced to draw a Spiderman/Nightcrawler team-up for Marvel and was delightfully swept into the wonderful world Dave gave us with one of the X-Men's more memorable characters. It was one of the very few comic books I drew for Marvel and the uplifting spirit of the character made the work all the more invigorating.

Now as the memories are jogged, the reason for Dave's plight becomes all the more too painfully obvious. Dave loved the comics and loved everybody in them and lived his life believing in the establishment he gave so many years of his life to. Like so many creative folk, it's Dave's pure-hearted nature which brought on this situation wherein he receives no royalties for his creations. He never raised his voice or pounded on anyone's table as others did, in order to secure what he has coming to him rightfully from Marvel Comics. Now, the X-Men are profiting beyond all expected measure, at least anything expected back when Dave helped put them into the Marvel limelight - and Dave Cockrum is in the hospital, fiscally busted as he fights for his life with every breath he takes.

Neal Adams, the man who taught us all about the good fights, has his hands full these days. We can all pitch in and help him help Dave a little. Here are some email addresses and contact info at Marvel which should be flooded with letters of discontent over Dave Cockrum's situation:

Paul Gitter / Phone: 212-576-4026 /

Media Relations:
Bender/Helper Impact / Jeffrey Klein, Adam Fenton / 212-689-6360 /

More contact info at:

Professional comic book writers and artists could also help greatly by contacting Clifford Meth and allowing him to add their names to the letters he's writing to Marvel and preparing for a wide-spread media PR campaign. Click Here to send an Email to Clifford Meth.

julius schwartz,


Courtesy of Mark Evanier's news from me

This was posted early Sunday morning at Mark Evanier's news from me.

Marv Wolfman has also posted a moving and informative tribute to Julie on his website.

Julie was perhaps the most influential man in defining the revival of comic books following the cultural witch hunts in the early 1950'S.

I worked closely with Julie on a few of the books at DC in the late 1970's. He ran a very tight ship as editorial policy. He re-wrote scripts and re-drew covers and pages and guided even the greatest creators of his era into putting forth his vision of the shape that Superhero comic books would take - and which continues to define them today - ever since way back in the 1960's. One fact is agreed upon by most who know of his influence on comics: Julie Schwartz was one of the very few of whom it could be said that he defined the face of the comic book industry and the essence of the DC Comics universe as we know it today.

I have only pleasant memories of every encounter I've had with Julie and was always moved by his bottom line of what makes comic books fun and marketable. He did, after all, define this quality to a generation of kids who grew up on the 1960's line of DC Superheroes ...I've always felt kind of lucky to have been one of them. I was even luckier to have had a chance to know and work with him.

Here's to you Julius Schwartz, and to every wonderful memory you leave a generation in awe of the fabulous world you've given us.

Have peace, our friend.

clifford meth

silver bullet
comic books

A nice surprise came into my Super Hero News mail folder last week. Jason Brice, commander in chief of Silver Bullet Comic Books distributed a press release announcing Clifford Meth's new Past Masters column at SBC.

A true and pure fighting spirit burst out of opening statement:

"His new book "god's fifteen minutes" may be Clifford Meth on amphetamines, but "Past Masters" - exclusive to SBC - is Clifford Meth on
crack. Double-cut. With added LSD."

Lots of guts. Still, it could be a marketing/controversy-raising gimmick. But then:

"Meth cares. He shows you why YOU should care too. And this is why."

It's beginning to sound like the Why We Care page of The New Comic Book of Life website. Even still, could be just a coincidence. So, I read on:

"Neal Adams cared about the injustice done to Siegel and Schuster by DC over Superman royalties. No one else cared. But Adams fought the corporate monster and won.

Harlan Ellison continually bucks the trend by caring about matters no one
else does - his current copyright fights with AOL are a case in point. He is one of the most tenacious, respected, and feared guys in multiple
entertainment industries.

Adams and Ellison have now teamed up for another cause no-one else seems to care about - but not only are they doing the right thing, it's comics history in the making."

Comics creators who care? It's comics history in the making? It's beginning to sound like too much of a coincidence. Then comes the punch line:

"Who? Why? How? Where? When? Clifford Meth...and only Clifford Meth...has the details."

It's not in the exact same order as in our main navigation menu, but it echoes it very very strongly, especially at a time when our site is being viewed by many people, creators and institutes in comics. one more:

"It's always heartening to see comic fans and creators living up to the ideals of justice as expressed by their four-color heroes," said Silver Bullet Comics' editor-in-chief Jason Brice.

That's exactly what we said with a loud shout more than 3 weeks ago, across the cyber waves of the comics community.

So, I went over to the SBC message boards and found a thread welcoming Clifford aboard. I posted a warm welcome and Clifford responded:

I’ve got a gorgeous Batman you drew for me years ago, Michael. I'm proud to be in your collective company.

Thank you, Jason Brice, Clifford Meth and the SBC staff for the solidarity. It's we who are moved and proud to have become part of a growing collective company fighting the good fights and witnessing the spread of the spirit which is about to change the face of comics - and then the world at large.


siegel, schuster
or cockrum?

The question isn't why Dave Cockrum needs the help of good people in the industry right now. The question is why must we wait until a tragedy befalls one of our own before we rise to action? Why must we wait for all the suffering that we know will surely come?

Neal Adams, having led the way once again and forged a path for all conscience driven comic book creators, is the most fitting leader our industry has in stepping out into the wider media entertainment and communications arena available to us in the struggle to put our messages forth to the citizens of America and the world. Whether the struggle for Dave Cockrum's rights is resolved swiftly without a massive PR campaign - or whether not - is relatively inconsequential to the truer need for comic book creators to burst onto the sociopolitical stage of world events in order to effect the changes needed about us, not just for Dave Cockrum alone but for all the future Siegels, Schusters and Cockrums which will undoubtedly follow - and for all of the injustices suffered all about us.

The time has come to sound the call to organize an entity of comic book creators who choose to take a stand for what's right for the comics industry - and for all mankind. Not just a guild which only takes care of the fortunate who join it. Rather A Comic Book Creator's Party, a socio-political brotherhood bringing creative solutions for comics and for all of humanity.

With the tools available to us now, comic book creators should begin exploring how to put forth a platform on a wide range of issues, relevant to the comic book industry and the world community it seeks to thrive in - and then forge forward by putting this platform forth to the American people and the world community at large.

The American comic book industry is the most powerful microphone able to carry such a revolution within the industries of the world today. When we do this, we'll no longer need to wait for the crumbs of wide-media coverage we hunt for during campaigns such as the plight of Dave Cockrum, which the entertainment and news medias have become used to throw to the comic book industry. When we do this, CNN, BBC and all their like, will come knocking on the doors of the fighters of this just war and the walls which have prevented long needed changes within the consciousness of humanity will begin to come tumbling down.

comics fandom

I recently popped into TwoMorrows Publishing's website and found they've adopted a new slogan: TwoMorrows: Bringing New Life to Comics Fandom.

Looking good and thank you for the solidarity. The right spirit of new life in the right body aspiring and inspiring to bring the dawn of a new day to comics.


THE NEW comic book OF LIFE

More than 50 pages of previously unpublished story and art by Michael Netzer, spanning more that a quarter of century of a life's work .

The New Comic Book of Life is one of the most controversial publications ever to be spawned by the comic book industry!

The announcement came over The New Comic Book of Life forum last week. These are some highlights of the discussion where it was announced:

Tue Sorensen:
"We've got a world to change, and people like you and me have the resolve and the vision to start that process and get it strong and healthy into the world. We're looking to do nothing less than entirely vanquish evil, and create an earthly realm of brotherly and sisterly love. You may call it a realm of God, I'll just call it a classless, moneyless society. I'm pretty sure we agree on the basics of what needs to be changed, but we'll discuss it in detail along the way."

Michael Netzer:
"We do agree on the basics and also on the details of how to get there. The
evil spirit which the society of man has succumbed to has captured mankind's desires with nothing less than the desire for money. In order to cleanse this evil, we first have to take away all of the money of the world. We have to create a center which will make people spend their money on
something that everyone will want a part of. In the beginning, this money
will be re-channeled to the lowest and most needy places in the world. Once we begin to see the fall of capitalist aspirations, everyone will realize that we don't need money at all in the world. We only need a united and harmonious humanity which shares all of its resources with all. This is at
the root of the next stage in the rise of our movement."

Tue Sorensen:
"As for publishing comics that communicate our ideas; I'm all set.
I've got just what you ordered: an almost finished complete "next
generation" superhero universe on file, containing visions of a far
better world, and stories that will bring forth these messages. Make
cleaner and safer technology. Help the Third World. Fight political
and other forms of institutional corruption. Work for humanitarian
causes. Fight the good fight. Spread the love. Get humanity into
space. ORGANIZE to effect change! Progressive messages being shouted
out to a mass audience in the last uncorrupted popular mass medium
left to us: comics. We can actually make it happen.

All we need is resources to get started..."

Michael Netzer:
"One of our members is already working on garnering the resources needed to widen our base of activity. Without going into too much detail yet, I'll say it begins with one small publishing venture of a 64 color standard or magazine size TPB. This book will bring in several tens of millions Dollars to our till. Much needed to begin the work you speak of. The book I'm speaking of is The New Comic Book of Life website.

Our site statistics show that the widespread support we're getting in the
industry today (more on this in an upcoming post) has come mainly from the seven pages of text on our website. Less than 10% of the viewers are
looking at or even aware of the 53 pages of art there. This mostly has to do with the nature of the internet and the time people have to download artwork for viewing. The website, when published as a comic book, will
become a far more potent work and one whose popularity will spread like
wildfire, not only within the comic book industry, bur throughout all other
cultural avenues available. The converging of the most humanitarian
aspirations of secular society with the faithful ideals at the root of truly
religious aspirations is the most commercially potent vehicle today for
quenching the thirsts of widespread capitalistic aspirations our society

Tue Sorensen:
" Perhaps, but I'm not sure a single comic book will open a million people's
eyes. And even if it sells that much, not all who read it will react like we
would like."

Michael Netzer:
Who said that it'll open a million people's eye? I just said that millions will buy it, that's something else. I know how people will react and I know that there'll be public burnings of the book. That's alright. It's part of how we grow."

Bradly E. Peterson:
And how DOES it grow? Well, here are a few possibilities..

If there are public burnings of the book, not only will it mean that the
first printings sold already will increase in value (for those who pay attention to such things), but will mean that more will need to be printed to sell to those who want to buy it for the sheer novelty of owning a book someone thought needed burning. Many opposed to book burning would likely speak publicly against it, and more sales could result from that as well. The Beatles and Elvis (along with other Rock & Roll artists) record burnings got major media coverage, which of course, ended up boosting the sales for the artists.

Inshort? Controversy sells.

coming...THIS SUMMER!


The exchange above is one good reason you don't want to miss the creative discussions taking place on The New Comic Book of Life forum. And that's only a small taste of the delicious ideas being served. Click here to visit the forum homepage, look around, join the group and take part in the bringing in of a new world.

Comments, rants, ideas and news you want us to pursue can be emailed to:

Read our past archived city square updates!


THE NEW comic book OF LIFE
Heralding a New Day for Comic Books


Until next time,
See you in the comics, our friends



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Entire contents © Michael Netzer 2004. All rights reserved.