LONGBOX GRAVEYARD - A NOSTALGIC MARVEL BLOG

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I have noticed that at times I can get very nostalgic. Maybe this is something to do with growing older? Or maybe it's because I eat too much cheese before I go to bed? Still, whatever the case may be, I am sure that this is something everybody goes through come what may. Now a good example of this would be my good pal Paul, whom reflects this type of temperament in his spiffing Marvel related comic-books blog. 


Comic Book Longbox


1) In your own words Paul, how would you describe your own personal site, lonboxgraveyard?   Longbox Graveyard is dedicated to rediscovering and reviewing older comic books, mostly from Marvel's Silver and Bronze Age of comics. I was away from comics for over a decade until I began this blog, which gave me the platform to share my impressions of comics that I hadn't revisited since I was a kid.

I publish once a week -- on Wednesdays -- and alternate between a review of a run of books or some more general subject related to collecting or comics. I don't pretend that Longbox Graveyard has something for everyone, and my choice of subject is driven entirely by my own interests. But I have developed a small but dedicated (and growing) readership.

2) Referring to your title, obviously ‘Longbox’ relates to the cartons of ‘long boxes’ that a comic shop uses, to house their back issues in. But where does the ‘graveyard’ tag come into it? And why associate it with your site?   The Longbox Graveyard is my garage, basically -- that graveyard of old comic books that I've hauled around for decades, and am only just now coming to terms with. The blog is really about resurrecting select titles from that graveyard -- pulling out books, evaluating them, getting them indexed and stored in some more respectful and loving manner.

3) If you do not mind me for asking, who is the blond haired chap in your master-head?   That is me, larger than life and twice as ugly. My artist friend, Farzad Varahramyan, did that characterture of me several years ago as part of a non-comics business venture we shared -- and when he did the header for Longbox Graveyard he stuck it on there as the dominant element. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but when a talented artist is doing free work for you, you don't quibble over details. I've gotten used to it but it is kind of weird, I know.

4) If your site were a movie, a piece of music, or an object, what would it be and why?   If it were a movie it might be "Almost Famous" because there is a lot of nostalgia in the blog, looking back on my youth in the 1970s, and I sometimes touch on my own brief career as a comics writer in the early 1990s (not that I wrote anything that people remember). 




I'm not sure there's a single piece of music that would characterize Longbox Graveyard, but I do call out a "soundtrack" for every comic series that I review, like Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" for Jim Starlin's Warlock run, or the Doors 5-To-1 (No One Here Gets Out Alive) when I looked at Deathlok's run in Astonishing Tales.

5) Like me Paul, you appear to have a love for yesteryear. Now not to sound like an old sod or anything, but why do you think that this is so? And how come most of the new stuff looks like sh*t nowadays?    Ha! I do like some select newer books -- I wrote a rave review of Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America for an early Longbox Graveyard -- but you're right, I prefer older books. There are a couple reasons for this. 

The first is simple bias -- as I wrote in my very first Longbox Graveyard column, the Golden Age of comic books is "twelve." I think whatever you first imprint on as a youth is going to be what you like the best. I think the Silver and Bronze Age books were also superior because they were created by guys who came to comics from other fields -- they were advertising artists, novelists, journalists, teachers, all sorts of interesting people, but the one thing they DIDN'T do was grow up reading comics and wanting to make comics as their primary goal in life. So they brought a rich and kind of varied life experience to the field that isn't always shared by contemporary creators, who often can't help but seem to rechew and revisit the better stuff that has come before, because, really, that's all they know.

6) What was the first comic book you read? And how did your passion about comics develop over time?   My first comic was Captain America #177 -- not a very good book, but it must have been good enough, because I kept buying them and was intrigued by the Marvel Universe and how all the characters fit together. I read books off-and-on through my tweens but I really locked in on comics around 1977 and 1978, when as a teenager, I had some disposable income and starting tumbling to the (slightly) more sophisticated stories of the age.

I developed an affection for books like Master of Kung Fu and Tomb of Dracula at that time, as well as the usual superhero stuff, then dropped out of comics again for several years, coming back in the early 1980s just in time to experience the Direct Market boom and have my mind blown by guys like Alan Moore.

That's when I started taking comics "seriously" (whatever that means) and wound up on the path to writing books of my own in the 1990s, the experience of which soured me both on creating and reading comics for several decades (and I touch on all this stuff at Longbox Graveyard). Basically my love of comics was cauterized for twenty years and only started to bloom again this past summer, when I was watching movies like Thor and Captain America with my kids and they expressed interest in my old collection.

7) If you could get to change one thing about how the media is perceived by society, what would that be, and how would you go about changing it?   Relating this to comics ... I'm not sure I really care what society thinks about comics at this point. Some fans seem to get worked up that comics are perceived as immature tripe by the mainstream, but that doesn't really bother me -- many of the books I most enjoy ARE immature tripe, and I am well past the point of longing for any kind of outside validation for liking what I like.

It would be nice if the pioneering creators in the field enjoyed more widespread recognition, if the people enjoying Captain America or Spider-Man on the screen knew about Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko, but I don't see myself as a crusader in this regard. I love old comics, I don't need to defend or explain it, though if you hang around my blog long enough you might gain some insight on why that is so, and perhaps change your opinions a bit about the way you regard comics.

8) What is the genesis of your ‘Rune script’? And what do you hope to achieve by including it in your site?   Those two Rune scripts were written by me in the early 1990s, they were among the final things I did as a comic book creator. The scripts were published as fill-in issues of the Malibu Comics "Ultraverse" title "Rune," which I think was technically a Marvel book at the time because Marvel had just acquired Malibu. I put the scripts up because one of my early blogs at Longbox Graveyard was about the Rune series, and my experience in writing for it; I also thought people might be interested in what a comics script looks like, although I suppose there are plenty of examples out there now, by better qualified and more successful writers than me

In a couple weeks time I will be putting up one of my unpublished scripts -- it was for another Ultraverse inventory story, this time for "Sludge," written under the direction of the late Steve Gerber. It will be attached to a two-part blog about Gerber's work, first looking at his run on Defenders, then talking about my brief collaboration with Steve as that Sludge script came together.

Most of my comics scripts are lost -- there have been too many computers and file formats through the years -- but I had access to those Ultraverse scripts and they were relevant to the blog so up they went. I don't think I have any ambitions for them beyond putting them up on the blog, they've gotten very few hits but every writer likes to think his work is still alive out there someplace, however obscure it may be.

If you want to know more about my stuff on Rune (click here), plus this other article covers my time in Malibu Comics (click here).

So there you have it folks, my pal Paul and his spiffing website longboxgraveyard. When you have the time, please give it a click or three - because it is a great site. Moreover, why don't you follow him on his mobile RSS feed. You won't be sorry that you did!