Update #1: December 1, 2014
Posted by Bill Schelly on November 23, 2014
Bill Schelly, here, with the first “news” entry for www.billschelly.net. I’m excited about having a website again, after a hiatus of a few years. I missed having a place where new readers can get a bit of info about who I am, what drives me, and what my books and articles are all about. I also missed a way to keep readers new and old aware of my various projects. While I don’t have time to do a full-blown blog, I’ll post updates as often as possible.
I have two books in the immediate offing, both which began in the early months of 2011. The first is Black Light: The World of L. B. Cole. For those who don’t know his work, Leonard Cole was an extraordinary comic book artist who produced about 350 of the greatest covers of all time. Check out some of the examples at www.amazon.com. It’s a lavish, over-sized, full color, 272-page book printed on heavy, virtually poster-quality paper. The book was put together by designer Jacob Covey, and he did an amazing job. My part in the project was writing an extended biographical essay on L. B. Cole’s life, which runs about 15,000 words. The good people at Fantagraphics tell me this book should hit bookstores in January 2015. This one will truly blow your mind!
Also in early 2011, I began work on the first complete, full-length biography of comic book genius Harvey Kurtzman. With the help of editor Gary Groth, and Kurtzman expert John Benson, I worked my heart out over the ensuing years to write a book that did justice to the brilliant (and in some ways, tragic) creator of Mad, Two-Fisted Tales, Little Annie Fanny in Playboy, and many other magazines and features. Harvey Kurtzman, The Man Who Created MAD is just about to go to the printer, and is slated for publication in March 2015. For those who enjoyed my biographies of Harry Langdon, Otto Binder and Joe Kubert, you won’t want to miss this one. It has twice as many words as Man of Rock (the Kubert book), and is chocked full of never-before-known anecdotes and information. A full five chapters are devoted to MAD, with special emphasis on its creation and on Kurtzman’s departure from EC, shortly after converting MAD from a comic book to a magazine. But that’s just part of the story of Kurtzman’s multi-faceted creative life. I found out all kinds of things I didn’t know before in the course of interviewing Hugh Hefner, James Warren, Al Jaffee, Jack Davis, R. Crumb and many others, including the Kurtzman family members. It’s a hard-cover book (with dust jacket) that will run well over 500 pages, with lots of photographs and artwork to complement the text. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, but what do I know? You guys will be the ones who decide that! I’m just happy that Harvey Kurtzman’s complete story will finally be told. It’s available for pre-order at www.amazon.com.
Finally, for now, I should mention that I’ve been putting together a multi-part tribute to G. B. Love, the editor and publisher of the fanzine juggernaut The Rocket’s Blast-Comicollector (RBCC) for Alter Ego magazine. I believe it will begin with A/E #133, and it will run at least six issues. I interviewed his best friend (Earl Blair, Jr.) and his assistant who took over RBCC when Love left (James Van Hise), and it also includes tributes from Robert Kline, Bernie Bubnis, Gary Brown, Larry Bigman and John Ellis (who knew G. B. from the early days of Florida comics fandom). It’s about time we got around to giving Gordon Belljohn Love his due.
All for now!
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