I’ve worked in the comics industry for more than forty-five years, starting at Charlton Comics in 1974, illustrating horror stories and drawing covers. That same year I took a course in creating comics taught by the legendary John Buscema and at the end of the class, Buscema recommended me to Archie Goodwin, Editor-In-Chief at Marvel, as a penciler.
I was immediately thrown into drawing a group book, The Champions, written by Bill Mantlo, who graciously mentored me through my first jobs.
Over the next fifteen years, I drew most of Marvel’s Major books and characters, The Champions, Doctor Doom, the Red Skull, The Avengers, The West Coast Avengers, The Squadron Supreme, Spider-man, including Spider-Man meeting the original Saturday Night Live cast, Thor, Nick Fury, Moon Knight, one issue of The New Mutants, and What If Conan Were Trapped In the Twentieth Century, Part 2. I also did a slew of Movie adaptations including Willow, Dark Man, and arguably the worst superhero movie ever, the 1980s Captain America. On the other hand, check out the graphic novel, Emperor Doom, probably my best work for Marvel.
In 1977, Jim Shooter, the new Editor-In Chief, offered me a job as one of a new group of sub-editors. I signed on for a six-month tenure since a stage adaptation I had co-authored, The Passion of Dracula, then running Off Broadway, was due to receive a West End production in London.
There was no question that I was going to be there for that.
Those six months in the bullpen gave me opportunity of working with some of the most talented people in the comics field, Shooter, Stern, Salicrup, Giacoia, both Buscema’s, Colan, Janson, Rubenstein, Layton, Marie Severin, Byrne, Jo Duffy, Claremont, others too many to list. I learned more about making comics than any time before or since.
Then in the 1990s, Jim Shooter started a new company, Valiant. Having seen plays I had authored, he invited me to write and asked me to choose one of four different titles. For me, Shadowman had the most potential, set in New Orleans, featuring a musician and involving voodoo, all stuff I could dig into. I wrote and eventually drew the book for thirty-five issues. It was very successful but was eventually rebooted to support a video game while moved on to I create Armed and Dangerous, a crime series and probably my finest work in comics. It’s hard to find copies but well worth the effort.
Then, in the late 1990s, the comics industry went to hell.
For a decade, comics companies had retooled to support a collector’s market and when that market collapsed so did the industry. Valiant went under and Marvel went bankrupt. The late Dennis O’Neill gave me work at DC doing special project Batman stories: I, Joker; It’s Jokertime and Batman D.O.A.- but then, Denny retired, and I became one of many unemployed comics creators.
Fortunately, I have also had something of a career as a theater director.
You can find at his website at www.bobhall.com.