the Big Flight

the Big Flight

or: From Animation to Comics


What turned out to be the first issue of the Falcon mini-series was my 3rd job at Marvel and marked my official transition from animation to comics. 


I’d just spent 4 months back-packing through Europe and stopped off in NY on my way back to LA. I’m sitting in Al Milgrom’s office. He’s got nothing for me to do. Literally, phone in hand, he’s in the process of dialing DC to see if he can get me an interview over there when Jim Shooter, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, walks in. Jim asks Al a couple pertinent editorial questions and then points to the scruffy stranger in the room. “Who’s this?” Al introduces me as the kid who did the DD/Santa story. Jim lights up, “We’re putting him to work, right?” Al says he’s got nothing for me and was just calling DC to… Jim says, “To hell with that, this is Marvel Comics, the House of Ideas, there’s gotta be a story around here somewhere. Follow me, kid.” Jim walks out, I look at Al as he gives me the shooing motion, “Go.”


Shooter leads me to his office and starts rummaging through his file cabinet. He pulls out a story and asks how I feel about the Falcon. Like any aspiring, would be, comics freelancer, I lie through my teeth. “I love the Falcon, he’s great!” Not that I disliked the Falcon, he just wasn’t Spider-Man but, I’m not going to say that out loud at this point of my comics “career.” I’d have sworn my undying love of Irving Forbush or Willie Lumpkin at that point. Anything to get through the door.


Next day, I fly back to LA and ponder my situation. The unwritten rule of comics was “Don’t come to NY without a job but forget about getting a job if you’re not in NY.” Well, I have a job… sort of. The animation season is winding down. Other than my back pack with a sleeping bag and change of clothes, the clothes on my back and Daisy Mae, my trusty old Volvo, stashed at Dad’s place, everything I own is already boxed up in storage… Time to hit the road. I gave Daisy a tune-up and off to NY I went where, spoiler alert, it all worked out.


Happy Trails



4 Comments so far

Jeff Bell's picture

I bought those issues of the Falcon mini-series just for your artwork--and that cover to issue #2 is one of my all-time favorites of the early/mid-Eighties!! (One more thing to thank Shooter for if I see him again at a con!)
David's picture

I was blown away reading that Falcon number #1 - the cover totally grabbed me. I always thought Falcon was "okay" but by the end of the issue, he was the coolest, and I had never seen him look better. For an issue that was so special for me as a young comic reader, hearing this back story really brings it all home for me. Thanks for posting this!
Smitty's picture

I show up 5 minutes earlier or later, Al makes that call and ...?
JRN's picture

Jim and Al were the best. They found talent and put them to work. For every flame out there was a genius. You, Nowlan, Mignola, Sienkiewicz, Salmons, Miller, etc. "This is Marvel Comics, the House of Ideas." Amen, Jim Shooter. Amen.


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