Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stanley and His Monster #111

Stanley and His Monster #111 (On Sale: June 25, 1968) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

This issue begins with "Film Flam Man" drawn by Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell, which is followed by "Badtime Story" drawn by Henry Scarpelli. We end with "Superhulk" drawn by Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell. I have no writing credits for these stories, but would be surprised if they were not written by Arnold Drake, though they may not be. In Comic Book Artist #1, Joe Orlando talked extensively about getting the Stanley book...

One of the first books I got to edit was Stanley and His Monster and in the beginning, I decided to change it into three short stories instead of one issue-length story, after I read a few issues. I realized that it took 24 pages to get one joke. So I made up my mind that it was going to be three eight-pagers with good premises ending up with a good payoff to a good joke. I wanted to use Arnold Drake because I understood that Arnold made considerable contributions to the development of that book and I felt I owed him-but I was told that he was in Europe.

I waited as my deadline got closer and closer and it led to my famous fight up there with Arnold that kind of made my reputation as a character. Arnold returned to the States-I had never met him-but when I did, he came across as a pushy guy who acted like he owned the place. He was friends with all the staff, and on a first name basis with the publisher. I was really pissed by this time as I had only three weeks to the deadline and I didn't have a script which I had to get to an artist. I kept sending telegrams to Arnold, but I never got answers.

When I complained, I was told, "No, no. You have to wait for Arnold." So when he walked into my office, I tried not to insult him, but I did premise the idea of doing three short stories that would speed up the creative process and give me the opportunity to divide the scripts among three artists, so I would have my chance to make my deadline. We argued and he pointed his finger at me and said, "I say that it's going to be one 24-page story!"

I looked at him and said, "You're really saying that?" And he said, "Absolutely!" I said, "You know that I am the editor." And he said, "And I don't care who you are- you don't know who I am." I said, "Okay. Arnold Drake, go fuck yourself because you're off the book." Arnold was taken aback. "You're telling me I'm fired? You know, I'm going to the Publisher! I've been here for twenty years!" So Arnold stormed into the Publisher's office...

So, Arnold storms down to the Publisher's office and I was called in. The Publisher is sitting there with his advisers who were the print buyers, distribution reps, and the V.P. was there. All eyes were upon me and I was on the spot. I knew that if I did not impress (Irwin) Donenfeld this time, I was through. Arnold was sitting there with his arms crossed and a smug smile across his face with his hat on. He always wore his hat in the office (I think it was because he had a bald spot). Donenfeld looked at me and said, "Joe, did you tell Arnold to go fuck himself?"

I said that I did and he said, "Well, I don't think that kind of language should be used in an office. It's terrible, deplorable and you should apologize to Arnold." I said, "Well, did Arnold tell you the reasons why I got so angry?" I told them and when my explanation didn't go over too well, he said, "You work that out with Arnold." And that told me right away that I couldn't fire the guy.

I said, "With all due respect, I will apologize to Arnold if he takes his hat off." I went on to say that because in a million years I would never walk into your office with a hat on my head. I would have it in my hand. Some giggling started and Arnold made a lame joke that he had the hat on because he was Jewish, but then came the silence. Arnold looked at the Publisher and said, "Irwin, do you want me to take my hat off?" Irwin said, "Take your hat off." And I said, "I apologize for telling you to go fuck yourself, Arnold."

I knew that I had made a hit with Irwin because that night I had a date with a really gorgeous lady. I was trying to impress her, and we were sitting in this restaurant and the waiter comes over with a bottle of champagne and says, "Mr. Orlando, we are honored to have a famous cartoonist like yourself eat here. The champagne is compliments of the house." Even I was impressed, then I looked across the way from where we were sitting and there was Irwin in a booth. He winked and gave me the high sign. The lady did not see this-she was very impressed.

My guess is that if Arnold wrote the stories int e first Orlando issue, he might have also wrote these, but you never know. By the way, you gotta love the kind of interviews the guys at Twomorrows do on a regular basis.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

1 comment:

rob! said...

that's cute! i love it when the DC humor books would work in the supeheroes in some way.