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Biographies of the Stars

Interview with Steve Englehart

COMIC-ART.COM: It's March 2nd, 1995. I'm speaking to Steve Englehart, long-time writer of Captain America. Steve, for my first question, let me ask you: why do you think Captain America has lasted so long?

ENGLEHART: Well, I think he is, a symbol of America, and America is interesting to a lot of people. You know, I mean America has changed a lot over the years. I mean, clearly the forties Captain America, the sixties, mine in the seventies, Captain America in the nineties, are all going to be, or should be somewhat different, because America is somewhat different. I mean personally, I always thought of Captain America as being related to what was going on in the country. I don't know if that's always been the case. I'm just, I'm reminded, you threw me a tough one to start with here. You're going to have to edit this down, obviously.

COMIC-ART.COM: I'm just going to pull quotes.

ENGLEHART: Yeah. When I took it over, let me just go back to when I started on it, which may be question number three, the book was in danger of cancellation.

COMIC-ART.COM: What year was this, Steve?

ENGLEHART: It was 1972.

COMIC-ART.COM: Okay, so you took over right after Stan, right?

ENGLEHART: No, there was a little break. Stan had it most of the time, and then Gary Friedrich, I think Gary Friedrich did it for like, this is, I don't totally remember. I think it seems to me like, six months or maybe even a little longer, and Gerry Conway did it for four issues right before me. But the thing that I saw, and I don't mean to cast aspersions on anybody, but people were sort of embarassed to be doing Captain America. I mean, here was a guy who was supposed to represent America, and at that time, obviously with Watergate about to break, I mean it hadn't broken, but America had just, the Vietnam War was still winding down. There were a lot of people against it, etcetera, etcetera. America was kind of a touchy subject for a lot of people in and of itself and people just, you know, they, in one sense or another, I think most of the people who came before, even Stan, you know, kind of said, `Well, this guy's got stars and stripes on him. He must mean something, but I can't really get into what it is that he means.' And when I took it over I just said, `Well, you know, if he did exist, what would he mean?' You know? I mean, that was the basic thing. But the book went from facing cancellation to the top book in the line in six months, just because I put, you know, some belief into it, I guess. And, the, they sort of worked together, because I, you know, personally I think if you're going to write a character, you've got to believe in him, but Captain America is somebody, who if you believe in him, you're sort of believing in something much larger than him. I mean if you believe in Batman or if you believe in Green Lantern or the Night Man or any of these guys, there they are, but with Captain America, he carries something larger than himself, and to do him right, you've got to kind of encompass that largeness as well as, this is a guy who jumps around and fights super-villains, you know? And so when's been, you know, when he was created in the forties, that was obviously a very patriotic time, and you know, you take a good concept like that and put Jack Kirby and Joe Simon behind it and you're going to get a big hit, but, well, if you can pull anything out of that, you'll earn your money because I'm all over the map trying to answer that question.

COMIC-ART.COM: That's okay. Steve, during your tenure on the book, what do you think were your most significant changes you made in Cap?

ENGLEHART: I had him come face to face with America as it was at the time. That was, again, the entire thing behind him. I went through two different phases actually with him. I had no trouble believing in him as Captain America, which I think, right off the bat, made him popular. I mean, the first stuff I did was with the fifties Captain America coming back and that guy was a right-wing facist, and people still tell me that they like that story a lot, that that really caught their attention and so on and so forth, but I would say, for the first, oh year or so I did him as a guy who represented America but he was basically fighting Batroc and Dr. Faustus, and the Serpent Squad, well the Serpent Squad was later, but I don't know. He was basically fighting villains, but then, when Watergate came, basically when Nixon started to do himself in, and that whole thing played out, it was, for people who weren't around back then, it was kind of the O.J. Simpson trial of the time, except obviously for much bigger issues, and it went on, with the majesty of government, you know? I mean it just sort of rolled along day by day with the entire government sort of at stake. And I just, at that point, I said, `Well, I believe in Captain America and I believe that he believes in America, but how could he do that under the circumstances that America now finds itself in?' And so, when I really took him off in a political direction and had him, but comic book politics for the seventies, you know? I mean, we did a takeoff, an analogy to Nixon, with the suicide in the White House and so forth, and then he goes off and becomes the Nomad, and that obviously was the biggest change that had ever happened to him, because he had been Captain America since 1941 or whatever, and for him to renounce Captain America-ness and to become somebody else, I think that's probably still the biggest thing that ever happened to him. And then, you know, we did eight months of Captain America with no Captain America in it, which was unique at the time, and then when he finally did come back to be Captain America, it was with a renewed resolve to you know, in terms of America, it just was resonating on all sorts of levels, and, then frankly after that happened, I put in about another six months of him doing political stuff. I mean he did fight the Serpent Squad, which was the equivalent of the SLA, which was the group that kidnapped Patty Hearst. I was trying to do, sort of contemporary American stories with him and I quickly discovered that when you're working on a three-month or longer deadline, it's hard to stay contemporary and so forth. So, I found myself sort of back where I started after four years, where he was fighting the Red Skull and stuff and it didn't have anything to do particularly with America, and at that point I said, `Okay, then I'm done.' You know? I've done what I needed to do with this guy and I'll go do somebody else. So, I think the coming face-to-face with America, to really accept that he was Captain America, and he wasn't Daredevil, and that America was something, and it wasn't just an abstraction. Those were the things that I think, I'd say marked my tenure.

COMIC-ART.COM: Tell me, was Easy Rider and influence on your Nomad storyline?

ENGLEHART: No, not really. I saw Easy Rider and liked it at the time, etcetera, etcetera, but I don't recall, oh, because the character was called Captain America? No, you know, I mean that was just, that was Peter Fonda's trip. It had no, I can't say that it had anything to do with what I was doing.

COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah, well I guess I was just thinking of that sixties idea of dropping out and hitting the road.

ENGLEHART: Well, I mean, yeah. I mean Easy Rider is a prime example of that, but it was a pretty wide-spread idea. But I, you know, it was just, I just was looking at it again. I mean by that time I was inside the character and I just looked at it as like, here's an employee in a fa--Captain America works for the government. The government has gone bad, and he can't do anything about it. I mean he could have gone in a different direction. He could have stood up and proclaimed himself champion of the people and a populist leader, you know? But that doesn't sound like good comic books to me, you know? I mean within, within the context again of trying to do something legitimate and trying to sell a mass-market number of comic books, which I was an employee. His, he basically came to the conclusion that things were fucked and he was, you know, he was being used, and his symbolizing a better America that was something that he could no longer get behind, and it was not good for the people that he was, I mean you know, he thinks about this stuff. This wouldn't be good for America for him to be there doing what he did, so he left. A more activist approach, running for president as I think they did in was it the John Byrne era maybe, sometime or other, you know, that's a different approach, but that wasn't what we did.

COMIC-ART.COM: Steve, which writers in comics do you consider influences?

ENGLEHART: Well, I mean I grew up reading comics in the sixties and seventies, so my influences come, well, they from there and they come from before. When I was a kid, the two comics that I loved when I was a kid were the Dick Tracy reprints that Harvey was doing, so I would have to say Chester Gould was influence on me, and the other thing that I really liked, I mean I loved the Carl Barks duck stories, but what I always liked was the Mickey Mouse mysteries in the back of Comics and Stories. They were drawn by Paul Murray when I was doing them. I don't know who was writing them. But the idea of mystery stories always intrigued me more than the comedy stuff. And so I would say that those, whoever was writing the Mickey Mouse stuff and Chester Gould, got me early, and then, you know, in my immediately pre-Marvel years, when I was thinking this is what I want to do because I'm enjoying it so much, Roy Thomas, Stan Lee, you know, Stan, you know, still started all this stuff off, and even though I think other people, you know, as would be the case, other people took what he did and ran with it. You know I've looked for a lot of companies over my time. I've seen people try to create something that's going to really work and nobody's done it like Stan did it, you know, so...

COMIC-ART.COM: Stan and Jack in the early sixties were just amazing.

ENGLEHART: Yes, and I should say, I mean again, there's that whole thing about Stan and Jack and Steve Ditko, for that matter, for the two books that he had a hand in, you know, I mean, Stan, this is a whole other topic. But on that topic of was it Stan or was it Jack, I've got to say that it was both, in my opinion. I mean, I think Jack probably did create most of those things, but if it hadn't, you know, but Stan was the guy who put words in their mouths and made them likeable, which Jack never could do, when he started to write his own material, you know. So, I think, I really think that it was, they were both necessary, so I suppose I should say that it was Stan and Jack that influenced me, but as a writer, I mean, you know, Stan was the guy. But, Roy was, Roy took what Stan did and extrapolated. Roy brought, you know Roy had been a teacher before he started doing this, and he added, I think, a kind of level of sophistication to the whole thing, and, you know, pointed a direction where things could go, and so, by the time I and other people showed up in the seventies, Marvel wasn't just a phenomenon, it was a phenomenon that was moving someplace, and so we could get on that and you know, take it in our own direction, but the freedom to move was there. It wasn't locking itself into something. So, you know, and then along the way I mean there's been all sorts of people. I mean, Archie Goodwin, Denny O'Neil, I mean all those people I liked a lot at the time and still do for that matter. But I'd have to say Gould and the Mickey Mouse guy and Roy would be the main people for me withing comics.

COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah, yeah. Well, what do you think of Kirby's work on the character, to kind of look at Jack as, you know, like artist?

ENGLEHART: Well, you mean before, in the forties, or in the seventies?

COMIC-ART.COM: Throughout his career. Because Kirby did a lot of Cap.

ENGLEHART: He did. Kirby, you know, I mean I couldn't tell you, I can't actually tell you who created the Hulk, but I have a pretty good idea of how those guys worked together. I have no idea of how Stan and Simon, or Jack and Simon worked together, so I don't know where Captain America came from. But, I love Kirby's stuff in the forties, and they weren't doing much of America, really. They were doing haunted hospitals and stuff when they were doing it, but I thought the forties Captain America was a wonderful comic on all levels, I mean it had that fabulous Jack Kirby artwork, it had really pulp stories, which I love, you know, that's a whole other interview, but I mean that's where all the Batman, Nightman, and everything comes from, Dr. Strange, because I love all that stuff. So, I thought it was great, and it was clearly exactly what it needed to be because it did become a big bit and it did sustain itself. In the seventies, when Kirby took it over after me, that, I think, by most people's, including mine, estimation, was pretty much a failure because Jack really, the stuff I had done, you know, and I'm not saying this for my benefit, but I had made it such an intense, wide-ranging strip, you know, with the added emphasis of the country and the politics and all that kind of stuff that I think it would have been difficult for anybody to come in and do a sort of straight superhero strip, which is what Jack, you know, wanted to do. And, and, you know there just, there were subtleties of life in the seventies, you know, that Jack hadn't really paid attention to, you know and he was just starting to write, too. I mean, again, I have no idea how many of the words that appeared from Simon and Kirby or that appeared from Lee and Kirby might originally have been written by Jack, but, you know, when Jack said I'm going to do it myself I think we all discovered that Jack, you know, Jack's talent was entirely in his pencil. I mean he was quite possibly the greatest comic book artist ever, but at the same time he was probably one of the worst writers ever. He had no ear for dialogue. He could not make people come alive on the page and it was amazing. He would have been much better served if he'd continued to work with a writer, but by that time he was too big to want to do that, and I can understand that and that's just, you know...But, anyway, I think the stuff in the seventies was pretty, was pretty lame, frankly. You know, I mean it just didn't, it didn't, and not because, I think it suffered even more because it contrasted with what I'd been doing, but at the same time I just think that most of the stuff that Jack did in the seventies, it was great concepts, but it didn't have, well, what am I trying to say? When it was stuff like the Fourth World, or even 2001 and stuff, things where he was trying to reach out to bigger concepts, those concepts were there, but the dialogue wasn't. But Captain America, he was trying to do as pretty much a straight Marvel superhero book and so he didn't even have the extra emphasis, so I see it as very distinct between the forties and the seventies on Kirby.

COMIC-ART.COM: Well, since you've left the book are there any writers or creative teams who've worked on it that you really liked?

ENGLEHART: Well, obviously Byrne and Stern you know, that was a nice little run. I've got to say that, you know, I was at a panel last year with George Perez and somebody asked Perez what did he think of a book that he used to but he didn't do anymore, and he said, `Well, frankly, I don't read it.' And, you know, he and I turned and our eyes met and there was this great beam of understanding. I think it, I think if you ask most people and they answered you honestly, you know when you've had your shot at a character, you know you really make it your own for as long as it's there, and when you stop doing it somebody else goes and makes it his own but its not yours anymore and it's not hitting the same notes that you would hit and so on and so forth, so I haven't really followed Captain America, you know, intently over the years. I mean Mark Gruenwald's been doing it, what? For ten years now or something like that.


ENGLEHART: And he's done, you know, he's done obviously a lot of nice stuff and I mean that but at the same time if you were to ask me what specifically, I'd probably be hard put to tell you because it's a book that I've kept an eye on and enjoyed as I have done it, but I haven't, it hasn't been a book that I really, was on my must-read list, I'll put it that way...You know because after Kirby, Kirby was a disappointment to me, I mean, because I was still, you know, I had been in the business for five years or something but I was still a fan and you put aside the fact that it wasn't, you know that he was doing a strip now that was different now from what I had done, he was also doing a strip that wasn't what I wanted to see, you know, I mean, I had done what I wanted to see, so I mean you can see how they fit together, but it was a strip that I was sort of reading because there it is and I had just gotten finished with it, but I didn't really like it for, on a personal and a professional level and then after Kirby I think it really went to hell for a while, I mean, they, it was again, I don't have the books in front of me and I may be insulting fabulous people, but it's my rememberance that after Kirby there was like, I mean Gerber did for a couple of issues and that was good, but and Byrne did it for twelve and that was good, but it seemed like a lot of that stuff was just sort of like, whoever was standing around did it until Gruenwald took it over, that's my impression, you know?

COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah, well it seemed like the book lacked focus for years.

ENGLEHART: Yeah. Well, again it's I think it's pretty simple what the focus should be, but, you know, I mean everybody's got a different ability to actually focus, to take that focus and run with it, and that's not to say that other people might not have different ideas, so, but I just think you can't do him like Daredevil. I mean Daredevil's obviously gone through a million, many different incarnations along the way, but in any event the most you ever had to get to was: he's a superhero in a gritty world, you know, with his various problems. He didn't have to stand for anything, you know? And I think Captain America does.

COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah, he's got a hell of a lot more baggage.


COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah, so I guess one of the questions that comes to mind is: How do you keep a character like that relevant to the particular time when he's being published?

ENGLEHART: Well, I don't, again, I was just talking about this the other day, I mean, it's not happening, but if I were asked to do Captain America today, I would jump at it, you know, because I see him always as tied to America, and whenever America is interesting, which I think it is now, then I think there's a lot of stuff to play off of because I mean you get, with Captain America, from, you know, from the `What can you do with him?' standpoint, I mean you get a really good superhero, which he is, I mean, so you get all that stuff, and then you get all the ramifications. And so, you know, if somebody walked up to me tomorrow and said, `You can do Captain America', at that point I would sit down and think of what specifically I would do with it, but I mean I think there's a lot, just America's changing role in the world that can be, that can be funnelled back into its affect on that particular guy, I mean, again, Daredevil's got to worry about the fact that he's blind. Batman's got worry about the fact that he's avenging his parents. Captain America's got to worry about America, so in that sense it should be easy for a writer, you know? Because if you're worried about being blind, well, you've got to think about, unless you're blind, you've got to think about like what does that mean, but America is writing itself every day in the newspaper, you know? So, somebody else is always sort of figuring out what America is going to do, and then you can see how that might affect Steve Rogers.

COMIC-ART.COM: Who were your favorite artists on cap over the years?

ENGLEHART: Well, you know, there's been a number. Kirby in the forties, you know, was fabulous. I'm a big fan of Sal Buscema, obviously because he did it with me. And Sal is a guy who's just a storytelling delight, I mean I don't think Sal has ever been a great fan favorite necessarily, probably always overshadowed by his brother. But, again, I've worked with a lot of people. I've worked with a lot of people by now and you always have to rely on them to tell the story as well as you're telling the story and I have rarely worked with anybody who was as good as Sal Buscema in putting that across. And fan favorite or not, that was a really hot book for that period, you know, that Captain America really sold, as I say, it went to the top of the line in six months and, you know, so people didn't have any trouble with Sal Buscema. John Byrne, obviously. You know, I mean, wherever Byrne goes, that's a nice piece of work. That would probably be my favorites. Gene Colan, whom I always liked, obviously did a lot of it with Stan, but I didn't, you know, that book was really flaccid in those days, I think since Stan had been involved with the character I was always surprised, but Stan never seemed to be able to put much energy into Captain America, and I think Colan kind of took his cue from that, you know? Bucky came back from the dead every six months and whatever.

COMIC-ART.COM: Well, it seemed like Stan had a better handle on Cap when he was working with Kirby in the sixties.

ENGLEHART: Yeah, well, it had, you know, but I was told when I took it over, I mean because I read all that stuff in Tales to Astonish, and you know that was nice, it seemed like nice stuff, but I was told that the book, the only time that book had ever sold since they brought it back was the four-part Sleeper thing, that Captain America had been dead in the water as a character, and he was only really there because Marvel was still growing and so they could afford characters that weren't neccessarily pulling their weight, they could, you know, they had enough backstop, but I mean I was told that Captain America had never really sold since the forties except for that one Sleeper thing, and so I can remember those Tales of Suspense books and they were quite nice, but apparently they weren't interesting the public at that point, and then later, when he did get his own book, then, you know, that, I don't recall a whole lot of, in his own book there, that, that, you know, that I thought had a lot of energy behind it. And then as I say after that I've sort of been in and out of it, and I have, I guess, paid more attention to the writing, so I'm, I don't mean to slight all the artists who came since the mid-70's but nobody immediately leaps to mind because I just haven't focused on that.

COMIC-ART.COM: You and Alan Weiss did a good issue together.

ENGLEHART: Yeah, yeah. Well, Weiss and I are good buddies. And, you know, Al never does anything for very long, but we were sitting around and, you know, and I was writing five, one summer I was doing six, they made The Defenders monthly for the summer and all of a sudden I was doing six books a month, which is about as high as I have ever gone, you know, I said at that point I'm going to have to do less. But, you know I was I doing a lot of stuff. I was young, I was loving comics, I had, `Sure, I'll write anything.' Doesn't matter, I'll stay up you know, twenty-five hours a day and do it. And Al and I were hanging out and I said, `Hey, you know, let's do a Captain America.' So, that one, you know, I contributed some ideas, I would say probably Al contributed, you know, he came up with Nightshade and, I mean he likes to draw nearly naked sexy women, and I don't mind looking at them, and I think I did the part about the Falcon as a werewolf, whatever, and I think we put them all in a castle and ran with it.

COMIC-ART.COM: Now Alan had told me originally the idea was not werewolves but pirates and Marvel wouldn't let you do that.

ENGLEHART: Could be, that, this is, this is, I can remember that pirates were non-starters. I don't recall it on that Captain America, but I do remember talking to them about pirates at another juncture, I think, with Alan. Maybe this is the same thing. And, they said, `No, pirates had never sold.'...I believe that's one of the reasons, you'd have to call England for this, but I think that's one of the reasons why Alan Moore put pirates in The Watchmen, just because he was throwing everything in there and somebody had told him, I believe this is true, but I wouldn't swear to it, but I think somebody had told Alan that pirates had never sold, so he decided to put pirates in there.

COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah, I remember that when you guys did that issue, that was when Marvel was still doing a lot of horror comics, and so the werewolves kind of fit the tone.

ENGLEHART: But with Alan, you're always going to get the little funny werewolf, too. He always had this little funny werewolf, Sparky, I think, or something like that...

COMIC-ART.COM: He showed me that story one time and said that all the werewolves are different and I looked at them; every one in the book is totally different.

ENGLEHART: Well, that's what's cool about Alan, you know. He, Alan is obviously never going to be the kind of guy who just turns it out on a regular basis, but he does it because he loves doing it, you know, and he finds the things in it that really turns him on, and then he just goes with it, I mean, I'm sure there are other people who would have made all the werewolves different, but you can definitely count on that from Alan, you know.

COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah, yeah. His work is always fresh. Okay, let's see: Steve, what are you currently working on?

ENGLEHART: Well, at the moment I'm doing three things on a regular basis, Nightman and Strangers for Malibu, and a book which has finally evolved into a title of Return to Jurassic Park for Topps. As always there are things that are sort of floating around on their way to the landing pad, but those are the things that I'm doing right now. I also do children's books, which is a totally other thing. I mean outside of comic, I do children's books for Avon, well, I mean they publish them. I own them.

COMIC-ART.COM: Like Young Adult?

ENGLEHART: Yeah, Young Adult, twelve-year-old is the mid-grade, we call it, is the age thing. And they're mostly, well, all of them so far are non-fiction. It's just a, it's a totally different thing to go out and do, write for a different audience in a different medium.

COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah, I've done a little work in the Y/A field myself for Siegel Shuster.


COMIC-ART.COM: And it seems like a really hot field right now.

ENGLEHART: Yeah. I just sort of stumbled into it, like I do most things but I mean it's sort of the same deal. I mean I didn't set out to be a comic book writer. I set out to be a comic book artist. Fortunately for the world, I didn't pursue that forever because I just, you know, I wasn't good enough at it. But one day somebody offered me the chance to write and I found out that I liked that and they liked what I did, and so I was a writer, you know. And it wasn't quite that haphazard, but it was kind of the same deal that I didn't set out to write a children's book, you know, but I, through a series of circumstances all of a sudden I did one, and they liked it and said: `Do more' and so, you know, so I am one.

COMIC-ART.COM: Any adult novels in the works?

ENGLEHART: In the works, yeah. I decided what I, again, going back to Mickey Mouse, what I like is mysteries, I mean that's where the Nightman came from, again. I mean I like to do that dark, mysterious pulp thing and I like, I like mysteries, and so when I was out of comics in the late eighties I started a mystery and got three-quarters of the way through it, and then Malibu came along and gave me a lot of work, and it sits there. It's one of those things that I think I've got to, to really pull it off, I've got to have a month where I do nothing but think about the mystery, you know, because it's like, you've got to put all the clues, you've got to make them work, you've got to balance them out, you've got to be subtle, but not too subtle, but not too blatant, and that's the kind of stuff I don't feel that I can do if I'm just sort of squeezing it in one day other week or something while I'm turning out comics, so the mystery just sits there, you know, it's just taking up space on my hard disk and has for several years, but that, the people who've read the first draft have been real encouraging, so I'm hopeful, hopeful that I'll get fired off everything that I'm doing so I can go write the, not really, but you know, I want to, I wouldn't mind moving in that direction shall we say? I mean I like doing mysteries. I wouldn't mind doing the adult mysteries, but I still, you know, but I certainly enjoy doing the children's books and I certainly enjoy doing comics, you know, I mean it's kind of interesting, you know, I've quite comics twice on the theory the first time that I've outgrown them, and the second time that I couldn't stand them or couldn't stand the people that I was working for, but comics itself is something that I really do like, and you know whenever the circumstances open up where I can enjoy the process, you know, I go right back to it because I, you know, I like, you know I would have been a pulp writer if I had been born fifty years earlier, fifty years ago, whatever, I would have cranked out stuff by the word for the pulps. I like to write and I like to write that kind of stuff, so comics is the modern pulps for me and I don't know, so, I'm...I also do video games when that comes around. I've designed some video games.

COMIC-ART.COM: Really? What do you do for the video game?

ENGLEHART: Write scripts. I mean, again, it's very similar actually, the script is different, I mean you're writing--I've generally done the adventure stuff, where you have to write, you know, at this juncture it goes off in one of two directions and you have to write both directions and so forth, but it's the same process in that, you know, whether it's video games or comics, I write, you know and I explain what's going to happen in the art or the game play or whatever it is, and then I hand it off to whatever expert is involved with that, you know, and they do the art and they do the game play and they do whatever.

COMIC-ART.COM: Is your script like a screenplay?

ENGLEHART: Pretty much, yeah. But obviously more complex, again because with games you have to have all the different possibilities in there. And that's worked really well for a professional, you know, for somebody like me who's done so many stories because it's not all that difficult to think, well, if he turns left, this'll happen, but if he turns right, that'll happen, and you have to visualize both of them, you know? So, I just basically write anything that's got adventure in it.

COMIC-ART.COM: Steve, tell me, are there any comics that you follow?

ENGLEHART: There's very little that I actually follow anymore in the sense that, you know, when I was, before I got into the field, I read everything every month. You know, a comic only cost a dime or twelve cents. It was easy enough to do. And again, there were only a couple of companies, so even if you read the entire DC output and the entire Marvel output and threw in all the Gold Keys, it wasn't going to break you and you could still do it. As I have gone along and gotten into other fields, you know, the time I would have devoted to comics gets devoted to reading children's books or reading mysteries or playing video games, or whatever, and so I tend not to follow anything. I mean Sandman is obviously, you know, a book that everybody, well, you know, if everybody did it would be the top-selling book, but I mean it's a book that a lot of people pay attention to, and I do. Spawn, you know, and a number of the Image books. Savage Dragon, you know, Shadowhawk I follow fairly regularly, but most of the stuff now from Marvel and D.C., you know it's not only that I've seen a lot of it, I've done a lot of it, you know? So, as I was saying before I tend not to look at the books that I've done neccessarily. Actually, what I enjoy doing, you know, when I'm at a convention if somebody comes up and goes, oh, you really ought to read this. It's like, good, thanks for telling me, because I wouldn't know about it otherwise.

COMIC-ART.COM: Yeah. Do you still make a fair amount of conventions?

ENGLEHART: The last two years particularly. I mean it comes and it goes, depending on whether, what's going on. If I'm doing books that people want me to show up and talk about, or you know if friends of mine are or whatever, I mean those are good places to get together. It just sort of depends on my schedule and the thing. The last couple years, with the Malibu roll-out I think I hit everything convention that I could get to, physically. This year, this year in fact we're planning to hit a number of them but probably not quite as many because I want to take my kids and just go have a little vacation at some point, but yeah, I do. I like the convention situation mostly again for meeting people, seeing people that you don't see. You know, it acts as a magnet. A lot of people come in from various places and a lot of them from the same place so you get to see your old friends and make new ones.

ENGLEHART:...(Speaking on Captain America): You know and he is like a really good guy. I mean a lot of heroes, you know, are, I mean used to be like pretty good guys. And a lot of heroes today are not nice guys at all but Captain America was always a nice guy, I mean he was doing all this, you know he was blond and blue-eyed and he believed in America, and if that didn't make you nervous to think about that I mean Steve Rogers was just somebody you could really, if you had to hang out with Steve Rogers you'd probably enjoy it, you know?

COMIC-ART.COM: I think that's one thing that's missing from a lot of the hero characters that are on the scene now is just that basic sense of decency.

ENGLEHART: Well, times have changed, I, you know, I don't mind writing, well, I've written pretty much every kind of person from nice guys to bad guys to liberals to conservatives to gays to straights to whatever, you know, I mean, characters are characters, but you know I think everybody needs to be as nice as Captain America or even needs to be nice, but I think he sort of stands out in that regard, and when you get a lot of characters that aren't nice he stands out even more.

COMIC-ART.COM: That's true. Right now, he's even more unique.

We thank interviewer Steve Ringenberg for this transcript

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