MURPHY ANDERSON INTERVIEW

Steve Ringgenberg: I'm speaking with Murphy Anderson. It is April 28th, 1994. Mr. Anderson, one question I had was, you're originally from North Carolina aren't you?

Murphy Anderson: That's correct.

SR: How did you wind up in New York City?

Anderson: Well, I just had a great interest in comics and I was around when the first comic books started appearing. And I sort of grew up with them, you might say. I guess the first book appeared, I was eight or nine years old.

SR: And did that have a big impact on you?

Anderson: Yeah, well, of course I was following the newspaper strips probably a little more carefully than the early comic books.

SR: Well, Buck Rogers. That was an obvious favorite, and there there was Tarzan, and Flash Gordon when he came along and whatever was available, Mandrake the Magician, the Phantom. I used to get an out of town edition of the New York General

American. And they had a Saturday paper at the time which carried Buck Rogers and the Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician, so I latched onto those very early.

SR: Okay, so it seems like you were always drawn to the

science fiction strips.

Anderson: Yeah, more or less. They aare actually fantasy to a degree,

and I mean Tarzan is a fantasy. So I love that kind of stuff. And then I found out

about the science fiction magazines. I could get the same type of

material then in those early pulps of the day.

SR: So you were reading the science pulps at the same

time you were looking at the comics.

Anderson: Well, yeah. A little later because I would say '38, '39

I'd started to read pulps.

SR: I've read that you didn't have much formal art

training. Were you drawing as a kid?

Anderson: Yeah, yeah. I just loved to draw, and my mother was an art school teacher who wasn't working at it. You know she was a

housewife. But I used to bother her so much it was sort of a

family joke, to read the comics to me, that she got tired of it,

the daily comic, and sat down and taught me to read by reading

comics.

SR: After your childhood, where did your life take you?

Anderson: Well, I started at the University of North Carolina,

and this was wartime, and I decided that I wanted to pursue a

career before I went into service if possible, and I talked my

father into giving me a hundred dollars. Well, that's all he

would give me. And he said, `When that's gone, you'll have to

come home'. So I made a stab at New York and actually got a job.

SR: Where was your first job?

Anderson: At Fiction House. You did a number of different strips

for them, didn't you?

Anderson: Well, basically, I did Star Pirate, but I did a couple

of other things. I did a Suicide Smith and then I did filler

material, some for "Wings" comics, and a lot of filler material for

"Planet". I did pulp illustrations for them also.

SR: Right, because Fiction House also did a line of

pulps.

Anderson: Right. I illustrated some stuff in "Planet Stories", and

some of their sports magazines, I did a few illustrations.

SR: With your penchant for science fiction, that must

have been fun for you to do that stuff.

Anderson: Oh yeah. Well, of course, and I hit it off with the

editor right away and he was looking for art anyhow. And even

though mine wasn't up to the standards that I think they normally

wanted he felt my enthusiasm made up for some of it.

SR: Were you pencilling and inking?

Anderson: Yes. Both.

SR: You also did a small amount of writing for Fiction

House, didn't you?

Anderson: Right. I wrote, there was a filler...

SR: Were those the little two page text stories?

Anderson: Right. They were not text stories, they were "Life on

Other Worlds" was the title. And then I did a, I remember doing a

three page similar article for "Wings" comics on the possibility of

jets in the future. Jet planes were something that really came along after the war. The Germans had experimented

some and the English were experimenting but none of them

actually, I don't think, actually got into combat. And they

supplied me with some copies of the "London Illustrated News" I

think it was that had some information on jets and I developed an article for them on that, you know, a story.

SR: That's interesting. So, back to your stint at

Fiction House. You moved on to some other companies like Ziff¦ Davis, I believe.

Anderson: Well, yeah. I worked for Ziff Davis, freelancing. When

I lived in Chicago, basically. And I was stationed out there in

the Navy and I called on the editor, Ray Palmer at the time.

SR: So you were actually freelancing when you were still

in the service?

Anderson: Yeah. Yeah. Well, they didn't really care. I mean, the

particular situation I was in at that time I had like a regular

job with the Navy, you know, eight to four. That was the

situation, with a lunch hour, and I went over, only a two or

three block walk to the Ziff Davis offices and I talked to the

editor and he gave me an assignment. And Fiction House sent me

some work right along, when I had the opportunity. They did that

with a number of their artists.

SR: Would you mail your work in?

Anderson: Yeah.

SR: Well, I also see here that you did a bit of work on

"Buck Rogers" in '49.

"Anderson: Yeah, well that was actually I started with them in

'47, they hired me on retainer.

SR: Oh, that's right.

Anderson: I would come in and work in the offices there. And I

did work on designing things for Buck, you know, in preparation

for taking over, and I actually worked on the strip at that time

for a little over two years I think.

SR: So were you handling pencils and inks on the strip?

Anderson: Right.

SR: Were you doing the daily and the Sunday, or just the

Sunday?

Anderson: No, just the dailies.

SR: Just the dailies?

Anderson: Yeah.

SR: Was Rick Yager still doing the Sundays?

Anderson: Yeah, he was doing the Sundays. He was writing and

drawing the Sunday page.

SR: Would he write the continuity for the daily page

also?

Anderson: No, there was a writer, Bob Williams, who used the pen

name Bob Barton on that.

SR: How did you feel about doing your old hero, "Buck

Rogers"?

Anderson: Oh, that was just, you know, a dream come true you

might say.

SR: Why did you only do it for a couple of years?

Anderson: Well, I'd rather not get into that. That was a

personality conflict you might say over some promises that were

made and I felt weren't being kept.

SR: I see. Okay. So, back to "Buck Rogers". You went on to

do a little work for the Pines publisher, some science fiction

stuff?

Anderson: Well, no. When I moved back to New York, I started to

work for, I came back basically to work for Ziff Davis. They had,

they were moving their offices to New York, and they had

appointed Jerry Siegel as a director, editorial director of a

comic book line that they were proposing, planning. They

contacted me from Chicago. I had moved back to North Carolina at

the time to work with my father. That's after "Buck Rogers". And

they made it interesting enough and they wanted me enough that I

moved to New York to work for Ziff Davis basically. The Fiction

House thing was already pretty much a dead issue. They were

having a lot of troubles, and they ultimately, a year or so

later, closed.

SR: Well, a lot of the science fiction pulps went under

i n the fifties, didn't they?

Anderson: Right, right. And their comic book line wasn't doing

well, either.

SR: Well, how did it come about that you worked for

National?

Anderson: Well, that's sort of an involved story. Do you want to

continue this?šj______ÜŒ

SR: Sure.

Anderson: Well, all right. As I say I came back to New York

basically, you know, newly married. My wife and I married in '48

and I came to New York about 1950, I think it was. And we took on

an apartment and all the things that go with it, set up, you

know, housekeeping in Bayside, New York. And I brought a job into

Jerry Siegel one day and he said, `Murph, I'm sorry. There are no

more scripts. The writers haven't brought the work in. And it

might be as much as a week before I get a script for you.' Well,

I panicked because I was counting on steady work, so I went home

and got my portfolio and called on several publishers. And one of

those that I called on was DC and they asked me to come back the

next day. Murray Boltinoff interviewed me and he said Julie

Schwartz is not in today but I'm sure he'd like to talk to you.

And so that's how I got started with DC. The next day I did see

Julie and he gave me work. Ironically, the same day Jerry called

me and the work had come in from his writer, so I was suddenly

swamped with work.

SR: What was your first job for DC?

Anderson: It was a story, I believe, for, Gee, I'm not sure if it

was "Mystery in Spaceù, I believe. "Mystery in Spaceù was new then

and I started to work in either the first or second issue. And

"Strange Adventuresù had already been running for a few issues, so

I got into that around issue six, something like that.

SR: You did a fair amount of work for those anthologies,

didn't you?

Anderson: I'm not sure I follow.

SR: "Strange Adventuresù and "Mystery in Spaceù, they were

anthology titles.

Anderson: Oh yeah, well several stories in an issue, you mean,

yeah.

SR: Yeah. And I have seen a lot of reprints of that

stuff.

Anderson: Yeah. I became part of Julie's team of artists, you

might say. I mean he basically had four or five artists and kept

them busy. He had them categorized, even at that time, into

pencillers and inkers and I was sort of a little different in

that I pencilled "andù inked. And even then, when the deadline

would be a little closer, he needed me for something else, he

would have me just pencil and then someone else would ink the

work, or in some cases because I wanted to ink the stuff, he

would let me work with another inker and we would alternate

pages, that kind of thing.

šj______ÜŒSR: At the time what did you prefer doing, pencilling or

inking?

Anderson: Well, I preferred doing both. I still do.

SR: After handling those noncseries stories you went on

to do Adam Strange for DC.

Anderson: Well, that's much later. But during those early days I

did Captain Comet.

SR: Right. That's a character you don't hear much about

these days.

Anderson: No. Well, he wasccJulie likes to think of him as

actually the first of the moderncday superheroes. He had these

mental powers and so forth. He was the first mutant in a way.

SR: So, you did Captain Comet.

Anderson: And there was another series that Edmond Hamilton

wrote. I did two or three of those for "Strange Adventuresù, I

believe it was, called "Chris KcL 99(sp?).

SR: That's one I've not seen.

Anderson: You'd have to go back and look at the early "Strange

Adventuresù. I think it was " Strange Adventuresù.

SR: A couple of the old pulp writers wound up working

for DC.

Anderson: Oh, yeah. Julie had mostly pulp writers. Gardner Fox

even was a pulp writer.

SR: You worked with Gardner Fox quite a bit, I

understand.

Anderson: Yeah, well not with him, but I mean knew Gardner very

well because we'd often go to lunch with Julie you know when

Gardner would come in, and I'd be in, and we'd go to lunch. And

the same for John Broome. John was another pulp writer and most

of Julie's writers were pulp writers.

SR: Right, and you wound up working on a fair number of

stories that those gentlemen scripted.

Anderson: Oh, yes.

SR: "Hawkmanù, "The Flashù.

Anderson: Right. Well, Gardner did the Hawkman. He did the very

first Hawkman, I think. It was a natural for him to continue on

when they revived the character.šj______ÜŒ

SR: Right, he was doing it in the forties, and then in

the early sixties, I believe. Now you were working on the early

"Flashù stories for "Showcaseù weren't you?

Anderson: Well, I had gone back to "Buck Rogersù for a time.

SR: Yeah, about '58 or so?

Anderson: Yeah. And I had been slated, I think, to work on "Adam

Strangeù but of course when I took the "Buck Rogersù assignment I

couldn't. As a matter of fact I worked on the first cover for, I

guess it was "Showcaseù. No, it was in "Mystery in Spaceù, wasn't it?

I get confused a little bit. Anyhow, I had worked on the first

cover and Julie, I came up from North Carolina maybe two or three

times a year to work on covers. And I had worked up a design for

a cover that we couldn't quite, Julie couldn't quite approve. And

I said, well I think I know what you want. I'll go home and I'll

do the cover. I'll send it in to you. If you can't use, then you

don't use it. Well, I did it, and he still wasn't happy with it,

so he had Gil Kane redaw the cover. The same idea, that was the

Pit and the Pendulum, the first appearance of Adam Strange. And

basically the costume is like I designed it for Adam Strange.

SR: And was the character supposed to be intended as

kind of a Buck Rogerscc?

Anderson: Yeah, right, exactly.

SR: There was also a little bit of John Carter of Mars

in that character in the way that he kept going back and forth

between the planets.

Anderson: Yeah, well I mean that's true. I mean he was a modern¦day man but was a, you know, I mean, what was he? An archeologist

I believe with a museum. Sort of, what do you call it? You have

to wonder if perhaps they didn't base, oh, gee, words are failing

me now, the, you know, the pulps, the movie that they brought

out. You caught me at a time when I'm sitting here half asleep.

Anyhow, I think what a lot of the movies were based on comic

books. That's coming out more and more that a lot of today's big

producers, were, directors and producers were comic books fans.

SR: Oh sure. I know George Lucas was a big "Flash Gordonù

fan.

Anderson: Right.

RINGGENNBERG: Yeah, a lot of that stuff.

Anderson: Yeah. Can you hold just one second?

SR: Certainly. (Tape pauses until Anderson's return) You

actually designed Adam Strange's costume?šj______ÜŒ

Anderson: Well, I can't say that Gil did it exactly like I'd draw

it. But I know I worked on that cover and I don't have it

anymore. The only thing that survives is a letter that I wrote to

Julie at the time to accompany it. But as I recall the belt and

the helmet, the headgear were basically as I drew them.

SR: I always thought that he had one of the most

attractive costumes of any DC character. It was very clean.

Anderson: Well, it was based more on you know, my concept of Buck

Rogers or Flash Gordon type material.

SR: Was the jet pack your idea?

Anderson: Yeah, well no, it was Julie's, and he didn't go for

having the Buck Rogersctype jet pack or flying belt. He wanted

it, you know, closer to the back, even though I used to kid about

it, he's going to have a hot rear end, you know? But that was

just overlooked, of course. I mean the reality, I don't think

you'd ever wear a jet pack that close to your body, but anyhow,

that was, that was not quite the way I would have done it, but

that was the way he wanted it, so...

SR: Let's talk a little bit about working on "The Flashù.

Anderson: Okay.

SR: Now, when that character was revived, were excited

about working on superheroes, or was it just another job?

Anderson: No, that was revived when I was not in New York and I

had very little to do with it other than when I did move back to

New York, that was in the late fifties, I became involved in

inking a lot for Julie. That was the only work that they had

available at the time. So he put me on "The Flashù almost

immediately. But I came in after two or three issues had already

been done.

SR: And how did you like working on Infantino's pencils

at the time?

Anderson: Well, it was a challenge. He was the first, he and Gil

Kane were the first artists I had ever inked. You know, I had

never inked anyone before, so it was quite an experience for me.

Gil's stuff was a little more like my own work, so it wasn't as

difficult, but Carmine is more of a designer, and I had to, in a

lot of cases, do things that I didn't quite agree with, you know

like abstract blacks and that sort of thing. But I found that if

I didn't follow his pencils that the whole thing would start to

fall apart. So, basically I followed what he put down, and if I

didn't quite agree with some of the anatomy or construction of

buildings and things like that I would, you know, just

automatically, not automatically, but straighten them out withoutšj______Ü

repencilling.

SR: In the inking process?

Anderson: Yeah, right. Well, I think it was a little bit more of

a collaboration than I guess most inkers are collaborators rather

than followers. You know?

SR: So you'd say that was the case with Infantino but

not with Kane?

Anderson: Yeah, I would say so. Some other artists that I've

inked I've really just inked what they put down, you know?

SR: Was Infantino's work fairly tight?

Anderson: Yeah, yeah, it was tight. That wasn't the thing. But he

was, as I say, a designer, and he would bend reality, very often

just to get an effect, which was against my nature. I was never

in the Jack Kirby school, and Carmine was somewhere in between

strict realism and the Kirby approach.

SR: Yeah, some of the things he did to show the Flash's

speed, I thought, were very creative.

Anderson: Oh yes. Oh yes. Carmine is a genius at storytelling.

There's no question about it. His layouts, especially on covers

and all, he puts an idea across very simply and directly and you

understand it.

SR: You wound up working with him quite a bit, didn't

you, once you guys went on to "Batmanù?

Anderson: Yeah, well I only did covers on the "Batmanù stuff over

stuff. People seem to think that I did a lot of work on Batman

but really it was mostly covers.

SR: I think what it was is that some of the covers you

did were so striking.

Anderson: Well, perhaps.

SR: They really were interesting and very different than

anything else that was being done at the time.

Anderson: Well, that's very nice of you to say.

SR: I remember a particular one that was a closeup of

Robin's face crying and he had a crushed newspaper with a

headline about Batman being dead.

Anderson: Yeah, I vaguely remember that one.

SR: Let's talk a little bit about working with Gil Kane

on "Green Lanternù. That was really beautiful work.šj______ÜŒ

Anderson: Well, thank you. You have to understand that Julie had

a series of books to do and a stable of artists and he'd push you

in and use you where he needed you at the moment. I mean it was

more or less secondary that you showed an aptitude or a liking

for a particular character. He took that into consideration, of

course, and, but the main thing was to get his books out, and out

on time.

SR: It seems like during your career at DC you were

working mostly with Schwartz.

Anderson: Right. Right. I mean each editor had his own crew of

artists.

SR: Would they ever share people?

Anderson: Yeah, occasionally, occasionally. I mean the company's

interests were in there, too but basically they had the freedom

to hire their own artists and most of the time each editor tried

to keep his artists busy.

SR: It seemed like you were very busy in the early

sixties. Running down the list of strips you worked on, there's

"Green Lanternù, you worked on "The Atomic Knightsù.

Anderson: "The Atomic Knightsù was formed basically because I

bellyached so much about not being able to pencil and Julie

finally came up with that. He may have had the idea in the back

of his mind but that was a story that appeared only in every

third issue of "Strange Adventuresù.

SR: Did you have anything to do with conceiving the

strip or did you just draw it?

Anderson: No, I had very little to do with the conception of that

because he had that in the works, gee, maybe I'm wrong in what

I'm thinking about him doing it as a sop for me, but he just

asked me if I'd be interested in doing a strip like that and of

course that sounded great to me. It was a very difficult strip to

do because of all the suits of armor and so many characters

involved.

SR: Did you do much research on different kinds of

armor?

Anderson: Yeah, yeah. I tried to make the armor as realistic as

possible, although it's not at all like the armor they wore in

the middle, in the dark ages, or right after, you know. In the

days of well, Robin Hood and King Arthur, are identified with it

but armor actually wasn't in use during those periods, not like

it was a little later.

SR: During your whole career how much influence didšj______Ü

research play on your work?

Anderson: Well, I tried to research everything, and when I'd draw

a specific thing try to make it as accurate as possible.

SR: Would you work from photo reference?

Anderson: Yeah, partly, and mostly for...(SIDE ONE ENDS HERE)

A_*_Ã(SIDE TWO COMMENCES ON 5/2/94)ƒ

SR: It is May 2, 1994. We're doing Part Two of the

interview with Murphy Anderson. I think last time we concluded we

were talking about some of your work in the sixties.

Anderson: I think so, yes.

SR: One thing I noticed from looking at some of your old

work from "Planetù Comics, and the work in the sixties, is that it

really changed, the way it looked. Was that due to just learning

more techniques, or did your approach to the art change?

Anderson: Well, it wasn't a conscious change. To me it was just

an evolutionary thing as I sharpened my skills I think I, you

know, became a better draftsman and so forth, that was reflected

in the artwork.

SR: It seemed like you were employing a finer line as

you went on into the sixties, seventies and eighties.

Anderson: Oh, gee, I don't really think so, but I can't be that

objective about my own work. There was no conscious effort on my

part other than to just sharpen my skills as a storyteller and as

a draftsman.

SR: On the early work were you, say, employing more

brush in your inking?

Anderson: Yeah, well, now that may be what you're picking up on.

SR: I think maybe that's what I was thinking of.

Anderson: Well, initially, I worked with a brush almost

exclusively, you know, did penwork of course just to crosshatch

and special effects, you know. And then, in the sixties I was

having difficulty getting my work out and I evolved a method that

saved me some time, and that was to pencil with a darker pencil

on plate finish. Now the plate finish you could erase the pencil

line off withoutccI mean the pencil line didn't penetrate the

paper so much as when you worked with a soft pencil, but that

meant that brush lines would come off very easily, off the plate

finish. So I started working with a pen. And I did most of the

work, I used a very fine point pen and then I was able to erase

and just put the big, solid areas of black in with a brush. Once

in a while, just to prove to myself I could, that I hadn't lostšj______Ü

my brush feeling I would take a job and ink the entire thing,

like I remember doing one of Gil Kane's Atoms. I took a brush

only and did the entire job, even ruled the lines in with a

brush.

SR: Sort of as a challenge to yourself?

Anderson: Yeah. Just I didn't want to lose that ability. And then

when I started to work for Will Eisner, oh in the midctocthe¦latter part of the sixties I had to go back to brush because

everything that he did was inked on velum.

SR: Now what were you doing for Eisner?

Anderson: I worked on P.S. magazine.

SR: Doing technical illustrations?

Anderson: I was a staff artist. No, not doing technical things as

much as just doing illustrations. The articles involved animating

equipment and doing serious illustrations as well as humorous

illustration.

SR: Was it all illustration for Eisner, or did you do

any little comic strips as well?

Anderson: Yeah, well that's what I'm saying. I worked on the

continuity some, I inked over a lot of his continuities.

SR: And you were doing this at the same time you were

still working for DC?

Anderson: Yeah, well I had cut back on my work at DC. I held a

staff position with Will.

SR: And how long did the position with Eisner last?

Anderson: I'd say approximately two and a half years.

SR: When you were inking "Supermanù over Curt Swan that

seemed like that was a pretty steady assignment. Were you doing

any other work besides that?

Anderson: Oh, yes, yes. I was inking stuff until it was coming

out of my ears. They wanted more and more inking out of me so

they would find background people for me. I didn't have to even

look for them. They would line up people that they thought had

the neccessary ability and if I agreed then I would use that

person as a background artist. And as a result I had, oh many, I

guess maybe, if you counted it all up, somewhere on the order of

eight to ten different background artists working with me over

that period.

SR: Do you remember any of their names?šj______ÜŒ

Anderson: Oh, sure. There's, let's go back and start at the

beginning I think. And I guess Jack Abel was one of the first.

And Vinnie Colleta did some. Vinnie Colleta did some of the

backgrounds on the very first Superman stuff I did, the new

Superman, when they were trying to update the character. Vinnie,

and John Cellardo did some, Alan Milgrom did a lot, and Dave

Cockrum did a lot for me.

SR: Would they just get the pages from you or were you

working in kind of a studio setcup?

Anderson: No, no. They would get the pages from me and take them

home and do them, usually, although Dave Cockrum worked with me

some in a little studio I had.

SR: It sounds like you had good people working with you.

Anderson: Oh, yeah, well they trying to break into the field,

some of them, and some of them were older pros that were having

difficulty finding work at the moment.

SR: I remember seeing Celardo's "Tarzanù, God, ages ago.

Anderson: Yeah, well this after he gave up the "Tarzanù strip, I

think.

SR: Yeah, and Jack Abel's been around the business for

ages, too.

Anderson: Oh, yeah. Well, Jack had been doing "Supermanù, you know,

inking the entire job over Curt, but they were trying to change

the direction of the character, the whole look. And Carmine was

actually behind a lot of that because he was, I guess, the

editorial director, maybe already president of the company by

that time, I'm not sure.

SR: And what year was it that you took over inking

"Supermanù? I was thinking about 1970, is that correct?

Anderson: Yeah, that's approximately right. That's when they

updated Superman, made him a television reporter rather than a

newspaper reporter, introduced a lot of new characters at that

point. Denny O'Neill took over writing.

SR: You know the Superman that you and Swan did for so

many years has been called the definitive Superman. How do you

feel about that characterization?

Anderson: Well, that's, that's sort of in the eyes of the

beholder. I think Curt's had many good inkers over the years. And

I personally liked a lot of the stuff that George Klein and Stan

Kaye, well there were a couple of others. I think Shelly Moldoff

even inked some of the, Curt's pencils. So, he never really hadšj______Ü

bad inking. I think he always had good, and it depended on the

tastes of the individual looking at the stuff.

SR: Yeah. After you had worked on it I know they brought

Al Williamson in for a couple of years. How did you like Al's

inking?

Anderson: Oh, I liked Al's very much. He's one of my favorite

artists, you know. He's a very good friend and also a favorite

artist.

SR: You did "Supermanù with Swan until, what, was it the

early eighties, or longer?

Anderson: No. Off and on I would, I worked on Curt up until I

took over the "P.S. Magazineù contract, which was in 1973, and at

that point I was doing a lot of the "Supermanù inks, and I was also

inking a lot of Bob Brown on "Superboyù and doing some work on

inking "Batmanù over Irv Novick and Bob Brown and so forth. I only

inked one Batman story over Carmine and that was a commercial

story. It appears in one of the anthologies, or collections of

"Batmanù. "Batmanù, I guess with the Joker, Batman/Joker stories. And

it was picked up and ran like it had been in a comic book, but it

never had been.

SR: Was that like in a giveaway comic or something?

Anderson: Yeah, something like that.

SR: Yeah, and I remember seeing some pinups that you did

over Infantino pencils of the "Batmanù villains.

Anderson: Oh, yeah. We did those and that was something, a

project that was a very good idea, but it was ahead of its time.

And they couldn't sell those. They wound up having contests,

giving them away and they ran special ads and selling them at a

discounted price and so forth. It was a very elaborate project

and I thought they were quite successful artistically.

SR: I agree, and I know that somebody must have liked

them because they've been reprinted so often.

Anderson: Yeah, well they were used a lot. As a matter of fact,

the one is sort of a classic, of Batman and Robin on a rooftop.

And it served as a, line art from it served as a wall decoration

in the lobby of 909 Third Avenue. You get off the elevator in

there and that thing blown up to eight or nine foot height was

staring you in the face.

SR: That must have been kind of gratifying to see your

work blown up like that.

Anderson: Yeah, yeah. I mean you always appreciate anyone that

you know indicates positive feelings for your work.šj______ÜŒ

SR: What are you currently working on, Mr. Anderson?

Anderson: Well, currently I'm just running a business. And I'm

also doing a little bit of work on the side, but not too much.

I'm working on a project right now for a movie outfit called, oh,

Full Moon. Are you familiar with the firm?

SR: No, I can't say I am.

Anderson: Well, Deni Loubert is working with them and they're

producing a special comic book, well it's not really a comic

book. It'll be a coffee table, a large size book. I think the

size will be something on the order of eleven by seventeen, in

that range. And I'm doing one story in it and there are several

other artists that I've helped Deni find and she also found a

couple on her own. Howard Chaykin is writing the series. And what

it is is there's a series of six, for video stores only, movies

being made and this will be part of a promotional thing. There'll

be a hardcbound coffee table type book that will be given to

video shop owners as part of a promotional thing.

SR: And are you pencilling and inking?

Anderson: Yeah.

SR: From what you're saying, are you still doing any

work at DC?

Anderson: A little bit, I inked a six page Curt Swan Superman

contribution that's part of the issue seven hundred is it, that's

coming out. The six pages are interspersed throughout the entire

book. There wasn't a story exactly. It's a part of the overall

story.

SR: But now it seems like you're concentrating on doing

work for your own firm?

Anderson: Right, and we have some things that we're working on

right now.

SR: Are you mostly doing commercial art, like

advertising art?

Anderson: No, we've been doing color separations for the last ten

years. See, I held the "P.S. Magazineù contract for some ten years,

and up until 1983, and since then we've been doing basically

separations for comic books. And I do an occasional art job.

SR: If you've been doing it for ten years it must be

going over pretty well.

Anderson: Well, it has been, yeah, but the technology is changing

so much, you know, things are going more and more to computersšj______Ü

and they're, and more and more colorists are actually doing the

separations as a color on a computer. So, that's changing the

complexion of what we do.

SR: Do you think you'll go into the new technology?

Anderson: Well, we're working on it, yes. That's one of the

things we're working on. We have done some computer separations,

and we're doing more, but it's a totally different beast than it

has been.

SR: It seems like many aspects of the business are

changing now, you know, with the new printing technologies. I

know that they're starting to do some of the lettering on

computers.

Anderson: Right.

SR: And it seems like every aspect is changing.

ANMDERSON: Oh yeah, well, it's affecting everything from inserts,

you know, advertising inserts like the supermarkets and so forth

do, or the Sears and Bradley's and so forth, all that's being

done on computers now. It's already been typset, all that sort of

thing.

SR: What do you think of the new comic books that have

computercgenerated art?

Anderson: Well, I don't know. Imean it depends on which one

you're talking about. Some of them are quite ambitious and some

kind of leave me cold. But for special stories they work fine.

SR: Did you see the "Batman: Digital Justiceù book?

Anderson: Well, I think I know the one you're talking about, by

Pepe Moreno?

SR: Yeah, that was computercgenerated.

Anderson: Yeah, yeah. We've worked with that film here a great

deal, you know. One of the things we've done for DC over the

years is regenerate a lot of film for their foreign sales. And

that film has been in here a number of times for us to different

things with, and so I'm familiar with it. It shows one of the

problems with that kind of material because if you want to change

balloons and so forth, where there's color in the balloons you

right away get into trouble. So, sound effects can't be changed

easily, and you know, that sort of thing. Where if it's line art,

done the conventional way, you could go into it and in the dark

room do some things to it, delete and add and so forth. But when

it's computercgenerated, it's very difficult to do anything.

SR: You know, that's an interesting take on that. That'sšj______Ü

something I've never even considered.

Anderson: Well, yeah, now, of course if they keep all the

electronic data they can go back and put it back on the screen

and work on it from that end and then generate new film, which is

what will have to be done, but in the beginningj when they

started using computercbased stuff, no one was saving that

material and a lot of it couldn't be saved. So, I think as time

passes they're going to start archiving a lot of the books that

way and they'll be able to pull them out and make changes on them

if they need to. It's just another way things are changing.

SR: Yes. An electronic library instead of a paper one.

Anderson: Yeah, well it makes a lot of sense if you stop to think

about it. And of course a lot of the artwork is probably not, if

they do it the most economical way, they'll probably make a lot

of changes in artwork and so forth and put it together on a

computer and there may not be any original art as such at that

point.

SR: Do you think the business will ever reach a point

where rather than an artist, you'll have a technician at a

console or do you think the comic book business will always need

artists?

Anderson: Well, when you say artist, if you're talking about

creative people, you'll always have to have creative people. As

to where it's going ultimately, who knows? They're already able

to take stuff and change it, twist it, and so forth. A lot of art

is prepared and given to people and they put it on the computer

and make it change it around and so forth. Some of the computers

we've been looking at over the years, I mean as much as five or,

five years or more back, I've seen photographs taken then on the

computer and they can actually alter a face. I remember seeing a

technician take a portrait of a girl who had a Mona Lisa kind of

smile and he actually opened up her mouth, gave her teeth, gave

her dimples, everything, you know, right on the computer. And you

couldn't tell it.

SR: I saw one in "Scientific Americanù that was a picture

of Marilyn Monroe holding hands with Abe Lincoln.

Anderson: Yeah, well that's the kind of thing. And put in the

hands of a creative technician, although there again, you have to

have someone that's an artist and creator, but not in the sense

that he could sit down and draw a comic book page. That's a

different discipline. And, so I don't know. Who knows where it's

going, and you see all these animated features now that would

have been impossible before the computers. You couldn't have

hired enough people to do them. Now, this stuff, I don't know

exactly how they do all that, but I can see, you know, from the

computer stuff we study here, the possibilities of doing all this

stuff on a computer. You know, doing the animation starting with

a basic figure and just changing it a little as you go along,šj______Ü

changing backgrounds and all that sort of thing right on the

computer, so it's made possible all this fantastic amount of

material that's coming out now. In the old days, you know, it

took Disney three or four years to produce a feature film, you

know, "Snow Whiteù, or what have you. Those were projects that were

in the works for sometimes eight or ten years. "Fantasiaù and all

that sort of thing took a tremendous amount of effort and

planning. Now, it seems to be duck soup for a computer.

SR: Mr. Anderson, just in closing, I was wondering, just

in closing, who have been some of your favorite writers who've

scripts you've worked on in the pastj and maybe give me a reason

why you liked that person's work.

Anderson: Well, I must say I've always been blessed with good

writers, going back I would say, I'll go back to a story, with DC

days, with when I started in 1950. I worked with Edmond Hamilton,

Manly Wade Wellman, John Broome, Gardner Fox, of course. John

Broome was quite a good writer and he wrote a lot of stuff for

Julie, but he was never able to match Gardner in production. His

stuff showed a lot more contemplation and he worked very hard to

edit copy down to small balloon size and so forth. I mean to edit

it down to where you didn't have so much verbiage, and still say

what you wanted it to say and a lot of writers I think just write

what pops into their heads, you know. That doesn't mean it's not

good, but it's sort of like writing poetry if you're just going

to edit it down to its just bare essentials and still

(indechipherable), I'm sorry am I..?

SR: Oh, no, I'm sorry.

Anderson: Am I overrunning your time here?

SR: No, no, I accidentally touched a button on my tape.

Sorry. So, you liked Broome's work?

Anderson: Oh, yeah, very much. And Denny O'Neill was another

favorite.

SR: What about other artists you worked with? Were there

any pencillers you liked more than others?

Anderson: Well, I guess Curt Swan was a perhaps, the easiest all

around one I was in tune with.

SR: What did you like best about Curt's work?

Anderson: Well it's just that he puts everything in, you know, he

doesn't get hurried or anything. Everything's done at a certain

pace and it's very conscientiously done. And that seems to be the

way that I like to work, too. Other artists are more stylized and

sometimes I'm not as in tune with them as I am with someone that

draws very realistically like, I think, Curt does.

šj______ÜŒSR: How did you like inking Gil Kane's work?

Anderson: Well, that was very easy because Gil was basically a

realistic artist and only in recent years he's gone, you know, a

little more for the Kirby kind of thing, but he's still basically

very straight.

SR: Looking back on your whole career, were there any

jobs or characters that you had a particular fondness for?

Anderson: Well, my favorite character in all the comics that I've

worked on are read over the years, would have to be "Buck Rogersù.

That's partly because I grew up on Buck, maybe when I was eight

or nine years old I became aware of the strip and it was a dream

come true when I worked on the feature.

SR: And you were lucky enough to work on it twice.

Anderson: Yeah. Right.

SR: I guess that will do it for me unless you have

anything you want to add.

Anderson: No, I don't know. I mean, if you would get into this

and you have some other questions, things you want clarified, I

would be happy to talk to you and I would like to see a draft of

anything you're going to do.

SR: I don't see a problem with that. Let me check with

my editor and I'll get back to you.

Anderson: Well, when I talked to him, and he set this up, I

assume that's who you're talking about. Darnall?

SR: Steve Darnall? Right.

Anderson: Yeah.

SR: Well, if it's okay with Steve, certainly, Mr.

Anderson.

Anderson: Well, yes, that was one of the ground rules, that I

would like to see it and just check for accuracy, I'm not going

to try to check, unless my grammar's particularly bad, I'm not

going to change that, but I'd just like to make sure you have

spellings and dates and things right.

SR: Yeah, if you could mostly check the spelling of

names and stuff.

Anderson: Yeah, because that's always a problem, especially names

you may never have heard. I'll throw the name Dille out to you.

SR: Pardon?

Anderson: I'll throw the name Dille?

SR: Oh, John F. Dille?

Anderson: Oh, of course, you're on to how to spell that, I guess,

but a lot of people are thrown by that name.

SR: Yeah, it doesn't look like it would be pronounced

that way.

Anderson: No, not at all, and it's a Scotch name on top of it.



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