Comic Book Legends Revealed #236
COMIC LEGEND: Marvel’s history of pseudonyms led to a little-credited writer being considered not real.
STATUS: Oddly Enough, True
When Marvel was first getting a name for itself in the early to mid 1960s, artists were a bit wary of totally buying into their success.
Guys like Gene Colan and John Romita were there when the majority of the staff had been fired during the 1950s. They had managed to latch on to steady jobs at DC Comics and they were not going to risk their jobs if Marvel suddenly collapsed like it had a decade earlier.
And since DC did not want “their guys” working for Marvel, people like Colan would use pseudonyms.
Colan penciled under the name “Adam Austin” (here is the credit page of Tales of Suspense #74)…
Well, in Tales to Astonish #64, the book was written by someone named “Leon Lazarus”…
Lazarus only had one other known credit from the 1960s, an issue of American Comics Groups’ Unknown Worlds #6…
So for years, people just presumed that Lazarus was a pseudonym for someone.
Heck, in that very same issue of Tales to Astonish, the great inker George Roussos used a pseudonym to work as “George Bell”!!
But a few years back, it was “discovered” that Lazarus WAS an actual writer/editor for Timely/Atlas/Marvel plus Martin Goodman’s men’s magazines for years. He just went uncredited from 1947 (when Stan Lee hired Lazarus right out of the military after the War) until the mid 1960s.
During the 1950s, he worked as Al Jaffee’s assistant on Marvel’s teen books, like Patsy Walker…
And worked on all the men’s magazines, along with guys like Mario Puzo.
But never credited, so for years he went by as an unknown creator!
Luckily, a few years before his death in 2008, Lazarus was “discovered” and he got to share some of his history with various comic book historians.
Pretty neat, huh?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you likely know by now, at the end of April, my book finally came out!
Here is the cover by artist Mickey Duzyj. I think he did a very nice job (click to enlarge)…
If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…
See you next week!