What brought you to Impact?
I was a part of Mike Gold's Development Group at DC, and we
sort of shaped Impact together from the beginning. We were
looking for a line of comics that would be good
"entry-level" super-hero comics for younger readerswhich
was one of our charges from on high. Gold mentioned the Archie
heroes, I recall our thinking being that we could do with them
what DC had done with the Charleton heroes. I recall that we
looked at acquiring or leasing other preexistent (though dormant)
hero universes as well, including (I seem to remember) the Tower
comics Thunder Agents. Obviously the Mighty Heroes are the ones
we went with.
What was your first
introduction to the Mighty Crusaders?
I remember reading the Mighty Heroes during the post Batman
TV, camp-hero boom of the late '60s. As a kid, I guess I didn't
realize that they were weird, goofy comics, because I enjoyed
them a lot. I especially enjoyed the Fly and the Black Hood. As a
more grown up comic fan, I gained a greater appreciation when I
learned of the Golden Age MLJ comicsand the great Simon and
Kirby Fly and Shield of the late 50s.
Why did your editing stint
on the Fly end after 5 or 6 issues?
I was promoted, plain and simple. I got elevated to be an
editor with DC's mainstream Universe line. I went on to edit
Flash, Wonder Woman, and others (eventually including the JLA
Which book that you edited
did you feel was the best overall book?
Of the Impact books, I enjoyed The Fly the most. This was true
both because of my affection for the character, but also because
I was working with old friends, Len Strazewski and the late,
great, Mike Parobeck. Len and I grew up together in Chicago, and
I had brought Mike into comics on El Diablo. We later went on to
some great fun on the JSA book.
I also greatly enjoyed working with Mark Waid and Tom Lyle on
The Comet and Bill Loebs, David A. Williams and Chuck
Wojtkiewitcz on The Jaguar as well, though. Impact was a great
experience, and I enjoyed the whole thing a lot.
Had you and Mark Waid worked
together before teaming up to write the Crusaders series?
Mark and I had shared an office as junior editors at DC, and
we had cowritten a Detective Comics Annual in 1988. Also, Mark
invented the idea of what became Elseworlds, and he had edited me
on Gotham by Gaslight, the first book of that idea. In addition,
Mark and I had just hit it off as friends almost as soon as we
met at DC in 1987.
How were you told of
Impact's need for retooling?
I was off the editing of the Impact books for a while by that
time, though Mark and I were writing the Crusaders for Jim
Owsley. I don't remember anything remarkable in the news of the
change of direction, though. Jim said that DC was concerned that
the line was slipping in sales and we should consider
"shaking things up." Crucible was our first attempt to
do that, and I think we came up with some pretty exciting stuff.
Why did the original plan
(thanks to Mark Waid for this info), which consisted of the
Crusaders not being the only Impact title--and their adventures
through space and time--get scrapped for the Crucible idea?
To be honest, I don't really recall anything specific. Knowing
how Mark, Jim and I were working, I suspect we just began cooking
up something new and ran with it.
What was planned for the
Crusaders had the cancellation notice not been handed down?
I'm not sure we ever made those plans, but if we did, I just
don't remember, sorry.
Who came up with the
Jim and Mark and I didin a long, wild, very exciting
lunch at TGI Fridays on 52nd Street in Manhattan.
What was originally planned
to happen in the final issue of Crucible?
I seem to recall that Crucible #6 was adjusted to provide more
closure, after it became evident that there weren't going to be
any spin-out books after all. If we had proceeded according to
plan, we would have led directly out of Crucible into the three
What did you guys have
planned for Madame Satan?
I think we had been planning on a multipart storyline
introducing Madame Satan as a literally demonic villain for the
Crusaders. Beyond that impression, alas, the plans are lost to
the mists of my imperfect memory.
Was there any actual ideas
regarding Mr. Justice, or did you guys just see fit to throw his
name in for good measure?
No, we actually intended to reintroduce him and several other
MLJ heroesjust as we did with Steel Sterling in the
back-ups to the "lost" books.
If given the opportunity,
and the marketing needed, do you think the retooled Impact would
I do. Beyond marketing support, though, we would have needed
the same energy and enthusiasm we had at the original launch of
the Impact line. I think that was a challenge we would have risen
to, but we did feel like we were riding on a sinking ship much of
Finish this sentence,
"Ideally, Impact would have______"
...done for comics what Stan Lee's Marvel had done in the
1960s; energize a somewhat stodgy medium, find new spins on
familiar material and introduce new readers to a dynamic,
accessible entertainment experience. That's an idealI
realize that we weren't Stan, Jack and the Mighty Marvel Bullpen,
What was planned for the NEW
Impact after the first issues?
More of the same, I'm sure.
What part did you have in
the creation of the Fly for Impact?
I picked the creative team and worked with them very closely
to recreate the character within the Impact paradigm. It was
What part did you play in
the bringing Black Jack to life?
Part of our challenge as Impact editors and creators was to
slowly incorporate other retooled MLJ characters, with an eye
toward introducing secondary starsas well as characters to
headline potential, second-wave Impact titles. Len, Mike and I
tossed several names from the MLJ list around and Black Jack was
the first one we got to. I liked him very much and I guess I was
pretty much an equal contributor to his recreation. Among other
things, I'm pretty sure I came up with the gambling resort city's
name, Las Arenas (the Sands).
Thanks for the help, Brian!
Thanks for a chance to look back to a special period of fun,
exciting comics creation. I was always privileged to work with
all the great Impact folks.