Did you submit
proposals for the series you wrote/co-wrote, or were you just
told this is how it is, so write it?
The latter. I was a tyro. Only once
I took the book over as sole writer was I allowed to chart my own
When it gives Grant
Miehm credit as the writer (legend of the Shield), and you as the
scripter, did he give you the story, and you just fleshed out the
things they said, or was is co-writing?
I simply dialogued the pencils using his plots
as a guideline. I had no input into the actual stories
So, what did you
find wrong with it?
I honestly don't remember, other than I never
thought the protagonist was particularly sympathetic. It's
hard to justify stealing a multi-billion dollar piece of
equipment from the U.S. Army....
You wrote two of
the Golden Age Shield back-up stories in the Impact Annuals. Were
you given free reign on what to write for these stories?
Yep. They weren't Eisner award winners,
that's for sure, but at least there was some thematic
unity. Plus, I'd just seen HAVANA with Robert Redford and
was influenced by its portrayal of the last days of pre-Castro
Cuba. And "Lucky" Jackson was named after Elvis's
character in VIVA LAS VEGAS. I went through a period where
any time I needed a new civilian character name, I'd take one
from an Elvis movie. Thankfully, I grew out of that.
The artist listed
on those stories is "Turner Allen." Alan
Kupperberg was the Comet artist who went by "Turner
Alan," but says he doesn't really remember doing the Shield
stories. Can you shed some light on that?
Oh, that's absolutely him, though I have no
idea why he used a pseudonym. Maybe he thought he was a
character from an Elvis movie.
What did you think
of Tom Lyle's Comet stories (he wrote 1-6, 8)? Any changes
you think should have been made in the early going?
Not in Comet per se; to the minds of myself and most others
involved, what doomed Impact as much as anything else was the
lunkheaded decision to blatantly market it "for kids."
Kids want to read what their big brothers read; they
don't want to read stuff pandering to them. Once Jim
Owsley took over editorially, we made strides to "toughen
up" the imprint somewhat, but it was too little, too late.
When you took over
as writer, did you decide on a new direction for the character
(Comet), or did you follow where Tom had already planned and
I hope I'm not doing Tom a disservice by
misremembering, but as I recall, I really just went off in my own
direction, no slight to previous stories. In a very real
way, COMET was my prototype for FLASH.
Did the impending
cancellation of the Impact titles cause you to do things you
hadn't planned? (such as...oh, I don't know, killing off the
Such as killing the Comet, yes. Or
writing, like, some of the worst comics ever (CRUSADERS #7-8 were
a train wreck) just to achieve some closure and set up IMPACT:
Did you find it
harder to write the team book, and try to fit into the continuity
of the other books, or was it rather simple (considering you
worked on Comet and Shield anyway)?
I don't really recall it being a problem; editorial
coordination on those books was always pretty strong. There
were only two glaring editorial blunders I remember; one was
giving some villain (I forget who, but you can tell me) her own
trading card when she ended up never actually appearing anywhere,
and the other was partly my fault--no one edited out a joke I
made in the IMPACT WHO'S WHO in the "Web: Silver"
Who was your
favorite Impact character?
The Comet, hands down, but I was prejudiced.
By far, the best BOOK we had was THE BLACK
Did you get a say
in who the artists were on your stories?
Not a one. C'mon, LOOK at some of those
later issues. I'm smarter than THAT...!
Was there a
particular title/issue of your Impact work that you are
especially proud of?
Two things come to mind; the final pages of the
last issue of THE COMET and the text pages I wrote for the first
two issues of JAGUAR and THE FLY.
Who's child was this? Was this something you helped
plan, or was the basic story given to you by Jim Owsley (Priest)?
The basic story was given to us by Owsley, who
was then and remains one of comics' best writers no one knows.
The original proposal as we hammered it out has quite a bit
that never came to fruition and/or was changed once the plug was
pulled on the relaunch.
Rob Conners was a
left-wing activist troughout the time Tom was writing it, but
when you took over, it was more action, and those general
overtones seemed to disappear. Was this a conscious move,
or just a move to get more interesting stories?
Neither; just didn't fit in with the direction
I wanted to go.
Did you have any
plans for the characters for after Crucible, if the miniseries
had been successful?
(NOTE: the answer was given to the interviewer in the form of
photocopies of three titles that never saw the light of day--The
American Shield; Wrath of the Comet; and Mask of the Black Hood,
all written by either Mark Waid or Brian Augustyn)
Mike Gold vs. Jim
Owsley. Can you compare/contrast their editorial styles?
Gold ran a pretty tight ship, but all of us to
this day question some of the charter assignments he made.
Owsley, as I used to say, put the "lazy" in
"laissez-fair," which was generally great; like Brian
Augustyn in FLASH, I wrote it, he printed it; there were no
amateurs in that mix.
If you could
choose, what would be the one thing you would have done different
As I indicated above, for the love of God, I
wouldn't have "kiddified" the launch, particularly
given that the VERY SAME WEEK the Shield #1 came out, so did
MAGNUS, ROBOT FIGHTER #1. That's right--we were up
against the Valiant launch, and they (rightfully, I think) kicked
What would be on
your personal favorites list of your career?
IMPULSE, far and away, and FLASH for the most
part, even though I probably never should have come back for a
second tour of duty.