Ah social media! A place of terrors and violence…but also sometimes of learnings!
Joe Quesada, the CCO of Marvel , and Bill Schanes, a legendary figure in the history of comics distribution at Pacific Comics and later Diamond, have both strolling down memory lane on their feeds of late. And the strolls are quite informative!
On Twitter and Facebook Joe Q has been posting pictures under “Nights before Knights” do mark the 20th anniversary of Marvel Knights, the imprint that really kicked off a lot of the “modern era” of comics. He’s also posting pictures from his own publishing company, Event Comics, founded with Jimmy Palmiotti, which published ASH and was one of the more successful small presses in the “chromium/post Image” era.
This was a low time for comics, but Quesada and Palmiotti were having a blast working with some of the industry’s most talented people. And also hanging out in classic 90s New York locales. I will confess I was a witness or participant in some of these shenanigans, and I’m so glad I was.
Quesada’s feed shows that the 90s may have been cool, but they also had some strange fashions and hairstyles. His whole feed of late has been a goldmine, so just a few examples
Nights Before Knights: Chicago Con '94. This might have been the first time we unveiled the Event Comic's booth at a show. We spent more than we had on that bad boy but there was a lot of money being thrown around at the cons and we needed to do the best we could to stand out. pic.twitter.com/jDF1CVDSfO
— JoeQuesada (@JoeQuesada) September 25, 2018
Bill Schanes’s history tales are a bit more inside baseball, but if you want to know about the dawn of the direct sales market, I recommend checking out his recent posts. I’ve posted a couple of them here (with Bill’s permission.)
The first is just………….
In case this can’t be read, here’s the text:
From time to time, I’m going to start to post some true crazy and or amazing stories from the past which I was directly involved in.
When Pacific Comics was an ongoing business, we had 4 different divisions. Pacific Comics – retail stores, Pacific Comics – mail order, Pacific Comics – distributor, and our publishing arms – Blue Dolphin Enterprises, Pacific Comics (PC Comics), and Schanes & Schanes.
Pacific Comics, the distributor was buying directly from both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, plus other publishers. I had never met any of the Marvel senior business people, so Ed Shukin – VP of Circulation at Marvel and I agreed to meet during one of the earlier San Diego Comic Conventions, and I chose to meet Ed at the fountain in front of the old downtown San Diego convention center, and then we’d go to lunch afterwards.
I was a little early and Ed walked up and introduced himself to me. Ed was clearly much older than I was, and he was dressed in a leisure suit, while I was much more causal, a pull over polo shirt, jeans, and flip flops. We chatted for a few minutes, and Ed asked if I could wait, as he was looking at a beautiful young woman not far away, and he told me he wanted to go over to introduce himself to her. I had originally misheard him, as I hadn’t seen the young woman he was referring to, and I thought I heard he wanted to say hi to someone he already knew.
I said fine, turned to see the young woman, and said go ahead. Ed walked over, and it was obvious that he didn’t know her, but pulled a key out of his pocket (I’m assuming to invite her up to his hotel room after our business lunch).
Here’s the rub, the young woman was my girlfriend and future wife. She clearly said no, and when Ed came back to say he was ready to go to lunch to discuss how we could do more business together, I walked over to the young woman and told Ed I had originally invited my girlfriend to join us, but now I felt it was best if we concluded our short meeting, and there was nothing to discuss at that time. Ed said he was sorry, and reach his hand out, which I didn’t respond, and we just walked away. I thought was an absolute ass, as I couldn’t believe any executive would do this, especially in front of a key account on a first face to face meeting.
How can you say “foot in mouth – awkward”!
If only there were a photo of this leisure-suit clad ass. I don’t know much about Ed Shukin, but yyyyech.
Here’s another one from the Schanes memory bank:
Schanes is currently gallivanting around the world, so the memories are on hold (although a few more have been publicly posted.)
As a bonus, on both Schanes’ and Quesada’s posts, the comments are also full of memories from participants. (Although you may tire of Robert Beerbohm (inside joke.)).
The internet is far from forever. I hope come comics historian start writing down these histories and more in a more permanent (read: book) form soon!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.