More names of the layoffs at Marvel are drifting out, including Taylor Esposito and Damien Lucchese and Special Projects’ Production Coordinator Jerry Kalinoski. A total of 12 people were let go from editorial and production.

Also among those laid off: Scott “Pondscum” Elmer, also known as Scummy. Elmer had been with Marvel since the days of Romita’s Raiders, a survivor of bankruptcies and Marvelcutions of the past and a figure of some legend to Marvelites past and present. He’s shown above in a photo with fellow ex-Marvelites John Czop and Steve Bunche.

Our very best to all those let go today.


  1. I sure hope they showed ” pondscum” aka Scott the respect he deserves and gave him a package and some help with future work. Since I started at Marvel comics he has been a big part of the bullpen, doing art corrections, inking trade art for their collections and no one has been as loyal as he has to Marvel comics. He has helped Joe Q and I out many a time during the Marvel Knights period and as dean says above, he really IS Marvel Comics.

    Marvel Comics was his life and in his blood…this is a sad day indeed. Anyone that knows this guy, knows he is one of the greats. Wish I could be there for him in NYC to show how much we will miss him.

    Scott , we are rooting for you my friend. You helped a lot of people over the years, lets hope they put up, stand up and give you a hand. I know I will.


  2. Scummy was and is a legend. I admire him and loved his work. As an editor, I saw firsthand how important he was to Marvel and though we haven’t spoken in a while, I will always respect him and count him as a friend.

    Good luck, scummy!

  3. *DEEP SIGH* And so the slow death of the Marvel Bullpen continues…

    None of this surprises me and I am appalled that they let Pondscum go. Appreciation is seldom shown to those who toil in the trenches of the comics majors and the kind of loyalty and dedication lived and breathed by Scummy on a daily basis is more often than “rewarded” with low pay, few or no perks, and eventually, as was the case here, being shown the door once some faceless corporate bean-counter who doesn’t even know the individual in question or the years of quality service they’ve put in for the company looks on a tally sheet and determines that so-and-so has the highest among the meager salaries in the Bullpen and therefore can be removed like an unwanted polyp. (Scummy was there for close to two decades, so take reasonable yearly raises in meager pay into account and think of that from the POV of some corporate accounting drone.) I should know. The exact same thing happened to me, but to have that happen to Scummy, who was truly the last of the classic Bullpenners who more than gave a damn about what he did and truly loved comics as a medium and an art form — something that cannot be said about far too many people in the job of making comics — is a downright disgrace. When the companies totally devalue and thoughtlessly discard the staffers with hands-on art skills who actually care about making the books look great and preserving the legacy upon which an empire was built, that simply speaks for itself and also speaks to the state of the majors as a whole.

    And Jerry Kalinowski — note the correct spelling, please — was there even longer than Pondscum (by a smidge), so from the days when I worked there I believe there may remain only two of the Bullpenners I soldiered with side by side. And I know this sounds negative but I am nothing if not a realist: I wouldn’t bet on either of them being held onto for much longer, either. Remember, kiddies, in this day and age, loyalty and staunch service only earns you a big boot straight up the backside.

  4. Classic case of a buyout. They wait a little while and poof! restructuring (means cutting jobs really) to save a few millions which will be offset by the big fact bonuses the executive team will earn as they improve the bottom line. Way to go Disney, screw up Marvel, which was already on a downward spiral…..happy DC did what they had to do to shock the market a little. Everyone criticized DC, but so far the new DC is way cooler than the old continuity-geeky one.

  5. It’s always sad when a hard-working caring person loses his or her job–especially someone who makes comics. Speking from the point of view as one who worked at Marvel for almost twenty years (1977-1996), I can attest that the good news is there is life after Marvel. All the wonderful attributes, skills and qualities and experience that Pondscum had he gets to keep and take with him as he walks out the door a free man. The good news is that comics is alive and well in the world, more so than ever before. So, Pond, if you’re reading this, do not despair, my friend, because it was not Marvel that made you and others like you who you are, but quite the other way around. Your best days are yet to come.

  6. Pond Scum is the most respected person and artist amongst those of us who KNOW and have been around for decades. It’s a TRAVESTY…but he’s got lots of people that are gonna give him work now. For the record: Getting into comics is ridiculously hard…STAYING in comics is near-impossible!

  7. I’m finding it difficult to express the degree of my disgust upon hearing this.

    For the past 10-15 years, there seems to be this ubiquitous trend of corporate half-wits methodically removing the soul from their own companies (in the name of the bottom line), and (of course) collecting sizable compensation no matter what the outcome. The short-sightedness of this tactic is tough to ignore if you’re a person of even rudimentary reasoning skills, but nevertheless it seems everyone who’s creative, intelligent or even interesting in any way is being ousted even from workplaces who ought to value their talent as the plutonium rods that fuel the plant.

    Greed and banality have become top job skills, loyalty/seniority is meaningless, and artists have become disposable. The fact that Scummie and Jerry (Fidgar!) fell victim to this trend after so many years at Marvel is depressing as hell.

    My condolences, guys. Marvel saved a few bucks by booting a couple of priceless employees.
    That’s some genius management, right there.

  8. Best wishes to Scott and Jerry. And remember: you cannot fax a tuna fish sandwich. Just sayin’.

  9. Pond Scum’s name came up last weekend when Dave Sharpe and I were catching up on old times. We both agreed he’s a great guy. Wish you all the best, dude (and to all the others who were released, too).

  10. Jimmy, Bunche, Rick, Dave and Tulip are much more eloquent than I; they express for me what I’d want to write for Scummy and Jerry. Good luck to both of you, Scummy, keep your chin up, good luck to everyone who was let go, whether we’ve met or not. It’s incredibly traumatic to lose a place you’ve given every waking minute of your day for 20 years.

    Take care of yourselves, follow your passion. Or, what the hell, grab a beer and head down to Occupy Wall Street.

  11. I am very sorry to learn about the layoffs at Marvel today. Jerry and Pondscum, who I used to call Scott, are extremely talented, loyal individuals. Shame on Marvel for this and the other moves made today. There is life after Marvel, but it won’t be the same. Doing something you love for so long is a gift-and some corporate entity just snuffed out someone’s livelihood to save a few bucks on the bottom line. Disgusting…

  12. I met Pondscum years ago (was never told his real name) on a personal tour of the Marvel offices. When I was there, a problem had arisen at Pond’s drawing table. He was prepping an old piece of Rob Liefeld Cable art for a trade paperback cover and the discussion arose whether to add in feet into the drawing, or just ink new clouds over where Cable’s feet should have been.

    Pond took the pen and started inking clouds, then passed the ink pen around to give anyone who wanted to do a cloud a chance. I inked a few cloud tufts and passed the pen along. I felt like I was part of history. Sorry to hear about the layoffs. Good luck, Scott.

  13. Ouch.
    Well, big plans… I guess.
    While there may not be life after Comics, there is life after Marvel. It’s not 20 years down the drain or anything. My best to Jerry & Scott.


  14. Best of luck to all those who lost their jobs today. Try to view whatever comes next as an opportunity. That’s a crappy way to trim the fat of a corporate budget. A lot of the country is going through similar pains right now…

  15. What a shame. Two editors I have worked for are leaving. Alejandro and Rachel were great to work for and I will miss them. There is plenty of dead weight up there that could have been cut if they are serious about cost cutting.
    Best of luck out there.

  16. It is a shame to see anyone get laid off in these economic times!! It shows that every industry is affected, no matter how cool the job is or how important the people are to the job. Good luck!! I’m sure you guys will bounce back!!

  17. Well, this just sucks. Jerry, Pond Scum, I’ve been thinking about you guys all day. Hoping for the best for you and everyone else affected by these moves.

  18. It’s a shame when hard-working behind-the-scenes artists who help get the comics out on time are let go like this, because they’re just as important (if not more) than the editors. I wonder how much of this was a decision of Marvel and how much was a decision by their Disney parents to try and cut costs and thinking that they can maintain quality and timeliness without having these important support staffers.

  19. You know, I didn’t work at Marvel all that long, but the Raiders were there every morning and half-way through the night. I wasn’t sure why Scott was called PondScum — but I knew there was HUGE respect there. The few times I needed something from a raider, well lets just say that I NEVER EVER had an issue.

    All of them, Czop, Scott, Steve…
    You guys made marvel, well…MARVEL. I’m saddened by this except for the fact that anytime the nu-Marvel needs this type of work, well they’ll have to pay through the nose now.

    And that my friends, brings a HUGE smile to my face. Keep PondScum’s number in your Rolodex Marvelites, now you can pay him 5 times what you were paying him before!

    That’s progress!

  20. So is there where DC execs take a page from Marvel and now state “Hey Marvel, if you don’t want them, we’ll take them”? Oh that’s right, DC has more class. Marvel, House of Foot in Mouth.

  21. Oh yeah, when I think DC Comics, I think classy. Nothing says class like Nightwing #1, where two cops got their throats slashed in a double shower of blood, or Identity Crisis, where a pregnant woman is burned to death.

  22. My first weeks at Marvel Comics I was terrified of Pond Scum. I was doing a sketch and needed a ruler, a production assistant told me that the guy who sat in the back named “Pond Scum” would hook me up with a ruler. I was like “THAT GUY IS NAMED POND SCUM?!?!?!?!” I was like “Hell no! Look at that dude! He looks like he might be able to go toe to toe with Satan himself!” I did not want to talk to him at all. I avoided eye contact.

    But Sure enough I spoke to Mr. Scum and he turned out to be one of the nicest and amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Period. He is just awesome and very down to earth, and always willing to help people out. He’s kinda like the Willie Nelson of comics. Scummy, You got support, 100% of the way.

  23. I’m always sorry to hear people losing their jobs, I’ve been one of them in the past. But, to hear about Pondscum? Man, that hits home. I remember during my SVA days in the mid-nineties I met Pondscum for the first time subbing my class for Gene Colan. Those were good times and I learned a lot from the man and worked with him again when I interned for Marvel my senior year. Change is happening fast these days with the big two and the people who have worked for them are few and far between than what I grew up with reading about them. You’ll be missed Pondscum, I wish you well sir!

  24. Outward and upward. :) Greatest thing to ever happen to anyone. Loyalty means nothing to corporations, the only concern is keeping the light on.

    Talent has a way of shining, in a land of opportunity, take full advantage of it! :) All the best to everyone!! :)

  25. Marvel let Scott “Scummy” Elmer go?

    Well, I guess they just shrugged off that last shred…

    Was equally sorry to hear about Ski being laid-off. Two men who I have nothing but fond memories of, and endless respect for.

  26. A tidbit from Jim Shooter on Perlmutter’s penny-pinching ways and their effects on unpublished issues:

    Dear Jerry,

    Mike Marts, DC editor fresh from Marvel, told me that constraints on inventory, per Perlmutter, were so strict that an editor could not possibly build up any lead time on any issue of any book. Everything, all expenditures, were honed to the bone. The days of editors having “four in the drawer” were/are looong gone.

    If Marvel did try to hire experienced editors in the near future, why would anyone want to go there?


  27. Appreciation and legacy are outdated in the modern corporate world. I had the absolute pleasure to work beside Pondscum and Jerry during my stint at Marvel; two decent, dependable guys that deserve better.
    Guys, if you read this, there is life after Marvel, and it can, in fact, be better. I wish you both (and Ski) the best of luck in future endeavors. My thoughts are with you.
    Ed Laz