Peter Sanderson just doesn’t get enough appreciation. There we’ve said it. One of comics’ resident historians, he’s been writing about this stuff long enough to know his facts, and he’s one of the best actual writers about comics, as well. For instance, to plug our own PW Comics Week, Peter had this to say about Lyonel Feininger:

Feininger’s great experiment in comics was a commercial failure. Kin-der-Kids was abruptly canceled in November and Wee Willie Winkie’s World came to an end in February 1907, finishing Feininger’s career in comics.

Blackbeard blames the vulgar tastes of the masses and the highbrows’ prejudice against the comics medium. Yet surely Feininger’s writing was also to blame. The Kin-der-Kids had drab one-note personalities, such as Piemouth’s gluttony, comparing poorly with the vivid characters of the Katzenjammers. In this world where anything can happen, Feininger never created a sense that anything, including the dangers that the kids face, had any dramatic meaning.

Similarly, though “Uncle Feininger” tells us about Willie’s reactions to his world, he never dramatized them. In contrast, consider how McCay enabled his readers to sense Nemo’s sense of wonder at Slumberland, and his terror when those wonders turn nightmarish.

Whoa, we loves the Feininger, and treasure his new Fantagraphics reprint of his comics work, but that gives it some context indeed. Peter’s regular Comics in Context column is must-reading for anyone who enjoys an in-depth look at comics events and history in the making. He’s STILL giving a minute by minute coverage of New York Comicon and that was over a month ago! We kid Peter for his exhaustive coverage, but nowhere else can you get a record of such things as the Marvel Bullpen Reunion panel, surely an event that is unlikely to be repeated any time soon.

Turning back to the subject of Flo, Lee told us that “we thought at first Flo was putting on an act.” He recalled that once she was all upset, and it turned out that it was because the office had run out of staples. “You can’t find anyone like that! She cared!”

Joe Sinnott added that it was a pleasure dealing with Flo over the phone: she “had the sweetest voice when she called.”

“You were never mean,” Lee told Flo onstage, setting her up for another gag. “You were wrong often, but never mean.”

On the other hand, Stan claimed “I was scared of Gene [Colan].” More precisely, “If I wanted to make a correction, Gene took it so seriously. Gene, because he took it so seriously: ‘Do you mean a hand has to have five fingers?’”


  1. I really love hearing stories about the old Marvel Bullpen. Stories like these offer a great outline for a possible movie or TV show. It’d be like “Newsradio” mixed with “The Dick Van Dyke Show” only about comic books.