Mike Friedrich

Mike Friedrich (/ˈfriːdrɪk/; born March 27, 1949)[1] is an American comic book writer and publisher best known for his work at Marvel and DC Comics, and for publishing the anthology series Star*Reach, one of the first independent comics. He is also an artists representative.

His notable works include runs as the regular writer of DC's Justice League of America and Marvel's Iron Man.

Mike Friedrich
Mike Friedrich, 1982
BornMarch 27, 1949 (age 69)
Area(s)Writer, Publisher
Notable works
Iron Man
Justice League of America
AwardsInkpot Award 1980


Early life and career

The Spectre #3 (April 1968): Friedrich's first published work. Cover art by Neal Adams.

Mike Friedrich, who is unrelated to fellow Silver Age of Comics writer Gary Friedrich, entered comics professionally after years of writing to DC letter columns in the 1960s and developing a mail acquaintanceship with the famously responsive editor Julius Schwartz. "My letter-writing began around the time the 'new look' Batman was introduced, though I'd been a fan of Julie's for two or three years before then. A couple of years later it turned into a bit of correspondence as Julie began to send short replies," Friedrich recalled.[2] Schwartz, after rejecting an Elongated Man story Friedrich submitted, bought Friedrich's first professional script on May 10, 1967, a 10-page Robin backup story ("Menace of the Motorcycle Marauders",[2] drawn by penciler Chic Stone and inker Joe Giella) and eventually published in Batman #202 (cover-dated June 1968) as Friedrich's third published comics story.[3][4]

Friedrich used the $10-per-page payment to visit New York City the following month, after his high school graduation, and took a DC Comics tour in order to meet Schwartz in person. "That first summer," Friedrich recalled, "he worked with me on a handful of scripts, including the one that was first to be published, The Spectre #3" (April 1968; reprinted in Adventure Comics Digest #496, Feb. 1983),[2] in which Friedrich teamed with artist Neal Adams on the 25-page supernatural superhero story, "Menace of the Mystic Mastermind".[3] Almost immediately afterward, the same month, Friedrich published the full-length Batman story "The Man Who Radiated Fear", penciled by Stone ghosting for Bob Kane, in Batman #200 (March 1968).[3]

DC and Marvel Comics

Friedrich quickly began writing stories for a number of DC publications, including Challengers of the Unknown, Detective Comics, The Flash and Teen Titans. With penciler Jerry Grandenetti in Showcase #80 (Feb. 1969), he reintroduced the supernatural-mystery story narrator the Phantom Stranger, created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino in 1952.[3] He wrote the 30th anniversary Batman story in Detective Comics #387 (May 1969) which was drawn by Bob Brown.[5] Friedrich's first extended run on a title was on the superhero-team series Justice League of America from #86–99 (Dec. 1970 – June 1972); in the story "The Most Dangerous Dreams of All" in issue #89 (May 1971), he himself makes a cameo appearance and breaks the fourth wall at a time when such experimentation in the mainstream was rare. He had previously scripted "His Name Is... Kane", in House of Mystery #180 (June 1969), in which the short tale's penciler, Gil Kane, stars as an artist drawing for DC Comics and venturing into the physical House of Mystery.[3] Friedrich co-created Merlyn in Justice League of America #94 (Nov. 1971)[6] and the character was adapted into the Arrow TV series in 2012.[7]

Star*Reach #7 (Jan. 1977): Cover by Barry Windsor-Smith.

Moving to Marvel after four years, Friedrich scripted every issue of Iron Man but three from #48–81 (July 1972 – Dec. 1975).[3] In issue #55 (Feb. 1973), he co-scripted the introduction of the popular characters Thanos and Drax the Destroyer, created and co-scripted by artist Jim Starlin.[8][9]

Other work includes issues of Marvel's Captain America, Captain Marvel (where he worked with artist Jim Starlin on the latter's transition to writer on an acclaimed run of that series),[10] The Power of Warlock, "Ka-Zar" in Astonishing Tales, "Ant-Man" in Marvel Feature, and The Outlaw Kid, writing a short-lived revival of Doug Wildey's Western series from Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics.


Friedrich's most notable contribution may be his 1970s anthology series Star*Reach, a forerunner of the independently produced comics that proliferated, beginning in the 1980s, with the rise of the "direct market" of comic-book stores.[11] Star*Reach styled itself as a "ground-level" comic book[12] – not an underground comix publication, but also not mainstream or "overground". Eighteen issues were released between 1974 and 1979, with Friedrich's same-name publishing company expanding to other series, including Quack; Imagine; and Lee Marrs' Pudge, Girl Blimp, along with a number of one-shot comics, before closing down. For this and other efforts, Friedrich received an Inkpot Award at the 1980 San Diego Comic-Con.[13]

Comics historian Richard J. Arndt wrote in 2006 that Star*Reach

...was an independent comic, long before anyone seriously mentioned or had even really conceived of an indy market that could challenge the major publishers. At its beginning, Star*Reach sold through the few comic shops around, as well as head shops, or via subscriptions and mail order. ... [It] published mostly science fiction and fantasy stories, at a time when the conventional wisdom was that those genres didn't sell. Plus, they were intelligent science fiction stories. If you read Tolkien or Heinlein or Bester or Le Guin, these stories fit right in. ... Michael T. Gilbert, John Workman, Lee Marrs, Robert Gould, Dave Sim, Ken Steacy, Dean Motter, Gene Day and Paul Kirchner got their first major exposure here. ... Howard Chaykin's Cody Starbuck and Gideon Faust characters both demonstrated what Chaykin was really capable of, long before the mainstream allowed him the same creative freedom.[14]

Friedrich closed Star*Reach as a publisher in 1979 but reopened it as a talent agency in 1982.[15] In the 2000s, Friedrich served as Chair of the National Legislative Committee for the Graphic Artists Guild, while a member of the California/Northern chapter.[16]


Friedrich, in partnership with Joe Field, owned and operated the San Francisco Bay Area comic book convention WonderCon for 15 years before selling it to Comic-Con International in 2001.[17]


Atlas/Seaboard Comics

  • Wulf the Barbarian #4 (1975)

DC Comics

Marvel Comics

Skywald Publications

  • Butch Cassidy #1 (1971)
  • Nightmare #1 (1970)

Star Reach

  • Imagine #1–5 (1978–1979)
  • Parsifal #1 (1978)
  • Quack #1–6 (1976–1977)
  • Star Reach #2–5, 7–8, 10–14, 16–18 (1975–1979)
  • Within Our Reach #1 (1991)


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on October 30, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Text of Mike Friedrich statements at "Julie Schwartz: The Memorial Service". Challenger (20). Summer 2004. Archived from the original on May 31, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Mike Friedrich at the Grand Comics Database
  4. ^ Forbeck, Matt; Dougall, Alastair, ed. (2014). "1960s". Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 98. ISBN 978-1465424563. In this milestone issue, written by Mike Friedrich and drawn by Chic Stone, the Scarecrow devised a method of radiating fear into his foes and terrified Batman and Robin.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Forbeck "1960s" in Dougall, p. 101: "The main story, written by Mike Friedrich and drawn by Bob Brown, celebrated Batman's 30th anniversary by updating the first Batman story [from Detective Comics #27]."
  6. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. In November's Justice League of America #94, the League of Assassins assigned the marksman Merlyn to kill Batman, as told by scripter Mike Friedrich and artist Dick Dillin.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Adler, Matt (December 11, 2012). "Hollywood Justice #6: Who Is Merlyn?". MTV News. Archived from the original on December 12, 2015.
  8. ^ Iron Man #55 at the Grand Comics Database
  9. ^ "Jim Starlin interview". Adelaide Comics and Books. 2003. Archived from the original on January 5, 2010.
  10. ^ Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 159. ISBN 978-0756641238. In March [1973], the first of Jim Starlin's many sagas of the Marvel heroes' wars against Thanos began. Scripted by Mike Friedrich, this tale [Captain Marvel #25] saw Captain Mar-Vell first meet...Thanos.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Arndt, Richard (2013). The Star Reach Companion. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978-1605490519.
  12. ^ Burchett, Rick, and Ed. Mantels, "Whizzard Talks to Steranko", Whizzard vol. 2, #11 [issue #16] (Summer 1978; published by Marty Klug, 5730 Chatport Road, St. Louis, Missouri), p.13
  13. ^ "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.
  14. ^ Arndt, Richard J. "The Star*Reach Bibliography". WebCitation archive.
  15. ^ Seidman, David (November 29, 1994). "Company Town : Blam! Comic-Book Agents Hit the Scene : Entertainment: As the funnies are adapted for film and CD-ROM, agencies such as Star-Reach are on the rise". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 21, 2016.
  16. ^ "The Guild Goes to Congress" (PDF). Guild News. Graphic Artist's Guild. September–October 2002. p. 6. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  17. ^ Albert, Aaron. "Wondercon Profile", About.com, n.d. WebCitation archive.

External links

  • Mike Friedrich at the Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
  • Comic Book Artist Vol. 2, #2 (Summer 2003): Interview with Mike Friedrich
Preceded by
Robert Kanigher
Justice League of America writer
Succeeded by
Len Wein
Preceded by
Gary Friedrich
Iron Man writer
Succeeded by
Steve Gerber
Preceded by
Steve Gerber
Iron Man writer
Succeeded by
Len Wein
Blue Jay (comics)

Blue Jay (real name Jay Abrams) is a DC Comics superhero and a former member of the Champions of Angor, also known as the Justifiers. He has the ability to shrink to seven inches tall and grow blue wings that allow him to fly. Blue Jay is a homage to the Marvel Comics character Yellowjacket. He first appeared in Justice League of America #87 (February 1971).

Champions of Angor

The Champions of Angor (also known as the Justifiers, the Assemblers and the Meta Militia) are a fictional superhero team in the DC Comics universe. They are a pastiche of the Avengers from the Marvel Comics universe. They were created by Mike Friedrich and Dick Dillin in the pages of Justice League of America #87 February (1971).

Death (Marvel Comics)

Death (also distinguished as Mistress Death and Lady Death) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is a cosmic entity based on the personification of death. The character first appeared in Captain Marvel #26 (Jun. 1973) and was created by Mike Friedrich and Jim Starlin.

Doctor Nemesis

Doctor Nemesis is the name of two fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Dragon Lord (comics)

Dragon Lord is the name of several unrelated fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Drax the Destroyer

Drax the Destroyer (Arthur Douglas) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Jim Starlin, the character first appeared in The Invincible Iron Man #55 (February 1973).

The character's origin story relates that Arthur Douglas was a human whose family was attacked and killed by the supervillain Thanos. Needing a champion to combat Thanos, the being known as Kronos took Arthur's spirit and placed it in a powerful new body, and Drax the Destroyer was born. Drax's powers included enhanced strength and resilience, flight, and the ability to project energy blasts from his hands. The character often battled Thanos, and on occasion the superheroes Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock. He was also a member of the group known as the Infinity Watch.

In 2004, the character lost his flight and energy blasts, and a portion of his strength and resilience. This version of the character played a role in the crossover comic book storylines "Annihilation" and "Annihilation: Conquest", and became a member of the relaunched Guardians of the Galaxy.

Drax has been featured in a variety of associated Marvel merchandise, including animated television series, action figures, and video games. He is portrayed by Dave Bautista in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and the upcoming film Avengers: Endgame (2019).

Gary Friedrich

Gary Friedrich (; August 21, 1943 – August 29, 2018) was an American comic book writer best known for his Silver Age stories for Marvel Comics' Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, and, in the following era, for the series The Monster of Frankenstein and for co-creating the supernatural motorcyclist the Ghost Rider and the supernatural hero the Son of Satan.

Friedrich – no relation to fellow comics writer Mike Friedrich – was the first successful new writer brought into the burgeoning 1960s Marvel after fellow Missourian Roy Thomas. Succeeding Thomas on Sgt. Fury, Friedrich and the art team of Dick Ayers and John Severin produced a World War II series for the Vietnam years, combining militaristic camaraderie and gung ho humor with a regretful sense of war as a terrible last resort. The humanistic military drama was noted for its semi-anthological "The" stories, such as "The Medic" and "The Deserter".

Friedrich went on to write a smattering of superhero stories for Marvel, Atlas/Seaboard Comics and Topps Comics, and eventually left the comics industry. In 2011, he lost a federal lawsuit over a claim of ownership in the character Ghost Rider, but in July 2014, three months after an appellate court reversed that decision, the parties said they had reached a settlement.

ISAAC (comics)

ISAAC is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

ISAAC is an English version of an acronym in the language of the Eternals of Titan standing for: Integral Synaptic Anti+/Anionic Computer.

Jim Starlin

James P. Starlin (born October 9, 1949) is an American comics artist and writer. Beginning his career in the early 1970s, he is best known for space opera stories; for revamping the Marvel Comics characters Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock; and for creating or co-creating the Marvel characters Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora and Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. Later, for DC Comics, he drew many of their iconic characters, especially Darkseid and other characters from Jack Kirby's Fourth World. For Epic Illustrated, he created his own character, Dreadstar.

Lloyd Bloch

Nefarius (Lloyd Bloch), previously known as Moonstone, is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Captain America #169 (1974) and was created by Steve Englehart, Mike Friedrich and Sal Buscema.

Marvel Feature

Marvel Feature was a comic book showcase series published by Marvel Comics in the 1970s. It was a tryout book, intended to test the popularity of characters and concepts being considered for their own series. The first volume led to the launch of The Defenders and Marvel Two-in-One, while volume two led to an ongoing Red Sonja series.

Merlyn (DC Comics)

Merlyn (Arthur King), otherwise known as the Dark Archer, is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. He is a deadly bow-wielding assassin and contract killer who serves as the archenemy of Green Arrow, though writers have developed him over the years as an adversary of other superheroes in the DC Universe as well, such as Batman and Black Canary.

In 2012, the character made his live-action debut on The CW's television series Arrow, portrayed by actor John Barrowman under the name Malcolm Merlyn.


Moondragon (Heather Douglas) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. A powerful telepath, master martial artist, minor telekinetic, and highly skilled geneticist, Moondragon's most notable characteristics are her shaved head, and achieving excellence in virtually every area of human accomplishment.

Unlike most Marvel characters, who have gained their paranormal abilities through birth or accident, Moondragon has strictly achieved her extraordinary talents through extreme degrees of personal regimen. She is openly bisexual, and has been romantically attracted to Daredevil, Thor, Cloud, Quasar, Marlo Chandler, and Phyla-Vell.

Moonstone (comics)

Moonstone is the name of different characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Silver Sorceress

The Silver Sorceress is a DC Comics character and member of the Champions of Angor. She first appeared in Justice League of America #87, (February 1971), and is an homage to the Scarlet Witch.

Star Reach

Star Reach (also spelled Star*Reach) was an American science fiction and fantasy comics anthology published from 1974 to 1979 by Mike Friedrich.

Starbreaker (comics)

Starbreaker is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Justice League of America #96 (Feb. 1972), and was created by Mike Friedrich and Dick Dillin.


Thanos (UK: , US: ) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character, created by writer/artist Jim Starlin, first appeared in The Invincible Iron Man #55 (cover dated February 1973). Thanos is one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe and has clashed with many heroes including the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men.

The character appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portrayed by Damion Poitier in The Avengers (2012), and by Josh Brolin in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019) through voice and motion capture. The character has also appeared in various comic adaptations, including animated television series, arcade, and video games.

Titan (Marvel Comics location)

Titan is a fictional location appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Based on Saturn's real-life moon of the same name, it is depicted in the Marvel Universe as the home of the Titanian Eternals. It first appeared in Iron Man #55 (Feb 1973) and was conceived by Jim Starlin and Mike Friedrich. The Titanians, also known as Titans, were later retconned as being an offshoot of the Eternals, which had been created separately by Jack Kirby.Titan appeared in the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War as a ruined planet and the former home of Thanos.

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