Steve Skeates

Steve Skeates (/skiːts/; born 1943)[1] is an American comic book creator known for his work on such titles as Aquaman, Hawk and Dove, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and Plop! He has also written under the pseudonyms Chester P. Hazel[2] and Warren Savin.[1]

Steve Skeates
5.21.11StephenSkeatesByLuigiNovi
Skeates at the Big Apple Convention, May 21, 2011.
BornStephen Skeates
1943 (age 75–76)
NationalityAmerican
Area(s)Writer
Pseudonym(s)Chester Hazel
Warren Savin
Notable works
Aquaman
Hawk and Dove
House of Mystery
Warren Publishing titles
AwardsShazam Award 1972, 1973
Warren Award 1973
Bill Finger Award 2012

Early life

Stephen Skeates was born in Rochester, New York, on January 29, 1943.[3] He and his parents lived in the attic of his maternal grandmother's Fairport home until he was four and a half, at which time they and his baby brother moved into a two-story home that his father and uncle had built. His parents tended to describe him as "a dreamer" because he preferred to play alone rather than interact with other children.[4] He enjoyed reading comic books, preferring funny animal antics to the superhero titles.[5] From an early age, he wanted to become a writer, but he found that ambition hampered by the fact that he read very slowly. So, in junior high school and later at Fairport High School,[3] he was drawn to humorists such as James Thurber, Donald Ogden Stewart, S.J. Perelman, and Robert Benchley, who wrote short works.[4] He also loved the parody stories in EC Comics' MAD, subscribing to its comic book incarnation.[5] Skeates set his sights on becoming a humorist himself and writing for magazines, but the popularity of television in the fifties drove many publications out of business.

Still desiring a writing career, Skeates chose his college based on catalog recommendations that it was a good school for writers. However, when he entered Alfred University in 1961, he chose math as his major, which he later called "a truly silly idea from the start." After a year, he changed to English Literature. Despite what the college catalogs had indicated, Alfred offered only one two-credit creative-writing course, in which the instructor, Dr. Ernest Finch, required the composition of only three short stories. As he approached graduation still undecided on a career, Skeates half-heartedly applied to various metropolitan newspapers for reporting jobs. It was at about this time that he discovered the new Marvel Comics being written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. He became an instant fan. Then, "on a whim," he sent the four major comic book firms application letters in the form of comic book captions, "but with me as the central character rather than some superhero!" Marvel editor-writer Lee himself called with the offer of a job as his assistant.[6]

Career

The 1960s and early 1970s

In 1965, Skeates moved to New York City to become Lee's assistant editor, which largely required him to proofread finished comics. His lack of skill for this quickly became apparent, and Lee grew frustrated when obvious artwork errors were overlooked. Within two weeks, Roy Thomas became the new assistant, and Skeates was assigned to write westerns as compensation.[5] Using his brief term as Lee's assistant as a calling card, Skeates picked up work at Tower, Charlton, DC, Gold Key, Red Circle, Archie, and Warren Publishing (for whom he wrote 72 stories from 1971 to 1975). His stories were illustrated by such artists as Dick Ayers, Gene Colan, Alex Toth, Gil Kane, Ogden Whitney, Ramona Fradon, Mike Grell, Wally Wood, and Dick Giordano.

After penning two tales for the second issue of Charlton's mystery anthology The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves (July 1967)--one of which, "The Mystic Book," is a favorite of his—Skeates was given total control of the writing for the title, including introductory pages, through issue #12.[6] With cartoonist Sergio Aragonés, he won the ACBA Shazam Award for the best humor story of 1972, which was "The Poster Plague," a tale that inspired DC's dark-humor anthology Plop!,[7] the series about which Skeates professes to be the proudest because it "spoke quite emphatically to the disillusionment extant at least throughout this country during the so-called Watergate era." In 1973, he shared the best humor story award with Bernie Wrightson for "The Gourmet," which has been reprinted more than any other Skeates-written work.

Favorite co-workers

Of all of his artistic collaborators, Skeates has named as his favorites Pat Boyette, with whom he worked at Charlton (his favorite employer);[8] Jim Aparo, his partner on a highly regarded Aquaman run that lasted until April 1971[9][10] and Steve Ditko, with whom he co-created the quirky team Hawk and Dove in Showcase #75 (June 1968),[11] despite the fact that progressive Skeates and Objectivist Ditko are politically polar opposites. During the 1970s he began a long-standing collaboration with fellow comics writer Mary Skrenes.[12]

Plastic Man

One of the series Skeates wrote at DC in the 1970s was Plastic Man, for which he created the villain Carrot Man, an evil game show host who hit contestants on their heads with a toaster. When that character appeared on the Plastic Man animated show, his creator received no royalties, but the showrunners "tried to make good" by changing Carrot Man's true identity to Stephen Skeates. As a result, people would stop the writer on the street and say, "You were on TV!"[5]

The 1980s

In the early 1980s, Skeates was working for comics "from a distance," writing for Gold Key and Marvel through the mail. In 1984, while he was taking various story ideas into editors' offices, Marvel's Larry Hama tapped him to script the Generic Comic Book, which he did anonymously.[13][14] During the mid-1980s he also co-wrote a handful of episodes of Transformers, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, and Jem.[12]

By the late 1980s, Skeates felt burnt out from trying to write comics for the more demanding hardcore fans and left the industry to take up bartending. This left him with a creative need that was going unfulfilled, so he finally went to the only daily newspaper in the area of his residence and presented its editor with the idea for a locally oriented comic strip called The Adventures of Stew Ben and Alec Gainey, that Skeates would write and draw for the Sunday Spectator, which was the Sunday paper for both The Hornell Tribune (Steuben) and The Wellsville Daily Reporter (Allegany). While it looked like a humor strip, it was actually a continuing adventure story about two private eyes. Skeates was initially afraid that his little section of New York State wasn't ready for the "bizarre mish-mash of stuff that didn't quite mesh" which he was turning out, but readers caught on quickly. The newspaper's publisher did not, however, and wanted the strip canned, but the supportive editor convinced his employer to let the subscribers decide by way of a ballot placed in the paper. Skeates made a bundle of ballot photocopies and bribed his regulars with free drinks to save the strip. After a year (summer 1989-summer 1990) of producing "that very strange little avant-garde entity," Skeates ended his "most interesting experience within the wonderful world of comics" by having his protagonists sacrifice themselves to save the Earth.[6]

1990s–2000s

Skeates moved back to Rochester in 1993 or 1994 to help his mother care for his father, who had developed Parkinson's disease. In 2000, he began writing articles about comics for Charlton Spotlight, and he continued that until 2006. In 2011, Surprising Comics head Mark Davis found some of Skeates's Facebook postings and asked him to write SC's water-based hero Depthon, Son of the Ocean,[6] so he produced a five-page story, with art and lettering by Kenneth M. Johnson,[15] that appeared in All-Surprising Comics #1. He then scripted a seven-pager that was illustrated by Ron Stewart and appeared in Monty's World #1. The fate of a third Depthon script is unknown to Skeates. A number of smaller comics companies proceeded to contact Skeates, including Canada-based Red Lion, whose editor-publisher, Jonathan A. Gilbert, wanted to revive an unsold funny-animal property called Stateside Mouse, which Skeates and artist Joe Orsak had developed twenty years earlier as a World War II-era adventure series[6] (It remains unpublished, but Skeates and Orsak still have hopes for it). At the same time, Skeates self-published a 22-page magazine-sized comic called “Could I Have My Reality Check Please?” which was created in the style of the Underground comix of the sixties and seventies and sold at conventions.

At the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2012, Skeates received the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing.[5] He began writing for Charlton Neo Comics in 2015.[3]

Canadian comics creator Jonathan A. Gilbert has written of Skeates, "The reason Steve is such an influence on me creatively is because of his unique writing style. He is not what I would call a 'pretty writer' but rather takes a subject and puts a unique twist on it that no one else had even considered. He can make the old look new again which is a rare talent in our business."[16]

Awards

Bibliography

Archie Comics

Atlas/Seaboard Comics

  • Western Action #1 (1975)
  • Wulf the Barbarian #3 (1975)

Charlton Comics

DC Comics

Marvel Comics

Tower Comics

  • Noman #1–2 (1966–1967)
  • T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #4–8, 11–14 (1966–1967)
  • Undersea Agent #3–4 (1966)

References

  1. ^ a b Bails, Jerry (2006). "Skeates, Steve". Who's Who of American Comic Books 1928-1999. Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Cassell, Dewey (April 2007). "The Hellish Humor of Plop!". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (21): 21–27.
  3. ^ a b c Skeates, Stephen. "About Stephen Skeates". Facebook.
  4. ^ a b Stroud, Bryan D (August 10, 2015). "Interview with Steve Skeates, Part One". The Silver Age Sage. Archived from the original on October 11, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Young, Bethany (August 6, 2012). "Local comic book king Steve Skeates given lifetime honor". Fairport-East Rochester Post. GateHouse Media. Archived from the original on June 28, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e Davis, Mark F. (n.d.). "Interview: Steve Skeates". Weebly. Archived from the original on October 12, 2016.
  7. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Stroud, Bryan D. (August 21, 2015). "Classic Interview: Steve Skeates Pt. II – 'A Kaiser with Poppy Seeds I believe it was'". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on June 23, 2017.
  9. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 144: "Aquaman's series ended abruptly as writer Steve Skeates and artist Jim Aparo finished off 'The Creature That Devoured Detroit!'"
  10. ^ Kelly, Rob (March 15, 2007). "Aquaman Shrine Interview with Steve Skeates - 2007". The Aquaman Shrine. Archived from the original on October 5, 2014. I honestly could think of no other artist I would have preferred being teamed with.
  11. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 130: "Brothers Hank and Don Hall were complete opposites, yet writer/artist Steve Ditko with scripter Steve Skeates made sure the siblings shared a desire to battle injustice as Hawk and Dove."
  12. ^ a b Schwirian, John (June 2009). "The Unique Voice and Vision of Steve Skeates, part 3". Back Issue (34). TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 81–87.
  13. ^ Cronin, Brian (May 14, 2009). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #207". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013.
  14. ^ Rausch, Joe (April 2014). "Marvel's Offbeat '80s One-Shots". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (71): 64.
  15. ^ Davis, Mark F (January 9, 2012). "Steve Skeates writing for Surprising Comics!". Surprising Comics. Archived from the original on February 22, 2017.
  16. ^ Gilbert, Jonathan A. (July 10, 2010). "E-Dispatches from the Great White North Volume Four, Number Eleven". Dispatchesfromthegreatwhitenorth.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016.

External links

Preceded by
Bob Haney
Aquaman writer
1970–1971
Succeeded by
David Michelinie (in 1977)
Preceded by
Robert Kanigher
Teen Titans writer
1970–1971
Succeeded by
Bob Haney
Preceded by
Arnold Drake (in 1968)
Plastic Man writer
1976–1977
Succeeded by
John Albano
1st Issue Special

1st Issue Special was a comics anthology series from DC Comics, done in a similar style to their Showcase series. It was published from April 1975 to April 1976. The goal was to showcase a new possible first issue of an ongoing series each month, with some issues debuting new characters and others reviving dormant series from DC's past. No series were actually launched from 1st Issue Special but the Warlord made his first appearance in the title and the character's ongoing series was already slated to debut a few months later.

Academy of Comic Book Arts

The Academy of Comic Book Arts (ACBA) was an American professional organization of the 1970s that was designed to be the comic book industry analog of such groups as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Composed of comic-book professionals and initially formed as an honorary society focused on discussing the comic-book craft and hosting an annual awards banquet, the ACBA evolved into an advocacy organization focused on creators' rights.

The ACBA award, the Shazam, was a statuette in the shape of a lightning bolt. In addition to the creative awards, the ACBA also established the Academy of Comic Book Arts Hall of Fame award, inducting Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster as its initial honorees.

Bob Haney

Robert G. Haney (March 15, 1926 – November 25, 2004) was an American comic book writer, best known for his work for DC Comics. He co-created the Teen Titans as well as characters such as Metamorpho, Eclipso, Cain, and the Super-Sons.

DC Graphic Novel

DC Graphic Novel is a line of graphic novel trade paperbacks published from 1983 to 1986 by DC Comics.The series generally featured stand-alone stories featuring new characters and concepts with one notable exception. The Hunger Dogs was intended by Jack Kirby and DC to serve as the end to the entire Fourth World saga. The project was mired in controversy over Kirby's insistence that the series should end with the deaths of the New Gods, which clashed with DC's demands that the New Gods could not be killed off.

As a result, production of the graphic novel suffered many delays and revisions. Pages and storyline elements from the never published "On the Road to Armagetto" were revised and incorporated into the graphic novel, while DC ordered the entire plot restructured, resulting in many pages of the story being rearranged out of Kirby's intended reading order.DC also published from 1985 to 1987 a second, related line called DC Science Fiction Graphic Novel. Rather than being original stories, the graphic novels of this line were instead adaptations of works published by well-known authors of science fiction. These were edited by Julius Schwartz, making use of his connections to recruit the famous authors whose works were adapted. This was the last editorial work Schwartz did before retiring.These two series were DC's counterparts to Marvel Comics' Marvel Graphic Novel line.

Eerie

Eerie was an American magazine of horror comics introduced in 1966 by Warren Publishing. Like Mad, it was a black-and-white magazine intended for newsstand distribution and thus intentionally outside the control of the Comics Code Authority. Each issue's stories were introduced by the host character, Cousin Eerie. Its sister publications were Creepy and Vampirella.

Hawk and Dove

Hawk and Dove are a fictional superhero team that appear in DC Comics. Created by Steve Ditko and Steve Skeates and debuting in Showcase No. 75 (June 1968) during the Silver Age of Comic Books, the duo has existed in multiple incarnations over the years across several eponymous ongoing series and mini-series, and has also appeared in a number of recurring roles and guest-appearances in titles such as Teen Titans, Birds of Prey, and Brightest Day. The most prominent incarnations have been the original pairing of teenage brothers, the temperamental and militant Hank Hall (Hawk) with the well-read and pacifistic Don Hall (Dove I), as well as the current teaming of Hank Hall with Dawn Granger (Dove II), an unrelated young woman who assumes the role of Dove in Hawk and Dove (vol. 2) No. 1 (October 1988) following Don's death in 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series.

The central concept which was originally inspired by the emerging political divides of the 1960s (see war hawks and war doves) traditionally revolves around two young heroes with contrasting personalities and diametrically opposed ideologies who, by speaking their super-heroic aliases, are transformed and granted power sets of heightened strength, speed, and agility. With Dove representing reason and nonviolence and Hawk representing force and aggression, they complement one another and find a state of balance in order to effectively combat evil. With Dawn's introduction, it was revealed that Hawk and Dove receive their powers from the Lords of Chaos and Order, respectively, and that their powers are mystic in origin.

Though the duo's ongoing titles have all been relatively short-lived and their guest-appearances in other titles sporadic, the heroes have experienced a storied and often tragic history. Multiple characters have worn the respective titles of Hawk and Dove at one time or another, and the legacy has endured deaths, resurrections, and even Hank's own descent into madness and subsequent transformation into the mass-murdering despot Monarch and later Extant. A third incarnation of Hawk and Dove debuted in their own 1997 mini-series, though this group featured entirely unique characters and was only linked to their predecessors thematically, if not in namesake alone. Dawn's estranged sister, the British and fiery Holly Granger serves as Hawk in Hank's absence until her own death in 2009's Blackest Night event.

House of Mystery

The House of Mystery is the name of several horror, fantasy, and mystery Comics anthologies published by DC Comics. It had a companion series, House of Secrets. It is also the name of the titular setting of the series.

John Albano

John F. Albano (September 12, 1922 – May 23, 2005) was an American writer who worked in the comic book industry. He was recognized for his work with the Shazam Award for Best Writer (Humor Division) in 1971, and the Shazam Award for Best Individual Short Story (Dramatic) in 1972 for "The Demon Within", in House of Mystery #201 (with Jim Aparo).

Albano's most famous co-creation is the western anti-hero Jonah Hex for DC Comics; he was the writer of books ranging from Adventure Comics to House of Mystery to Archie. Albano wrote stories for comic book novels and wrote for Archie Comics until about 2003.

Albano died in an Orlando hospital after suffering a heart attack and subsequent stroke. He was still active and was working on a musical play at the time of his death. He was 82.

Journey into Mystery

Journey into Mystery is an American comic book series initially published by Atlas Comics, then by its successor, Marvel Comics. Initially a horror comics anthology, it changed to giant-monster and science fiction stories in the late 1950s. Beginning with issue #83 (cover dated Aug. 1962), it ran the superhero feature "The Mighty Thor", created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber and artist Jack Kirby, and inspired by the mythological Norse thunder god. The series, which was renamed for its superhero star with issue #126 (March 1966), has been revived three times: in the 1970s as a horror anthology, and in the 1990s and 2010s with characters from Marvel's Thor mythos.

List of minicomics creators

This is a list of minicomics creators. People on this list should have Wikipedia articles.

Marvel Preview

Marvel Preview is a black-and-white comics magazine published by Magazine Management for 14 issues and the affiliated Marvel Comics Group for 10 issues. The final issue additionally carried the imprint Marvel Magazines Group.

Mary Skrenes

Mary Skrenes is a comic book writer and screenwriter. She may be best known as co-creator (with Steve Gerber) of Omega the Unknown for Marvel Comics, although she worked on other Marvel characters such as the Defenders and Guardians of the Galaxy. She was the creator of and inspiration for Beverly Switzler, the companion of Howard the Duck. For Omega the Unknown, Skrenes created the supporting characters Amber Grant and Dian Wilkins. She published a number of horror stories for DC under the name Virgil North, and began a long collaboration with Steve Skeates. According to Skeates, a number of his mystery stories were actually co-written with Skrenes, but she insisted on submitting them under Skeates's name alone because of bad blood between her and editor Joe Orlando.Skrenes got her first professional work for DC Comics in the early 1970s, writing horror and romance stories under the tutelage of editor Dorothy Woolfolk.Skrenes wrote several episodes of Jem, GI Joe and Transformers in the 1980s. In 2004 she re-united with Gerber to write the short-lived comic Hard Time. For contractual reasons, she was credited only on Season Two; however, the first issue stated that she had been involved with the series from the beginning.

Plop!

Plop!, "The New Magazine of Weird Humor!", was a comic book anthology published by DC Comics in the mid-1970s. It falls into the horror / humor genre. There were 24 issues in all and the series ran from Sept./Oct. 1973 to Nov./Dec. 1976.

Strange Suspense Stories

Strange Suspense Stories was a comic book published in two volumes by Fawcett Comics and Charlton Comics in the 1950s and 1960s. Starting out as a horror/suspense title, the first volume gradually moved toward eerie fantasy and weird science fiction, before ending as a vehicle for the superhero Captain Atom. The title's second volume was more in the horror/suspense vein. Altogether, 72 issues of Strange Suspense Stories were published.

Notable contributors included Steve Ditko, Vince Alascia, Jim Aparo, Pat Boyette, George Evans, Joe Gill, Frank McLaughlin, Bill Molno, Rocke Mastroserio, Sheldon Moldoff, Charles Nicholas, Denny O'Neil, Joe Shuster, and Steve Skeates.

Super-Team Family

Super-Team Family is a comic book anthology series published by DC Comics from 1975 to 1978 that lasted for fifteen issues. It included a mix of original and reprinted stories.

The Amazing World of DC Comics

The Amazing World of DC Comics was DC Comics' self-produced fan magazine of the mid-1970s. Running 17 issues, the fanzine featured DC characters and their creators, and was exclusively available through mail order. Primarily text articles, with occasional strips and comics features, Amazing World offered a great deal of insight into Bronze Age DC corporate and creative culture.

The bulk of the issues were edited by Allan Asherman and later by Paul Levitz and then Cary Burkett; individual issues were edited by Carl Gafford, Bob Rozakis, and Neal Pozner.

Contributors included Burkett, Ramona Fradon, Jack C. Harris, Nestor Redondo, Steve Skeates, Michael Uslan, Wally Wood, and Mark Gruenwald (in one of his few credits outside of Marvel Comics).

The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves

The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves was an American supernatural-anthology comic book published by Charlton Comics, often featuring stories by writer-artist Steve Ditko. The eponymous Dr. M. T. Graves was a fictional character who hosted the stories in each issue of this title, and very occasionally took part in a tale.

Sister titles, with many of the same creators, particularly Ditko, were the Charlton anthologies Ghost Manor (with host Mr. Bones) and its successor, Ghostly Haunts (with host Winnie the Witch); Ghostly Tales (with host Mr. L. Dedd, later I. M. Dedd); and Haunted (with hosts Impy and then Baron Weirwulf).

The series won the 1967 Alley Award for Best Fantasy/SF/Supernatural Title.

Weird Mystery Tales

Weird Mystery Tales was a mystery horror comics anthology published by DC Comics from July–August 1972 to November 1975.

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