Monday, October 31, 2011

QC Bibliography: Online Resources

If you'd like to whet your Quality appetite some more with some great web reading about the publisher, here is the portion of the Quality Companion's Bibliography that calls out meaty online resources.

Some of these sites are maintained by webmasters who spoke to me and added some great depth to the book. There's some great academic level resources here:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

About The Quality Companion

A page from the Cosmic Teams! Justice Society section.
For me, the Quality Companion began online as an extension of my site, Cosmic Teams!
After years after years of Justice League and Legion craziness, my obsession with the DC Comics super-teams led me to a deeper appreciation of the Justice Society, and then into the entire Golden Age of comics. For a DC fan, this extends into the other properties now owned by the company: Fawcett Comics and Quality Comics.

I began covering those heroes cursorily, including skeleton data, and gradually came to realize that the characters of Quality Comics would make a great new "module" on my site. The more I dug, the more obscure heroes I found. I quickly realized that such a project would be gargantuan (perhaps even larger than the site itself, which took over 10 years to grow to its current state).

So I emailed Roy Thomas. As editor of Alter Ego,  he was the face (to me) of TwoMorrows. Roy told me that yes indeed, they had contemplated doing a book about Quality, but they needed some key elements to bring it together. I volunteered.

Then... silence. (I later learned represented the time for which it took for TwoMorrows to secure the go-ahead from DC. It seems that publishing a book is more delicate than a fanzine).

About a year later—precisely one week after I'd moved from self-employment back into a full-time job—the message came to my inbox: Publisher John Morrow asked  was still game to do that book? Heck yeah!

What followed was an unquantifiable journey that consumed every ounce of my free time for an entire year. I read every single available Quality super-hero story (available from the DCM), I researched at the library, and I wrote. And I wrote. Several delayed deadlines later, the tasks continued to mount. Along the way, the book's original designer was forced to back out, and being a publications designer myself, I was eager to do my own book. While that might not have been the right decision for my sanity, it's resulted in a product for which I'm fully accountable.

Jim Amash, my co-author, provided invaluable assistance as editor and consultant. Simply put, he is the deserved co-author of the book because his material (originally published by Alter Ego) provides the entire backbone of my narrative. I was allowed free reign with his material (and the artwork published with it). Jim's work, in the form of interviews, is cited throughout the book but I needed to reconfigure it into a series of stories. Basically, I took all of his text out of Alter Ego and broke it into usable bits, copy/pasted it into chronological and thematic skeletons, and then wrote and researched around it.

The Quality Companion leaves out scads of details that can be found in Jim's original interviews. I hope that fans will seek them out, as they are colorful accounts of the Golden Age of comics. A list is provided in the Bibliography of the book, and reprinted here.

I'll be posting other things that didn't make the cut here. I've created lots of databases, charts and spreadsheets for which we had no room. The Quality Companion is the tip of the iceberg. The Quality Companion Companion will keep the story alive.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Quality Companion: Writing and design is complete!

Pre-order now! Final book out in November!
Cover illustrated by the late, great Dick Giordano.
Hi, fans,

I finished the book this week and shipped it off to the publisher, TwoMorrows!

This is exciting, the culmination of a whole year's writing and research and digging for images. I'm really proud of the final product.

There were a few tweaks since the original solicitation. Best of all, the book now features 64 pages of color—10 original Quality Comics stories. They run the gamut of characters and creators, and it looks fantastic.

In addition to Jim Amash's awesome Golden Age interviews, I was able to personally talk to James Robinson, Len Wein, Roy Thomas and John Arcudi about their use of Quality Comics characters at DC.

There's lots of original art, provided courtesy of the owners, most of whom I found at Comic Art Fans.

The largest part of the book is the "Who's Who" style character profiles. Sadly, the two entries that required the most cuts were Blackhawk and the Spirit. I was able to cover Blackhawk's Quality years pretty comprehensively, but had to skim over the DC publications. The profile is still eight pages! Not to worry, though, this blog is meant to bring all that information to you eventually!

For the Spirit, it was simply indefensible to repeat the research that's already been done on this character. This profile in our book is even more brief than Blackhawk (3 pages still!).

Curious? Take a look at the Table of Contents!

QC Bibliography: TwoMorrows

These were the primary sources of Quality Comics information published by TwoMorrows:

Alter Ego #12 (Jan. 2002). Interviews with and about editor Gill Fox
  • Amash, Jim. “Gill Fox: Quality Control.” 5-39.
  • Thomas, Roy. “A Matter of Quality.” 2-4.
Alter Ego #17 (Sept. 2002). Lou Fine issue…
  • Amash, Jim. “A Fine Influence…” 9-14.
  • —. “…And A Fine Family!” 15-33.
  • —. “Murphy Anderson on Lou Fine and Fiction House.” 34-44.
  • Beaulieu, Dennis. “Lou Fine—A Comic Book Artist of Quality.” 3-6.
  • Toth, Alex. “Toth on Fine.” 45-46.