While interning at Marvel, I wanted to meet all the writers and artists behind my favorite comics. The problem was none of the creative talent worked in the office. Most of the guys didn't even live in New York. On top of that, I didn't know who anybody looked like.
Kevin Smith wrote the fabulous "Daredevil: Guardian Devil" series. I expected to meet him. I didn't. Sad face. After retirement but before making cameos in every Marvel flick, Stan Lee kept away from Marvel's office. Giant sad face.
Even though "X-Men" made people love comic book movies, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen never popped into the office. For the past 10 years, I'd heard about it, but I never believed a Spider-Man movie would ever come out. If you told me back then that three different Spidey franchises would come out, I'd wonder how far bankrupt Marvel became.
While I never met any movie stars, I did meet some of my heroes. Before he was the editor in chief, Joe Quesada wrote and drew Daredevil with talent that's hard to top. Joe Q. was kind enough to sign a book for one of my little brothers.
Do you know anything about the X-Men? If you do, thank writer Chris Claremont. But when I told him I grew up reading his work and held out my hand to shake, he just looked at me like an unwashed mutant peasant.
The wild Irishman Garth Ennis wrote - nay - redefined the Punisher. For some reason a few years earlier, Punisher turned into an angel with holy relic guns. Barf. However, this lad from the Emerald Isle made Punisher kill people again. Ennis' Punisher always found the best ways to murder mafia members: start them on fire, hammer to the brain or run them over with a steam roller. Ennis also wrote "Preacher," which is a TV show now. I haven't watched it, but I can assure you the comic book is insane.
The Irish writer and I met in a bar. I held up my disposable camera and asked him, "Um, hi. I'm a big fan and work as an intern at Marvel. I was, um, wondering if maybe you could, um, take a photo with me?" Garth looked at me for a split second and then at the bartender.
I slumped. Claremont, my favorite writer as a youth, just dissed me a few days ago, and now my current hero won't even snap a photo with me. What the hell?
While wondering if every celeb was an asshole and staring dejectedly at the ground, a Guinness draft popped into my hand. Garth laughed. "Now let's take yer picture! Aye!"
That night, at the same bar, gorgeous women surrounded an older guy. I thought I might be able to see Gene Simmons, George Clooney or one of the New Kids on the Block. Nope. It was Frank Miller. Who's he? If you like the darker version of Batman more than Adam West's campy style, if "300" made you feel fat, if you couldn't believe Bullseye would kill Daredevil's girlfriend, if you felt wimpy after "Sin City" or if you thought "Robocop 2" was almost as good as the original, you might go crazy for this guy. And women loved him. The sheer amount of sexual atmosphere scared me enough that I decided to wait until another time to snap a photo with him.
The House of Ideas always stocked the best talent. But they were missing somebody.