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After the Golden Age by Alvin Schwartz
Giving a glimpse into the formative years of comics and beyond.

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AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE for 03/04/2002
Volume 2, Number 26

A NOTE TO READERS OF THIS COLUMN

Some of you may remember that over a year ago, I asked readers of this column who seemed to consist mostly of lurkers-and whom I characterized as "ogies", those invisible voices I introduced many years ago in the Superman newspaper strip, to at least make themselves heard so that I might know whether I was writing this column to myself or whether I really had readers out there. I suggested these lurkers (or "ogies") let me know by simply responding with sounds like "grrrff" or anything else they fancied so that I could decide whether to continue this column.

The results were gratifying. There really were lots of "grrrffs" forthcoming. I knew I had a real, if somewhat silent readership out there, and I went on with the column until, a short while ago, personal business and preoccupations led me to interrupt the column for a few months. Some of this had to do with getting out my latest book, actually a reprint with a new introduction, of my first novel, THE BLOWTOP, originally published in 1948. That was the work, incidentally, that led the NY Times to break the story, previously a deep dark secret of DCs Donnenfeld-Liebowitz ownership, that I had been the actual writer on the Superman dailies for some years even though the names of Siegel and Shuster were still carried on the strip. In any case, the new intro explains the real reason for The Blowtop's reissuance-the fact that it now seemed very likely that The Blowtop had been a major sourcebook for the emergence of the Beat movement of the fifties, led by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. The details of all of that were presented in last week's column, so I won't go into it further here, except to suggest that Justin is still offering copies on this site through Amazon, and if you want one, this page provides a very convenient way of ordering.

Actually, today I wanted to talk about AN UNLIKELY PROPHET, my previous book which most of you know is the strange story of my relationship to Superman, as seen through the eyes of a mysterious Mr. Thongden. The real story on that has not yet been told. The publisher, like so many small literary presses, went belly-up. So it's very hard to get copies of PROPHET anymore which, in itself, is not so bad. Because, actually, the publisher jumped the gun on me by not revealing that PROPHET was, in fact, a "work in progress"-in other words, there was more to come. A whole other volume in which that other major side of my comics activities, my years of work on Batman, came into play. In any case, the plan is to publish in the near future a single volume in which both PROPHET and the Batman volume will appear together. The two volume work will have the overall title: THE PATH WITHOUT FORM. The opening segment which was originally AN UNLIKELY PROPHET, will, with some minor changes, be called THE COMING OF MR. THONGDEN. And the Batman segment will be called, for reasons you'll discover, A GATHERING OF SELVES. However, in this column, in advance of book publication, I intend to do a special chapter by chapter presentation of the absolutely strange Batman aspect of the story. Yes-stranger even than AN UNLIKELY PROPHET and also very much involved with Mr. Thongden, the tulpa you met in PROPHET. That is, if you're one of the lucky ones who read PROPHET while it was available. If you haven't read PROPHET, it's still possible to get a copy directly from Justin. He's got some of the few unsold copies left. Since that earlier work sheds some light on A GATHERING OF SELVES, you ought to get yourself a copy while you can, at the reduced rate Justin is offering. For those of you who can't or won't, however, I have prepared a special version of A GATHERING OF SELVES for this column only which recapitulates the important elements of PROPHET so that you can orient yourselves about what went on in that volume and make sense of the chapters that will follow of A GATHERING OF SELVES. You'll miss some of the fun and the intensity of the PROPHET experience, but you'll understand the continuity. And if you want more, you can always get that copy of PROPHET from Justin as long as he has any left.

Now, without further ado-here's A GATHERING OF SELVES.

--Alvin

<< 02/25/2002 | 03/04/2002 | 05/20/2002 >>

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