Letters of Comment

This month, KC’s Westfield column looks back at letter columns, covering their history, how to assemble one, why they went away, and some of his favorite memories of both writing and reading them.

Read it and learn why

Your car is really neat!
Do you have a DOG?

is one of my favorite letters ever.

8 Responses to “Letters of Comment”

  1. James Schee Says:

    Great column!

    Its interesting to me sometimes, that though we started reading comics in different eras. KC and I share some things in common. I too never noticed creators until the LCs, and used them to learn about back issues.(plus to learn that I wasn’t alone in liking these comics)

    I remember being thrilled and shocked beyond belief when I had a letter printed in Resurrection Man. It was cool and started me down a path of writing.

    Later some friends and I had a competition one year to see who could get the most letters printed in one year. I finished second, to a female fan, with something like 45 letters(well e-mails) printed. Only DC titles I didn’t get published in at the time were Wonder Woman and Spectre which I didn’t read at the time. It got to where I was just doing a formula rather then writing a letter and sort of killed my enthusiasm for it.

    I think my last printed letter was a post on the AOL DC Boards taken, that was talking about a LSH issue KC wrote. It made me feel weird to have a post of discussion taken like that.

    I sometimes miss the columns, but with the internet they sort of have lost their purpose.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Yep, that formula piece is a risk … but that happens with reviewing as well. Keeping it fresh is what makes it worthwhile work.

    I only had one LOC printed in a DC book that I know of — Kevin Dooley took the good parts of my review of an issue of Green Lantern and ran them.

  3. Mark S. Says:

    I miss the LOC’s because they are far more permanent than forum posts. There was a well known letterhack named Biljo White from the town where I live. His letters are in the old Detectives and other comics they were printed in. Forum posts won’t be nearly as accessible in the future, nor as much fun to read.

  4. odessa steps magazine Says:

    I remember being excited when I got a letter printed in Avengers when I was like 12. And being equally excited when I got a letter printed in Sandman when I was 19.

    Johanna, Did I ever tell you about when I was doing research for a conference paper at BG and found a letter written by Jack Santino in a Silver Age issue of the Flash?

  5. James Schee Says:

    Yeah the formula killed my interest for a while. Yet before that it was just really neat.

    I would sometimes get e-mails from editors asking if I could write in (especially on the Batman Adventures titles) because they didn’t have enough.

    Oh and it was great to get asked if I’d preview a new miniseries or series, so they’d have letters for the first issue. One of my favorites of those was for VEXT #1, where they sent me an issue of Millie the Model. (because Vext was the god of bad luck/screwups)

    It is kind of neat to know that there is at least a small sense of immortality. If the books themselves survive, someone down the line will see my name in a comic which is cool.

  6. C. E. Grayson Says:

    How much of a geek am I? My only printed letter was in Psi-Force # 25. I think
    I was 13.

    Yes, that’s the very sad issue where Stasi died. And I think was one of Mark Bagley’s first regular titles, though I can’t remember if he drew that issue or not. I’d have to dig it out of the boxes in the garage.

    I loved the New Universe, back in the day (which was a Wednesday, btw).

    I am now stepping out of the Wayback machine.

  7. Johanna Says:

    Mark, you can find a lot of online history, but you’re right, print outlasts online.

    Odessa, no! I only knew about his appearances in Blue Devil.

    James, oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about those preview copies and other goodies. That was a nice way to reward fans.

    CE, Psi-Force? Wow. I’m unfamiliar with the New Universe.

  8. Jim Perreault Says:

    Johanna wrote:

    print outlasts online

    That is probably true for Web forum posts, but I don’t think it is true for Usenet posts. All my old posts from back when I was in college (over 10 years ago now), are still available online. And I recently had the opportunity to reference one of them, when my (mostly non-comics reading ) book group read Watchmen.

    I enjoyed both KCs column and the Wikipedia article it mentioned. Before I discovered Usenet, I had about a dozen letters printed. And even though this was during my late high school years, I was as excited as a 5 year old kid when my first letter was printed.

    A couple of times I did have my letter used to plug something or other ; it did bother me when that was used to ignore the content of the letter. My oddest experience was when I wrote a letter to the West Coast Avengers, and had it printed in Avengers.

    My two favorite letter columns were Roy Thomas’ and Mark Gruenwald’s. Both did a good job of making you feel a part of the family, using the column as more than just a marketing tool. With Roy, it was the Earth-2 Universe he directed. His very personal response to my comments on the impact of Crisis on Earth-2 is something I’ll always treasure.

    With Mark, it was with the Avenger family of titles. In the last issue of DP7, he promised to send a postcard to everyone who wrote in. He kept his word, and I still have that postcard in one of my photo albums. I wouldn’t mind seeing his Mark’s Remarks columns reprinted.

    Mark’s most memorable column to me was the one where he announced that Roger Stern was no longer the Avengers writer. Roger had a very lengthy, well received run on the book (and it is still my personal favorite), but due to essentially creative differences Mark had to replace him. The action had clearly caused him a lot of turmoil, but the column was forthright and very respectful.





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