Saturday, June 13, 2009

Reunion Reminiscences 3

Part Three: AV Squad

(click here to read chapter two, or here for chapter one)

While preparing for the Marvel Reunion / Mark Gruenwald Tribute, many of us dug through our old photographs and videos from the era.  D.G. Chichester (my former boss at Epic) was compiling a photo slideshow to run on the venue’s TV Monitors for the first two hours of the evening.  At 9:00 PM, Mike Carlin’s Tribute would begin, and at 10:00,  we planned to show some of our videos.

I’m sure that each of us that contributed to the slideshow had fun looking through our old albums, marveling at how young we all were, cringing at those late 80s fashions!  Who had the best mullet?  Hard to say... 

  Dan Chichester?

Greg Wright had my favorite mullet, but Hector Collazo
and Marcus McLaurin also had great 80s styles

And Mark Chiarello's coiffure was the envy of millions...

I had some choice shots taken at the Holiday Party from January 1991, when a few of us decided it would be “cool” to rent cheap tuxedos.  Marie wore her trademarked spiral dress, an old favorite...

Mike Rockwitz, Mike Heisler & me.  Bonds, James Bonds all.

And then there were some of my pics from the video I shot in 1989.  It was called The Freelancer...

The Freelancer was one of the videos scheduled to be shown during the last hour of the Reunion. The others were Marie Javins’ A Day in the Life of the Assistant Editor and the hilarious Marvel Mania skit that was performed at a New York Comic Convention called Tuff Talk.  The Freelancer was, in some ways, a follow up to Marie’s “Assistant” story that we made the year before.  It is a comedic story of a freelance comic book letterer, played by freelance comic book letterer, Mike Heisler.  In the story, he gets into trouble with his landlord (Played by Don Hudson), his editor (Dan Chichester), Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief (Tom DeFalco), his car is repossessed (by Marc Siry), and he breaks down in a Vietnam Flashback before going out and getting completely trashed in a dozen bars.  The video also features David Wohl, Mark Gruenwald, Bob Harras and a bunch of other Marvel bullpenners.

It was an incredibly stupid, offensive...and hilarious story, clocking in at 34 minutes long.  Since this is the 20th anniversary of The Freelancer, I set upon the task of creating a newly edited, digital version with all-new special effects (it was originally shot on VHS). I started working on the new “directors cut” early this year, but the screening at the Reunion gave me an actual deadline to finish it by.

The Freelancer may have been a bunch of stupid in-jokes and sophomoric humor, but 20 years later, it is also an amazing time-capsule, showing Marvel Comics as it has not existed in a long time.  All the videos we assembled had that in common.  It’s an interesting quality about video that is different from still photography. When you watch old video (or film) you can hear people’s voices and see how they moved, and you move about in space to see details that might be cropped from a photo.  It brings you back into a moment and sparks your memories in a unique way.  I notice the same thing when I watch video of my son as a toddler--his little walk, the way he pronounced “tractor,” that wonderful sweater we bought in Paris...  For this reason alone,  reediting The Freelancer is a worthy project.  Sifting through the raw footage took me back, and mentally prepared me for seeing all my old colleagues. was fun.

To be continued!


Marie said...

I still have that dress. And many dresses from that time period. Funny thing about them though... they now all seem obscenely short.

Steve Buccellato said...

Do you still have the dog shirt?

Michal Zacharzewski said...

You are old, man! ;) In 80s I was in primary school and I was listening to Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan!

Steve Buccellato said...

I know, Michal. Just turned 41. Please don't remind me!

Anonymous said...

As a fan, these pics really showcase my fave era of Marvel. I grew up reading the efforts of that bullpen.
Thanks for sharing, Steve!

Bobby Hamilton said...

Many thanks for sharing this.

Gru profoundly changed my life when I had first stumbled upon the Official Marvel Handbook D.E. #1.

I've since collected that run, including fun associated articles, and had them turned into two massive hardcovers. (I've also collected most of his Cap run and his Quasar stuff and am currently having them bound into HCs as well.)

As a kid I had never known that all of these great titles sprang in some part from the efforts of this cool guy and many of you. Thanks again for sharing your talents!

By the way, in the early 1970's, an underground Wisconsin newspaper (Bugle American #119) had a one page piece of artwork in it from some young kid named Mark Gruenwald; check it out If you get a chance. I've never known anybody to know about that little piece of Gru history.

My latest Gru project is having a Xeroxed copy of his Treatise on Comic Reality (To this day, I've never found a real copy of that for official purchase anywhere.) and some selected Mark's Remarks editorials collected and bound into HC. I miss his presence In the comic book medium.

I hear that there's an official 20th Anniversary tribute coming up in NY, but duty calls here In the Midwest.

Love this guy. Love you all. Thanks for the memories.