Welcome to the four hundred and fiftieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and forty-nine. This week is a special theme week! All legends related, in one way or the other, to Christmas! Discover the first strory that Alan Moore wrote for Dez Skinn before Marvelman (hint – it featured Santa Claus)! Was the Christmas story in Marvel Team-Up #1 supposed to be one of a series of Spider-Man/Human Torch team-ups? And did Carl Barks’ really get censored by Disney on one of his classic Christmas stories?!
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Before he wrote Marvelman for Dez Skinn, Alan Moore’s first job for Skinn was a Santa Claus two-pager!
Alan Moore’s career as a comic book superstar is an interesting one. Since he first came to prominence in England, a lot of the timeline of his career gets sort of muddled. This is also impacted by the fact that Moore so quickly established himself as a top talent once he actually got a real chance to write an ongoing series that he seemed to be everywhere at once. As Moore himself has later noted to George Khoury, “I remember that what was generally happening was that everybody wanted to give me work, for fear that I would just be given other work by their rivals. So everybody was offering me things.” And then DC came a-callin’ and Moore was an international comic superstar within a few short years.
However, before Moore got his first big break on Marvelman and V for Vendetta for Quality’s Warrior in late 1981…
Moore was still a largely unknown comic book creator. He was starting to get some attention from people, but he had yet to land an ongoing gig before Warrior.
There is a bit of a dispute over HOW Moore got the gig, though.
In 1981, Moore had contributed to an article in a British comic creators newsletter and one of the questions was about what project you’d like do. Moore said he’d love to reboot Marvelman. Quality Communications founder Dez Skinn was planning a Marvelman reboot for Warrior, so it seems like an obvious connection. Alan Moore certainly thinks that is what the connection was (he figures that David Lloyd, the driving force of the newsletter, likely passed it along to Skinn).
Skinn, meanwhile, doesn’t recall how he got hooked up with Moore, but he seems to believe that it was Steve Moore (no relation), a mutal acquantince between Skinn and Alan Moore, who suggested Alan Moore.
Skinn had Alan Moore write up a pitch and Skinn was blown away and the rest is, as they say, comic book history.
However, amazingly enough, Skinn later recalled that he had actually worked with Alan Moore BEFORE!
You see, before founding Quality Communications in 1981, Dez Skinn had worked for Marvel UK for a few years. While there, he launched a number of titles, including Marvel UK’s answer to Mad Magazine, Frantic. Before making it into an ongoing series, Marvel UK gave the book two try-out issues. A Winter issue and a Summer issue.
Here is the Winter Special from 1979…
In the issue, there was the following two-page story…
Yep, that was both written AND drawn by Alan Moore.
Skinn later noted that he apparently had Moore’s info in his rolodex the whole time!
Pretty darn funny.
Thanks to George Khoury (the absolute expert on all things Marvelman/Miracleman-related. Check out his book Kimota: The Miracleman Companion and also his more recent The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore – George is awesome) and Dez Skinn for the information!
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