13 Birthday Thoughts About PAUL KUPPERBERG, by PAUL LEVITZ

Well wishes from a (nearly) lifelong friend…

Kupperberg and Levitz

I’ve known Paul Kupperberg for over 50 years, since we found ourselves the only serious comic fans at Meyer Levin Junior High School in Brooklyn. My father gave him the perhaps-too-long-enduring nickname of PK to differentiate us, he spent so much time at my house. We’ve partnered on fanzines, worked together at DC and elsewhere (you have to read this to find out where), and celebrated and cried together. His birthday used to be a holiday in New York, with schools closed for “Flag Day” (no, not for Kupperberg day), but I think when they realized who’d been born on June 14 they struck the holiday from the calendar.  It’s still a holiday to me, so let’s celebrate!


1. Somewhere there’s a very large history teacher spinning in her grave at the fact that PK has been an author of books like A Primary Source History of the Colony of New York. Tendler, you underestimated the boy!

2.  Before there were comics shops, there were a few used book stores that sold old comics. PK (and I) both worked behind the counter of My Friend’s Book Store, the legendary Brooklyn spot where a generation of future comics folks shopped. He often took his pay in comics.

Paul K at DC in 1977

3. The challenge of many a collector’s life is shelf space, but PK had the worst version of this: Sharing his childhood bedroom with two brothers, one of whom was also a comics collector, PK was at one point limited to one shelf. So every time he finished collecting a run of a comic he loved, he’d sell it and start on another. There was always something interesting to pursue.

Paul K and Joe Orlando

4. Freelance life is never easy, and in the 1970s when he started out, you had to learn to do everything. So PK has in his life done lost arts like paste-up and art retouching of old reprints, as well as helping his friends on assignments as varied as inking backgrounds and writing stories.

5. Speaking of that, there are a few pages here and there in my credited stories from the 1970s that are probably more fun than what I was capable of writing: Blame Kupperberg.

By Levitz, Wally Wood and Al Sirois, with pinch hitting by Paul K

6.  There’s a body of literature that most comics fans share as their early passions: usually SF and fantasy novels. PK, on the other hand, was enjoying Dostoevsky.

PK and Joe Staton

7. He did, however, grow up in the generation that had real heroes in space, not just Kirk and Spock. Maybe that’s why he was the author of John Glenn: The First American in Orbit and His Return To Space.

8. The first summer of the direct market, PK was hard at work processing orders at Phil Seuling’s Sea Gate home office. He was there at the real beginning.

9. One of our first fanzines, which thankfully no one saw, featured an index to the early issues of The Avengers. This was in the days long before the Grand Comics Data Base, or even George Olshevsky’s great indexes of Marvel. This was great preparation for PK writing Avengers Mad Libs.

10. Never, never, never ask him to shop in a Macy*s.  Just don’t.

PK and Marv Wolfman

11. As is appropriate for the author of Cutting Edge Careers, PK may have the record for most departments of DC worked in: He served in publicity, marketing, editorial, and licensed publishing that I can remember, and probably there are one or two others.

12. With over a thousand comics stories and a bookcase worth of children’s books, graphic novels and other writing to his credit, Kupperberg has literally touched millions of readers’ lives.

Paul K frequently cites this as one of his favorite stories he’s written.

13. Finally, he’s a softie. After high school he’d stop by and visit my dog, Chee-Chee, who would sit on a book staring out the front window, lonely because all her humans were away at work or school during the day.  He’d chat with her through the glass, a loyal friend making a visit like to a prisoner.

Happy birthday, old friend. My journey couldn’t have happened without you, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to.


— 13 REASONS PAUL KUPPERBERG Is a Comic Book Treasure. Click here.

— 13 MORE REASONS PAUL KUPPERBERG Is a Comic Book Treasure. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Happy Birthday PK!
    His Aquaman run is a favorite!

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  2. Happy birthday, PK. May you have many more to celebrate.

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  3. Happy birthday, PK! (and many more.)

    Ah, Showcase #100 . . . I remember reading and rereading it and enjoying the Joe Staton art. I wonder who I need to bribe to get DC to publish it as a facsimile edition . . .

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  4. Great tribute! And Paul’s current books about DC have all been fantastic! Happy birthday!

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