13 TIMES Creators Appeared as Themselves in Comics

Hey, we’re all the stars of our own stories…

By PETER BOSCH

It was in 1922 that the first monthly comic book – aptly called Comic Monthly – was published (see above). To honor that, before this 100-year mark passes, here is a tribute to comic professionals everywhere with a look at 13 times they appeared in their stories:

 EC Comics’ writer Al Feldstein and publisher Bill Gaines – Weird Fantasy #14 (July-Aug 1950, EC), “The Expert.” Art by Joe Orlando.

Wallace Wood – Weird Science #22 (Nov.-Dec. 1953, EC),“My World.” Probably Wood’s most famous page of his entire career.

Joe Kubert, Irv Novick, Gene Colan, Ross Andru & Mike Esposito, and Jack AbelVarious panels from Sea Devils #13, 14, and #15 (1963-1964, DC). The artists tried out for the position of illustrating the comic.

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko – The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (Marvel, 1964), “How Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Create Spider-Man!” An early backup story with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Art by Ditko.

John Broome – Detective Comics #343 (Sept. 1965, DC), “The Secret War of Phantom General.” The mid-1960s were definitely a time when DC tried to connect with readers in the same way that Marvel had. Writer Broome appeared a few times in this story as a sort-of narrator. Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella.

Robert Kanigher, Andru & Esposito – Wonder Woman #158 (Nov. 1965, DC), “The End – or the Beginning!” A funny story in which the Silver Age characters, both good and evil, of the Wonder Woman canon were panicked because the killer with the yellow bow tie was planning to destroy them. And he did so! The killer was editor/writer Robert Kanigher who was taking the comic book back to its Golden Age roots. Pencil art by Ross Andru, inks by Mike Esposito.

Gardner Fox – Detective Comics #347 (Jan. 1966, DC), “The Strange Death of Batman!” Like the Broome appearance above, one of DC’s best writers imagined a different ending to the story he already told. Pencils by Infantino, inks by Giella.

Gil Kane – House of Mystery #180 (May-June 1969, DC), “His Name is…Kane.” Splash page to a story by Mike Friedrich. Kane gets to murder DC editor Joe Orlando. Pencils by Kane, inks by Wood.

Stan Lee, Gary Friedrich, Dick Ayers, John Severin, and Roy Thomas – “The Howling Commandos Through the Past Darkly!” Sgt. Fury Annual #6 (Aug. 1970, Marvel). Fury meets the cream of the Marvel bullpen. Pencils by Dick Ayers, inks by John Severin.

Jim Aparo – The Brave and the Bold #124 (Jan.1976, DC), “Small War of the Super Rifles.” Terrorists threaten to kill Aparo if he doesn’t draw Sgt. Rock and Batman being killed. Writer Bob Haney and editor Murray Boltinoff also appeared in this story. Cover by Aparo.

Stan Lee, Sol Brodsky, Jack Kirby and Flo Steinberg – What If? #11 (Oct. 1978, Marvel) – “What If the Fantastic Four Were the Original Marvel Bullpen?” Yes, this is the third time Stan Lee has been portrayed on this list. (And this doesn’t cover all of his appearances.) Whenever there was a story within a Marvel comic about the staff, Stan always seemed to be the star.

Curt Swan – Superman Annual #9 (1983, DC) – “I Flew with Superman!” An affectionate tale of the artist getting to spend time with the character he drew for decades.

Julius Schwartz – Superman #411 (Sept. 1985, DC) – “The Last Earth-Prime Story.” Celebrating editor Julie Schwartz’s 70th birthday, DC surprised him with this issue.

He was also given the original artwork for this cover drawn by Dick Giordano, signed by Gil Kane, Ray Bradbury, Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan, and so many more!

MORE by PETER BOSCH

— 13 COVERS: A DIAL H FOR HERO Anniversary Celebration. Click here.

— A STEVE DITKO Birthday Salute: 13 TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER. Click here.

PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagehas just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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11 Comments

  1. How do you not have John Byrne in here? The guy loved to put himself on the cover and in his comics, most notably Fantastic Four starting with issue 238

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  2. Yeah John Byrne. He put himself in Ironfist # 8 and F.F 262

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    • The original solo series???

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  3. Personally, My favorite is Cary Bates as a Supervillain on Earth Two

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  4. Oh, I love this! I remember the DC staff showing up in an Inferior Five issue! Then there was the Bat-Mite story sometime in the late 70s, early 80s. Then of course there was…oh, I’m rambling! Thank you for this!

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  5. For my money, the greatest, “Creators in the comic,” appearance was in Fantastic Four 176 with Stan in charge and Roy Thomas, Jack Kirby, and George Perez discussing what to do about a new issue when they didn’t know what was going on with the FF. And, of course, the Impossible Man shows up and creates chaos. That was great stuff! I don’t know how you left that one off the list…

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    • THIS!!!! My all time favorite guest appearance!!!

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    • Erik, it was on my short list, one of the finals to not make the cut. I liked that it had Thomas, Perez, and Kirby…but it also had Stan Lee and he already had three other appearances in the list. Four times would have meant dropping someone else. Same reason Lee and Colan didn’t make it from Daredevil Annual #1 and Lee, Romita, and Lieber from Spider-Man Annual #5 was a pass.

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      • I get your point, however, this may have been the greatest of them all, and would have been the one and only with legendary George Perez. For me, FF 176 is the #1 all time great, “Creators in the comic,” issue.

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  6. Am I the only one that would love to see that “What If the FF were the original Marvel Bullpen” story adapted for the Disney+ “What If …” series?

    One I remember that didn’t make the list was from New Teen Titans #20 in 1982, a 5 page story called “A Titanic Tale of Titans’ Tomfoolery”. Marv Wolfman and George Perez, with Len Wein, Romeo Tanghal, and a cast of a few others.

    And that Superman #411 original artwork is a who’s who of DC’s mid-1980s talent, and then some. There’s also sci-fi writer Ben Bova on the side near the typewriter and right below the word balloon is Mark Hamill’s autograph.

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