What's That? It's Pat!
We almost lost one of our best contributors before he started.

Richard Florence's first Acme meeting was very nearly his last.

At the time, we were meeting every other Saturday at my rather small condo. We had seen and appreciated Richard's Hap Hazard minicomics from Bob Conway's Phantasy Press, and I was eager to get work from him for Acme. Also in attendance was Jim Lentini, an image-conscious teenager who wore the hippest clothes, had the most stylish hair, and used just a touch of eye makeup. It was 1985, and it wasn't that unusual.

Richard was barely in the door when Jim cornered him in my small kitchen and was yammering away Lentini-style about Richard's brilliance, his own aspirations, and whatever else was boiling in his bubbling brain. I was busy with the usual Acme business (yelling at those with blown deadlines and asking Motley how we were supposed to pay for his most recent grandiose scheme), so left Richard to Jim's tender attention for longer than I should. I was so used to Jim by then that I had failed to realize how weird and wired he might seem to the uninitiated.

Jim finally left, and Richard emerged from the kitchen for air. I started to mumble an apology of sorts, but was interrupted. "Who was that chick?" Richard asked. "That was a guy," I corrected him, "Jim." Richard's shiver was almost audible.

And we laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Life With Jerry
Scott Johnson remembers his collaboration with Jerry Siegel

My experience with Jerry Siegel was short but sweet. He was seeking an outlet for story ideas back in the '80's, but no one would touch him. Not even DC, the giant publisher whose product line he virtually created nearly half a century before. He had shopped a half-dozen scripts to every publisher on the continent, until they finally arrived at the mailbox of Acme Comics, our independent group barely a notch above the fanzines.

A recent Sgt Space Cop by Johnson!

I literally leapt at the chance to work with the one and only, and the best of the lot of stories he submitted was "Sgt. SpaceCop", starring an exiled cop from another planet who now works for the NYPD. We were never sure whether he was serious about this story which featured, amongst others, the vampire ghost of Adolph Hitler. But we saw a fun, campy story, and wrote back to Jerry with a few suggestions for the story. Within three days, he shot back a revised script, incorporating every one of our suggestions and embracing our tongue-in-cheek reading of his story. What a professional!

So we did two stories with him, paying him a meager $125 (he was the only person who made money on the project!). Still, he got what he wanted, which was character designs and what amounted to a crude storyboard which he could submit to producers of Saturday morning cartoons. We kept up a modest correspondence for a few years, which kind of tailed off as he advanced in years.

So there it is, five times longer than necessary! Siegel was a very nice man, a consummate professional, who was totally abandoned by his industry in his final years. DC revamped Action Comics about that time to a format of seven or eight continuing stories every issue; you'd think they could have opened up even a little room for Jerry Siegel. Some people paint Siegel as an embittered man; if that was the case, it seems justified. At any rate, he was never anything but warm and thoughtful to us, a bunch of rank amateurs trying to figure out just what in the world we were doing.