Mark Drobnick
Mark Drobnick

My First Publication-Marvel

Marvel Editors Notify Me
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I am Selected for Publication
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"My First Publication - Marvel"






{ verbatim copy of letter to editor, AMAZING Spider-Man #78 -- from Mark Drobnick, to wit: }


"Dear Stan and John,

"The Merry Marvel Bullpen has triumphed again.  I have been reading SPIDER-MAN for a long time now, and after reading issue #74, I noticed quite a mistake.  On page 15, panels 2, 3, and 4, Billy Connors and his mother are locked up in a cell.  Billy's mother says, "something that NO ONE...not even you...could ever suspect!"  The conversation marches on until finally Billy professes, "My dad is...THE LIZARD!"  In other words, he knows all about his father!  Well, when he made this statement, his mother seemed very surprised.  She apparently never knew that Billy knew!


"So, I looked into my library of SPIDER-MAN comics, and dug up
SPIDER-MAN #6.  I leafed through the book until I came to page 14, panel 4.  In this panel are three characters --- Spider-Man, Mrs. Connors, and Billy.  Mrs. Connors doesn't say anything, but Billy does.  (She has her arm around him!)  He says, word for word, "D-Don't HURT him, Spider-Man."  "He's still my father!"  Now, don't tell me that Spider-Man heard Billy, and his mother is deaf in her left ear, so she didn't hear it.


"Well, do I or do I not get a no-prize for my electrifying exposé?

          "Mark A.H. Drobnick,   1017 Wadsworth Avenue
          North Chicago, Illinois  60064

"You know it, Mark.  Actually, we had this far-out theory that Mrs. Connors is deaf in one ear and therefore couldn't hear Billy...but a re-reading of your little missive convinced us that we shouldn't use it.  'Twould appear that Billy's statement 'way back in SPIDEY #6 did indeed slip Smiley's mind...and, if your peace of mind is bothered by such a glaring inconsistency, we'll send you a black crayon with which you may forever efface that line from said comic.  


"Meanwhile, your no-prize is on its way, lad...obviously, your eyes are considerably sharper than Mrs. Connors' ears!"


Okay, now here's the background on what you've just read, plus, other, assorted facts of relevance:

1.  First, it is nice to be DISTINGUISHED as part of an exclusive, select group:  namely, the limited number, of the approximately three hundred (300) individuals, world-wide, in all humankind history, whose letters made it into publication during the pioneering, seminal, first hundred issues of Amazing Spider-Man.  I am thankful for that lucky break.

It's not exactly being a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  But, [it's] very cool, nonetheless, by many standards.  I'll take it.  Yes, it is an achievement from which I derive genuine pride.

And, the Spidey epic is one of the top five, comic, super-hero adventures of all time.  Perhaps, it even occupies first place!  Depends on your criteria.

While obviously our letter writers group is not of the same status as, say, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, nor Nobel Prize laureates, still, I find it to be of some curious solace to occupy such an honorable place in Marvel publishing history.  Comes to mind a quote from Beatle John Lennon:  "If I was going to make it, I am glad that it happened when I was so young."


Now, before you counter with, "he's a legend, in his own,...Mind!", or, that I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, understand, this does not mean I rest on my laurel(s).  Rather, it helps give me stimulus, and velocity for going on to make other contributions that make a difference, improve the lot of all.

It helps give me confidence that, with persistence and focus, advancement is doable, in sundry and various manners, which brings us all forward.  It is another step attained, which spurs me on, in a walk of a thousand miles.

2.   "Stan and John", the SALUTATION, refers to the story's writer and artist.  Specifically, these are Stan Lee and John Romita.  (Mr. Romita's son --- another future, well-known artist --- provided issue #78's story concept.)

3.  The ADDRESS is where I spent my first 15 years, in the house my dad was born in (that is, house-call, mid-wives were still in vogue around these parts, during his arrival; before advent of ob-gyn M.D.'s as today's politically accepted, public health vehicle).

4.  The "A" between my first and last names, is my confirmation name, "ALBERT", which choice was inspired by one of my childhood best friends, a Columbian/Slovenian youth, who graduated to being an architect, now out in Pennsylvania.  Turns out his grandpa is architect of the local courthouse for this county.

I guess my sentiments were akin to those of local boy made good, Marlon Brando, when he named his first son.  He was inspired by colleague/ actor/ director, Frenchman Christian Marquand, who among other achievements, directed Ringo Starr (and Brando & other notables) in Terry Southern's "Candy".

5.  I had a coterie of CHUMS during that time in my growing up, plus a couple of inspirational uncles.  Naturally, those are whom most impressed me then.  So, recurring to them, Don[ald], Tim[othy], José, Matt[hew], [Au]Gus[t], and Val[entine], are logical name choices too, all of which would have made sense.

6.  In particular, the final names, two of my uncles, I can recall as having gifted to me my first, quality harmonica, a hand-me down Hohner Echo, and, from the other, a mutt, German shepherd pup and pet goose.  Great, lifelong influences those men turned out to be.  Today, I hold a handful of German and Japanese, major, diatonic harmonicas, and, thru my daughter, am sponsor of Golden Retrievers.

But, Al[bert], when I met him at eight years of age, was the cool guy from Latin America who got me started on learning Spanish, was able spot-on to imitate Lurch's "you rang?" from TV's Addams Family --- pretty amazing vocals from a pre-pubescent! --- also, taught me how to burp the ALPHABET, on command, and spun adventurous tales of his escapades in Columbia, like episodes out of Robert Louis Stevenson or "Tom Sawyer".  So, at that stage of life, hands-down, he was the pal I thought of most when they asked us at school to choose a name.

7.  Anyway, since early on, there has existed in me a knack for spotting flaws, inconsistencies, editing, and PROOFREADING, and, this continues to be a touchstone in my tool kit.  Logical flow of ideas comes second nature to me.

Would make for a good, professional argue-er.  Maybe is what Pop spotted early on, packing me off for law school and lawyer studies, perhaps to follow in his footsteps.

Logic and rationality, I instinctively, have always felt comforting, over the long-term.  Mysticism, on the other hand, while momentarily intriguing and dramatic, tends to impress me markedly less so, never lingering in its effects more than short-term.  

8.  Early on I embarked upon SCIENTIFIC training so that, ultimately, I obtained university degrees in Biology and Chemistry.  Also, I am state licensed as professional chemist by one of our country's jurisdictions which exercises such requirement:  Estado Libre Asociado (Puerto Rico).

9.  Now, what I recall about Mr. Stan Lee of Marvel, from the beginning, is how engaged and hands-on is this fellow, in the business.  You'd see his name and cohorts' on the first page of any issue:  respectively, as writer, artist, inker, delineator, letterer, etc., depending upon the corresponding assignment.  Appended were apellations like:  Stan "The Man", "Jazzy" Johnny Romita, "Swingin'" Sammy Rosen, "Artful" Artie Simek, etc., etc.  

That set the tone.  You could see they were having fun.  Unbraked EXUBERANCE was abundantly rampant.  And, bonus:  the merriment was cheerfully contagious to us, the readers.  

You'll note the nickname, "Smiley", in their answer to me, above.  Again, it is Mr. Lee they're talking about, i.e. "Smiling" Stan Lee.

10.  So today, decades later, I feel it no big surprise to find Stan Lee appearing CAMEO, in virtually all of the Marvel, big-screen epics:  Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Hulk, X-Men, etc.  Also, how prolific is his output and imagination, to have spun all those fantasy, adventure yarns which kept young adults, teen, and pre-teen kids enthralled, and in suspense of the latest cliff-hanger!



{  To Be Continued,...  }


[ posted:  12 June 2014 ]

Marvel Editors Notify Me
I am Selected for Publication


Mark Drobnick


Waukegan, Illinois  USA


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