Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mark Gruenwald: 14 years memorium

I know I post about Mark Gruenwald on this blog fairly often, but today being the 14th anniversary of his death, I couldn't let the day go by without meditating on him.

Outside of how much I enjoyed his writing on Captain America, a large factor in why I became an enormous fan of Gruenwald's work was his column in Marvel Age magazine: Mark's Remarks. In the column, Gruenwald wrote frankly about the comic book business and his experiences in the medium. He frequently addressed the new talent department and his no-nonsense truths about how difficult it is to break into comics won him the moniker "crusher of dreams" from fandom.

Like so many fans, I had dreams about breaking into comics, but Mark's Remarks simultaneously fascinated me with the business and intimidated me. I enjoyed the column the most when he wrote about the rules he used to keep the Marvel Universe consistent. However, the column was used to address all manner of topics, and the new talent reviews, his entries about how he plotted stories and sessions where he expounded upon the duties of editors really educated me on how the industry operated and impressed me with the amount of craft it seemed to take to get published.

I never intended to break into comics after that; it just happened. It seems appropriate to me that I'm in the modern-day version of Gruenwald's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Just as Gruenwald's work has outlived him, it gladdens me to think that if I gave up freelancing tomorrow, I'll still have contributed enough work to be remembered for.

I still host the Mark's Remarks Archives on my website; go check them out if you haven't read them before.

Carl Potts recently posted a video of Gruenwald talking about the Marvel Universe to film people; go check it out, especially if you've wondered what he was like!

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