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Howard Mackie Interview
[00:00:00] Casey: All right, everybody. again, to another episode of spoiler country today on the show we have well, he is responsible for the Danny Katch version of ghostwriter.
He is also one of the chief architects of the clone saga. We have Howard Mackie, Howard, how you doing, man?
Howard Mackie: I’m doing great, but I complete deniability about clients. I play in Terry cabinet, 100% for that one.
Casey: I blame Kavanaugh and DeFalco for letting it happen.
Howard Mackie: Yeah, exactly. It was all of them, all of them.
I just, I was an innocent bystander that was dragged along unwittingly and unwillingly into that, which became of the saga of a quote.
Casey: So, so before, before that the the clone saga before a ghostwriter for all [00:01:00] that happened, How did you, what hooked you? What got you into comics in the first place?
Howard Mackie: Well, I was born and raised in Brooklyn.
I have three older sisters, much older sisters. I’m, I’m the baby of the family. No, baby. Let me tell ya. And I my sisters are eight, 12. And 16 years older than I am. So by the time I was it, you know, of comic book, reading age, most of them were w they had real jobs at that point, but were still living at home.
And back in the good old days, you could buy comic books from newsstands, from spinner racks, and having grown up in a Brooklyn and New York city. Every subway station had. A magazine stand you know, on, you know, on the [00:02:00] platform. And my sisters wanted to be, you know, cool older sisters. So they. On paydays started buying comic books for me to bring home.
And, you know, it started out quite frankly, as them not being willing to give up their Archie’s and Harvey comics, you know, lot of, lot, and little dot, and those were some of the first comics. I was given and then, you know, gateway drug. One of my sisters started bringing home Batman, Superman, Spiderman comics, and you know, it was off to the races.
I couldn’t even read when they, they first started bringing the comics home and it was, I always credit comics being the things. The thing that got me hooked on reading in general. I, I was looking at all the pictures and they would read some of the stories to me. Sometimes I wanted to know [00:03:00] how you could do it.
And then, Oh, well you look at these little, you know, word balloony things and you’ll, you’ll figure it out. And so I, I aggressively sought out how to learn to read so I could read comic books. So that that’s, that, that’s what got me hooked initially. And I read comics for many years with, with friends and neighborhood.
And then I, I have very fond memories of like winter days going to one friend’s house and sitting around their dining room table and all of us copying Spider-Man figures from issues of Marvel comics and it wasn’t until years later, you know, trying to draw them. And it wasn’t until years later that when I first met and got to work with John Romita, [00:04:00] that I realized it was his Spider-Man that I was, I was copying back then, which was kinda kind of you know, mind blowing to a certain extent.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So it was, it was fun. But then I, then I stopped at a certain point there were mid-teens I discovered other interests and was not, I just wasn’t, I wasn’t buying or reading comics anymore. And then I, I met a guy who was describing, and again, this sounds way more impressive than it actually is.
There was a a private swim club that we both belong to now in Brooklyn. What that meant was it was all concrete and. It was directly underneath the L train. Okay. So [00:05:00] you got to, you know, the private swim club part. It was, it was incredibly special, but I met this guy who, at that time I was hanging out with a really cool crowd and him not so much.
And I, I always described me as the. The nerdiest guy of the cool crowd and him, the coolest guy of the nerdy crowd. And he was into comic books and I saw some comics and he and I became friends. And, you know, he was instrumental ultimately in my getting my, my first job at Marvel comics cause his name was Mike Carlin who went on to be an editor at Marvel and then editor in chief at DC comics.
But yeah, that’s, that’s how, that’s how I got into not only comics, but the comic book industry, because Mike, at that time knew. I didn’t like the job I had. I mean, I made the natural transition, [00:06:00] quite frankly. I was working for an exporting company as a traffic manager shipping things to Australia and New Zealand.
And I transitioned smoothly into editing comments.
Casey: I mean, it
Howard Mackie: seems, seems pretty. It was the next step obviously. And, you know, At the time, I was not crazy about the job. It wasn’t. I loved the people that I worked with, but I wasn’t sure where I was going with it. And Mike was really tired of hearing me whine.
Every time we went, we used to go, it was, this was the early eighties and we went to a lot of rock clubs and concerts at the time. And he was an assistant editor at Marvel and just got a promotion. And he was Mark Greenwald’s assistant. And Mike just turned to the whole point at hour. So boring listening to you.
He said the job is open. Why don’t you interview for [00:07:00] it? And, and it was mostly, I could do it because once Mike had gotten the job for two, two and a half years, What Marvel. He was suddenly reintroducing me to the comic books. And so I was actually, I got very caught up on the continuity at the time. Oh, nice.
Nice. And so I interviewed for the job and ultimately I got it, even though I was shocked at how little money I was going to get paid, but I wanted to change, but I really thought it would be. It would be a very temporary position because it really, I think I just found a pay stub really, really did not get paid very much money.
I didn’t take a significant pay cut in order to become an assistant editor at Marvel.
Casey: And then after that, you, you ended up overseeing the new universe line. Was that after shooter had left
Howard Mackie: or? No, I, I actually was Promoted after, [00:08:00] I don’t remember who the last person was fired editor or something.
The universe line. I don’t remember the order of them, but it might’ve been Elliott Brown and then Michael Higgins. And then I got the, the, so promotion. I was, I was actually, I went from assistant editor. Two managing editor, which is kind of this at the time that Marvel was this nebulous position. But it meant that Tom DeFalco, who was the executive editor at the time was my direct supervisor.
And I, I worked on. Like it was GI Joe order of battle and there were one shot comics. I did, I started a couple of graphic novels and you, you did a lot of specialty comics, custom comics, that kind of thing. And when. I think it was Michael Higgins got fired after Elliott Brown got fired and I, and shooter came and said, okay, Howard, you’re you’re you’re you’re [00:09:00] next person up as you know, cause you, you, you tended to seniority.
Had its privileges. And I, I was the most senior person who was not a full editor yet. So that was why I would be next in line. And I really didn’t want the job. Did
Casey: that scare the hell out of you? Because, I mean, just historically you were kind of you were in some sites
Howard Mackie: there. Oh, absolutely. I, I went into Tom to Falco.
When, when this promotion came up and I said, Tom, I don’t want this. Can you do something to make it? So I don’t get this position. And Tom, who’s a very good friend of mine. And the thing you need to know about Tom is he, he is, it is from the New York city area as well, and has matter of speaking that is very eloquent for a certain type of individual.
[00:10:00] And at the time we all, Tom, Tom is actually just a wonderful guy, phenomenal writer, one of the best story guys I know in the business, quite frankly, but I love to make fun of him. And, but at the time, We all had to, it was almost, it was required that you had to be able to do with Tom DeFalco impersonation.
So when I talk about Tom, I will lapse into him. So I went into Tom and I said, you know, Tom, can you do something about this? You know, I really, I, I rather not. Get fired. I think I had just gotten married. We were thinking about starting a family, et cetera, and Tom in his time, like, wait a sec. The thing of it is Mr.
Howard. You’re screwed no matter what,
because if you, if you turned down the promotion, you’re never going to get a promotion again. And if you [00:11:00] take it, you’re probably going to get fired. He said, so basically you got one fit foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.
So I was going to take the position and I immediately started working on my resume you know, to see what other things I would be qualified to do. And I. I at that point prior to getting the promotion, we had booked my wife and I had booked a vacation down Florida. And we had, you know, we were sharing it with somebody else and we had already paid, you know, our plane tickets were non-refundable and we, we had paid for this condo that we were going to stay at.
And it was the first time I had taken any time off at all. And under normal circumstances, I would have, you know, just getting this promotion, starting this new job. I think I would’ve considered canceling [00:12:00] my or not going on vacation. My wife would have been terribly angry with me, but you know, it would have been, you know, a career thing and I, but then I thought about it and not.
It’s very unlikely. I’m going to have this, this job for very long and, you know, packed on nights. No things are done differently. Most jobs back then you had to be working for. A full year before you could actually get vacation time. You know, there was no accruing them gradually through the year. And so I said, yeah, screw it.
I’m just taking this vacation. And we did, we went down on vacation and then one day I was on the beach trying to relax. Cause I’m assuming I’m going to come home, be fired shortly, you know, all that. And I, I I’m sitting on the beach and the condo was a few flights up with the balcony, overlooking the beach, and we were renting the place with my wife’s [00:13:00] mother and her husband.
And all of a sudden I hear my voice being called and it’s. It’s my mother-in-law on the balcony and thing. Howard, there’s a phone call from you from work. Oh shit. I was assuming it was Jim too, you know? Discuss something about the new universe. And I had to go take the elevator, go upstairs, go. I pick up the phone and it’s Terry Cavenaugh.
Who’s a good friend of mine. And he said, Howard, has anybody told you? I said, totally what Terry, I have no idea what you’re talking about. He said, huh. Jim got fired two days ago. Wow. And I, you know, it shifted everything for me because suddenly [00:14:00] you know, it didn’t look like, you know, you know, that that either my foot came out of the grave or the banana peel disappeared and and that was it.
So I came back to very different. Environment at, at Marvel. And you know, and Tom was the editor in chief and Mark Grunewald, who was the, the guy that brought me into comics essentially. And was, he was the executive editor. And those were two guys that I, I knew how to work with.
Casey: No, I heard they were both phenomenal to work with.
Howard Mackie: Oh yeah. I mean, as I say, Mark, Well, both of them are our friends or, well, Mark is still a friend, even though he is not on this side of the, the earthly veil. But Tom and Tom is, is still a good friend. I just got to. Last year. I, you know, that COVID times have skewed [00:15:00] the passage of time, but I had been at a a convention in Honolulu with, with my wife’s and, and Tom and, and his wife.
And it was fun. Just hanging out for. A few
Casey: days, not a bad way to catch up with
Howard Mackie: exactly. I talk on the phone all the time, but you know, getting to get picked up at an airport in a stretch limo that literally had a disco ball.
Okay. Well, we, you know, w it was kind of fun, you know, with the four of us being trans, I mean, we would have been happy with a taxi. The convention went all out. So
Casey: how does one go from writing? Chuck Norris, karate commandos, number four to doing the basically revamping
Howard Mackie: ghost. Well done.
Well played. That’s usually the one I have to remind people of.
[00:16:00] Well, do you
Casey: know who I am? I am the writer of Chuck Norris karate commandos.
Howard Mackie: Exactly. Exactly exactly. There was a number five that never saw print, but yes. Yeah. I had written a few things before Chuck Norris, but my, my, my first, okay. So what was my first comic book credit? And you’re going to just look at the internet.
Casey: I think it was iron man, but I’m
Howard Mackie: probably wrong. You are correct. It was iron man, two 11. And it
Casey: was that H how did that work? Because that’s, that’s like, Going immediately from playing high school baseball to playing on the Yankees.
Howard Mackie: I have to say years ago, I did a panel up in Boston and which it was, you know, breaking into comic books, you know, comic book writing.
And I was obviously chosen because I was the token old guy. [00:17:00] Okay. I mean, I’m trying to trying to remember who all was, was on the panel. Matt Rosenberg is that, that is everything. Yeah, really nice guy. And Oh shoot. I’m so teeny Rosenberg’s on Spider-Man now. Actually. Yes, yes. Anyway, they were like, Oh, Jim’s up was on the
Casey: you know, totally awesome
Howard Mackie: dude.
Yep. Absolutely. So. The questions were round Robin and I was frequently the last person or, or, or, or close to. And then at one point they asked. One of the questions was okay. So what is the first paid writing assignment? You, you, you had, and you know, when everybody knew people had various web web comics, which of course didn’t exist when I broke into the business and, you know, and, and, and things, things like that, self published things all really cool.
Things that, [00:18:00] you know, I would not have had the opportunity to, to do you know, back in time. And and then they come to me and I said, well, I, you know, for. Paid comic book was, was iron man. I think I got booed by the guy, everybody on. Oh, I’m really sorry that I’m forgetting her, her name. Oh, Oh really odd that I can’t remember her last name.
Teeny Howard. Oh yeah. She’s all. Yes. Yes. Wonderful. She was sitting next to me and I’m pretty sure she smacked me at that point. And then one of the next questions was, you know, okay. So you know, how many years you’ve been working in the business? How many comics, you know, how many stories have you written there?
And it goes round Robin and everybody had different, different numbers. And I think Matt was directly next to me on the other side. [00:19:00] And he was very proud because he had said, well, I’m just about to write my hundredth comic book story. And now again, I’m feeling a little embarrassed because I don’t know.
I think at that point, I honestly don’t know what the numbers are. I think it’s. Maybe closer to the seven hundreds right now. And I, I, so the only answer I could come up with with Oh yeah, well, yeah, no, I I’ve, I’ve written just somewhat over a a hundred comics as well.
I think Jim’s up would not let go of that one, but for the rest of the weekend. So, but the way I got that first assignment w iron man, cause I. I, I didn’t, I didn’t really have aspirations to, to write comics. I didn’t have, as I told you, I didn’t have aspirations to to edit comics. They just, you know, it was there, it was the job I, [00:20:00] I had to do and, you know, to, to make money and.
I was Mark Greenwald’s assistant and Denny O’Neil was writing Ironman at the time. And Denny, for reasons, mostly unknown to me. He, he was fired from Marvel by, by Jim shooter, which meant all of his writing assignments were done. Well. He was, he was an editor. He was writing Ironman and Daredevil, I think at the time.
And now w he was done and Mark had lined up Debbie McClenney to come back on tire man w with, with Bob Layton and but Nicola and he did, he wanted to start with his own storyline, not, you know, not clean up Danny sub. So Mark had to set up some. I think it was two months of, [00:21:00] fill-ins and I, so he and I were sitting down to, to make this plan you know, we shared an office and he said, okay, Howard, we need to find somebody to finish up Denny’s storyline.
And I said, yes, we do. And he said, it needs to be somebody who knows what it is. Plans were and is familiar with the character. I said, yes, it does. And he said, it’s going to be you. It’s an old, no, it’s not. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. And he gave me one, my favorite lines that I used both as an editor going forward and as a parent because he said to me, Howard you’re mistaking.
What are you just said for a request? You know, meaning I’m not asking you, if you’re going to write this, I’m telling you you’re [00:22:00] going to write it. And you know, his feeling at the time was a, all of those things I just said, but he also felt like anybody for anybody to be a successful editor, they should have some experience on the other side of the desk.
So that you, you know, you, you would, you know? Yeah. And so, and he put me through hell now. I mean, I’ve rewrote it. I don’t know, five times. And yeah, at a time, just again, to show my age when cutting and pasting of a document involved scissors and scotch tape frequently, we did not have computers. And so that was my, my first assignment.
I really thought it was gonna be, Oh, a one-off because I, I enjoyed writing. I always enjoyed. Writing and in college, et cetera, I just never liked people reading what I wrote. [00:23:00] I kind of blew that. Didn’t I? How did you get over the hangout? No choice. Suddenly you do it, but he has iron man two 11 and probably it had to have sold over a hundred thousand copies because.
Anything that was below a hundred thousand copies at that time at Markham got canceled. So, you know, and you realize there’s, you know, a a hundred thousand plus comic books with your name attached to it. It, you know, it, it, it does something to you and,
Howard Mackie: And I got, I got actually very positive feedback from Jim shooter.
He came into the office the day it came out and he was very complimentary to me about the story. And then suddenly, you know, a couple of other editors just popped into my office and said, I didn’t know, you could write that scene. It’s two of us. And you know, and that is where [00:24:00] the next assignment came and it was.
Chuck Norris and his karate commandos, because I also have a martial arts background. That was the other, you know, they Oh, Howard, you know, karate. Right. And yes, I do. And so good. You’re going to write this, this comic. And one of my favorite stories regarding that was, and I think it is, it is the issue that got published was Alex salvia, who is one of my favorites.
Collaborators. I, he, he was the artist on iron man, two 11. He was the artist on, on Chuck Norris. And then when I eventually started on Spider-Man with web of Spider-Man, he was the artist there as well. So I, I loved working with Alex, but he came up to the office one day. We were in the bullpen and he, and how would you describe this, this, this, this move that Chuck is [00:25:00] supposed to do?
And he I, I’m not sure I quite understand it. I said, okay, not a problem that looks, I look around both pen and there’s a friend of mine who is an artist who wonderful guy, Keith Williams. He, I think primarily at Marvel, he was known as an anchor, but he’s, he’s just a a fantastic artist as well.
But he, he had started out training as one of the. Remeet is Raiders. As we referred to them art assistance for John Romita who was the art director to, to make any art corrections that a comic book needed. But you saw Keith, Hey Keith, come here. I call him. He came over, he was a buddy and I said, do me a favor, put me in a bear hug from behind, I guess, some somewhat innocently or foolishly.
He did. And that I proceeded to, it was a very rudimentary self-defense technique that one of my earliest instructors [00:26:00] taught us, but I knew it was very big motions. So it would work well in a a comic book illustration and I, I broke out of it. I, you, it gently. You know, elbowed him in the ribs and broke the lock.
And, and then I throw him on the floor.
He was looking up at me and he said, He didn’t tell me. And I said, well, that would have kind of ruined the surprise. But,
so, yeah, so that, that was, you know, Chuck Norris and his karate commandos. That’s how that came about. Cause cause they needed somebody. And I, I suddenly was discovered as somebody who could string words together to form a story. And I had some knowledge of karate.
Casey: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So, so w when you got around to Ghostrider, how did that, how did that happen?
Was that something that was proposed to [00:27:00] you or were they just like, Hey, we’re, we’re, we’re going to reboot the character we want to do we want to do something else with
Howard Mackie: it. Well along the lines of, you know, the Chuck Norris and the the karate background that I, I also had set my head on fire.
Mark, Mark Greenwald, you know, from, you know, w w the way it worked back then, and it doesn’t anymore is the editor and the assistant shared a space that was about. I don’t know, 10 by 10 or 10 by 12. It was a, it was a small office with two desks in it. But what it meant was you got on the job training.
Bye. You know, listening to the editor all the time. And and, but you also had the opportunity to talk a lot. And Mark knew that I was a fan of ghostwriter and a lot of it was actually, it was that period [00:28:00] where Carlin was giving me free comics from Aurel. I got to read a lot of the. The Mark de Madis.
I’m sorry. I think he says his name now do Mateus. So I will follow that. Mark Dymatize, even though for 30, some odd years, I knew him as D Madison. Anyway, he, I was a real fan of me and I’m a fan of his work still now, but I, I, I really was attracted to the way he wrapped up. That initial run of ghost rider with Papa was the the artist and Mark just knew I was a big, big fan.
And so one day he had come to, I was an editor at that point. Think maybe I must have been done with the new universe, right. I must say, yeah, I think I was already on to the. The Avengers books, but anyway Mark came in and just said to me, out of the blue, [00:29:00] I we’re thinking about bringing the ghost character back.
I said, Oh cool. I can’t wait to read it. And then I thought he was going to ask me if I wanted to edit it. And but I had a bunch of, at that point, my, my writing resume had grown a little bit, but nothing, no seriously regular work. I, I, I had, I had done. A bunch of like one shots and, you know, I think at least one other failed toy tie-in called air readers.
And and then I was the, one of the regular writers on the Avengers. Spotlight at first, it was called solo Avengers. And then it became vendor spotlight because they realized it’s better to rack with the Avengers books because that’s how these decisions are made. And or we’re back when we had new stamps.
And I, you know, I was doing the Hawkeye feature [00:30:00] on a vendor spotlight. So I, I had, at that point had some, some writing experience under my belt, but he said, no, we’d like you to, to put a proposal in for the book. And I said, Oh really? Okay. I can do that. And he said, but there’s one caveat. He said you can’t use Johnny blaze.
And it was like, you know, I got all puffed up and then kind of deflated because I mean, Hey, blaze is a really cool name and that was the character I wanted to write. Cause that was character that was ghostwriter as far as I was concerned. And he said, Nope, it’s gotta be completely. New character with your own spin on it.
And so I, I did I put in my proposal, but what I didn’t know, and it was incredibly naive of me, quite frankly. [00:31:00] I thought I was the only person that were asking. To to submit a proposal. And that turned out not to be the case. And I didn’t find this out until after mine was accepted. Oh wow.
There were five other people that they had reached out to. Most of whom were seasoned writers. I mean, like, and I’m not gonna mention names because you know, that, that, that would be but you know, they, they were guys had, had I known they, that I was like competing against them. I would say, screw this.
I’m not doing it. I’m not going to set myself up to fail or be rejected. And, but mine was the one that was accepted and, you know, I was, I was very fortunate of course. We could not, we almost couldn’t get the book published really. Because [00:32:00] the sales department at the time, this would have been what early nineties.
Yeah, like, like 1990 when we were doing the, the, the pitch the Sales department had decided that, you know, here was a book that we read that the editorial is looking to bring back that. Start a failed character. Okay. Because the original ghost rider series was canceled because of low sales and so a failed character with an unknown writer, which was true.
I had some credits, but. You know, no, I was not, you know, Whoa, hold the writer of Chuck Norris and his karate commandos, number four, you know, I got to get it. So it was, you know, unknown writer and then a relatively unknown art team as well. And you know, cause Javier, Sal Perez and Mark Texiera, anything, [00:33:00] they, they.
But you have potentially more published work than, than I did at the time, but not a lot. And so the sales department absolutely tried to kill it. And I mean, I’ve had this conversation multiple times with Tom and I think only a few years ago, did I learn the ending of it from Tom, but. What they kept doing was asking us to change the formatting.
So we had originally pitched it as an ongoing series and they said, it’s never going to work. It’s an ongoing series. So let’s do it as a limited series. Limited series. Never really got beyond that at the time. So, and here’s the thing about when you, when you do what. A a proposal with, you know, like multiple issue outline.
And even the first plot I worked Marvel method, which was [00:34:00] plot and then script dialogue as opposed to working a full, full script, like a screenplay. And so, but every time you do it, it changes. The rhythm and the formatting and all that. So I had to really go in and rewrite every time they asked for the formatting change.
And so I rewrote it as a limited series first, I believe. And they decided that that probably wouldn’t work. So we should do it as a one-shot graphic novel. So I rewrote that then they decided that’s not going to work. But at that time it was, I think shortly before that a writer had come up with a unique formatting featuring one of those characters at DC called the dark Knight.
Frank Miller had done you know, the. The, the dark tonight I mean, w we just refer to it at the time as dark night format, which was again, a [00:35:00] limited series, but it was. It was each issue had more pages and it was better print quality and all that. So I’ve retooled it for that again. And then I think I’m trying to think they, they suddenly decide no, you know, maybe, maybe we really should just do it as a graphic novel, in which point, Tom the Falco editor in chief, just that.
Casey: They did everything they could to make it a little bit, because
Howard Mackie: I think pretty much you should get us to just give up. And he said, no, I have faith in this book. We’re doing it the way I want to do it. And so he said, you know, we’re going back with the original proposal and the original. Plot and the outline.
So we’re doing it. We’re just launching it as a regular ongoing and That point, the person who was head of sales wrote a kind of escaping w [00:36:00] memo to Mike Copson, who’s the publisher of Marvel at the time, long time publisher, great guy. And they just recently, within the past few weeks passed away.
And. Saying all of the reasons why barbel should absolutely not publish this book and how it was not going to succeed. It was going to be, you know, who’s going to lose money, et cetera. You know, all of the reasons that I gave you. And, and sent it and, you know, CC Tom as well, and probably a few other people and hops chose to, to ignore it.
And we, we published it and the first issue sales came out and I believe the first issue outsold, the X-Men. Which was our, our, our top selling the flagship. Yeah. And the, the head of sales came to Tom’s office [00:37:00] and very gracefully graciously. She was standing in the doorway with a copy of the memo.
And she looked at Tom, he just, this is the part of the story. Tom just told me and she just ripped it up and threw it in the trash and basically said I was from, and, and then sales just continued to go up. So we were very, very fortunate. I mean, actually I shouldn’t say that. I believe back then the way.
Orders worked was issue. One could sell well, but since the store owners didn’t really know the product at the time issue two and three tended to drop off, they tended to order less of those at the time. And then issue four. If, if it was successful, you know, went back up and that, that that’s what happened with ghostwriter.
Casey: That’s awesome. And there’s so much rule of cool going on [00:38:00] with the design for, for a ghostwriter. And when it came out, I was a young comic reader at the time. I was only eight years old when, when number one came
Howard Mackie: out. Hmm. I, I was only 18 when I wrote it. I I’m lying.
Casey: So there is a. That character and like the Punisher and, you know, maybe even Wolverine and maybe a few other characters were kind of like the darker side of the Marvel universe.
And it was, it seemed like it was kind of aiming for a different an older readership.
Howard Mackie: And except you were eight years old. What were your parents thinking? Allowing you Dave
Casey: Alison at the spinner rack. So, yeah,
Howard Mackie: I do remember early. Yeah. Being at a [00:39:00] signing and just want to get a local comic book store.
And, you know, they had advertised that no writer of ghostwriter Howard Mackie will, will be attending side. A young mother showed up like a four year old or a five-year-old. To, to get the comic signed by me. Can I just, I just looked her in her and I said, you have to look at this, right? I mean, the con content-wise, I am not you know, I, I’m not ashamed.
We had a target audience when I was working at Marvel. And while you may be right, we were skewing slightly older, but it wasn’t a lot older, you know, we were always thinking. Our target audience was 11 to 15 year olds. Oh
Casey: yeah. That totally
Howard Mackie: tracks in terms of storytelling and language content and you know, but you know, five years old, you know, I mean, part of [00:40:00] the appeal to me even you’re dealing with a flaming skull.
Demon on a motorcycle wearing leathers and spikes. I just don’t know at that time, I don’t think maybe eight maybe, but you know, a, you know, a five-year-old my, my kids would have been terrified. Quite frankly you know, just the, the imagery
Casey: being, being honest with you, it really, the first time I read it, it took me out of it the first time he said pennant stare, because there’s no way that a person with no lips could, could say pennants.
So yeah. That’s my bad joke for the day. And you know, I
Howard Mackie: like it. There are many, if I was being accurate with his, his dialogue, you know, he’s got no lips. You’re right. There was a lot that he couldn’t have said, but I hadn’t even thought of that. See, now [00:41:00] I will never be able to get that out. Thank you so much.
Casey: I’ve ruined it for you. I’m so sorry. So I’m on the real though. His his like group of, of villains that, that he would come across are some of the cooler villains in the Marvel universe. And I always appreciated that about the the spirits of vengeance, the ghost rider, all those lines had so many Really cool villains that really matched the tone of the book and stuff like that just made it made a lot of fun.
And as the young reader
dangerous, so automatically obstacle level
Howard Mackie: yes, it doesn’t work. Wait, what I was trying to do, and this is how I think of. Ghostwriter even now. And, [00:42:00] you know, and I I’ve actually quite enjoyed some of the most recent ghostwriter stuff that Marvel has done it, even though for many, many years, I, I refuse, I have a personal policy of once I’m done writing a character to not read the character anymore.
Okay. And the reason for that. Is, I don’t ever want to be doing one of these, this interview or be at a convention talking to a fan or, or something like that, where they ask me a question and I say something that could even inadvertently be construed as criticism of of a subsequent writer, because that’s not, that’s not my place.
I, you know, I, I, you know, when I signed on to, to create the Danny Katch character, I knew it was a work for hire which [00:43:00] means Marvel loans at all, you know, so people can come in and do whatever they want once once you know, I’m off the book, as a matter of fact, I mean, I’ve done it myself, you know you know, I certainly changed blaze when I subsequently got.
To bring him back into the book. But I also, one point I, I wrote I was approached to write after ghostwriter took off an issue of moon night, moon night, number 25, I believe it was. And it was, you know, double side’s issue and anniversary issue with Mark de Madis imitate wa w was, was off the books and the editor, Danny fingernail, who’s a friend and I worked, I worked with for many years on other projects.
He, he approached me and said, you know, do you want to take this on? And I had been, because again, I’m a fan of Mark’s work, but I would never. Ever assume that I could write [00:44:00] like Mark, it’s not my, you know, it’s not my writing style. It is my preferred reading. You know, I, I don’t try to, I never tried copy Mark because, you know, he’s a much better, much, much better wordsmith than I am.
And, you know, he, and he operates, you know, in terms of story on quite frankly, a different plane of existence than I do, but. He had written up as I recall, he had written a Moonlight arc, which ultimately ended with moon night. Coming to the conclusion that he wasn’t gonna be as violent as he has been in the past.
So, you know, his fighting style was going to be more using the opponent’s energy against them, more like an t-to type of martial arts thing and things like that. And I, I said to Danny, I said, Danny, You know, I can’t do what Mark did. That’s not my kind of thing. I, you [00:45:00] know, I have a martial arts background, they were hard style of martial arts.
You know, you would be trying to use somebody’s energy against them. I’m going for a throat punch. Okay. And I said, I just can’t do that. And Danny said, Oh no, you don’t have to just do yours. So essentially Mark does this great story. And my first issue. It comes down to,
so I am aware that that happens. Okay. But I didn’t want, like I said, I didn’t want to, I don’t ever want to read somebody’s work and then say something off hand. I actually, and I’m not going to, to relay the story, but I have been accused of that once. In in my my career inappropriately. So I just, I don’t read stuff, but then, but you know what was it?
Oh God. So many years ago [00:46:00] before COVID I was at the last New York Comicon that happened and I was walking around. Early the first morning. And I walked by a guy that was sitting underneath a big ghostwriter poster. And, you know, I could see he had some ghostwriter comics on hints, his table.
He, he was talking to somebody else and you know, he was the right. It was ed Brisson who wrote the last go starter series. You know, so I’m just listening to them. Talk about ghostwriter and Danny Katch so cool. And then he’s done with the guy who was the fan. He was talking to him. And so then this old dude with a white beard me you know, you know, I’ve always liked that character.
He’s good. And I can see he’s like glazing over here’s, you know, aging fan boy. I said, yeah, I, you know, I’ve always liked it. I didn’t know they were doing the [00:47:00] new, new he says, Hey, yeah, I just wrote it. I did it with Aaron Cooder. Who’s I know Aaron. And he was at the table across the way, and I.
I just stuck out my hand. I said, well, thanks though. It’s like the character. My name is Howard Mackie and he said, Oh, that’s really nice. And you know, and all of a sudden he said, excuse me, what? And I said, I’m Howard Mackie, and he’s continuing to shake my hand. And I said, okay, you know, Yes I am. And you know, now, you know, this getting a little awkward, we had a very nice conversation.
He gave me a copy of issue, number one, and he autographed it for me. And then I took it over to Aaron. He autographed it for me. And the next morning I did, you know, and I actually, I wish somebody had a camera and had taken a camera phone or somebody had thought to take a picture of me because. You know, before the show started, I had the comic just sitting there and I thought, Oh, what the hell?
I’m going to read [00:48:00] it. And I just was sitting behind my, my table with my own poster behind me with ghostwriter and other characters up there reading an issue of ghostwriter, not written by me. And I really liked it. I, I went over and I told him, and I told Aaron and I loved, you know, he did things with, with Danny Katch and his Danny’s girlfriend, Stacy.
And that felt like a natural progression of the character. That’s gotta to be a great feeling. Yeah. So it was fun and it was fun. And so, you know, anybody that came up to me. To get like my ghostwriters autographed, I made sure. I said, well, have you read the new book? And I held it up and I said, Oh, you should definitely try to find it.
And you know, the creators are on the other side of the room and you should go see them. And then at one point, both Erin and ed said, Howard, We keep getting people [00:49:00] coming over and saying that you sent them, how are you supposed to be selling your own stuff? Yeah, it doesn’t hurt me, you know? So it, it was, it was kind of fun.
Casey: That’s awesome. And you were talking about continuity earlier and about, you know, coming in after other writers and it kinda makes me think of the. The night, they drove old Dixie down that song by the band. You take what you need and you leave the rest that
Howard Mackie: line. And that, that, that, you know, I thank you so much.
I am going to steal that and use it because that summarizes my policy and feelings about continuity in general. And I have been criticized at times about. Not being a stickler for continuity. Okay. And I, I feel like continuity is a [00:50:00] gift that previous generations of writers starting with Stan have, you know, bequeath to, to those who come afterwards.
But I also think continuity when used the wrong way can become. The worst kind of shackles ever imaginable. And so, yeah, I just, I like to think in terms of continuity in general terms, but I’ll never get into, Oh no, you can’t do that because in this issue on this page, in this panel, there’s this little thing that happened that says it can’t last me.
Shit happens. That’s that’s the reality.
Casey: Yeah. I’m sorry. I don’t think anyone can, could write a. True to continuity story about cable, for instance. Right. Just because is [00:51:00] everything is so convoluted with his storyline and yeah.
Howard Mackie: So the Spiderman Spiderman, you know, when you’ve got that many years of stories being told by different.
Writers there’s a time at which you just have to say no. I mean, it’s the thing I love about this. The Marvel cinematic universe is that they’re not adhering to comic book continuity, but they are adhering to the essence of the characters. And as long as that’s there, I, you know, I think that that’s the most important, important part.
Casey: So. Going going back to ghost rider and that, how did the spirits of vengeance come about? Because that look blue
Howard Mackie: Good. Thank you. Well, and plus, I [00:52:00] got to work with Adam Kubert, which was a blast as well. I
Casey: I happened to be known artist, Adam Kubert.
Howard Mackie: Yeah, exactly. The other thing I don’t ever do.
I, I mentioned about not reading subsequent writers. I almost never reread my own stuff. Because well, because I will inevitably either be disappointed or find some mistake that I made or that the editor made and it’ll just irritate me. And plus by the time it sees print, I have lived that story.
And re-read the story and proof the story multiple times before I ever saw print. So I’m done and moving on to the next one recently, I’ve had the opportunity to reread a few things. I, I, we may get to this. I just recently did some work for Marvel and I had the opportunity [00:53:00] to reread several issues. Of spirits of vengeance.
And quite frankly, I was impressed.
I don’t ever say that about my writing. And a lot of it had to do with the Adam’s artwork. Quite frankly. He was, he was a phenomenal collaborator too, to work with. He’s one of my favorite, I mean, I look overall, I’ve been, I’ve been blessed with the artists I’ve gotten to work with in my career and I, I would run down the list, but I would AB slightly embarrassed and B I would inevitably forget somebody major.
But you know, I really, you know, I mean, just the brief list. I’m only going to, I’m going to limit myself to five and we’re going to discount Javier and Mark, because we’ve already spoken about them and they’re both phenomenal, but you know, I [00:54:00] got to work with Adam, Andy NGO. Cubert. True. True. One story that I’ve heard and then was just staying with the, the, the the Kubert school.
I also got to work with Lee weeks, you know? Oh, cool. You know, and then, you know, and then guys like Ron Garney and John Byrne, and, and then of course, John, John Romita Jr. Who’s just a phenomenal guy. And also one of my favorites. Artists. I just, I mean, so, and again, the list really goes on, you know, and it’s still, you know, and, you know, and I mentioned Alex savvy, that’s worked with Al Milgrom, who’s just, you know, his story.
I’m I, you know, I’m a writer, so I love storytelling, you know, and you know, every guy that I just mentioned is. You know, they’re all wonderful illustrators, but first and foremost, they’re all phenomenal [00:55:00] storytellers. You know, my words don’t have to be on most of those pages and you’d be able to tell.
What was going on. Exactly. Yeah. And that’s, that’s the sign of a good, and you know, Alex savvy and Al Milgrom are two guys that I worked with early on and they taught me more about storytelling. I really do consider them two of the best storytellers in the business. And so. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t even remember the question now.
Casey: I was asking, you know, how, how you came about to, to do the yes.
Howard Mackie: Oh, hearts of darkness. Yes. Oh, okay. I thought you would, we were talking about spirits of vengeance hearts of darkness. It was look, it was a sales thing. I gotta be honest with you. It was like, At that point, ghostwriter was selling like hotcakes.
So was the Punisher. So was Wolverine. They all occupied [00:56:00] the same basic corner of the Marvel universe. And I always thought of it as being, you know, kind of the edge of the Mar from the universe that existed in, in shadow, quite frankly you know, down the darker streets, you know, if most of the Marvel universe.
Takes place in, you know, metropolis to, to show, you know, do across company comparison, you know those characters would all be hanging out in Gotham, for sure. So and you know, I had an affinity for all the characters. I had written them all at some point in ghostwriter. And Marvel was looking for something that might sell this.
So I think it was Bobby Chase who said to me, how would you want to do something? One shot with Go started with Punisher and Wolverine. I said, hell yeah.
[00:57:00] And and John, John Romita Jr. Was approached. That was going to be the first time I got to work with him. And, you know, he, he said, you know, again, we, we saw the potential in it making some money. So he said, yes, sign me up. And so that’s how we did it. And it got me to, to delve into, you know, areas that I had not been going in go straight.
It’s probably the first time I went as supernatural as as, I mean, I’ve done, I had done some stories prior to that with, with nightmare and, you know, various, somewhat demonic characters, but mostly I tried to keep it rooted in the main Marvel universe, but then Blackheart had been so utilized wonderfully.
So in Daredevil, by and necessity. That I, I thought, yeah, I wouldn’t mind [00:58:00] taking a shot at that character. So yeah, I mean, so that, that’s how that came about, but it really, I I’m being completely honest. It was. You know, we want to do something that’s going to make money and yeah.
Casey: Cool. Applies here because I mean, it was really such a cool looking book. And you were talking about how it kind of gave you license to, to get a little bit darker, a little bit more paranormal. In that book, it also shows Danny being able to, to. Become Ghostrider without the his, his bike.
Howard Mackie: Yes. Yep.
Casey: W, and that’s something that kind of was that, that was the first time you, you actually utilize that,
Howard Mackie: right?
I believe, I believe so. But again, going back to what I just said to you, I haven’t, re-read, it’s been about 30 years, [00:59:00] so yes. I remember snapshots of stories that I I’ve written, but I, I couldn’t tell you specifically. I mean that, that that’s being completely honest and that’s completely
Casey: fine. Yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. That was such a fun thing in the rogues gallery for, for ghost rider was always so cool. And
Howard Mackie: I had tried just touch on that. I, I really, the first 12 issues I w you know, I, I’m a big fan of of the Spider-Man character, as you may guess as well, but I, and I have, re-read a lot of the early Spider-Man stuff.
The, the Stan and Steve. Stuff cause a big pan of meat. Obviously Stan and steeped it though. And I, I remember reading the first 12 issues rereading the first 12 issues of, of Spider-Man. I mean, amazing Spider-Man and they introduced pretty much a [01:00:00] new character, every issue. And I kinda liked that.
And so while I did have some guest appearances by, you know, I had Dr. Strange in the first 12 issues and a lot of that came about for a variety of editorial reasons, but that’s why I was trying to introduce my own Rogue’s gallery of characters with blackout and death watch and Zodiac and snow blind, you know Characters like that.
I’ve wanted to give us tense of ghost charter existing in his own corner of the Marvel universe. These weren’t villains that other people were going to have been fighting at that point. So yeah, so thank you. Is, is my point. I, it was, it was intentional and please do it was well received.
Casey: Like earlier you were talking about the Spider-Man rogues gallery, and I hate to say this.
I always [01:01:00] thought they look dorky as hell, like the fur for Spiderman, and that might be sacrilege, but there, there aren’t many Spider-Man villains, I think have a really cool look.
Howard Mackie: But the part of the thing is. I when, when I was reading those initially as an eight year old, it was a few years before you were reading them as an eight year old and, you know, certainly times have changed.
And, and, you know, when many of those characters did eventually get in my opinion, very, very cool updates. And I did, I wound up getting to use. You know, you know, quite frankly, I tried to, when I was writing Spider-Man later on use some of the dorky or characters to see if I could bring an element of, of cool to them.
And might my favorite was the trapster quite frankly, who started out as we may know, recall [01:02:00] a paste pot. Oh yes. And, and quite frankly, even when I think I mentioned early on, I was doing adventure spotlight. And with these Hawkeye stories, the way they started out was Mark Grunewald would just say to me, we’d have a lunch.
You he’d say, I want you to come up with a story for Hawkeye and use these two villains or this villain. And he would just randomly throw it was, it was almost like a you know, end game at that point, like a mad libs or, or, or something where, so I think the first story I wrote was using Texas twister and a shooting star.
Okay. And I didn’t know those characters at all. And I thought, okay, I’ll do it. Wrote a story. And then, then he had me, he said, well, you’re a ghost writer fan, so I want you to use the orb. [01:03:00] And I don’t know, remember the, or, but, you know, I think they brought him back a few times and he’s very different character and he’s got some paranormal roots, but his original incarnation, he was just like this biker dude that had this, you know globe of a helmet that shot.
Out some sort of Ray of his blaster, it was really a dorky character. But so I, I, to me, there is some fun in using those characters to see if you can bring some cool. To them sometimes you really can’t.
Casey: Yeah. A good a good challenge.
Howard Mackie: Yes. Yeah. It’s a, it’s a good writer exercise, quite frankly.
Casey: So you you, you did the, the clone saga.
Howard Mackie: Well, I w I was part of the club soccer.
Casey: Yeah. Yes, [01:04:00] yes, yes. And, and I’m gonna glance over that. Not because it wasn’t a great story. I actually loved the clone saga when I was when I was an avid reader from, from the spinner rack. Like that, that kept me going back in and also another thing one thing that hooked me for ghost rider when I was a kid is the, the covers by techs.
Howard Mackie: yeah. Oh my gosh. Oh no, they, it was, it was, I have to say the tone. Of the book and I I’m, I mean, huge, huge fan of having ears. And I did just get to work with him again. And yeah, we definitely should talk about that because it’s a ghostwriter related project and it’s coming out in at the end of this month.
Can we talk about it? Oh, absolutely. But but I just want to say that the, the tone of the book. Changed, quite frankly, when you know your story’s changed for an art. I mean, if you’re doing it correctly as even doing it, the, the Marvel method [01:05:00] you need to know. And trust quite frankly, the artists you’re working with and that impact stories.
And one of, one of the things that I didn’t even realize, I did it until a couple of artists that I, I worked with said to me that when we first knew we were going to work together, the first one of the people that told me this was Tom Lyle who. He, and I were going to work on Spiderman together and I always call an artist up, introduce myself.
We have a conversation. Then one of the questions Tom pointed out to me that I asked immediately, and I realize I ask every artist is what, what do you, what do you really like to draw? What do you not like to draw? And do you have any favorite characters from this particular. Corner of the Marvel universe.
And that’s not to say that that’s going to completely determine the way or the stories [01:06:00] I tell, but he can impact story quite a bit because you, I mean, you want everybody to, well, quite frankly, to be in their comfort zone, or sometimes you want to challenge, you know, the artist or yourself to get outside of your comfort zone.
So you’re neither one of you are going through the motions and I did, I’ve done that with everybody. From John Romita Jr. To John Byrne, where they’ve called me up after they’ve gotten my funds. Are you, are you kidding me? You’re asking me to draw that. And and it always, I mean, I remember saying to John Byrne point.
Oh, okay. John, I’m sorry if you’re saying that the famous John Byrne. Can’t manage to draw one little thing that the insignificant writer happened to, right? No, I understand. I’m sure the readers will let that stand as well. And then he usually would curse me out and then actually draw it better than anybody thought he could.
But you [01:07:00] know that that’s, you know, that’s, that’s just the way I like to work. So I’m sorry. I think I wandered away from the original point. No, no, that’s,
Casey: that’s, that’s completely fine. So you you had this. This project coming up at the end of the month. Can you, can you tell us a little bit about
Howard Mackie: it?
Oh yeah. And it’s been many years in the making four years in the making, quite frankly. I had been con I had, I had been contacted by Marvel. To do a ghostwriter project four years ago, just a one-shot. And at the time the the ghostwriter comic that was being published was Oh shoot. Now I can’t remember the character’s name, but the, the one that has been portrayed on agents of shield and who drove the car instead of riding the motorcycle and the, the the pitch it’s to me by the editor was, Oh, it’d be kind of [01:08:00] cool to unify the two characters.
No. Robbie said, Oh yeah, that’s going to drive me crazy until I re remember what the character is saying this and you know, and the Danny Katch character. Okay, cool. And then we just, a lot of things got in the way, you know, book, I had other commitments, the. The editor, you know, changed a few times and, and it, it looked like that.
Wasn’t good. Okay. And so time passed and, and another editor came along who was going to take this, this project on Mark Basso at, at Marvel and he, and I started kicking things around it. And at that point, this new ghost rider series had. Had kicked in with, with it prison. And so. They wanted to, to change it, change up the seat.
We were going to [01:09:00] use the Robbie Reyes is the character’s name. Yeah. We were not going to use him. At that point they wanted me to have a story that would tie in with the, the. Ed Brisson continuity, which was the original concede for this story was it was going to be the annual for that came out during, during this, the current or the most recent series, long story short it got the book got put on hold during the original COVID shutdown.
And during that time, then the series was canceled. And so it is no longer a an annual, but it is a one-shot and it, the, the essence of the story focuses around the character that I created vengeance [01:10:00] who is another. Another version of ghost rider. He was essentially my answer to you know, what I always say is, you know what, what, what if ghost writer wasn’t such a wimp.
And and it’s, I get to bring back a couple of other characters that I created in my, my ghostwriter and my spirits at engines run. And work with Javier Javier does the full art chores and I believe he hits the stores on December 30th. Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah. Yeah. It was kind of fun. You know, to, to get back into that.
Well, not quite that corner of the universe, because most of it has to do with a vengeance breaking out of hell. With the, with the assistance of a Skinner, a character that I had created in you remember? Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, so that, that is my most [01:11:00] recent foray into Marvel and the. The ghostwriter universe as it currently exists.
And I, I would welcome an opportunity to revisit any of these characters currently, because there was a time when I would not have said that there was a time when I, you know, I really do believe in not looking backwards. But I did re when I knew I was using vengeance, I got to reread some of the spirits, Benjamin stuff that I did with.
Adam Kubert and that’s right. I said, I, I was actually very impressed by, by, by the writer, young whipper snapper of a writer at the time. And so yeah, I th there’s fun stuff. I think it would be fun to revisit these characters that have grown in the time that I, I I’ve left them.
Casey: I’m so glad that you’re, you’re doing something with Skinner, because I remember reading the comic where, you know, where he first comes about and [01:12:00] it has origin and it’s terrifying.
Yeah. Yeah. It was, it was extreme for, it was yes. For when you know, as, as a young comic reader, when I first read it, I was like, Oh my God. So That was, yeah, he’s pretty hardcore. So that’s
Howard Mackie: yeah. Yeah. And that was, you know, I mean, are you, do you write at all? I do.
Casey: Yeah. I’m not good at it, but I do
Howard Mackie: please.
Yeah. I’m still working at it. But. You know, you always bring some element of yourself into any stories you do. I mean, it’s just the reality. You can try to push that away far away as possible. And just it, there is all we see when I look at ghost charter and I’m often ask about this, you know, Danny Katch is a, a version of me.
Quite frankly, you know, I mean, he grew up in the [01:13:00] same neighborhood I grew up in, which was Cypress Hills, Brooklyn directly across the street from the cemetery that I used to hang out in. As a matter of fact, I went back to my old paper to take photographic reference for Mark and Javier. When I, when we were launching the book and then, you know, my father died when I was seven years old.
And Danny’s father died and he was raised by a single mom and there, there are so many elements to my, my youth in that story. And then when I, as you know, as I was writing that story, I was starting a family. And so a lot of my stories have to do with Children being in danger sometimes, sometimes killed there’s.
Some of that, the scarecrow stuff I wrote was I think some of the scarier stuff that I’ve done, you know the, the scarecrow issues in the, the the [01:14:00] regular series and then the fear one shot I did with, with Lee weeks. And I mean, that was because, not because I like putting. Children in danger, but because you’re fine for a young guy that was it.
And so Skinner in particular be his origin and how he, you know, you know, got to the, you know, the decision, he, the horrific decision he made that that was, and, you know, in his mind. And I explained it a little bit in this, this one shot in his mind, he was doing the right thing for them. For his family. And it just, you know, that’s, that’s the kind of stuff I did.
And quite frankly, I mean, probably more information than anybody needs to know, but a lot of the stuff I was wrestling with with ghostwriter at the time I. I right. As it launched, I had been diagnosed with cancer. Totally fine. [01:15:00] Been, been cancer free for, you know, 31 years, not a big deal, but that had, you know, there was, you know, it was like this frightening inner demon inside me, you know, that it was a ticking clock and that was how Danny Katch felt about it.
You know, ghostwriter within him. So, you know, in hindsight and you know, I, I don’t think I did a lot of this stuff intentionally. You write the stories and then you, you know, if you’re lucky you get to look back up and then say, Oh yeah, that’s why I did that. You know, because you know, that’s just the.
The stuff you’re going through seeps through to your writing at the time. And you know, so everything from hearts of darkness to Skinner to my stuff with scarecrow and and, and all that know that that was me on the, on the page.
Casey: That’s awesome. And what, what’s the name of this book you have with Javier assault areas?
Howard Mackie: Oh, he’s you [01:16:00] kind of has the difficult, the reason I say that is because they changed it a couple of times. Give me a second. I’m going, I’m going to use the Google,
Casey: let us know in post and we can I just want to make sure to put a link up with it. When we, when we post the the
Howard Mackie: show. And if you order it through my local comic book store mega brain comics in Rhinebeck, New York, I am autographing a copy for, for, for people.
And so maybe I’ll, I’ll send you you guys the. The link to that. Cause they’re on Facebook and Instagram definitely
Casey: do. And we, we want to keep those places open. So mega
Howard Mackie: yeah, exactly. Mega brain comic in Rhinebeck, New York really nice guy. And yeah, I mean he, yeah, he really, we, I also, I lived in a town where we have a few.
Celebrities actual celebrities [01:17:00] and both Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan have homes up here. Jeffrey Dean Morgan lives up full time and he just did a phenomenal thing for mega brain went like right at the beginning of the closed down. Do you know they, they a Nagan one shot.
The walking dead comics and anybody that, I mean, he was doing really well priced comic that four through mega could be purchased through mega brain and mega brain gets all of the profits. He was doing it just. To be a nice guy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. And he is a really nice guy. You know, thinking about him.
Oh no, I don’t. I’ve only met him once, but you know what he did for this local comic book store? I am. And I, I, I, I just, I could not be more grateful. I happened to be friends with the owner of the store, but he basically. Kept them in business and in the black for sure. [01:18:00] Oh, no. He kept them in business. I don’t think they would have, because they had just changed locations.
And I, yeah, and I really just don’t think they would’ve they would’ve made it and he, he did this signing and he originally, I think he had said, Oh, well, I’ll just sign it, you know, a hundred copies for you and put some money in. And then they wound up you know, selling out in 15 minutes.
And he just kept agreeing to sign more. So yeah, just a really, really great guy. So yeah, that’s kind of like it’s, I’m not, I’m not saying that as somebody who, he’s not a a friend of mine Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I only met him one time. Could not have more respect for him for doing what he did for, for this comic shop.
It’s absolutely amazing. The, the comic I just wrote for Marvel though is called. Creatively enough, ghostwriter return, a vengeance.
[01:19:00] Casey: You guys look out for ghost rider, return of vengeance. And I think that that’s going to wrap it up. Is there anything else you’d want to talk about stuff you have on the horizon?
Howard Mackie: No I’m doing, I am doing some work for a a, a. A boutique comic book publisher that I am involved with actually it’s Terry Kavanaugh is the head honcho on this one.
And basically we, we create a custom characters. For for people, but it is, it is definitely a, a boutique experience. So you, you can read that it is not cheap, but it is, it is. And it’s called ink Smith. That’s I N K S M Y T H. And you can find [01:20:00] [email protected] and get. More information. I encourage everybody to, to check it out.
We we’ve had a number of books that we we’ve done and they’ve been very well received by the people who have commissioned them.
Casey: That’s that’s awesome. I’m looking it up right now and yeah, that is, that’s such a cool idea.
Howard Mackie: It is. It’s. It’s fun. And I w like I said, I’ve been there well, I mean, Terry and I are good friends and it’s something that just kind of came about naturally for us.
And and there people seem to be receptive to it. So I encourage everyone to, to check out the website and see if it’s something you would be. Interested in
Casey: I N K S M Y T h.com best Inc smith.com. And again, it’s ghostwriter, spear return [01:21:00] of vengeance. Yes. And man. Howard Mackie. It has been an immense pleasure to
Howard Mackie: talk to you.
Thank you. Same here. And I hope I didn’t bend your ear too much.
Casey: I enjoyed it so much. I really enjoyed talking to you. If you ever have anything you want to promote or wanna pop in again and talk about stuff by all means, give us a heads up. It, it was it seriously. It was a blast. And thank you so much for giving us some of your
Howard Mackie: time.
Yeah. Sometime you should get me and Terry on and we’ll, we’ll, we’ll talk about the clone saga and I’ll completely throw him under the bus and then I’ll run them over and then I’ll back it up.
Casey: Hey, Hey, that, that actually sounds like a blast. Everybody Howard Mackie, Howard. Thank you again, man.
Howard Mackie: My pleasure.
Thanks for having me. Please stay safe. And when we explain to you and to everybody else out there.
Casey: Oh yeah, yeah. I can’t imagine the snow that you guys are getting. If that happens here, everything is shut down completely. Oh,
[01:22:00] Howard Mackie: I’m sorry. I can’t remember wherever you again. Birmingham, Alabama.
Casey: So snow, everything
Howard Mackie: just grind still.
Yeah. Oh, trust me. I did a convention in Dallas, Texas a couple of years ago. And I, you know, I had to get up at like three o’clock in the morning to drive to the airport and get there. And the, the, the, the driver picks me up one of the volunteers from, from the show and he said, Oh yeah, good thing.
You came in today because you know, everything was shut down yesterday. I said, Oh, really? He said, yeah, we got like an inch and a half of snow. And I said, I drove through eight inches of snow in my driveway to get to the airport. So yes it’s but this is what we do when every, you know, every section of the country has They’re their own natural disaster is to, to deal
Casey: with, well, Howard, have a good one and enjoy the rest
Howard Mackie: street, man.
Okay. Same to you. Thanks for talking to me. Okay. Thank you. [01:23:00] Thanks. Thank you. Goodbye.