Tonight Kenric and Jeff got to sit down with a man who has worked on so many incredible stories I promise you if you have been reading Marvel or DC for any length of time you are familur with his work. He worked on Fantastic Four with John Byrne, he worked on Crisis with Marv Wolfman and George Perez, he worked on the Superman relaunch in the 80’s with Marv Wolfman and John Byrne. He told one of the greatest Shazam stories ever in Power of Shazam. It’s the man, the myth, the legend, Jerry Ordway.
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Jerry Ordway Interview
[00:00:00] Jerry Ordway: You know, one page of typed outline and break it down in their own way to 22 pages. In other words, they’re pacing it out. They’re adding angles, they’re doing crystal leaving a lot of room for the balloons and stuff. That was an art that it was hard to teach, you know? So if you were good at that part of it, Hey, let’s have these guys do between the two of those brothers.
They must have done like 10 books. Wow. You know what I mean, 10 books a month. And having other people do the finishes. So, but that’s what I’m saying. Like, if you were Tom Palmer, Tom Palmer is respected. Tom’s a terrific guy. I’m so lucky to have gotten, to meet him in the last, maybe 10 years at shows and stuff.
but he was like my hero, you know, cause I knew what he was doing. Cause he, when he yanked her finished John Usama. Or anybody, it looked good. You know what I mean? So, but the problem is, you know, from a point of pride, if that was me, I know that that’s not just [00:01:00] my work, you know? So that’s what I meant about, you know, you could put as much into a layout, somebody else does the layout, they still did the layout.
So you’re still. It’s still not your work. So that was, that’s probably part of, you know, that childhood. I guess the being, having a drill drilled into me, did you, did you trace it, did you draw it freehand? It has something to do with, you know, ownership of the work and if somebody else had a part of it, it wasn’t totally yours.
Yeah. When you,
Kenric: when, when, when you got
Jerry Ordway: to
Kenric: work on crisis, That ends up being a series of books or, you know, a series that resonated for a really long time. And it still resonates. I mean, it’s, it’s still making waves throughout the work. And I think it’s done more than almost any other time of, for lack of a better term crossover meant that I can think of.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah. You know,
Kenric: and you gotta, and you’re inking George Perez and you’re working with Marv Wolfman.
Jerry Ordway: You know,
Kenric: what was that like? W I mean, did [00:02:00] you guys kind of know what you’re doing? Cause when we talk tomorrow, he said that was, took him a long time to plot that out.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah. Well here’s the deal. I mean, again, this is not, again, this is not against Mar yeah, but I read the book as a reader, not as a contributor.
Right. I think I joined in with issue five. I remember reading the first couple and thinking. Yeah, I don’t know, it’s it wasn’t grabbing me. Right. And then I’d find it later. See, initially Marvin George, when they worked on the teen Titans, they would talk over the phone and George would really do what John B Sama and Jack Herbie and these people did.
He would basically take that comment, which might have amounted to a couple of juicy paragraphs and he would pace it out over a 22 page book. So he really is a co storyteller. I mean, he’s. You know what I’m saying? I’m not trying to take away from our that’s. That’s how Marvel style worked really was minimal, in [00:03:00] most of the writers minimal plot, and then the artists would expand it and basically pace it over 22 pages, adding whatever action.
What have you. Right. But with George, I found out later, And they started crisis. George was very concerned about the amount of heroes and he wanted to make sure he got everybody’s costume. Right. And he understood it because it’s, it really it’s hundreds of, of DC heroes. And to draw any of these characters, doing stuff, you have to know how they, how their powers work.
You know, people won’t think about that, but you can’t, you know, you have to know what would this peacemaker. Have a power. Does he have a vehicle? Does he, you know what I mean? It’s all stuff. That’s all stuff that’s staged by him. Yeah. You could see
Kenric: a silhouette of Wolverine without the hair without big things.
And just the way he standing and everything going on, you know who that is.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah. Well, you also know, cause he’s a character that’s widely known, you know what his powers are, you know what he’s going to, so you know how to make him act right? [00:04:00] What a penciler layout, artists, whatever that’s, what you’re doing is you’re taking, you’re like an actor.
You’re like putting that character into believable situations with body motion, with body language, whatever the interactions with the other characters, even though there’s not dialogue, that’s all part of the storytelling. So, George, what I’d read was he was. Focused on initially he was focused on trying to make sure he got these characters.
Right. Cause it was a huge curve to learn all these, you know, the entire DC universe. So the first couple issues Marv had written up traditional plot. And then I think with issues three or four, I forget if it was, maybe it was four, but, George took over and they wound up doing a lot of stuff the way they had.
Done the Titans. So he basically started, he had more input into the story, you know, so I think it really took off at that point because it suddenly became more visual, you know, and again, that’s not a knock on, on Marvin, just a [00:05:00] comic with Pat many characters still needed to have a visual hook. And it’s not just about putting, you know, 80 guys in a panel or whatever.
So George was able to kind of like, you know, like a cinematographer or something. He was able to really create a mood for it. And I think his, his work, you know, grew over those first couple issues too. And it became as a reader, it became more compelling to me. I thought, because I felt like there was more emotion and stuff happening.
but yeah, so I was, I was. I’ve gone off to do fantastic four because DC wouldn’t care. It really came down to, I was working with Roy and I became, Roy was in California. Roy took over as editor and writer of all of his books. And I felt like I’m working for DC in New York, but I’m kind of forgotten by DC in New York because I’m owned by Roy in a sense.
Right. And I remember asking for a raise, I wanted a page rate increase. [00:06:00] And I was frustrated for whatever reason, they would only give me so much and they wouldn’t bump me up. And I was kind of frustrated in the situation. So I decided, you know, what I be getting offers from Marvel for, you know, years to do stuff.
So I’m just going to make the jump go into Marvel and talk to a, I forget, I started talking about burn. I think I started a pen pal thing with burns somewhere in that. You know, when he started thinking of the fantastic four and he and I wrote back and forth and a couple of times, and, he then offered me, I think I was going to do squadrant Supreme.
I was going to do finishes. He was going to do layouts. Greenwald was writing it and they were going to do the justice league the right way or something like that. And I actually inked the promo teaser page for it. And it’s a silhouette shot. Of all the characters meant to look like, Oh, look, there’s Hawk, man.
You know what I mean? It looked like that. And they ran in [00:07:00] as a house ad in the Marvel books somewhere around, and I’d say probably 1983 or 84. So while I’m preparing this, all this happens really fast. I get suddenly get a. Urn called me up. He goes, Hey, I’m not doing a squadron Supreme done. I’m not, it’s not happening or I’m not doing it.
Do you want to thank the fantastic four? I’m like, Whoa. Wow. That’s kind of cool. How do I say no? Right, sure. And he goes, well, I’m going to send you a page. So he sent me a splash page of doctor D, which I, and I sent it back. It didn’t have balloons on it or anything. It was just a splash page. And. That was my audition.
I didn’t realize that at time. Cause they paid me for anyways, but that was kind of my audition. And that page didn’t show up until I think the fourth issue of my run, you know, with Byrne on that. So it was, it was like a page he just invented and then he made it, you know, page one of the issue where the doctor doom [00:08:00] steals or sends the dr.
Building into space or something. But anyway, so I, I said, okay, I’m doing, I’ll do fantastic for. Thinking that squadron Supreme was done. Like, like maybe it fell apart. So I get a call from my Carlin. He’s like, Hey, it’s great to have you on, here’s your, here’s your new rates. And we’re going to give you, you know, you said DC would, wouldn’t give you the $99 a page for pencils.
We’re going to give you a hundred. Just to, just to make a point and I didn’t even do any penciling at Marvel I was supposed to, and it just didn’t happen, but it was just funny. So I’m working on that. And then Greenwald, I bumped into him, I think, at a show, a convention or something. And he said, yeah, I was really disappointed.
That you, you left the squadron Supreme. And I said, I thought it wasn’t happening. He said, no, no, it just burned left. He said, I was going to ask you to pencil it. So I was like, Oh, well, sorry. So then the minute I left DC. Yeah. The minute do you see, I start getting calls from DC and is like, Hey, [00:09:00] we’re giving you a rate, a rate increase.
We’re giving you this, this and this. And I’m like, Oh, well that’s a little late. So just sort of trying to get me back from that time. And, you know, I did like a bunch of covers during that time while I was in can burn. I did a bunch of DC covers. I must’ve done like two or three of them, maybe two, at least two a month, which you know, was nice penciling and inking covers and stuff.
And then, While I was on the fantastic four stuff. I agreed to do six issues. I never wanted it open ended. I just said the burn. I’m just looking for a refresher. You know, I don’t really want to go back full time. Yeah. So I was doing six and then, Pat pastina DC was the production coordinator. she said, well, Dick Giordano can crisis.
And. You know, George doesn’t like Mike DeCarlo’s work or whatever. It was something, again, like an issue with that. She said, George wants you. And I said, I can’t do it until issue six because I’ll be done with the burn stuff. [00:10:00] And she said, okay, that’s fine. In the meantime, we want you to do okay. DC presents annual with Julie Schwartz, you’re going to pencil a Superman superwoman.
And I’m like, Oh, okay. When does that do well, it’ll be this. So anyways, I had all the scheduled and yeah, and finishing up the burn thing. And I D C then I got a panic call. You need to start with issue five. And I was like, wait, I can’t, no, George is going to quit. You have to do issue five. It’s got to start with, and then again, I don’t know how much of this came from George, but this is how DC put it to me.
Right. So it just made it like this huge thing. Like if I didn’t start immediately, George was going to quit. And again, I don’t know if that’s, you know, from their point of view, maybe that was them just pushing me. I don’t know, but I wound up having to start. But I still had one issue, a burns thing to do, and I was supposed to pencil like a 40 page or 30 page annual story for Julie Schwartz.
And I said, I can’t do that to Julie Schwartz thing. And she said, well, I could, Julie is [00:11:00] hard to tell. And I said, but you just told me, you want me to do this other thing? I can’t do it. Yeah. So I have to agree. Well, and the thing is they wouldn’t, Julie wouldn’t let me out of it. Totally. So he said that he, I still had to ink it.
And he would get ed to pencil it, but I still had to take it. I think it was maybe it was 39. I forget what the annuals were, 39 pages or something, but it was a long time. Yeah. So the first month of crisis, one month I had this huge bottleneck I had, I wound up doing eight issues over burn. I had the eighth issue of fantastic for my last one.
I had the DC presenting annual and crisis number five, all hitting in the same month, they were all. Do, will you do the coverage as well? no. No. Well, burn I was in can cover is been the fantastic four, but I wasn’t doing any, George was doing the pencils and on all of his Chrysler stuff, but, so I just had to figure out a way to do all of that in the space of [00:12:00] a month.
So I had had a studio in Milwaukee and. Height of our studio. We had Pat Broderick and Mike Macklin, and then we brought Al Bay and who was starting to get some jobs here and there, the Al wasn’t really busy. He was still, you know, he would do like filling in blacks and things to help out and I’d pay him in cash or whatever, or he pay off his rent.
So at the point when this all came down, it was only hell and me in the studio. And I looked at him. I said, Hey, if you’re willing to commit to one month, Of seven days a week, maybe you can get this done. I said, I’ll order food and get pizza, whatever, but we’re going to be here for long days every day. And he said, okay.
And that’s how we did it. We just, I had him do backgrounds where he could like, on the, DC presents annual especially was helpful. So he did backgrounds on that. And then I did the main figures and then he’d fill in the blanks and he raised the pages, which, you know, It was another [00:13:00] chore anyways, but, and I pretty much, I think I, there were only a couple of pages.
I let them try the burn stuff, but I knew burn would be not want to get short changed or make it mad or whatever. So I made sure I went over those so that they look consistent and, and the Perez stuff, you know, with its millions of characters, it was just crazy somehow. I’m not, I was always steady, slow and steady, but I don’t, I was able to do, I mean, between me and Al we must’ve done five pages.
Some days we’d do five pages and that’s a lot. So it was basically able to cause crisis was people look at, you know, I don’t know if you look at the original books, those were all long stories. They weren’t 22 pages. They were like 24 to 26, 27 even. So there was a lot of page count in there. There was a lot, and there were no easy pages.
That was the other thing. There was no, you know, here’s a full silhouette page or something. It’s always, [00:14:00] you know, nine, 10 panels with very tiny detail and backgrounds. And, you know, it was a lot, so somehow that happened. But you know, when, when you do something like that, that’s what I’ve told people is when you know, like how did you do the Batman movie book?
I was like, well, yeah, That was a super hard deadline with a lot, you know, it was just a hard project. And the only thing that got me through it was I survived crisis and it’s seriously. It’s like, you, you know, you like the, I survived to hurricane Katrina, so therefore, you know, throw it at me, man. I can do it.
I can do it.
Kenric: I know, I know what I can take. And I can take that. I had that Batman.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah.
Kenric: Somehow I got like two or three
Jerry Ordway: different times. Yeah. There was two different versions. There was a new standard version, which was on like more like newsprint paper and had a regular newsprint cover or like a, you know, slick paper cover.
And then the other, the [00:15:00] deluxe one was the cardboard stuff. Yeah. That’s the one I had was I
Kenric: got it
Jerry Ordway: at the movie theater. Yeah. That was a cool thing too.
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah. They don’t do that anymore. They should do that more.
Jerry Ordway: That was a huge, huge undertaking. I mean, again, this stuff that people don’t think about or remember much, but it was everybody at DC knew that this was going to be, if the movie was successful, this would be a good advertisement for the comic market.
Yeah. And so they started working with the movie theaters and with like some select Walgreens and drugstore, you know, grocery store chains also. Yeah. Maybe we created like a special box that could sit up on a counter and, they had to do that because they have the provide that, and then they had to pay something like five bucks per location to get that onto a counter.
So it’s like, You know, it’s not like new sand distribution where, so there’s a comic rec you had to create, you know, your receptacle [00:16:00] and then you had to pay each location, a fee. I put that on the counter and with them movie theaters, that was the same thing. So yeah, it was all planned out well in advance.
And then, I think the Wednesday before the movie opened. Movie will open on Friday, but it was like during bad week Warner brothers decreed that the theaters couldn’t sell the comic in the first week of the, of the movie because they thought the comic might embarrass. That was what I heard. I always thought like, wait, this thing is based on the comic.
And you’re going to say we can’t sell the comic because the comics somehow impact the movie. Like what is wrong? so it’s still sold. It was just weird because I think it was Warner brothers asserting their dominance, you know, but, it was, it still sold a lot of copies, but I think the, what, what they did was it.
It couldn’t be sold the [00:17:00] weekend. So I think that they somehow figured out that they could put it in the theater on Monday, but missed the opening weekend, but it was sitting there for all the people and it was a big movie. So I think a lot of people either went to see it during the weekday rather than the weekend, because it was, you know, I saw about
Kenric: four or five times what was, what came out at the same time.
It was out of Africa.
Jerry Ordway: There was a ton of stuff. That’s in that
Kenric: if there’s a
Jerry Ordway: movie that keeps us Indiana Jones, the Indiana Jones and the last crusade, you had a star Trek movie, you had a James Bond. I think it was the living daylights or whatever. The Timothy Dalton. Yeah, there was, there was a bunch of genre films that came out on that same short story.
Kenric: I saw Batman so many times that summer. Like I can’t even, I was, so I was born in 74, so I was 15 and
Jerry Ordway: it just, you know,
Kenric: I love Batman. I read the comic books, you know, I was a big, I was a big comic book guy. I mean, that’s what I did in [00:18:00] junior high. And my mom took me. This is probably like the fourth or fifth time that I saw it.
Maybe even, maybe even seventh or eight.
Jerry Ordway: Cause
Kenric: she went to see, see another movie. And her and my dad and I went and saw Batman. And like, I don’t remember what, like wasn’t opening night. Cause I saw opening night with something, but
Jerry Ordway: we went,
Kenric: she went with her friend to another movie. And so do you want to go?
And I’m like, sure. I’ll go see Batman while you guys,
Jerry Ordway: well,
Kenric: her movie finished early. It’s a mom being, my mom decides, well, I’m not waiting for him. She walks into the movie, down to the front and started screaming my name
Jerry Ordway: to
Kenric: come take me out of. The Batman movie. I was like, kidding me.
Jerry Ordway: So
Jerry Ordway: Yeah.
The embarrassment is bad, but at least you get to see it before that. So it wasn’t like, I didn’t get to see it.
Kenric: Wasn’t like the first time, which would have been just,
Jerry Ordway: yeah,
Kenric: I couldn’t believe it.
Jerry Ordway: That’s a mom thing that it really is funny though. [00:19:00] When did you get the comic, the comic on your own or did you get it
Is I got the comic on opening
Jerry Ordway: night. Like
Kenric: the theater must not have gotten the
Jerry Ordway: wow. I w I wonder, I actually, that’s a good point. I wonder if the theaters might’ve just because Warner brothers saying 18
Kenric: and 19 year olds, I mean, what
Jerry Ordway: man, like it’s like when you, you know, supplies like with those posters that they’re supposed to give out for the special Thursday night showings, you know, some, some give them out some, just leave ’em out.
Kenric: Yeah, my very, my very good friend, Mark Shoemaker, shout out to Mark. we’ve known each other since he was four and I was six, his older brother, David, always just did things with us. He was a really good older brother. And so he was in his mid twenties when, when Batman came out and he took us to the opening night, Kim and his girlfriend, they actually went and had silkscreen Batman shirts made for us.
So we had Batman shirts and I remember getting the comic [00:20:00] and a poster. So I don’t know. I mean, Yeah. And that was definitely opening night because we had to wait in
Jerry Ordway: line for it. Cool. So that’s good to know that they broke that moratorium. And it’s funny too, cause they sold, I believe they, they had the black Batman shirt, but the yellow emblem, it was also sold in the theaters.
Maybe that’s it.
Kenric: Maybe that’s what he did. Maybe he just bought us those.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah. It was, it was just a black shirt with the, yeah, the yellow. Yep. It wasn’t a movie. It wasn’t the movie, the logo. It was just the BA the regular Batman logo. Cause I think the movie logo was not trademarked or something. There was some weird cause they came up with their own.
It’s got like an extra, yeah, it’s got an extra scallop on the, on the bat shape. Yeah. It was something that like whoever Hollywood, whoever did the poster. Yeah. And the producers, they, they, they screwed it up. Yeah. It was like, Oh, this and they didn’t look at whatever [00:21:00] was existing. So it was some, there was some kind of like weird, weird problem.
Like it wasn’t somehow trademark protected because the actual DC, the Batman logo is, and this one was like kinda kind of weird. I think somebody told me that they corrected it by the second movie, different
Kenric: one on the Batman 66
Jerry Ordway: stuff too. Yeah. Well, I think, and that one was, well, that was co owned, I think, between DC for national periodicals and Fox and ABC.
Oh, interesting. That was why that thing was, was hidden away for so long.
So go ahead. I say the, the, the movie, when I was doing that, I just, I remember agreeing to do it. Right around December. I mean, I had gotten, but I was lucky enough to see the set they had done. I had gone to a show and the only time I was at the it’s called a UCAS was a, it was right in London, a big comic convention.
[00:22:00] And I was a guest in October, I guess, or I guess it could have been like the end of September or something. And, We got to the, I got to the hotel at like, for us, it would have been like three in the morning or singles the time difference, but it was like 10 o’clock at night or something. It was some really drastic thing, but you couldn’t go to bed right away, even though you’re retired because then you’d be out of sorts.
So you, you tried to adjust right away. And I remember going to the bar and having all these people go home. Oh, you missed it. We got to do a tour of the Batman movie set. And I was like, ah, crap. So then, my wife at the time she worked at DC as a, she was publicity. She was able to get a hold of Jeanette Kahn, who is also in London and Jeanette.
Set up, not a tour, but just us to visit informally, like after the show. And so it was kind of nice. We got to walk around and couldn’t, we couldn’t take pictures or anything, but each of the departments were showing off their stuff. They were like [00:23:00] super proud of it. So we got to see the art department, the costume, the vehicles, the, all this stuff.
And it was, Oh, wow. It was really cool. Yeah. I mean, it was, it was a different, you know, like when we saw the costume. The costume. People were like, so proud of this and they were explaining the costume, you know? Cause it looks so cool. But she was saying, you know, the lady was saying like, if you look at the Cape, Cape is made of rubber and to keep it from like just kind of jiggling, they basically line the inside of the Cape with wool fibers so that it gave it weight and some Draper like it would drape and it would hang.
And it also didn’t reflect the camera light. Cause it was wall. It was like a fuzzy, not even noticeable like Harry or anything, but it was just a very short little fiber, but it also gave the tape. He could turn when he turned the Cape wood swoop and, and, and make shapes and stuff, which was really cool.
But, it was, you know, they were super [00:24:00] proud of that. And then the guys with the car, we’re a really proud of the car and they were talking about how. All the different, you know, production people were testing the car out on this road. That’s right by pine wood studio that you see in the movie, but you see it all the time.
James Bond movies too. Cause it’s like a long straight road. And they would try to get the car over a hundred miles an hour on this little, it’s basically a super straight two lane country road. So they were, they were happy that there was just so thrilled that they had like this powerful engine in this thing, you know, but all that stuff was was, and they were still building like the outset.
We were walking through the, the, the city. You know, the Monarch theater, that little town square and stuff. And there was some of the stuff was still being built. Cause they didn’t start filming. I think until maybe we didn’t start until maybe November or something. maybe October late October, but it was, so that was like an impetus to see that.
And then, you know, my buddy, [00:25:00] Jonathan Peterson was the editor. He worked on the Titan stuff too, but he was also assistant on Carwood with Carlin on Superman for awhile. And he had been handed the, to edit the movie adaptation stuff. So he immediately said, Hey, let’s do one. Let’s make them good. Like they used to be.
And. You know, it was a, put the extra effort in to try to make characters look like the characters and all this stuff. That’s cool.
Kenric: We had a, we got lucky enough to have Robert wool on a couple
Jerry Ordway: of couple of weeks
Jerry Ordway: And
Kenric: he really liked his time on Batman. He said it was a lot of fun. He was bummed that he didn’t get to be on the second one.
He goes, he goes, I thought my character was perfect to be in the second movie because I didn’t understand why they didn’t bring me back.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah, well, he and Billy, I mean, ability Williams probably got screwed worse. Yeah. Yeah. he kinda, it’s a shame in a way you think about that. Cause he’s Billy. D’s great.
And it would have been great to have had to face up here during the [00:26:00] Tim Burton run in a way, you know what I
Kenric: mean? I can’t watch the shoulder Schumacher ones.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah. They’re hard to, I
Kenric: can’t swallow them.
Jerry Ordway: They’re beautiful. Beautifully designed, but. The downside to me. And I noticed this, seeing him in the theater was, he was, it was also that whatever, that short span in Hollywood, where they thought, Oh, you know what makes something edgy?
Move the camera around really fast. Yeah. And that was during that time. I remember they, they seen like some of these designs before going to see the movie and going, wow, this is really cool. Art deco, these giant heads and stuff. And the camera moves like jerky around them. So fast that you it’s like you guys spent like millions of dollars to build these sets.
And you can’t like, let the camera just take it in, you know, you could appreciate it. Yeah. It was the,
Kenric: for me, it’s the, I don’t know. Hey, cause I read the comic books and so I took Batman at a more serious level. I like, I like the 66 [00:27:00] stuff when I was a kid, but once I started reading the books, I couldn’t watch the 66 as it was so different.
Jerry Ordway: Oh, yeah, I was joking. It was kind of like, ultimately when you’re a kid, it’s perfect. Cause when I saw it a lot, when the Batman 66, I was the right age for it. I was 10 years old or nine years old or something, but you reject it. Then when you go, wait, this is what that man has.
Kenric: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s exactly what, so when I saw Burton, I was actually scared to go see it at, you know, I was worried that it was going to be more like the TV show and I’m like, I don’t want.
The Batman movie from the 1960s, I don’t want what I’m seeing. And then you watch it. You’re like, wow, this is, this is amazing. You hit on every level, you
Jerry Ordway: know? Do you remember, I mean, since you were, you said you were like 15 or something. Yeah. Do you remember when the trailer, when that, like it was even, it wasn’t even a polished trailer.
It was just that quick series of cuts that debuted around. I think with the Christmas, whatever Christmas movie Warner brothers [00:28:00] had out that year could have been Scrooge or something. Maybe not the right year
Kenric: the, or wasn’t big, wasn’t it?
Jerry Ordway: I don’t know, but whatever the big movie was that I remember sitting in a theater with, again, Jonathan, maybe Carlin, we’re all sitting, watching a movie in Manhattan.
I think it was. And the, you just hear the there’s the beginning of that, where you’re starting to hear like the, The music and it’s very 1930s, old movie kind of. Yeah. Cause I was kinda, I didn’t, I only knew Danny Elfman from Oingo Boingo and it was like, wait, what is he going to do? And it’s going to be like funky.
But then, you know, he brought that old, you know, that great old sound to it and the music starts playing and then you just see those quick cuts and then you see that man and crickets. And then you see, you know, you over the voiceover with the joker, with the newspaper. Winged freak, terrorizes, Gotham. And then you see the newspaper come down, wait till they get a load of me.
I [00:29:00] was like, Oh my God, the hair on my next, you know, it was just like, so this is awesome. I can’t believe it’s so good. And, and that, I think really drove things so much because seeing first time to see Nicholson, but it was just the way. It was the perfect reveal. You know, like I said, wings, freak, terrorizes, wait till they get a load of me.
And it was, it was just so beautifully done. And again, if they had had, if they’d had more time, it would have been a much more polished trailer, but it wouldn’t have been any better. It couldn’t have, it couldn’t have been better. That was just like for a fan seeing that was like, Holy crap. He looks scary.
That’s how he’s perfect. It was
Kenric: perfect. And then. When you hear Michael, Keaton’s going to be Batman. The first thing I thought of was mr. Mom, and I’m like mr. Mom, no, no.
Jerry Ordway: And he did clean and sober. Before that. So Batman is in between it’s clean and sober. And he also did people juice in between there. Yeah.
Kenric: Yep. We’ll see. I was too young for clean and sober. So my [00:30:00] whole thing for Michael Keaton was mr. Mom, gung ho.
Jerry Ordway: Right.
Kenric: What I knew. And I was just like, what? No, no. But then you watch them. You’re like, and I don’t know if they’ve been a better Bruce Wayne yet.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah, he was, he brought up, he brought a brooding thing, but he also brought a little bit of a, I think, because he was playing against Nicholson.
I think that became almost more of a, you know what I mean? I think that probably changed his tone because the scenes between him and Nicholson, where he’s Bruce Wayne, those are some of the best scenes in the movie, I think, you know, cause it’s, it’s really like, okay, you can be crazy. I can crazy too. You know what I mean?
Kenric: yeah. The scene when he goes to Vicky Bell’s apartment. Yeah.
Jerry Ordway: And again, those are great Bruce Wayne scenes. Those are, but, but you know, just want to hear it again. When you think about the, the way that whole movie kind of came about. DC had this script, everybody, I guess didn’t know, Neil really liked the Sam ham script.
They’d all [00:31:00] been able to, they didn’t get much say, but Jeannette was really big on, we want to get this right? Yeah. And they, she did what she could as far as. You know, input, but again, DC didn’t get much say in it, but she, she was, she was very invested in it and she spent a lot of time with, you know, the producers and stuff before anything even happened.
So I respected that and that was really kinda my early, I guess getting to know her and understanding what she actually did because. It was easy enough to caricature her in a way, because she was a, you know, a first female publisher, all this other stuff, you know, I mean, it was, she was really weird.
She was a, she was a great. Creative advocate for someone in that job. She was just, people can’t understand how big it was. All the dictator. Donna was certainly a big part of it. All of it. They couldn’t have done any of this stuff without her letting them. In other words, she was the main [00:32:00] boss. She’s the one who had to go to corporate and, you know, get.
More money for a prestige format or better page rates or better equity deals and things, all that stuff kinda came from, you know, I think her and yeah, but on the Batman thing. So she, she also used to do a thing. This is another thing about moving, moving East, which was good when I first moved. I found out though DC would do movies.
They would do like a movie night or something and they’d have like a movie preview or something. And then the whole staff would go in. And of course I could go if I wanted to come in from Connecticut. So one of the things was that was hosting this movie and it’s going to be this, this isn’t a director that we think Warner brothers are going to choose for Batman.
And it’s like, well, what’s the movie, PeeWee’s big adventure. And I’m like, wait, what? So we were all like in this theater and my Carlin roll, like looking at each other, like, I don’t know. And then at the end of the movie, we were like, Oh, he’s perfect. And [00:33:00] Hey, Danny Elfman did the music for that. And that’s a perfect, you know, It was like a perfect, I guess, audition for Batman music because Peewee, while it has the fun moments, it also has when he’s searching for his bike, it’s got this very film expressionistic kind of look to it and very, a retro heavy 1930s, you know, max Steiner type music and stuff.
Right. It was just funny. So, but that’s what, as a publisher, that’s what she did. And that was. Really a really cool thing. I always said that really always. I think that elevated me, her in my eyes because I really didn’t know what she was other than a figurehead. I didn’t ever see her in action before I was able to, you know, go to the office functions and things like that.
but a lot of that stuff happened, you know, in the background, but we knew about it, you know, like we knew about, when they started doing special deals to. Published stuff and you know, like the dark Knight and Watchmen and things like that. So you’re kind of like, [00:34:00] even though it wasn’t in the office all the time, I’d go up like pretty much every Friday and then we’d hang out with people and, you know, go out to dinner or drink movie, whatever.
But you got a sense of what was happening and it was kind of exciting in that way, because you know, when you’re a freelancer, you’re generally working in an isolated coronavirus type lockdown anyway. Right.
Yeah. And all that, you know, being close by also does give you, it does get it at the time. It did give me an edge, I think, because it gave me. you know, if I found out something was happening, I wouldn’t have found out until after either someone who had been hired for something or what have you. But yeah, even at that early era doing the crisis and stuff too was also my first that’s when they first promised me Superman.
back when the Superman and wonder woman and Batman were all going to relaunch after crisis, and then that didn’t happen. But, They did, you know, picture it [00:35:00] on. I said, you could do Batman or you could do Superman, but I think you’re more of a Superman guy and, you know, he was probably right. I really was hoping for Batman, but, you know, I think he saw something in me that was probably, it probably was better for Superman, you know?
Kenric: Yeah. That’s a, that’s actually a really good segue cause I know Jeff. Actually has a few questions for you for Superman, if
Jerry Ordway: you don’t mind. Hello, mr. ROA again. Hey, so I was, thinking about when I was going to interview you one of the most important issues that I’ve read of Superman and come, this is coming from a leader who is also a Jewish issue, 54 Superman.
When you did the time after time, the story, when he goes back back to a world war II era and yeah. I was wondering, like what inspired that? Cause I think it was such an important issue, not only because of when Superman started, but also because it does visit the, the, the idea of tumor being created by Jewish
Jerry Ordway: think it’s was just such
Kenric: an important issue.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah. Well, he was, [00:36:00] I mean, I actually was lucky enough to get to know Jerry and Joanne seagull during the eighties. I kind of, I met them. I met Jerry at the San Diego con. I was actually doing a signing at the same time. He was at the DC booth back in like 1985.
And we, we, again, back then you would start, like, I just started 10 pal letters back and forth and stuff. And, so that, I think that probably laid the seeds. Cause I had been drawing the earth to Superman in all star quadrant. And, he, I showed him the stuff and he was very, you know, Supportive and just couldn’t have been nicer.
but yeah, so I was always interested in the, especially that aspect of Superman kind of coming in that, in that timeframe in the thirties and, and being, you know, the initial storylines are all pretty much. Like rip from the headlines, social, social justice kind of thing. Then it, I think that’s part of that was, that was the, the, the, the [00:37:00] appeal that, that, but Superman had kind of gotten away from with all the, you know, and when we did the relaunch, the whole idea was to try to make them relatable.
And, I had no interest in having him pushing a planet. You know what I mean? Like anything wrong with that, but I just felt kinda like. You know, he he’d gotten so powerful and as a character, all this stuff has to come from emotion. I mean, that’s always been the stuff I liked. So, yeah, we started talking about the time travel thing.
I felt like, you know, the obvious choice, I would have been the guy to do the JSA crossover or something, you know? And I said like, yeah, really, I’d rather do it like in a real setting. And. You know, the, any kind of, again, I like history. I like, I like reading about world. I like reading about the century, you know, the, from the twenties, from the tens twenties all the way through, cause it’s really is like a, almost like a weirdly continuing story, you know, we’re to [00:38:00] war, but, the, the plate of the Jews and the, and the camps and stuff has just always been horrifying thing.
I mean, I don’t, I don’t think I. I don’t think I was exposed to it until I was maybe a teenager. I forget when I’m, maybe I was older, but I remember seeing, seeing movies and then the DC, DC, the networks, one of the networks did, Herman Wouk, Warren remembrance and the winds of war. That was the first one.
The winds of war was a miniseries based on this big novel that he’d written and the novel, the mini series actually had a huge section that followed this, family from, you know, being members in high standing and German society, right. To the camps. And, I just, I don’t know. I was always very effected by that stuff.
I mean, It’s hard not to be. I don’t know, but I mean, you know what I mean? Some people don’t like stuff that’s [00:39:00] depressing or whatever, but to me, I just found that like depressing. And also like, you got to know this stuff happened, you know, you know, the people, you ability a weird, it was a weird stretch to do it in a, in a comic, but.
It kind of felt right. You know, I don’t know what else to say about well, but I thought it was interesting. And I think, like I said, I think what it reminded me of, and I wonder if it’s forgotten a little bit, just how deep of a heritage of Jewish writers and artists
Kenric: are in comic books. I
Jerry Ordway: mean, comic books in many ways.
Do I mean, it’s a very rich history with that Jewish culture. Yeah. Well, I mean, the thing is I was working on Superman. I didn’t. Have the history of like, Oh wait, this is way. Yeah. You know, the house of El and the, Oh, there’s a whole lot of stuff. So that’s kind of appropriated from, Jewish religion and stuff too.
And, and, I just, I think it’s, it’s kinda clever how, like Jerry Siegel was able to, I mean, we’ll use something [00:40:00] and he made it seem scientific, but you know, you write what you know, I guess, and that that’s, what’s kind of cool. It’s like deconstructing it. and also the fact that the people who I think.
Well, again, Superman initially being pretty much like a social justice warrior, which is kind of cool. I mean, I wasn’t Batman, wasn’t saving, you know, women from being beaten by their husbands and stuff. That man was fighting criminals pretty much from the start Superman was going after crooked politicians.
And I thought that was kind of cool, you know? Do you think that’s was because of the perception of the writers at the time period? We’d like to say you’re talking late 1930s. obviously you’re talking about people who were on the lower rung economically of society. And I, it does feel like that seems like a natural
Kenric: extension of what Superman became.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah, I also, the one thing I don’t understand, and again, I don’t know if this doesn’t fit or if it makes more sense, but I think because, I mean, if you look at like the history of [00:41:00] say Jack Kirby, he grew up like dirt poor. I mean, he is, his upbringing was, was pretty bleak on the, East side or whatever in New York.
Yeah, I don’t get the same sensation. I think Jerry seagull, you know, maybe that their family being in Cleveland and, and all that maybe had a, not as bleak. I mean, there’s nothing worse, I think, than reading about the tenements and things. And, when you get more of a sense of it from probably will Eisner’s, you know, autobiographical stuff, but, so Kirby.
Basically his, he had religion in his work in a, in a way him and he clearly had had his, his God’s stuff was all kind of grounded. And you didn’t necessarily know that he was, you know, a practicing or religious Jew or whatever, but, you know, it made sense. And the same, I guess the same, same thing comes through with Jerry Siegel.
But it’s funny that one had like Jerry Siegel, maybe because of the. Ideal is idealizing PR you [00:42:00] know, the crusading reporters and things like that. Maybe, maybe that had more impact on him being a writer. You know, that’s all I can think of as to why he, he took that, that kind of approach with Superman, whereas, you know, Kirby was writing, but he was mostly an artist, you know, in that era.
And they’re really, I don’t know. There really weren’t a lot of these in the history of comics. If you look at the Superman stuff, the Superman stuff is very unique. Until they kind of sand it down the rough edges and it became more of a standard superhero book. But the first year, the first, maybe even two, couple of years, it really was very socially relevant.
Whereas I don’t think there was anything else coming from the other companies that was necessarily like that, you know, I mean, that’s something nobody really, I don’t think people have ever investigated too thoroughly that, but, but maybe that’s because he originally, or they had originally envisioned their hope to be a newspaper strip or something, but because the newspapers strips, the continuity strips got into [00:43:00] heavier.
Content, you know, little orphan Annie was, was all social stuff. And, you know, I mean, you had, there was a lot more in, in those, those daily continuity strips. I think that had a, had a political or at least some kind of social, you know? Yeah. I mean, what I think is also coming true about Superman. I mean, obviously Superman was in, was created by Jewish characters.
It does feel like he’s been. Th that when you, when, especially like when you watch them, like man of steel, the movie, as well as that he’s been portrayed as actually being,
Kenric: Christian, which is kind of an interesting change of the car. And I guess maybe because he came from Kansas, maybe.
Jerry Ordway: I don’t know.
Yeah. I think that that became, I mean, it’s funny. Cause when we were doing the, I was doing the comic, my, I really hadn’t didn’t have a lot of background with Superman. My biggest, I wasn’t, I wasn’t a Superman reader. I really was like a Marvel maniac during mine. My entire. Childhood through teens. I don’t think I, I didn’t read a whole lot of DCS.
I didn’t, I like [00:44:00] Batman during the Batman movie. I mean the Batman TV show and I read some of those Cogo check back man, hands and stuff, but I just, I was never like a big Superman fan, but I can remember watching the 1950s TV show on re and reruns on, on like Saturday mornings or whatever. And, I think the biggest impact, really, it was the Christopher Reeve, the first movie, you know, because the movie had that kind of, it actually had a kind of 1930s feel to it, you know?
and that was, that was, that’s like my most compelling thing as to why I wound up doing Superman. You know? I mean, I’m just, it was never a life. It’s not a logical thing. It’s weird because I think you’d mentioned it, earlier about. Reading marvels and then winding up working for DC. And I did actually make a conscious choice and what it came down to was all of my early.
Interactions had Marvel, were they the Marvel people? All I had [00:45:00] kind of like the jock, you know, the sports guys in high school that kind of competitive, but that also, you know, they were always really nasty about DC and they make, make jabs at G a DC. Why don’t you come to a real company line and. You know, because I was not, I mean, I played sports and stuff, but I wasn’t on any teams.
I was definitely a nerd. You know, I always felt like, wow, these guys are kind of there. These are the guys that I would have hung out with in high school. Yeah, it was. I also felt that because there were so dismissive, I remember thinking, and this is. I mean, Hey, you know, you’re young, you think you’re going to make a change or whatever, but I felt like marble doesn’t need me as much as DC needs me.
You know what I mean? I mean, that was like a quest for me that if I’m going to choose a team, I want that team to be successful. But I’m not, not to the detriment of like, [00:46:00] Oh, we’re going to start name-calling Marvel or whatever, but I wanted whatever I did, I wanted to be successful. And I felt like people who are running DC from Jeanette to Dick’s you’re down at Paul Levitz, all the people that I work with, I really liked, you know, and they were all nice people.
So I think it, it just felt like, know, okay, I guess I’m not destined to, to draw Spiderman or, or Daredevil or something, you know? I’d still like to do some of that. But I mean, at that point I felt like DC needed me more than Marvel needed me. And I probably could make a, more of a splash at DC as well.
You know? if I, if I’m successful at something, it’s kind of, it’s going to work in both of our favors and you know, and it did. And that was, I was the good thing as, you know, being able to do, you know, you work hard, you make your deadlines, you try to put extra into everything. I mean, it does pay off.
I think that paid off for me because people wanted to work with me, you know? you know what I mean? You don’t, I don’t people [00:47:00] always, I always had more job offers than then I could do, and I never wanted to do more than I was comfortable with. So it was a good, it was a good, a good, it was a good choice.
I still do wish I could have gotten to do some Daredevil or some, I mean, I like the Marvel stuff tremendously. I don’t know that I’m, I don’t think I’m a Spiderman artist, you know? Cause I don’t think I can anatomy the way it needs to be with Spiderman, but I, I do, I do love, I’d love to do the fantastic four again, you know, as a.
Okay. Grown up, you know, at the time I did it, you get a couple of issues after Bern left. And I was just, basically, I was killing time between starting Superman, you know, before. So I, I, I did it for like, basically three issues, but it was still in burns shadow. I think it would be interesting to do it.
Without that, you know, I mean, so many years after John has been off that book, [00:48:00] it would be easier to do it and do your own thing with it, you know, but I think the same is true with Superman, even though I wrote it and drew it, I would love to write and draw some Superman stuff with whatever maturity I have, you know?
When you’re doing stuff at a certain time, there’s always a context of your, whatever your era is. Like when, you know, when Bern was big, everybody was influenced by John or they were influenced by Frank Miller or, or Walt Simon center Chaikin, or, you know, there’s a bunch of people like that. and when I was doing Superman, even I was still in his shadow and John’s shadow, I think because.
No. He had been really good to me and had allowed me to do plot co plotting and, and, and you know, we were friendly and all this stuff. but I always felt like when I took over as a writer, I was still feeling like I was still hearing his. His characters. I mean, his, his voice in them in some [00:49:00] way, you know, I kind of was getting away from that towards maybe the last year or so when I started just writing it and not drawing it, I was feeling like I was kind of finding a voice, but I think that’s why she’s am winds up being, you know, when I look back on it, probably my favorite project to do, because it was a case of, you know, even though I was working with Peter Krauss and Mike Manley, They were drawing it.
It was still something that I felt like I was, I was the shepherd behind that, you know, I was always looking for the fuck, you know, whereas you’re part of your, like one of 15 cogs in the machine, you’re a gear making the machine work and you can be the main gear. We’re still, it’s still a collective kind of environment where you.
You know, you would come up with an idea and then you wouldn’t necessarily be the guy to draw your own idea or write your own idea, because it would just be sitting there trying to fill in ideas on a big chart so that, [00:50:00] you know, you could build a six months worth of storylines that would make some kind of sense.
Yeah, well, well, I think interesting when we were going a little bit about what’s the idea of what you’re doing with Superman? obviously it seems like right now in the world, comics is always a debate going on right now with the idea of politics and comic books and whether or not they belong in comics or not.
And I was looking at
Kenric: things like Superman, the
Jerry Ordway: background, especially with what you, what you did, and obviously where his art and I can’t help, but think that’s politics. I’ve always been in comic books. I was wondering what your thoughts were on that. Oh, yeah, no, I mean, I, again, being a Mar seemed like DC always felt, especially in that era when I was, when I was a teenager or whatever, VCs has always felt a little bit sterile and I know people love them and I’m not saying they’re bad, but like the 1960s DCS could have been 1950s VCs.
And if you look back at back issues, you could, I swear to God, you look at like a 1950 Superman. And the 1960 Superman and they’re virtually the same, [00:51:00] whereas Marvel definitely felt like it was of its time. You know, and Stanley had, I think had a hip voice, you know, for that time. And those Marvel comics were very political without being political.
You know what I’m saying? Like they weren’t like they reflected a world that was much more realistic. Then say the DC world are more cohesive as a universe or whatever, but they actually tackled issues without being overly political, but they were definitely political issues. I remember, you know, Daredevil and the Falcon and, stories with the, you know, the Vietnam vets and, and stuff like that with seep in, even though they were.
They basically grounded it in the time. You know, there were protests, Spiderman, you know, cover with the big protests, people protesting the war and things like that. So it was there, you know, it’s just, I think it’s selective in a way [00:52:00] that maybe now, just because we have the option of being a little more specific, you know, you can be a, I mean, people hated Nixon.
Let me tell you, I mean, if you’re under a certain age, nobody loved Nixon. You know, Nixon was maybe somebody your parents’ age could, could get beyond or whatever. But, you know, it was as clear cut as, as the Trump stuff is nowadays, you know? that was, I mean, that was the key of my, my youth was, you know, when I was in kindergarten, I think John Kennedy was assassinated.
And then a couple of years later, Martin Luther King and then, Robert F. Kennedy. And all that stuff happened in formative years where I maybe couldn’t totally grasp what was happening, but I, I honestly remember watching the, funeral processions on T V crying, you know, I mean, cause it felt like this is a really bad thing.
And I think that kind of informs your, your, outlook as a, as an adult, you know, I mean, at the very least it offers you, [00:53:00] but the, I grew up in a poor neighborhood and my mom had a Tavern and she never made money with it, but it was like a way for her to be kind of home in a way, work at home. Not exactly, but she, you know, the Tavern we lived in this small bump out at the back of the Tavern.
That was probably no more than, it couldn’t have been more than 20 by 20. It had two bedrooms carved out and then a, basically a longer kind of kitchen and a back door, you know? but we were probably richest people in the neighborhood because my mom had a business. Most of the other families were pretty poor.
And, you know, I would, I’m sure I seem to recall a lot from being on food stamps or whatever existed back then. I think it was food stamps had discarded. but that was where I grew up, you know, and those were my people and they were my friends and everything. And yeah, I didn’t like living where I lived, but I had the best friends and know know it was also like a little [00:54:00] bit of a show.
I don’t know how you put it. I’m not sure like a bleeding heart thing because I never was bleeding heart. I just, I always, I always hated bullies. I hated things that were wrong. I mean, when there’s a right and a wrong. You know what I mean? Those were things that I just, I don’t know why or what was different about me, but I always had this strong sense of, you know, following the rules and, and all that.
And, and you don’t really question some of that until you get older and you start seeing how Oh, people get away with stuff, you know, But, but yeah, I mean, I, there was, you were talking to, we started this whole thing about the police stuff. When I was a kid, we had a beat cop and a beat cop was a single guy walking.
He had like maybe eight blocks and he would just patrol it. He would stop it. Well, he was stopping in businesses. They knew who he was. Yep. You know, he’d say, Hey Schmidty or whatever his name was, we had a Schmitty and that was. So we think, you know, we’re up until the [00:55:00] riot and, and posts, you know, 67, 68 is when the police started driving in patrol cars in Milwaukee and our area.
And it was a crime area. It wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t, it was rough, you know, but, I remember very distinctly in like late sixties or seventies, cops were two, two, two a car and they never, ever got out. The most they would do. They, they did exact same thing that the, the other guy did, except they never went into it, went into any places.
and they interacted with people by rolling the window down and you know, that was how they did their policing and the big difference. And again, I know the world is bigger and more populated and everything else, but there’s nothing to compare to someone who knows the people who live in his area. Yeah.
You know, even for better or worse, someone could say that guy’s trouble. That guy’s okay. But he’s got some experience with that as opposed to being like [00:56:00] an occupying force. And that’s unfortunately the, you know, the idea that if someone says, okay, you’re, you’re watching these people, you’re not part of those people anymore, you know, you’re outside of it or you’re always in your car and you’re looking for something.
And again, you know, I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that, you know, the riots didn’t touch our neighborhood, maybe because there weren’t businesses to, you know, to destroy or whatever, but, it was pretty much downtown, you know? but, but yeah, I mean, we, you know, like I said, there there’s a different era.
We, we had, the guy. I sound like an old guy. I know I do. I’m sorry about that. But the principal at our high, at our grade school knew everybody by name. You know, it wasn’t like a school with thousands of kids. It was just cool with, you know, it was a three, it had three floors, it was grade kindergarten through eighth grade.
And, you know, It was not a huge school. It was [00:57:00] a neighborhood school and it basically covered probably about 10 blocks, you know? So everybody walked to school. I just, I mean, there are certain things, not like a rosy kind of thing. Like everything was perfect, but I do think, well, we live together in community.
You know, I mean, civilization is a, is a, is an impressive thing. If you think about it, if you think back, how did people gathered together? Will you gather for strength? You share resources, you share labor, whatever. That’s how cities start and city start. Not everybody probably wanted in on that. And there was probably a lot of brutality to get people in line, but what keeps them together?
It’s a, it’s a crazy thing to think about it. It really is like a little microcosm, you know, it’s and, and if you don’t know anybody, you’re kind of at a disadvantage, you know? and that’s, like I said, that’s the biggest thing I think about that with, as a kid, there was a mailman, the mailman [00:58:00] had a three wheeled.
Mail bag. It was a heavy, big thing, like a golf cart, basically, not a cart, like a driving cart, but like a golf bag, I guess, with three wheels. And he walked that route, you know? And then the post office had to be, I mean, he probably had like maybe two miles of, of walking a big circle and he did multiple deliveries a day.
You know, they had three, probably three mail deliveries, as long as there were mail, they delivered it. Wow. And I just think again, it’s the, the idea of having local stores and having, and this did come up obviously with, some stores during some of the unfortunate alluding, is that some businesses that were certainly good parts of, of those neighborhoods and vital parts, they wind up getting destroyed too.
You know, that’s what the Maltz, anybody
Jerry Ordway: recover easily and that’s, that’s terrible. But again, You know, I
Kenric: feel like you’re, you’re hitting on something that should be done [00:59:00] is that sense of community has been drastically pulling away because you’re doing more of a police dolphin.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah.
Kenric: So you don’t have somebody that, you know, you don’t have a cop that has relationship with the neighborhood.
Jerry Ordway: And what’s going on in the neighborhood.
Kenric: And then on top of that, everybody is online. You have this wall in front of communications, you’re not doing the face to face or anything like that. And plus, you know, You order everything on Amazon, you know, and you have it delivered to your house. So you’re not even going out and
Jerry Ordway: interacting with people.
Kenric: Right. So
Jerry Ordway: very you’re very, you’re, you’re, you’re basically isolated even within a group, you know?
Kenric: Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s a weird time to be alive right now.
Jerry Ordway: I mean, I mean, when you have, like, I have, my kids are all grown up. But when my kids were little where we, we moved to this town in 2000, like the end of 2000, I think my daughter was in [01:00:00] first or second grade or something by that point.
So she had to adjust. But the two boys were, you know, they, they pretty much came here and learned the school. But what I was going to say is that when you’re, when you’re, when you have family, you do tend to know more people because you have more shared activities, you know, you know, people through the school and you wind up knowing, Oh, they’re, you know, and, and.
There’s that’s again, that’s part of like the way Connecticut is broken down into towns. We have, you know, we’re in Fairfield County, but each of the towns are fairly small and they have local government and they have, you know, you go and you speak out or whatever. If you have a problem with something that they’re going to try to implement, or someone’s trying to put a, you know, a store somewhere or whatever, and that’s how, how government’s done here.
When I was in Wisconsin, it was done differently. but it’s still a community, you know, and if you’re in a big city, you’re still in a community because big cities are made up of [01:01:00] neighborhoods. So, you know, that, that’s, like I said, I think who knows if it’s a mass way. I think it’s a social sociologist probably have a better grip on some of this stuff because you know, people can move in and out of places, maybe there’s not a lot of longterm.
You know, like if someone lives someplace for 20 years, that’s a good stretch and you’re bound to know things, you know, but if people are constantly moving because of jobs not being stable, you know, I mean that’s an issue. Yeah. And again, it’s stuff that’s, it’s weird. And you could see the appeal back in 2016 with the, you know, Trump thing with trying to bring work back to the States and all this stuff, but.
You know, clearly that hasn’t happened, you know, four years into it or whatever, but, there’s nothing wrong with that. I thought it’s not just like, Oh, America first. It’s the idea that, yeah, we should be making stuff. You don’t need to make everything. But the fact that we re rely on almost all of our things come [01:02:00] from other places.
it’s you have no pride of ownership. Yep.
Kenric: Everything’s important in.
Jerry Ordway: In Connecticut, they used to make, you know, they may watch it and they made clocks and they made typewriters and they made things. So towns had like an old Batman comic, it was typewriter city or something. Danbury was hat, city names.
Cause Danbury made hats, you know, or there was a lot of manufacturing, but there’s a pride of, if you’re an employee or a worker, There’s a pride in making something, you know, and I think that’s the simplest way of putting things is that, you know, you want to find what’s your place in your bigger community?
Do you, what do you come? What do you contribute? You know, well, I make cars or I make, I mean, there’s some pride in that, you know, and there’s pride in those, in those, those used to be careers. So I think, you know, that really, that part of it kind of is sadly lacking. I [01:03:00] don’t know if there’s an answer to that, but I mean,
Kenric: more autonomy or more automation gets more and more of those kinds of things are going to start slipping even more away.
It’s kinda weird.
Jerry Ordway: The, I used to think about this, like this happened and in Milwaukee as again, being, I still have a soft spot for Milwaukee, cause I grew up there and I lived there a long time. Milwaukee transition from being a, a maker of things as industry started going towards the South, they lost a lot of, I mean, they used to make engines.
They used to make Briggs and Stratton. They made, you know, they made stuff and as they lost that, The mayor was really smart and he turned it into a touristy thing, like old world charm created Summerfest and he created like a destination thing and, and tried to play it as a tourist thing. And that’s good.
The problem is, you know, I mean, it worked there in Connecticut. We have Bridgeport is like a neighboring town. Bridgeport was a huge, huge, [01:04:00] you know, thriving place. And as all that, industry went away. It just became like a lost cause, you know, nothing, there’s nothing to come in and, and, you know, take that, take the place.
And it’s, it’s, it’s sad. And I look at that. That’s why I always look at, cause I’ve been here for probably longer than I’ve been, was in Milwaukee, in Milwaukee. Yeah. And, and I’ve seen nothing really changed, you know, over 30 some years there’s really been no.
Kenric: No. Yeah, no drastic changes at all.
Jerry Ordway: Yeah. And then all this happened really is in the, even from, since the nineties is more people are working in service jobs, you know, it
Kenric: is the exact opposite.
Everything has changed.
Jerry Ordway: You got manufacturing done show with. We have,
Kenric: and so there was a lot of manufacturing, but. The fact, the rise of Microsoft and the rise of Amazon and Google coming in. [01:05:00] And it just it’s,
Jerry Ordway: there’s been a lot of office type jobs, right? Those are all,
Kenric: yeah, there’s been a lot of good with that because it’s brought in a ton of money, which has raised the education level.
It has raised, you know, You come to the East side to like Bellevue and stuff. It’s super clean. there’s a lot of business going on. I mean, there’s, there’s good and bad to it. but unfortunately I’m, you know, I was a teenager, you know, I turned 21 in 1995. And so my teenage years is the late eighties to the, to the early nineties.
Seattle is very artistic. A lot of music was coming out. Then you had a lot of you go to the Capitol Hill district. And it was all artists. And, you know, and no one had any money, but you could go. And I live in Capitol Hill, which is on, which was just North of downtown. It was just right there. You could literally walk to downtown Seattle from Capitol Hill.
You wanted to, and [01:06:00] when you got there, you felt a sense of community. You felt like you belong there. There was people, you know what I mean? That the age group was all around the same and all of a sudden Microsoft and all these guys started coming and everybody wanted to live. Then they want to be in the hips part, which is where they are, the artists are.
And all of a sudden, you know, better term gentrification started out. Yeah. And a $400 studio, from 1980 now goes for four
Jerry Ordway: grand. Right.
Kenric: You know, and it’s just like, what is going on?
Jerry Ordway: If there’s no way to stay in those places, even if you want it to, you’re basically forced out
Kenric: change the whole heart and soul of the city and the way it looks and it’s drastically changed now, there’s tons of skyscrapers being built.
Jerry Ordway: It’s it’s. Well, you also, what you also get though, is with the really big corporations, you get kind of an outsized control over local government because they become so big that they have more say in what happens and they can, they can push for things that [01:07:00] benefit pretty much them, you know, Again, it’s, it’s an interesting thing because you don’t really know what the solution is.
I just, I feel like, as you mentioned, too, is more, more and more jobs are being done, through automation. And, if you even like an assembly line for cars yeah. We want stuff cheap. and that’s, that’s the problem, but it’s also, it also is, it’s like a self-made problem because yeah. You know, once you’ve flattened, inflation out, like they’ve done specifically.
I mean, that’s, that’s been like a big, it’s almost like a wave of economists, you know, coming up with this way to keep inflation down. Well, it kind of throws everything else off because yeah. Maybe you can buy a TV for a hundred dollars that would have cost 2000 bucks, 15 years ago. Yeah. But your taxes haven’t gone down in your health care is gone.
All this stuff is skyrocket. Those are like
Kenric: housing market too.
[01:08:00] Jerry Ordway: Yeah. And, and you’re paying more rent. You’re paying more taxes. You’re paying more for your food. You’re paying. Yeah. So it’s like, you’ve depressed one area for whatever purpose. So you don’t have runaway inflation, but wait. You also have been depressed the wages because of that, because it gives the, almost like a justification, low inflation is low.
So all these other indexes that would maybe cause them to raise, you know, minimum wage or, or, you know, social security benefits, those all get flattened out because of that yet other Costco rising. So, I mean, this is, this will sound, I don’t know if you guys have to buy your own health insurance, my
So. I have to pay into my health insurance. And it’s a ridiculous amount. I, you know, I’m embarrassed to say how much it is.
Jerry Ordway: Well, when I started freelancing, this is a big thing, is that this way it was good that I worked in commercial art, even though I was working in a studio, I had access to people who I could talk to when I went full time with comics, they said, [01:09:00] okay, you got to remember to save.
25% of your income, put it in a different account if you have to, but you can have to pay your taxes with that. Cause you’re paying on your own. You’re going to have self employment tax. You need to get insurance. So find that insurance policy you need. I mean, it was like, it was good to know all that, but when I first went freelance, I was able to buy, I think my just a basic health care plan, catastrophe insurance or whatever.
I think it costs me $30 at the most $30 a month. And that was like 1980. You know, it could even been cheaper as I recall, but now I’m in a situation where I have to buy or, you know, have to get insurance. I was just looking, you know, how much. Because I I’m not destitute, right. The rate is like a thousand bucks for the worst insurance I could choose.
So, and I’m like, this is [01:10:00] tough because I can’t, you know, my, my wife, she had a, for most of the time, I was always a guy buying. I had coverage for the whole family, then. You know, the last, maybe 10 years she’s had a job that had me covered under that. And, I don’t use it because I I’m so worried about it.
I try to stay healthy and everything, but I’m not somebody who is using this stuff, but at the same time, her company, in the sense, the shutdowns and stuff, the company is now taking this great opportunity to eliminate spouses and children from healthcare plan, unless she pays. She has to pay an extra amount to get that and like 500 bucks extra a month.
So I started investigating how much it would be just for me. And I was like, Holy crap. Really bad. Like, you know, I think it was like a $9,000 deductible. It was a, like a $980 a month. It’s crazy. I was like, [01:11:00] it’s nuts. And again, Oh, that’s the stuff that people deal with. And, you know, those are, to me, those are social issues that are important and nobody really has addressed them.
You know what I’m saying? It’s like the fact that the Obamacare, the affordable health thing, I was resistant at first, but I’ve seen how it’s helped people, you know, and it, it works off the same. Plan, basically, you’re trying to ensure a bunch of people so that the high risk ones, it flattens it out a little bit.
So it’s not, you know, I go, you’ve got a preexisting condition. Your premium’s going to be this which you can’t afford. And then therefore you’ll go bankrupt because you had to go to the hospital. Right. So those are the things that, that that’s, if anybody wants to talk about making America great. Again, those are key issues having healthcare that wouldn’t bankrupt you, if you had to have actually had to have to use it.
You know what I mean? all those are, those are quality of life issues. You know, having pride of a [01:12:00] job
Kenric: should not be a choice. You know what I mean? It should just be, it should be a right.
Jerry Ordway: So, I mean, I’d really, as I’ve gotten older, I’m, I’ve certainly come around to the idea that, yeah. Okay. If, if it was a one single payer kind of system or whatever, even if it was managed.
Through the insurance companies, which is kind of what the affordable healthcare act was about. The problem with that is that they gutted it to get it passed. You know, they had to give up some key things just to get it through the Congress and to get it approved. But they’ve had several years now that they could have been fine tuning it and improving it.
And instead they spent the last several years trying to kill it, which is. Without another plan. That’s not a good idea. Yeah.
Kenric: Yeah. That’s not, not a good idea.
Jerry Ordway: Well,
Kenric: Jerry we’ve been on for over two hours. Can you believe
Jerry Ordway: it? Oh, oops.
Kenric: Bad. No. Oops. That’s awesome. Yeah. I [01:13:00] just, it’s kind of funny. I mean, we’re very much like-minded so it’s easy to get lost when we’re chatting away.
Jerry Ordway: yeah. Well, I mean, I, I was surprised. I didn’t necessarily think we were going in the political direction. I don’t have problems with it this week on a I’m on Twitter a lot. I kind of don’t go on Facebook very much, but on Twitter, everybody gets mad at everybody and you know, it’s, it’s pretty funny. I mean, if you could take it for what it is, But it’s been really hard to, to just not say stuff or not retweet things.
And I had somebody ask me, yeah. Yesterday. I think it was, they said, you know, well, I agree with you on what you’ve been posting and stuff. Do you have any worries that this would help, would hurt you or hurt you in your job options? And I, you know, that’s always been an issue. They could, you know, I get too political.
You are right. But at the same time, I mean, and I, I tell everybody I’m 62 and [01:14:00] I haven’t been getting regular work from Marvel or DC for at least that’s 2012. You know what I’m saying? What am I going to, where am I going to jeopardize? I mean, how can you keep quiet about stuff? You know, Right. And, and again, I think by, by, by someone like me, who’s maybe, you know, maybe people read too much into, into stuff, but I mean, I believe you can’t be Sam without believing in the concept of good over evil.
You know, all these basic things. You don’t like comics who in comics wants like a bully. Nobody. You know what I mean, then your, your loyalties are, are skewed. Somehow comics of the stuff that appealed to me as a kid was all stuff that was, you know, Spiderman. He was the greatest example. He actually sacrificed his reputation.
People, the cops hated them, the newspaper, you know, hated him, [01:15:00] but he did the right thing anyway, you know, and, and. That’s what it’s about. That’s what a hero is about. It’s not doing what it’s expected of you it’s, you know, in the, kind of bad situation of doing the right thing, no matter what, that’s, what it’s about.
Yeah. So, I mean, how can you. I don’t know. How can you not see that? I was just doing a redo for a commission for somebody of the Superman saluting with the flag waving behind him, kind of from Superman. I think it was issue 53 or something. It was right. It, it came out just the week. I think of, the first Gulf war.
When the first Gulf war broke out and it was perfectly, perfectly timed, but people forget that the story inside that I wrote was all about questioning authority, you know, being a, you know, yeah, yeah. I mean, it was that’s, that’s the best stuff to me is again, you know, the idea that someone does [01:16:00] the right thing.
No matter the cost, it’s like, hat’s a hero. You know, not for your personal gain, not for, you know, that’s, to me, that’s the whole Marvel universe in a nutshell is, is really wrapped up in the, you know, with great power comes, great responsibility. That whole thing that, you know, Spiderman origin is just the most perfect, I guess, example of that, you know, being selfish.
Oh, let somebody else take care of this bad thing happens. No, you really gotta, you can’t turn a blind eye, you know,
Kenric: I like it, but
Jerry Ordway: anyway,
Jerry Ordway: thank you so much for coming on. No problem.