Stan Mack’s Real Life Funnies: Inside Marvel Comics

Stan Mack’s Real Life Funnies was a documentary comic strip that ran in the pages of the Village Voice for just over twenty years starting in 1974. Its creator and author, Stan Mack, created the strip by overhearing and transcribing conversations between real people and then dramatizing them on the page. And in this particular strip, he captures a plot conference for INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL #8. The participants in the strip are editor Al Milgrom (bald with beard), assistant editor Jo Duffy (the lady), editor in chief Jim Shooter (the super-tall guy) and writer Roger Stern (dark hair, mustache and glasses.) Roger was still on staff as an editor at this point in time, which is why he has an office in the building that everybody can go to.

I have no idea how Mack would have been in attendance to overhear this plot conference, but given how open-doored and loosy-goosy the Marvel of the 1980s was with security, it’s certainly not out of the question that he was. And the conversation as reported here does appear genuine to my ear. Quite possibly somebody at Marvel (Roger?) was hoping to do a project with Mack, but such a thing never materialized.

4 thoughts on “Stan Mack’s Real Life Funnies: Inside Marvel Comics

  1. Would Jim Shooter really say something like “A DC-8 would break in half! This is Marvel Comics. We’re realistic”. ?
    That is, did he regularly try to make sure that super-strength feats were reasonable? I know it’s a can of worms. But I don’t fault any editor for trying, and nixing the worst excesses.

    Come to think of it, does “A girl’s ball rolls under a DC-8” even make sense itself?
    Airplane landing gear doesn’t look like it has any sort of very low gap underneath, i.e. it’s not like they’re just taller cars.


  2. I had to chuckle at Roger Stern’s comment about Dr. Banner’s first name in the Incredible Hulk TV show. People who have grown up with Bruce Springsteen and Bruce Willis seem to be unaware that the name “Bruce” was still regarded as quite campy (at least by network execs) back in 1977. Even Johnny Carson used it as a punchline in sketches on his show the 1960s.


    1. The network execs were out of touch even back then. Mad Magazine made fun of it in January 1979 when parodying the Hulk TV show. There’s panel of dialogue which has this:

      Banner: “As a matter of fact, my name is “Bruce” in the Comic Book version! But the Producers felt it wasn’t a masculine enough name for TV!”

      TV in the background: “And Jenner wins the Decathlon!! BRUCE is the WORLD’S GREATEST ATHLETE!!”


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