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Now most of you are doubtlessly going “Who the heck was Larry Ivie?” but to a lot of us “monster kids” he was a key influencer in our lives, albeit one who never fully graduated into the pro ranks.
Larry is best remembered for his remarkable albeit short lived 1960s monster mag, Monsters & Heroes, and before that his occasional articles for Castle Of Frankenstein. Back in the 1960s there were no serious professional regularly published magazines dedicated to sci-fi/fantasy/horror films; Forry Ackerman’s Famous Monsters Of Filmland was pretty much it, but while it supplied a wealth of film making details & rarely seen photos, it was written is a tone that can best be described as juvenile and with an editorial out look that said said there was no such thing as a bad movie — at least so long as they were dependent on studio publicists for photos & interviews.
CoF and later Monsters & Heroes changed all that (and, to be fair, so did a couple of other short lived mags). Larry’s Monsters & Heroes had a unique editorial POV insofar as it actively encouraged DIY culture long before DIY culture was even a thing to encourage. Larry was a fan who was always on the verge of breaking into either comics or film, and while he offered a great deal of inspiration & encouragement to others, he never seemed to be able to make the final leap himself.
Larry Ivie as The Mask in Don Glut’s amateur
Batman And Robin film made a year before
the Adam West TV series premiered.
I corresponded with him briefly in the 1960s, and from that correspondence I’d say he was a sincere, earnest, enthusiastic, and decent person who genuinely wanted to nurture new talent. Some of the earliest works by Bernie Wrightson, Jeff Jones, and Mike Kaluta were published in Monsters & Heroes, and he regularly gave aspiring film makers a chance to show their work.
I lost contact with him when I was drafted and never communicated directly with him again. Occasionally his name would come up in conversation ala “whatever happened to…?” but the answer was always that he was struggling along on some new project or trying to complete an old one.
The brass ring of pro-dom, of being a professional with a recognized body of work always seemed to elude Larry, and from what I’ve read online this may be due to an obsessive perfectionism that kept him from releasing anything until he felt it was absolutely ready.
He lost contact with that generation of monster kids who then grew up to be pros and creators in their own right. The news of his death is not surprising, but it is sad.
He never made the pro ranks, but he started a thousand others on their way, and to that we say thank you.
I’ve got a lot on my plate, a large number of posts & mini-essays & short stories & longer works that I want to finish, but every now & then a big fat one just hangs in the strike zone so perfectly that I can’t help but smack that sucka right out of the ballpark.
In this case it was someone bringing to my attention last year’s “Men, Superheroes and Church” post by Don Murrow, which in turn was derived from “The Lure of Comic-Book Culture” by Stan Guthrie from a half year earlier.
sneers looks down his nose pooh-poohs dismisses contemporary pop culture, in particular the popularity of the superhero genre, quoting David Gelernter’s “America-Lite”:
“In 1960, the whole country knew Robert Frost’s poetry; Leonard Bernstein was reaching large TV audiences for classical music with his Young People’s Concerts on CBS; theater and ballet were thriving, reaching larger audiences all the time; Hemingway was only the most famous of America’s serious novelists; and American avant-garde painting was a topic for Life magazine.”
He then posits these reasons for the rise in popularity of comic book culture, in particular superheroes:
- Technology (computers, social media, enhanced graphics software) has made comics easier to produce and share.
- The phenomenon of extended adolescence has extended the attractiveness of comics as a pastime among many American adults.
- In an increasingly complex, morally confusing world, people are drawn to media that still promote the idea of good vs. evil—a common theme in comics.
- People want an escape from the grim and sometimes depressing news and events of the day.
- With the dumbing down of the population due to an increasingly ineffective public education system, people today have less ability and desire to read and to think deeply, making the relatively simple themes and plots of comic books that much more attractive.
- Despite (and perhaps because of) widespread cynicism in the culture, we still yearn for heroes.
Murrow agrees, claiming “Every one of Guthrie’s observations is true. But there’s a deeper reason men of this generation are so strongly drawn to superheroes:
Every man longs to be a hero himself – but today’s society offers men very few opportunities for heroic behavior.”
[brace yourselves; it gets brutal after the jump]
by Paul Gilligan
(from Pooch Cafe)
sound advice from the King of Comics
(God, I miss you, Jack; you and Steve and
John and Mark M. and a host of others)
thanks to Steve Niles for the tip off