FW Presents – Written by Martin Pasko

Shag, Rob, Chris, Ryan, and Max discuss some of their favorite comic book (and other) stories written by the late, great Martin Pasko.

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11 responses to “FW Presents – Written by Martin Pasko

  1. Mart Gray and I just did a little retrospective as you guys did.

    He was a big name for me in my youth and a bunch of the main Superman stories that struck me as a kid.

    Mart and I covered the Master Jailer origin story. I had already covered Action Comics #500. I love the First Issue Special Fate story.

    So had I been on this show, I would have discussed a 2 issue story with the ‘one time only’ villain the Kryptonoid, a being of synthetic ‘commensals’ from from Krypton who absorbs beings to fight Superman. Creeped me out as a kid, great dramatic turn at the end.

    I’ll also say that his Swamp Thing was one of the first horror books I bought monthly. That run was filled with vampires, this serial killer in the issue you mentioned, a bunch of religious themes, and weird soldier PTSD issues. It isn’t as dense or mature as Moore. But it is solid stuff.

    I was lucky enough to meet him at Terrificon a couple of years ago and get some books signed by him.

  2. That Art of Walter Simonson paperback Chris mentions is how I read the Metal Men story Shag reviews. It was the first trade paperback that I ever bought back in the 80s (Simonson is in my top 3 artists). I would highly recommend it if you can find it. It also features the Dr Fate 1st Issue Special and each story has a little behind the scenes introduction for the stories by Walter. In his introduction to the Dr Fate story Simonson mentions Pasko had to rewrite the last 5 pages or so as the number of pages was reduced when he had already drawn most of the book. It’s also worth mentioning that this book features Fire & Water favourite Captain Fear and some amazing Green Lantern images which Walt drew as part of a film pitch. If you can find a copy you should grab it.

    I first discovered Martin Pasko’s work on Action Comics Weekly. He wrote both Secret Six and (from the second storyline) Blackhawk. I loved his work on those stories and wish they would be collected. Secret Six was a particularly well crafted storyline which had a satisfying mystery element combined with great action and character work. I’m really surprised that it never got turned into a tv series as it would’ve worked really well.

    I’ve recently started my own podcast (Should I Love This Comic) where I review my favourite single issues with my husband and I had picked Blackhawk 2 from Martin Pasko and Rick Burchett as a future episode. I was really impressed with how Pasko incorporated real American history into the book whilst juggling soap-operatic subplots and action adventure. I’m still looking forward to revisiting it and I hope we can do as good a job representing Pasko’s greatness as you did.

    Let’s hope we have a good long gap before you guys have to do another memorial episode.

    1. Just replying to wholeheartedly agree about the Art of Walter Simonson book – it is indeed a thing of beauty that everyone should have…

  3. Really enjoyed the show, and it was a nice tribute to Pasko’s work.
    It’s interesting when people say they most associate him with Superman; I’ve always associated him with a) Plastic Man and b) Dr. Fate – which is why I liked so many of the choices for favorite stories you guys mentioned. I can’t say which single story is my absolute favorite of his, but it’s among those three properties, I think.
    I loved his work on Plastic Man in Adventure Comics – it was such a fun series of stories, and Staton was the perfect artist for it as well. (Just a correction, I’m pretty sure Len Wein wrote the first two stories in that feature, i.e., in Adventure #s 467-68, before Pasko took over). I’m glad Max picked that issue of DC Comics Presents to highlight. That’s indeed a fun story, and yes, I still remember and chuckle at the panel in which Superman is remarking on the weirdness of Plastic Man’s city.
    And yeah, the Dr. Fate back-ups from the Flash are wonderful. As an aside, I have to note that at that point, i.e., once Infantino came back as the main artist, I was only reading the Flash for the back-ups, first Firestorm and then Dr. Fate. I definitely agree that Pasko should have been given a shot at a full-length monthly Dr. Fate book.

    And note to Shagg: yes, I read those issues of Metal Men. I used to own the whole set of the revived series from the mid-1970s, i.e., issues 45-56, and I absolutely loved them. Even though there were three different writers, Steve Gerber (just one issue), Conway and Pasko, and two different artists, Simonson and Pasko (both ideal artists for the Metal Men), there’s a surprising consistency to that little run. They are my favorite Metal Men stories and I wish DC reprint them in a nice collected book.

    1. I’m with you, Edo — whenever Martin Pasko is mentioned, I first think of him as the guy who wrote Plastic Man. I’m sure his Plas stories weren’t the first time I ever read his work, but it might’ve been the first time I really noticed.

      And yes, Marv Wolfman wrote issue #474, which is a lot of fun in its own right, but not even close to the second issue. I’m gonna blame it on stay-at-home brain. Thanks for helping me keep it straight!

  4. Thanks for putting a show together quickly while still managing a thoughtful discussion. I read Martin Pasko from his beginnings in the lettercols as ‘Pesky Pasko’ through his back-ups and on to the big time his talent and work ethic deserved. Comics lost him relatively early but, as you chaps observed, he fitted in a lot of stories in a lot of genres.

    The picks were great, I heartily endorse them all, especially the little-known, barely seen Metal Men work… that Eclipso story with Walter Simonson was succeeded by the madly entertaining story of Dr Strangeglove and the Brain Children, which had artwork by Joe Staton and brilliant overs by, first, Simonson, and then Jim Aparo.

    As I was saying over at The Facebook, you have inspired me to re-buy Pasko’s Dr Fate in the three-issue Immortal Dr Fate series and Bronze Age Swampy Omnibus. Stop it, I don’t have the shelf space!

    While I want all of Pasko’s Superman run collected, one particular gem that may particularly appeal to dog lover Rob is #318, which gives us a space pirate and her unusual crew. It’s a fun, yet particularly poignant piece with art, of course, by the great Curt Swan with Frank Chiaramonte. And Pasko writes Kobra again in #327.

    I’d be amazed were Pasko’s First Issue Special not the reason he was asked onto the Flash back-up, it was a fan favourite even back then.

    Following on from Anj, please do visit Supergirl Comics Box Commentary and Too Dangerous For a Girl for our Lois at Superman #331-#332, a little comment would make our day! And I’ve listened to Damian’s opening podcast and recommend that too, it’s all about Millennium!

    1. Thanks Martin. I’d say the fiver is in the post but I’d be lying.

      You’re all making me keener to track down the Immortal Dr Fate books so that’s another one added to the list.

  5. Always enjoyed Pasko’s work. I believe my first exposure to his writing, when I was too young to take note of writers’ names, was in the Kobra series and the Kobra “wrap-up” Batman story in the Five Star Spectacular. I liked the novelty of the villain being the main character…and Melissa McNeil was one of my first childhood comic-book crushes (particularly when Michael Netzer drew her).

    I also loved his work on Secret Six and Blackhawk in Action Comics Weekly. I’d hoped that Pasko’s Secret Six would return. Right after Pasko’s passing, I asked Gail Simone on Twitter if she’d read Pasko’s version, and she replied that she had, and she always wanted to use them in her Secret Six run and regretted that she never got around to including them.

  6. An excellent tribute to a great writer! It’s great to see everyone come together to honour Martin Pasko and it’s a shame that he passed away relatively young.

    First off, I was jumping up and down with my hand in the air when Shag asked if anyone had read these stories of Metal Men. I certainly have and love them! I don’t have a complete run of that era of Metal Men, but I definitely have chunks of issues and these are some of the issues I have. Between these issues with Simonson and the ones that had Jim Aparo covers, this is my favourite era of Metal Men.

    And I also encountered the Swamp Thing story from the digest reprint. I remember being creeped out by Swamp Thing dangling from a meat hook…… in fact, I still am! Best of DC #35 is probably my favourite digest of all time as it has so many stories that I can still remember to this day. Between this Swamp Thing story, the Teen Titans story, the I…Vampire! story (where I actually sympathized with a vampire!), the Atomic Skull/Superman story, there so many great memories of that digest.

    Lastly, because of your guys passion for that Dr.Fate 1st Issue Special, I purchased a copy for myself and wasn’t disappointed. Such a great story! It makes me want to find those Dr.Fate back-up stories you featured and enjoy more of Martin Pasko’s work.

    Well done, everyone! Keep up the great work!

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