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CBR News
11-14-2011, 02:58 PM
This week, Tim asks 'Whatever Happened to Andy Helfer?' by looking at some of the highlights of his career, from Atari Force, to Justice League, to the Shadow, to his leadership of Paradox Press.


Full article here (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=35443).

Marvelbunny
11-14-2011, 03:30 PM
What came as a surprise to DC Fans, the company announced that Dan Raspler, Andy Helfer, and Morgan Dontanville have been fired by the company. The article, as reported by Newsarama (http://www.newsarama.com) is as follows:

DC has confirmed for Newsarama that Group Editor Dan Raspler, Andy Helfer and Morgan Dontanville have been fired by DC. Raspler was the JLA Group Editor, Helfer was also a Group Editor and most recently edited Titans, and Dontanville was Batman group Editor Bob Schreck’s assistant. The firings will cause a cascade of changed internally at DC with regard to Mike Carlin and Dan DiDio.

Carlin, who has been DC’s VP – Executive Editor for the past few years, will step down from the role and resume work as a regular Group Editor in the newly created role of Senior Group Editor – DC Universe, taking on the books formerly edited by Raspler (JLA, Aquaman, Superman: Birthright, and Formerly Known as the Justice League) in addition to his current projects, including SHAZAM! with Jeff Smith. DiDio will retain his title of VP – Editorial, while adding many of Carlin’s former duties to his current list.

According to sources, the move for Carlin was one of his own choosing, made recently when his contract as Executive Editor was up. Having begun at Marvel, where he worked under Mark Gruenwald, Carlin moved to DC and was a key editor for the relaunch of the Superman line of books in the late '80s.

The move puts Carlin in the company of former editorial chiefs of comic publishers, such as Carmine Infantino, Dick Giordano, Archie Goodwin, Marv Wolfman, and Roy Thomas who have held similar positions at Dc or Marvel to give them up after a few years, and return to their previous roles within the company or greater industry.

Helfer has been with DC since the early ‘80s, and served both as writer and editor in his early years, writing such titles as the 1986 Deadman miniseries, and the ongoing Shadow series, as well as serving as editor on Byrne’s Superman and the Legends, Invasion, and Millennium miniseries, as well as JLI, JLE, and Green Lantern. Helfer also edited much of DC’s Paradox and Piranha Press line, including the Big Books, Road to Perdition and Stuck Rubber Baby. More recently, Helfer edited Titans, Doom Patrol, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Realworlds and the upcoming Kia Asamiya Batman project, Batman: Child of Dreams, and the Tony Wong Batman project, Batman: Hong Kong.

Raspler began work at Marvel in the ‘80s, and came to DC under Denny O’Neil as an assistant editor. Since then, Raspler has been a fixture in the DC credit boxes and moved through the Batman and Superman titles as an assistant editor, before becoming a full editor on books such as Demon, Hitman, Lobo, Suicide Squad, The Power of Shazam, Spectre, Kingdom Come, The Kingdom and eventually, virtually all things JLA, overseeing the title since its

Raspler won an Eisner in 1997 for Best Editor, and also dabbled in writing, co-creating and penning Young Heroes in Love, which lasted eighteen issues.

Source: Newsarama (http://www.newsarama.com)

LINK (http://www.toonzone.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-66956.html)

I remembered when this happened. Wasnt a big fan of Dan Raspler's books but I was pissed at Helfer's firing, mostly because I loved his books more than any other and knew he was a more than competent writer

Marvelbunny
11-14-2011, 03:34 PM
Andrew Helfer, who spent over 20 years wearing a variety of editorial hats for DC Comics, editing such titles as Justice League and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight and writing such titles as The Shadow. He later founded the DC imprint Paradox Press, producing a series of 17 graphic nonfiction "Big Books" on topics as diverse as Urban Legends, Conspiracy Theories, and Scandals. His Paradox Mystery and Fiction imprints introduced readers to both A History of Violence and Road to Perdition, two graphic novels later adapted into successful films. His interest in manga led to encouraging DC to publish the wordless adventures of a tiny dinosaur named Gon.

After leaving DC, Andrew continued producing nonfiction comics, writing and editing a series of biographies that included Malcolm X and Ronald Reagan, among others. Currently, he is working on a new fiction comics project while raising (with his beautiful wife Jaimie) their brand new (and equally beautiful) daughter Emilia.

Link (http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_eisners_11judges.php)

I wish Andy was still in mainstream comics

RJT
11-14-2011, 04:00 PM
I also believe that Helfer spearheaded the short-lived DC Focus imprint, which was pretty uniformly excellent (especially Steve Gerber's Hard Time and Kelly Puckett & Allen Heinberg's Kinetic) although I believe he had left the company before the comics saw print.

Furhitba
11-14-2011, 04:12 PM
HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and ROAD TO PERDITION speak for themselves.

The funny Justice League stuff was generation-defining.

But TWILIGHT is some of the best stuff that two titan creators -- Chaykin and Garcia Lopez -- ever did.

Don't even get me started on things like GREGORY from Paradox Press...

Helfer was the best.

byron lomax
11-14-2011, 04:37 PM
He also wrote Batman Annual 14, the excellent Two-Face origin story "Eye of the Beholder", now sadly overlooked in favour of The Long Halloween.

Kiel Phegley!
11-14-2011, 05:42 PM
Great column, Tim!

I was always a fan of Helfer's from when I read Batman Annual 14 as a younger kid and it scared the living bejeezus out of me through when I got into pulp heroes early in high school and bought the majority of his Shadow run out of a quarter bin. As I got older and realized the numerous projects he worked on as an editor and writer, I became even more of a fan.

In 2002, I was a summer intern in DC Editorial when Andy was working to put together the Focus line. I remember one day I was kind of bumming around the hall in between photocopy jobs and reading a copy of First Issue Special #12 (first appearance of Mikaal Tomas) when Andy snuck up behind me. "Has he come to save the earth -- or destroy it?" he read off the comics cover with dramatic flair. At first, I thought he might have wanted me to do some filing for him or some such, but then he led me to some back corner of the DC offices where hung on the wall an old Bat Lash cover that read "Will he save the West -- or destroy it?" Andy cracked up. "They used that line ALL THE TIME back then" he said and then went back about his day. Very cool dude.

[And I was bummed too when he, Raspler and Morgan D got let go a few months later. Raspler didn't talk much to the interns, but I always thought his books were well done, particularly when he worked with guys like Morrison and Waid who liked to tear up the status quo while keeping within DC's traditional house style. Morgan was a super fun guy to work with too. Great taste in music. I think he does something for an interactive board game company now?]

Since then, I've been lucky enough to interview Andy for a number of small projects including that McCain comic. He's full of stories and extremely smart. We talked once about doing a bigger interview about his writing career for my Four Color Forum blog, but when I came upon the dual career changes of having the guy who ran my site's server destroy all his computer stuff and got the promotion to CBR News Editor, those plans fell by the wayside. Maybe some day...

Kiel Phegley!
11-14-2011, 05:59 PM
Also worth a gander: the comments on this Matt Maxwell post:

http://highway-62.com/wp/?p=1279

ian33407
11-14-2011, 06:34 PM
Well certainly such a guy is needed at Vertigo right now.
And yeah, imagine what he'd do if he was working for Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM or...Avatar Press ?

BTW, what's your problem with literary aspirations Tim ?

XXL
11-14-2011, 06:55 PM
He also wrote one story for the 9-11 Dc Volume, pencils (and drew?) an Hawkman story in Legends of the Dc Universe 80P 1, wrote robotech Defenders for DC around 1984, Justice Inc in 1989, the Judge Dredd Dc séries in 1995, and 2 secret origins stories (Creeper and Detective Chimp in n°18 and 40)

JRC
11-14-2011, 07:46 PM
His run is one of my all time fav's in comics.
I loved the played-straight dark dark humor, read it one way and your mind misses just how messed up it is, read it another and it's roll over hysterical.

I talk about those stories online constantly, and they're impossible to really describe just how funny they are.

The series was universally hated by Shadow purists, but I always thought it was the best/most fitting extension of the character into modern times.

Still to this day, I want to know how the last story ends: Shadow decapitated head in the hands of his incompetent sons in a flying car back to Shambhala.

Sooo good.

inventio
11-14-2011, 09:38 PM
Justice Inc. is one of the top Prestige Format series to my mind. Also with Kyle Baker at his best. Wasn't Helfer also responsible for the amazing Green Lantern revival under Jones and Giffen? And Ragman? And Mosaic (under his protegé Kevin Dooley), the best Green Lantern title ever.
As to another editor who should have been more praised is Michael Eury, who spearheaded the best years of Legion and DC Space books in the late 80s/early 90s, which are still miles better than current GL My Little Poney stuff.

Jono11
11-14-2011, 09:48 PM
LINK (http://www.toonzone.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-66956.html)

I remembered when this happened. Wasnt a big fan of Dan Raspler's books but I was pissed at Helfer's firing, mostly because I loved his books more than any other and knew he was a more than competent writerWow. That was the moment, wasn't it? The moment when DC made an affirmative decision to move away from the creative fertility that was the late 90s and early 2000s and toward the bland commercial sameness of the late 2000s. DiDio ascendant.

johnrplatt
11-15-2011, 07:49 AM
Last I saw, Helfer was editing graphic novels for Hill and Wang. In particular, I saw his name on two excellent biographies by Rick Geary.

Starro
11-15-2011, 10:52 AM
LINK (http://www.toonzone.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-66956.html)

I remembered when this happened. Wasnt a big fan of Dan Raspler's books but I was pissed at Helfer's firing, mostly because I loved his books more than any other and knew he was a more than competent writer

Back then, there was a rumor that both were fired because they were two of DC's biggest "rewriting" editors, but I believe Helfer's firing had more to do with the decision to end the Elseworlds line, which by then had deteriorated into a bunch of low-selling prestige format books written by has-beens.

As for Raspler, I find it hard to believe that he had the habit of rewriting scripts, since he seemed to have a good working relationship with Mark Waid, and we know how vocal Waid can be against excessive editorial interference. Raspler edited some of my favorite comics of the '90s, and while the JLA franchise wasn't in a very good shape when he was fired, it got much worse when Mike Carlin took it over.

JRC
11-15-2011, 03:01 PM
Justice Inc. is one of the top Prestige Format series to my mind. Also with Kyle Baker at his best. Wasn't Helfer also responsible for the amazing Green Lantern revival under Jones and Giffen? And Ragman? And Mosaic (under his protegé Kevin Dooley), the best Green Lantern title ever.
As to another editor who should have been more praised is Michael Eury, who spearheaded the best years of Legion and DC Space books in the late 80s/early 90s, which are still miles better than current GL My Little Poney stuff.

I remember that too. Another great book, not as humorous (it wasn't intended to be tho) with an interesting look at our society and the intersection of government and society. Sad but hopeful.

kalorama
11-15-2011, 03:30 PM
A good list but a couple ofnotable holes:

Deadman miniseries (w/Garcialopez). More or less brought the character back from the dead (so to speak) and was, for a a good while at least, the template for the character other creators used going forward.


Secret Origins #18 (art by Giffen): One of a long line of attempts at a Creeper reboot that didn't stick, but one with a smart twist that actually gave the characters bizarre personality swings some reasonable context.

rev sully
11-15-2011, 03:58 PM
for Me

The Shadow!

Thanks Mugs (Rajiv) and Donny at Summer Camp 1989 in Bath, ME.

We all came armed with good stuff to slake bordom but Muggs came with a FOOTLOCKER FULL O' FUNNIES!!!

Muggs introduced me to the Seven Deadly Finns. And that Bad Boy Harold.
And the Shadow's "crew" of misfits. it was like an anachronistic version of an Earth-me HBO's M*A*S*H.
it got silly by the end with the robot body and Shamba-La but it strength was in a rasta cabbie named Percival Jenniver.
I' In' I.

'Nuff Said.