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Friday, January 27, 2006

Comics Legend E. Nelson Bridwell

Comics Legend E.(dward) Nelson Bridwell was born in 1931 in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Bridwell was possibly the first comics fan to become a professional writer in the medium, writing text pages for the American Comics Group in the late 1940s. That was a difficult task at the time. His first notable success was as a writer for Mad during its early, formative years, and Bridwell became an assistant editor at National/DC Comics in 1965 due to his work with the humor magazine. He served as editor of Lois Lane comics and became editor of the hardback DC reprint titles in 1971.

His writing was characterized by a straightforward, simple approach to plot, dialogue, and characterization that was accessible and enjoyable by both young readers and adults. Bridwell was also well-known by other editors and writers for his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of comics, and often used by them as a source of information. He had a photographic memory.

During his impressive career, he created several titles for the DC Showcase series; most earned their own venues. Among these were The Inferior Five (a superhero parody title), The Maniaks (humor), Secret Six (adventure), and Angel and the Ape (humor). After his death in 1987 from cancer, Secret Six and Angel and the Ape were revived by new creative teams.

Bridwell's work includes: Mad (EC Publications, 1957-'71), Eerie and Creepy (Warren, 1968), Batman comic strip (DC, 1970-'72), text pages (ACG, 1949), Superman Family, Captain Marvel, Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Batman, Binky and his Buddies, Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, Supergirl, Ghosts, House of Mystery, Jonah Hex, Legion of Super-Heroes and many others (DC, 1965- ). Bridwell was inducted into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame in October, 2005.

E. Nelson Bridwell's work is highly recommended for the young and the young at heart.

Michael Vance