Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.
The Kupperberg Brothers
Welcome to Buffalo Avenue Comics
Paul Kupperberg is publishing comic books under the Buffalo Avenue Comics imprint, but these comics will be keeping it all in the family, and believe you-me, his family is no stranger to comics; Paul has had his own 40-plus year career as a writer (for DC, Archie, Marvel, Charlton Neo Comics, and many other publishers) and editor (DC Comics), while his older brother, Alan, likewise spent decades toiling in the field as an artist for Marvel, DC, National Lampoon, Atlas/Seaboard, and others as an artist, letterer, colorist, and sometimes production manager.
Decades of comicbook work
When Alan died in 2015, Paul inherited a metric-ton of Alan’s possessions (more precisely, two thousand five hundred pounds, according to the shipping manifesto), including a four or five-foot-tall stack of the veteran artist’s original art. “There were pages from his humor work at Crazy Magazine, Parody Magazine, and National Lampoon, superhero stuff from Marvel and DC and some other publishers, commercial jobs he’d done for advertising clients, sample pages, things he’d drawn as a kid, including his first published pages from DC’s romance comics in the early-1970s,” Paul told us. “There were also scores of commission pieces, cover recreations or pin-ups he’d done for his fan clients, as well as entire unpublished stories, one of them a 45-page Captain Marvel story, all fully inked and lettered.”
Buffalo Avenue Comics
Print on Demand!
Paul determined that there was such a large body of work of Alan’s (and, his own) that had either never been published or that hadn’t been seen in decades, and that he wanted to do something with it. “Thanks to the availability of reasonable print-on-demand publishing services, like Greko Printing and Imagining, which I’ve been using for Buffalo Avenue Comics, any idiot can make their own comic books. So, I do.”
“Thanks to the availability of reasonable print-on-demand publishing services...any idiot can make their own comic books.
On the Skids
Paul’s choice for his first book was a reprint of the “ground-level funny animal” comic strip On the Skids, created in the 1970s by Alan and Howard Chaykin, and published by pioneering small press publisher Mike Friedrich’s in Quack! On the Skids straddled the line between the squeaky-clean antics of Disney and Warner Bros cartoons and the hellbent-for-leather insanity of the underground comics. It starred “two cool cats (literally) from Queens, (NY).” According to Paul, the two were never named, but they were purportedly loosely based on the friendship between Alan and fellow artist, Chaykin, who, in the first installment was listed as co-creator. Even though Chaykin was uncredited in later stories, he recently recalled, “Alan and I collaborated on all the On the Skids stuff.” The stories themselves are hip, snarky, and still stand up as an artifact of the ‘70s hipster scene; both wildly socially and politically inappropriate by today’s standards.
A blast from the past!
Formerly underground, now ground level
Originally published in Quack! #1 (July 1976), #2 (January 1977), and #4 (June 1977), with the final chapter for #4, originally done as another 10-page story, edited down and published as a seven-page installment, wrapping up the series with a hand-written “This is the end!” scrawled under the final panel, even though Quack! itself ran for two more issues. “With this collected edition, those original final six pages finally make their print debut, exactly as they were originally written and drawn,” Paul said.
Super Gorillas vs the All-American Victory Legion #1
Look Ma! A superhero coloring book!
Buffalo Avenue Comics followed that up with Alan Kupperberg’s All-American Victory Legion Super-Hero Coloring Book, a magazine-sized publication that features 30 of the artist’s commissioned pin-ups and covers, featuring the AAVL themselves (two stories of which by Alan were published in full color in 2017 by Charlton Neo Comics, and superheroes from other publishers created by Alan over the course of his later career.
Alan Kupperberg’s All-American Victory Legion Super-Hero Coloring Book
"Clowns are evil!"
— Paul Kupperberg
The dawn of evil clowns
Rounding out the first three comics is Evil Clown Comics, the “as complete as we got space for” edition. Working from the premise that quite a few folks (including both Kupperbergs) believe that clowns are not only not funny, but also quite often both evil and terrifying. Paul said, “For every sanitized Bozo or Ronald McDonald out there, there’s a full-on horde of crazed, murderously evil Pagliaccis, Mister Jingleses, Pennywises, or Jokers, and that’s not even counting all the funny evil clowns (Krusty, Sideshow Bob, Shakes, etc.).” But the two most important thoroughly evil clowns that concern us here are those two forever joined by their artist-father: Alan Kupperberg (Obnoxio the Clown, co-created with Larry Hama for Marvel’s Crazy Magazine, and the shamelessly inappropriate Frenchy the Clown, co-created with writer Nick Bakay for National Lampoon in 1988).
Evil Clown Comics
Obnoxio vs. Frenchy
Needless to say, given Alan’s affinity for evil clowns it is somehow appropriate that Obnoxio and Frenchy are probably his two best-known creations. While Obnoxio had the wider exposure, assuming the role of Crazy’s mascot and spokesclown, and even being rewarded his own Kupperberg written/drawn/lettered one-shot, Obnoxio Vs. The X-Men, this book is all about Frenchy, the eviler of the evil clowns. Frenchy appeared in just seven short Evil Clown Comics stories in National Lampoon, all seven of which are reprinted here for the first time (apparently Alan had planned a collection back in 2009, but, sadly, that book never came to fruition). Also appearing in this collection are two new never-before-published Frenchy stories by Bakay & Kupperberg, as well as a series of previously unpublished “inspirational” columns by Frenchy himself (as channeled through Alan).
Clowns to the left of me; Jokers to the right
More comics to come!
“But that ain’t all!” Paul told us. “I’ve got several other interesting projects planned with more of Alan’s art, including stories where the reader will be able to write their own dialog, as well as a 20-page Fantastic Four Vs. the Doom Patrol commission story that Alan left behind in the pencil layout and script stage that artist Carl Morgans is finishing for publication sometime in 2012. Of course, the names and costumes of the heroes will have to be changed to protect against legal action from the people who actually own the copyrights, but it will be easy enough to read between the lines and determine who is really who.”
“I’ve also got a bunch of old projects and proposals of my own in the files that I’ve been digging out that I think readers might find interesting, especially the ones with concept art and character sketches that have never before seen the light of day. Buffalo Avenue Comics is DIY comics, so anything goes!”
More from Paul
Alan Kupperberg (May 18, 1953–July 16, 2015) began his career as a professional cartoonist in 1967 at the age of 14 when he sold The Canarsie Kid, a one-panel gag strip, to his local hometown newspaper, The Canarsie Courier (Brooklyn, New York). Paul Kupperberg (born June 14, 1955) entered comics through the world of fandom where he was involved with his friend Paul Levitz in such fan publications as Etcetera, The Comic Reader, and the program books for the legendary New York Comic Conventions run by Phil Seuling in the early 1970s. In 1975, Paul began selling comicbook stories to the now defunct Charlton Comics.
The best is yet to come
Both Alan and Paul went on to work for both DC and Marvel Comics, where Alan drew numerous comics for both Marvel and DC including The Invaders, Marvel Team-Up, Blue Devil, Cops, and Dragonlance as well for numerous national publications, including Nation Lampoon (where he co-created the world’s crustiest clown, Frenchy), Harpoon, and Parody. Paul is a writer and currently the executive editor at Charlton Neo Comics and Pix-C Webcomics, he is a contributing author with Crazy 8 Press. Formerly, he was an editor for DC Comics and executive editor of Weekly World News, as well as a writer of novels, comic books, and newspaper strips. He was also the writer of the best-selling and critically acclaimed Life with Archie: The Married Life Magazine for Archie Comics.
Three from Buffalo Avenue Comics
Now, while we personally have enjoyed all three of these comics (as well as Super Gorillas, #1 published by Charlton Neo) we feel it necessary to point out that both On the Skids and Evil Clown Comics are mature reader comics, not intended for younger readers. In fact, Evil Clown Comics proudly proclaims itself to be “Totally inappropriate for readers of all ages!” Needless to say, that shouldn’t dissuade folks from acquiring them as they are eminently entertaining, and thoroughly engaging for the not so easily offended, as they were clearly written and illustrated by adults for adults, and we heartily recommend them as such.
© 2019 Robert J Sodaro