Comic book legend Marv Wolfman looks forward to Wizard Philly 2014

Posted: June 17, 2014

MARV WOLFMAN, a true legend in the comics industry, is coming to Wizard Con Philly 2014 this week. He's as excited to be here as fans are to have him. In fact, he wants to stick around - after his panel appearances and autograph signings at the con - to see the sites.

"When I was a kid, I used to come down to Philly with my family and remember it fondly," he said. "Coming back, I think the city has fixed itself up and is now better than ever."

Wolfman also is looking forward to getting a cheesesteak at Reading Terminal Market ("they have really good ones").

Wolfman is acknowledged as one of the most important creators and writers in comic-book history, highlighted by the Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries in 1985, which merely rebooted a half-century of DC continuity.

He doesn't see himself that way: "I'm told it, but aside from Crisis, I'm not sure how. But it's nice to hear."

Wolfman had a hand in creating such popular characters as Wonder Girl, Blade, Bullseye and the Black Cat. He also helped Dick Grayson stop being Robin, the "Boy Wonder," and grow into the more adult character Nightwing.

Sharpening Blade

Wolfman said he made Blade, perhaps his most famous creation, black because he believed in diversity for comic characters. He'd seen a story that would have introduced DC's first black character rejected years before.

"Blade is one of two characters who came to me in one second; I knew everything about him instantly. The only other character where that happened was [DC villain] Deathstroke.

"I knew I wanted him to be black and I knew I wanted him to be tough and different and fully developed, with a personal life as well as a vampire fighter existence. I knew what I wanted him to wear, too. And [artist] Gene Colan handled him magnificently."

A villainous target

In 1976's Daredevil No. 131, Wolfman came up with Bullseye as a challenge for the red-clad hero. The villain would become one of the most popular in comics history.

"I wanted someone who was a long-range fighter, which would confuse Daredevil's radar sense," Wolfman explained. "Frank [Miller] took the character and did some absolutely wonderful things with him, probably making him the character he is today. And I even really liked the movie version, played by Colin Farrell."

Cat fight

Wolfman created Spider-Man friend/foe/love interest Black Cat in 1979. Many fans called her a knockoff of Catwoman - which Wolfman said is dead wrong.

"I was working on Spider-Woman and looking for a villain while I was watching an old Tex Avery cartoon called 'Bad Luck Blackie.' It was about that old superstition that crossing the path of a black cat can cause bad luck. I thought that could be a great villain power," he said.

Wolfman and legendary artist George Perez also had a long run in the '80s with New Teen Titans, once as popular as the X-Men. The pair co-created characters that are favorites to this day - Raven, Starfire and Cyborg.

"I love that kids today can watch the Titans cartoon shows, where the characters, despite how different they are, are emotionally the same as when we did them," Wolfman said. "The kids really love them, and that delights me."

Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, June 19-22 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., Look for the Daily News Wizard Con supplement on Wednesday.

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