Mark’s Remarks – Marvel Age #125 (June 1993)

When I was among the riotous ranks of Marvel’s rollicking readers, I would muse to myself what a cool fraternity of creative people there was in the comics biz. Sometimes I got to wondering which of them really liked to hang out together and which ones would leave the room when somebody else entered. Sure, according to the Bullpen Bulletins, everyone was one big happy family, but surely there had to be cliques within that family. So I’d scour whatever scraps of behind-the-scenes info, but there was always precious little grist from which to draw my conclusions.

Flash forward. Now at last I’m in that cool fraternity, and one of the great things about it is I finally know who likes and dislikes whom! Which brings me, in my usual roundabout fashion, to my topic this month, cover boy Fabian Nicieza (pronounced “nice ’n’ easy,” unlike his writing). What would you guess – do Fabulo and I get along or are we family feuders? Let me present some circumstantial evidence, then you decide.

I am a 39-year-old Wisconsin native, with a background in art and cheese, who writes CAP and QUASAR. He is a 31-year-old Argentina native with a background in advertising and sheep dip. We both worked on New Universe team books, DP7 and PSI-FORCE. We collaborated on a one-shot called THE DRAFT. Now we both shudder when anyone says “Say, is there a draft in here?”

I used to be the most prolific writer on staff, doing on average two and a half books a month in addition to my staff work. Now he’s the acknowledged champ, doing on average five to seven books a month in addition to his staff work.

We’re both married to blonde women. He’s known his for more than ten years, I’ve known mine for two.

We both use prescription minoxydl ro prevent male pattern balding; my treatment is working, he’s starting to look like Professor X.

He can stand to listen to Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna. I can’t.

I have a younger sister; he has an older brother.

We both have cats.

He’s very outspoken, opinionated, and a pain in the butt. I’m quiet, unassuming, and a pain in the pancreas.

I believe every character who is killed should stay dead forever. He believes every character when even a shred of untapped potential should be brought back from the dead (kicking and screaming).

I once had to talk him out of giving up trying to write for Marvel, when his early efforts were not greeted with the respect he and he alone felt they deserved. He talked me into the practice of shaving while taking a shower in order to save time and soften up the stubble.

My name means “green forest,” his means “bean grower.” (He like it when fans call him “Beany” – really! Try it next time you see him at a convention, comic book store, or yard sale.)

I’ve contributed to the Marvel Universe such deathless characters as Brother Nature, the Slug, and Pinball. He’s contributed the equally deathless Sea Urchin, Sweepzweaks, and Pretty Persuasions.

I live in New York City; he lives in the New Jersey Suburbs.

We had a moped race in Key West, Florida once – he won.

He’s gotten his lens-cracking mug photographed for the cover of MARVEL AGE, I get a drawing that gives me a long stubby nose every month in “The Bossmen.”

So add up all those factors and you decide: ARE FABIENTITY AND I GOOD BUDS…OR FEUDING RIVALS?

Wait – don’t answer yet. I’ve got anecdotes about the Fabester that are certain to change your opinion.

Anecdote one:

I went for a ski weekend with the Fabianator, NOMAD Editor Glenn Herdling, and AVENGERS Editor Ralph Macchio. Before we left we took up a collection around the Marvel offices. A collection of what, you ask? A collection of loose hair that many yanked freely from their heads or stomachs. Putting our copious collection in an envelope, the F-man ignorant of its existence, we drove up to the lodge Friday night, went to bed, and the next morning, while Fabery was in the facility, Glenn and I sneaked into his room and spread much of our nefarious hair collection across his pillow. When he returned and started to make his bed, he freaked out over his sudden hair loss, not noticing the numerous strands of hair with color and texture quite different from his own.

Glenn and I feigned sympathy, and fought to keep ourselves from laughing when Fabo opined that it must be the high altitude of the mountain precipitating his hair loss.

The next morning we decided to pull the same maneuver, but found that we had already used too much of our hair collection the previous morning. Glenn, however, had an inspiration, when to the shower, and scooped up all the wet cruddy hair to be found in the drain. While Fabiot was showering, Glenn took Fabibaby’s hair dryer to dry off the gooey gob of hair. Alarmingly, though, Fableau stepped out of the facility sans glasses and caught Glenn on the floor of his room, hair dryer in hand. Glenn quickly feigned drying his own hair and explained that the outlet in his own room was on the fritz. Fabery bought it! So the moment he left, Glenn finished blowing off the hair clump, spread it about Feebian’s pillow, and scampered out. Sure enough, Fabezilla came back, found it, and again waxed dolefully about his accelerated hair loss. Eventually we told Fabinox about our ploy, and had a good laugh at his gullibility.

Anecdote two:

Another ski trip, Glenn again. Me again. Fabeany again. And Ralph Macchio’s assistant, Pat Garrahy. Hoping to top the previous gag, I brought along a four-inch ponytail of my own hair, saved from a previous haircut, and a scissors with a bright orange handle. When I was out of the room, Glenn told Fabiuk and Pat that they should wait till I fall asleep and cut off my ponytail (I still sport one and have for the past five years). The two were aghast. “You nuts? You’re going to be in a lot of trouble! He’ll have us all fired!” “No,” says Glenn, “Mark can take a joke!” Neither of them wanted any part of the scheme.

On Sunday morning, I pretended to be asleep late with my back toward the door (ponytail exposed), Glen palmed the ersatz ponytail and the scissors, poised above my bed, waited until Fabiator walked by the open door of my room, and pantomimed the Big Snip. Fanfabe caught sight of what Glenn was doing and ran into the kitchen, exclaiming to Pat, “He did it! He did it! Aw, man, is he gonna be in trouble!” Pat didn’t believe it. Then Glenn scurried in, waving the ponytail like a trophy, a goofy grin fixed on his face. Both looked at the ‘tail – it sure looked authentic. Finally I came staggering in, my ‘tail tucked under the turtleneck I wore to bed (it being cold at night in ski lodges). All eyes were on me. Faborrah casually stepped around me to peer at the back of my neck with eyes agog. “He did it – aw, man – you’re in so much trouble!” Pat came to look, too, and it actually took them a minute or two to twig onto the tuck job. Fabelot – fooled again!

Okay. Weigh the evidence. Faberectomy and me. Friends or foes?

Answer: I love Fabuloid. He, as far as I know, can stand me. One of the books he writes is one of my top five favorite Marvel publishes. He in turn occasionally pages though the books I write, clothes pin affixed to his nose. I find him amusing, witty, and fun to be around; he finds me much the same only the opposite. Final verdict: Fabuttocks is without question my 232nd favorite person in the industry and I’m pleased as a well digger with waterproof underwear to have been asked to write about him in this, his day in the spotlight (just watch out for the glare off his dome).

Fabe replied: “It’s cool. In the words of Martin Mull on Fernwood Tonight, ‘if we can’t kid each other, who can we kid? When you come right down to it, I can take the abuse. I mean, consider the source…”

–Mark Gruenwald