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Batom Comics – The Untold History Part 8

posted on January 30, 2016

Batom Chuck & Chuck-final-wlogo

Brady Wentworth needed an artist for his new Charlie and Chuck book. Coy Dockett, a local freelance artist in Cleveland, needed a job. When Coy showed up at the Batom Comics offices in the Eaton Building with his portfolio, Brady couldn’t understand why Coy had been let go by the local greeting card company at which he’d worked. The work Brady was looking at showed talent, was professional and would be a perfect match for the new “kitchen characters” of his fourteen-year-old phenom Mitchell Knox. Brady hired Coy on the spot and even provided him a workspace in what would soon become known with more than a little irony as the Batty Batom Bullpen.

Coy showed up for work promptly at nine o’clock the next morning. He was ushered by Brady to a drawing board in a corner of the large room. A blank sheet of bristol board drawing paper awaited him on that drawing board along with page one of the first Charlie and Chuck script. An hour later when Brady strolled by to check on Coy’s progress, the page of bristol board was still pristine in its blankness. Brady chalked it up to a bout of cold feet and resolved to check in again after lunch. He wasn’t worried. After all, he’d seen the man’s portfolio and what he was capable of. When he returned after lunch, he found Coy still staring at the blank page. Brady’s bile slowly began to rise. For crying out loud he thought, Mitchell Knox’s scripts had even included sketches of how the story should flow artistically! How hard can this be? In his frustration he grabbed a pencil from the taboret next to the drawing board and said, “Put the damn villain here!” making a mark on the  paper as he raged at the dumbstruck artist. Coy looked at the line for a moment and then picked up an eraser and removed the it. Then he took the pencil from his irate editor and replaced it with a more elegant line that began to give form to the cover’s villain. Thus Brady and Coy gave birth to an ice breaking ploy that would become a daily routine for as long as Coy worked there. And Batom Comic’s third new entry into the comic book field was born.

Batom Comics – The Untold History Part 7

posted on January 16, 2016

Batom - charlie-chuck-cover-rough

When Batom’s editor, Brady Wentworth, realized that the new writer he was enamored with, Mitchell Knox, was a fifteen-year-old boy he was infuriated. He felt that he had been conned and that Mitchell had misrepresented himself by not revealing his age upfront. Brady ushered the boy’s mother into his office leaving Mitchell to cool his heels in the bullpen. He then commenced to grill Mrs. Knox as to who had really written and laid out the Charlie and Chuck story. Mitchell’s mother assured him that the work had all been done by he son as he sat at their kitchen table at home. Further, she said that Mitchell had a sketchbook full of other characters and ideas. As time went on and Mitchell developed more of his ideas for Batom Comics, these characters would become known around the Batom bullpen as the “kitchen characters”.

Brady emerged from his office to find Mitchell, or Mitch as he had already been nicknamed by Flash Freeman, talking animatedly with artist Phil Holt as Phil worked on the next Starbuck Jones cover. His fears assuaged and his interest piqued, Brady had apparently resigned himself to the fact that his new writer was still in Junior High. Brady told Mitch that, in spite of his age, he was going to treat him like he treated his adult creators. Mitch would later laughing say that Brady obviously meant that he would be as abusive to him as he was to everyone else. So while Mitch’s mother went shopping at Higbees a couple of blocks away, the editor and his young protegé sat done to pour over his first script which Brady now characterized as f***ing retarded, but which could be salvaged with Brady’s expert help, thus setting the pattern for their working relationship for the immediate future. All that would remain would be to find an artist for the forthcoming adventures of Charlie and Chuck.

Batom Comics – The Untold History Part 6

posted on January 9, 2016

Batom - Amazing Mr. Sponge_col #57

When the the first issue of The Amazing Mister Sponge hit the stands, Batom Comics and its publishers, Barry and Thomas Martin has their second success. The fans had really taken to the fledgling comic book companies characters. Writer Flash Freeman and and artist Phil Holt now had their hands full producing two comic books every month and their editor Brady Wentworth knew that he was going to have to bring some help on board if he wanted to move forward with the new ideas that were dancing around in his head. Little did he know that Providence was about to lend a hand.

About a week after the inaugural issue of The Amazing Mister Sponge hit the stands, Brady received an over-the-transom submission from someone named Mitchell Knox. The unsolicited pitch was for a couple of kid characters named Charlie and Chuck. Brady immediately saw the appeal that such a book would have for his young readership. He knew that Batom wasn’t publishing the New Yorker and was always cognizant of just who his readership was. When The Amazing Mister Sponge was being developed, it had been Brady who had suggested that the pugnacious porifera have a kid partner named Absorbing Junior. Since Mitchell Knox lived locally in the nearby community of Grafton, Brady he immediately wrote back inviting Mr. Knox to meet with him at the Eaton Building to discuss developing these new characters. At the very least, Brady wanted to put the talents of this newcomer to work for not only had Knox written the submission, but he had laid out roughs for the entire book as well. Here was someone that Batom Comics could not afford to let get away.

On the appointed day, Brady answered a knock on his office door to find a woman and a fifteen-year-old boy standing there. “Hi”, the young boy said, “I’m Mitchell Knox!”