Evanier at the 2017 WonderCon
|Born||Mark Stephen Evanier|
March 2, 1952
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Author, screenwriter, biographer, comics historian, voice director|
|Genre||Comic books, television sitcoms, cartoons, biographical books|
Garfield and Friends
Kirby: King of Comics
The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show
The Garfield Show
Mark Stephen Evanier (; born March 2, 1952) is an American comic book and television writer, particularly known for his work on the animated TV series Garfield and Friends and on the comic book Groo the Wanderer. He is also known for his columns and blog News from Me, and for his work as a historian and biographer of the comics industry, in particular his award-winning Jack Kirby biography, Kirby: King of Comics.
Evanier identifies as Jewish. His father was Jewish and his mother was Catholic. He chose to be a writer after witnessing the misery his father felt from working for the Internal Revenue Service and contrasting that with the portrayal of a writer's life on The Dick Van Dyke Show. He graduated from University High School in 1969.
Evanier was president of a Los Angeles comic book club from 1966-69. In 1967, he suggested the titles of the officers of the Merry Marvel Marching Society. He made his first professional sale in 1969. The same year, through a mutual association with a Marvel Comics mail-order firm, he was taken on as a production assistant to Jack Kirby. Several years later Evanier began writing foreign comic books for the Walt Disney Studio Program, then from 1972 to 1976 wrote scripts for Gold Key Comics, including one memorable story, "The Greatest of E's", where he revealed that the E in Wile E. Coyote stands for "Ethelbert," along with comics for the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate.
In 1974 he teamed with writer Dennis Palumbo and wrote for a number of television series, including The Nancy Walker Show, The McLean Stevenson Show, and Welcome Back, Kotter, on which he was a story editor.
After leaving Kotter in 1977 and amicably ending his partnership with Palumbo, Evanier wrote for and eventually ran the Hanna-Barbera comic book division. He also wrote a number of variety shows and specials, and he began writing for animated cartoon shows, including Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, Thundarr the Barbarian, The ABC Weekend Special, Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper, Richie Rich, The Wuzzles, and Dungeons & Dragons. He is most noted in animation for his work on Garfield and Friends, a seven-season series for which Evanier wrote or co-wrote nearly every episode and acted as voice recording director. Since 2008, Evanier has been the co-writer and voice director of The Garfield Show, which went on to win a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for June Foray.
He has produced a number of comic books, including Blackhawk, Crossfire and Hollywood Superstars (with Dan Spiegle),Groo the Wanderer (with Sergio Aragonés), and The DNAgents (with Will Meugniot). For the Spiegle comics, Evanier contributed lengthy essays on the entertainment industry. In 1985, he launched the DC Challenge limited series with artist Gene Colan. He wrote the New Gods series of 1989-1991. Evanier collaborated with Joe Staton on the Superman & Bugs Bunny mini-series in 2000.
For many years, Evanier wrote a regular column, "Point of View", for Comics Buyer's Guide.
Evanier's illustrated Jack Kirby biography, Kirby: King of Comics, was published in February 2008 by Abrams Books. It won the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Comics-Related Book. Evanier collaborated with Aragonés and Thomas Yeates on the Groo vs. Conan crossover for Dark Horse Comics in 2014.
In 1970, Evanier attended the Golden State Comic Con in San Diego, the first annual gathering of what came to be known as Comic-Con International. Evanier is one of a small group of people (estimated at six or less) who have attended every year. In 1973, he first hosted a panel at the yearly event and the volume soon escalated to the point where he was hosting as many as fourteen over a four-day convention. They usually include Quick Draw!, which pits fast cartoonists against one another to respond with drawings to challenges Evanier throws at them; the Annual Jack Kirby Tribute Panel, Cover Story (artists discussing the skills involved in creating covers for comic books), and several panels about the art of providing voices for animated cartoons. For years, he hosted the annual Golden Age Panel featuring artists and writers who'd worked in comic books in the 1940s but it ended after 2010 due to a lack of available panelists and was replaced by That 70's Panel, celebrating comic book creators from that era. Evanier also serves as Administrator of the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. Several of the panels he hosts at Comic-Con also appear at the annual WonderCon in Anaheim, California.
On May 26, 2006, Evanier underwent gastric bypass surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Having peaked at around 344 pounds (156 kg) by then, he subsequently lost nearly 99 pounds (45 kg) by June 2007.
From 1998 until 2017, Evanier was in a relationship with Carolyn Kelly, daughter of the famed cartoonist Walt Kelly, creator of the award-winning comic strip, Pogo. Together, they arranged with Fantagraphics Books to reprint for the first time, the entirety of Pogo's run as a newspaper strip, fully restored and issued in a series of 12 hardcover volumes. Volume 1 was published in 2011, co-edited by Kim Thompson and Carolyn, with Carolyn painting the covers and designing the books. Evanier functioned as consultant. Subsequent volumes followed, some of them delayed for long periods by the illness and eventual death from cancer of Thompson, and then by the same medical problems that befell Carolyn. Before she passed on April 9, 2017, Evanier had promised her he would assume her position on the books and see the series through to its conclusion. Volume 4, issued soon after, included a foreword by author Neil Gaiman about Evanier and Ms. Kelly, and subsequent volumes have followed.
'Evanier' is not French; it was probably made up by some Immigration Officer at Ellis Island one day who said, 'Hey, here come some more Jews! Let's give them real stupid last names!
Mark Evanier...wrote [to Marvel Comics] suggesting that the M.M.M.S have officers: anyone who bought a Marvel comic was entitled to the rank of RFO (Real Frantic One) and a published letter elevated him or her to QNS (Quite 'Nuff Sayer) status.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
I don't think I've ever gotten through a major comic convention without someone coming up to me and bestowing thanks for my role in getting Jack Kirby to dump Colletta as his inker around 1971. It could easily be my greatest contribution to the world of comics.
The show was created, produced and largely written by Bill Steinkellner, Cheri Steinkellner and Phoef Sutton. I merely wrote one episode and, in an unofficial capacity, provided some "technical advice" about comic books and the comic book business.
A mad experiment, DC Challenge was a fun adventure, starring many DC icons. Its debut issue was penned by Mark Evanier and drawn by Gene Colan.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
In the series, Aragonés draws Groo, and Tom Yeates draws Conan.
My highest-ever weight was around 365...The lowest I've hit on my scale has been 245, just one maddening pound shy of an even hundred since the operation.