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#504500 - 12/23/02 12:20 PM Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
D.Rednour Offline
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Registered: 02/09/02
Posts: 43
Y'know, the writer of Jonah Hex.... did the outcome of the slander case move him to leave comics as a career, or were there other factors at work?

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#504501 - 12/23/02 12:25 PM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
The OC Offline
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Registered: 03/27/02
Posts: 1985
Quote:
Originally posted by D.Rednour:
Y'know, the writer of Jonah Hex.... did the outcome of the slander case move him to leave comics as a career, or were there other factors at work?


Libel, not slander.

I believe he wrote some for Marvel after losing the case, and I know that he wrote for 2000 AD and DC (HAYWIRE).
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#504502 - 12/23/02 03:38 PM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
TIP Offline
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Registered: 06/19/01
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Was he not also the writer of CHASING HAIRY?

T

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#504503 - 12/23/02 03:52 PM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
Paul Rainey Offline
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Registered: 11/19/99
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The 2000 AD stuff he did was about ten or so years ago and was pretty weak by all accounts. It was the beginning of the end for 2000 AD as far as I'm concerned - Offering this clearly inferior writer work over people like Mark Millar and Grant Morrisson.

What was this libal case all about then?
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#504504 - 12/23/02 04:55 PM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
The OC Offline
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Registered: 03/27/02
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He wrote CHASING HARRY well before the libel suit came to court and while still writing for DC and Marvel.

Briefly, Gary Groth interviewed Harlan Ellison for TCJ, and in the course of the interview, both made comments that Fleischer viewed as libelous, and he sued over them. He lost.
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#504505 - 12/23/02 05:38 PM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
WGeorge Offline
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Registered: 09/27/02
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Fleischer's career in comics was due almost completely to Joe Orlando. Orlando was saying he could train anyone to write comics. Fleischer was a kid who had a deal to write an encyclopaedia on comic book character histories and he had gained access to the DC library. Orlando found him and trained him and declared him the greatest writer in all of comics and gave him many many comics to write. No one else seems to have cared much for his writing. Julie Schwartz let him write an issue of Batman and then found out that the plot was out of an old issue so he never used him again.

I don't know the circumstances but he lost favor with Orlando and stopped getting six comics a month to write. He got some work from Marvel but no one there liked him. He was pretty much out of comics when Ellison made some remarks in TCJ that Fleischer didn't like. He felt that he wasn't getting work because people in the biz thot he was insane and that Ellison had contributed to that. Jim Shooter and other people who hated TCJ or Ellison or both encouraged Fleischer to sue and he found a lawyer who thot there were big $$$ to be made. They sued and lost mostly because Shooter took the stand on his behalf and the jury hated Shooter. Shooter claimed he was the most powerful man in comics but could not explain why his company was not giving Fleischer work. After that Fleischer disappeared from comics but he wasn't getting much work before that.

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#504506 - 12/23/02 06:23 PM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
Robert Morales Offline
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Registered: 06/30/02
Posts: 38
Loc: New York City
Quote:
Originally posted by WGeorge:
He was pretty much out of comics when Ellison made some remarks in TCJ that Fleischer didn't like. He felt that he wasn't getting work because people in the biz thot he was insane and that Ellison had contributed to that. Jim Shooter and other people who hated TCJ or Ellison or both encouraged Fleischer to sue and he found a lawyer who thot there were big $$$ to be made. They sued and lost mostly because Shooter took the stand on his behalf and the jury hated Shooter. Shooter claimed he was the most powerful man in comics but could not explain why his company was not giving Fleischer work. After that Fleischer disappeared from comics but he wasn't getting much work before that.


Harlan discusses the Fleisher matter in the latest issue of Comic Book Artist, by the way--#23, with the Mike Mignola/Hellboy cover.

What's crucial to note is that the comments to which Fleisher objected were meant as praise by Harlan, who loved his run on the Spectre. Oddly enough, I actually sat in on most of the trial, as moral support for Harlan. It took four solid weeks, and while Shooter is popularly held to be responsible for Fleisher's loss, the reality is Gary Groth and Harlan made a persuasive defense while on the stand, and Fleisher came off terribly--while not wholly unsympathic--and was unconvincing in his claim of damages.
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#504507 - 12/23/02 06:41 PM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
gene phillips Offline
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Registered: 09/30/99
Posts: 5910
Loc: Houston, TX
Quote:
Originally posted by King of the Seven Seas:
He wrote CHASING HARRY well before the libel suit came to court and while still writing for DC and Marvel.

Briefly, Gary Groth interviewed Harlan Ellison for TCJ, and in the course of the interview, both made comments that Fleischer viewed as libelous, and he sued over them. He lost.


Some fans have noted that CHASING HARRY also received a very scathing review in the JOURNAL by Dwight Decker-- I believe just a few months prior to the remarks by Ellison. And Fleischer had just been interviewed in the JOURNAL not long before, and had placed an ad for CHASING HARRY in the JOURNAL, probably the same issue as the interview.

How much all these circumstances may have also affected Fleischer's feelings toward the JOURNAL is open to conjecture.

It's my recollection that Fleischer remained consistently employed by both Marvel and DC while the suit was ongoing, but that his assignments started to dry up once the suit was over, aside from occasional forays like HAYWIRE. I can't recall what he was doing for DC, unless it was Jonah Hex, but it seemed like he wrote eleventy-million Ghost Riders, though he left the book before its cancellation.

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#504508 - 12/24/02 12:47 AM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
The OC Offline
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Registered: 03/27/02
Posts: 1985
Fleischer cited the Decker review of CHASING HAIRY as evidence of a TCJ conspiracy against him, which was nuts.

Fleischer wrote most installments of the Jonah Hex feature -- after creator John Albano got edged out in a rights dispute and after a single issue by Arnold Drake -- and (I believe) all issues of its short-lived successor, HEX. In addition to GHOST RIDER, he wrote SPIDER-WOMAN for Marvel, and reams of CONAN material, plus maybe 30 percent of Atlas/Seaboard's total output, so he must have been making someone happy.

I seem to recall that his output dropped dramatically after the trial, and there were rumors at the time that principals at both DC and Marvel hated Gary Groth so much that they employed Fleischer largely to keep his lawsuit alive. I never really believed that, or, rather, I never believed the policy was all that widespread.

HAYWIRE and some stuff for Warren may have been his last substantial U.S. output.

I always thought he was a pretty good comics writer. His plots were often derivative but he had a style that was clear and naturalistic (by comics standards), and he wasn't afraid to put his own views into comics, regardless of how unsavory much of his readership found those views.
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Posted by Otto Chelman

"You have [my] contempt." -- Alan Light to disappointed TBG subscriber.

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#504509 - 12/24/02 02:38 AM Re: Whatever happened to Michael Fleischer?
Matthewwave Offline
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Registered: 06/04/00
Posts: 4993
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Ah, good ol' Michael "Bugfuck" Fleischer.

He did write some decent stuff. His Spectre, in Adventure Comics, was sick and memorable in particular.

That issue of TCJ devoted to the trial transcripts remains a favorite.

Matthew

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