Revisiting My Letter To Blaze

If one were to find a copy of Marvel’s comic Blaze volume one, number five, with the cover date of December, 1994 they could turn to the letters page and find a trace of PDR.

This was a reply to the first issue of the book. I would’ve been possibly twelve but more likely thirteen when I read that first issue (it was released in June, but what are the odds I got to it before July 18th, which is my birthday?) and for a reason I will bring up later, I was moved to write in.

It’s weird that I decided to address the letter to Icebox Bob, the villain of that first issue. I also claimed this villain was the greatest thing ever, and maybe there was some honesty in the my enthusiasm for the character. I like horror villains and did back then too. But if it is true enthusiasm, it certainly isn’t enthusiasm that carried me into continuing the book. I did not read another issue of the book until I found issue five in a back issue bin around the year 2000 and discovered that my letter had been printed. As far as I can remember Icebox Bob was a pretty generic horror villain, some kind of ghost serial killer or something, probably one who laughed and made quips like the Joker. That was the style at the time. I have no idea what ever happened to the character, but I remain somewhat fond of him just because of this letter.

I also feel the need to question my claim here that I had “always been a fan of Johnny Blaze.” I didn’t get into superhero comics until I was ten. While I fully admit that three years at that age mean a helluva lot more than they do at my current age, those three years were certainly not filled with me being a huge fan of Johnny Blaze. I’d probably read a few of his appearances in the then-current Ghost Rider book, and I could believe I’d seen some old guest appearances in Marvel Team-Up or something, but I’d expect most of what I knew about Johnny Blaze I got from trading cards and reading the Marvel Handbook. I probably liked Blaze fine, but he wasn’t my second favourite character (I have no memory of who the first would have been at that time. Darkhawk maybe if the timeline works out?).

But why was I overselling my enthusiasm for the book and characters? Because of what is not included in the letter as printed. In the first issue of Blaze, the only one I bothered to read, they mentioned that they wanted suggestions for the title of the letters page. I wanted to get that, to make a suggestion that would be emblazoned on the book that, I assumed, would go on forever. The fact that they didn’t even include my suggestion shows how good it was. If I remember correctly, which I admit isn’t necessarily the case, my suggestion was “Blazing Pens”. The winning suggestion that got to be the name of the letters page was “Writing Shotgun”. I admitted when I was twenty and I admit now, that is much better than my idea.

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