Hey, you remember when AOL opened the floodgates to the Internet, and the rec.arts.comics hierarchy got flooded with newbie questions, ad nauseum? Well, hold on to your Suicide Squid shirts, kiddies, because Bob Rozakis was answering questions from fans back when George Lucas was best known for 'American Graffiti'.
Good questions, silly questions, deep philosophical questions, even price guide questions, Bob took 'em all. In fact, I have deep suspicions that famed letterhack 'The Mad Maple' wrote some of his earliest letters to the 'Answer Man' column.
Let's look at some prime examples:
Profound questions, indeed, and no, I didn't make up that last one.
- "How does the Human Bomb change to his civilian identity without blowing things up?"
- "How much is O.M.A.C. #1 worth?
- "Why did Mike Grell stop drawing the Legion of Super-Heroes?
- "Did you know that BOB spelled backwards is BOB?"
Quick plug - in a team-up that puts just about any issue of Marvel Two-in-One to shame, Bob collaborated with artist Stephen DeStephano to create 'Mazing Man, one of the best (and most offbeat) new titles of the 1980s. This is one of thoses rare titles that's ideal to give to people in order to show them that the medium has value above and beyond the usual hero-bashes-villain fare we've seen so much of. These are stories about people, about feelings, about life. The original series ran for twelve issues, plus a couple of specials. If you can find a bunch of issues, they'd make a swell, utterly original holiday gift package.
In his secret civilian identity, Bob worked for many years as DC's Production Manager, ensuring that comics fans the world over got their fixes on time and on nice, shiny paper. According to the rumor mill, Bob has recently left DC, and I think I speak for many people in wishing him well wherever his path takes him.
Update: November 19, 2002
Bob emailed me today to bring me up to date on his activities since leaving DC just over four years ago.
Sayeth the Answer Man, "I currently spend my days as an accountant for a construction company and I teach a creative writing course for the Johns Hopkins University Center For Talented Youth summer program. My comics work in the past few years has been almost all 'special projects' for the US Postal Service, Con Edison, the San Francisco Giants, and OnStar. That and my weekly online column and daily trivia quiz."
And this? This is still one of my favourite comics pages, ever.