HAPPY BIRTHDAY AL MILGROM (and his top 10 creations)

Al Milgrom was born on March 6, 1950. Marvel Age noted it on one of their back-page calendars. I loved that feature.

Milgrom was a better editor than an artist, and a better artist than a writer. But he did all three and managed to create some very solid stories (and a ton of mediocre ones). But his true claim to fame was this panel…

…Where he applauds the departure of EiC Bob Harras from Marvel. Milgrom got fired for it, but it made him a hero to those of us who believed Harras was responsible for the late ’90s Marvel books that were…Less than good.

Here’s the top 10 characters he created…

10. (tie) Spot and Aron the Watcher. Al was just the artist for the renegade Watcher, and the design isn’t particularly imaginative–but the character was very cool. In contrast, Spot–a dude who who could throw spots and teleport through them, was much more interesting but his design was basically just a dalmation.

9. Killer Frost. DC’s answer to Iceman, and a Firestorm villain.

8. Deb Whitman. During his run as writer on Peter Parker The Spectacular Spider-Man, Al introduced Deb: A supporting character who was driven crazy by her suspicions that Peter Parker, who she had a mad crush on, was actually Spider-Man.

7. U-Foes. He designed the costumes for the anti-Fantastic Four villains.

6. M.O.D.A.M. The female M.O.D.O.K. She’s hilarious. Co-created with writer Steve Englehart.

5. The Dire Wraiths. With Bill Mantlo, Milgrom turned a toy comic into a really good series featuring these non-toy-related villains. This is Milgrom’s best design work. They really look alien and they’re creepy AF.

4. Boom-Boom (Tabitha Smith). Boom-Boom was the best thing to come out of a terrible series, the second Secret Wars. And she wasn’t great in that series. No. She became great when Warren Ellis got his hands on her in Nextwave, one of the best comics of all time.

3. Firestorm (DC). Milgrom worked for the Distinguished Competition for a bit, and while there he and Gerry Conway created the flame-headed character. Those early Firestorm books were really good–a high-water mark for Milgrom.

2. Shang Chi. Yeah, he was the inker only–he often embellished the work of the great Jim Starlin–but he gets creator credit. And Shang is a movie star now.

  1. Himself! Al Milgrom’s Editori-Al feature from Marvel Fanfare was consistently fun and also revealed quite a bit about how the industry worked.

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