TO: Oscar Kharm, A.J. Soltare
FR: Charles Meade
DA: July 20, 2008
RE: Men of Letters & Action TOC
Misters Kharm and Soltare,
Yes, I know you’ve both insisted many times that I refer to you as Oscar and A.J., but habits and propriety die hard among those of us in the editorial trenches.
That said, I’m sending along the tentative table of contents for Men of Letters & Action for your perusal and tacit approval. We can discuss any particulars about the structure when I get to Cleveland this week or when Mr. Kharm can visit our Chicago offices.
In short, we’ve opted for a chronological structure. We break the book into four parts of two decades each, allowing us to see the initial letters build toward one of the best writer friendships on record. While this makes some topics and details more complex and harder to track/follow for readers, it’s more organic and lifelike in that we simply sort the letters by date and let the conversations speak for themselves.
While Mr. Montgomery’s writing begins almost ten years before Soltare’s, this gets ignored other than in conversations discussing such works after the fact. I’ve chosen only to list his complete bibliography as an appendix (the same with Mr. Soltare’s output as well). This allows the book to be more about their friendship and “things that mattered to writers of their times” rather than a catalogued biography of the writers and their works.
I’m still working to gain Conrad’s approval to make it easier for new readers to follow the threads of conversation among the letters. This means more sidebars to underscore the significance of some comments or simply to remind folks of the contemporary history in your letters (as an off-hand reference to “the on-going problems in [X]” needs more than a letter’s date for clarity). His argument against such a move is simple—it adds cost in my time to make said clarifications, work for graphics in layout and execution before printing, and it adds another check/step during galleys. I’ll have another discussion with him before I leave for Cleveland and let you know the status of the book and its prospective layout at that time. I’m holding out hope that sidebars will win over footnotes, but as long as people can understand what’s being discussed, we all win.
Here’s the very basic TOC, and I can clarify exactly what’s in each chapter when I meet you. In short, it’s a basic assumption that each chapter will roughly span 6-8 years to allow us twenty years per part and within three chapters. However, the correspondence was greatest between 1936 and 1954, so Parts I and II have more chapters and pages than the remainder of the book.
Prologue/Intro by Publisher Oscar Kharm, as one of the few Bulwark professionals who has had connections and contact with both men.
Part I: The 1930’s and 1940’s
Chapter 1: The Start of a Beautiful Friendship (1931-1935)
Re: introductions, first collaborations, creation of Solomon Lazarus
Chapter 2: Fighting through the Great Depression (1936-1941)
Re: the Redressor, the Gaslight, Lexicon Jones, Ace Barrigan, Brass Bradley, Fairgeth & other Citiestoried locales/characters, etc.
Chapter 3: The War Years (1942-1945)
Re: Real world issues, continuing work outside (and inside?) the war, etc.
Chapter 4: Help Across the Waves (1946-1949)
Re: post-war England & America, changes in tone & style, etc.
Part II: The 1950’s and 1960’s
Chapter 5: Shine Up the Old (1950-1955)
Re: slow work years, bits about radio, movies, character revivals, etc.
Chapter 6: Feeling Outside of the Process (1956-1963)
Re: editorial changes to older materials, reprints, & paperback collections
Chapter 7: Spanning the Generation Gaps (1964-1969)
Re: Bulwark’s Silver Age comics work, Beatle mania, “Sixties”
Part III: The 1970’s and 1980’s
Chapter 8: Stories in Motion (1970-1979)
Re: the cartoons & comics off your old works and new
Chapter 9: A Third Renaissance (1980-1989)
Re: Bulwark’s Bronze Age comics work & spin-off licenses
Part IV: The 1990’s to Today
Chapter 10: Sunset Years (1990-1996)
Re: reception of old work, respect of peers, awards & new reprints, etc.
Chapter 11: AJ Alone (1997-2006)
Re: letters to others about Monty and/or his family to AJ, modern work on major revamp/relaunch of many properties
Chapter 12: Epilogue
Re: AJ’s obits for John Farnsworth, Ed Page, and Blake Montgomery
Part V: Appendices
Bibliography for Blake Hart Montgomery (1924-1996)
Bibliography for Alexander John Soltare (1931-2008)
Characters Created or Co-Created by Montgomery or Soltare
Again, thank you both for all your time, input, and aid in this project. I look forward to seeing you Thursday night, AJ, and perhaps you can solve that mystery regarding those odd letters for me.
Charles “Chuck” Meade
PS: Just for full sharing of information, here’s my original thematic plan/TOC that fell by the wayside five months back.
I originally liked this plan better as it encapsulated discussions and topics that spanned decades of your correspondence. It also let browsers find snippets of info where they expected them. The major problem with this organization was time consumption in terms of sorting and making the anecdotal editorial anecdotes out of the bodies of the letters. It also left behind the obvious friendships built by said letters and merely used your letters as sources from which to build a Bulwark publishing history. Still, thought you’d find it of interest in some way.
Opening chapter/intro that sets the stage with your initial letters, introductions, and getting to know each other as writers and people
Dime Dreadfuls and the British Pulps?
Chapter on The Redressor, the Gaslight, and other British exclusive characters
Ace, Brass, Cops, & Detectives
Chapter on Brass Bradley, Ace Barrigan, & other noir/detective pulps
Cities Made of Stories
Chapter on all “Citiestoried” locales (Fairgeth, New Jericho, Norbridge, Fort Corax, Myrford, Vereule, the twin cities of Svetlantzek, & Portanika) and their work therein
Kharndam Rising / Kharndam Come
Two chapters on the fantasy world for which you two are famous (one on the building of the world & pulps end; one on the comics and the reprints in the 1960’s and today)
A Gold Mine in Four-Colors
Chapter on the other Golden & Silver Age comics works by both men
Sundry Wonders and One-Offs
Chapter on random works, stories not linked into any series (at least at first), etc.
Under Cover: The Bulwark House Names
Chapter on the discussions on the corporate house names, your work therein, your thoughts (beyond what’s noted in the letters for a sidebar, perhaps?), etc.
Men Illuminated (A.J. & Monty & the Movies)
Short chapter on the licensed use of many characters, your involvement (or lack thereof) in the movie or television versions, etc.
By the By
Chapter for random and sundry letters and discussions that don’t apply within the above structure but retain some benefit for the readers in terms of learning more of what makes their favorite writers tick
Chapter for discussions on the passing of contemporaries, friends, and others; also includes AJ’s published obits for John Farnsworth, Ed Page, and Blake Montgomery
Complete bibliographies for each author, sorted chronologically; also has lists for each character created or co-created by said authors and their appearances (and how many appearances of said characters were not done by the two authors in this book)