Interview with Michael Golden Part 2


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ISO: So after leaving the book by issue 12, you remained on doing covers for it for about a year or so later. Was there a reason why?

MG: Hmmm…that's a good question. I…don't know! (laughs) Probably just because cover work was easier to do than anything else, and Allen (Milgrom, Editor-in-chief) asked me. That's the only reason I can imagine. I don't think that it was because I chose to stay attached to the project or anything. I was asked to do the covers (among many others for Marvel) and I'd say fine.

ISO: Speaking of covers…Dave Cockrum did the first issue's cover, did you ever draw one that was rejected or not used for any reason?

MG: No…I was never asked.

ISO: Marvel did at one point reprint the series and claimed they were showing off for the first time your "un-used" cover art for issue #1…

MG: I do remember you showing me that piece (at the Baltimore comic con) but no, that's not true. It was not an unpublished cover, I forget what that was done for it was probably just an in-house promo piece.

ISO: The artwork as it stands today has been altered from that original printing in the reprinted series, it has an additional Baron Karza illustration over top of it, and it's colored overall differently than that printed version, kind of a convention drawing.

MG: It was colored in? I would have never done that, it would have just been a pen and ink drawing.

ISO: So not the original cover…more Marvel politics…?


so called "un-published" cover, image courtesy of Chris Salazar



MG: Um...there were always politics associated with projects back then. From day one on "Mircronauts" for example, it was like, I took the project and they call me up 2 weeks later and tell me I'm 3 months behind schedule after they promised they wouldn't put it on the schedule until we had 3 books in the drawer. That was indicative of the entire project. The entire run of the Micronauts was nothing more than making up the schedule, and I don't like to work that way. It compromises the project.

ISO: So you found that there was a drastic difference working for Marvel and DC at the time?

MG: Oh absolutely. The schedule problem was a major one right there! (laughs) DC has a system, always had a system. There was no "making it up". Now when I say that I also have to qualify it by saying its sort of like the "good news/bad news" joke. There was no leeway working for DC; you either accommodated the system or you were out. Whereas at Marvel it always seemed to be chaos.

ISO: Was it done like that at Marvel to try and get as many books onto the shelves as possible?

MG: No, I believe it was just the way Stan Lee worked with his artists, it just became the Marvel standard operating procedure. Without the understanding that the reason that it worked for Stan and his artists is because Stan and his artists all knew how to do their jobs.

ISO: Did you enjoy working with Bill?

MG: Well…Bill probably doesn't have any more foibles than I did, you know. I've been told in no uncertain terms a few times that I'm a very difficult individual to work with…(laughs)



ISO: What do you think you would have done differently with the series had you been given more time? It seems like your art was very detail oriented, even with the short amount of time you had…what would you have done differently?

MG: I don't know, I've never thought about it. It was never really an issue. It was just all about getting it done.

ISO: I can understand that when you do something you love for a living you have to enjoy it, and once it becomes a hassle it then becomes a "job". You draw for a living and it must have just sucked all the fun out of it when you worked on Micronauts.

MG: Well, I wouldn't be that drastic about it, and hopefully I didn't come across that way, but it was a job. It's what I did for a living, its what I did from 9-5, I don't think of it in terms of being fun or not fun or being a chore or tedious; it's what I do. When you're in that situation you really kinda have to just put yourself in that mindset. My "dissatisfaction", for lack of a better word attached to that project, is not the project itself but with all the nonsense surrounding it, by people or circumstances, agendas- had nothing to do with the actual project. And I make that distinction.

ISO: Well, to switch gears, lets talk about Bucky O'Hare. Another toy related thing. You and Larry Hama worked on that before Micronauts, correct?

MG: Yes, a little before Micronauts but the actual working on the graphic novel was after. Bucky ended up getting pushed back due to contract issues and production issues as far as Continuity (Neal Adams comic company) was concerned, and it just simply got delayed because all those things had yet to be worked out.

ISO: You designed the characters and toys…?

MG: I designed the whole thing, yeah. Larry originally created Bucky O'Hare and had already made a presentation to DC when he was an editor there, and since he was also my editor he asked me if I wanted to be the artist on that. That's how we started interacting and doing work, doing designs and stuff like that before I went over to Marvel. DC passed on it because they had already pigeonholed the whole concept as a kid's book. They were thinking in terms of Archie comics, Little LuLu, Peanuts kind of artwork. I'm sure it never occurred to them to address it on any other level. When I came in I started drawing it strictly from the standpoint of telling the story. It was a science fiction fantasy adventure that just so happened to have a talking rabbit.

ISO: I can see a lot of similarities in the Bucky designs that I see in Micronauts designs. Was that just a strange coincidence that happened or was it intentional due to your style?

MG: There were instances where I did in fact apply what I had learned working with the Micronauts to Bucky O'Hare, simply because I got to sit down and actually have a heavy three dimensional object in front of me to draw. To see how it stands, how it gets put together, what the production methods are. Injection molding was the big thing back then, it had just started up and people were figuring out how to use it…

ISO: Did you have any involvement in the cartoon series as well?

MG: No…no input whatsoever. I don't think Larry did either. It was part of some kind of package deal if I remember correctly that SunBow would pick up all the animation and do whatever it was that they did, and then Hasbro had the right to what they did and the original license that came out of Continuity.

ISO: How did you and Larry work together? What would he give you and how would you extrapolated the characters from what he gave you?

MG: Larry had his own designs that he had done, all of which pretty much got scrapped! (laughs) I always got the impression that he was pretty much unhappy with what he had done, and he really felt that it needed a whole new look and spin and everything else and that's why he got me onboard. He handed me a folder full of his stuff and in certain instances it was a jumping off place. Like say with Jenny, the Witch Cat…and I use that one because I seem to remember his original sketch being somewhat similar to what we ultimately went with, but Bucky was pretty much from scratch…and Blinky the little robot was close to Larry's original sketch also, except that I made him much more rounder and softer and cuter…



ISO: I noticed a lot of the Micronauts "nipples" making and appearance in Bucky too…

MG: Nipples…?

ISO: Like the Baron Karza "nipples", the Acroyear elbow and chest "nipples"…

MG: Oh, ok…(laughs) you mean the "roundels"…

ISO: (laughs) Gotcha! So that's the correct industry term then…

MG: Well, I dunno if that's it…"nodules", whatever…I guess "nipples" is as good as anything. (laughs) I've never heard them called "nipples" before but that's ok…(laughs)

ISO: We don't even want to get into the whole Microntron phallic drill attachment…


MG: Yeah…anyway, I remember Larry's rabbit looking more like Bugs Bunny, Dead-Eye Duck looked more like Daffy, who originally didn't have the four arms…

ISO: I really felt that you pulled off the whole thing about making the toy look legitimate and real in the artwork, made it come to life, with both Bucky and Micronauts.


MG: Well that was a design prerequisite, and that's why Larry asked me to come on board, because we were both model makers. So that we already came into this with a 3-D mindset of how to construct these things, to translate them to plastic injection molding…

ISO: Were you happy with the way the toys eventually came out?


MG: Some of them were really cool…but ah, the ones I didn't design really sucked! And I'm not saying that from any egotistical standpoint, everybody said that. You can tell which ones I did not design. The Toad Commander, the squat little whatever it was didn't even look like the Toad Commander…but then the ones I did design like Bucky, Toad Commandoes…those came out fine.

ISO: Was Bucky just planned as the graphic novel, the six or so issues that came out as a monthly…were there any plans for him beyond that?

MG: I think Larry had other plans, but I really can't speak to those because I don't know what they were. Then of course, Neal (Adams) had his plans…which had nothing to with Larry's I'd imagine…(laughs)

RW: Bucky has been optioned for a movie now. An animated movie via Continuity.

MG: …oh, has it?

ISO: Micronauts was also optioned for a movie by Gail Anne Hurd a few years back actually, if anyone approaches you about being involved in either of those would you jump at it?

MG: Well…I wouldn't say "jump", but I would certainly say show me the money! (laughs) I'd waddle in that direction, sure…!


ISO: So now to jump into the future a bit from where we are now, in 2002 Devil's Due publishing produced their own new version of Micronauts as a bi-monthly series. There were rumors that you were supposed to do some covers…can you elaborate on that at all?

MG: Well, I was supposed to do the first cover, that's all I agreed to. And that fell apart only because A.G.E. was jerking everything around. They had their agenda and they wanted that agenda addressed on that first cover. And the straight Micronauts comic book cover Devil's Due was publishing had really nothing to do with A.G.E.'s agenda…so there was a lot of back and forth that ultimately resulted in me having to say "look guys, we've been fooling around with this thing for six months now, sorry but I cant work on this anymore I have other jobs to do". As far as Devil's Due was concerned, they had no interest in the license, as far as I could tell. I think A.G.E.'s whole agenda was remove all these extraneous editorial characters from the artwork and just deal with just the properties they owned the rights to.

ISO: Sounds like a similar story I heard about a Micronauts re-launch at Marvel back in 1998 that was shut down due to licensing issues as well…

MG: That was with Cary Nord? I was senior A.D. up at Marvel at that time…they did try to pull me in on all of that, as if I was going to be able to bend Marvel to accommodate A.G.E.'s will, and I very quickly backed away from it and told them I have nothing to do with all this. I wasn't the editor, I wasn't involved in that project in any way, shape or form…but they kept trying to drag me in, A.G.E. would "ask" me >cough, cough, cough< to intercede on their behalf, and I'm sitting here going "um, I work for Marvel". I don't recall ever seeing of that project, I just remember there was a lot of nonsense surrounding it.

ISO: There were six full issues plotted and some scripted, three full issues penciled…(Editor's note: stay tuned to ISO for a full scoop on this story in the very near future!)


MG: Well you know, A.G.E. does have their agenda. They own the rights to the original MEGO properties, and they are a marketing company. They exist for no other reason than to market licenses. They were a major player in Bucky O'Hare too, and perhaps that might explain a lot of things that occurred with Bucky as well. But that is their job…I always had the impression that they pursued their agenda to the detriment of the product they were trying to produce sometimes.

ISO: I think it affected the DD series also…did you produce a finished piece of artwork for the cover in the end?

MG: No…there were only a couple of sketches generated, I think I still may have one of them…but after I left I don't think they really pressed it that much because I know that Devil's Due was anxious to get that project out, they had already solicited it, etc…ultimately, all the time got ate up and I got to the point where it was backing me up on things that I had to get done, and it didn't seem that any of those issues could be resolved in the short term. I know that there was probably a lot of bad feelings about me just walking away from it, but I also hope that they understood that I really didn't have a choice.


image courtesy of Mike Blanchard

click to enlarge

ISO: All things considered, I'm sure no one is cursing you for that, but oddly enough your name seems to always end up getting attached to that property one way or another…did you ever see what DD produced and have any comments on it?

MG: I saw the scripts for the first couple of issues so that I could work up/create a cover. I did read that and saw what they were doing, and tried to address that on the art, and A.G.E. just had no interest in that. They only wanted to address their licensed properties.

ISO: I think the fans believe the run you and Bill worked on as the quintessential Micronauts, and wont accept any kind of substitute.

ISO: What do you think about those 12 issues that made them so special to people?

MG:…that they were the first 12 issues. (laughs)

ISO: Well, the obvious answer is always the obvious answer!

click to enlarge

image courtesy of Richard Cirillo

MG: You know, you can ask: what made the first 12 issues of Spider-Man so special…? That they were the first. Again, let me qualify my statement by saying I'm not invalidating that or denigrating the importance of that to people. That fact that they enjoyed those first 12 issues obviously says, even if it doesn't say anything about the project itself, it is gratifying to know that people did in fact enjoy it to where it has outlived its original context and has become something special.

RW: What I heard that made those 12 issues so special is it was the first time ever that a "toy" book was ever taken seriously. It was the first time it was approached with good art and good stories that actually made sense. That's was resonated with people.

ISO: I truly think fans think your art on the book was by far the best, and people who took over after you just didn't quite capture the look you began. Latter artist just kinda copied your designs poorly, exaggerated certain things you drew the completely wrong way…the beloved characters began to look all wrong. A cheap imitation, not to take anything away from their talent back then mind you, but you set the bar no one else could reach.

MG: Well, that always is a problem. Anyone really needs to draw upon the source material, not regurgitate something someone else has already done. But on Micronauts, that does kinda reflect the whole Marvel agenda. Not only pushing away from the sci-fi fantasy more toward the superhero bombastic, but they were also addressing it on stylistic terms and not on actual drawing terms.

ISO: So do you feel that science fiction stories are your favorite to work on?

MG: Nope…I just like telling stories. It doesn't matter what it is…I'll do my best at any given point no matter what the character is.


Many thanks goes out to Michael Golden and Renee Witterstaetter for taking the time out for this exclusive interview with ISO 11/09/06
For more information on Michael Golden, his appearances and projects, e-mail Renee at: and ask to be put on the Michael Golden Mailing List.


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