Monday, August 28, 2023

Comics: Ruth Roche, Writer and Editor

Ruth Anita Roche was born on February 18, 1917, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The birth date is from the Social Security Death Index. Her marriage license application had the birth year 1918 and middle name. The Massachusetts Birth Index, at, had the birth year 1917 and her name as “Ruth Annita Roach”. 

Roche’s parents were John Horace Roche and Annie Sakeriat who married on October 26, 1907 in Holyoke. On June 5, 1917, he signed his World War I draft card. The address was 656 Bridge in Holyoke.

The 1920 United States Census said Roche was the youngest of three siblings. Her brothers were Walter and George. The Roches were Holyoke residents at 194 Brown Avenue. Her father was a repairman in the gas and electric department of the city. 

The Massachusetts Death Index recorded, in 1925, the death of Roche’s mother.

In the 1930 census, Roche, her father, sister, Anna, maternal grandmother, Bridget, and aunt, Ethel, lived in Holyoke at 28 Elmwood Avenue. 

According to the Massachusetts Marriage Index, Roche and Henry Joseph Gahan married in 1938 at Springfield, Massachusetts. Their son, John Michael Gahan, was born the same year. The marriage ended in divorce. 

The 1939 and 1940 Holyoke city directories listed the couple at 31 Franklin. 

The 1940 census did not include Roche’s husband in the household. Roche lived at the same address with her son, John, father and a servant. 

The 1941 Holyoke city directory listed Roche and her father at 7 Franklin. They were absent in the 1942 directory. 

Around 1941, Roche moved to New York City where she found work at Samuel Maxwell “Jerry” Iger’s studio. The 1943 (below), 1944 and 1945 Manhattan telephone directories listed Roche at 315 East 46th Street.  

In 1944, Iger formed a publishing company called Action Play Books. The 1944 and 1945 titles include

Ruth A. Roche
Illustrated by David B. Icove

Indian Legends
Ruth A. Roche
Illustrated by David B. Icove

Pee Wee and the Sneezing Elephant
Ruth A. Roche
Illustrated by David B. Icove

Ruth A. Roche
Illustrated by David B. Icove

Ruth A. Roche
Illustrated by David B. Icove

Titles produced by other publishers include

Ruth A. Roche
Illustrated by Dic Loscalzo
Domesday Press, 1945

Ruth A. Roche
Tiny Tales Publishers, 1946

Puss in Boots
Ruth A. Roche
Illustrated by Alex Blum
Tiny Tales Publishers, 1946

It’s possible Roche had help from her sister, Ann, who worked briefly in comics. 

Roche’s address in the 1946 telephone directory was 246 East 46th Street. 

On July 19, 1948, Roche and Francis Charles Manning obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 22536. They married on July 22. Iger was one of the witnesses. 

The surname of Roche’s first husband, Gahan, was 
mistakenly changed to Graham in the typescript. 

In 1949 they divorced in Florida. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic Book Icons and Hollywood Heroes (2004) referred to Manning who was a police officer. 

The 1950 census counted Roche, her sons Michael and Richard, and housekeeper in Flushing, Queens County, New York at 2929 161st Street. Roche’s occupation was story writer in the comics magazine story industry. Nine-year-old Richard was born in New York. Evidently, Roche was pregnant, with Gahan’s second son, when she moved to New York. Both sons had the surname of her second husband.

Editor & Publisher, December 15, 1951, reported the new comic strips and panel from Phoenix Features. 

The 1953 Manhattan telephone directory listed Roche at 9 West 46th Street. 

The Holyoke Transcript-Telegram, April 7, 1953, reported the death of Roche’s father. 

Author and Journalist, May 1954 and May 1955 said Roche was the editor at publisher Farrell. 

Roche passed away on May 4, 1983. The East Hampton Star, May 12, 1983, published an obituary. 
Ruth R. Schaefer, 66, of South Delrey Road, Montauk, died on May 4 at Southampton Hospital after a brief illness.

Born in Massachusetts, Mrs. Schaefer lived in Flushing before she moved to Montauk 25 years ago.

While living in Flushing, Mrs. Schaefer worked as an executive editor with Roche and Iger, a New York firm that produced creative writing and artwork. She was with the firm for 18 years. During her career as a writer and illustrator, she also worked as a business manager for Phoenix Features Syndicate, where she created the comic strip “Flamingo,” which appeared in the New York World-Telegram for many years.

She also worked as an editor of Classics Comic Books for five years; edited six romance-confession magazines under the pen names of Miss Martin, Miss Bennett, Miss Adams, Miss Thorpe, Agnes Wilson, and the Marriage Clinic; illustrated Mickey Spillane’s “Mike Hammer” series, which appeared in the New York Mirror and other newspapers around the world; wrote scripts for such properties as “Ellery Queen,” “Brenda Starr,” “Aggie Mack,” and “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle,” and edited the cartoons “Felix the Cat” and “Huckleberry Hound.”

Mrs. Schaefer, who was divorced, is survived by her companion of many years, Peter Panteles of Montauk. Her body was cremated. Memorial donations have been suggested to the Montauk ambulance squad.

Further Reading
The Complete Voodoo, Volume 1, photograph of Jerry Iger and Ruth Roche 
Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History, 2nd Edition, here and here
Comics, Between the Panels, here, here and here
Stripper’s Guide, Ink-Slinger Profiles: R.H. Webb

Monday, August 21, 2023

Creator: On This Day Phil Seuling Passed Away

Phil Seuling was born Philip Nicholas Seuling on January 20, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York, according to the New York, New York Birth Index and his Social Security application at His New York native parents were Kaspar J. Seuling and Helen V. Gadie, who obtained a marriage license on June 15, 1932 in Manhattan, New York City. Seuling’s paternal grandparents, Nicholas Fredrick Seuling Sr. and Barbara Sebald, were born in Germany. 

The 1940 U.S. Federal Census recorded Seuling, his parents and younger sister, Barbara, in Brooklyn at 95 Bay 29th Street. Seuling’a father was a Post Office mail carrier. 

In the 1950 census, Seuling, his parents, sister and brother, Dennis, were Brooklyn residents at 99 Bay 29th Street. 

They lived fourteen blocks from Lafayette High School where Seuling graduated in January 1951. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, at, said Seuling enlisted in the Army on January 18, 1954 and was discharged on January 17, 1956. The Brooklyn Eagle (New York), March 4, 1954, said Seuling was at Fort Dix in New Jersey. Details of his service are not known.

Seuling had an entry in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 10 Part 5A, Number 1, Unpublished Music January–June 1956. 
Come, My Beloved; w Philip N. Seuling m Joseph J. Spadaro © Philip N. Seuling & Joseph J. Spadaro 21Mar56 EU430468
Seuling continued his education at City College of New York and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. At City College, Seuling met Carole Petersen whom he married in 1958. The Long Island Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York), June 19, 1958, said
P. N. Seulings Back From Honeymoon
Carole E. Peterson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl M. Peterson of 20-01 21st avenue, Astoria, became the bride of Philip N. Seuling, son of Mr. and Mrs.  Kaspar Seuling of Brooklyn, in the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, Manhattan.

The bride, a graduate of Hunter High School, and her  husband, an alumnus of Lafayette High School, both graduated from City College.

The couple was attended by Marlie Moscowitz of Brooklyn and Seymour Zucker of Brooklyn.

The newlyweds are living in Brooklyn, after a honeymoon in New Jersey.


In 1961 Seuling was an English teacher at his alma mater, Lafayette High School. He was mentioned in the school newspaper, Lafayette News, April 1962. 
Fenchies Swing at Sr. Valentine Dance
On Friday evening, February 23, 1962, the senior class held a Valentine Dance in the boys’ gym. Mr. Donald Eisenberg and Mr. Philip Seuling acted as the chaperons, judges, and announcers for the function.
When Seuling became a father the Lafayette News, December 1962, said “Mr. Philip Seuling of the English department, is a proud father of a new-born baby girl, Heather Carolyn.” 

Seuling was profiled in Lafayette News, January 1964. 

Seuling was mentioned in these available issues of Lafayette News, February 1964; April 1964 here and here; December 23, 1964; and January 20, 1965. Several Lafayette High School Legend yearbooks are available at and 

1964 Legend
Seuling’s brother, Dennis, was in the Class of 1964.

1965 Legend

1966 Legend

1967 Legend

1968 Legend

1970 Legend

1971 Legend

1972 Legend

1973 Legend

1974 Legend
Seuling’s final year at Lafayette High School

In July 1971, Jeffrey Wasserman and Bob Zimmerman interviewed Seuling who said it was maybe 1958, 1959 or 1960 when he and two friends started collecting comic books for nostalgia reasons. Gradually a mail order business evolved from the collection. 

Seuling contributed articles to Rocket’s Blast Comicollector (RBCC); “The Dealer and the Collector” appeared in issue 30, May 1964. (A complete list of Seuling articles is not available.)  The column, “Seuling’s Corner”, was published in numbers 35 to 42. Seuling also advertised in RBCC

RBCC #39 (1965)

RBCC #40 (1965)

RBCC #41 (1965)

RBCC #42

In the interview, Seuling recalled the early comic book conventions; the first was organized by Bernie Bubnis and called the 1964 Comicon. Other people ran conventions from 1965 to 1967. The Society of Comic Art Research and Preservation (SCARP) was organized in 1968. Seuling assembled a team to run the 1968 International Convention of Comic Art, aka SCARP-Con, over the July 4th weekend at the Statler-Hilton Hotel which was across the street from Penn Station. 

The Conventioneers by Steranko and Seuling are here, herehere and here

The costume contest was on Saturday, July 6. The contestants included the Phantom Detective, Blue Beetle, two Spectres, Green Hornet, Merlin the Magician, Iron Man, Barbarella, Captain Marvel Jr., Queen Hippolyta (Carol Seuling), Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot (the Seuling girls). When contestant Barbarella was announced, she walked on stage then sat on the table and, to my eyes, flirted with the judges. 

Costume winners: Iron Man (most humorous), Barbarella (most original) and
Captain Marvel Jr. (best costume). Judges seated left to right: Jim Steranko,
 Charles Biro, Sal Trapani and Joe Orlando. Photos by Alex Jay

Martin Greim’s The Comic Crusader #3 featured the SCARP Convention. (The complete run of seventeen issues was collected in Martin L. Greim’s Comic Crusader Omnibus (2022).)

RBCC #59 (1968)

After the convention SCARP was dissolved. 

The following year Seuling put on the 1969 Comic Art Convention at the same location. 

Seuling wrote about the convention in “Confessions of a Con Man” for Alter Ego #10, 1969. Following the article were two pages of convention photographs by Sal Parascandolo with captions by Roy Thomas.

Contents page

Here is printed matter from Seuling’s 1970 Comic Art Convention at the same location. 

In 1971 Seuling contributed to Phase 1. He wrote “Soul Food” and lettered “Hero”. Seuling was thanked for his help. 

Here is printed matter from Seuling’s 1971 Comic Art Convention. 

The Monster Times #11, June 14, 1972, highlighted Seuling’s voice-actor roles in the animated movie, Fritz the Cat, and modeling the t-shirt.

Seuling had a table at the 1972 Phoenix Con where he also served (and performed) as auctioneer. 

Photo by Alex Jay

Seuling had an entry of the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 27, Part 1, Number 2, Section 1, Books and Pamphlets, July–December 1973. 
The W. C. Fields book. Editor: Bill Pearson. 38 p. Appl. au.: Phil Seuling. © Wonderful Publishing Company; 4Sep73; A469588.
In 1974 Seuling was in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 28, Part 1, Number 2, Section 2, Books and Pamphlets, July–December 1974. 
Welcome to the 1974 New York Comic Art Convention. 98 p. Appl. au.: Phil Seuling. © Phil Seuling; 3Jul74; A579786.

The first Famous Monsters Convention was during November 1974 in New York City. 

The Buyer’s Guide for Comic Fandom #109, December 19, 1975, published a photograph of Seuling holding an award presented during the October 1975 NewCon in Boston. 

The formation of Sea Gate Distributors, Inc. was announced in The Buyer’s Guide #207, November 4, 1977. It was operated by Seuling and Jonni Levas

Sea Gate was also a publisher. In 1978 it reprinted Wally Wood’s The Wizard King under the title, The King of the World. Mother of Pearl Publishing Company, an imprint of Sea Gate, published, in 1980, Berni Wrightson’s The Mutants

Fershid Bharucha was a packager who published under the name Thumbtack Books, which had the same address as Sea Gate, 657 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn, New York, 11215. Three of its titles were Richard Corben: Flights Into Fantasy (1981), Black and White: Being the Early Illustrations of Maxfield Parrish (1982), and The Marvel Comics Art of Wally Wood (1982).

Holiday letter from 1982 or 1983

The last time I saw Phil was at an event in Danceteria

In 1983 Sea Gate and DC Comics co-published three issues of The Masterworks Series of Great Comic Book Artists

Seuling passed away on August 21, 1984, in New York City. Seuling’s passing was reported in The Comics Buyers Guide, #565, September 14, 1984; The Comics Journal #93, September 1984; DC Comics cover dated February 1985; Locus, December 1984; Telegraph Wire, #17, October/November 1984 here and here; and mentioned in Harlan Ellison’s Angry Candy. Seuling was laid to rest with his Captain Marvel costume.

Business Card

Further Reading
ICv2, Bud Plant Interview, Meeting Phil Seuling, the Beginnings of the Direct Market, the First Comics & Comix

Robert C. Harvey
University Press of Mississippi, 1996

Great American Comic Books
Ron Goulart
Publications International, 2001

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania), July 11, 1968, It’s Official: Comics Declared An Art Form

The Spectrum (Buffalo, New York), January 31, 1973, Comic lovers come together

The Hour (Fairfield County, Connecticut), July 1, 1974, Good Guys Win, Bad Guys Lose 

Bangor Daily News (Maine), July 19, 1974, Comic Cultists Bargain, Banter At N.Y. Buy-in 

The Buyer’s Guide for Comic Fandom #109, December 19, 1975, Crusader Comments

Murray Press, Phil Seuling’s 1976 NYC Comic Con

Telegraph Wire #11, October/November 1983 here and here

Telegraph Wire #18, December 1984/January 1985, Bird on a Wire 

Paul Levitz, July 4, 2022, Remembering An Old Friend

Dan Gearino, Meet Phil Seuling

Hero Initiative, September 10, 2009, And now, 3000 words on Phil Seuling

Mile High Comics, Inc., Evolution of the Direct Market Part I

Will Eisner’s Quarterly, #3, 1984, Shop Talk: Phil Seuling

November 12, 1992
Captial City Distribution, Inc.

The Comics Journal, July 2006
Fine Young Cannibals: How Phil Seuling and a Generation of Teenage Entrepreneurs Created the Direct Market and Changed the Face of Comics

Dan Gearino
Ohio University Press, 2017

Randy Duncan
Continuum, 2009

1971 New York City Comic Con with Phil Seuling, Jack Kirby, and Denny O’Neil 8mm footage 
1973 New York City Comic Con Footage with Phil Seuling 
1977 World Color Press Tour Sparta, Illinois & Phil Seuling
Red Sonja (Wendy Pini) on Mike Douglas 7/28/77 

An excerpt from Bud Plant’s August 21, 2023 email:
Phil also wrote the poetry in the Wrightson Color the Creature book, which was also a publication of his. And he published Gray Morrow’s first collection, Dark Domain…that was his first project that I am aware of. 

We co-published The Spirit Coloring Book but Eisner put his Poorhouse Press imprint on it, unbeknownst to us, and didn’t mention us at all in the printing, though it was Phil’s idea. We had agreed to finance and split the print run. But who can get upset with Eisner? So Phil asked Eisner to print up stickers that, haha, Phil and I were supposed to put inside each book on the colophon, by hand of course, noting myself as the West Coast Distributor and Phil as the East Coast Distributor. With a print run of 3000 or 3500, as I remember. Needless to say, copies with that sticker are probably scarce…and the book sold poorly. Comic book fans didn’t want a coloring book, even with cool old Eisner splash pages.

Phil was also the exclusive distributor for early issues of Cerebus, helping to support Dave Sim with guaranteed $$$ to keep printing issues. And for Witzend, beginning around issue six or so. I believe the W.C.. Fields issue (on the cover) was his idea, not one of his best, for a comics fanzine. I used to buy all my Witzend back issues from him, year after year. Or trade…we had a long-running back and forth of fanzines and underground comics, which were produced near me in San Francisco; we’d ship stuff to one another throughout the year and sit down and settle up accounts when I’d go to  the east coast every so often…always staying a Phil’s apartment or later at his house in Seagate with him and Jonni.

He visited me once up here in the Sierra Nevada Mountains…flew into Sacramento and rented a car. Showed up on my doorstep stating how I couldn’t have gotten further away from civilization, could I? We met up with artist Dan O’Neill, who also lived up here, and rolled boulders down a mountainside together (very dumb idea) one day when we were out in the back trails. Dan used to be a park ranger here before becoming a cartoonist with Odd Bodkins. Phil co-sponsored Dan and the Air Pirates artists at one of the NY show (my stores Comics & Comix paid their plane tickets), to raise money for their legal defense when Disney sued them for copyright infringement, for the spoof underground issues of Mickey Mouse Meets the Air Pirates. That was a fun year at the NY Con.

(Next post on Monday: Ruth Roche, Writer and Editor)