Edward Summer, who passed away November 13, may not have thought of himself as a fan but he had many friends in the SF and comics world and attended the occasional convention. He was best-known for starting the first comic book store in New York, Supersnipe, in 1971, through which he met, got to know and went into business with George Lucas for the accompanying comic book art gallery. He also was a good friend of Ray Bradbury. Summer was 68.
A writer, artist, and film historian, he founded the Buffalo International Film Festival.
His 1966 student film “Item 72-D, The Adventures of Spa and Fon” introduced the actor Hervé Villechaize.
Summer wrote for Marvel Comics from 1972 to 1989 and for DC Comics from 1980 to 1990. He contributed the plot for the first issue of Marvel’s Red Sonja . He later was an associate producer of the first Conan the Barbarian film, and authored the original treatment and screenplay.
He edited a collection of Disney cartoonist Carl Barks’ stories, Uncle $crooge McDuck: His Life and Times.
He founded the Digital Nitrate Prize “to encourage the development of methods to preserve historic movies by duplicating the highly defined look of nitrate motion picture film.”
Summer also was a founding member of New York Area Skeptics and belonged to the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Ring 12.
[Thanks to Moshe Feder for the story.]
I would have felt guilty about pointing this out in an obituary note, but as Summer belonged to the New York Area skeptics; some of the claims Summer’s biographies make,which featured in some of his death’s writeups, are questionable, such as the credits listed here on the Conan movie. His core accomplishment was running the Supersnipe comics shop for many years.
After seeing your comment I checked his listing on the Internet Movie Database. It credits him as an associate producer on Conan, so I changed that from executive. It does show him as a writer on Conan for “story – uncredited” so I’ll leave that alone.
The biggest myth continuing to be perpetrated is that Ed had the first comics shop in New York.
That distinction probably belongs to my old amigo, Bill Morse (whom many of you know from his involvement with Edgar Rice Burroughs fandom). Bill’s shop was mamaged by my even older friend, Dave Miley. (And Dave had even helped to run a bookstore even before he met Bill, on St. Marks, in 1968.
And then there was Joe Parente, with Little Nemo’s in Queens….
When I was doing some research on this very topic a few years ago, other 1960s names came up: “One Eyed Jim,” Dave Kaler, Al Levine (but the latter in New Jersey)…
Summer could be the most gracious of souls, but also remarkably strange.
At a small film party in the early 2000s, he freaked out on another guest who was smoking, although it was not Ed’s home–he was a guest. Oddly, Ed also didn!t say a word to the home-owner, who was a CIGAR smoker.
This was in the era when Summer would show up with a seemingly teenage Latina gal. Perhaps the relationship was entirely innocent, perhaps she was in fact older, but Summer never seemed to explain…
And the smoker he got furious with… Perhaps not so coincidentally, the gal had just been pleasantly chatting with him.
Ed figures prominently in a couple of pages of Chris Taylor’s new book, HOW STAR WARS CONQUERED THE UNIVERSE.
Ed, or Taylor, says that in the early ’70s, Summer took George Lucas up to King Features, to look at FLASH GORDON, and other, stuff. The book says that they discovered a bunch of Alex Raymond ORIGINALS about to be destroyed, and smuggled/saved them!
A VERY ODD, SAD COINCIDENCE:
On Friday, November 13th, I was having a long phone meeting with another old friend, Ron Forman. We were discussing a project I’ve been working on a bit, about some of the early days of New York comics or, more specifically, its fandom.
(By the way, for all intents and purposes, Dave Kaler seems to have disappeared. Dave ran one of the very first comic conventions in the 1960s, wrote some comics, was a dealer, helped run shops… Even the legendary Roy Thomas, who shared an apartment with Dave for a while in the ’60s (along with artist Bill Everett!), seems to be perplexed. We all hope Dave is still with us: Anyone with any info, please let us know!)
Ron mentioned Ed Summer. For years, Ron co-ran Comics Unlimited with Walter Wang. Comics Unlimited was one of the major comics distributors in the New York area in the ’80s, and beyond, and were a frequent presence at the era’s comics and other conventions. (The company was also notable for being owned by two college professors–I mean, Ron and Walter!)
Ron had nothing but nice things to say about his many encounters with Ed Summer, who was one of his customers.
Ron and I didn’t know, as we spoke at length, and would not know, for another week, that Ed had just passed the day before.
I meant, of course, November 14th!
I only knew Ed the last two years. He was generous with his knowledge and advice. I will miss having those long conversations.
I knew Ed for the past 20 years and I am the “seemingly teenage Latina gal” referred to in Jim Burns’ November 30th post. Just for the sake of accuracy, since Ed is no longer alive to offer an explanation, I would like to make it clear that I was neither teenage nor Latina. At the time of the event mentioned, I would have been in my mid to late 30s. I’ve always been told that I appear younger than my age, but I wasn’t aware I looked quite that young. Anyone who had a conversation with me in those days could easily have discovered the same and had their curiosity satisfied.
Ed was my friend and partner. I was also his caregiver at the end. He faced his illness with courage and an extraordinary sense of humor. He continued to live his life with enthusiasm and curiosity even while suffering physically. He was a brilliant, creative, caring person and I will miss him always.
God bless you, Renee.