Gary Friedrich : biography
Gary Friedrich (born August 21, 1943, Jackson, Missouri). is an American comic book writer best known for his Silver Age stories for Marvel Comics' Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, and for the following era's Monster of Frankenstein series and co-creating the supernatural motorcyclist the Ghost Rider and the supernatural hero Son of Satan.
Friedrich — no relation to fellow comics writer Mike Friedrich — was the first successful new writer brought into the burgeoning 1960s Marvel after fellow Missourian Roy Thomas. Succeeding Thomas on Sgt. Fury, Friedrich and the art team of Dick Ayers and John Severin produced a World War II series for the Vietnam years, combining militaristic camaraderie and gung ho humor with a regretful sense of war as a terrible last resort. The humanistic military drama was noted for its semi-anthological "The" stories, such as "The Medic" and "The Deserter".
Friedrich went on to write a smattering of superhero stories for Marvel, Atlas/Seaboard Comics and Topps Comics, and eventually left the comics industry. In 2011, he lost a federal lawsuit over a claim of ownership in the character Ghost Rider.
- Brown, Len, and Gary Friedrich, Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Tower Publications, 1970)
- Brown, Len, and Gary Friedrich, Encyclopedia of Country and Western Music (Tower Publications, 1971)
- Brown, Len, and Gary Friedrich, So You Think You Know About Rock and Roll (Tower Publications, 1972)
- Nashville Breakdown (Manor Books, 1977)
Early life and career
Gary Friedrich, the son of Jerry and Elsie Friedrich, was born and raised in Jackson, Missouri, where he graduated from Jackson High School in 1961. He was editor of the high school newspaper and a member of the marching band. As a teen, he was a friend of future Marvel Comics writer and eventual editor-in-chief Roy Thomas. World War II meets the '60s: Sgt. Fury gets by "With a Little Help from My Friends" (Issue #67, June 1969). Cover art by [[John Severin.]] Friedrich worked at a record store in Cape Girardeau, Missouri after high school, and in February 1964, obtained a job at Jackson's two weekly newspapers, which were being combined into a single twice-weekly. "I was working about 80 hours a week for $50", he recalled in 2001.Gary Friedrich interview, Comic Book Artist #13 (May 2001), p. 75 "I wrote, edited, and laid out the entire newspaper. I was the whole editorial staff without any help. It was driving me crazy". Friedrich had gotten married the year before and by now had a young son, but, "I didn't have time for anything because I was working all the damn time." The marriage fell apart, "and even that wasn't a major problem for a while because I was so damn busy and I was either working, drunk, or both", Friedrich said,Friedrich, Comic Book Artist, p. 76 alluding to the alcoholism from which he began recovering on "New Year's night in 1979".Friedrich, Comic Book Artist, p. 78
When the newspaper ceased publication in late summer 1965, Friedrich began working a union job at a Cape Girardeau factory, installing heating elements in waffle irons. Roy Thomas, now a Marvel Comics staff writer in New York City, called his friend with the suggestion that freelance work might exist in the newly resurgent medium. Friedrich took a Greyhound bus the following day, and stayed with Thomas and a fandom friend, Dave Kaler, in Manhattan's East Village. Shortly afterward, Friedrich and Thomas took an apartment on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.
This was a time of transition between the beat movement and the hippie era, when the Village flourished as a creative mecca. "The Village was a really neat place to be at that time. We went to the theater that was to become the Fillmore East; it wasn't called that yet, but they were starting to have some rock concerts, like Chuck Berry. ... I began to let my hair grow and become a real New York hippie",Friedrich, Comic Book Artist, p. 77 he recalled.
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