Monday, November 19, 2007

Salicrup Talks Toilet Paper

Occasionally the Merry Marvel Marching Society marches to a slightly different tune. When that happens we all benefit.

In 1979 the battle between good and evil entered the bathroom...and on the front lines was comic legend Jim Salicrup. You might know Salicrup for his work as a Spider-Man editor for Marvel Comics or his current work as Editor-In-Chief at Papercutz.

But in my opinion some of his most ground breaking work might have been when he took a few beloved Marvel characters into a brand new medium. Not TV...not the movies...not even the internet. I am talking, of course, about Marvel Toilet Paper:
Mr. Salicrup was good enough to talk with me about writing an original Marvel Team-Up story for publication in the ground breaking new medium of toilet paper.

CBL: How were you initially approached about the project?

JS: Marvel had a special department, run by the great Sol Brodsky, that handled the production of anything that wasn't a part of Marvel's mainstream line of comics. The company which made the Marvel TP earlier had success with a New York Times Crossword Puzzle TP as a novelty product, and decided to license the Marvel characters for a similar product. Sol's department handled producing materials for licensed products, and I was writing and editing a lot of that material at the time, so it just made sense for Sol to ask me to write it. Although we were all greatly amused by the concept of Marvel TP.

CBL: If you can recall, what did you think at the time about such an unusual product tie-in?

JS: I loved it! Stan was always saying that "Marvel was going to take over the world," and crazy projects like these were a way of getting Marvel, Spider-Man, and the Hulk greater recognition outside of the world of comics. With the Marvel TP, it was a funny idea that communicated that Marvel was a company that obviously didn't take itself too seriously -- which was a big part of Marvel's wide appeal.

CBL: What do you recall about the process of writing that particular story (a Hulk/Spider-man team up vs. the Leader)?

JS: The goal was to tell a simple story that managed to be true to the characters, and to capture a bit of the feel of the comics of that time. We tried to make it fun, but not silly. In writing the actual script, instead of writing "Page One, Page Two," etc., we called it "Sheet One, Sheet Two," etc.

CBL: Once the work was done and the toilet paper was on the market, how did you feel about the end product?

JS: Keep in mind, that this was not actually marketed as regular TP. You would've never found it with other TP in a supermarket. It was totally a gag/gift item intended to be amusing. For example, there was a great display in New York City at the world-famous flagship Bloomingdale's of the Marvel TP! I felt like Andy Warhol-- as if I had contributed to a Pop-Art exhibit! Over the years, I've been very lucky to be involved with the Amazing Spider-Man, a truly wonderful character and pop culture icon. Millions of people truly love this Stan Lee and Steve Ditko creation, embracing both Peter Parker and his web-spinning alter-ego. I must say, it's been a real honor to be a part of it all.

Well there you have it: a 2-ply team-up of bowel moving proportions.

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