Episode 272 – Tales From The Letters Pages

At the risk of sounding like and old man and talking about when I wore an onion on my belt (which was the style of the time) there was a time when the letters pages of a comic was a big deal.  They’re still around today, but the mystique of them has been replaced with the various ways talking about comics is done on the Internet.  In their day, the letters pages were a window into what the audience was thinking about the books they were reading and if you could get a letter printed it was a big deal.

From 1999 to 2002(ish) I wrote (or e-mailed, I guess) into a bunch of comics and some of those missives actually got printed.  In fact, one of those letters was printed in an issue of Martian Manhunter, where another letter by a fellow podcaster was also printed.  And that’s why Paul Hix (co-host of Waiting For Doom, DCOCD, and The Gary Show) and I are teaming up.   Not only do we talk about why the letters pages mattered but we read a handful of the ones that we got printed with some fun digressions along the way.

Below is the cover and the letters page from the book where Paul and I first “worked” together.


Views is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  You can also like the official Views From The Longbox Page over on Facebook.  You can email the show by clicking this link with all questions, concerns, fears, and trepidations.  Also, if you could leave a review over on Apple Podcasts, that would be keen.

Next Time: No idea, but it will be about comics.  Yeah.  I’ll stick with that.


  1. Cheers for a fascinating episode, how fascinating that you chaps appeared on the same letters page. I once appeared in the same comic lettercol as a talented fella I later worked with – he as artistic director, me as editor – but a month apart.

    I loved the breakdown of types of letters. I was never quite so amusingly conniving, I just liked to give feedback, get my two-pennorth in. Backseat editing and all that. It was my letters in various comics that got me an interview with a UK comics company, and I got the job despite spilling a cup of coffee over my future boss. So letterhacking can change your life… if I’d been in the US you can bet I’d have been trying my best to parlay editor-pestering into a job!

    I loved seeing the same names again and again, but never liked it when they had a schtick ‘(‘Dear editor, just back from Steve’s Comics with my latest haul…’). I was really jealous of Seventies regulars who would be sent preview copies to comment on so there’d be early letters.

    And yes, they make lovely souvenirs of a certain time and place – I was stunned when I bought a Next Wave trade paperback and found they’d actually included the lettercols, and I was in there.

    It was interesting to hear Paul’s disappointment when there were no replies to letters in Martian Manhunter – I know how he feels, so when I was doing lettercols I always tried to make sure everyone got a reply.

    And thanks to Michael, I don’t remember reading Action Comics 750, so took a look – it’s not half bad, it certainly looks great!

  2. My dad still had copies of Batman 489-500, and Detective 654-666. There is no letter from “Paul Hicks” in any of those.

    Hope you find it.

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