Michael Netzer

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Michael Netzer
Michael Netzer oct2011 crop.jpg
Netzer at the Tel-Aviv ICon Festival, Oct 2011
Born Michael Nasser
(1955-10-09) 9 October 1955 (age 59)
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Nationality United States and Israel
Area(s) Artist
Notable works
DC Special Series
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes
World's Finest Comics


Michael Netzer (born Michael Nasser on 9 October 1955[1]) is an American artist best known for his comic book work for DC Comics and Marvel Comics in the 1970s,[2] as well as for his online presence.[3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Michael Nasser (later Netzer) was born in Detroit, Michigan, to parents of Lebanese origin. He contracted polio at the age of eight months which partially paralyzed his left hip and leg. After two years of medical treatment, he was sent with his Jewish mother and siblings to his father's Druze hometown, Dayr Qūbil, Lebanon.[6][7] In 1967, at the age of 11, he returned to Detroit. In school, he became interested in comic book illustration and storytelling, and began developing skills as an artist.[8] He used his art for a campaign that won him election of vice-president of his senior class in Redford High School,[9] where he also gained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the JROTC program.[1]

During high school, Netzer met Greg Theakston, who introduced him to the world of professional comics art. He worked as a sign painter and graphic designer while attending Wayne State University in Michigan for two years.[2] Theakston later introduced him to Neal Adams at the Detroit Triple Fan Fair comics convention in 1975. Adams took interest in Netzer's art and invited him to join Continuity Studios.[9]


Early comics[edit]

Batman by Michael Netzer and inker Josef Rubinstein from DC Special Series #1 (Sept. 1977).

In late 1975, Netzer was invited to join Arvell Jones and Keith Pollard for a drive to New York City, where the two artists shared an apartment. They offered Netzer accommodations while he tried to gain work in comics.[9][10] He joined Continuity Studios, which became his base as a freelancer. He began work producing storyboards and advertising art for the studio, while procuring his first comics assignment, a two-part back-up story in Kamandi: "Tales of the Great Disaster". He gained quick recognition as an illustrator at DC Comics and Marvel Comics, producing art for Kobra, Challengers of the Unknown, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and Wonder Woman at DC, as well as various covers for Marvel. Other characters he became known for were the Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow and Black Canary, Batman, Black Lightning and Spider-Man. Netzer became active in efforts to form a Comics Creators Guild, that were based at Continuity.[11] By late 1977, he was scheduled to pencil the new series John Carter, Warlord of Mars for editor Marv Wolfman at Marvel. Reconsidering the direction his life and career were taking, and the general conditions of the comics industry, Netzer declined the project and decided to take a break away from drawing comic books.[9]

In November 1977, Netzer left his career in New York and hitchhiked across the United States.[12] Arriving in San Francisco, he contacted Star*Reach magazine publisher Mike Friedrich to decline a commitment he had made for the publication's first color installment. Friedrich asked Netzer to produce a story that would tell of his new-found aspirations, resulting in "The Old, New and Final Testaments", an eight-page vignette weaving socio-religious history with humanity's ambitions for the colonization of the solar system.[13] Friedrich published the story in Star*Reach #12 (1977) and wrote about his meeting with Michael in the editorial.

For the next several years, Netzer produced sporadic comic book art for DC and Marvel, including a Batman story in DC Special Series, Black Lightning in World's Finest Comics, Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up and numerous covers for Marvel. During this period, he traveled through the United States and promoted the idea of a new political hierarchy through the comic book medium. His colleagues described this activity as messianic and expressed concerns about his behavior.[14][15][16] In a 1980 interview with Whizzard Magazine, editor Marty Klug noted: "Since 1977 his work, most notably in Star*Reach, has often professed a creative politico-religious theme derived from diverse sources ranging from superhero adventure to Biblical prophecy. Nasser's speculations—frequently intriguing, often controversial and, at times, somewhat outrageous—espouse a refreshing optimism rarely found in such works. Currently, he is assembling these perspectives in book form and may well be one of the first comics illutstrators to branch off in such a unique direction." [8]

Israel comics[edit]

In September 1981, Netzer left the United States for Lebanon, and then settled in Israel in 1983.[17] In 1984-1988, he contributed covers, accompanying illustrations and a comic strip, Milk and Honey, to Counterpoint, an Israeli English-language publication of Gush Emunim edited by Rachelle Katsman and Yisrael Medad.[18]

In 1987, he produced Israel's first Super Hero color comic book, with partners Jonathan Duitch and Yossi Halpern, "Uri-On", (אורי-און) under their Israel Comics imprint.[19][20] This came at a time of a surge in comics activity in the country and was featured in an Israel Museum Comics Exhibit alongside the work of his national peers, Dudu Geva, Michel Kichka, Uri Fink and others. Michael's design of the Menorah symbol for Uri-On was featured in a later Israel Museum exhibit highlighting various Menorah designs through the ages. Netzer's prominence as a former American comic book artist and controversial choice of residence in the occupied West Bank, provided a platform for the artist to appear on local television talk shows, receive varied media coverage and give lectures on the comic book medium as a tool for advancing a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.[7]

Return to U.S. comics[edit]

From "12 Parts" Hot Stuff #6 (1978), depicting the sharp departure from the artist's early career influences.

In 1991, Netzer returned to New York and Continuity Comics, where he produced art for several issues of Megalith. He and Neal Adams entered into a dispute over intellectual property rights to Ms. Mystic, a character they had worked on jointly in 1977, which Adams had published under the Pacific Comics and Continuity Comics imprints, leading to a lawsuit against Adams in New York Federal Court in 1993.[21] The case was dismissed in 1995, citing the statute of limitations.[22][23]

Netzer left Continuity and produced a series of comic book projects during this period, including Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #2, Detective Comics, The Huntress, Babylon 5, Team Titans,[24] and Green Arrow[25] for DC Comics, and Neil Gaiman's Lady Justice for Tekno Comix. His art in this period demonstrated a notable shift into a darker and moodier art style, such as in The Huntress mini-series, which merged his high-contrast style in the 1978 Hot Stuff[26] with the dark noir art of the popular Frank Miller's Sin City series.[27][28] In his Sin City: The Big Fat Kill #1 (1994) letter column, Miller criticized Netzer, along with artists Jim Lee and Tim Sale, who also produced dark noir art in that period, for drawing influence from Sin City. Miller also criticized Netzer's lawsuit against Adams for Ms. Mystic in the same letter column.[29] In 2011, Netzer responded to Miller at CBR's Comics Should Be Good, saying he'd worked in a similar style before Miller became known for it. He added that no artist develops without visible influences, and that creators who preceded Miller were not known to criticize artists whom they inspired.[30]

In 1994 Netzer returned to Israel and slowly gravitated away from comics art. In 1998, he teamed up with Sofia Fedorov to establish a visual media production studio called Netzart Fedorov Media which allowed Netzer to develop his skills in computer-generated illustration, advertising and web design.

In 2010, Netzer returned to mainstream comics, producing art for Kevin Smith's Green Hornet from Dynamite Entertainment,[31][32] along with illustrating a chapter of Erich Origen and Gan Golan's The Adventures of Unemployed Man from Little, Brown, publishers of the satire Goodnight Bush by the same writers.[33] Netzer also returned to producing collector art commissions, including a series of classic cover recreations with artist Gene Colan, represented by writer/agent Clifford Meth.[34][35] In 2011, he produced 3 covers for Kfir from Israeli Zanzuria Comics.[36]

Web activism[edit]

A 40-day retreat to the Dead Sea resort of Ein Gedi in February 2003 inspired Netzer to go back to his early spiritual themes and activism.[7]

In January 2004, Netzer launched his first web site, "The New Comic Book of Life", outlining his theories on superhero mythology and the role it plays in cultural evolution. On the site, Netzer revealed unpublished material espousing this manifesto from 1977–1981, which had never seen publication. He also apologized to colleague Neal Adams for his lawsuit against him in the previous decade.[37] In November 2004, he launched a second web site, "The Comic Book Creator's Party", calling on comics creators to form a political union for participating in the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections, and quoting notable comics creators' references to the socio-political climate in America and abroad.[38] Netzer has since launched several other web sites, including "The Comic Book Creators' Guild", "Growing Earth Consortium" and "Michael Netzer Online", the site-complex portal.

While producing no mainstream comics art from the mid-1990s until 2010, Netzer maintained a web presence,[39] speaking on comics community issues,[40] including a campaign to bolster comic fandom's support for J'onn J'onzz The Martian Manhunter,[41] facing a rumored demise in DC Comics Final Crisis crossover series.[42][43][44] In early 2009, Netzer founded and launched Facebook Comic Con.[45][46]

Following his conviction that art should contribute towards the betterment of society,[3] Netzer joined Comics For All in May 2010, a collective of Israeli comics artists that aims to promote the medium as a cultural and educational tool for aiding underprivileged children.[47] The organization operates under the auspices of comic book retailer chain Comics N' Vegetables, and contributed to the retailer winning the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award in 2011.[48][49][50] Netzer participates in various activities voluntarily.[51]

Save the Comics campaign[edit]

In early 2011 Netzer launched a campaign, Save the Comics, to bring public attention to the undercurrents of a decades-long sales slump for printed comic books.[52][53][54] The initiative came on the heels of his participation in an industry-wide debate on a revolution in creator owned properties.[55][56][57]

On 10 February 2011, Netzer lodged an online complaint at the Federal Trade Commission web site against DC Comics and Marvel Comics calling for industry leaders to turn their attention back to the business of comic book publishing.[58][59]

In June 2011, Netzer responded to the controversial story in Action Comics #900, where Superman is compelled to renounce his American citizenship after participating in an Iranian anti-government demonstration.[60][61] He produced a two-page short satire, wherein Superman returns to Tehran with Batman and Wonder Woman, who all participate in an anti-American demonstration.[62] An image of the three heroes burning American and Western Allies flags, drew sharp criticism from the Bleeding Cool audience.[63] Netzer responded by burning the original art of the controversial image, and filming a video clip of it, to demonstrate the value of the satire.[64][65]

In May 2013, Netzer led a campaign on behalf of comics writer Don McGregor when Dynamite Entertainment promoted the revival of Lady Rawhide, created by McGregor and Mike Mayhew.[66] Dynamite publisher Nick Barrucci responded in dismissal of McGregor's publicly aired frustration at hearing about his creation being revived in press releases, and that the creators' credits were omitted from the announcements.[67][68] Netzer's campaign at Bleeding Cool,[69] The Beat,[68] Facebook[70] and his own site[71] led the publisher to appear at Netzer's Facebook profile and apologize to McGregor.[70][72][73][74] The campaign received some criticism for its intensity[73] but was also noted by others for helping bring the issue of creator's rights and their treatment by publishers to the forefront of industry dialogue.[75][76]

Personal life[edit]

In September 1981, Netzer traveled to Lebanon to visit his father, intending to continue afterwards to Israel.[6] When the Lebanon War broke out, he became stranded there until the fighting subsided. In August 1983, he hired a taxi that brought him to the Lebanon-Israel border, where he crossed into Israel.[6] While settling in Israel, he studied the Hebrew language and Judaism at several kibbutzim, and changed his last name to Netzer from Nasser. In May 1985, he moved to Ofra, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, where he currently resides. There he met and fell in love with Elana Joseph. They married and have five children.[6]

Published works[edit]



Other publishers[edit]

Note: From 1987 (Uri-On #1), he is credited as Michael Netzer; previously, he was credited with birth name, Michael Nasser.


Netzer has also provided the art for these covers:


  1. ^ a b Harris, Jack C. (August–September 1977). "Challenger Mountain Mail Room - artist bio". Challengers of the Unknown #82. DC Comics. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Michael Netzer at Lambiek". Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Young, Thom (5 October 2005). "Being and Time: An Interview with Michael Netzer". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  4. ^ McMillan, Graeme (21 June 2006). "Netzer: He don’t want to ball around like everybody else". Newsarama. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Meth, Clifford (August 2004). "Michael Netzer: Party Animal". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d Dagan, Shuki (21 March 2005). "Rooted Settler: Family Visit in Beirut". Shofar News. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c Shedmi, Yoni (26 August 2005). "Hero on the Edge". NRG Maariv. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Klug, Marty (July 1980). "A Revealing Conversation with Nasser". Interview. Whizzard Magazine #12. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d Offenberger, Rik (July 2005). "Michael Netzer's New Comic Book of Life". Interview. Silver Bullet Comic Books. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Stroud, Bryan D. (December 2010). "Netzer Interview: Part 1". The Silver Age Sage. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  11. ^ Groth, Gary (1978). "Birth of the Guild: May 7, 1978". The Comics Journal (Fantagraphics Books) (42): 21–28. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Friedrich, Mike (December 1977). "Editorial column". Star Reach #12. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Netzer, Michael (December 1977). "The Old, New and Final Testaments". Star Reach. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  14. ^ Groth, Gary (1982). "Neal Adams interview". The Comics Journal (Fantagraphics Books) (72): 68–69. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  15. ^ Marzan, Jose Jr. (2004). "Joe Rubinstein interview". Adelaide Comics and Books. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Gonzalez, Guy LeCharles (June 2006). "Link: Defending Ronee". Loudpoet. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  17. ^ Stroud, Bryan D. (January 2011). "Netzer Interview: Part 2". The Silver Age Sage. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Medad, Yisrael (10 October 2011). "Michael Netzer's Early Israel Art". My Right Word. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  19. ^ "Uri-On: The Israeli-Jewish Superman". Haggadahs R Us. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Zion, Noam; Spectre, Barbara (2000). A Different Light: The Hanukkah Book of Celebration. Englewood, New Jersey: Devora Publishing. p. 190. ISBN 1-930143-31-1. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
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  22. ^ Stump, Greg (1998). "News Watch: Mike Netzer's Lawsuit against Neal Adams Dismissed". The Comics Journal (Fantagraphics Books) (201): 18. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
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  24. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1990s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The team...started with a bang, offering five first issues, that each contained a different origin story for every team member. Marv Wolfman supplied the scripts for each issue while the art was handled by Kevin Maguire, Gabriel Morrissette, Adam Hughes, Michael Netzer, Kerry Gammill, and Phil Jimenez. 
  25. ^ Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 271: "Writer Chuck Dixon and artists Michael Netzer, Jim Aparo, and Rodolfo Damaggio were putting longtime Green Arrow Oliver Queen through his paces."
  26. ^ Netzer, Michael (1978). "Hot Stuff #6". 12 Parts. Sal Quartucio Productions. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  27. ^ Silver, Francis (24 March 2002). "The Huntress: The critical conscience of Bat-verse". uBC Monitor. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  28. ^ "Comicon.com discussion on Netzer's art style". Comicon.com. June 2003. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  29. ^ Miller, Frank (1994). Sin City: The Big Fat Kill - Letter column. Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  30. ^ Cronin, Brian (3 October 2011). "Meta-Messages – Frank Miller Comments on Jim Lee's New Art Style". Comics Should Be Good - article and comments. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  31. ^ Dynamite News (6 April 2010). "Who Dies in Kevin Smith's Green Hornet?". Newsarama. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  32. ^ Hester, Phil (August 2010). "Kevin Smith's Green Hornet Annual". Dynamite Entertainment. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  33. ^ "The Adventures of Unemployed Man: Artists". The Adventures of Unemployed Man. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  34. ^ "Commission Collaborations with Gene Colan". Comicon Pulse. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  35. ^ Meth, Clifford (4 January 2011). "Michael Netzer: Art of Responsibility". Everyone's Wrong and I'm Right. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  36. ^ Zanzuri, Ofer (2011). "Kfir #1-3". Covers. Zanzuria Comics. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  37. ^ Johnston, Rich (13 January 2004). "Lying in the Gutters: Son of Neal". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  38. ^ Johnston, Rich (22 November 2004). "Lying in the Gutters: Where's Michael". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  39. ^ Dave & co. (6 January 2007). "Netzer appearance at Imwan". Imwan. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  40. ^ McMillan, Graeme (9 January 2007). "I'm Digging for Gold...". Blog@Newsrama. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  41. ^ Parkin, JK (21 January 2008). "Netzer unites fandom in an effort to save J’onn J’onzz". Blog@Newsrama. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
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  49. ^ Carnvek, Sarah (20 December 2011). "Israelis win comics award". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  50. ^ Netzer, Michael (24 July 2011). "Comic N’ Vegetables Wins Eisner". Michael Netzer Online Portal. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  51. ^ Netzer Michael (25 February 2011). "Comics For All @ Dana Tel-Aviv Hospital". Michael Netzer Online Portal. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
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  66. ^ Rich Johnston (15 May 2013). "The Return Of Lady Rawhide". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
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  68. ^ a b Heidi MacDonald (30 May 2013). "Did anyone tell creator Don McGregor they were remaking Lady Rawhide? UPDATED with Dynamite’s Response". The Beat. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
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  71. ^ Michael Netzer (2 June 2013). "In the Absence of Love...". If Life was a Comic Book... Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
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  76. ^ Clifford Meth (10 June 2013). "When Creators’ Feelings Explode:". Everyone's Wrong and I'm Right. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 


External links[edit]