|Born||Peter A. Morisi
January 7, 1928
Brooklyn, New York City
|Died||October 12, 2003
Staten Island, New York City
|Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt|
Peter A. Morisi (January 7, 1928 – October 12, 2003), who sometimes went by the pseudonym PAM, was an American comic book writer and artist who also spent much of his professional life as a New York City Police Department officer. He is best known as creator of the 1960s Charlton Comics series Peter Cannon ... Thunderbolt, a thoughtful superhero comic that contained some of the earliest respectful invocations of Eastern mysticism in American pop culture.
Early life and career
Born and reared in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, Morisi was educated at the School of Industrial Art and the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, both in Manhattan. He broke into comics as an assistant on the comic strips Dickie Dare and The Saint, and had just started at Fox Comics in 1948 when he was drafted and served as a private in the U.S. Army through 1950. Comics historian Mark Evanier has written that Morisi worked in the Harvey Comics production department alongside future comics artist Don Heck in 1949. Stationed in Colorado, Morisi wrote for such Fox romance and crime comics as Feature Presentations Magazine and Murder Incorporated.
On his return, Morisi freelanced for companies including Comic Media, Harvey Comics, Fiction House, Lev Gleason Publications, Nesbitt Publishers, Quality Comics, Toby Press and the Marvel Comics precursors Timely and Atlas, where his work appeared in titles including the Westerns Arizona Kid, Cowboy Romances and Texas Kid, and the horror/suspense anthologies Astonishing, Journey into Mystery, Marvel Tales, Strange Tales and Uncanny Tales. In 1954, when editor-in-chief Stan Lee expressed admiration for the cover artist of some Comic Media books, Morisi brought in the artist, his friend and future Silver Age star Heck.
Police force and Peter Cannon
In 1956, Morisi fulfilled a childhood dream of joining the police force, and became an NYPD cop stationed in Brooklyn and in lower Manhattan. To avoid the department knowing he was moonlighting, however legally, Morisi began signing his work only with his initials – PAM, the "M" rendered without connectors, as "|||". He retired from the force in 1976.
Morisi's character Thunderbolt debuted in Peter Cannon ... Thunderbolt #1 (Jan. 1966), part of Charlton editor Dick Giordano's "Action Heroes" superhero line. The series then took over the numbering of the defunct title Son of Vulcan, and ran from issue #50–60 (March–April 1966 – Nov. 1967), by which time Morisi, time-pressed with police work, had turned it over to other hands. When DC Comics bought the rights to Charlton's superhero properties in 1983, Thunderbolt was one of the characters originally planned for use in writer Alan Moore's miniseries Watchmen; when DC chose to save those characters for other uses, Moore adapted him into Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt).
DC published the 12-issue, slightly retitled miniseries Peter Cannon – Thunderbolt (Sept. 1992 – Aug. 1993) by writer-penciler Mike Collins and inker José Marzan Jr. Rights to the character later reverted to Morisi.
Morisi settled in the Dongan Hills section of New York City's Staten Island borough in 1973. There he drew illustrations for the column "Staten Island Stats" in the local newspaper The Staten Island Advance. His wife of 53 years, the former Louise Massie, died in May 2003. They had three sons: Steven, Russ, and Val. He died at Staten Island University Hospital.
- Peter A. Morisi, Social Security Number 076-20-5733, at the Social Security Death Index via FamilySearch.org. Retrieved on March 2, 2013. Archived from the original on November 26, 2013.
- Pete Morisi interview, Comic Book Artist #12 (March 2001), pp. 84–85.
- Evanier, Mark. "Don Heck" (obituary), POV Online (column), March 24, 1995
- Pete Morisi at the Grand Comics Database.
- Pete Morisi at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Additional WebCitation archive on December 24, 2010.
- Reynolds, Richard (1992). Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology. B. T. Batsford Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7134-6560-0.
- "Peter A. Morisi 1928–2003". InOurHeartsForever.com. Archived from the original on December 24, 2010.
- "Pete Morisi (1928–2003)" at the Wayback Machine (archived September 27, 2007), SF/F & Publishing News, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's, October 14, 2003. Original page.
- Schenk, Ramon, ed. "Pete "PAM" Morisi Checklist". Archived from the original on December 24, 2010.
- Peter Cannon...Thunderbolt at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on October 25, 2011.
- Pete Morisi interview and Tribute Issue, Charlton Spotlight #4 (Fall 2005)