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Duffy Vohland

Bio: Duffy Vohland was an artist in the early 1970s for Marvel on such titles as Savage Sword of Conan and Super-Villain Team-Up. At first working for Charlton Comics, he became one of the members of the "Marvel Bullpen" and helped bring John Byrne into the Marvel fold.

Vohland passed away in 1982.

The following remembrance was written by DC Comics editor Paul Kupperberg, who, along with Prism Comics president Roger Klorese, used to assist Duffy in writing and production work:

Duffy (born Everett Eugene, a constant source of embarrassment to him; his Dad nicknamed him Duffy, after the radio program Duffy's Tavern) was a dear, dear friend of mine for many years. He was part of the Indiana comics "mafia," and we first "met" when he started writing for the fanzines Paul Levitz and I did in the early 1970s (The Comic Reader and Etcetera). Duffy was a big, lovable screw-up. Not an evil bone in his body, but a definite love for the wicked. He was a big guy with a huge reddish-blond beard—had kind of a demented Santa Claus-look thing going for him—who enjoyed a certain level of flamboyance, wearing loud shirts, bright red sweater vests, a deer-stalker cap and a huge gold-and-silver embroidered blue velvet shoulder bag. He moved to New York from Indiana in the early-70s and settled in Brooklyn, not far from where I lived and where TCR and Etcetera were published.

Duffy worked at Marvel, starting, if memory serves me, editing FOOM. Of course, trying to put out any publication on "Duffy Time" was a hazardous undertaking and I remember many a day in the mid-70s spent at Duffy's apartment, ghosting articles that ran under his byline or helping him slog through the physical production of the magazine. (As I recall, we also used to get together to write the letter column for some early Crazy Magazine specials, making up bizarre letters and damn near wetting ourselves with laughter… nobody else might have thought the stuff was funny, but we were definitely amused.) Later on, he edited Marvel's line of British weekly black & white reprint magazines, and, after that, the details become fuzzy. He wanted nothing more than to be in comics, as a writer or a penciller or an inker or editor or production artist or… whatever! He was happy just being on the fringe. I think his greatest chance of success lay in inking, but he never focused long enough or hard enough on it to become good enough to ever break though.

Duffy was a sweet guy who either had a great big smile on his face and a devilish twinkle in his eye… or suffered in a dark room with terrible migraine headaches. He was also diabetic, which he could have controlled through diet and by following doctor's instructions, but my friend Duffy was a slave to his appetites and wasn't about to give up pizza or milkshakes just because he was suffering from a potentially deadly disease. By the early 80s, Duffy's health had started to fail and he was eventually hospitalized for renal failure. He'd lost a lot of weight, his kidneys had shut down… but even then, Duffy refused to follow orders and let himself get better. For all his outward jocularity, infectious chuckle and booming laughter (when Duffy laughed, the room shook and tears ran down his face), he had a dark and decidedly self-destructive side. The last time I saw him was when I visited him at St. Vincent's Hospital in NYC and wound up yelling at him because he had friends smuggling pizza and junk food in for him. A few days later I got the phone call. His body had just shut down and he died.

Duffy was, to say the least, a character. I could go on and on with stories about him, but suffice it to say, he was a dear, sweet friend who I miss to this day. As Bob Layton said, he had an uncanny ability to piss off his friends… and an equally uncanny way of laughing his way back into your life. I just thought readers should know a little more about this wacky, gentle giant of a fan.


[Spectrum, Posted 10/23/07]
On Saturday, July 28th, Andy Mangels moderated the 20th "Gays in Comics" panel at the Comic-Con International in San Diego. The panel featured a wide variety of participants and a wide range of topics. On hand were Alison Bechdel, the writer/artist of the critical best-seller Fun Home and the comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For"; Chuck Kim, a writer for the Heroes TV series and many DC Comics titles; Charles "Zan" Christensen, the co-founder of Prism Comics and…

This page last updated on 4/10/08.

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