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Marvel Universe 

Creator:Gruenwald, Mark

 

Universe
Real World

Real Name
Mark Gruenwald

Aliases
Gru, "Armadillo", "the patron saint of Marveldom"

Identity
No dual identity

Citizenship
U.S.A., deceased

Place of Birth
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

First Appearance
(script) Spider-Woman #9 (1978); (in Earth-616) Marvel Two-In-One #60 (1980)

Origin
June 18, 1953

Mark Gruenwald was the designer and developer of the original Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (OHotMU). The OHotMU was the first attempt to catalog and specify the people, places, things that populated the Marvel Universe. From aliens to entities, Iron Man's armor to Wolverine's skeleton, no stone was unturned by Mark and his crew.

Mark was hired as an assistant editor at Marvel Comics on February 13, 1978 after submitting a sample of his work to Editor in Chief, Jim Shooter. The sample, the fanzine Omniverse, was in certain ways a precursor to the sort of work Gruenwald would later become notorious for. On January 20, 1982, Gruenwald was promoted to editor of the Avengers related titles. Directed by Shooter, he began work on the original OHotMU shortly after that. Gruenwald has scripted such titles as Spider-Woman, Thor, Quasar, DP7, Captain America, and Squadrom Supreme.

As Executive Editor, he oversaw the entire Marvel Universe as its official continuity cop. His boundless energy also led him to preside over the Bullpen Bulletins page, where he strived to bring back the fun and spirit that embodied the feature in its early days under Stan Lee. He oversaw the Marvel side of the Marvel vs. DC crossover, and the resulting "Amalgam" titles.

His run as the regular writer on Captain America lasted an amazing 137 issues, forever linking Mark to Cap. During his tenure, Mark had Steve Rogers stripped of his Captain America identity in a groundbreaking, fondly remembered storyline that brought the series to new heights. He introduced the Super Patriot - who would later become the USAgent - and the Serpent Society, a criminal organization that would become one of Cap's most popular features.

Mark was also responsible for the classic Squadron Supreme limited series, which many fans cite as a creative high point for both Marvel and Mark. Its original, bold, and uncompromising look at super heroes predated such other legendary works as the Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. In fact, Mark was very enthusiastically working on a revival of the series at the time of his death.

To say that Mark was much beloved by everyone who knew and worked with him would be too much of an understatement. At the Marvel offices, he made himself responsible for keeping up morale, displaying a seemingly endless supply of optimism and enthusiasm for comics in general and Marvel specifically. He cheerfully organized such events as the Marvel Halloween party, the Corporate Challenge running competition and the athletic events at the annual picnic. He could always be counted on for a great practical joke on an unsuspecting staffer (usually his boss, Tom DeFalco, or former editors Fabian Nicieza and Glenn Herdling), or an amusing play on words.

Mark must also be credited for the ever-popular Marvel Olympics games, which he conducted at comic conventions throughout the country. Mark wanted the fans to have fun at conventions, and to give them something more than just a dry question and answer panel. Along with former Marvel editor Mike Carlin and long time bullpenner Eliot R. Brown, he wrote and starred in "Cheap Laughs," a sketch comedy TV show for Manhattan cable television. He was a collector of comics, books, and action figures, which he always displayed in his house. He loved the outdoors, and was always on the go, either climbing up his self-built treehouse or organizing a game of volleyball. The list of his incredible accomplishments goes on, and it's impossible to fully explain just how special he was to so many people.

On August 12, 1996, Mark passed away at age 43 after suffering a fatal heart attack.

Mark's cameo appearances in comics are detailed on the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe along with a listing of the characters he's responsible for bringing to life. Transcripts of his wit and wisdom from the editorial pages can be found here on writer Michael Hoskin's homepage.


references:

OHotMUDE #4 (March 1985), "Bullpen Bulletins" in Marvel Comics published Dec. 1996 and http://www.geocities.com/mh_prime


Contributors: MikeFichera



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