Everyone wants to leave some sort of legacy after they’re gone. Whether it’s giving your kids a better life than you had or being known as a humanitarian. We’d all like there to be a permanent reminder of our time on earth.
As for legendary Marvel comics writer Mark Gruenwald, He came up with a Completely original way to leave him mark on the industry he’d dedicated his life to.
Though born and raised in Wisconsin his life really began when he was twenty five after he moved to New York and started working for Marvel Comics. If anyone in history ate, slept and breathed comic books it was Mark Gruenwald ( or Gruney as he was known to his friends )
Within a few years he quickly moved from assistant editor to editor and finally to the writer of many of the companies flagship titles. While he wrote or co-wrote many classic stories featuring Thor, Spiderman and the Avengers. It was his ten year run writing Captain America for which he’ll always be remembered.
In the mid nineteen eighties superhero comics were undergoing a drastic change. The old fashion America and apple pie type heroes were being overshadowed by dark anti-heroes such as Wolverine and the Punisher.
Mark’s Take on Captain America was to write him simply as a normal person. He delved into the Sentinel of Liberty’s private life and his personal beliefs. All this led up to a story line where Cap is asked by the president to do something he knows in his heart is wrong and he chooses instead to walk away.
The one major regret he had in his career was never having the chance to write any of his favorite DC characters, in particularly Superman and the Justice League.
His solution was the twelve issue Mini-series Squadron Supreme. Where a group of heroes (who are very similar to the Justice League) lose touch with reality and install themselves as dictators over the Untied States in order to create a utopia. The book is now considered to be Mark Gruewald’s Masterpiece.
He was eventually promoted to Executive editor and kept up his writing duties on Captain America until he left the book in 1995. For the next year he basically worked as a fill-in writer until August twelfth 1996 when he suffered a massive heart attack and passed away.
Shortly after his death, Mark’s widow Catherine contacted marvel and told them that his last will and testament had requested that he be cremated and his ashes placed in the ink of a comic book.
Marvel had originally planed to only release a limited edition poster that contained Gruewald’s ashes. His widow persisted and a year later a trade paperback was printed containing all twelve issues of Squadron Supreme and the Mortal Remains of the man who created it.
Mark Gruewald was known as a bit of a practical joker and you could say that this was just one last gag to pull on everyone, but I think he knew that as long as a part of him was sitting on the bookshelf of someone who loved the art of comic books as much as he did then that part of him would live forever!