Comic Fans: Remember PAM?

I think comics lost something when money and technology came into the artform.

For me, this cover of Thunderbolt #1 captures the particular appeal of the artwork of artist Pete Morisi. Back in the day we only knew him by his initials, PAM, which he rendered as PA||| (there’s probably a font in which that looks right).

There’s an innocent exuberance in Morisi’s drawings that I think feels Kirby-ish. In a time when it was just starting to be common for artists to sign their work, this immediately recognizable artwork, always signed with the enigmatic initials, was intriguing.

Morisi drew Thunderbolt for Charlton in the 60s, at a time when Marvel was reinventing the superhero comic. He was a full-time NYPD policeman (hence the disguised identity). He worked for Stan Lee in the 50s and was responsible for bringing Iron Man artist Don Heck into the Marvel bullpen.

Author: Michael Swaine

Michael Swaine is a writer and editor. He helped launch the first personal computer newsweekly, InfoWorld. He co-authored Fire in the Valley, the seminal tech history book on which the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley was based. He was editor-in-chief of Dr. Dobb’s Journal and has written for and edited several other magazines. His latest creation is PragPub for The Pragmatic Programmers. He and his partner Nancy Groth own Summer Jo’s, an organic farm, restaurant, and bakery in Grants Pass, Oregon.