(born April 22
, Indianapolis, Indiana
) is an American comic book
writer best known for his work for Marvel Comics
and DC Comics
, particularly in the 1970s. His pseudonyms
have included John Harkness
and Cliff Garnett
Englehart's first work in comics was as an art assistant to Neal Adams
on a story in Warren Publishing
's black-and-white horror comics
#10 (March 1971). However, Englehart found his true calling as a writer. Influenced by writer Roy Thomas
, who edited his first stories for Marvel, Englehart brought a complex, freewheeling style to Marvel's comics, often dealing with philosophical or political issues in a superhero story, such as a celebrated run on Captain America
(with artists Sal Buscema
and Frank Robbins
) that reflected the then-ongoing Watergate scandal
Thomas said in a 2007 interview that Englehart
was a summer replacement or some such for Gary Friedrich. When Gary wanted to go away for a while, he got Steve, who was sort of a young aspiring artist when he came up to Neal [Adams]'s studio, and he ended up at Marvel as a proofreader. Then he wanted to write, and I believe he wrote a few pages of a sample script. Anyway, I gave him "The Beast" [in Amazing Adventures] to try out on, and that worked out pretty well.
Englehart also wrote The Avengers
from 1972 to 1976, and had a brief but potent run on Doctor Strange
(originally with artist Frank Brunner
, later with Gene Colan
), in which Strange's mentor, the Ancient One
, died, and Strange became the new Sorcerer Supreme. Englehart and Brunner, audaciously, also created a multi-issue storyline in which a sorcerer named Sise-Neg
("Genesis" spelled backward) goes back through history, collecting all magical energies, until he reaches the beginning of the universe, becomes all-powerful and creates it anew, leaving Strange to wonder whether this was, paradoxically, the original creation (Marvel Premiere
#14). Editor-in-chief Stan Lee
, seeing the issue after publication, wrote Englehart and Brunner to print a retraction saying this was not God but a
god, so as to avoid offending religious readers. The writer and artist concocted a fake fan letter from a fictitious minister praising the story, and mailed it to Marvel from Texas; Marvel unwittingly printed the letter, and dropped the retraction order.
Englehart reconciled the existence of Captain America and sidekick Bucky in Marvel's 1950s precursor, Atlas Comics, an anomaly that had been ignored since Cap's 1964 reintroduction to Marvel, in which his newly-retconned history stated that he had been in suspended animation since the end of World War II, when Bucky had been killed.
In 1976, after a dispute with incoming Marvel editor-in-chief Gerry Conway
, Englehart moved to DC Comics. There he wrote Justice League of America
, with artist Dick Dillin (Justice League of America #139-146,149,150)
, and a critically lauded eight-issue arc of Batman
stories in Detective Comics
#469-476, (with pencilers Walt Simonson
and Marshall Rogers
and inker Terry Austin
). He also created the comic book version of the Spear of Destiny
, which has since been used by several other DC writers as an important plot device, most notably Roy Thomas
in All-Star Squadron
. Englehart temporarily left comics at this juncture, moving to Europe before his first issue of Detective
was published. During this time he wrote a fantasy
novel, The Point Man
, Aug. 1981, ISBN 0-440-12378-X).
His run on Detective Comics was reprinted into trade paperback in 1999 as Batman: Strange Apparitions (ISBN 1-56389-500-5). In 2006, Englehart reunited with Rogers and Austin on the miniseries Batman: Dark Detective (reprinted as a trade paperback, ISBN 1-4012-0898-3).
Return to Marvel
In 1983, Marvel's creator-owned
imprint Epic Comics
, a series he had earlier created at Eclipse Comics
with Rogers, in collaboration with artist Steve Leialoha
(and later Chas Truog and Todd McFarlane
Englehart returned to mainstream comics later that decade with stints on West Coast Avengers, the second Vision and the Scarlet Witch miniseries (with artist Richard Howell), and Fantastic Four (during which editorial disputes led to his using the pseudonym John Harkness, a name he had first used on his last issue of Mr. Miracle; the name evokes Jonathan Harker, of the Dracula novel, and Agatha Harkness, a supporting character in the Fantastic Four).
Around this time, Englehart also wrote DC Comics' Green Lantern
, and in 1987 wrote the DC crossover series Millennium
. In 1992, he co-created the Ultraverse
comics universe for Malibu Comics
and wrote Night Man
and the superhero-team series The Strangers
. Night Man
was later adapted for a syndicated television series
For Claypool Comics, he wrote the supernatural series Phantom of Fear City #1-12 (May 1993 - May 1995).
Englehart wrote a screenplay for an unproduced film, Majorca. The screenplay was published as a book by Black Coat Press. He has admitted to writing the novel Hellstorm in the TALON Force series under the house pseudonym Cliff Garnett.
In the 2000s, Englehart has combined occasional comics writing with scripting for TV and computer games and writing books. He has also written a number of series novels under house pseudonyms.
: "We'd rampage around New York City. There was one night when a bunch of us, including Jim Starlin, went out on the town. We partied all day, then did some more acid
, then roamed around town until dawn and saw all sorts of amazing things (most of which ended up in Master of Kung Fu
, which Jim and I were doing at the time)".
- 1977: nominated for Favourite Comicbook Writer at the Eagle Awards
- 1978: Favourite Writer at the Eagle Awards
- 1978: Roll of Honour at the Eagle Awards
- 1978: nominated for Favourite Single Story at the Eagle Awards for Detective Comics #472: I am the Batman with Marshall Rogers
- 1978: nominated for Favourite Continued Story at the Eagle Awards for Detective Comics #471-472 with Marshall Rogers
- 1979: Inkpot Award
- 1979: nominated for Best Comic Book Writer (US) at the Eagle Awards
- 1979: nominated for Best Continued Story at the Eagle Awards for Detective Comics #475-476 with Marshall Rogers