This group pic was taken back on June 1, 2005.
The US Air Force’s Office of Public Affairs invited the comic book industry on a tour of Maguire Air Force Base in New Jersey. They did this in order to educate us on the Air Force itself and to show their availability to us should we ever do stories in our comics featuring the Air Force. The OPA can offer consultants and reference materials to help with an accurate representation of the Air Force in our stories. They already provide this service for movies and television but they wanted to show that they were also available to comic books as well. At the time, they were already working with DC Comics. In those days, Hal Jordan, Green Lantern’s secret identity, was an Air Force pilot. I wasn’t sure if we could put Archie in the Air Force but the idea of a personal tour around an Air Force base was irresistible to me.
The tour was fascinating and the Air Force took great care of us. We were treated to lunch and we were each seated with a number of officers and servicemen. They were as curious about us as we were about them. We were shown all sorts of equipment, services, and of course big giant planes! We were introduced to the Maguire’s squadron of falcons. These were real, actual falcons. The base keeps these birds to fly out and thin out the flocks of wild indigenous birds near the base who might otherwise get sucked into the engines of all the planes taking off and landing at the base. We were also shown how one plane can refuel another plane in mid-air. It is really as difficult as it sounds! It really was a great, great and informative day.
There are a lot of Archie folks in the picture above. I’m in front on the far right in the red cap. Directly behind me is my pal and Die Kitty Die partner, Dan Parent. Wearing the cool shades towards the middle of the group is Archie comics co-president, Victor Gorelick, the man who discovered me twenty-two years ago when I was a young third year student at the Kubert School. Next to Victor in the blue cap is Nelson Ribeiro who at the time was Archie Comics’ digest editor. Now at Marvel Comics, Nelson proved to be the Nostrodamus of Archie Comics. He predicted the future of the company every step of the way! Behind Nelson’s left shoulder is Michael Silberkleit, owner of Archie Comics, who has since passed away. From DC Comics, you can see Garth Ennis, Jamal Ingle, and others!