INTERVIEW: VIC CARRABOTTA’S STARLADY
“I am Starlady” — Vic Carrabotta
Faithful readers of ComicBooked, head to your kitchen or to the barista at the counter and get yourselves a hot coffee or a cold beverage. When you come back, settle in to your chair because I have a story to tell you. It is a story about love and passion, about following your dreams and listening to your heart. It is a story that has spanned over half a century and yet is still yearning for it’s next chapter to unfold. It’s a story of legacy, a story of a Star Lady. This is the story of my interview with the legendary comic book artist Victor “Quick Vic” Carrabotta.
I have to be honest with you: When my EIC first approached me with this opportunity, I was a bit apprehensive. Not because I was unwilling to do it, but because I was nervous. Vic is a legend in the industry. Vic has been in comic books longer than Marvel (as we know it today) has been in comic books. Vic is one of the rare few who can say he worked alongside Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, who tosses out names like Neal Adams casually in the course of conversation, whose name graces the same comic book issues as Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Joe Sinnot, Dick Ayers and the like. You know, the industry giants, the legends, the folks whose names still resonate (or will) with awe long after they’ve passed. Vic is a man who can and should stand proudly toe to toe with those names in the hallowed halls of comic book history.
And I was set to interview him.
But this isn’t about me so let’s turn our focus, faithful readers, to the other side of my telephone line and I will tell you what ‘Quick Vic’ told me during our conversation.
Upon speaking with Carrabotta, any apprehension that I might have felt quickly faded away. For all his history and triumph in the comic book world, Vic remains a humble, down-to-earth gentleman. Vic is so easy to speak with and he makes you feel like you’ve known each other for quite some time. I find that refreshing and unique – which is a theme we will touch on again in a moment. While we are here to talk about this latest project, currently in crowd-funding, I want to bring you back to the beginning for a moment. I want you to know Vic as I got to know him during our thirty minutes.
Vic has always been artistically inclined. He told me he started drawing when he was 8 years old. That was in 1938, the same year that Action Comics # 1 introduced the world to Superman. Shortly thereafter, the world was caught up in the grip and the turmoil of world war and, in 1948 at 19 years old, Vic joined the Unite States Marine Corps and was in the band, stationed out of Camp Lejeune. His wife was pregnant and so, upon honorable discharge, he was able to return to the states and later found a stint working for Leatherneck Magazine. “I wish I had recognized the opportunity that that was when I was 19” Vic said to me.
During his time working construction, Carrabotta’s wife recognized his true passion and talent. She supported him fully. “She said to me, make a portfolio and bring it around to some of the publishing houses.” He reminisced with me over the phone the time fondly and vividly, recalling the orange folio within which he was to present his work.
“So I went to the Empire State Building” Carrabotta told me. “That’s where Atlas Comics was at the time” Indeed, fourteen floors up in the Empire State Building, the building itself a symbol of American ingenuity and progression resided the very office that created work with a similar symbolism attached. Vic met with The King, Jack Kirby but, as he tells me “It was a don’t call us we’ll call you situation” But when Jack and Vic hit the lobby and Jack saw Vic’s wife, pregnant as she was, Jack Kirby walked Vic back up to his office. “He wrote something on a letter, sealed it in an envelope and said take this over to Stan Lee.” So he did, portfolio in hand; “I said to Stan, do you want to see my work? Stan opened the envelope, read the letter and said No. Jack says you’re good. and he threw a script across the desk and tells me ‘I want this back in a week'”
That piece turned out to be turned out to be a story called “The House On The Hill” that featured in May 1952 with Astonishing #13. This was during the waning years of the Golden Age of Comic Books and the dawn of the Cold War and a full 2 years before Frederic Wertham’s book ushered in a new comic code era and the Silver Age of comic books. Yes, Vic has been in the industry that long. That same piece was the catalyst for six more years of comic book artistry and freelance work side by side with Stan Lee; he created hundreds of pieces and is credited with an immense body of work through subsequent decades.
Carrabotta went on to a career as a storyboard artist, finding employment as an art director and creating award-winning work for a variety televisions shows and international companies. He is credited with “posters, really everything” for Disney’s 101 Dalmatians.
Carrabotta’s love and passion for his art has given him the youthful drive and excitement that exudes with a certain energy and spark when he speaks of it. You can hear it in his voice, you can almost picture a smile on his face as he speaks.
And that brings us to the present. To Starlady.
Starlady has been a project long in the making. Carrabotta, while working story boards, had the idea and vision for a script based on Starlady. Then, Vic tells me, Jackie (his publisher) said; “Why don’t you do a comic book with Starlady?”
So he did. And it’s genius. He was continually looking for writers and it was by chance that a gentleman named Ren Bertrand approached him as a fan. He created a script that worked with Vic’s vision.
The status quo is for superheroes to use their gifts and powers to fight. For a good cause it may be, however the fighting and violence is pervasive in comic books. Starlady seeks to shake up that status quo – to give the world another option, another tool besides war; to give us something that is refreshing and unique ( I told you we would touch on this again). Starlady’s power is love. Indeed, love is one of the greatest powers in the universe.
Through love, Starlady is able to not only win over her opponents but hopefully fundamentally change them.
“Elegant, black, wise, and beautiful, Starlady handles villains a little differently.”
Carrabotta’s Indiegogo page states this proudly (which can be seen here). Head over to the Indiegogo page – at the link – to support this project, this comic book that has been created through decades of creative cultivation. Carrabotta’s passion, his legacy needs your support to come to life. He needs you – the faithful readers – to help him bring Starlady to you. Like I said when we began, this is a story about love and passion and following your dreams. This is a story yearning for it’s next chapter to unfold. Starlady is the next chapter.
This comic book legend, US Marine Corps veteran and Octogenarian has seen his share of stories, ideas and certainly his share of violence. He is truly giving us something unique. Starlady is his passion. Starlady is his love. Starlady is his legacy. Starlady IS Vic. “What a lot of people don’t get at first” He said to me coyly, “I am Starlady.”
“Everyone needs a Starlady in their life.” — Vic Carrabotta