Elliot S. Maggin

Elliot S. Maggin, also spelled Elliot S! Maggin (born 1950),[3] is an American writer of comic books, film, television, and novels. He was a main writer for DC Comics during the Bronze and early Modern ages of comics in the 1970s and 1980s. He is particularly associated with the character of Superman.

Elliot S. Maggin
Elliot S! Maggin.jpg
Born1950 (age 69–70)
Alma materBrandeis University
Columbia University
EmployerSelf (freelance writer)
DC Comics
New Hampshire public schools
Kaiser Permanente[1]
Known forAction Comics
Political partyDemocratic
Pamela King
m. 1983; div. 1988)
m. 1991; div. 2011)

He has been active with the Democratic Party of the United States, twice running for the nomination of his party for the U.S. House of Representatives—once from New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district in 1984 and from California's 24th congressional district in 2008.


DC ComicsEdit

Maggin started working as a professional writer in his teens, selling historical stories about the Boer War to a boys' magazine. He attended Brandeis University, where he wrote a term paper titled "What Can One Man Do?" for a class during his junior year.[4][5] When it received a grade of B-, Maggin disagreed with the assessment, remade it as a comic book script, and sent his script to DC Comics.[4] It was passed around the DC offices, and Neal Adams chose to draw the script.[4] The story was published in Green Lantern #87 (Dec. 1971-Jan. 1972).[6] Green Lantern editor Julius Schwartz commented that "I’ve been a comix editor for over 27 years and never... have I ever come across a ‘first-time’ script... that can come within a light-year of equaling ‘What Can One Man Do?’ in professional slickness and comix know-how. ... Indeed, to equalize this thrilling experience, I must go back three decades when, as a literary agent, I sold the very first story of a young Ray Bradbury!"[7] Though the initial grade was not amended, Maggin became a writer for DC.

During Maggin's time at Brandeis, he befriended the university's vice-president, meeting his family.[8] During one of the meetings, the vice-president's stepson (and future comic book writer) Jeph Loeb suggested a story that would eventually be called "Must There Be a Superman?".[4] Maggin used the idea, which became his initial foray into the Superman franchise,[8] and it was published in Superman #247 (Jan. 1972).[6] He wrote Green Arrow stories as well, where his sense of humor was allowed far more freedom in the loose dialogue of the main character.[9]

Superman #300 (June 1976) featured an out-of-continuity story by Maggin and Cary Bates which imagined the infant Superman landing on Earth in 1976 and becoming a superhero in 2001. The tale was an inspiration for Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son limited series published in 2003.[10] He was the initial writer of the Batman Family title and paired Batgirl and Robin together as a team in the first issue (Sept.-Oct. 1975)[11] Maggin wrote a licensed Welcome Back, Kotter comic book series[12] which was based on the popular ABC sitcom. His credits for Marvel Comics include an adaptation of The Iliad in Marvel Classics Comics #26 (1977), and two superhero tales, The Spectacular Spider-Man #16 (March 1978) and The Incredible Hulk #230 (Dec. 1978).[6] The first issue of DC Graphic Novel featured an adaptation of the Star Raiders video game by Maggin and artist José Luis García-López.[6]

Maggin wrote Superman #400 (Oct. 1984) which featured work by several popular comics artists including the only major DC work by Jim Steranko as well as an introduction by noted science-fiction author Ray Bradbury.[13][14] Maggin's contributions to the DC Multiverse include Superboy-Prime[15] and Lexcorp.[16][17] His last Superman story, "...And We Are the Dreamers of the Dreams!", appeared in Superman #420 (June 1986)[6] and he was one of the contributors to the DC Challenge limited series in that same year.[18]

Maggin served as an editor for DC from 1989 to 1991 and oversaw the licensed TSR titles Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Avatar, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Gammarauders, and Spelljammer. He edited the Challengers of the Unknown limited series which was written by Jeph Loeb and drawn by Tim Sale.[19]

Origin of professional nameEdit

Because comic book scripts tend to favor the exclamation mark as the punctuation of choice, Maggin routinely used it instead of a period. Out of habit, he once signed his own name "Elliot S! Maggin" and editor Julius Schwartz liked the distinctive rhythm of the name, insisting that Maggin's name henceforth be written that way.[5] Explaining in an interview:

I got into the habit of putting exclamation marks at the end of sentences instead of periods because reproduction on pulp paper was so lousy. So once, by accident, when I signed a script I put the exclamation point after my 'S' because I was just used to going to that end of the typewriter at the time. And Julie saw it, and before he told me, he goes into the production room and issues a general order that any mention of Elliot Maggin's name will be punctuated with an exclamation mark rather than a period from now on until eternity.[20]

Beyond comic booksEdit

In addition to the hundreds of stories Maggin wrote for the DC comics universe, he has written television scripts, stories for film, animation and journalistic pieces. Many of them have continued to show his allegiance to comic book characters. He wrote two Superman novels, Last Son of Krypton[21] and Miracle Monday.[22] He wrote the novelization of the graphic novel Kingdom Come based on the story by Mark Waid, and a novel featuring the Marvel mutant superhero team Generation X. He has occasionally sold scripts to non-print versions of superheroes, including Spider-Man (1994), X-Men (1992), and Batman: The Animated Series.

Besides his work in comics, he has received compensation for raising horses, skiing instruction, teaching at various high schools and colleges, writing stories for Atari video games, and working on websites. As of 2008, he had worked for several years as a developmental learning consultant for Kaiser Permanente.[1]


In 1984, Maggin first ran for political office as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district but was defeated in the Democratic primary.[23] After the election, the campaign was the subject of a lawsuit brought by the Federal Election Commission, in which his campaign treasurer and the committee itself had to pay fines for failing to submit a 1984 quarterly report.[24]

Maggin was the Democratic nominee for a seat in the New York State Assembly in 1990. He was defeated by the Republican incumbent.[25]

On May 21, 2007, Maggin announced[26] that he would be running for the 2008 Democratic party nomination for California's 24th congressional district seat. On February 1, 2008, Maggin posted on the main page of his website that he had decided not to run after all,[27] effectively ending his 2008 campaign. In an essay written the following day, he cited principally financial reasons for his withdrawal.[28] It appears that at no point during this campaign did he ever officially file with the Federal Election Commission.[29]

Maggin's campaign received the endorsement of fellow comics writer Tony Isabella.[30]

Electoral historyEdit

New Hampshire District 2 September 11, 1984 Democratic primary election result[23]

Candidate Votes Percentage
Larry Converse 5,936 41.59%
Elliot S. Maggin 4,710 33.00%
Carmen C. Chimento 3,554 24.90%
Judd A. Gregg[Note 1] 74 0.52%

New York State Assembly District 19 November 6, 1990 General election[25]

Candidate (Party) Votes Percentage
Charles J. O'Shea (R) 18,645 60.65%
Elliot S. Maggin (D) 10,373 33.74%
Edward J. Brennan (Right to Life) 1,722 5.60%


Several of his works of fiction are available exclusively online, including the short story Luthor's Gift and the novella Starwinds Howl, both of which take place in his Superman continuity. He has presented a novel-in-progress, Lancer, on his personal website.[31]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1983, Maggin married Pamela King. The two subsequently divorced in 1988, though they re-married three years later in 1991. They were divorced again in 2011.[2] The couple has two children together, Sarah and Jeremy Maggin.

Comic book appearancesEdit

Maggin is himself a character in the DC Universe. During the Bronze Age of Comic Books, Maggin was a known resident of Earth-Prime and a major character in Justice League of America issues #123-124.[32][33] In the Modern Age of Comic Books, Maggin cameoed as Oliver Queen's campaign manager in 52 issue #24.[34] This appearance references a term paper which had been awarded a B- at Brandeis University and was subsequently Maggin's first sale to DC, which posited Green Arrow's mayoral campaign in Star City.[4]


Maggin received an Inkpot Award at the San Diego Comic-Con International in 2013.[35] In 2016, he received the Bill Finger Award.[36]


Comic booksEdit

Continuity ComicsEdit

  • Revengers Trade Issue #1 (1992)

DC ComicsEdit

Marvel ComicsEdit


  • Superman: Last Son of Krypton December 1978, 238 pages, ISBN 978-0446823197
  • Superman: Miracle Monday May 1981, 205 pages, ISBN 978-0446911962
  • Generation X (with Scott Lobdell) June 1997, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1572972230
  • Kingdom Come March 1998, 352 pages, ISBN 978-0446522342


  1. ^ a b Maggin, Elliot S. "A Quick Bio of Elliot S! Maggin". Archived from the original on November 21, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Bachand, Bruce (August 1998). "Interview: Elliot S! Maggin". Fanzing.com. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  3. ^ Jerry, Bails; Ware, Hames. "Maggin, Elliot". Who's Who in American Comics. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e Callahan, Timothy (September 4, 2008). "Elliot S! Maggin's Noble Humanity". When Words Collide. Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 15, 2008. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Eury, Michael (ed.) (February 2013). "A Super Salute to Elliot S! Maggin". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (62): 20–21.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b c d e Elliot S. Maggin at the Grand Comics Database
  7. ^ Wells, John (December 2010). "Green Lantern/Green Arrow: And Through Them Change an Industry". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (45): 39–54.
  8. ^ a b Cronin, Brian (September 29, 2005). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #18!". Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  9. ^ Kingman, Jim (May 2013). "The Ballad of Ollie and Dinah". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (64): 13–14. Green Arrow was the character with whom I most identified.
  10. ^ Stroud, Bryan D. (December 2013). "Superman #300". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (69): 31–33.
  11. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. DC launched Batman Family with its memorable debut of the Batgirl-Robin team. Scribe Elliot S! Maggin and artist Mike Grell unleashed 'The Invader From Hell'.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  12. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 171: "The first issue [was] written by Elliot S! Maggin with spot-on likenesses rendered by Jack Sparling."
  13. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 209 "The Man of Steel celebrated his 400th issue in star-studded fashion with the help of some of the comic industry's best and brightest. Written by Elliot S! Maggin and featuring a cover by Howard Chaykin, the extra-long issue featured the art of Frank Miller, Brian Bolland, and Moebius, among others. The issue also featured a visionary tale written and drawn by Jim Steranko, and an introduction by famous science-fiction author Ray Bradbury."
  14. ^ Addiego, Frankie (December 2013). "Superman #400". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (69): 68–70.
  15. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 215: "Superboy made his innocent debut in the pages of [DC Comics Presents #87], written by Elliot S! Maggin and illustrated by Curt Swan."
  16. ^ Cronin, Brian (October 19, 2005). "Chat Transcript: Elliot S! Maggin". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 17, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  17. ^ Eury, Michael (2006). The Krypton Companion. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 143. ISBN 1893905616.
  18. ^ Greenberger, Robert (August 2017). "It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time: A Look at the DC Challenge!". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (98): 39.
  19. ^ Elliot S. Maggin (editor) at the Grand Comics Database
  20. ^ Galdieri, Chris (December 19, 1997). "Elliot S! Maggin Seduces the Innocent". Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  21. ^ Maggin, Elliot S. (1978). Superman, Last Son of Krypton. New York, New York: Warner Books. p. 238. ISBN 978-0446823197.
  22. ^ Maggin, Elliot S. (1981). Superman: Miracle Monday. New York, New York: Warner Books. pp. 205. ISBN 978-0446911962.
  23. ^ a b "NH District 2 – D Primary". Our Campaigns. Archived from the original on November 11, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  24. ^ "FEC v. Maggin for Congress Committee". FEC Record. Federal Election Commission. November 1993. Archived from the original on June 28, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  25. ^ a b "NY Assembly 19". Our Campaigns. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  26. ^ Maggin, Elliot S. (May 21, 2007). "To My Pop Cultural Brethren". Maggin.com. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
  27. ^ Elliot's Universe Archived 2008-08-21 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "Maggin, Elliot S! "Life Intervenes" 2 February 2008". Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2008.
  29. ^ "Summary Reports Search Results – 2007–2008 Cycle". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  30. ^ Isabella, Tony (August 5, 2007). "Elliot S! Maggin For Congress". Tony's Other Online Tips. Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  31. ^ Stroud, Bryan (March 31, 2009). "Elliot S. Maggin Interview". The Silver Age Sage. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012.
  32. ^ Bates, Cary; Maggin, Elliot S. (w), Dillin, Dick (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Where on Earth Am I?" Justice League of America 123 (October 1975), DC Comics
  33. ^ Bates, Cary; Maggin, Elliot S. (w), Dillin, Dick (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Avenging Ghosts of the Justice Society!" Justice League of America 124 (November 1975), DC Comics
  34. ^ Johns, Geoff; Morrison, Grant; Rucka, Greg; Waid, Mark (w), Giffen, Keith; Jimenez, Phil (p), Lanning, Andy (i). "Just Imagine" 52 24 (October 18, 2006), DC Comics
  35. ^ "Comic-Con International's Newest Inkpot Award Winners!". San Diego Comic-Con International. 2013. Archived from the original on May 8, 2015.
  36. ^ "Elliot S! Maggin, Richard E. Hughes to Receive 2016 Bill Finger Award". San Diego Comic-Con International. 2016. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2017.


  1. ^ Gregg was the Republican Party nominee in the general election but appeared on the ballot in the Democratic primary as well.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Len Wein
Superman writer
Succeeded by
Gerry Conway
Preceded by
Cary Bates
Action Comics writer
(generally backup stories)

Succeeded by
Cary Bates
Preceded by
Dennis O'Neil
Shazam! writer
Succeeded by
Dennis O'Neil
Preceded by
Batman Family writer
Succeeded by
Bob Rozakis