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Chris Alexander tells me news of Dave Everitt's death came just in time for him to add a farewell to the masthead of the upcoming issue.
That's Dave, ever the professional. Even in death, he can meet a deadline.
When Dave Everitt, who passed away on May 7 (see previous story here) was first hired at the outfit that fellow FANGORIA founder Ed Naha liked to call “The House of Pain” (borrowing from H.G. Wells the term the “beast-men” used to refer to the lab of the very mad Dr. Moreau), he wasn’t attached to Fango; instead, he was more or less a floating staffer who could be applied wherever the need was greatest.
Actually, in those days the entire staff was floated about that way, which had its good points—one day you might be plowing through the STARLOG mailbag in search of publishable letters (maybe three percent of the total), and the next you’d find yourself buried under a “special project” to deliver a magazine all about the late, great John Wayne, before the Duke actually succumbed to the nuke dust he had breathe in on the Nevada set of THE CONQUEROR.
I believe I was the first employee to rebel against that way of running the company. After FANGORIA was launched, I soon caught a fever—a determination to give all I had to make Fango succeed—and I refused to tolerate deviations from that goal. I regularly refused any assignment that would distract me. Other employees, who hadn’t previously seemed to realize that they could say no to these projects, soon started doing the same.
But even with those distractions out of the way, I never could have made Fango on my own, and luckily, I had the help of some wonderful people, starting with my first officemate, the late CINEMAGIC editor David Hutchison, whose article on Tom Savini in issue #1 prevented the mag from being a total disaster. Our first managing editor, Bob Woods, was shared with STARLOG, but as our sales picked up, we went monthly and soon I had tons of help from Bob Greenberger, a hardworking managing editor who’s never gotten enough thanks and credit from me.
But Greenberger had a bug up his butt about comic books, and was soon agitating for the company to let him create a new magazine about them. That mag, COMICS SCENE, would have rough going, despite great work by Greenberger and his cohorts in putting together an engaging, challenging package—but it did succeed in putting him where he wanted to be: He’s now in the latter days of an accomplished career as a distinguished editor for both Marvel and DC.
When Everitt came on staff, I noticed right away his ability to produce intelligent, publishable copy as fast as he could type, his near-encyclopedic knowledge of pop cinema, his strong anti-snobbish streak and an ever-present cynical sense of the absurd. Shortly after we met, Everitt and I started spending most of each day trying to make each other laugh, and that would be true for almost the entirely of our five-year association.
When Everitt arrived, management thought FANGORIA could spare Greenberger to his COMICS SCENE project, and to me that meant Fango, still in its tender formative years, was going to lose a parent. I couldn’t let that happen! Certainly not with talent like Everitt’s around. I worked feverishly thinking up a way to claim Everitt as a full-time Fango worker, and I have to admit, the plan I devised was a doozy. I approached our publisher and co-owner Norman Jacobs with a deal that he could not refuse. In essence, I told him I could produce FANGORIA for half the already low editorial budget we had for each issue, if he would assign Everitt as my co-editor and raise his pathetic salary to match my own slightly less pathetic one. Norman took the bait; I got my co-editor, and it proved to be a deal that worked beautifully for the magazine, though I had sold both Everitt and myself into near-slavery.
Everitt’s fingerprints on those mid-’80s issues are clear. Though I’m half-Italian by descent, I admit now that I’ve always hated gialli; Everitt’s fondness for Italian cinema began with spaghetti Westerns, but the Lucio Fulci coverage that enlivened our pages in the mid-’80s was Everitt’s doing, as were our talks with such great character actors as Geoffrey Lewis and Dick Miller—actors who personified Dave’s “regular guy” esthetic. Once Everitt was on board, Fango became a much better magazine all around, largely thanks to his professionalism (a quality I’m too casual to carry off) and his nearly religious reverence for deadlines. But I’m most thankful to Dave for the everyday pleasure of working with a funny, talented, lovable guy.
But one should not say things about the departed that you wouldn’t say to their face, and David would snort and threaten Stooge-like violence to another man calling him “lovable.” As THE MANLY HANDBOOK, which he co-authored, made clear, Everitt was all man—and, even though the book was classified as “humor,” Everitt seldom cracked his manly facade to let the heart show through.
I remember when Nick Zedd and Donna Death—downtown filmmaker/artist types—came visiting the Fango offices, Dave tended to stay silent and keep his teeth clenched until they were gone. On the other hand, when Johnny Ramone—a lifelong monster-magazine fanatic—came to call, he and Dave could talk about baseball endkessly, while I was so desperately bored I would actually get some work done.
I know it’s hard to believe, kids, but back before there was an Internet, we had other ways to not-work at the office.
Having Everitt around made everything seem like not-work.
Miss ya, pal.
Look for more tributes to David Everitt on this site in the coming days.
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