By Lou Koza
I bet you never expected to see another subject box titled above again. But I wanted to send something you are very familiar with to quickly catch your focus. The Archives books had a major influence on this story, so it’s not totally off base.
With that said, I’m excited to announce that MISTER JIM BOWERS has launched my story, MISTER REEVES at his website, CAPEDWONDER SUPERMAN IMAGERY.
I’m thrilled the story has a permanent place of residency. I don’t consider this my exact 100% story concept. Because there is so much more I wanted to include. But this is as much 100% I could do at this time in my life. If I was a bona fide story illustrator, like a Rick Stasi, a Randy Garrett, I would have long ago began the pages for the ultimate-mega, character development, really getting into their world’s story.
I’m also thrilled that Jim was able to take my high resolution PDF and virtually work with them undisturbed. Which means you get to read it without any compromise to the quality and get to see it for all its graphic design best. I hope this story represents something close to the ground floor of George Reeves. That you find yourself stepped along side him as a quiet observer.
I want to thank Jim Bowers (THANK YOU) for his own excitement to happily place MISTER REEVES inside his Fortress of Solitude. I’ve known Jim since June 8, 1996 when we met in Metropolis and we walked through Jim Hambrick’s Super-Museum together. Gasping for air as we viewed Mr. Hambrick’s original GR B&G costume and Dane Nash’s original GR color costume. We spent the day hanging out also with Super artist Randy Garrett talking, and listening to stories. Jim was so wide eyed that day, being filled with Supermanville. It was truly a fun day for us and I’ve had a great friendship with Jim since. The real Super-Guy.
I consider Jim THE greatest Superman fan ambassador. Watching what he does to honor and give tribute to “Superman: The Movie” and its sequels is inspirational. I gained a whole new appreciation for Chris Reeve, and especially the Clark disguise of stumbling and bumbling that Kal-el needs to separate Clark from Superman. Chris Reeves was brilliant at hitting his stride and embracing the character in that manner. I don’t think anyone could represent us better than Jim. He is a stellar of a most positive gentleman. I’m very happy Jim accepted my wish to place this at CapedWonder. It really means a lot to me.
So finally after years of preparing and creating this story Jim Bowers presents MISTER REEVES. I’ll stop talking (writing) and let you check out the story.
Best regards and Happy Holidays to everyone.
— Lou Koza
The Fictional Life Story of George Reeves
An exclusive story by Lou Koza
OK, the story behind the story. First let me say that I do not know what happened to George Reeves on that late night of June 15, 1959 to the early morning hours of June 16, 1959. If I said I did, I would be misrepresenting myself. Because we all know that no one knows. From those days, only Phyllis Coates remains as of this writing. Gene LeBell just recently passed away. Is the truth still out there? Evidence? Probably not. Perhaps the truth was handed down or passed over to someone. But there would still be those people who doubt the viability at this point. In general terms, that’s how it is. The George Reeves story can only be told in a fictional way. That partially leads us to this narrative.
In gathering and assembling in chronological date order “The George Reeves Historical Archives” books from 2016 to 2022, I started to see the big picture from how it all began in a small town of Galesburg, Illinois between two young lovers to the moments leading to the tragic death. Like all lives, the progression is a series of self-made decisions and in the course of those decisions progress is either made, or not. And most worse when it is an abrupt ending. I believe the goal for anyone is to get to the finish line in the best possible way, to eventually pass on at a ripe old age, naturally and peacefully. Some things we simply have no control over, so we can choose to make the best of it.
So, as I had put the finishing touches on the “Archives” books, the life of George Reeves circulated around in my mind many times over. I thought for years that the story would make an interesting graphic novel. In preparing for one day an artist to take over the story, I created a folder for gathering many non-George Reeves images from the Internet to be used as reference material for an illustrator. I believed in the idea that I could write it based on the “Archives” books and hand everything over to an artist. While one has to believe in their ideas, I’m also a realist. I couldn’t afford an artist. I don’t have a publisher to back this up. I’ve got sensational artists in mind starting with an old friend by the name of Randy Garrett who I consider a terrific artist and is considered by many, including me to be the definitive artist for George Reeves. Then there is world known John Byrne, who I would also love seeing tackle this story. John Byrne known for X-Men, Fantastic Four, She-Hulk, Avengers, and the list can go on as long as this page. Oh, and let’s not forget his Superman and Action Comics run in the 80’s. In my mind, John Byrne had proven he can do anything from mind to paper. But its wishful thinking on my part.
Asking someone to illustrate this is a tall order. One day, I started looking at all the reference material I gathered over years and thought perhaps with some PhotoShop (V2) skills I gained I’d see if I could replicate the story to see how far I could take it. I was surprised how far I was able to go. In effect, it’s the George Reeves story told in a photo-realistic storyboard form. I should mentioned that in some cases I must request from you a slight forgiveness for those places I incorporated a person without changing their appearance to 100% appear match a critical player, such as Elianora Needles or Toni Mannix. Finding a suitable match with limited images of each of those individuals is very difficult. Mainly because, there aren’t 20 or more photos of each person available to select from. So the person utilized was close in looks to move forward. It is a means to an end and doesn’t compromise or distract from the story being told.
To do this story, I borrowed a concept from Jan Alan Henderson who authored “Crypt 39: Coroner’s Case 45426 George Reeves,” where the telling of the story is from the main character’s point of view. In Jan’s book, George Reeves is that story teller. The story contained herein is told from the point of view of several people. It’s not an afterlife telling, unless you feel you want to institute that backdrop as you read along. It’s just told, with no point to explain how or why. And most important for me I need visuals to compliment the text because it best works for me to tell this story.
So why do this story? Because like Jan Alan Henderson, the writer of “Speeding Bullet, The Life and Bizarre Death of George Reeves,” “Crypt 39” and also “Behind the Crimson Cape, The Cinema of George Reeves” co-authored with Steve Randisi, Jan made George human again. I want to show that George Reeves had everyday troubles and problems. This narrative is not to make you believe that a man can fly. Nor to give you a lesson in the “Adventures of Superman.” But more so, to show that a man can walk this Earth and encounter life’s difficulties just like you. Just like me. The tale is how a life was navigated, blended by how one gets from one point to another by one’s own decisions. But because we don’t walk through life alone, the troubles and tribulations of others intermingle with our own. Thus, effecting each other in one direction of another. It’s bringing George down from the cloudy skies to the ground where we all walk on and about. So please read on and if you’ve gotten this far to continue I hope you find components contained herein that bring to light how the lives “might have” came together, how they worked and how the dynamics unravelled.
In total, this narrative is just over 100 pages. It is an abbreviated version of my original concept. If that original concept was fully rendered, it would have been easily doubled the amount of pages. It is my hope you will be opened minded with this narrative and pick up elements of the George Reeves life you had not considered before. It’s not meant to change your belief of how George died. But rather for you to have a greater understanding of how that life came to a tragic halt.
I say to George Reeves, may you rest in peace knowing there are thousands of friends, family and fans who care dearly for you and admired the humanity causes yo ers in need. There is the indelible mark of joy for your screen work and the true lifting of spirits wh o see a George Reeves stage performance. Thank you Mr. Reeves for all that and simply being who you were.
Wow! Once I began reading the first chapter, I was hooked on this wonderful and engaging biography of George Reeves, his life and “afterlife.” I especially enjoyed the rare photographs of Reeves, those of his associates, and related photographs of minor players in the Reeves story. The multiple viewpoints makes this the “Citizen Kane” of Reeves biographies.
Once again, Lou Koza demonstrates why he is the definitive Reeves historian. And a big tip of the fedora to Jim Bowers for hosting.
Lou Koza’s illustrated book “Mister Reeves” captures the reader’s attention from the beginning chronicling the fascinating short tragic life of actor George Reeves. Author Koza tells the story in true “Hollywood noir” style like a police murder case. This is a mysterious page-turner that slowly becomes ominous and eerie. “Mister Reeves” is part of Hollywood lore and legend and should be printed in a hard-copy.
Great job Lou! I learned so much reading this. The different points of view were really illuminating and the graphics put the reader back into this long ago era. We need a hard copy!!! You have done an outstanding service to the memory of George Reeves and his multitude of fans who have never forgotten him. Thank you again.
Outstanding job Lou! I learned so many new things. The photos mesh perfectly with the text. Your book really takes the reader back to the era. The different points of view really flesh out the tale. Thank you again!! We need a hard copy!!!
I don’t have words to express how I feel about this most excellent and researched presentation by Lou Koza. This could have been a book treasured by the fans of George Reeves, if we had all the knowledge back then. It would have had a market many years ago. I know Mr. Koza had done meticulous research through the decades, and I for one have a manganous appreciation. Thanks, Lou, and you too, Jim Bowers for showcasing this fantastic fictionally story, based on truths we have learned through time thanks to Lou. And if I can sum up what I feel about this presentation. I love it. Always, Carl Glass.