Author, publisher, critic and interviewer David Anthony Kraft passed away a couple of weeks ago, on May 19, from complications of COVID-19. Probably not a household name among Doc fans, he authored numerous comics for Marvel in the 1970’s, and went on to found the periodical Comics Interview.
I didn’t have a personal relationship with David, but we had an odd link…only about five years older than me, he was a comics writer when I was a fan, and the first letter I ever had published in the letters column of a comic book was one praising a storyline of his.
Then in 1977, on my first day at my first real job, I was browsing a nearby bookstore during my lunch hour (of course I was, I lived and breathed books), and I bought a back issue of a science fiction magazine to read over lunch. In it was what I found out later had been the first story DAK had ever sold, a brief but powerful short called “Myrra”.
A couple of years later he started a small publishing house called Fictioneer Press, and he became the first publisher I ever submitted a novel to (a pulp pastiche…some things never change). He rejected the novel — which it would be generous to call a work of juvenilia — but was wonderfully encouraging to me as a “fellow writer”.
When I started the Doc Talos website last month, strange as it may seem, one of the first people I sought out for friendship here on Facebook was DAK. If he had remembered me I would have been astounded, but it seemed right, once again, to include him at a literary beginning. That was the first week of May.
He didn’t respond to the friendship request, and I felt a vague sadness, but certainly understood…we were essentially strangers who had crossed paths, from his perspective, for the blink of an eye in the 1970’s.
A little over a week later, I was reading his obituary. Only 68 years old, gone from COVID-19.
So there will be no more firsts to share with DAK. To his family and friends, who do not know me, I want to tell you that he was a touchstone to moments of aspiration and inspiration in my life, and I’m grateful.
David was on the editorial staff of the Marvel Doc Savage magazine (presaging his career later as a premier interviewer), and he did the following interview in issue #5 with that great lady of the Doc Savage world, Norma Dent. She answers his questions with warmth, wit, conviction and charm.