Mary Skrenes (born November 3, 1947), sometimes credited as Virgil North, is an American comic book writer and screenwriter. She is best known as the co-creator of Omega the Unknown for Marvel Comics.
Life & Career
Skrenes attended Nevada Southern University (now the University of Nevada at Las Vegas). While working on the student newspaper, she became friends with artist Alan Weiss. In the summer of 1969, she accompanied Weiss and his girlfriend to the Comic Art Convention in New York, where she made contacts in the comics industry. By 1971, she was writing horror and romance stories for DC Comics under the tutelage of editor Dorothy Woolfolk. She also published a number of horror stories for DC under the name Virgil North, and began a long collaboration with Steve Skeates. According to Skeates, a number of his mystery stories were actually co-written with Skrenes, but she insisted on submitting them under Skeates's name alone because of bad blood between her and editor Joe Orlando. Due to a combination of this arrangement with Skeates and DC's practice at the time to not always credit creators in anthology books, her first solo byline did not appear until 1974, on "The Casket of Hsien Hang!" for Marvel's The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu (1974 series) #5.
She began collaborating with Steve Gerber at Marvel. In addition to co-creating the titular character of Omega the Unknown with Gerber, Skrenes created the supporting characters Amber Grant and Dian Wilkins. She was also the creator of and inspiration for Beverly Switzler, the companion of Howard the Duck, another of Gerber's creations. She also worked on other Marvel titles such as The Defenders and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Skrenes wrote several episodes of Jem, GI Joe and Transformers in the 1980s. In 2004 she re-united with Gerber to write the short-lived comic Hard Time. For contractual reasons, she was credited only on Hard Time: Season Two; however, the first issue stated that she had been involved with the series from the beginning.
Gerber once described Skrenes as "such a private person that when she gets back to town she’ll probably castigate me for having just revealed that she’s such a private person." Her last name is pronounced skree-neez.
Excludes reprints and collections
- Crazy Magazine (1973) #12
- "TV Satire: Rhodent"
- "The Great 'What Am I Doing Here?' Test"
- The Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love (1971) #2
- "The Mystery Of Dead Man's Cove!"
- The Deadliest Heroes Of Kung Fu (1975) #1
- "Crime in the Martial Arts, Part 1"
- The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu (1974) #5, 13
- "Manchurian: The Casket of Hsien Hang!"
- "The Legend of the Black Tiger"
- The Defenders (1972) #36
- Detective Comics (1937) #449
- "The Mystery Man Who Walked On Air!"
- Girls' Love Stories (1949) #166
- Hard Time (2004) #1-12
- Hard Time: Season Two (2006) #1-7
- House of Secrets (1956) #92
- "It's Better to Give..."
- Howard the Duck (1976) #6, 28, Annual 1977
- Omega the Unknown (1976) #1-10
- Orb (1974) #3
- "Gyk the Barbarian: The Rescue of Raniff the Rat"
- Plop! (1973) #9, 16
- "A Nose To Remember!"
- "Love is a Dandy!"
- Quack! (1976) #2
- "On The Skids!: A Day At The Rat-Race"
- Red Circle Sorcery (1974) #6
- "Warrior's Dream"
- Sojourn (1977) #1-2
- "The Smooth" feature
- Star*Reach (1974) #4-5
- "The White Slavers of Scrofula!"
- "Midnight in the Medina"
- This Is Legend (1970) #1
- "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow"
- The Unexpected (1968) #201
- "Do Unto Others!"
- Wimmen's Comix (1972) #6
- "Victoria the Woodhull"
- Young Love (1963) #87
- "Too Proud to Love!"
- Grant, Steven. "Permanent Damage", Comic Book Resources. Published 13 Feb 2008. Accessed 1 Nov 2017.
- Martin, R.S. "The Jim Shooter Victim Files: Mary Skrenes". Published 25 Feb 2017. Accessed 1 Nov 2017.
- Kupperberg, Alan. "Dorothy Woolfolk Remembered", Comic Book Artist #12 (March 2001). pp. 5–6. Accessed 1 Nov 17.
- Schwirian, John. "The Unique Voice and Vision of Steve Skeates, part 3", Back Issue! #34 (TwoMorrows Publishing, Jun 2009). p. 83.
- Gerber, Steve. "Night Terrors", Stevegerblog. Published 13 Aug 2005. Accessed 1 Nov 2017.
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