About Mark Voger
The journalistic career of Mark Voger began in the living room of Muhammad Ali, who Mark interviewed for The Holy Rosary School Times in 1971, when he was in the seventh grade. (Mark, that is, not Ali.) Mark writes about entertainment topics and designs for print and online. At The Star-Ledger, he was the home video critic for five years. Before that, he was a longtime writer-designer for the Asbury Park Press. He lives in Monmouth County, NJ. Contact Mark by email via [email protected].
Mark has written and designed six books for Raleigh-based TwoMorrows Publishing:
■ BRITMANIA The British Invasion of the Sixties in Pop Culture
■ HOLLY JOLLY Celebrating Christmas Past in Pop Culture
■ GROOVY When Flower Power Bloomed in Pop Culture
■ MONSTER MASH The Creepy, Kooky Monster Craze in America 1957-1972
■ THE DARK AGE Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics
■ HERO GETS GIRL! The Life and Art of Kurt Schaffenberger
I had a great time meetin’ folks and hawkin’ books at the Flemington Summer Book Fest held on May 28, 2023. They parked me in a great spot right in front of a very cool book store, Act 2 Books at 24 Central Avenue. There were a lotta people who love books walkin’ around on that sunny, hot Sunday. More on the 4-day Book Fest HERE.
On the air, online and in print
BOBCAST EPISODE 352: I returned to the Bobcast to speak with host Bob Cahill about such burning topics as George Harrison using Billy Preston as a human shield; John Lennon being fat-shamed; talent scouts trolling the lanes of Liverpool for the Next Big Thing; rampant Beatles merchandise; and skiffle. Listen HERE
I was interviewed by Courier Post reporter Celeste E. Whittaker for her deep-dive article about Muhammad Ali‘s Cherry Hill years, in advance of Ken Burns‘ documentary about the boxing legend and Civil Rights activist. Read her story HERE. Watch her video (for which I contributed some remarks) HERE. Whittaker’s article appeared on the front page of the Sept. 19, 2021, edition of the Courier Post.
‘Holly Jolly’ coverage
‘Holly Jolly’ on ‘The Electric Ballroom’: I had a blast talkin’ ’bout “Holly Jolly” and spinnin’ Christmas rockers with host Keith Roth (left) on the Dec. 20, 2020, edition of “The Electric Ballroom,” 95.9 WRAT-FM’s Sunday night rock ‘n’ chat show. Listen HERE.
‘Holly Jolly’ on the ‘Christmas Past’ podcast
‘Holly Jolly’ on the air, online & in print
Mark interviewed in the Swiss newspaper Le Temps
“Holly Jolly” book review: The Imaginative Conservative
“Holly Jolly” interview: Christmas Past podcast
‘Holly Jolly’ book review: Psychobabble
‘Holly Jolly’ book review: ConSkipper
‘Holly Jolly’ book review: Booksteve’s Library
‘Holly Jolly’ on TV: “Classic Movies With Ron MacCloskey”
‘Holly Jolly’ interview: Part-Time Fanboy podcast
‘Holly Jolly’ interview: Sandwiches at Irregular Hours podcast
‘Holly Jolly’ interview: Christmas Clatter podcast
‘Holly Jolly’ book preview: At Home New Jersey
‘Holly Jolly’ on The Bobcast
Mark among 5 authors profiled by Ezvid Wiki
I can scarcely believe my eyes, but I’m one of five writers profiled on an Ezvid Wiki video that went up on Jan. 19, 2020. Watch the video HERE. They did a real good job, diving into my career with lotsa fancy graphics. (My sequence is the second of the five.) They even imbedded my “Monster Mash” trailer, bless ’em.
Some info about the site: “Ezvid Wiki was the world’s first video wiki, and is now among the top 3,000 websites in the United States. Our YouTube channel has over 500,000 subscribers, with nearly 300 million views since founding.”
The other authors profiled are Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (“Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything”); Andrea Warner (“Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography”); Gretchen McCulloch (“Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language”); and Cavan Scott (“Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space #1: The Snare”). Do you sense a theme among the five books? Neither do I. Anyhoo, we’re doing a virtual meetup at Taco Bell — all of us will be Zooming from Taco Bells in our respective areas. Kidding.
FARRR OUT! When “Groovy”
world-premiered at the 2017
New York Comic Con. Details
Catholic World Report on ‘Groovy’
The nuns at Holy Rosary School in the diocese of Camden would be so proud.
The Catholic World Report weighed in on “Groovy.” Here is what Bradley J. Birzer wrote:
“Mark Voger’s ‘Groovy’ — a book as fascinating a read as it is glorious in its layout — goes well beyond the nostalgia of psychedelic peace, love, and the Banana Splits so many of us a certain age grew up with in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Voger, as he has so masterfully done in his previous books, explores the details as well as the importance of each subject, from the Beach Boys and the Doors, from ‘Yellow Submarine’ to ‘Easy Rider,’ and from Vietnam to Altamont. The best part of the book is his examination of the co-opting of Jesus as a hippie. Groovy is a treasure, a true and deep examination of a decade of American pop culture, recognizing it not as merely ephemeral, but as lingering and permanently imprinted on the American psyche.”
Read the post, titled “The Best Books I Read in 2017,” HERE. (You’ll have to scroll down a bit; in all, 45 writers contributed.) “Best Books” is a 12-year-old tradition for the 40-year-old Catholic World Report, according to editor Carl E. Olson.
‘THE ELECTRIC BALLROOM’
Host Keith Roth went “Groovy” for the Nov. 19, 2018, episode of “The Electric Ballroom,” his Sunday night rock ’n’ chat show on WRAT-FM 95.9. Keith appointed me his co-host for the night, and let me spin some groovy old songs. Hear excerpts HERE.
“Groovy” was reviewed by Jacqueline Cutler for The Star-Ledger on Dec. 10, 2017. Read the review. If you’re a luddite like me, maybe you’ll want to see the review as it appeared in print. See the page. Cutler’s “Groovy” review also ran in the South Jersey Times on Dec. 29, 2017, and the Times of Trenton on Jan. 12, 2018.
I was interviewed by Derek Royal about “Groovy” for the Comics Alternative podcast. We spoke about the “flowering” of pop, the art of Mike Sekowsky, his students’ mystification over the Banana Splits … and Tiny Tim. Derek edited in some cool music and sound bites, too! Listen HERE or click below.
TOO MUCH SCROLLING
I was talkin’ “Groovy” with co-hosts Steve Fodor and Chip Hessenflow on my return to the Too Much Scrolling podcast. (“I’m peacin’ out, mannn!” was Chip’s opener.) I dig Steve ‘n’ Chip’s chemistry — and not just because they gave “Groovy” a good ride. Listen to my 19-minute segment below:
MONKEES LIVE ALMANAC: The place to go for all things Monkees is the Monkees Live Almanac, which wrote about “Groovy” on its blog. (They also put it on their Facebook, bless ’em.)
Read it HERE.
COMIC MIX: I was interviewed by Ed Catto about “Groovy” for his ComicMix column, which covers the book’s genesis and design, surprise along the way and “Groovy’s” premiere at New York Comic Con, where we met up. Read it HERE.
BOBCAST: I’m now a two-time guest on Bobcast, a weekly pop-culture podcast by my “old” friend, writer/musician/educator Bob Cahill. We recently spoke about “Groovy” HERE. Last year, we spoke about Batman and “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” HERE.
“Groovy” was blurbed in AntiqueWeek, a weekly paper with more than 400,000 subscribers — the largest paid circulation of any antiques and collectibles newspaper in the United States. A heartfelt thank-you to columnist Brett Weiss (who also gave us five stars on Amazon). AntiqueWeek is based in Knightstown, Indiana, and was founded in 1968 — the golden age for all things groovy. Click on the icon at right to read the blurb.
READ: Steven Thompson’s interview with me on Forces of Geek HERE.
READ: Steven Thompson’s review of “Groovy” on Forces of Geek HERE.
READ: Mike Segretto’s review of “Groovy” on Psychobabble HERE.
READ: KC Carlson’s “Groovy” preview on the Westfield Comics Blog HERE.
READ: ComicMix column’s “Groovy” preview item HERE.
READ: ComicList’s “Groovy” preview HERE.
‘Classic Movies With Ron MacCloskey’ appearance
I was a guest on “Classic Movies With Ron MacCloskey” on Edison TV, in an episode that began airing in Sept. 2016. The guest picks the movie; I chose “The Devil Bat” (1940) starring Bela Lugosi. Watch the program HERE. Read a transcription of the program HERE.
Monster Magazine World interview
Monster Magazine World, John Navroth‘s addictive blog about all things Monster Craze (with a focus on the monsterific mags of the era), posted an interview with me about “Monster Mash” on Feb. 20, 2016. Read the interview.
You can spend months just catching up with what MMW’s been doing. The tag cloud is immense. MMW puts up entire issues of rare old magazines. You can click on every page and savor them. There’s a lot of great humor, graphics and gifs, too. This exploding-with-content blog is updated constantly. Even non-monster people would dig it. Visit Monster Magazine World.
And John was a terrific interviewer. (No one else asked about using the Shock Monster as a cover boy, or whether I designed the pages in old-fashioned paste-up.) I had a blast.
Star-Ledger ‘Monster Mash’ review
“Monster Mash” was reviewed by Jacqueline Cutler for The Star-Ledger on Sept. 6, 2015. Read the review. If you’re a luddite like me, maybe you’ll want to see the review as it appeared in print. See the page.
The review also ran in The Times of Trenton on Sept. 11, 2015.
Collinsport Historical Society podcast
‘Mr. Media’ interview
I traded quips with ‘Mr. Media,’ a.k.a. Bob Andelman, on his video podcast interview show. (Previously, Mr. Media interviewed the woman I wanted to marry when I was in seventh grade: Raquel Welch.) I brought along my Frankenstein, Wolf Man and Mummy Soakys for show-and-tell, and had a great time with Bob. Watch the interview above.
‘Too Much Scrolling’ interview
I was interviewed for the Oct. 27, 2015, edition of “Too Much Scrolling,” the pop culture mashup hosted by Steve Fodor and Chip Hessenflow. Listen to the interview below. (My 17-minute segment begins at the 19:12 point).
‘Too Much Scrolling’ bumper, discussion
Earlier, “Monster Mash” was a subject of the Oct. 13, 2015, edition of “Too Much Scrolling.” Steve and Chip had me tape a “bumper” for the occasion, which they played right after one by horror host Svengoolie. Thanks, guys, that’s good company to be in! Listen to the podcast below. (The 10-minute segment about “Monster Mash” begins at the 20:53 point.)
My brother, Brian Voger, and I were guests on “The Electric Ballroom” — a rock ‘n’ chat show on 95.9 WRAT-FM hosted by Keith Roth — to talk about our album “From the Heart,” benefitting Steven’s Walk in the fight against Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Read the interview. Brian put the audio on his website, which includes nice, crisp versions of seven “From the Heart” songs. Listen to the interview.
NJArts.net, an invaluable go-to source for the arts scene in New Jersey, helped to spread the word about “From the Heart” in a post you can read HERE. Find out more about “From the Heart” at my brother’s website, Vogerland.com.
My most recent visit to The Bobcast took place during Thanksgiving week 2021. Me ‘n’ host Bob Cahill yacked about Boris Karloff, Muhammad Ali, the Beatles, my 1959 “Boo Boo Bear” doll, and other vital topics. LISTEN.
During the COVID forever-demic, all of my “appearances” were on the Zoom. As we slowly, painfully return to “normal” — whatever that means now — I look forward to meeting faces familiar and new. (“Meeting faces” … sounds like something Alastair Deacon would say to Lionel Hardcastle.) Below are highlights from past convention and in-store appearances …
SCARY STORIES BOOK FESTIVAL: My first in-person gig since the COVID broke out was the Scary Stories Book Festival held on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, at the Capitoline Basement in Asbury Park. Keepin’ it weird were the “zombies” who walked by our tables — participants in the Asbury Park Zombie Walk. Read my coverage (with photos) HERE.
SUPER SHOCK SHOW ’19: I had a blast on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at the winter edition of the Super Shock Show at Groovy Graveyard in Asbury Park. Guests at the free event included animator Bob Camp (“Ren and Stimpy”); Weird NJ guys Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman; scream queen Genoveva Rossi (“Bloodmania”); author Steven Farkas; and artists Philip McNulty, Danny Kelly, Raynard Hannah and Brian Petitti. Read all about it, and view photos from the event HERE.
GROOVY GRAVEYARD III: We all got our groove on at a “Groovy” signing held Dec. 16, 2017, at Groovy Graveyard in Asbury Park. It was great meetin’ folks and gettin’ in the holiday spirit. See my post (with photos) HERE.
‘Groovy’s’ world-premiere at New York Comic Con
“Groovy” was released on Nov. 21, 2017. But six weeks earlier, TwoMorrows Publishing had 15 copies specially shipped to the New York Comic Con held Oct. 5-8, 2017, at Javits Center in Manhattan. It was the first time the world — myself included — saw the book, so it was kinda excitin’. I was on hand at the TwoMorrows booth (#1038) on that Friday, Saturday and Sunday to scrawl my name on the advance copies. Following are links to my blogs (with lotsa photos) about my three days at the con:
‘Monster Mash’ tour stops
June 4, 2016, at the 14th Rondo Classic Horror Awards in Louisville, Kentucky
Oct. 31, 2015, at the Independence Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Pa.
Oct. 24, 2015, at the Chiller Theatre Toy, Model & Film Expo in Parsippany, NJ
Oct. 17, 2015, at Groovy Graveyard in Asbury Park, NJ