Probably something we might benefit from are a list characters, and who they might correspond to in real life. I don't think Chaykin's going entirely for a one-to-one correspondence with his three main characters -- I suspect they'll be involved in incidents that happened to a variety of people throughout the industry. But the bosses, and the supporting characters, might all suggest one person or another in particular. So I'll try to keep a tally here on the front page, and see if that informs our reading.
V2, #3: This issue covers the 1960s, specifically 1960, 1962 and 1964 with a "Further Untold Tales of Comics!" epilogue set in 1967 (which I hope is not true but probably is). I find myself referring to the character list on the inside front and back covers repeatedly as I read. I'm not 100% certain who the "starry-eyed newcomers" are supposed to be, but "John Mavrides" seems most like Jim Steranko to me.
Was John Mavrides the one whose page was shown? If so, that seemed like Steranko to me, too!
Yes. (That page was my main clue.)
Barry Windsor Smith also started in that period. Early fan-background writers include Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich. Steve Skeates also started in the mid-60s, as did Jim Shooter (very young). Cary Bates contributed cover ideas (also very young) before selling his first story. Mike Friedrich, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman and Gerry Conway started later in the decade.
V2, #4: 1965. Yes (in answer to my own previous question), "Lyle Kenmore" is Hugh Hefner, which makes "Arnold Grossman" Harvey Kurtzman, "Joel Pitkin" Will Elder, and "Dolly's Follies" Little Annie Fannie.
Nick Fontana is Joe Orlando
Peter Vance is wally Wood
I'm not sure about Jess Mayberg ("DC" editor), or some of the "Youth Movement," such as Steve Bellamy, Tony Kramer. Phil Dunbar and Noah Gitlin.
This issue's "Untold Tale" concerns those text features (to qualify for magazine postage rates) and it's a hoot.
V2, #5: 1971. Among those unidentified so far, add Carmine Infantino, John Verpoorten, James Warren. Vince Colletta, Harvey Pekar, Don Macgregor, Billy Graham, Paul Levitz and Howard Chaykin himself. Many of those are just guesses. I'd really like to pin down Marty Fabrizzi, Milt Konigsberg and Jess Mayberg, all of "YC Comics", for certain, amopng others. It's tricky, because some of the characters may be amalgams of one or more real life persons.
V2, #6: Well, that's it: the end of volume two. I had hoped we'd get to the '90s, but there's always a volume three, I suppose.
"Among those unidentified so far..."
I meant to say "identified."
"...add...Howard Chaykin himself."
Chaykin is Noah Gitlin (and "Solar Flare" is Star*Reach and "Lone Stone" is Cody Starbuck).
Beyond that, I just kind of sat back and enjoyed the story without trying too hard to guess who was supposed to be who, and there are a lot to choose from. For the first time, twenty two characters are listed inside the front cover... "In Order of Self-Importance" (which was funny).
I've been letting these build up, but I'll be checking them out soon!