Friday, 31 August 2018
Photo: By Luigi Novi
This is turning into a very sad year for comic book fans. Steve Ditko, Marie Sevrin and now Gary Friedrich have passed away.
Gary was well known for his Marvel work including Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos and Monster of Frankenstein but his major creation was Ghost Rider. The latter was a major bone of contention with the company.
Friedrich launched a copyright suit in 2007 over not just Ghost Rider but other characters he had created. Marvel won on all but one count as the judge said he had given up ownership rights when he signed checks containing language that in which he relinquished all rights.
On appeal in 2013 the court overturned the original decision saying the "language had been ambiguous. The matter was settled out of court "amicably" between the two parties.
There is no better way to celebrate this Gary Friedreich's contribution to the world of comics by showing some of his work.
Thursday, 30 August 2018
I was saddened to hear that Marie Severin had passed away today. The photo has been borrowed from a relatives Facebook post and is published with the intention of commemorating her life as a comic book artist and colourist.
Marie worked for EC comics in the fifties where it was once claimed she coloured dark blue any panels she didn't like. She refuted this saying:
I would never assume an editorial position. What I would do very often is, if somebody was being dismembered, I would rather color it in yellow because it's garish, and also [so] you could see what was going on. Or red, for the blood element, but not to subdue the artwork. ... I mean, the main reason these people were buying these books was to see somebody'd head cut off, y'know? ... And [the editors] trusted me with a lot a stuff. They knew that I wouldn't subdue artwork; I would just kind of shield it a little bit so if a parent picked up the book in the drug store, they wouldn't see that somebody's stomach was all red.
For most fans however it was her work with Marvel Comics that will best remembered and in order to celebrate her contribution to the success of the comics industry
My thoughts are with her friends and family
Here is some of her work. (Hat/Tip to William Mull of ACP Comics).
Tuesday, 28 August 2018
Indiana Jones #1 (Marvel UK)
Various (w) & (a)
One of the most popular film franchises back in the eighties was Indiana Jones which featured Harrison Ford as Indy, the male version of Lara Croft but set in the thirties. Much later in 2008 a fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull appeared set in the fifties.
A fifth film is apparently set for release in 2021!
A franchise readily grabbed by Marvel Comics (later passing to Dark Horse) and they launched not just adaptations of all three movies as the came out but The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones set after the events of the first film.
In October 1984 Marvel Uk launched it's version. A monthly simply called Indiana Jones with a slightly modified cover of the US edition plus "free gift" of an "Indy " Sticker.
The UK edition contained two continuing stories published mostly in black & white but with several pages in colour. The first story was part one of an adaptation of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Excellent as it was the identities of the writer and artist were not mentioned in stark contrast to the second story (taken from the first US edition) which was written and drawn by John Byrne. Frankly his style is instantly recognisable to any fanboy of the period.
Published monthly the British edition lasted a mere 11 issues before it was announced that all further adventures would continue in The Spider-Man Comic #646 which may not have appealed to Indy readers since by then the UK Spider-Man comic was aimed at younger readers.
Probably easier to collect the US editions, the stories are worth reading for the "pulp fiction" genre that Indiana Jones belong in. But don't turn you nose up at the UK editions if they crop up!
Monday, 27 August 2018
Star Trek: The Next Generation #1 (Marvel UK)
Various (w) & (a)
One of the most popular science fiction shows was Star Trek, so when a more modern and updated continuation appeared as Star Trek: The Next Generation it was inevitable that comics would appear.
There is story in this issue, Mission Report written by Michael Carlin with art by Pablo Marcos in which the Enterprise heads to make contact with the people of T-B 13 (the natives refer to their planet as Syntagus Theluv). After receiving a friendly message Picard prepares to send an away team when the Enterprise is fired upon.
Are these aliens friendly or not. Only Rykers team can find out...
The comic then presents an article Datalore about you guessed Data and his "brother" Lore very much the black sheep of the family as we all get to know.
Despite being a Marvel publication all the comics material was actually created and originally published by rivals DC Comics. The licence kept alternating between the two. Today the franchise is published by IDW who concentrate on the "Earth 2" version from the rebooted movies!
Star Trek: TNG lasted just 24 issues plus one Annual.
Sunday, 26 August 2018
The Creeps #15 (Warrent Publishing)
(w) & (a) Various
The latest issue of the back & white horror magazine is finally in UK comic stores and is the first newly published comic I have purchased since coming out of an 8 month stay in hospital. Others of course are now on order but The Creeps is kind of a priority for me because I like the format so much and the content is a continuation of the long gone Warren mags Creepy & Eerie that I am a big fan of.
Besides the wonderful Frank Fazetta cover, this issue contains several stories all of which are good reading! I was glad to see a good old letters page as well. So lacking in today's comics sadly. The comic kicks off with a story set in 1920's London called The Hydeing Place by Lou Mougin with art by Reno Manquis. In this a man wrongly interferes with someone else's business without knowing the full truth.
Ghosts appearing in a cathedral being built over stonehenge is the following story by Nicola Cuti with spooky art from Santos Zaballos. Sometimes you should listen to the apparitions warnings! The Science fiction horror adventure, At the End of the Day by Don Glut and art by Gallego is my favourite story in this edition. Sometimes you should leave things where you find them.
A more traditional tale, Interview with the Werewolf set in a prison cell follows also written by Don Glut with art by Nik Poliwoko. Nice little twist to this one. Nicola Cuti then pens a rather odd tale of sword & sorcery in The Enchanted Sword. With art by Jeff Easly this is one you will need to read or yourself as I don't want to publish any spoilers.
Billy Brown Healer is also written by Nicola Cuti (he's been very busy it would seem!) about, well a healer coming to town. Just stay away from the dead alright! The mag finishes with The Night's doing at Deadman's Gulch, the moral being let a dead Chinaman rest in peace.
I just love the black and white magazine format. This is the sole one on the market with good writing and great art. Do yourself a favour pop out and buy this, order the 2019 Annual and wait for the horror to grow.
Thursday, 16 August 2018
One of the comics I used to read in the sixties was Valiant, though I don't recall seeing any with Knockout on the cover. I do recall "companion paper to Hurricane" which came later that year. 1964 is certainly the year when I start recalling reading comics, the strongest being given Wham! #1.
However I also remember reading a Steel Claw story with giant alien eyeballs and having no idea where this begins am starting in January and will gradually work/purchase my way through the whole year...
Regardless of my search there is plenty of other good reading to entertain me with Captain Hurricane, Billy Bunter, Kelly's Eye, Steel Claw, The Duke of Dry Gulch and Krake & The Time Machine.
It was weird to see a re-write of Asterix re-invented as ancient Britons in Little Fred and Big Ed in colour on the back page. Surprised the French publishers agreed. Travesty I thought.
Still good fun to be had by all in what was to become IPC/Fleetway's "flagship" title".
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Savage Sword Of Conan #200 (Marvel B&W)
Roy Thomas (w) John Buscema (a)
After a long illness (see here) I am back to not only comic collecting but blogging about my hobby! What better title to start off with than Savage Sword of Conan's 200th issue!
Savage Sword was Marvel's "sole" success in the "black & white" market, with only the Conan Saga reprint mag having had a longer run than all the rest. Marvel just put out far too many titles back in the seventies which not only didn't last but drove Skywald's mags off the stands and out of business, which was a shame having read some of their output.
Nevertheless Savage Sword was and is a good read and this rather unusual story by "rascally" Roy Thomas was joyous to read. Conan is defending a Turan border fort with a band of mercenaries until he is literally the last man standing. Enter the obligatory "Dark Mage" and monster & the adventure truly begins in the Hyborian Age,
Fast forwarding to the future, Conan's creator, Robert E. Howard appears in a number of "flash forwards" as he travels to Mexico for inspiration. At this stage Conan is not even an embryonic thought in his head though an encounter with a Indian spiv takes him magically into an adventure. Only afterwards does Howard create Conan from a spooky vision in front of him.
Conan of course fights it out with monster and mage. You can guess the outcome.
Finish off with a history of the Marvel black & white version of Conan and a biography of Robert E. Howard himself.
Great mag. Grab a copy if you see it