Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
From the sublime to the ridiculous, we find ourselves with the cover to Star Spangled Comics #68 (May, 1947). This one features a solo Robin, attempting to rescue a diver from the least threatening looking octopus I've ever seen. This particular looks like he'd be more comfortable fighting Unca Donald and the boys than the Teen Wonder. I think that Jim Mooney drew most of the covers from this era of the long running title, and while the layout is ok - it's just far too cartoony to have any impact. In addition, the colors are very drab, and the lack of detail in the background really makes it seem amateurish. All told, this one just doesn't 'grab' me.
Much better is Joe Kubert's striking cover for Korak, Son of Tarzan #54 (November, 1973). 'Striking' is a word that can be used to describe just about every Kubert cover, but this one really stands out for me. I really like how DC chose to keep the art separate from the title during this era. Many of these covers were caption-free, and that add to their impact, IMHO. I don't actually own this issue, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the story were 100% Coleoidea free. I can't say that for sure, but fallen for the old 70s DC bait and switch with various Joe Kubert covers (Unknown Soldier #245 comes to mind). All in all, it's a great cover from a superb artist.
Getting points in the 'fun' department is the cover to ACG's Adventures Into the Unknown #157 (June-July, 1965). This was during ACG's short-lived super hero experiment when Nemesis was the headlining for this long running horror anthology. This one is by Jay Kafka, another nom de plume for the always underappreciated Kurt Schaffenberger. I love the colours here - the purple octopus looks great against the green background. Even though there isn't much detail in the background, the use of colour here shows how a little effort can go a long way. Although I often rave about Ogden Whitney's covers for ACG, I really love Schaffenberger's too.
I'll end with Whiz Comics #155 (June, 1953) as it marks the end of such a wonderful series. There's a lot going on here with all sorts of caption, along the the insets of Doctor Death and some war story. Unfortunately, it all detracts from the awesome image of the Big Red Cheese taking on the giant octopus. It's a gorgeous shot, with a very nice shade of green on the creature. The interior was drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger, who we know can draw a tentacled monster like no one else. The Marvels faced a lot of very goofy monsters over the years, so it comes almost as a sign of respect that the finale showcases one that is actually slightly menacing.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
At some point, the Avengers show up in order to pimp the crossover with their fight against Magneto. Did I mention the biker gang (the Hell Birds), whose leader didn't feel it necessary to wear a shirt under his leather vest? How about Natasha, who has nothing better to say throughout this issue other than "Stop it boys!"? I've always thought that Gerber was a master of characterization, but it is very weak here and the dialogue seems to be from a Marvel Cliché Handbook. I can't believe a Russian super spy would really care about the state of her home when her two beaus are threatening to kill each other. I kind of wish that I mimicked her, though, and kept my eyes closed for this one.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
FABIAC dreams of leaving the compound, but he is told to never go beyond the wall. Randolph receives an emergency call and returns to discover that FABIAC has destroyed himself after learning that he was not, in fact, a 'real man' after seeing himself in a mirror. Most of this is handled off screen, and we only are only shown the now dead FABIAC, lying face down with Randolph wishing that he'd been able to grant the robot his wish. It's a very effective tale, with some real emotional impact arising from both the notion of the right of a free thinking robot, and his inability to have a wish fully granted. I've got to think that this was the first robot suicide in comics. Kirby's design of both the computer giving a hint of what he'd produce in the years to come. FABIAC is as good as robots get.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009