Saturday 12 July 2014

Random comics I have owned. Part One.

In the recent past, I've done posts devoted to such things as Batman comics I've owned, Superman comics I've owned, horror comics I've owned and Fantastic Four comics I've owned. But, hold onto your hats, dear World because I'm not through yet.

Here's where I launch an exciting new feature; where I post comics-that-I-can't-be-bothered-to-categorise that I've owned.

Can the internet take such a strain?

Only the next few minutes will tell.

Jack Kirby, 2001 #7

It always seemed an odd thing for me that Jack Kirby was writing and drawing a comic based on 2001. Clearly, his love of grand concepts and visual spectacle made him a good fit for the title but the glacial sterility of the film seemed massively at odds with Kirby's action-packed instincts.

Was the comic any good?

I can't really remember. But I know, from my Googlings, that it did inspire some great splash pages from him, at the very least.
Black Goliath #4, Stilt Man

I don't like to be critical of a new hero but you know you're in trouble when, by your fourth issue, you're reduced to fighting Stilt Man, a foe whose devastating super power is having extendable legs.

This cover's by Jack Kirby. At the time, I never noticed. For some reason, I was convinced that all 1970s non-Kirby mags that had Kirbyesque covers were sporting frontispieces drawn by Rich Buckler doing his Kirby thing. Oh what a fool I was.
Howard the Duck #21, Sinister Soof

This one came in one of those sealed triple-packs Marvel were so keen on for a while. I'm not sure what the other two comics were that came with it. Possibly an issue of The Defenders and something else.

As for this comic, I have vague memories that it involved a Mary Whitehouse type character, trying to clean up the nation. If you're a reader who's unfamiliar with Mary Whitehouse, consider yourself very lucky.
Nova #8, Megaman

I only had two issues of Nova - this being one of them - but encountered most of his adventures in the pages of Marvel UK's Rampage and Star Wars comics. I sort of enjoyed it when it was drawn by Sal Buscema but, like a lot of others, found it more of a challenge to read when Carmine Infantino took over.

More importantly, I seem to remember having one of my school exercise books wrapped in the cover taken from a spare copy of this issue.
Secret Society of Supervillains #1

DC's greatest villains get together to cause mischief.

At the time, I knew little of most of DC's villains. It did seem an interesting concept though and I always wanted to get my hands on the second issue; although I assume that, being villains, they never got very far in their dreams of victory.
Tomb of Darkness #13

I have absolutely no memory of the contents of this comic. The truth is I always preferred DC's mystery and horror mags, as Marvel just seemed to use their own equivalent mags to reprint old Lee and Kirby horror tales, which were never really my cup of tea.
The Frankenstein Monster #15

I recall really liking this one, though don't recall what actually happened in it. I suspect that a large part of my enjoyment of this mag came from having read DC's unhealthy-looking 1970s take on the character and finding Marvel's more robust version far more in line with my tastes.

Plus, how could you not love that Gil Kane cover?
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #241

The thing I remember most about this one is the nipples.

Yes, Reader, it's true; Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #241 was the first super-hero comic in which I ever encountered characters whose nipples protruded through their costumes. This may not sound like a big deal but, at the time, I was much impressed by such anatomical accuracy.

Other than that, the story was quite fun, with a distinctly retro vibe to the artwork - as the floating brain with eyeballs and tentacles might suggest.

There was also a Timber Wolf back-up tale that left you in no doubt he'd been remodelled to be more like Wolverine than ever before.


Anonymous said...

As I recall, Marvel often published comics with covers by Kirby, but interior art by other artists. DC sometimes did the same bait-and-switch with Neal Adams.

I remember seeing Marvel triple packs with Star Wars or Hulk comics in the late 1970's, but not their other characters. Presumably, they were trying to market them to customers who were not into comics, but who knew certain characters from other media. (Star Wars, of course, was based on the movies, and the Hulk was familiar to the general public because of the TV series.) Sometime around 1966-67, when the Batman TV show was popular, DC marketed three-packs, each containing at least one issue of Batman, Detective, or World's Finest.

Tomb of Darkness was entitled "Beware" for its first eight issues. As you correctly surmised, it reprinted old Atlas (1950's Marvel) horror comics, as did Where Monsters Dwell and Where Creatures Roam.

Anonymous said...

I remember those triple packs too ! The first time I saw any U.S. Marvel comics on sale was during a school day-trip but my local WH Smith's started selling the triple packs soon after - Dr. Strange is one I recall having. 2001: A Space Odyssey is indeed very slow to be adapted into a comic. I was watching it with my father on TV a couple of months before he died and he was so bored he declared he would NEVER watch it again - well, that was true. The comics version must have been really tedious I'd have thought but I've never read it.

Phil said...

I remember that Black Goliath comic. I read Nova too but I think I missed that issue.

Unknown said...

By far my favourite amongst those comics was "Superboy and the LSH" that issue was part of a longish story arc called "Earthwars" with amazing art by James Sherman and not just on nipples but had to laugh at you saying that as I knew what you meant) - Basically it was a stellar war story with the Legion fighting aliens called the Khundians, but as it turned out there was a villainous group, the Dark Circle behind it all and when they were finally beaten it turned out the true villain was long time Legion baddie Mordru - well the story was better than that but you get the idea (I hope) it was better than that,

Secret Society Of Super Villains lasted for around 15 issues and some nice art by Rich Buckler in the later issues (not Pablo Marcos' best art in the early books) But to me it was just a daft comic.

I really like Black Goliath ( always wondered why Marvel stared most of their African-American character names with the word "Black") nice George Tuska and Rich Buckler art though

Anonymous said...

2001 by Jack Kirby only seems odd if you think an adaptation has to stick as closely to the film as possible. Personally, I've got a lot more time for Kirby than I have for Clarke or Kubrick, and reckon that the comic version benefitted from his more dynamic storytelling, with his pulp approach to sf nicely offsetting the more pretentious aspects of the source material.

While the 2001 series was a bit patchy - Kirby's interests in alien visitation and evolution were better served by The Eternals - I recall the Harvey Norton storyline that ran in issues 5 to 7 fondly. Of course, whether you'd think it was any good or not depends on your opinion of the work Kirby did on his return to Marvel in the 70s.

I actually think Kirby is underrated as a writer...I mean, when you think about it, his work was wilder than Steve Gerber's! Sure, his dialogue and captions were a, but so what? You could say the same thing about pretty much all the old Marvel writers - there are many pleasures to be found in 70s comics, but stylish prose isn't one of them.