Friday, 27 December 2013

Comic Book Resolutions 2013 Revisited

So as 2013 comes to a close, how did my resolutions work out? As usual with any resolutions I make I did very poorly. I certainly read a lot of comics but not the ones I had planned to read. Silver Age Spider-man? Nope. Black Panther? Nope. Werewolf By Night? Nope. Walt Simonson's Thor? Stan and Jack's Thor? Neither. I did read some Tintin but only the first four books. I would classify this as an almost total failure. 

Amazing Spider-man #3 (July 1963)
Art by Steve Ditko

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hawkman by Kubert

Hawkman by Joe Kubert
The world is a poorer place without Joe Kubert in it but at least we can cherish his art. Nobody could draw Hawkman as well as Kubert. Murphy Anderson was great but Joe Kubert was very special.

Joe Kubert with large print of Showcase Presents Hawkman #101 (June 1978)
Art by Joe Kubert

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Super Sons: Superman Junior and Batman Junior

Do you seek an escape from an insane world? New 52 not floating your boat? Superman too grim and gritty? Legion of Super-Heroes cancelled again? Ben Affleck not your ideal Baman? Too many X comics, too many Avengers comics? Doc Ock as Spider-man confusing your inner fan boy? Never fear Bob Haney is the solution to all your problems!

World's Finest #215 (December 1972 - January 1973)
Art by Nick Cardy

Monday, 2 September 2013

Golden Age Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is marketed by DC as one of their three top franchises but I have failed to connect with the character when I have attempted to read any of the numerous re-launches over the last twenty five years or so. However, this all changed when I read the original Wonder Woman stories from the Golden Age by William Moulton Marston and H G Peter.  I sometimes struggle with Golden Age books, hence the focus of this blog is the Silver and Bronze Ages, but there are some characters whose stories are truly excellent and I can recommend Boy Commandos from DC, Captain Marvel from Fawcett and Blackhawk from Quality Comics as being particularly good. I did not think for a moment that Wonder Woman would join this list but she has.

Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942)
Art by H G Peter and John L Blummer
Boy Commandos #5 (Winter 1943 - 1944)
Pencil Art by Jack Kirby, inks: Joe Simon
Whiz Comics #20 (August 1941)
Pencil Art by C C Beck, inks: Pete Costanza
Military Comics #13 (November 1942)
Art by Reed Crandall
Writer William Moulton Marston, who used the pen name Charles Moulton, was a very interesting and eccentric character himself.  A noted psychologist who contributed to the development of the polygraph test he was a feminist who shared his home not only with his wife Elizabeth but with his girlfriend Olive Byrne, who may also have been Elizabeth's lover.  Marston wanted to promote his feminist belief in the superiority of women and Wonder Woman was his ideal powerful beauty.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A Salute to Jack Kirby: The King's Return to Captain America

It is Jack Kirby's birthday, he would have been 96 years old today.  It is impossible to overstate Jack's contribution to comics or twentieth century culture for that matter. Here is a small salute to the King.

PFC Jacob Kurtzberg (1945)
Criticised at the time, Jack's mid seventies run on Captain America is one of my fondest Bronze Age memories.  So in honour of the King's birthday here is a trip down memory lane:

Captain America #193 (January 1976)
Pencil Art by Jack Kirby, inks: John Romita

Friday, 23 August 2013

Superman: The Silver Age Dailies 1959 - 1961

If like me you are a fan of Silver Age Superman you are in for a big treat if you are lucky enough to get your hands on Superman: The Silver Age Dailies 1959 - 1961.

Superman The Silver Age Dailies 1959 - 1961
Art by Pete Poplaski

These strips have never been reprinted and are a treasure trove of art by Curt Swan, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.  The line up of storytellers is packed with all time greats such as Jerry Siegel and Otto Binder, who offer up slices of Silver Age wonder as depicted in the contemporary Superman monthlies under the guidance of editor Mort Weisinger. 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

John Byrne's Incredible Hulk

John Byrne was at the height of his powers when he took over the script and art on the Incredible Hulk for a short action packed run before departing Marvel to relaunch Superman at DC.  

Incredible Hulk #314 (December 1985)
Art by John Byrne

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Which is the best Hulk versus Thing fight?

It is one of the all time classic confrontations, in one corner the gamma spawned goliath in green that is the incredible Hulk and in the other the everlovin' blue eyed idol o' millions Ben Grimm alias the Thing.  What we need to know is which fight was your favourite?  Here are some suggestions:

Fantastic Four #12

Fantastic Four #12 (March 1963)
Pencil Art by Jack Kirby, inks: Dick Ayers
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby bring us the very first encounter shortly after the Hulk's own title had been cancelled and before the foundation of the Avengers.  This is real primordial Marvel Age creativity here but is it the best?

Hulk versus Thing from Fantastic Four #12 (March 1963)
Pencil Art by Jack Kirby, inks: Dick Ayers
script by Stan Lee

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Herb Trimpe Hulk Covers

Herb Trimpe is my favourite Hulk artist, Incredible Hulk is one of my favourite Bronze Age titles so here are some Herb Trimpe covers for Incredible Hulk!

Incredible Hulk #109 (November 1968)
Pencil Art by Herb Trimpe, inks: John Severin

Incredible Hulk #110 (December 1968)
Pencil art by Herb Trimpe, inks: John Severin 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The House of Secrets

DC produced some great horror/mystery titles in the Silver and Bronze Ages and The House of Secrets was one of the best. Veteran editor Joe Orlando who had worked for EC Comics in the fifties and Warren in the sixties assembled a great set of artists for all of the anthology series he edited.  The stories were not all classics but every issue had its charms.

House of Secrets #81 (August/September 1969)
Art by Neal Adams

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel are making a movie about the Guardians of the Galaxy, unfortunately not the Silver and Bronze Age version but an update from 2008.  Whilst never stars, the Guardians did appear in some excellent Bronze Age comics.  Re-reading the stories what struck me was the contrast between the Silver Age trappings of the debut tale from 1969 and the Bronze Age stylings of their next appearance in Marvel Two-in-One in 1974.  Arnold Drake and Gene Colan brought us the origin tale in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January 1969).

Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (January 1969)
Pencil Art by Gene Colan, inks: Mike Esposito

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Hawkman leaves the Justice League

It seems to be a lost art in the modern era of decompressed storytelling, I'm referring to the single issue "done in one" tale that ensured that you received value for money from your comic book.  Back in the Bronze Age distribution was patchy and tracking down consecutive issues was a tricky business so reading a well crafted single issue was a welcome treat.  One example that sticks in the mind is Justice League of America #109 (January/February 1974).

Justice League of America #109 (January/February 1974)
Art by Nick Cardy

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Cigars of the Pharaoh

Published between 1932 and 1934 the fourth Tintin adventure, Cigars of the Pharoah, is in my view where Tintin begins to show the promise that will be amply fulfilled in later albums.

Cigars of the Pharaoh
Art by Herge

Tintin in America

The third Tintin album, Tintin in America, was published between 1931 and 1932 and is the most widely available early adventure.  The preceding albums being highly controversial.

Tintin in America
Art by Herge

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Tintin in the Congo

The second Tintin album sees our hero in Africa, specifically the then Belgian colony of the Congo.  Published between 1930 and 1931 this story is the most controversial of all Tintin's adventures.

Tintin in the Congo
Art by Herge

Friday, 15 February 2013

Tintin in The Land of The Soviets

I have just completed reading the first Tintin adventure and thus I am one step closer to reaching my goal of reading all of the albums during 2013.  Published between 1929 and 1930 this album is very crude compared to later adventures.  Herge did not agree to a colour version during his lifetime and so this is the only Tintin adventure which has never been reworked or colourised.

Tintin in The Land of The Soviets
Art by Herge

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Joe Kubert Presents

This series is bittersweet. On the one hand it is what I have been praying for, an anthology containing excellent stories illustrated by master artists, but on the other hand once we reach #6 we will be appreciating the last work of the late, great Joe Kubert.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl
Art by Joe Kubert
Joe Kubert Presents #1

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Batman Odyssey Finale

I finally did it, I read Batman Odyssey Volume 2, #7, The finale of Neal Adams' mini-series!  The following contains spoilers so avoid reading if you feel the urge to read it for yourself.  Forget that, just avoid reading the series!
Batman Odyssey  volume 2, #7
Art by  Neal Adams

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

2013 Comics Resolutions Part Two

I have finally got round to completing my list! So many non-comics related stuff to do so little time!  I had decided to make a list of six comic runs or series I must read (or re-read) during 2013.  Here are the final three:

I have attempted to embrace DC's New 52 but I am becoming increasingly disillusioned,  I dropped Marvel almost ten years ago so as I gradually rationalise my monthlies the theory is that I can read stuff I actually enjoy.  I enjoy Marvel Bronze Age horror so I am going to read Werewolf By Night.  This series is nowhere near as good as Tomb of Dracula but well worth a revisit if only for Mike Ploog's art.

Werewolf By Night #7 (July 1973)
Art by Mike Ploog