Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Black and White Wednesday: "Among the Great Divide" by Gerber, Starlin, and Wiacek

Check it out, Groove-ophiles! Steve Gerber and Jim Starlin were to of the strongest, most unique, most, yes, idiosyncratic voices of the Groovy (or any) Age. Their comics were the ones you looked forward to because you really didn't know what to expect--except that it would be a comicbook experience like no other. They worked together a few times, with varying degrees of success. An early collaboration in Iron Man #56 (legend has it) got 'em fired from the mag by Stan Lee, himself. Then you get a macabre, thought-provoking, uncomfortabley amazing piece like "Among the Great Divide" from Rampaging Hulk #7 (December 1977). Since the story features one of Gerber's signature characters, Man-Thing, when Teen Groove flipped to the back of the mag, he knew he was in for a treat. When I saw that the art was by Jim-freakin'-Starlin (inked by Bob Wiacek)--yeah, I knew I'd spent my buck well. Everyone was still buzzing about the TV mini-series Sybil (starring future Aunt May (!), and soon-to-be Emmy  and Oscar winner, Sally Field), but of course Gerber and Starlin took their look at the serious subject of Dissociative Identity Disorder (then known as Multiple Personality Disorder) and gave their story--and the disorder, itself--its own twists...though most of my friends didn't know that this, superior, story even existed. Many folks still don't. Well, if you're reading this--you know it now...

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Decent Comics: "The Monster Society Strikes Back!" by Bridwell, Newton, and Hunt

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! One of the great things about DC Comics back in the Groovy Age is that they were proud, and I do mean proud, baby, of their past--even if it was a past they put out of business and then brought back! Huh? Ol' Groove's rappin' about the Original Captain Marvel, or as they hadda call the feature back then (because of some fly-by-night comicbook company, I hear) SHAZAM! This pride in comicbook history was rarely more evident than when the SHAZAM! team of E. Nelson Bridwell, Don Newton, and Dave Hunt brought back the Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil in the back pages of World's Finest #264 (May 1980). Y'see, the original MMatMSoE storyline was a thing of legend to us Groovy Age fans. A storyline that ran for two years in Captain Marvel Adventures (issues 22-46)? That kind of lengthy adventure was unheard of in the Golden Age of comicbooks and it was One Of Those Things fans dug the most. So how cool (and surprising) was it to find a sequel to that fabled epic in the back of World's Finest? About this cool...

And yep, it's a multi-issue storyline--not as long as the original, but long for the SHAZAM revamp! How long? Stay tuned! Part 2 next month!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Marvel-ous Monday: "Cry--Vengeance!" by Claremont, Byrne, and McLeod

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Ya know. a lotta folks think that Chris Claremont and John Byrne's final ish of Marvel Team-Up was MTU #79 (December 1978)--you know, the legendary Spider-Man/Red Sonja classic. Well, Ol' Groove's here to tell ya, that the X-Men teameo-supremeo did one more ish of MTU--although it was "just" the back-up in MTU #100 (September 1980). But what a back-up: Black Panther and Storm! Seems the two had a history from back in their younger days--so of course that "history" came back to cause 'em problems! (They are superheroes, after all!) The only bad thing about this story is that in 2006, somebody at Marvel must've mis-read it and got the idea that the two should be married. Oh. well, at least we'll always have "Cry--Vengeance!" (with those sweet Bob McLeod inks!)

"Wait, Groove!" you say? "If that was the back-up, what was the lead story in MTU #100?" You could look it up...or you could just hang in there 'til next month (unless Ol' Groove forgets. Then you'll have to remind him...)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Making a Splash: Star-Lord

Man, does Ol' Groove ever love Star-Lord--but I'm sure I'm not the only one! Created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan for Marvel Comics way back in 1975, Peter Jason Quill's alter ego remained a cult favorite during the Groovy Age, went through a lot of changes over the past decade-plus, and has become a movie star via the excellent Guardians of the Galaxy movies (though he's a very different Star-Lord in those). Star-Lord was originally going to headline his own b&w sci-fi mag, but those plans fell through, so his debut was in Marvel's b&w try-out mag, Marvel Preview #4 (October 1975). He disappeared until July 1977 when he re-surfaced in MP #11 under the care of the new creative team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin (who would soon go on to make history with some mag with an "X" in the title...). In May 1978, Claremont teamed with a new artistic team: Carmine Infantino and Bob Wiacek to produce a more hard-sci-fi styled Star-Lord for MP #14, then that same team got it all together one more time in MP #15 (July 1978). In March 1979, Star-Lord finally appeared in full-color, under the creative team of Doug Moench, Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer in Marvel Super-Special #10 (March 1979). A couple months later, it was back to black and white for MP #18 where Moench was still writing, but for that ish, he was teamed with a new guy who would soon become a legend: Bill Sienkiewicz (with stunning inks by Bob McLeod). Not long after that, Star-Lord made his standard color comics debut in Marvel Spotlight Volume 2, in issues 6-7 (February-April 1980), once more with Moench at the typewriter who was joined by Charlton mainstay Tom Sutton on the art. That same team produced a third Star-Lord fable, but that one didn't see print until the final issue of Marvel Premiere (May 1981). Whew! That's a lot to read in order to get to these sensational splashes, huh? Weeelll--it's worth it! Blast off!


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As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!