Monthly Archives: April 2015
Of my old comics, one of the very few left in my possession is the huge magazine-style version of Robert E. Howard’s “Red Nails,” adapted by Roy Thomas and Barry [Windsor] Smith (originally in Savage Tales #2-3; here reprinted in color). There is no point in trying to articulate Smith’s presence and creative force in comics. Just … look at this.
It’s the worst thing ever to happen to my experience of Marvel and other superhero comics.
I’d been reading comics for about four years. I had read Origin of Marvel Comics, and Son of Origins, I’d struggled with The Steranko History of Comics volume 1, I had my issues of FOOM coming in the mail, and I had an envelope stuffed with Marvel Value Stamps. I was eleven, I was finally afforded an allowance that didn’t vanish with a single candy bar, and more than anything in the world, and as far as real life is concerned, considering I’d already met Leonard Nimoy, I wanted to be in on the ground floor of a new, world-beating, mighty Marvel comic magazine. Read the rest of this entry
Picture the Marvel I first encountered, as a multi-year pile roughly centered on 1971: comics as physical objects are pure junk product; the brand is known to everyone but beholden to nobody; the Perfect Film & Chemical Corporation (soon renamed Cadence) seeks Hollywood but the actual product is still selling ad space to X-Ray Specs and plastic rats. Read the rest of this entry
BONUS POST: Thanks to Larry Lade and his April pledge at the Doctor Xaos Patreon! Lockdown first: I’m restricting this conversation to the first six-issue series Marshal Law (collected as Fear and Loathing), because both further development of the line and fandom have defiled it, frag them. I bought it issue by issue in 1987-1988, delighted and stunned.
Um … you do see who he is, right? Down to almost exactly the same powers? No mask, but a secret identity anyway, via an alias? Breaking chains all the time? Alien to comfortably ordinary folks? Flatly cut off from his original identity and home, yet not even the hint of emotional crisis or a personality disorder? Confronting thugs on the one hand and tycoons on the other, too, in a world where “law and order” is not necessarily something to be on the side of.
Just a minute here to talk about a comics supervillain whose type doesn’t figure into Doctor Xaos, neither lesser nor ultra, but rather personal, who is primarily dangerous due to what he knows, how he’s related to the hero through ordinary ties, and what flips his switch.
BONUS POST: Thanks to Markku Tuovinen and his April pledge at the Doctor Xaos Patreon! Two Steves actually, one named Englehart and one named Strange, and one was writing the other, but sometimes, I’m not entirely sure which way that ran.
Shall I introduce you to some interacting influences of the 1970s? I shall. Any resemblance to
me in my pre- to mid-teens persons living or dead is probably accurate.
In the unbelievably awesome Fantastic Four Annual #2, when Victor von Doom puts on his mask for the first time, a minion protests, “But master, it has not completely cooled yet!” and in the from-behind panel when he’s putting it on, vapor rises from the contact point to remind us of how hot it was.