(W) Jim Shooter, Gil Kane (A) Wally Wood In Shops: Jun 08, 2022 SRP: $29.99
The CAPTAIN ACTION comic, based on the classic action figure, has been out of print for more than 50 years. Written by Jim Shooter and Gil Kane, drawn by Kane and Wally Wood-a legendary roster of talent if there ever was one-and containing the origin of Captain Action and Action Boy and featuring their arch-nemesis, the diabolical Doctor Evil! All five original issues are collected in this volume and have been meticulously scanned from crisp first generation stats, and painstakingly recolored (using the original comics as guides), beautifully representing a long-lost treasure!
Wally Wood (Artist, Cover Artist) Harvey Kurtzman (Artist, Cover Artist) Graham Ingels (Artist, Cover Artist) Johnny Craig (Artist, Cover Artist) Al Williamson (Artist, Cover Artist) Frank Frazetta (Artist, Cover Artist) Jack Davis (Artist, Cover Artist) Al Feldstein (Artist, Cover Artist)
EC Comics, under the guidance of publisher Bill Gaines, was—according to the editor of this collection—the greatest line of comics ever done.
This once-in-a-lifetime Artist’s Edition collects more than 120 EC covers by their best and brightest talents. The luminaries included in this gigantic (15 x 22 inches!) tome include:
Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman. Graham Ingels, Johnny Craig, Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Jack Davis, Al Feldstein, and more.
To make a baseball analogy, this is a Murderers Row every bit as noteworthy as the ’27 Yankees!
To date, IDW Publishing’s Artist’s Edition series has won SIX Eisner Awards!
Each cover has been shot from the original art. While appearing to be in black and white, these images were actually scanned in color, enabling the reader to see all the subtle little nuances that make original art unique. Blue pencil notations, zip-a-tone, whiteout, all of these and more are clearly visible. Honestly, the only better way to see these covers is to be holding the original art in your hands!
Last fall, Renegade Game Studios revealed a partnership with EC Comics for puzzles based on the classic artwork from Weird Science and Weird Science-Fantasy comics. Today they’ve announced the first four puzzles in this line, with art from Weird Science #15, Weird Science #16, Weird Science-Fantasy #27, Weird Science-Fantasy #29.
Weird Science #16 was the winner of a fan poll that launched when the new partnership was announced. Weird Science #16 features amazing cover art by Comic Book Hall of Fame artist Wally Wood that will adorn a 19×26”, 1000 piece puzzle.
Guest contributor Eugene Selassie is back with the second part of his retrospective of Marvel‘s The Avengers. He started at the beginning covering the first sixteen issues. He’s back discussing issues #17 to #35!
We continue my biweekly recap of my deep dive, reading every single issue of The Avengers from the beginning. In the second half of the Stan Lee era of the book, we see more of a focus on the personalities and the private concerns of each Avenger. We also notice a shift in the power levels of the villains they face to complement the more grounded roster. The political thriller vibe of some of the arcs, predating The Ultimates by about 35 years, was welcome…but the racial caricatures were not. Several allies and Avengers mainstays debuted around this time. Finally, these issues really hit home how much a different inker can completely change an art style.
The first few issues of the “kooky quartet” era established the dynamics of the team rather quickly:
Captain America was now unquestionably the one in charge. Steve Rogers exuded even more confidence in action than in previous Avengers stories, if that’s even possible. Complex team strategy and tactics are now on full display with this roster, which was a treat. On the contrary, Cap’s constant brooding while alone at the mansion sometimes felt a bit off-putting. So did the fact that he took on a mission that could’ve caused an international incident, just to look good for SHIELD recruitment (issue 18). When Steve quit the team at the end of issue 22, it could have led to the end of the Avengers, if not for Kang’s subsequent attack, which brought the team back together. Cap was a bit of a dick at times. It felt justified when he was dishing it back out to Hawkeye. Conversely, demanding that Hank Pym prove he’s the real Giant-Man, even though Hank explained that there have been health concerns and the strain of changing size could kill him, went a bit overboard. Equally perplexing was insulting Hank to snap him out of his funk, but from what I’m discovering, that was a common storytelling device at Marvel during the Silver age.
Hawkeye was the wild card of the bunch. The action man archer trying to repent from Tales of Suspense #57 up through Avengers #16 is gone and the cocky Clint Barton that we all know and love is present. I laughed heartily because Clint’s luggage wasn’t even unpacked yet before he started mouthing off to Cap. Around issue 25 is where we start to see Clint at least being self-aware that he’s a jerk and gives Cap too much crap…yet he does nothing to actually correct this. He and Cap bickered like an old married couple.
While the Scarlet Witch was written not as ineffectively as Jan was in these early issues, Wanda Maximoff is still treated the way all women were written in that era. She pined for Steve 50% of the time. Also, her being a brunette back then really threw me for a loop. Her powers were not as dangerously unpredictable as they would later be written as.
Quicksilver’s personality is the furthest from modern renditions. Pietro Maximoff is not quite a pompous ass yet. The one trait that does carry over to modern times is him being overprotective of his sister, Wanda. His personality, for the most part, is just him shouting “don’t talk to my sister that way!”. One minor facet that I never knew existed was both Maximoffs having a fondness for show business. Pietro, especially, took a liking to daredevils and high wire acts in the circus. In battle, he was quite effective, although he used the “tie people up in cloaks/curtains/blankets shtick as his offense…a lot.
While the team still took on “foes that no single hero could withstand” in several of these stories, there was a noticeable pulling back of the power levels of foes to coincide with the lesser powered roster.
The Swordsman appears in issues 19-20. This is where we get our first glimpses into Hawkeye’s past as Swordsman’s protégé and Clint getting pulled into a life of crime due to his mentor’s actions
Power Man (Erik Josten) in issues 21-22 makes three times (along with Wonder Man and Swordsman) in less than two years that the “villain pretending to be a hero” shtick was used against the Avengers.
The Keeper of the Flame (issue #31) was a change of pace in that we hadn’t seen any sort of cult leader in the book as of yet. Their eternal flame was powered by cobalt. Cobalt is treated like plutonium in this issue in that they treated it like it could destroy the entire planet. The Avengers figured both sides of this ancient conflict over ownership of the flame pose equal danger to the globe, so they snuffed out the flame. This felt like the “ending of Rocky IV” level of tone-deaf in the slightest and “violating the Prime Directive” at the worst.
In issue 32, the hate group, known as the Sons of the Serpent, shows up and viciously attacks a random Latinx bystander. One would think that the concept would feel dated…the last few years have proven that, sadly, they’re still relevant.
This period also is the starting point for several familiar faces in the annals of Avengers history, to make their appearance. It was good to see Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne again (issues 26-28). Hank now refers to himself as Goliath. A fun fact I never knew is that Wanda designed and created his blue and yellow Goliath costume. Jan seemed much less flighty, but within the span of six issues she was captured and imprisoned three times, then is knocked out cold after falling out of a tree, ugggh. Hank’s size-changing has caused health concerns and at one point, he gets stuck at ten feet tall, with no way to shrink or grow without fatal results. To assist him in research towards a cure, Tony Stark refers him to one of the most brilliant bio-chemists on the planet, Bill Foster, who would one day become Goliath. Foster was attacked just down the block from Pym’s house by the Serpents in issue 32. Pym went into a full-on rage and canceled all experiments so he could make sure the Avengers made the Serpents a top priority. Not saying there’s anything wrong with Pym, more so than any of the other Avengers, taking umbrage with racially motivated hate crimes and wanting to plant his foot up the asses of those responsible, but I was surprised how “woke” he was. To get more intel on the Serpents, Steve reached out to Nick Fury. Having not read anything with the O.G. Fury in almost a decade I realized how much I missed him. This also marked his first appearance in an Avengers comic. Of course a barber shop is a front for a SHIELD base. This felt oddly on point for a 60s spy organization. Unbeknownst to the Serpents, one of their recruitment meetings has been infiltrated by the Black Widow. It would seem that her road to redemption began here. What also began here was an unsavory pattern.
Issue 18 saw the team go toe-to-toe with the mammoth cyborg dictator known as the Commissar…a bad East Asian stereotype. Issues 32 and 33 revealed that the mastermind behind the Sons of the Serpent was actually a Communist General…who was a bad East Asian stereotype. Issues 34 and 35 revealed that Living Laser had hired himself out to those looking to stage a coup in the fake Latin American country of Costa Verde. Guess what, they were bad Mexican stereotypes. I had to facepalm at a lot of this. I’m hoping that there’s not too much more casual racism masked as patriotism in these early years because that will severely hamper my reading experience.
One thing that stood out more than anything was the different inkers that worked with artist Don Heck. In all of my years of reading comics, I’ve never seen an art style change so drastically with the changing of an inker on a book, until now. The legendary Wally Wood brought a level of intricate detail to the layouts yet unseen during Heck’s run. Shifting to John Romita inks was fun as he was a master of highlighting the character’s acting and emotion. Frankie Ray’s inks were not as detailed as Wally Wood’s but still got the point of Heck’s pencils across, which were probably in their purest form here. The style then drastically shifted when Frank Giacoia did the inks, giving the book an almost “romance comic” vibe. All of these craftsmen were highly talented. I just never knew an inker alone could change the look of a comic to this degree.
I’m very excited to get to the next leg of this journey, the Roy Thomas era of the book. It’s here where new members of the team begin coming in fast and furiously. Hope you’ll return for the coming of Hercules, Black Panther and several others. Until next time, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!
(W) Craig Yoe (A) John Severin, John Romita, Wally Wood (CA) Steve Ditko In Shops: Nov 13, 2019 SRP: $34.99
An incredible artbook showcasing some of the greatest comic artists of all time! Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Don Heck, John Byrne, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Severin, Wally Wood, John Romita, and many more! As part of the tremendous fun of Silver Age comics, artists created pin-ups of the most popular Marvel heroes and villains! Now the greatest of those works of art are gathered for the first time in a beautiful large-format hardback book! Included are rare examples of original art of The Thing, Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange.
True believers, thrill to pulsating pinups of Spidey, Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Daredevil, Millie the Model (!), and the ever lovin’ blue-eyed Thing-and many marvelous more!
Join Dark Horse Comics in celebrating 75 years of EC Comics with a brand-new hardcover collection! Choke Gasp! The Best of 75 Years of EC Comics is a premiere collection of the best stories of EC Comics, curated in a deluxe, 528-page hardcover reprinted in full color!
This volume collects stories from EC Comics’ most famous titles, featuring classic stories from the hands of legendary creators Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, and more!
Choke Gasp! The Best of 75 Years of EC Comics goes on sale December 04, 2019. Be sure to pick up this gorgeous hardcover for $49.99.
IDW Publishing and Yoe Books have announced a new line of Marvel Comics collections, a sensational series of large-format hardcovers curating the finest artwork from the Golden Age’s four-color foundations all the way up to the Marvel Age’s dizzying heights!
Coinciding with the year-long celebration of Marvel’s 80 years of publishing, Yoe Books will debut their retrospective look at the House of Ideas with Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups, which will be followed by additional entries in 2019.
In Marvel Masterwork Pin-Ups, the pulsating pin-up artwork of legendary Silver Age creators – including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Don Heck, John Byrne, Barry Windsor-Smith, John Severin, Wally Wood, Dan Decarlo, John Romita, and many more – is collected for the first time ever into a single volume, accompanied throughout with witty wordage, pulse-pounding patter, and zany zingers by Stan “The Man” Lee!
Fans will treasure large, deftly drawn pin-ups by these marvelous artists of Spider-Man, Thor, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, The Hulk, The X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and many more, plus nefarious villains led by Doctor Doom – and even Millie the Model by Dan DeCarlo!
Wally Wood’s career is legendary among the annals of comic’s history. He rocketed to fame working on Will Eisner’s The Spirit newspaper strip and became one of the most talented artists working for EC Comics during the 1950s. Wood also became a star of EC’s satire comic called Mad, which went on to even greater success as a magazine, allowing the artist to apply his amazing talents in a broader spectrum. When the comics industry fell on lean times during the mid 1950s, Wood segued into the field of science fiction pulp illustration, providing over 200 beautiful drawings and several color cover paintings for the digest magazines; particularly Galaxy. Wood left behind a legacy of great art, much of which has never been reprinted. This book will feature them all. Long time Wally Wood historian Roger Hill has spent the past twenty years pulling together the history of Wood’s involvement with the pulp digests and tracking down original art for this project. Over half of the images have been pulled from the originals or from Wood’s personal file copies, allowing Wood fans the finest possible reproduction!
HC · B&W · $29.99 · 160 · 8.5” x 11” • ISBN 978-1-61377-183-9
Those who know their comics, know that Dark Horse means horror (among other things), and there’s no better showcase of this than series like Eerie and Creepy, which are Dark Horse’s hallmark to the horror comics of the 1960s and 1970s, using the same names of the Eerie and Creepy magazines published by Warren Publishing (Vampirella), which was a big competitor with DC and Marvel until 1981, and they were able to put out risqué comics banned in regular comic books because they published in magazine format, which was not restricted by the Comics Code Authority. Like those old magazines, Dark Horse’s Eerie #3 is a horror anthology featuring weird, out-there stories, the general goal is which are to be unsettling. Not to mention a fantastic cover by Paul Chadwick.
Issue three is composed of three short stories by different artistic teams. “Hunger,” penned by Landry Q. Walker and drawn by Troy Nixey, who has worked on some Mignola books, is a weird exploration of what happens to an alien stranded on Earth, and a criticism of our largely empty calorie diet. Walker builds a rather strange story, if not slightly predictable in its oddness, and the final turn is rather funny in that I-shouldn’t-laugh sort of way. What makes this first story incredible is Nixey’s black and white pencils, which create a complex, detailed world which highlights the erratic, frightful nature of the story, and makes the experience unbelievably gross (but cool).
Jonathan Case’s “Saturnian Infantroids” is an equally absurd tale, in which he uses a rather classic line style populated with Kirby dots to create a black and white world reminiscent of 1950s sci-fi comics to spin a yarn about giant radiation-mutated babies destroying an American colony on Titan. This story mocks America’s current Puritanical fear of birth control, by making use of birth control a subject of paranoid monster making, blaming the ‘Red’ Soviets for the creation of birth control and its defuncts (those giant babies). It’s rather hilarious, and a fun, short read, the out-there-ness of which counters the creeped-out factor of “Hunger.”
Imagine if the plot of The Search for Spock had involved Spock being reborn in the body of a grotesque, multi- ocular monster that can devour anything by absorbing and digesting it through its skin. Also, imagine that a woman were in love with Spock previous to his demise, and that that woman still wants to spend the rest of her life with the new green-bodied monster. Gerry Boudreau’s “The Manhunters” illustrated by Wally Wood has basically that plot, and it’s of the highest class mid-20th century sci-fi. Little else needs to be said, other than perhaps praising Wood’s ability as a colorist (my god, those bright and stark contrasts!) and artist, since his work is entirely enjoyable and captures the weird feel of the narrative.
Writing a short story is embarking on a dangerous journey of critics and fans and haters who will claim the work is “too short,” “not fulfilling,” “left me wanting,” but good short stories is exactly what Eerie #3 presents here. Each of these stories is classic horror or sci-fi, with enough content to feel satisfied but with a diegetic world interesting enough to be explored in future comics or in the reader’s imagination. As a fan of old horror comics, I’m definitely looking forward to more from Cousin Eerie (and Creepy).
My only complaint lies in the fact that I believe at least the last story is a reprint, since Wally Wood died in 1984, and it would certainly be eerie if Wood were making new art for Dark Horse. My complaint is miniscule, just that I couldn’t find citation information if this is indeed a reprint, because I completely enjoyed the comic regardless of being a reprint, and these classic horror/sci-fi pieces need to be brought back to the present readership. After some research, I discovered that “The Manunters” is a reprint from 1974’s Comix International #2 published by Warren Publishing. While this was the only reprint I thought to look for, it’s possible other of the contents are as well—but that’d be no reason to think this a bad book, just proof that the comics therein are in fact worth the read!
Finally, I love Eerie’s creation of the Cousin Eerie mythology and the back-up interview with Richard Corben, one of my absolute favorite artists and Poe-adaptationist par excellence. In the interview Corben provides an interesting perspective on editors, since he says that horror comics editors have gotten more relaxed over the years, whereas mainstream opinion sees superhero comics editors as ruling with an “iron fist” (the same phrasing used by Corben about earlier horror editors, probably a result of the new Comics Code Authority and today’s lack of such restrictions). If you like horror and sci-fi, or good art, or you want to explore the possibility of short-story comics, Eerie #3 is the book for you! It’s an anthology and a learning experience for just $3.99.
Dark Horse, if you’re reading: thank you. It’s books like Eerie #3 that I hope to edit someday soon and bring well-written quality comics to readers everywhere, and it’s further proof that Dark Horse is the company.
Story: Landry Q. Walker, Jonathan Case, Gerry Boudreau Art: Troy Nixey, Jonathan Case, Wally Wood, Paul Chadwick (Cover) Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read/Buy
Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review