Friday, October 22, 2010

Taking a sabbatical...

I've taken on the NaNoWriMo challenge for November.

What's NaNoWrimo? Go here.

So I'll need to pump out just under 2,000 words a day starting on November 1 and running until the end of November in hopes of writing 50,000 words. I'm trying to clear all my commitments for the month and posting this blog is one of them.

I will be back here posting more fun 1980s content in early December.

I also need to clear some time before November gets here to sort out a rough story outline and sketch up some characters. So, this post will be my last until early December.

Take care and see you all in just over a month!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

1987 - Silver Surfer

Silver Surfer #1-6
July – December 1987
Writer: Steve Englehart
Artist: Marshall Rogers

While I enjoyed Stan Lee/John Buscema’s Silver Surfer series of the late 60s, I always felt the character was restrained and repetitive. The Silver Surfer belonged to space and by preventing him from getting back to it, the character lost his magic. Twenty years after his first ongoing series, the Silver Surfer got another ongoing series.

“It began when Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter asked me to do a SURFER book. I was pleased to be asked, but remembered that the character had been reserved for Editor Emeritus Stan Lee. Jim was clear in his response: the current Powers That Be had decided the Surfer could make the company money, and should.

So, if I were going to do the Surfer, I wanted to get him off Earth. He had been trapped here, denied the vastness of space, since his first epic in FF #48-50, and I felt that situation had long outlived its interest. For one thing, despite everyone's affection for the character and some good people giving it their all, he had never sold. The Surfer seemed like he ought to be great, but he wasn't. Nevertheless, I was told he had to stay on Earth.

So I wrote a #1 issue, and plotted two more, under that restriction. But I kept bugging Jim, and all of a sudden, for whatever reason, I got my way. The Surfer could fly free. That first issue was shelved and I started over with a new #1. That "earthbound" first issue later appeared as an "imaginary story" in Marvel Fanfare [Marvel Fanfare #51 with art by John Buscema].

In an interview with Englehart from Comic Feature #56:
“At that point it was going to be a 12-issue limited series taking place right before a graphic album that Stan and Keith Pollard were doing which would have gotten the Surfer off the Earth. My 12-part series with John Buscema would have been the last 12 adventures of the Surfer on Earth.”

There were delays and editorial issues that forced Buscema got frustrated with those delays and took on assignments on The Avengers and The Fantastic Four. That Stan Lee and Keith Pollard graphic novel was finally published in 1990.

Rather than having the Surfer mope around the globe and long for his long-lost love Shalla Bal, writer Steve Englehart freed the Silver Surfer from his Earthly prison in the first double-sized issue.

Englehart did a wonderful job juggling several main plot threads in the first six issues: the start of a new Kree/Skrull war; the Elders' conspiracy against Galactus; the Surfer's inability to resume his relationship with Shalla Bal; and the re-introduction of one of Englehart's favorite creations Mantis.

Marshall Rogers provided the coloured art as well as the series' pencils. Unfortunately, his colours seemed a bit unaturally bright with an almost highlighter colour feel. Tempering this criticism with the general poor quality of colouring during the 80s, this is a minor complaint. His pencils, however weren't as spectacular as his previous efforts on Batman and Dr. Strange.

Their Silver Surfer run balances the legacy of this character’s rich past while expanding his future. No longer confined to being a supporting character, Englehart established the Silver Surfer as a solid, lead character, a cosmic player.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marvel January 2011 soliciations - 1980s goodness

Only one book of note...



The body count rises higher than ever as the X-Men and their allies face war on every front! The original X-Men have formed X-Factor, and they come up against their deadliest challenge yet in Apocalypse and his Horsemen, including the all-new Archangel! The New Mutants lose one of their own! And after the Marauders slaughter the Morlocks, they take on the X-Men — and the survivors will be asked to sacrifice themselves to stop the evil Adversary! Featuring tie-ins starring Captain America, Daredevil, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and Power Pack! Collecting NEW MUTANTS (1983) #55-61, UNCANNY X-MEN #220-227, X-FACTOR (1986) #18-26, CAPTAIN AMERICA (1968) #339, DAREDEVIL (1964) #252, FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #312, INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) #336-337 & #340 and POWER PACK (1984) #35.
824 PGS./Rated A ...$99.99

Monday, October 18, 2010

Octobers in the Marvel 1980s

Here’s a breakdown by year of new or ending series that occurred in October.

    October     DRAGONSLAYER 2-issue miniseries
    October     JAMES BOND: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY 2-issue miniseries

    October     ANNIE 2-issue miniseries
    October     BLADE RUNNER 2-issue miniseries
    October     CONAN THE BARBARIAN MOVIE SPECIAL 2-issue miniseries

    October     CLOAK AND DAGGER 4-issue miniseries
    October     CRAZY MAGAZINE ends (#94)
    October     STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI 4-issue miniseries

    October     CRASH RYAN 4-issue miniseries
    October     DOCTOBEROR WHO begins
    October     KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE ends (#34)
    October     MACHINE MAN (second series) 4-issue miniseries
    October     MICRONAUTS (second series) begins
    October     THE LAST STARFIGHTER 3-issue miniseries
    October     U.S. 1 ends (#12)
    October     WHAT IF? ends (#47)

    October     THE ETERNALS (second series) 12-issue miniseries
    October     VISION AND THE SCARLET WITCH (second series) 12-issue miniseries
    October     WEST COAST AVENGERS (second series) begins

    October     G.I. JOE SPECIAL MISSIONS begins
    October     POPPLES begins
    October     STAR BRAND begins

    October     ALIEN LEGION (second series) begins
    October     CODENAME: SPITFIRE ends (#13)
    October     MARSHAL LAW begins
    October     MOEBIUS begins

    October     EXCALIBUR begins
    October     STRANGE TALES (second series) ends (#19)
    October     THE LIGHT AND DARKNESS WAR 6-issue miniseries
    October     X-TERMINATORS 4-issue miniseries

    October     QUASAR begins
    October     SHADOWMASTERS 4-issue miniseries
    October     ST. GEORGE ends (#8)
    October     THE PUNISHER MAGAZINE begins

Saturday, October 16, 2010

RIP Simon MacCorkindale

Simon MacCorkindale, probably most known on the 80s TV series Falcon Crest, died young at 58 due to cancer. I fondly remember him as the star of Manimal (another Glen A. Larson production) , an action/adventure series that only ran 8 episodes. Rest in Peace...

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Paul Smith Love and a beautiful colour sketch by Byrne, Austin, and Oliff

Not much to say other than enjoy...

Cleaned up version of the cover to Amazing Heroes #12.

A 1986 colour sketch by John Byrne, Terry Austin, and Steve Oliff.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1987 – Moebius – The Airtight Garage

Moebius’ The Airtight Garage was volume #3 in a series of graphic novels published by Marvel Comics under their imprint, Epic Comics. This series of graphic novels reprinted Moebius’ work from the late 1970s with a translation from French to English done by Jean-Marc Lofficier.

For the 1980s, these graphic novels had a hefty price of $12.95US/$16.95 which put them out of my financial reach back then.

Apparently, The Airtight Garage took Jean “Moebius” Giraud four years to write and draw. This graphic novel presents the story in colour, which Moebius insisted either be done by himself or by assistants under his direct supervision. It also features a new translation which apparently corrected a few story inconsistencies.

Despite being popularly known as The Airtight Garage, a more accurate translation of the title is “The Garage Hermetic of Lewis Camelian”.

From Moebius’ introduction:
“With The Garage, it all started like that. I drew the first two pages with the feeling of making up a big joke, a complete mystery, something that could not possibly lead anywhere. And yet, at the same time, I was trying to create something that captured a feeling of joy and fantasy that I felt inside me, almost as if I was remembering the incomplete part of a dream.”

While I had difficult time with the story and the story-telling techniques, what kept me turning the pages was the art. Stunningly beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe Moebius’ work. Incredibly rich panels, stunning linework, and layouts with spectacular sci-fi fantasy scenes and technology. His detailed art work is balanced with simple caricatures that draw attention to themselves as your eye scans the panel. The colour work is beautifully done as well considering the technology of the mid-1980s.

I found the story difficult to follow and can honestly said I didn’t get it. The art is breathtaking, but the overall package didn’t work for me. The material felt very foreign and I’m bilingual in French! I can’t help but wonder what my 16 year-old self would have thought about the comic in 1987. He’d probably have been bummed out after dishing out $17 on this. 

An interesting homage to Will Eisner:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

1984 - John Byrne's Fantastic Four poster

Had this lovely poster up on my wall as a kid for the longest time...

Love the Byrne puppet in the hands of the Puppet Master!

Here's my stab at Who's Who:

From top left to right:
Impossible Man (the balloon)
Tomazooma the Walking Totem Pole
Human Torch
Dragon Man
Reed Richards
Silver Surfer
Sentry 459

(next row)
Him (Adam Warlock)
The mysterious man from Fantastic Four #51 – This Man, This Monster
The Monster from the Lost Lagoon (and his mate) ???
The Monacle

(Starting back at the left)
Black Bolt
Franklin Richards
Susan Richards
Torgo (FF #93)
Ronan the Accuser
Mad Thinker’s Android

(Starting back at the left again)
Agatha Harkness
Trapster (Paste Pot Pete)
Wyatt Wingfoot
Prester John
The Infant Terrible (FF #24)

(Starting back at the left again)
Red Ghost and his Apes (Mikhlo, Igor, and Peotr)
Super Skrull
Hate Monger
Gideon (FF #34)
Miracle Man
Mad Thingker

(Starting back at the left, first row)
Willie Lumpkin (The FF’s postman)
Puppet Master
Mister Miracle
Alicia Masters
Mole Man and two of his Moloids
Black Panther
Doctor Doom
Kurrgo, Master of Planet X (FF #7)

Monday, October 4, 2010

1980 – Whatever happened to the Claremont/Byrne What If Magneto Had Formed the X-Men?

Let me be upfront. I actually couldn’t find out about what happened to this issue. On his forum, John Byrne couldn’t recall its ultimate fate. Maybe it evolved into the “What if Magneto had formed the X-Men with Professor X?” special published in 2004.

Byrne revealed the following in an interview in the Art of John Byrne (1980):

The basic premise was that Charles Xavier had faced Lucifer, and the dead bolt fell on him – the thing that crippled him. Only this time it killed him, so there was never a Charles Xavier. It was Magneto who formed together the first band of X-Men which were not called the X-Men, they were called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

They were Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Beast, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver, with somewhat different names. Cyclops was still Cyclops, the Angel was the Arch Angel, and carries a flaming sword. Iceman had a different name, I can’t remember it right now. Marvel Girl became Psyke. Beast was still the Beast, and Obviously Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch still had the same names.

The story was essentially that with that particular team forming the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Magneto beats everyone. He destroys the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, in their earliest stages. In order to destroy the Fantastic Four, they team up with Doctor Doom. Doctor Doom then turns on them (this is an earlier form of Doctor Doom, the one of about issue #10 of the FF). He turns on them and Magneto magnetically, simply crushes the Doctor’s chest plate (laughter) ‘So much for you fella!” Then, all the other super heroes are either imprisoned or destroyed. Those who are not killed are imprisoned on Asteroid M and Magneto rules the world!

We show that it’s not all that bad a place, really. Homo Sapiens are not the top dogs anymore – the world is ruled by Homo Superior. And everything is going along real cool and neat, until one day, along comes the Silver Surfer, followed immediately by Galactus.

And in this case, since the Thing was killed in the destruction of the Fantastic Four, there is no Alicia to soften the heart of the Surfer, so the Surfer doesn’t turn on Galactus, so Galactus eats the world. Of course, Asteroid M with all there superheroes on it, which is in orbit, goes drifting off into space with Spider-Man and Daredevil and all the other survivors.

Apparently Claremont and Byrne had plotted it, Byrne was to draw it and Claremont script it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

1982 - X-Men Graphic Novel & Neal Adams

A couple of weeks after Neal Adams had started drawing the graphic novel, Jim Shooter, Marvel’s editor-in-chief, told him “I can’t put the contract together. I can’t do it.” Neal had insisted on a contract that wasn’t a work-made-for-hire agreement. Shooter then turned to Brent Anderson and the rest is history.

Here are Adams' pages:

Interestingly, Adams’ opening scene has Magneto being attacked by the Purifiers whereas the final product had that rather controversial opening with the Purifiers killing the two young mutants and Magneto coming across their bodies.


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