Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1983 - The Mighty Thor #337

The Might Thor #337
November 1983
Writer/Artist: Walt Simonson

The purchase of The Mighty Thor #337 back in November 1983 was purely an impulse buy because of its unforgettable cover. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Thor back then having enjoyed a few issues by Roy Thomas and Keith Pollard. However, that changed the moment I saw that cover with some kind of alien version of Thor smashing through the comic book’s logo.

The Might Thor logo was the only Marvel logo at that time that had never been changed since the mid-1960s. Simonson actually cut up a copy of the logo from the previous issue and broke it up on a transparent overlay that sat neatly overtop of the daunting image of Beta Ray Bill.

With issue #337, Simonson's relative inexperience certainly didn't show. His first issue on this title is perhaps the most effective textbook example of how to tell a great comic book story. Simonson's distinctive art style certainly caught your attention and charged each page with energy, bringing it to life in a strong cinematic fashion that sparked your imagination. The action scenes sprawled beyond the panels, emphasizing its bold, larger-than-life feel. Thor was drawn physically more impressive and also with a certain nobility.

The first three pages set up a subplot that will eventually become a major story line, the Surtur Saga. In this opening sequence, a mysterious figure of cosmic proportions is forging a foreboding weapon. Simonson captures the tension of the moment and over the storyline of the next year, he paced this subplot, moving it ahead slowly, building on this rising tension.

Not only does this issue thoughtfully introduce establish characters, but it features the debut of Beta Ray Bill and the Enchantress’ sister Lorelei who will both be instrumental during Simonson’s run and beyond.

It featured one jaw-dropping twist after another. Not only was Beta Ray Bill as powerful as Thor was, not only was Bill somehow worthy enough to wield Mjolnir, Beta Ray Bill with Thor’s powers was mistakenly summoned to Asgard by Odin. And that final page, with Donald Blake standing atop the wreckage of Bill’s spaceship and crying out to his father Odin, was simply spectacular. That image still sticks with me today whenever I think about an amazing cliffhanger ending.

The worse part of all of this was that my local convenience store never got a copy of Thor #338 or Thor #339. It would be a year later before I discovered a comic book store and found those back issues, finally concluding that story!

I can’t write about this issue without mentioning letterer, John Workman. This issue was his first as the new regular letterer and while the change was a bit more subtle, his style added a distinctive Norse feel to the book. This new lettering style worked well with Simonson's explosive fonts that broke through panel borders leaving a clear ring in your imagination. THRAKKT! BARROOOOM! KRANNG!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Spotlight on Evan "Doc" Shaner - Cartoonist

Came across another wonderful artist, Evan Shaner and thought I'd share some of his 1980s inspired work. Check him out at: http://www.evanshaner.com/

Friday, January 27, 2012

1983 - The New Mutants #3

From Bob McLeod's Facebook page:

"The New Mutants #3 page 12. Written by Chris Claremont, lettered by Tom Orzechowski.
Most people don't know I ghosted a lot of the inking in issue 3. I was growing increasingly frustrated with the way the book looked, and I could ink a page so much faster than I could pencil a page. I realized I could ink the page myself in the time it would take me to tighten up the pencils enough to get my inker to ink it the way I wanted. This is when I decided it might work better if I inked the book instead of penciling it. It was a mistake in retrospect, but I was just so much more comfortable inking than penciling."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

1985 - John Romita Jr. - Hunk of the Month

From an interview with John Romita Jr. for The Romita Legacy hardcover book (2010):

“They used to get a lot of letters about all the good-looking single guys working at Marvel at the time. In that level was me, and Bob Layton, and Bill Sienkiewicz. They wanted to do a ‘Hunk of the Month’. And I said as long as they do it tongue in cheek and purely goofy that’s fine. Well, I was the only one it was ever done for. And it was taken completely as a pretentious, cocky John Romita Jr.-thinks-he’s-hot-shit kind of thing.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

1985 - X-Factor #2 cover

Here's the unpublished version of X-Factor #2 drawn by John Byrne:

Shooter was pissing all over X-FACTOR in those early days. Nothing was good enough to match his “vision”. Not using my cover probably amounted to not a whole lot more than “Because I can.”

And here's the published version featuring art by Mike Zeck:

Friday, January 20, 2012

1989 - Saga of the Sub-Mariner #12 cover

From Bob McLeod's Facebook page‎:

1989 Saga of the Sub-Mariner #12 cover. Rich Buckler pencils. 
Looks like I was still using a lot of zip-a-tone even in 1989. Rich likes my inking, so he doesn't mind me making changes. Whether I improved it is up to the critics. Rich is great at putting in a lot of backgrounds, which so many artists skimp on these days

Thursday, January 19, 2012

TSR's D&D Adventure Ads

These one-page mini-comics ran as ads in the early 1980s. All but the first one were drawn by Bill Willingham, who would go on to create Comico's Elementals and who is currently writing DC's Fables.

Friday, January 13, 2012

1981 - Attack of the Mutants

Some of you may recall this amazing ad for a new board game called "Attack of the Mutants" published by Yaquinto Publications. I recall sending out my $2 Canadian, but didn't get the Free Copy or even a response. :( However, that one panel image stuck with me for years!

Here's a picture of the actual game.

And here's an amazing 3-D modern version customized by some heavy duty fans!

Tip of the hat to:

It's Clobbering Time!

As promised, here's Loston Wallace's finished masterpiece. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1982 - Uncanny X-Men #153 pages 2-3

Dave Cockrum at his swashbuckling best! Inked by Josef Rubinstein.


Related Posts with Thumbnails