Weird War Tales was one of those books I completely ignored at the time, but have since found out that it was actually a bit of a secret box of goodies.
As opposed to a great deal of the output from lower tier DC mystery mags like, say, The Unexpected that seemed to just rotate the same few plots ( butterfly collector is killed by giant butterfly, Egyptian tomb robber is killed by Mummy, plantation owner is killed by voodoo priest ), Weird War told a few different stories and had a few more ideas.
I'm not saying it's a lost classic or anything, but if you pick up just about any issue at a con, you'll be surprised at how good it is.
Take issue #36, for instance. Just as a random sample, you've got Bob Kaniger & Frank Thorne doing a silent strip, Wein, Wolfman & Heath's masterpiece The Pool, and Arnold Drake & Frank Robbins contributing the spectacularly bad taste Colonel Clown Isn't Laughing Anymore, a piece that could've run in Plop! were it not alternately funny but darkly, darkly serious.
The mystery and the madness indeed.
From The Illustrated Roger Zelazny, here's Shadowjack, a prequel to Roger's 1971 fantasy novel Jack Of Shadows, which I ridiculously still haven't got around to reading, considering how much I like this character.
This tale, like all of The Illustrated Zelazny is drawn by Gray Morrow, which means it's completely gorgeous. As well as being obviously a great artist, Gray was one of the greatest costume designers and colourists in comics and book illustration, something that's patently obvious here.
As I say, Shadowjack's a great character, and really should've had a comic book career. He would've fit nicely in DC's Sword Of Sorcery actually, had that title lasted any length of time.
Here's Zelazny's introduction to his world, followed by Jack in action.
In the Bronze Age, any sci-fi / fantasy book that didn't have a cover by Chris' Foss or Achilleos, had to by law have one by Peter Jones. Solar Wind, a collection of Jones' best covers, came out in 1980 from Paper Tiger, who I'm sure were a division of Dragon's Dream, champion printer of deluxe fantasy art books.
Some of the pictures here are absolutely iconic to those of us who spent our formative years haunting second hand bookshops, buying sci-fi paperbacks just 'cos we liked the covers.
See how many you remember, or just groove on Jones' edgy, twisted, dark universe view.
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