Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Elric: The Prisoner Of Pan Tang



Star*Reach #6 was, as I've bored about before, a seminal comic book, in my collection anyway. It was the first properly independent, adult book I ever saw, and it completely blew my mind.
Here's one of the reasons why: An original Elric story from Eric Kimball & Bob Gould, working as' Two Man Horse '. The  pair had sent this completed strip, unsolicited, to editor / publisher Mike Freidrich, and he liked it so much he immediately scrabbled around to contact Elric creator Micheal Moorcock to use it. All of which led to Gould almost making a career out of doing Elric book covers.
There's the obvious Barry Smith influence here, but the art has a definite style all it's own. I just really like the textures of the linework, where everything sort of seems to be made of sticks and twigs, and you are very definitely in another world.





















Monday, 25 July 2016

Jason's Quest



Jason's Quest is an engaging little series that ran in just three issues of Showcase, and always seems to me to be reminiscent of a TV tie-in, like there was a Jason's Quest show, but I somehow just never saw it.


It's written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky, an artist whose work a lot of fans had trouble getting past. Personally, although I struggle with his sixties JLA work, I do like his early '70's stuff, particularly when his wonkier stylings are softened by a sympathetic inker like Dick Giordano, or as here, Frank Giacoia. And I'm particularly fond of the way his bad guys smirk.
Amusingly, Mark Evanier tells a great story in one of his books about when he and Sekowsky worked in the animation department at Hanna-Barbera, where the young cartoonists regularly used to approach Mike to tell him how they used to loathe his art as kids, but had grown to love it as they got older and smarter.
It got to such a point that Sekowsky put up a little rack of numbered tags, like they have in deli's, with a sign that said: Take a number and wait your turn to tell me how much you used to hate my artwork but now you love it.



Jason's Quest meanwhile, is great fun. As Jason straps a guitar over his back and hits the road in search of his long lost sister, stopping only to perform at any folk club he passes, he's like a spiritual brother to Rick Jones. In fact, the whole thing would've made an excellent Rick Jones mini-series, had such a thing existed back in the day. Sure, it's that DC thing of an old guy trying to write something hip and trendy for the kids, but that's what I like about it.


It all hits the ground running, with a massive chunk of exposition, and though there are plotholes you could shove Krypton through, as well as there seeming to be an inordinate amount of walk-on characters to provide Jason with exactly the information he needs at exactly the right time, it's all just good, solid adventure.

























Friday, 22 July 2016

Pizzazz





Pizzazz was Mighty Marvel's attempt to snag some of that teen zine scene dollar for itself, and was a lot of fun if you were the right age.
It was slick, and glossy, and had the obligatory articles on Star Wars and Kiss and Charlie's Angels, had puzzle pages and short stories and comic strips and all the stuff a kid likes, and was actually an extremely well put together product.
You might not like everything in a given issue, but you couldn't complain there wasn't enough. An issue of Pizzazz could last the average kid for hours.
Plus, for us Brits, it was chock full of ads for incredibly exotic American things, none of which we realised we could actually buy too.
To be fair, the articles are written with all the depth of your average press release, but that's par for the course for this sort of thing. You're also in no doubt that is a Marvel mag, not just because Spidey's face is on the cover, but due to a plethora of our costumed cavorters popping up throughout.
The strips too, are top of the line, with Thomas, Buscema & Chan doing Tarzan, and Thomas again doing Star Wars with Chaykin & DeZuniga. I even like slyly political piece The Big House, and if there's a better title than The Great American Comic Strip Catastrophe I've yet to come across it.
Here's the whole of the first issue, along with nostalgia inducing ads.