Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Heart Of Juliet Jones

The Heart Of Juliet Jones was another wonderful soap operaesque newspaper strip that, like Mary Perkins On Stage, boasted great, likeable characters, razor sharp dialogue and deceptively simple artwork that influenced a whole generation of comic artists.
Beginning in 1953, the strip was by Stan Drake who, to Bronze Age eyes, looked a bit like a cross between Neal Adams and Ernie Colon, but who undoubtedly 'taught' both. It's ostensibly about sensible, level-headed Juliet and her slightly wayward sister Eve. By the time I actually read any Juliet Jones, in the pages of The Menomonee Falls Gazette, the strip had been running for 20 odd years, and Juliet was married, straight-laced and careful. Eve, by comparison, was spunky, loud mouthed and always involved with unsuitable romantic partners. Plus she was a spit of Moon Knight's girlfriend Marlene. Guess which character I liked better?

So apologies to any Juliet fans but, c'mon, sometimes supporting characters do just take over the strip. Here's Eve, once again struggling to understand the male psyche. Oh, amd remember when Howard The Duck turned human for one issue? He's in here too. What's that about?

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Ralph Reese's The Rats & The Roaches

Here's a couple of far-out fear fables from the mean streets of '70's New York, courtesy of Thomas M. Disch, Gerry Conway & Ralph Reese, and originally seen in The Haunt Of Horror and Monsters Unleashed respectively.
No one's better at desperate, pockmarked, pus-ridden and sweaty characters like Reese, and a couple of tales about the other denizens New Yorkers have to share their city with is tailor made for his superbly stinky stylings.
The Rats also has some fun cameos, with Roy Thomas & Trina Robbins as the young couple, and even Reese's mentor Wally Wood popping up in one panel.
But that's icing on a rotting cake. The real treat of both The Rats and The Roaches is the absolute, skin-crawling reality of it all.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Coffin The Living Dead-Man

Coffin was a great character whose story only ran in four issues of Eerie, when for me, he could've easily gone on much longer. He belongs to the sub-genre of Weird Western, as more-or-less begun by Jonah Hex, and still going strong these days in excellent series like Billy The Kid's Old Timey Oddities.
He's a nameless bad guy cursed with immortality and looking for redemption, though as you'll see, as this is a Warren series hero, immortal doesn't mean invincible.
Because he's drawn by Jose Ortiz, Coffin is a walking pile of pulped flesh, every wound and torment visible. And because he's written by Budd Lewis, he's not particularly likeable and is in fact barely a hero at all.
When the 'Eerie series heroes' first began, the avowed intention was to stand out from Marvel & DC's characters, by ensuring that each series would come to a definite end, and each hero could, and often would, die.
Coffin goes a couple of steps further than that. It doesn't matter how hard he tries to redeem himself, he's already in Hell.
Here's the first two episodes.