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.


  1. That was magnificent -- I hope you get a chance to post the other issues eventually!

  2. The TV show that "Jason's Quest" reminds you of is "Then Came Bronson," in which Michael Parks wandered the U.S. on his motorcycle, having adventures and helping people with their problems.

    "Bronson" and "Jason" started at around the same time, so their similarity could be a coincidence. However, a pilot movie for "Bronson" was broadcast earlier in the year, several months before the comic began, so it could have been an influence.

    Here's a bit of nerdery for you: The title "Jason's Quest" was obviously meant to suggest the Jason of Greco-Roman mythology, and his quest for the Golden Fleece. His ship was the Argo. The cast of the film ARGO included "Bronson" star Michael Parks...who played none other than Jack Kirby! (Named only in the closing credits--but the real Kirby did indeed work on the movie that the CIA used as a cover.)

  3. Regarding Mike Sekowsky and his JLA work: While his figures looked a bit on the wonky side, his layouts always moved in a quick pace. In addition, his heroes were expressive with facial and body language. And when it came to crowd scenes, he made it all seem balanced with individual figures all getting their moment in the scene. Sekowsky and later artist Dick Dillin both had a knack for really knowing how to draw group scenes well. Unfortunately, when it came to later artist, George Perez, the stuff focused more on (sometimes needless) details and less on dynamics. I know I'm in a minority opinion but compare the three and see if I'm not right on that front.

  4. Fair points both, thanks for those. I'd forgotten that about Argo, and no one loves Dick Dillin on JLA more than me. PLus Sekowsky did do that great Wonder Woman run.

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  6. I have to say I was surprised that folk didn’t like Mike Sekowsky’s art from the 60s as I always thought he was one of the most highly regarded artists from that period. Personally, I liked his 60s stuff as a kid but as a teenager / early 20s onwards I wasn’t so keen on it preferring by far his early 70s work especially as you say when inked by the likes of Frank Giacoia (maybe not “ Iron Jaw” work at Atlas though) . I remember picking up “Jason’s Quest” a few years after it came out in the US (as was the norm in the UK when some US comics could be on sale years after they were originally published) and liked it a lot then (loved the art) in fact I still have my copy. This strip reminded me a bit of the type of story that was prevalent in UK boys adventure comics at the time. Sadly, I have never seen another issue of “Jason’s Quest “ and I always look out for them , so it would be great to see some other issues here if you have time. Thanks again for showing this.

  7. Well jeez, Paul, if you ( and presumably other Jason fans ) never saw how it all panned out...
    What the hey, let's do it as a weekly thing, like Jason's Quest ran in it's UK spiritual home of Valiant, as you say. So this time next week, part 2....