One of Robert E. Howard's greatest one-off stories was actually adapted twice into comic form.
In 1975 John Jakes & Richard Corben opened up and expanded The Valley Of The Worm into the post-apocalyptic graphic novel Bloodstar, but Marvel got there a year earlier in this issue of Supernatural Thrillers.
Both versions are, of course, magnificent, so let's start with the short version, courtesy of Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Gil Kane & Ernie Chan.
Roy and Gerry, natch, absolutely catch the flavour of REH's prose and two-fisted poetry, and if I'd prefer, say, Dan Adkins sleeker inks over Gil's pencils, you can't deny Ernie adds a certain grittiness to the art.
Like a lot of REH's work, Valley Of The Worm works with the concept of ancestral memory and past lives, adding an extra edge to the tale, and James Allison / Niord is as doom laden as the best of his heroes. In fact, you can easily see Bran Mak Morn singing his death song before going into battle, as Niord the Aasgardian does here, not to mention sidekick Grom being an ancestor of Brule The Spear Slayer.
The conversations and reminisces of Stan will continue of course, and I'm sure we'll raise a glass to him when we all meet up at cons, but I just wanted The Kids to say farewell to Stan properly. Click over to the right there for our tribute to The Man who defined all our childhood's.
The Man is gone. I guess we all knew, deep down, we wouldn't have much longer with the old showman, but still a shock.
Just like Ditko, I first met Stan in the pages of The Mighty World Of Marvel #1, where of course, I also met Spidey, The Hulk, Reed, Sue, Ben & Johnny for the first time, and fell in love with them all.
Sean just emailed me to say that, without Stan, he wouldn't have had a career, and we probably would never have met, and become lifelong friends.
I bet there's thousands of people, in and out of the industry, saying similar tonight.
Our gang preferred Marvel over DC hands down ( as great as their material was ), and I believe a huge part of that was down to Stan. Name any writer or artist from the start of Marvel through to the end of the Bronze Age. Now name their Marvel Bullpen nickname. Jazzy John, Roy The Boy, Genial Gene. You still remember them all, right? That's Stan.
The Bullpen Bulletins. Stan's Soapbox. F.O.O.M. The inclusive, fun letters pages. That's Stan.
And all those tons of great stories and characters. Just for tonight, let's not talk about credit, and who did what, or who didn't.
Stan, Jack, Steve, Larry, Don, Gene, and all the rest I talk about daily on this blog. They all did it. And gave us a childhood full of fun, adventure and excitement. And made us all want to go out and do it ourselves. And it started and ended with Stan.
And how wonderful that we ( and he ) got to see the rest of the world catch up with us. That he became everybody's favourite cameo star. And that even little kids in their Spidey or Cap T-Shirts know who he is.
Yes, he was a huckster, yes, he was a showman. He was also our lifelong friend, our cool uncle, our hilarious Grandad. The Man.
But why're you listening to me? If I'm ever gonna let anyone take over this blog, it'd be this guy. Hey Stan, what d'you think?
Thank you, Stan. Thank you for everything. Excelsior. Forever.
One of those comics I always seemed to have two copies of throughout the Bronze Age, no matter how many times I swapped one of them, Werewolf By Night #8 was actually the first issue I ever read of Jack Russell's hirsute alter ego. And I loved it, even though it screams filler.
Behind a magnificent Mike Ploog cover, there's a solid, unshowy Werner Roth art job over a tight Len Wein script. Ok, Roth was no Ploog, but it's perfectly acceptable, if slightly tame, stuff.
Werewolves, meanwhile, have always been my favourite monsters, though I generally had a bit of an issue with the Marvel Werewolf due to the fact I always kinda wished he had a bit more of a personality.
I get that the original idea was I, Werewolf and the narration was fun and all, but I always wanted there to be a bit more to him than grr, hunt, kill.
In fact, there's a Giant-Size Creatures I'll post at some point where Wolfie gets the hots for, and is rejected by, Tigra, and that's much more in line with what I wanted.
But I've always liked this one, warts and all, and the villain more than makes up for the Werewolf's lack of dialogue. Geez, is Krogg The Lurker From Beyond verbose. He could out talk The Leader or Doc Doom, this guy. Plus he's a rabbit, which is cool.
Fun to note also the scene where Krogg eats the souls of the two luckless hunters, inbetween panels. There's the Comics Code in action.
Just jonesing for a few extra readers over at my other blog The Kids From Rec. Road, just a short click to the right there.
Regular visitors to The Bronze Age Of Blogs need no prompting, I'm sure, but if this happens to be your first time here:
As well as showing off the best ( and occasionally worst ) in Bronze Age comics, I also produce the aforementioned Kids, a free weekly strip all about when me and my old friends, Sean ( Yes, that Sean Phillips ) Phillips & David ( Who, me? ) Holman, were comic loving kids in the 1970's.
So it's all about me and my pals, but it's about you and your pals too, and the kinds of conversations you had and the comics you loved, and still love. A visual accompaniment to this here blog, if you like.
So join in, click on the link, read The Kids From Rec. Road, eat your greens, get a good nights sleep, do what your mother tells you, for the next hour we will control all that you see and hear.
This week, we're off to see Arnold Lipshitz. You remember Arnold...
In your town, you may've known him by another name. Trust me, he was Arnold Lipshitz too...
All images on this blog are, natch, copyright the respective creators / publishers. This is a non-profit site, just to let fellow fans see stuff I like.
If I've posted anything that's yours, and you want acknowledgement, just let me know. Equally, if it's yours, and you don't want me to post it, let me know, and of course I'll take it off.
And if you've come here to read and talk comics, glad to have you aboard. If however, you're here to spam or advertise your scuba gear website, you're wasting your time, as your comments will be deleted the second I see them.