Tuesday, December 30, 2008

First Issue Special #1 (April 1975, DC Comics)

I'm currently enjoying the James Robinson run on SUPERMAN, and was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite obscure Jack Kirby creations, ATLAS, featured within the storyline....

Above: The Alex Ross painted covers of Superman #678 & #679

For years, due to a simple misunderstanding over the title of the book, I searched and searched for "Atlas #1", after seeing several in-house advertisements for the book in old DC back issues. For a while I believed that Atlas' title was to have been one of the casualties of the infamous "DC Implosion" of the mid-1970s, a book that had been hyped, yet never produced, because I simply could not find the first issue.

Then, after years of searching the "A" section (for "Atlas") of several comic book shops back issue long-boxes, by ran across 1st Issue Special #1 in an "F" box....y'know...."F" for "first". The truly sad thing was that I was aware of the title "1st Issue Special" due to the first appearance of Travis Morgan, The Warlord having been in one of the later issues and the debut of one of my personal favorite characters from the 1980s, the Mark Shaw incarnation of Manhunter, had been in the fifth issue.

I dumbfoundedly assumed that the "1st Issue Special" section of the cover was a blurb, and not the title logo itself.


Anyways...Atlas has had a few sporadic cameoes in the DCU since this debut book, once as a background character in Waid and Ross' Kingdom Come #2, and this animated bad guy from the Teen Titans Cartoon Network show (from the second season episode, "Only Human"), whose name and character design seems to be influenced by the Kirby creation, though I don't think it was ever acknowledged...

From Wikipedia:

Atlas is a fictional character published by DC Comics. He first debuted in 1st Issue Special #1, (April 1975), and was created by Jack Kirby.

The character of Atlas' first and only appearance prior to Superman #677 was in 1st Issue Special #1. James Robinson brought Atlas back in Superman #678. According to Robinson, Atlas is going to save humanity. "The way I like to look at him is like in the Marvel Universe, Namor is a hero but he really skates the fine line between being a hero and a villain, but he stays on the side of the hero. Atlas, skates that line between hero and villain but he ultimately always falls on the villain side." He continued to say that Atlas will become a major player in the Superman mythos moving forward and there will be some real twists to the character.

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First Issue Special #1 CBR file

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Dell Movie Classic #725, 1964)

Quite possibly one of my favorite Christmas films ever, and certainly the one that started me down the path of love for B-Films and Cult Movies...

Some interesting facts I've learned about the film over the years, culled from investigations driven by my insane fascination with the flick:

  • The Martian guns are actually painted Whammo Air Blasters.
  • The Air Force stock footage seen as the military "pursues" the Martians is the same footage used in the opening credit sequence of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
  • Most of the film was shot in an abandoned aircraft hangar on Long Island, New York.
  • Vincent Beck, who portrayed "Voldar" in the film, made his last film appearence as the judge in one of my favoite grindhouse revenge flicks, 1983's Vigilante, directed by Bill Lustig
  • Bill McCutcheon, who played comedy relief Martian Droppo, won a Tony Award portraying gangster Moonface Martin in the 1988 revival of "Anything Goes", and was "Uncle Wally" on Sesame Street from 1984-1992.
  • Pia Zadora's first film role as Martian girl Girmar (age 6)
  • Ned Wertimer, who portrays news reporter Andy Henderson was a staple of 70s sitcoms (he's best known as Ralph Hart on 50 episodes of The Jeffersons), and was one of the "singing gallows pirates" in Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (2007)
  • The film was sadly the last role for Doris Rich, who portrayed Mrs. Claus in the film. She would die tragically in a fire 7 years later in 1971 of smoke inhalation.
  • Gene Lindsey, the actor in the crappy polar bear suit, would later go on to be "Randall Drew" in genre favorite soap opera Dark Shadows, and would later appear as Alfred D. Baldwin in All the President's Men (1976)
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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Dell Movie Classics CBZ file

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Golden Records SLP170, 1964)
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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas With The Super-Heroes: Limited Collector's Edition C-34 (1974, DC Comics)

These "Treasury"- sized editions (roughly tabloid size) were a staple of 1970s comic book publishing which I sadly miss. Contained in this volume are the following stories:


"Billy Batson's Xmas!" originally presented in CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #69, February 1947.

The real surprise find in this book: A NEW Angel and the Ape story, "The 500,000 Dollar Doll Caper", written by John Albano and illustrated by Bob Oksner and ....WALLY WOOD(!!)

A Swingin' Christmas Carol" Reprinted from TEEN TITANS #13, Feb. 1968.

and, finally- Action Comics #117 (February 1948): "Christmastown, USA"

Like I mentioned, the real treat for me was finding the new Angel and the Ape story (I'm a HUGE fan of both the classic Silver Age series, and the over-looked Vertigo mini from a few years back) that looks to be inked by Wally Wood (another thing...or I should say guy...that I'm a HUGE fan of). I really miss the format, and have been surprised over the last couple years to see these books actually go up in price on the secondary collector's market. Nothing astinishing, but most above the 10 to 12 dollar range.

Download Tip: This CBR file is hosted into separate Rapidshare links, due to size issues. But, you need both pieces to successfully extract the complete CBR.

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Part 1
Part 2

DC Comics Presents #67 (March 1984, DC Comics)

Around this time, not only was the Last Son of Krypton gearing up for the upcoming CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (1985) and a major continuity overhaul (1986), but it looks as if he's got his hands full during the holiday season helping Santa (who we've to know is tight with Superman and Batman). This time around, replacing deadly toys created by the Toyman that's been distributed around the world.

Ya know...for years since the Byrne revamp, I've always found the tendency to portray the Toyman as a weirdo, creepy child-killer as a bit harsh...but this tale from the pre-CRISIS days just kinda shows ya that he's been bat-shit insane all along.

Plus, I love the fact that the kid that gets Superman involved in all this crazy mess is named "Tim", which I'd like to think was a clever little homage to the "Tim" character from the Golden Age Superman-Tim giveaway comics. (For more info on them, see Dial B For Blog's entry on the promotional giveaways).

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DC Comics Presents #67- Superman and Santa Claus CBR file

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Countdown 2008: Superheroes Christmas (Power Records/Peter Pan #8199)

I've owned this record since around the age of 6, and because of it, nothing says Christmas like Wonder Woman beating up a Germanic Nazi type and the image of Batman in a fake beard.

I shared this last year over at our sister blog, ATTACK OF THE B-MOVIE MUZAK, but felt it appropriate for this blog this time around...

Track Listing:

01 Light Up The Tree, Mr. President (Superman)
02 Christmas Carol Caper (Batman)
03 Prisoner of Christmas Island (Wonder Woman)

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Countdown 2008: The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #4- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (DC Comics-1980)

For over a decade from 1950 to around 1963, an annual holiday tradition at DC Comics was the yearly Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Special. These were fun little books with some really great art by Sheldon Mayer. After 1963, Rudolph took a break for around 15 years, appearing in a couple of DC's tabloid sized Treasury Editions during the mid-1970s comprised mostly of reprints of the annual specials. Blue Ribbon Digest #4 from 1980 is sadly the last time DC utilized their take on the character...which is a shame, because any book in my opinion that involved Sheldon Mayer is worth repeat viewings.

I'd love to see DC collect those specials in a trade, because it'd make for some great "gateway" comics for younger readers...

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DC Blue Ribbon Digest #4 CBR file

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Countdown 2008: The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #58- Super Jrs. Holiday Special (DC Comics-1984)

It's the holiday season yet again, so it's time for the 2008 Christmas Countdown!!

To kick off this year's festivities, I figured we'd spotlight this little oddity which featured the Super Jrs.

Now, I've heard two stories about the origins of this project.

1.) The Super Jrs. were originally part of a larger merchandising pitch made to Kenner Toys which never took off (thankfully), much like a later attempt that was made with Wonder Woman. A great site devoted to the history of the Kenner Super Powers toyline called ToyOtter has the details about this, located here.

2.) This book was actually comprised of reprints of foreign material, and that at some point in the late 1970s in some other place on Earth outside the U.S., the Super Juniors were a big thing.

All I know is that seemingly by the grace of God Himself, this was the only appearence these ugly little things ever made.

Ironically, though...these days I've been scouring local retailers in hopes of finding one of these damn things, because I find Krypto so damn cute....

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Super Jrs. Holiday Special CBR file

Friday, November 21, 2008

An Introduction to Herbie (ACG Comics)

For those of you not familiar with Herbie Popnecker, please take a seat....

I discovered "the Fat Fury" in junior high, circa 1988/89. If most of my readers haven't already figured out that I LOVE comic books....I mean really, really, REALLY LOVE comic books, almost to a fanatical level..then go back to the first post of this blog and start reading again. I was ravenous for the medium of sequential art as a youth. I'd read anything that even vaguely looked like a comic book, from Jack Chick tracts to HEAVY METAL magazine. I can even remember a friend of mine in the sixth grade would steal his dad's PLAYBOY's and bring 'em on the school bus, where I'd proceed to tear out the Little Annie Fannie and Bobby London's wonderful DIRTY DUCK sections with which I'd paste in a scrapbook (which thankfully my parents never found) at home.

So, needless to say that I spent the first few decades of my life in my little small hometown raiding the place for every and any comic book I could find....which led to some really amazing discoveries, and such is the case with my introduction to the wonderful world of Richard E. Hughes and Ogden Whitney's HERBIE.

So, one day....a classmate of mine who was aware that I collected comics shows up at school with an ancient bowling bag...stuffed with comics, and asks if I'd like to buy 'em. The asking price: 10 bucks. I figured there was around 100 or so books in there....so I figure a dime apiece for reading material over the coming Christmas break would be worth it, so I bite.

The contents of the bag, after inspection?

Several early 1960s Charlton sci-fi books, such as Space Adventures, DC sci-fi books like Tales of the Unexpected, a ton of Charlton war books (as well as several of the publisher's hot rod and road racing titles from the early 1960s, which I always thought was an odd little genre for them to try and market),and some ACG (American Comics Group) sci-fi books such as Forbidden Worlds....

Some gems that the bag contained: Amazing Spider-Man #11, the first actual Ditko issue I ever owned that wasn't a reprint, Tales of Suspense #51, the 1st app. of the Scarecrow (Marvel), Strange Tales #123 the 1st issue I owned that contributed to my obsessive need to collect all of the Ditko Dr.Strange run, that later spilled over into collecting every issue of the Steranko Nick Fury...and Herbie #5.

And this book introduced me to the incredible dada-istic humor that the world Mr. Popnecker inhabited contained: An obese, dull-tempered bespectacled lovable loser....who was a hit with all the ladies (including Ladybird Johnson, who seemed infatuated with him), could talk to animals, rode in a grandfather clock that could travel time, and had lollipops that gave him various superpowers, dependant upon the flavor. One of the reasons why I absolutely fell in love with the book, and then spent years trying to track down issues of it, was that it's unusual brand of humor seemed miles ahead of all the other humor comics fare being pawned off to the public when one takes into consideration the era in which it was still in publication, the early 1960s...and it reminded me alot of another book that I had become a fan of around that period, Bob Burden's wacky, off-center Flaming Carrot Comics. Years later, I came to discover that this was no accident, for Burden was a huge HERBIE fan himself...

Seems Burden isn't the only fan of Herbie, because several folks working inside the comics industry fondly remember the Fat Fury, amongst them names such as John Byrne and Dark Horse Comics honcho Mike Richardson...

Oh yeah....an alarmingly little Brit fellow named Alan Moore considers he Fat Fury as his favorite superhero.

From Wikipedia:

Herbie Popnecker, a parody of a superhero, first appeared in Forbidden Worlds #73 in December 1958, published by ACG, American Comics Group. It was the introduction of the antithesis of a hero -- short, fat, young -- but this unlikely hero was one of the most powerful and best known beings in history. Deriving some of his powers from genetics and some from magical lollipops from the Unknown, Herbie could talk to animals (who knew him by name), fly (by walking on air), become invisible, and when he got his own comic, travel through time.

In Forbidden Worlds Herbie made several appearances (#73, #94, #110, #114, and #116, the final two with Herbie featured on the cover), during which his character developed: emotionless, terse, irresistible to women, consulted by world leaders, and more powerful than the Devil. Herbie's parents were unaware of his great powers and fame, and his father repeatedly referred to him as a "little fat nothing". Herbie's dad, Pincus Popnecker, was a financial failure with one poorly-conceived scheme after another, but Herbie would bail him out every time and his dad would take the credit for being a business genius.

Herbie also made a brief appearance, completely out of character, in Unknown Worlds #20 in 1961.

Herbie got his own comic in April 1964. The series ran 23 issues until February 1967, shortly before the demise of ACG. The stories were written by Shane O'Shea, one of several pseudonyms of the ACG editor, Richard E. Hughes. The artwork was by Ogden Whitney.

In Herbie #8 (March 1965), Herbie felt a need to become a costume super hero, but after failing superhero school, he created the Fat Fury by donning full-body red underwear with a drop seat, a blue plastic mask, and a toilet plunger on his head. He was bare-footed. The Fat Fury was featured in even-numbered Herbie comics from #8 to #22. Herbie's father wished that his little fat nothing of a son could be like the Fat Fury.

As the Fat Fury, Herbie did not have any powers beyond the many he had before donning the costume. Although Herbie traveled back in time, the Fat Fury never did.

All 23 issues of Herbie showed "MAKE WAY FOR the FAT FURY..." over the comic title.

Alan Moore regards the Fat Fury as his favorite superhero.

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Herbie in Forbidden Worlds (1959-63) comp. CBR

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Superman's Girlfriend- Lois Lane #106 (Nov. 1970, DC)

Whenever any fanboy starts going on and on about Jimmy Olsen's numerous transformations in his Silver Age title...I like to bring up this little gem...

Now, Lois wasn't beneath metamorphism. Several times in her own book, she shape-shifted into many wacky forms, usually involving either her turning "ugly", losing her hair, or fat....because as we all know, Superman is a shallow person and wouldn't be smitten with her anymore if any of these scenarios should happen. Just see the Superdickery website for such examples...

Not this time, though. Lois got some soul....and turned black. No shit.

I'm gonna stop right here, because any plot summery I provide cannot possibly capture the real thing. Just read it....and give some thought about DC attempting social change through stories like this. Makes one wonder if they were helping or hindering the cause....

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Lois Lane #106 CBR file

Monday, November 3, 2008

U.S. #1 (Marvel, May 1983)

This is a book I've been wanting to showcase for awhile, simply because of how goofy the premise and concept is.

It's about a trucker....with a hi-tech (by 1983 standards) 18 wheeler...with a CB radio implanted in his skull.

Yes....I actually bought this book as a kid (it lasted 12 issues, amazingly). Why? I was 9 years old, that's why. It was just another in a line of Marvel books where the publisher tried to cash in on a fad (this time around, the citizen's band radio craze), but someone forgot to tell Marvel that the fad was over about 3 years earlier...kinda like the Dazzler. The book was also a licensed toy tie-in...which about 50% of the time is usually a death knell for comic book to begin with...

Though I do remember towards the end of the run the reason I was buying the book was for the amazing painted covers by an early favorite artist of mine, Mike Golden....too bad he wasn't on the interior pencils.
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U.S. 1 #1 CBR file

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Strange Tales #174 (Marvel, June 1974)

For this installment of the Mighty Marvel Monsterbash for Halloween 2008, I present for download the first app. of the Marvel Comics take on the classic creature archetype: The Golem.

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Strange Tales #174 CBR file

Monday, October 27, 2008

Night Nurse: The Complete Series (Marvel, 1972-73)

Night Nurse was a short-lived early 1970s Marvel book that died an early death and was soon forgotten. Oddly enough, in recently years, it's garnered a small cult following, especially amongst industry professionals, with characters from the series appearing in such titles as the various mutant X-books, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange: The Oath....
Above: Christine Palmer, the red-headed Night Nurse, from the recent Nightcrawler mini-series.

Above: Linda Carter, the former blonde, now raven haired Night Nurse from her appearance in Dr. Strange: The Oath

Carter's involvement with Doc Strange of late, along with a title like "Night Nurse", make her perfect fodder for the Mighty Marvel Monsterbash....

Plus....if you do a Google image search on "Night Nurse", you find cool pics of Halloween costumes like this (so sue me....no matter how old I get, inside I'll forever be that 13 year old kid full of testosterone with no clue what to do with it....):

Take it away, Wikipedia:

Night Nurse is the name of a Marvel Comics title published in the early 1970's and the name of a character (Linda Carter) in the Marvel Comics universe known for her willingness to help injured superheroes, who first appeared (as Night Nurse) in Daredevil vol. 2, #58 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Although she uses the word "nurse" as part of her codename, she claims to now be a doctor.

Night Nurse was a Marvel Comics title that lasted four issues in late 1972 and early 1973. The series, which straddled several different genres, focused on the adventures of three female roommates who worked the night shift at the fictional Metropolitan General Hospital in New York City: Linda Carter, Georgia Jenkins, and Christine Palmer.

Night Nurse was introduced in one of a trio of Marvel Comics aimed at a female audience, alongside Claws of the Cat and Shanna the She-Devil. Marvel writer-editor Roy Thomas recalled in 2007 that editor-in-chief Stan Lee "had the idea, and I think the names, for all three. He wanted to do some books that would have special appeal to girls. We were always looking for way to expand our franchise. My idea ... was to try to get women to write them".

The series was written by Jean Thomas, then the wife of comics writer and editor Roy Thomas, and drawn by Winslow Mortimer. The stories, unlike most of Marvel's offerings at the time, contain no superheroes or fantastic elements. However, the night nurses do encounter a fair amount of "danger, drama and death", as the cover tag proclaims, as they work to foil bomb plots, malpracticing surgeons, and mob hitmen. Night Nurse, like the "relevant comics" of the early 1970s, also attempted to address real-world social issues; Night Nurse #1 features a scene where a character asking why his poor neighborhood is the one always experiencing power outages. "Why not Park Avenue for a change?".

Night Nurse #4 is the only issue of the series that takes place away from Metro General and New York City. This story shifts away from the urban drama of the first three issues and instead features Christine embroiled in a suspenseful gothic adventure, complete with a foreboding mansion, dusty secret passageways, and mysterious lights.

While it was unclear during the original publication of Night Nurse whether it took place in the Marvel Universe or in the "real world", Christine Palmer reappeared in Nightcrawler vol. 3, #1 (Sept. 2004 — 31 years after her last appearance, in Night Nurse #4). Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the writer of Nightcrawler, said in an interview that he was "a huge fan" of Night Nurse, and wanted to bring back the character when he realized that his first Nightcrawler story would take place in a hospital. Linda also re-appeared in 2004, this time sporting Night Nurse as an actual codename.

Prior to Night Nurse, the series Linda Carter, Student Nurse was published by Atlas Comics, a precursor to Marvel Comics. This series ran from 1961 to 1963. No specific connection has been drawn between the two characters.

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Night Nurse #1-#4 CBR zip file

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marvel Spotlight #2 (Marvel, Feb. 1972)

Y'know....I feel slightly like a fool. I've read comics for nearly 30 years, since the age of five, and never once did one of the most blatant in-jokes in Marvel Comics dawn on me until about six months ago....

In the Werewolf By Night feature, a fairly popular character during the 1970s, who debuted in Marvel Spotlight #2 in 1972, and then went on to his own monthly series that lasted 43 bi-monthly issues, the central character's name was Jack Russell...

...as in Jack Russell terrier.

From Wikipedia:

Werewolf by Night (birth name Jacob Russoff, legal name Jack Russell) is a fictional character, an anti-heroic werewolf in the Marvel Comics universe. The Werewolf by Night (usually referred to by other characters simply as the Werewolf) first appeared in Marvel Spotlight vol. 1 #2.

Werewolf by Night, Volume 1 ran for 43 issues during the 1970s. Issue #32 is notable for containing the first appearance of Moon Knight. Five 'Giant-Size' editions were also published during this time. Jack Russell also co-starred with Tigra in Giant Size Creatures #1, which was the first appearance of Greer Grant as Tigra instead of the Cat.

Jack Russell was dormant for most of the 1980s. The character's appearance was radically revamped in Moon Knight, Volume 1 #29. He guest-starred in various issues of Spider-Woman, Volume 1, West Coast Avengers, and Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme.

Werewolf by Night was later revived in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents, where he appeared irregularly from 1991-1993. He also made regular appearances as a supporting cast member in the pages of Morbius, the Living Vampire from 1993-1995. A letters page in an issue of Morbius mentioned that a Werewolf by Night mini-series by Len Kaminski and James Fry was in the works, but the mini-series was never published.

Werewolf by Night, Volume 2 ran for 6 issues in the late 1990s. The series was written by Paul Jenkins and penciled by Leonardo Manco. After the book's cancellation, the story was continued in the pages of Strange Tales, which also featured the Man-Thing. That volume of Strange Tales was canceled after only two issues due to poor sales.

In early 2007, Marvel published a one-shot entitled Legion of Monsters: Werewolf by Night, with art by Greg Land.

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Marvel Spotlight #2 CBR file

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Marvel Premeire #28 (Marvel, Feb. 1975)

Being a fan of Marvel's more horror-themed heroes of the 1970s growing up, this is one book that absolutely fascinated me as a kid....simply because this was the one and only appearance of this particular super group ever.

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Marvel Premeire #28 CBR file

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tomb of Dracula #10 (Marvel, 1972)

I featured the soundtrack for the first film based on this great character from Chris Claremont and Gene Colan's classic Marvel TOMB OF DRACULA series over at our sister site, Attack of the B-Movie Muzak, so we figured we'd offer up Blade's first appearance here...

From Wikipedia:

Blade was introduced as a supporting character in Marvel Comics' Tomb of Dracula #10 (July 1973), written by Marv Wolfman and penciled by Gene Colan. The artist recalled in 2003, "Marv told me Blade was a black man, and we talked about how he should dress, and how he should look — very heroic looking. That was my input. [...] The bandoleer of blades — that was Marv's idea. But, I dressed him up. I put the leather jacket on him and so on". Colan based the character's features on "a composite of black actors" including NFL football star-turned-actor Jim Brown.

Blade appeared in most issues from #10-21, with additional appearances in #24 & #28 (altogether ranging from July 1973 - Sept. 1974). He then fought the scientifically created vampire Morbius in the latter's series in Adventure into Fear #24 (Oct. 1974), in a story written by Steve Gerber and penciled by P. Craig Russell.

Blade's first solo story came in Marvel's black-and-white horror-comics magazine Vampire Tales #8 (Dec. 1974), in an 11-page story by Wolfman and penciller-inker Tony DeZuniga. This feature continued in the following issue (Feb. 1975), with Wolfman and Chris Claremont co-scripting. Blade then appeared in a 56-page solo story in the black-and-white showcase magazine Marvel Preview #3 (Sept. 1975), written by Claremont, with two chapters each drawn by DeZuniga and by Rico Rival. A six-page backup story by Wolfman and Colan followed in Marvel Preview #8 (Fall 1976).

Blade next came into prominence in the 1990s, beginning with Ghost Rider #28 (Aug. 1992), in the Midnight Sons imprint that included issues of Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins, Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider / Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance, Midnight Sons Unlimited, Morbius, and Nightstalkers. Blade co-starred in the 18-issue Nightstalkers, and appeared with that team in a story in the anthology Midnight Sons Unlimited #1 (April 1993). He appeared in two solo stories in Midnight Sons Unlimited #2 & 7 (July 1993 & Oct. 1994).

Following the cancellation of Nightstalkers, Blade debuted in his first color-comics series, Blade: The Vampire Hunter #1-10 (July 1994 - April 1995), written by Ian Edginton (with the last two issues by Terry Kavanagh) and penciled by Doug Wheatley. Blade next appeared in a 12-page inventory story in the one-shot anthology Marvel: Shadows and Light #1 (Feb. 1997). He then starred again in two solo one-shots: Blade: Crescent City Blues (March 1998), by writer Christopher Golden and penciller co-creator Colan, and Blade: Sins of the Father (Oct. 1998), by writer Marc Andreyko and penciller Bart Sears.

Marvel next announced a six-issue miniseries, Blade (storyline: "Blade: Blood Allies") by writer Don McGregor and penciller Brian Hagen, but only #1-3 (Nov. 1998 - Jan. 1999) were published. Marvel published a different six-issue miniseries later that year, Blade: Vampire Hunter (storyline: "Chaos (A)"; Dec. 1999 - May 2000), written and, except the last two issues, penciled by Bart Sears.

The next ongoing series, Blade vol. 2, by writer Christopher Hinz and artist Steve Pugh, ran six issues. Blade vol. 3, by writer Marc Guggenheim and penciller-inker Howard Chaykin, ran 12 issues (Sept. 2006 - Aug. 2007). The final two pages of the last issue were drawn by co-creator Colan.

Blade also starred in two promotional comic books: Blade ½ (1999) by writer-artist Sears and inker Bill Sienkiewicz, bundled with issues of Wizard: The Comic Magazine #2000; and Blade: Nightstalking (2005), a 22-page story by writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and penciller Amanda Conner, based on New Line Cinema's Blade films, and bundled with the Blade Trinity Deluxe Edition DVD. Additionally, the second Blade movie was adapted as the Marvel comic Blade 2: Bloodhunt - The Official Comic Adaptation (April 2002) by writers Steve Gerber and David S. Goyer and penciller-inker Alberto Ponticelli.

Blade joined the cast of Captain Britain and MI: 13 beginning with issue #5 (Nov. 2008).

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Tomb of Dracula #10 CBR file

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tomb of Dracula #1 (Marvel, 1971)

One summer during my youth, I went to a yard sale, and probably stumbled across someone else's monster collection for quite a bargain...for I purchased two boxes there for 5 bucks.

One box contained around 70 or so issues of various Warren magazines circa 1970s: EERIE, CREEPY, VAMPIRELLA, and few years worth of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.

The other box contained around 100 or so horror comics from the same era, various issues of DC and Marvel anthology titles. 50 of those comics were the first 50 issues of Chris Claremont and Gene Colan's now classic Tomb of Dracula....

Not only did elements of this ground breaking comic inspire the money-making BLADE films (which I'll get into in a later post) and and a misguided anime attempt (Dracula: Sovereign of the Dead), but is cited by numerous fans (myself included) and professionals as being one of the better interpretations of the character around.

It also inspired a two hundred dollar impulse buy in my adult life: the below pictured kick-ass statue...

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Tomb of Dracula #1 CBR file

Monday, October 13, 2008

Strange Tales #169 (Marvel, 1973)

To help kick off our Halloween festivities around this blog, I figured I'd share my copy of the first appearance of a character that I get a chuckle out of from time to time....

I've had a long standing love for the the little niche of 1970s Marvel Comics that was inhabited by characters of a more horror and black magic bent since childhood, and while Brother Voodoo is a pretty cool character in concept, the final results on paper tended to be kinda....well....goofy, which has led the character to be the butt of several fanboys joke for years.

From Wikipedia:

Brother Voodoo (Jericho Drumm) is a fictional, supernatural superhero in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writers Len Wein and Roy Thomas, and artists John Romita Sr., John Romita Jr., and Gene Colan, he first appeared in Strange Tales #169 (Sept. 1973).

Publication history

Brother Voodoo starred in his own feature in the Marvel comic-book series Strange Tales #169-173 (Sept. 1973 - April 1974), and in a backup feature in the black-and-white horror-comics magazine Tales of the Zombie #6 (July 1974, in a story continuing from Strange Tales #173) and #10 (March 1975). He has gone to guest-star very sporadically in other Marvel series, into the 21st century.

Fictional character biography

Returning to his native Haïti (born in Port-au-Prince) after 12 years (originally nearly 20) of education and practice as a psychologist in the United States, Jericho Drumm discovers that his twin brother, Daniel, the local houngan, is dying, a victim of a voodoo sorcerer who claims to be possessed by the spirit of the serpent-god Damballah. Just before he dies, Da

niel makes his brother vow to visit Daniel's mentor, Papa Jambo. Jericho does, and becomes Jambo's student. After studying under the aged houngan for several weeks, Jericho gains a greater mastery of voodoo practices than his own brother, becoming a houngan in his own right. Papa Jambo then performs a rite that summons Daniel spirit from the dead and joins it with Jericho's own. Having fashioned a worthy successor, Papa Jambo dies.

Taking the name Brother Voodoo, Jericho challenges the priest, who goes by the sa

me name as his god Damballah, and his cult. With the help of his Daniel's spirit possessing one of the cult members, Jericho removes Damballah's artifact of power (wangal), causing

Damballah's snakes to turn on him and evidently destroying Damballah's cult. Brother Voodoo became Haïti's houngan supreme and champion, and establishes a sprawling mansion as a base of operations. He places the wangal in a safe, its combination known only to Brother Voodoo and his manservant Bambu.[2]

Brother Voodoo encounters the scientist Baron Samedi and artificial zombies created

by the terrorist-scientist group AIM; the original Black Talon, Mama Limbo, and the Dark Lord Cult;[4] and the houngan Dramabu.[5] Having established himself, Brother Voodoo go

es on to help other superheroes, including Spider-Man and Moon Knight, as well as the Jack Russell werewolf

Brother Voodoo eventually succumbs to the lure of power that Damballah's wangal

represented. Upon Jericho's wearing it, the god Damballah takes over Daniel's soul, burns down the mansion and apparently slays Bambu. He travels to New York City to attempt to take over the mind and body of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, who eventually frees Brother Voodoo of Damballah's influence and re-confines the evil god to the wangal. He later becomes involved with the supernatural 'Howling Commandos" operation of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D

., and registers with the government in accordance with the Superhuman Registration Act.

Powers and abilities

Brother Voodoo possesses numerous mystical and quasi-physical powers derived from the loa, the spirit-gods of voodoo. He can easily enter into a trance-like state in which he does not feel the heat from fire and his skin becomes impervious to burning. He can also control flame and lower life forms. Brother Voodoo can mystically create smoke accompanied by the

sound of drums. The smoke conceals his presence while he is able to see through it. He has the ability t

o command certain living things by a mystic sort of hypnotism, most effective over animals and plants. He can summon the loa to request transport for himself and others instantaneously if they deem it necessary to his mission.

Brother Voodoo can also summon the spirit of his brother Daniel Drumm from within his body, doubling his own strength. He can also send the spirit to possess another person's body and then has total control over their actions.

Brother Voodoo also has more mundane escapist talents, once entering Strange's building, not through magic, but through the chimney. He has extensive knowledge of voudoun (voodoo) thanks to training by Papa Jambo, as well as conventional medicine and psychology with an M.D. in psychology.

He wears a mystic medallion that serves as a focus of his powers and as a focus for his contact with his personal loas. He has, at times, employed conventional firearms.

Fred Hembeck

Cartoonist Fred Hembeck has a particular fascination with Brother Voodoo. He regularly featured the character in the cartoons he drew each month in Marvel Age, generally depicting him as a lame character constantly trying (and failing) to get his own series. When Brother Voodoo finally got his own solo story in Marvel Super-Heroes vol. 3 #1, Hembeck drew it, in a serious art style very different from his cartooning.

In his cartoon in the final issue of Marvel Age, Hembeck claimed he had only begun mocking Brother Voodoo because he had the character confused with an "even lamer" Silver Age character, DC Comics' Brother Power the Geek.

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