Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not Necessarily the Groovy Age: Big Bang Comics

One of the cool things that has come out of comics over the past decade-and-a-half are the various homages to "the good old days." Many tributes to the Golden and Silver ages can be easily found (f'rinstance Alan Moore paid tribute to the Silver Age with the 1963 series, Dynamite Comics is currently revisiting the Golden Age with Project Superpowers, etc.), and there have been some great homages to the Groovy Age, as well. From time to time, I'll be presenting the best of these in yet another semi-series, Not Necessarily the Groovy Age. First up: Gary Carlson's Big Bang Comics.

Big Bang Comics first took comicdom by storm in the early 1990s when it was published as a mini-series by Caliber Comics. It quickly found a home as a series under the Image umbrella where it had a good, healthy run (1996-2001, plus a variety of specials through 2005). Most of the time, Big Bang focused on the Golden and Silver Ages, creating new characters that were tributes and pastiches to the greatest of the great. They found writers and artists who could magnificently mimic whatever character, era, or artist they wished to revisit, while at the same time turning out comics that were just plain old fun.

Naturally, Ol' Groove's favorite times were when the Big Bang boys took on the Groovy Age. Take issue #7, which perfectly captured the feel and flavor of the mid-70s Marvel Comics by placing Mighty Man in a very Jim Starlin-esque battle against his evil doppelganger. Writer Terrance Griep, Jr. along with artists Darren Goodhart and Mike Matthew managed to cram all kinds of cool scenes, homages, and references to Jim Starlin's Captain Marvel and Warlock that resulted in a really far-out "mash up". Then there's issue #11's The Absolute, which was a dead-on take on the Archie Goodwin/Walt Simonson Manhunter courtesy writer Daniel Wilson and artist Darren Goodhart. Another goodie was writer/Artist Chris Khalfa's tribute to the Brave and the Bold team of Bob Haney and Jim Aparo that starred Knight Watchman and the Blitz (ish #20). I could go on and on, but I think you dig where I'm comin' from!

The covers were where the Big Bang guys really shone. They wouldn't just homage art styles, but even the logos and blurbs were perfect adaptations of those from the Groovy Age. Sometimes, as with the covers of issue #'s 14 and 18, they'd even manage to get actual Groovy Age artists (Rich Buckler and the late, great Dave Cockrum, respectively) to lend their skills to the Big Bang gang of characters. It made for some truly fun comics, baby!



Big Bang is in semi-retirement at this moment, but you can still order most of their supremely awesome comics from the Big Bang website. If you've never treated yourself to a Big Bang comic, you've definitely missed out on a BLAST! (Please don't send mean letters--I couldn't resist!)

2 comments:

  1. The Big Bang books are among my favorite modern-day homages, since they're not really ironic commentaries on the old days but just fun - almost alternate universe versions of old favorites.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!