Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Black and White Wednesday: Jim Starlin's Darklon the Mystic

Somewhere between Adam Warlock and Vanth Dreadstar, there stood Darklon the Mystic. After finishing his way-out Warlock epic at Marvel, Jim Starlin produced several strips starring the cosmic sorcerer for the pages of Warren's Eerie magazine, beginning with issue #76 (cover-dated August, 1976). Darklon by Starlin appeared in only five issues of Eerie (not counting a reprint in #137): #'s 76, 79, 80, 84, and 100, but made enough of an impression that they were collected and reprinted (in color) by Pacific Comics in 1983, probably due in part to many of the themes and situations being revamped and reused in Starlin's early 80s works for Epic Comics, Metamorphosis Odyssey and Dreadstar.

Darklon
was Starlin at his wildest. The stories were like fever dreams (inspired by the trials and tribulations Starlin was suffering through at the time, including his father dealing with cancer) filled with self-loathing and despair. The art was fabulous, with Starlin obviously inspired by the style of Filipino artist supreme Alex Nino (a Warren mainstay). This is especially evident in the layouts and inking style. Savage, graphic, brooding, and as always with Starlin, quite thought provoking stuff.

8 comments:

  1. these are awesome, although at the time this first came out, the art freaked me out. he was clearly inspired by his collaboration with alex nino on an incredible hulk story that appeared in the black and white magazine. looking at the art now i wonder if starlin didn't hire nino to finish parts of the story. starlins hand is evident throughout, but there are certain bits and bobs that i wonder about. i'm gonna have to track down the pacific comics reprint now. cool post, thanks! :)

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  2. Glad you dug the post, Andy! I wasn't sure if this was before or after Starlin collaborated with Nino on that Rampaging Hulk issue (#4). I know the RH ish was published after this story saw print, but the RH story was obviously an inventory piece.

    Oh, and I'll be doing a piece on RH #4's Starlin/Nino collaboration. Don't know for sure when, but it's cued up... ;D

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  3. Its no secret that Starlin was the one who put me on the path to comics ruin back in the summer of '73, so digging up some of the little known stuff like Darklon is a real treasure for those who only know him as "Death of the New Gods". Starlin, at his best, was too damn flat out weird for most to get. I've never quite gotten over his decisions to colour Captain marvel to get the most out of his atmospheric drawings: if you have a copy of Captain marvel #29 or #30, there are panels where he simply goes off with a color over Mar-Vell or Rick jones or the Controller and lends it a certain mood that no one else would get. amazingly effective, an artist following his gut, not anyone else's proven path for sure.

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  4. You are so right about Starlin, Charles. When I first saw his art (I was 9), I really didn't like it for some reason. Within a year, he was my favorite artist (and has stayed at or near the top of my list ever since).

    It always struck me as really cool that he would color his own work whenever possible (CM #29 was especially...well, what words can you use to convey "beyond awesome" besides "beyond awesome"?). And yeah, it was different from what anyone else did. Hmmmmm, there's a post in there, isn't there?

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  5. I loved Darklon (and ALL of Starlin's 70's and 80s works), and was pleasantly surprised when Starlin brought Darklon to the Marvel Universe (same basic design - although older looking, slightly altered name: Darklore) when he was working on "Warlock Chronicles".

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  6. Cool tidbit about Darklore, ~P~, thanks for sharing that! (Too much stuff out there in the 90s to keep up with for me!)

    I really dig your blog! Dr. Strange is a fave!

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  7. Many thanks to you, oh Groovy One!

    I came across yours and need to delve into your trippy pool.

    ~P~

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