Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Black and White Wednesday: "First House: Earth!" by Englehart and Gan

Y'know, Groove-ophiles, sometimes yers trooly has to wonder where his head is. I've done several posts about Star-Lord and how much I loved that character/feature. I've posted a few of his later tales and about his greatest moment at the hands of Christ Claremont/John Byrne/Terry Austin, but I have yet to share his debut with ya! How nutso can ya get? Well, today is the day Ol' Groove makes up for that outrageous oversight!

Star-Lord, created by one of my all-time heroes, Steve Englehart (based on the name created by then-editor Marv Wolfman), was intended to be the headliner of his own b&w sci-fi mag. I know this 'cause it was mentioned in the Bullpen Bulletins at the time, and Star-Lord even showed up on the list of subscriptions in Marvel's ads during early 1975. Stan and the higher-ups decided to nix that idea (Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction was on its last legs, after all, and Star Wars still was a couple of years away), so the origin story, with art by Steve Gan (with assists by Bob McLeod), would eventually make its debut in their b&w try-out mag Marvel Preview #4 (October 1975).  Now, I'm not gonna try to expound on how Stainless Steve created seemingly psychotic Peter Jason Quill and his star-spanning alter-ego; he does a fine job of  that on his own in the mag's intro, so I'm including that with the story itself. I just wanna tell you that Englehart's Star-Lord changed the way Young Groove would look at comics from that point on. It shed light on what guys like Steranko and Eisner had been saying for a while: comics could be SO MUCH MORE than super-heroes. See for yourself...
Cover art by Gray Morrow


  1. My favourite comic of all time. That simple.

  2. Steve Gan was a really underrated artist. I just love his work.

  3. Wonderful art!

    What can I say? I agree with Eisner and Steranko. Comics should be more than superheroes (not that there's anything wrong with that). I'm really enjoying your blog.

    Cheers and keep up the good work!

  4. Absolutely Joe. Steve Gan gets kind of forgotten about but he really was just a great, classic storyteller with a beautifully accessible style.( Kind of Krenkel or Williamson with flashes of Wrightson ) In my world, Gan & Englehart went on to do Star-Lord for years. Sorry, Groovy One, but that Claremont / Byrne version was a structural mess rescued by great art and not a patch on this story.

  5. Hmmmmm. The two stories are so different stylistically it's really hard to compare 'em, Pete. I love 'em both, but I have to say the world-jumping, swash-buckling, Claremont/Byrne story still gets the edge from me. It did, after all, give us one of the most amazing and original (for comics) characters ever. "Ship".

  6. bought this in the uk when it came out,cant remember how much it cost though.
    there were a few black and white compilations at the time.....
    I think Steve Gan also did a Day of the Triffids adaptation around about then,it was serialised in planet of the apes(uk) I could be wrong completely though as I could not put a name to the artwork above ,but recognised it.....anyone know for sure?

    1. Ross Andru and Ernie Chan did part 1 of DotT, while Rico Rival did part 2. Links:

      Rival's art does have some in common with Gan's.

  7. What with the Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out with Quill as one of the characters, I'm still holding out hope for an Essentials book of all the 70s and 80s Star-Lord material.

  8. I loved Starlord! I remember when this came out. I & my buddies were like 13 or 14 years old. Being Space Ghost fans also, we'd shout SSSTTAARRLLOORRDDD!!! LOL We bought up all those great B & W mags, only SSoConan we didn't. Because the local mag stores would sell them to us. Sigh! That splash looks almost like Gene Colan could had drawn it.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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