Thursday, July 19, 2012

If You Blinked, You Missed...Targitt

What it is, Groove-ophiles! It's been a while since we checked out the offerings of the far-out-yet-fly-by-night publisher that could have been, Atlas/Seaboard. This time we're looking at Targitt, a mag that was even more schizophrenic than most Atlas/Seaboard mags in that it changed identities in every one of it's three (count 'em!) three issues!



The first issue of Targitt (April 1975), written by Ric Meyers and illustrated by Will Eisner acolyte Howard Nostrand, was pretty much a riff on the popular Death Wish and Dirty Harry movies of the day. It was a standard revenge tale of a rebel cop whose family is rubbed out by the mob. It's kind of rough compared to the style of violence in Marvel and DC's mags, but that's part of what made Atlas/Seaboard cool, baby! Nostrand's art (note that Howard illoed every ish of Targitt) was kind of a blessing and a curse. I really dug his Eisner-lite art, but sometimes it was too cartoony to suit the material. Just take page 11, for example. I remember not knowing whether to laugh or not when the beret-wearing thug got his head blown off. I suppose it didn't help that I was familiar with Nostrand's art only through his work on Cracked magazine. Just take a look at Targitt #1 and see what you think...



















Makes you kind of go "hmmmmmm..." dunnit? In ish #2 (co-written by Meyers and Gabe Levy), the title changed to John Targitt...Man-Stalker, though Targitt didn't take that super-monicker until the final page of ish #3. He did take on a set of super-heroic threads halfway through issue 2 for no apparent reason, but hey, they looked kinda cool (though Nostrand didn't seem very comfortable drawing them)...

In ish 3, Gerry Conway joined Meyers at the typewriter, and the transformation to full-out superhero was done. Targitt gave up his Magnum, gained super-powers, battled a super-baddie called Professor Death instead of the mob, and gained a new attitude and mission. Targitt declared that from then on...

We never did get to see that pro-active, super-powered Man-Stalker in action. Those were the breaks during the Groovy Age!

7 comments:

  1. About 20 years ago or so I was at my local comic book shop and I bought the entire box of Atlas comics he had. They were all there in triplicate...except DESTRUCTOR number one. That was annoying. But I read the whole bunch and TARGITT number one in particular was always one of my favorites. The costume I did not care for...but yeah I really got a kick out of the Dirty Harry aspects of it. Thank you for sharing
    this. ATLAS comics are always worth another look.

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  2. I always loved ATLAS comics I wan't a big fan of Target myself. My favorites were the Grim Ghost & Tigerman. But I loved Rich Bucklers two one shots Man-Monster & Demon Slayer. The Brute, Moorlock 2000 & a few others weren't too bad either. I was really disappointed the books were so late at the time & of course that they went out of business so fast.

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  3. I also have my copies of the Atlas run, with just a few missing from the mix. Wonky stuff, often fun (even with the constant reversals), but still worth having in a collection.

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  4. The art in Targitt #1 still grabs me every time. The exploding plane and helicoptor are job-dropping illos. Thanks for the post Groove.

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  5. Thanks for sharing. I'd forgotten how excited I was when finding this new range of strange comics and that Nostrand art brought it all back...IronJaw cover by Adams; ghastly Jack Abel art; fantastic Russ Heath Planet of the Vampires after fantastic Broderick art. Happy Days indeed...but confusing when they disappeared shortly after starting

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  6. Captain america my personal hero, I love it!

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  7. Growing up in the 70s, I somehow missed the Atlas books on the stands but enjoyed them whenever I'd find them at flea markets or when I'd trade comics with friends (remember those days?) I always liked the Nostrand art of Targitt, even not really knowing much about Eisner back then. I also liked Destructor, Brute, Wulf the Barbarian, Grim Ghost and Scorpion's 3rd issue when it had morphed into a Spidey ripoff. (And later on, after becoming a Chaykin fan, I liked the Scorpion that had morphed into Dominic Fortune. ) Atlas makes me nostalgic for the 70s like the Modern Comics line that reprinted Charlton.

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