Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lo! There Shall Come...Endings! "Mourning Prey" by McGregor and Russell

Wow, the last day of 2013. What a year it's been. One of the best. One of the worst. Yeah, that kind'a year. That kind of thinking led me to this year's "Endings" post: Killraven/War of the Worlds "Mourning Prey". Enjoying the sophisticated beauty of both the prose of Don McGregor and the art of P. Craig Russell, Killraven/War of the Worlds in Amazing Adventures was one of the most critically acclaimed and well-loved series at Marvel. Many called it the best thing Marvel published (personally, it's high in the "one of the best" list for moi). In fact, when word got out that Amazing Adventures was going to be cancelled, fandom started a letter-writing campaign to save McGregor and Russell's baby.

Sadly, it wasn't enough, but the fact that the series elicited such a strong response from Marvel's more mature and serious (and vocal) fans says to me that Mighty Marvel made a mistake in cancelling AA. Imagine how different fandom's voice would have sounded if we'd had the Internet back then... Ah, well. Let's take a few minutes to enjoy the final lyrical-yet-savage earth-conquered-by-martians saga of the Groovy Age. From Amazing Adventures #39, here's "Mourning Prey".

















Hey, we don't wanna end our old year or start our new year on a downer note, do we? Gotta give Mighty Marvel it's due, as less than a decade later they did allow McGregor and Russell the opportunity to re-unite and tie together the major loose ends of the Killraven/War of the Worlds saga in Marvel Graphic Novel #7 (1983).

Dauntless Don did write a mini-series to finish the whole Killraven saga, but he and Marvel have never been able to come to terms on how/when/where to publish it. Maybe one'a these fine days, Marvel will come to its senses and do whatever Don tells 'em to do! Oh, yeah, I said I didn't wanna end on a downer note, didn't I? Well, hey, at least with Dauntless Don doing his part we have hope, right? That's something!

Okay, tomorrow we'll welcome in 2014--and it'll be a lot more light-hearted atmosphere. I hope! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

4 comments:

  1. Beautifully written and drawn final story for AA. I only have this in the only format in which it's been reprinted, i.e., the Essentials volume. I can't believe there's no color reprints of the original run of Killraven stories - considering all of other stuff from this period that's been reprinted, you'd think there would be a Masterworks or omnibus, but even nice tpb or two would be fine.
    Also, I didn't know McGregor had already written a conclusion to the whole story - again, it seems like a no-brainer to me: c'mon Marvel, work out the details with McGregor, get Russell on board (i.e. offer generous compensation) and get it published!

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  2. If memory serves, as a 16-year old fan of this series (and wannabe lettercol regular), I sent a letter to Marvel in support of this, one of my favorite series (then, as now)...but it didn't see print. Marvel only printed one of my missives, in an issue of Captain Marvel. Must have been a slow week for letters.

    Anyway, that letters page is one of my saddest comics memories as well; pre-comics shop newsstand distribution being what it was in 1976, I didn't even see this comic until several months after it was published. I had wondered what had happened to issue #36, finally found it at a discount store's magazine rack, not one of the places I usually bought comics. Excitedly, I opened it up, read the great story, then saw that ominous yellow text box in the letters page...

    Well, let's just say that 37 years later, seeing that letters page still brings a twinge of sadness.

    As much as I'd love to see Marvel reuniting McGregor & Russell and letting them finish their masterwork, which, let's face it, was never a big seller by 1976 standards and was one of those titles that nobody upstairs at Marvel seemed to pay much attention to, I'm not going to hold my breath. Not a whole lot of reason to do it on Marvel's end, although there were movie rumors a few years ago. I also worry about Marvel letting others have their way with the franchise; we got lucky with the surprisingly good Joe Linsner one-shot, but the Alan Davis series was horrible and thank god the Liefeld rumors have not come to fruition yet.

    Thanks for posting this, GA- always great to see this series get some love.

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  3. An incredible issue and the 2nd one that I managed to purchase from the old spinner racks (the 1st being ish 37!). From that moment on I became a big fan of Craig Russell, I'd already been a convert to McGregor from his Panther's Rage reprints in the UK weeklies. A true highlight of the Bronze Age!!

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  4. Great post mud-brother Groove! This Killraven series was definitely one of my favourites. Too bad the powers that be didn't continue it at the time. Don McGregor was at his wordiest trippiest best here. Craig Russell's art was gorgeous.

    - Mike 'dirt brother' from Trinidad & Tobago.

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