Friday, August 30, 2013

The Grooviest Covers of All Time: Summer of 1978--The DC Explosion Implodes!

The DC Explosion imploded beginning in August, 1978. Compare the drop-off in the number of titles published in August to June and July! 31 titles in June, 27 titles in July...21 in August...and this was just the beginning. Oh, the bittersweet memories that follow...




















Thankfully, while the 44 page format and many (many!) of DC's titles bit the dust, the quality kept up and even improved in the short run, allowing DC to bounce back. When DC tried the 44 page, 50 cent mag format for a second time in 1981, t'was much more successful. Dont'cha just love a happy ending?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Groove's Faves: "The Banana Dolls" by Aragones with Skeates

Nobody but nobody knew how to spin a PLOP! tale like Sergio Aragones and Steve Skeates--and why not? They pretty much invented and defined the concept with "The Poster Plague". Irreverent, violent, sadistic, and fall-on-your-face funny. "The Banana Dolls" from PLOP! #13 (March 1975) was plotted and illustrated by Aragones with a script by Skeates. It's a twisted twist on an old trope, but it ain't tripe, baby!




Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Black and White Wednesday: "Kirby Speaks" and More from FOOM Magazine #11

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! As most of ya know, today would have been Jolly Jack Kirby's 96th birthday. To celebrate, we're looking back at the excitement that surrounded The King's return to Marvel Comics in 1975. From the late 50s to 1970, Jack helped create not only the foundations but the stars of the Marvel Universe. When he left Marvel for DC in 1970, Marveldom and fandom were both left breathless. Jack's tenure at DC was filled with ups and downs, but his return to Marvel was a true cause for celebration. Here's how Marvel handled that celebration in their very own fanzine, FOOM Magazine #11 (Fall 1975)...
Cover art by John Byrne and Joe Sinnott









 The "Origin" of King Kirby by Charley Parker


Blue art by Paty (Cockrum), red art by The King
Happy birthday, Jack! The cosmos are yours!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bring on the Back-Ups: "The Last Duty!" by O'Neil and Craig

One of the best things about DC's Dollar Comics format was that it allowed the editors of those extra-sized comic mags to try a variety of content. One of the things editor Paul Levitz used for back-ups in Detective Comics was Tales of Gotham City. Gotham was as much a character in Batman's universe as any side-kick or villain, so these Batman-less slice of life stories were always a treat. Today's example, "The Last Duty!" written by Denny O'Neil and illustrated by EC Comics luminary Johnny Craig from Detective Comics #488 (November 1979) is absolutely one of the best of this sometimes back-up series. See what ya think, Groove-ophiles!








Monday, August 26, 2013

Groove's Faves: Marvel Treasury Edition #7 featuring the Mighty Avengers

Happy birthday to moi, happy birthday to meeeeeeeee! Yeah, Ol' Groove's gettin' older today, hitting the big five-oh, just like my all-time faves, the Mighty Avengers! (Okay, they're not turning fifty today, but they did this year, so ya know what I mean!) Yeah, this creaky old bod might have a half-century's worth of mileage on it, but at heart, I'm still Young Groove, diggin' on all things comicbook, and especially Marvel's Mightiest Heroes. What better way to celebrate my big birthday than to go back to my twelfth birthday when I got the coolest, biggest, mightiest Avengers present of all--Marvel Treasury Edition #7?

I remember finding that one, lone copy of MTE #7 at the Rite-Aid drug store in nearby Corbin, KY, the day before my birthday in 1975. There was no way, I mean NO WAY I was leaving that store without it. I had twenty-birthday bucks burning a hole in my pocket, so bye-bye buck fifty (plus nine cents tax), hello tabloid-sized John Buscema art! (Complete with poster-sized Jack Kirby covers. Wonder why Big John didn't draw the covers?)


Two of the stories presented between those cardstock covers were brand new to Young Groove, the other two were old faves, but looking soooooooo much more spectacular in that tabloid size.

First up was "Death Calls for the Arch-Heroes!" from Avengers #52. I'd never read this classic in which the Black Panther joined the Earth's Mightiest Heroes--after being set up for murdering Goliath, Hawkeye, and the Wasp by The Grim Reaper (in his debut appearance, no less).

"Behold the Vision!" from Avengers #57 was also a newie for yers trooly. For a time, Vizh was probably my favorite Assembler, so finally getting to read his debut/origin story was worth the whole dollar-fifty (plus tax) in itself!

Avengers #60, in which "Til Death Do Us Part!" was originally published, was the oldest issue of Avengers in my collection at that time. I'd read my copy til it was literally falling apart, so I was tickled to get to read it in the majestic tabloid size. Man, Big John B.'s full pager featuring all those Marvel heroes just chilling before Wasp and Yellowjacket's wedding was a sight to behold!


The final story in MTE #7, "Come On In...the Revolution's Fine!" from Avengers #83 was also a long-time part of my collection, but it was high on my list of all-time fave Avengers stories at that time (why not? In introduced Valkyrie and Big John was inked by Tom Palmer!). The double page splash featuring all of those lovely super-heroines was mind-boggling newspaper sized!


Great stories by Roy Thomas. Fab-a-mundo art by Big John Buscema, plus the Kirby covers and an "Avengers Assemble!" pin-up by John's younger brother and master-Avengers-artist-in-his-own-right Sal Buscema, made MTE #7 (and my twelfth birthday) super-duper special!

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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!