Friday, August 31, 2018

R.I.P. Mirthful Marie and Groovy Gary

One of the great ladies of comics has left us, Groove-ophiles. Mirthful Marie Severin, by all accounts a wonderful person and of course an incredible artist (colorist, plotter, etc.) passed away yesterday at age 89 after complications due to strokes. She's best remembered as a colorist and for her humor work, as well as her King Kull comics (usually inked by her late brother, John Severin), but Marie was also an artist on strips like Dr. Strange, the Hulk, and the Sub-Mariner. She was also an art director at Marvel during the early 70s, doing cover layouts, touch-ups, coloring, and all kinds of things that helped put our fave Marvel mags on the spinner racks. She also produced many amazing covers for Marvel during the early 70s. These are some of Ol' Groove's faves...













Not long after learning of the passing of Marie Severin, Ol' Groove learned that Groovy Gary Friedrich, co-creator of the blazing-skulled, motorcycle-riding Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze) and all-around brilliant comicbook writer, has also left us due to complications from Parkinsons. He was 75. Besides Ghost Rider, Friedrich wrote scores of Marvel comics like Sgt. Fury, Combat Kelly, the Western version of Ghost Rider, Son of Satan, and (best of all) Frankenstein's Monster/Monster of Frankenstein. He also wrote for Charlton (where he got his start on strips like Blue Beetle and The Sentinels), Skywald, Atlas/Seaboard, and more.  Here's Gary bringing us the (then) new (and still best) Blue Beetle...in tandem with Sturdy Steve Ditko, natch. From Captain Atom #83 (the 1977 Modern Comics reprint)...







Heartfelt condolences to the Severin and Friedrich families and circles of friends.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Funny Stuff: "Love Is Blind" by Al Hartley

Check it out, Groove-ophiles! If there was ever a story that demonstrated the total knuckle-headed-ness of Archie Andrews in regards to Betty and Veronica, it's Al Hartley's "Love Is Blind" from Betty and Me #44 (June 1972)…






Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Black and White Wednesday: "Shadow of the Axe!" by Sim and Heath

After the birthday celebrations, Ol' Groove hates to have to rap about the passing of the inimitable Russ Heath, but sadly, I must. Mr. Heath passed away last Thursday, August 23. Besides co-creating the Haunted Tank for DC and having his art "swiped" by Roy Lichtenstein, Heath had a long career that began in the late 1940s and lasted until well into the 2000s. His detailed, realistic, nuanced art won him many, many awards and accolades--and it seemed that he could never produce enough art to please us fans. A search on Grand Comics Database shows he did way more than we ever gave him credit for (for most every comics publisher, as well as Playboy, Peter Pan Records, slews of non-U.S. publishers, advertising (remember that ad for 132 toy Roman soldiers? That was Russ Heath art!). Still and all, his prodigious talent will be missed. And yeah, it's seems a bit weird to be remembering an artist by posting a story about an axe murder, but it's so beautifully rendered--and written by a young, pre-Cerebus Dave Sim. It's from Creepy #79 (March 1976). Oh, and these are scans of the original art (from the indispensable Heritage Auctions site).  Check it out...






Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Happy 101st Anniversary of the Birth of Jack "King" Kirby!

There is a reason so many of us call Jack Kirby "the King of Comics." Here are a dozen covers that make the trumpets blare for Ol' Groove...









Thanks for the glorious memories, Jack!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Beyond the Groovy Age: August 1981

What it is, Groove-ophiles! Actually, what it is is Ol' Groove's birthday is this coming Sunday, so IIIIII just wanna celebraaaate (celebraaate) with y'all by doing something different: by taking a look at some of the magnificent post-Groovy Age mags I got during my birthday month in 1981 A.G.A. (After Groovy Age). (What? You thought Ol' Groove dropped comics when the Groovy Age ended? Don't be ridiculous!) These weren't all the mags I got the month I turned 18 and started college, but they were (and most still are) my faves. Remember any of these?


Gerry Conway and George Perez were doing some fun stuff in JLA. This edition of the annual JLA/JSA meeting was fun and then some!

Hidden under this "eh" Al Milgrom cover is a magnificent Ms. Marvel story by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden (it addresses the mess left in the infamous Avengers #200's wake). Oh, it features the Avengers, the X-Men and Spider-Woman, and introduces Rogue, too!

Marv Wolfman and George Perez were KILLING IT in the New Teen Titans, melding the best comicbook-ish-ness of the 60s with the best comicbook-ish-ness of the 70s and creating a fresh new comic mag for the 1980s. And this one features the return of Robotman, too!


Similar to what Wolfman and Perez were doing in NTT, John Byrne had taken full control of the FF and returned it to its Silver Age roots--while making it totally (fer sure) 80s! This Twilight Zone-ish tale featuring a superior plot by Dr. Doom is an all-time FF classic!

The criminally underrated team of Mary Jo Duffy and Kerry Gammill was giving us a delightful buddy super-hero comic that was also criminally underrated. It was hip, smart, and downright charming. This one takes our Heroes for Hire to K'un-Lun and ties into the Sons of the Dragon

Roy Thomas set out to top his Marvel Invaders series at DC with his favorite heroes of the Golden Age--and then some! Aided and abetted by artists like Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway, Roy accomplished his mission. All-Star Squadron is the best WW II super-hero comic ever!

Hey, that was fun! Maybe we'll go Beyond the Groovy Age again sometime!

SCINTILLATING SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! Ol' Groove is taking Monday off for his birthday, but don't worry, man! I'll be back on Tuesday with a birthday tribute to Jack "King" Kirby!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Random Reads: "He Who Stalks!" by Stern, Sutton, and Chan

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! Yesterdays' magical post has gotten Ol' Groove in a magic mood, so here's a fave Dr. Strange tale, written by one of my fave Dr. Strange writers, Roger Stern. The moody art is by the unlikely-but-interesting team of Tom Sutton and Ernie Chan (anyone who remembers that the Doc/Clea figures on the splash page were used on the back cover of the Pocket Books Dr. Strange reprint paperback book, go to the head of the class). I s'pose the main reason I like this one so much is because it features a rare non-Defenders team-up of Doc and Nighthawk, plus cool cameos by Iron Man, the Beast, and Yellowjacket (what, you thought Ol' Groove dug it because it featured Daredevil's old nemesis, Death-Stalker?)  Oh, and, yeah, I'd have bought Dr. Strange #29 (March 1978) for the gorgeous Frank Brunner cover alone!


















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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!