Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Decent Comics: "Some Forbidden Fate" by O'Neil, Grandenetti, and Giordano

What it is, Groove-ophiles! Didja know that nearly a year before Marvel unleased Conan the Barbarian on fandom assembled, DC dipped into the Sword and Sorcery waters with Nightmaster in Showcase issues 82-84? Well, they did! Check out the editorial page from the back of Showcase #82 (March 1969) where co-creator/writer Denny O'Neil lays the genesis of Jim Rook and company 'pon us...

Don'tcha just love those behind-the-scenes editorials from the good old days? So now that you know how and why, it's time for you to come face-to-face with the Jerry Grandenetti/Dick Giordano illustrated..."Some Forbidden Fate!"
Cover art by Joe Kubert


  1. Berni Wrightson drew the opening six pages of this story, but they never saw print. He was only 19 years old in the summer or 1968, but editor Carmine Infantino felt Berni had choked a bit on his first pro assignment. Instead he was given a few House of Mystery 3 pagers to tackle, as well as a short story in The Spectre #9. Doing well on these, Carmine once again offered him the Nightmaster book (though Kubert did the covers). Berni hated the costume that Grandenetti had given the character, but had to go with it. Helping him with the art chores (uncredited) were Mike Kaluta, Jeff Jones, Steve Hickman, & Steve Harper. They did a great job. Never saw this precursor issue until now.

    Best regards,
    Chris A.

  2. P.S. The following year Wrightson approached Marvel about drawing Conan the Barbarian, but the series had already been promised to Barry Smith. As a consolation Wrightson was given a King Kull short story which turned out to be his very last solo story for Marvel for a long time (it was recoloured & poorly printed --- B.W. was quite displeased).

    Back to this issue of Showcase featuring Nightmaster: Jerry Grandenetti seemed to use more solid blacks to add mood & shadows in his House of Mystery work than he did here. Perhaps he wanted Nightmaster to have a lighter, more whimsical touch. The script is certainly silly enough. Denny O'Neil did much better with adapting Fritz Leiber in Sword of Sorcery a few years later.

    Chris A.

  3. Replies
    1. Probably more akin to Fritz Leiber's the Grey Mouser, & anticipating such real world/alter ego comics fantasies as Rich Corben's Den in Heavy Metal magazine & Sam Kieth's the Maxx.

      Chris A.

  4. It took me quite awhile to appreciate Jerry Grandenetti's artwork. I hated when he took over Spectre after Neal Adams. But I came to appreciate his off the beaten path layouts when I saw his early Warren work. I remember being a little jolted when I picked this up from the newstand. Giordano seemed to hem in his worst excesses. Then the abrupt change to Wrightson the next two issues, I think, further hurt the tryout. We've never seen Nightmaster again. The Wrightson issues were rough around the edges and gave little hint of the master artist that was to follow. But now I can enjoy full 3 issue tryout and have come to like Grandenetti and Wrightson's contributions.



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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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