Monday, October 12, 2009

Random Reads: Howard Chaykin's The Scorpion Takes "The Devil Doll Commission"

Ahh, the creations of Howard Chaykin. One of his earliest and best, natch, is his Atlas/Seaboard creation, Moro Frost aka The Scorpion. Unfortunately, the powers-that-were at Atlas didn't dig what Howard was doing, so by the third issue they'd replaced Chaykin and updated The Scorpion, complete with costume, into a sort of Spider-Man/Daredevil rip-off. Fortunately, Howard talked to the powers-that-were at Marvel, The Scorpion morphed into Dominic Fortune, and for a few years, Fortune popped up in various Marvel mags, gambling and chasing the bad-guys in the manner in which Chaykin had intended.

Anyway, let's get back to The Scorpion. The handwriting must have been on the wall when the second ish (February 1975) of was in production, since Chaykin needed the help of several extremely talented, and very well-known (at least to all my loyal Groove-ophiles) pals to complete the issue, namely Bernie Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, Walt Simonson, and Ed Davis. Chaykin's cover was even rejected and replaced by a nice, but not nearly as cool--and very misleading--piece by Ernie Colon. It was Howard and the real Scorpion's swan song, but what a way to go-go! 1930s Hollywood, Gangsters, voodoo, and even a zombie. Get ready to thrill and chill, my Groovy Ghoulies!


  1. love, love, LOVED these two issues. my copies are worn thin! i also dig his marvel revamp of the character as DOMINIC FORTUNE. i'm very curious about his new 4 issue DF mini, but i'm going to wait for the trade!

  2. We're on the same wave-length concerning the Scorpion and the new Dominic Fortune mini, Andy! Great minds and all... ;D

    Oh, make sure you stop by this coming Friday. It's not Chaykin, the Scorpion, or DF, but it is someone we both dig the most!

  3. Groovy:

    FYI, Chaykin's new Dominic Fortune is, well, groovy. It's the work of a polished, assured creator. And, I must admit, even though it's a Max series, it's still a bit shocking to see Chaykin's sexual content under the Marvel flag. I'm lovin' it.


  4. This issue is a rare treasure and one-time collaboration. Wrightson, Kaluta, Chaykin,and Simonson all lived in the same building and hung out together at the time this story was done. They helped each other out when under deadline pressure.

    Groove, I wondered why you posted the stories for SCORPION issues 2 and 3, but skipped issue 1. I'd love to see 1 here to complete the set.

    As Mr. Kuhn said above, the same character basically continued by Chaykin with a different name as Dominic Fortune in BIZARRE ADVENTURES 20, and then as a backup in HULK magazine 21-25 (1980-1981). It's some of my favorite Chaykin work.

    I have a near-complete run of Seaboard/Atlas titles, missing only the four-issue VICKI series (an Archie-type humor book). 63 of the 67 comics, plus about a dozen b & w magazines.
    The Seaboard Atlas line was very short-lived, lasting only from Dec 1974 till Oct 1975, 11 months.

    For anyone interested in Seaboard/Atlas, COMIC BOOK ARTIST 16 has a fantastic history of the entire line, a complete checklist of issues and credits, interviews of most of the writers, artists and editors, and even a lengthy article on Martin Goodman and how he built the publishing empire that Marvel Comics was only a tiny part of. For those not in the know, Stan Lee was related to Goodman's wife, instrumental in getting Lee hired in 1941.

    1. Actually, the first issue of Scorpion is in my first-ever Thanksgiving Feast post, Dave. Rejoice! Here 'tis:



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