Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Random Reads: "Red Swords, Black Wings!" by Effinger and Mayerick

Hey, hey, hey, Groove-ophiles! Would ya like to groove to another chilling chapter of Marvel's adaptation of Lin Carter's Thongor? Ol' Groove thought you might! This third chapter in our savage hero's saga, "Red Swords, Black Wings!" is by our regular creative team of writer George Alec Effinger and artists Val Mayerick and Vinnie Colletta and comes from Creatures on the Loose #24 (April 1973). If ya need to catch up, click here for part one and here for part two.
Cover art by John Romita and Ernie Chan

Stay tuned! Ya never know when the next chapter will show up!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Addicted to Alex Nino: "The Blank Space" by Skeates and Nino

Two of the top talents of the Groovy Age, author Steve Skeates and artiste Alex Nino provided this creepy classic for DC's Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion #8 (September 1972). Great way to kick off a week, innit, Groove-ophiles?

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Grooviest Covers of All Time: Gil Kane: "Inside the Box"

In late 1971-early 1973, Marvel Comics experimented quite a bit with their cover format. They changed their trade dress, updated many logos, and placed the cover art inside a box to separate the illustration from the copy. I s'pose they were trying to look modern, maybe even magazine-like. "The Box" was quite a controversial feature, and eventually faded away. Ol' Groove thought it might be cool to take a look at how the man who would become Marvel's go-to cover artist, Gil Kane, handled "The Box", so I dug up a dozen of my all-time faves. Did "The Box" help or hamper Gil in his quest to create eye-grabbing cover-art? Let your opinions be known! Okay?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

If You Blinked You Missed; Kong the Untamed

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! If you were a kid who was a fan of cavemen and dinosaurs in 1974, you were having a pretty good year. Saturday mornings were filled with 'em: Valley of the Dinosaurs (CBS); Korg, 70,000 B.C. (ABC); and of course Land of the Lost (NBC). I s'pose this came about due to the heavy influence of parent educator groups on the networks to make Saturday mornings more (blech) educational. The caveman/dinosaur shows looked educational enough to satisfy the establishment, but had enough action and sci-fi to hold the kids attention.

Comicbooks are always late to the party when picking up on trends, but they always get in the door. DC made a few attempts to cash in on this short-lived craze. They greenlit Warlord which would almost completely miss the party, but showed 'em all by hanging around for a decade after the party was over. They reprinted Joe Kubert's classic 1950s caveman strip Tor (with new covers and some new material by Kubert). You'd have thought they would have brought back Anthro, created by Howie Post in 1967, but they didn't. They created a brand new character, Kong the Untamed, who bore quite a bit of resemblance...to Anthro (both were aided in their creation by editor Joe Orlando, just so ya know). In today's market, Kong the Untamed would have been a "reboot of the Anthro franchise", but in those days--nope.

Although Kong sported the same basic story as Anthro (young  Cro-Magnon destined to become his tribe's chief during the waning days of the Neanderthal) and a less cool and highly derivative name (King Kong? Konga? Korg, 70,000 B.C.? ), it was still kinda neat. The first two issues (March-May 1975) with their Bernie Wrightson covers, Jack Oleck stories, and Alfredo Alcala interior art were all kinds of far-out. With ish #3 (July 1975), Gerry Conway took over scripting and the cover was by Bill Draut, who's a fine artist, but no Bernie Wrightson. Conway took total control of the writing with #4 (September 1975) while Alcala associates Tony Caravana and Jo Igente provide the art, blending Alcala's style with a style similar to Nestor Redondo's. Surprisingly, Conway doesn't upset the ship, story-wise, but keeps things moving along at an even keel. Unsurprisingly, ish 5 begins to usher in the inevitable "change of direction" that signals a sales slump. The art style has already completely changed as  artist David T. Wenzel makes his pro comicbook debut as penciler (he would soon become one of the top sci-fi/fantasy illustrators ever, natch). Wenzel does a nice job, the storytelling is very exciting, but the inks of cover artist Bill Draut lack the luster and organic feel of the previous issues under Alcala and friends. Kong the Untamed #5 (November 1975) also turned out to be the series' final issue. Oh, well, it was a nice run, and it did, at least, outlive Valley of the Dinosaurs and Korg 70,000 B.C. Small victories are better than none!

Here's the far-out first ish by Oleck and Alcala (complete with Wrightson cover and behind-the-scenes info from the letters page. Who loves ya, baby?)!


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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!

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!