Friday, January 20, 2017

Making a Splash: P. Craig Russell's War of the Worlds/Killraven

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! For Ol' Groove, one of the highest-of-the-high-points of Marvel in the Groovy Age was Don McGregor's War of the Worlds/Killraven run in Amazing Adventures. With artists like Herb Trimpe, Rich Buckler, and Gene Colan, McGregor took Roy Thomas' cool idea (H.G. Wells' Martians return to conquer Earth) and elevated it into a unique, way ahead of it's time sci-fi strip. When neo-artist P. Craig Russell joined him as artist (A. A. issues 27-32, 34-37 (layouts only on 35-36), and 39, August 1974-August 1976 ) the comic became legendary. Russell's art was as unique and cool as McGregor's writing, with both men elevating the comics medium with each passing issue. Russell is a master, there is no doubt, and even his early work showed a style that stood out from all the rest...





12 comments:

  1. This was such a cool series throughout, but the McGregor/Russell run was just fantastic. I currently have the Essentials volume, but Killraven seriously deserves a color reprint.

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  2. Imported American comics were already exotic enough back in the mid 70s, but Killraven was something else again!
    Great flashback Groove, you've been on a roll this week. (Even more than usual)

    -sean

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  3. Ohh! So cool, especially that last one. Here is another series I need to track down. Thanks for sharing so much awesome stuff with us, Groove!

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  4. McGregor and Russell created a truly original classic series in Killraven, this book was definitely ahead of its time. Everyone talks about Lee/Kirby and Claremont/Byrne, but these two deserve to be mentioned in such exalted company!

    - Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

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  5. One of my all time favorite series. Meant the world to me as a teenager, still does.

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  6. One of my all-time favorite series! It still holds up, both the art and the writing. Just amazing!

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  7. Craig Russell, of the delicate pen point and operatic adaptations, was growing artistically by leaps and bounds throughout his run on this series. In conjunction with Don McGregor's expansive storytelling,this jewel of the 70s proves once again why this period for Marvel remains my favorite era of comics collecting in over 50 years of the hobby.

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  8. This was one of the best series of its time, and holds up remarkably well. A prime example of a book that sought, successfully, to redefine and expand what "comics" were capable of. The final graphic novel a few years later was also quite solid. Much love.

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  9. I was a kid so I thought this level of crazy storytelling was NORMAL. God Bless MacGregor & Russell.

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  10. Craig Russell was one of the gold standard artists at Marvel in the mid-1970s,along with Mike Ploog,Jim Starlin,Frank Brunner and Paul Gulacy,and with Don McGregor,one of the best writer/artist teams too.It was too good a comic book magazine to last though,and was terminated during a period of dismal decline at Marvel,before it had a chance to develope and mature even further.In the year following it's demise though,Russell drew the "Dr Strange Annual",which was just as excellent,and the same year,illustrated a comic script for the ground level comic,"Star Reach"

    It was said that Craig Russell was heavily influenced by and even became an imitator of Barry Smith.Russell admitted that Smith was an important influence on his art,but I think there are vast differences in their styles and emphasis,and that he was already finding his own voice,when he started on "Killraven".

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  11. Among all the other great Marvel runs from the 1970's (Starlin's CAPTAIN MARVEL and WARLOCK, Moench/Gulacy/Zeck/Day MASTER OF KUNG FU, Gerber/Brunner/Colan HOWARD THE DUCK, Wolfman/Colan TOMB OF DRACULA, Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne X-MEN) McGregor /Russell's KILRAVEN series stands out as the one great series that hasn't been collected in a Masterworks or other nice edition. Until Alan Moore's work on SWAMP THING, MIRACLEMAN, V FOR VENDETTA and WATCHMEN, and Miller's DAREDEVIL, DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and BATMAN YEAR ONE, the McGregor/Russell KILLRAVEN run stood out for me as the most intelligent and beautifully written series of that era up to that point. And the warmth and optimism of that Killraven run still makes me prefer it to Moore's darker works. To the point that I more often pull these McGregor/Russell issues off the shelf and re-read them, more so than the Moore material.
    I'd like to see a nice hardcover that collects the entire AMAZING ADVENTURES 18-39 run, and the later 1983 KILLRAVEN graphic novel.
    And despite that so much praise is heaped on McGregor's JUNGLE ACTION Black Panther run, of the two, I far prefer his Killraven series. Even so, Black Panther already got the Masterworks hardcover treatment, and is now out in a new collected trade. Would that Marvel could give Killraven the same worthy treatment, for such an exceptional series.

    The ESSENTIAL KILLRAVEN was substandard, and just made me pull out and reread the AMAZING ADVENTURES comics I already have.

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    Replies
    1. Has Ol' Groove got some good news for you, Dave! http://www.collectededitions.com/marvel/mm/killraven/killraven_mm01.html

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