Friday, March 3, 2017

Making a Splash: The Man Called Nova, Part One

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! One of Teen Groove's favorite Groovy Age mags was Marv Wolfman's brainchild, The Man Called Nova! It was cool to get in on the ground floor of a breezy, unpretentious, brand-new Marvel superhero. Yeah, Nova was pretty much a Peter Parker type with Superman's powers and Green Lantern's origin, but, especially for the first 14 issues (June 1976-July 1977) with layouts/pencils by the Brothers Buscema, it was just a blast to read. Big John Buscema (teamed with inker Joe Sinnott) drew the first two issues, solidifying Nova as a Marvel-ous new hero; then Our Pal Sal Buscema (inked mostly by Tom Palmer and Frank Giacoia) took over for issues 3-14, cutting loose with some fun action scenes and some downright funny situations (okay, Nova in his civilian guise of Richard Ryder and his pals-n-gals even had a touch of an Archie vibe), especially when Nova tried to get Marvel to give him his own mag and met Marv, Sal, and other bullpenners in ish #5. Silly? Yeah. Fun? You bet!


  1. I loved Sal Buscema's work on this series, even better than his big brother. Big John's artwork at this time had a sameness (a high quality sameness for sure) that left me just a tad cold. He was being tapped to debut all sorts of comics and it seemed a tad tired. Sal's work seemed ideal for this sci-fi series, just the right snap.

    And Nova's big draw for me was the great rogue's gallery, one of the best any Marvel hero ever had. Each issue seemed to give us a new dandy villain. Marv Wolfman threw himself into this series, one he created before coming to Marvel and it shows in the enthusiasm evident on each page.

    Rip Off

  2. This was one of my favorite titles as a kid. Marvel launched some great titles in the mid 70's, and I had a lot of fun reading them. Nova was great in that you didn't have to be a heavy Marvel reader to get into it. His origins weren't tied in with any other character, so you didn't get hung up history that you hadn't read. And most of his villains were his. I think Tyrannus was the only villain in his comic that fought other heroes, everyone else were original to his title.

  3. I echo Rip s observations but I actually think I grew a tad tired of Sal's ubiquitous art too. All that said I enjoy it! Also thanks for the Sas Sack post yesterday! Oddly I never grew tired of the sameness of the Sack's art. It seems perfectly fitted for Sack!

  4. I loved this title. So early Spider-Man-ish and fun. Marv Wolfman was obviously having a ball writing this mag. I remember the sadness I felt when I picked up The Comic Reader and read that Nova would cease publication with issue # 25. Although the character became one of the New Warriors in the 80s and revived under Busier/Larson later nothing can compare with the 70s wonkiness and wholesome naivete of the original series. I like the Sal Buscema/Tom Palmer issues the best. Look at that drive-in splash! Mr. Palmer always added so much to the pencils when he was embellishing a job. Mr. Wolfman was recently at the Wizard World Portland and I got him to sign the entire run of Nova. At $5 an issue, it got a little pricey, but well worth it.

  5. I remember Nova with some sadness, it might have been my age at time, I don't know, but it was the title that led me to start ignoring the hype on the Bullpen page, it was a good comic but as groove pointed out, it sure did borrow, my relationship with Marvel was never the same again.

  6. keythd23: You're so right about Tom Palmer. I was thinking the same when looking at these splashes. Having said that, issue 14 intrigues me as I don't recall ever seeing Sal inked by Dick Giordano. Will have to get that one.

    1. S. Buscema/Giordano was a beautiful combination and a pleasant surprise. This was during the period where Dick Giordano was doing a lot of work for Marvel before he went back to DC and became the powerhouse, along with Jeanette Kahn, behind their revival in the 80s. I highly recommend picking up issue 14.



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