Thursday, January 3, 2008

Twelve More Slept On Comic Book Titles AKA A Poisonous Paragraphs Comic Book Nerd Special Edition

It's been a while since I did one of these so I thought I'd bang out another one real quick for the New Year. Here it is:

The Invaders
Roy Thomas (Defenders) and Frank Robbins created this title to explain some of the early history regarding Captain America’s activities during and post World War 2. It was weird to see a comic book about heroes beating the shit out of Nazis and stomping out the Axis Powers during the 70’s but hey, people bought ‘em so why not? Some of the weirdest heroes and villains in Marvel history were introduced in this title.

Epic Illustrated
Jim Shooter’s writer based Marvel imprint Epic Comics made their answer to the popular fantasy magazine Heavy Metal by creating Epic Illustrated. This title was geared to adult audiences and the stories/illustrations contained in these graphic novels used to warp my fragile little mind as a kid. I always waited for my brother's friends to cop ‘em and then read them after they were done.

Marvel Fanfare
Legendary Marvel editor Al Milgrom was in charge of this bi monthly anthology series that ran 36 pages with no ads and cost $1.25. I used to like this title because it featured off the wall stories about my favorite Marvel characters and unlike Epic Illustrated it didn’t get too weird. This title has been pretty much forgotten about except for old school heads who used to read it /purchase them back in the days. Some of the greatest writers and artists Marvel ever had blessed these issues with some rawness.

Swords Of The Swashbucklers
Legendary comic book writer Bill Mantlo (Micronauts) and artist Jackson Guice created this title and it was originally published by Marvel/Epic Comics and had a relatively short run. This title has recently been reprinted by Smashout Comics to aid in the care of Bill Mantlo whose been afflicted with severe brain injuries due to a car accident back in 1992. All proceeds from the reprint will go to aid in assisting Mantlo and improving his current qualty of life. For more info, check the link.

A man named Boston Brand is a circus trapeze artist and he needs to add a gimmick to his act desperately to draw in bigger crowds. He studies one of his most popular contemporaries named Johnny Grayson (father of Robin/Nightwing) and comes up with the idea to create a new persona for himself. He dons full body makeup that makes him chalk white and wears a red suit with a chalk white D on the front. He calls himself “Deadman” and becomes famous for defying death nightly on the trapeze and performing fearless stunts (Why would he fear death? He’s already dead).

One night he’s murdered during his act by a mysterious character known only as The Hook. Boston’s soul is claimed by Rama Kushna, a Hindu deity. He is then given the power to roam the world as a ghost does and to possess the bodies of the living. He goes back to Earth to solve the mystery of his own death. I focus on the characters series where Jack Miller wrote the stories and legendary artist Neal Adams did the inking. Why hasn’t this been optioned for a film adaptation yet?

Web Of Spider-Man

This book had a myriad of artists working on it although it was written by mostly Jim Shooter and Len Kaminsky. The early life of this title highlighted the art of Greg LaRocque, Jim Mooney and Marc Silvestri. This title completely buried the memory of the much maligned run of Marvel’s earlier Spidey title Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man.

Gilgamesh II
Jim Starlin (The Master Of Kung Fu, Dreadstar), the legendary writer/artist of some of Marvel & DC’s greatest titles and storylines created an interesting title for DC. As a nod to the Superman legend a dying race of aliens sends two spaceships from their dying world to Earth containing two newborn babies to continue their race on the Earth. Due to a clerical error instead of one male and female infant being sent to Earth, two boys were shot into space instead. One child lands on Earth near civilization, becomes adopted by hippies and grows to become Gilgamesh Bonner, an extremely successful businessman and a corporate giant. The other child grows up wild in the wilderness. What happens next in this 4 issue miniseries was classic Starlin.

The ‘Nam
The creative team of Doug Murray, Vietnam veteran Larry Hama and artist Michael Golden brought to life one of the best comic titles of the late 80’s and early 90’s. It’s been almost 15 years since the book has been out of print but the stories told in those pages are emblazoned in my mind forever.

Marvel legend and writer Fabian Nicieza along with artist Pat Olliffe resurrected Captain America’s second sidekick, Nomad and updated him for the grimy 90’s. Nomad dumped the cornball blue outfit and the uber fruity stun discs in favor of sawed off shotguns, handguns and the occasional grenade. This title ran for slightly more than two years but it perfectly signified the shift that the comic book industry took in the early 90’s. Memories...

Dinosaurs For Hire
Inspired by other indie titles like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, comic book writer/artist Tom Mason created his off the wall comic book called “Dinosaurs For Hire” for Eternity Comics. Four dinosaurs, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Pterodactyl, a Stegosaurus and a Triceratops that are somewhat human sized work as mercenaries/hitmen. Mason’s book was heavy on satire of action films and crime dramas and often flew over the heads of potential readers who didn’t get the joke. Only 9 issues of “Dinosaurs For Hire” were made before it was ultimately halted. It somehow ended up a Genesis game back in the days as well...Imagine my surprise.

Slaine: The Horned God
Pat Mills and Simon Bisley’s run of the Fleetway/Quality comic book expanded on the Slaine legend that was first introduced in the pages of the British fantasy anthology comic book 2000 AD. If you took the Hyborean Age of Conan The Barbarian and mixed it with Celtic/Irish and Viking legends then you’d have an idea of the shit that you’ll see in the pages of this comic book. This title is huge overseas (especially in Europe) but in North America hardly anyone is familiar with this title or it’s many different incarnations.

This Eclipse International/Viz Comics title was a 24 page title that was published bi weekly about a Tokyo high school student that ends up being abducted and augmented with cybernetic enhancements without his knowledge. He ends up clashing with his old school adversaries as well as a psychotic cyborg named Number 204. This title used to run at $1.25 and writer/artist Masaomi Kanzaki used to cost me $2.50 a month back in the days.

I’ll try to drop another one of these in February on the Black History Month tip. Watch for it.



Anonymous said...


You are steady taking me back with these comic posts. Nomad was my shit! I remember kids at the comic stores bypassing his shit for Ghost Rider and Spawn but Nomad was stay ill.

You need to do a post (if you haven't already) on the top 5-10 best Batman titles ever. I just got back into the graphic novel game and need to build back my library.

ADB said...

Now I have to dig up my Web of Spiderman comics, it had some weird storylines in the beginning although I loved the costume changing dream with the Hulk in issue 7. Damn, I'll have to check out the Marvel Team-Ups too.

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