Monday, December 17, 2012

'The Sword of Solomon Kane'
Marvel comics, 1985 - 1986

Starting with issue 1 in September, 1985, and going on to issue 6 in July, 1986, Marvel re-launched the ‘Solomon Kane’ franchise as limited-series, four-color comic book with Code approval. 

It’s not clear if ‘The Sword of Solomon Kane’ was a carefully considered, deliberate decision by  the management, or a last-minute effort to get some books printed before Marvel’s rights to the franchise lapsed.

The miniseries used both REH's original Kane stories, and material created for the miniseries by the Marvel editorial staff.

Issue 1 was ‘Red Shadows’, issue 2 an original werewolf tale titled ‘And Faith, Undying’, issue 3 ‘Blades of the Brotherhood', issue 4 ‘The Prophet’ (featuring artwork by Mike Mignola), issue 5 ‘Hills of the Dead, and issue 6 ‘Wings in the Night’.
For most of these issues Ralph Macchio provided the scripting, with Brett Blevins and Al Williamson providing the art.

Even given Marvel’s use of cheaper, plastic printing plates in their 80s comics, the artwork and color reproductions in these issues are quite crude. 

Indeed, it’s markedly inferior to the artwork in the black and white Curtis magazine incarnations of Solomon Kane in the 1970s (as a backup feature in ‘The Savage Sword of Conan’, etc.). 

Mignola’s penciling for issue 4 is probably the best this particular series offered, followed by Blevin’s work in issue 2.

Hardcore REH and Solomon Kane fans may want to pick up this miniseries if the opportunity presents itself. All six issues appear on online auction websites for affordable prices.
As well, all six issues were reprinted in 2009 in Dark Horse’s trade paperback compilation of the Marvel comic - book Kane adventures of the 70s and 80s, ‘The Chronicles of Solomon Kane’.

(Note, the b & w comics from the Curtis magazines are reprinted in another Dark Horse volume, ‘The Saga of Solomon Kane’.)

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