Saturday, December 31, 2016

'The Bus' by Paul Kirchner

'The Bus' by Paul Kirchner
from the November 1985 issue of Heavy Metal

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Killraven (2002)

Killraven (2002)
Alan Davis (script and art) and Mark Farmer (inks)
Marvel graphic novel, 2007

'Killraven' compiles all six issues of the miniseries first published by Marvel comics from November, 2002 to April 2003.

Alan Davis (b. 1956) started out as a comic book artist in the UK, before becoming one of the best-known artists for DC and Marvel based on his work for those companies from the mid- 80s up through the 2000s. 

In his Introduction to this compilation, Davis recalls seeing issue 18 of Amazing Adventures, which in the Spring of 1973 debuted the Killraven character, and being impressed with the character and the artwork from Neal Adams. 

In 2002, Marvel editor Bob Harras offered Davis the chance to write and illustrate a Marvel series; Davis ultimately chose to do Killraven. 

The 2002 miniseries is basically a retelling of the Killraven storyline, and features characters and plot points that will be quite familiar to those who have read the series back in the 70s. 

In my opinion, while competently done, Davis's Killraven is by no means an imaginative re-imagining of the character and the setting. 

The artwork is decent enough, although stylistically it is very much inspired by the artwork used in Marvel's mainstream superhero titles of the early 2000s. There's nothing about the 2002 Killraven that identifies it as a sf, rather than a superhero, comic. 

I can't say I'm overly enthused by Davis's use of titled panels in an effort to lend additional dynamism to his action sequences. Those action sequences rendered in this manner seem too cramped and too overfilled with dialogue boxes to be very effective in a visual sense.

Davis's plot is reasonably interesting through the first five issues, although the preachy nature of Killraven's 'Quest for Peace' gets wearying after a while. Unfortunately, Davis introduces some plot elements in the sixth and final issue that are contrived, ending this miniseries on an unconvincing note. 

Summing up, if you're a die-hard Killraven fan and you want to have every incarnation of the character in your collection, then you'll want to pick up either the original issues or this graphic novel. All others can probably pass.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Fellowship of the Ring by the Brothers Hildebrandt

The Fellowship of the Ring
by the Brothers Hildebrandt
late 70s

This was one of the Hildebrandt's better-known Tolkein posters from the late 70s. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Prophesy from Eerie No. 107

The Prophesy
by Bill Kelly (writer) and Nestor De Leon (art)
Eerie No. 107 (December 1979)

A neat little 'monsters on the loose' tale from the skilled Filipino artist Nestor De Leon. Unfortunately, this comic was De Leon's only work for a US publisher.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Favorite 70s pop wines

Favorite 70s Pop Wines

Anyone who Imbibed during the 70s is going to remember these cheap wines. Although these were the preferred choice of winos everywhere, you didn't have to be a wino to appreciate them.  

Boone's Farm and Mogen-David (aka 'Mad Dog') 20/20 were my faves. I still have memories of the horrible hangovers I got from drinking too much of them......I

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Book Review: Jirel of Joiry

Book Review: 'Jirel of Joiry' by C. L. Moore

2 / 5 Stars

'Jirel of Joiry' (212 pp) was published by Ace Books in November 1982. The cover artist is Stephen Hickman.

This paperback compiles five Jirel stories that first were published in 1934 - 1939 in Weird Tales.

Joirel of Joiry was arguably the forerunner for the female sword and sorcery heroine genre, although none of these stories introduce anything like the 'chick in chain mail bikini' imagery that defines the modern version of the genre.

The stories are set in Medieval France, where Jirel is a kind of secular Joan of Arc, albeit a Joan of Arc with an aggressive streak; Jirel has no hesitation about hacking away at those petty princelings and warlords infesting her country.

In these stories, author Moore focuses less on furious action, and more on elaborate phantasmagorical and supernatural encounters. The lead character often finds herself traversing other dimensions, where she has life-or-death contests with various malevolent sorcerers and mages. While not disclosing any spoilers, I will reveal that some of these locales and adversaries are of a Lovecraftian flavor.

Moore's prose style is very pulp-centered; although her prose can be quite atmospheric, many passages overdose on adjectives and adverbs, and can be tedious to read. 

Summing up, while the Jirel stories have their historical value in terms of the Pulp canon, I doubt that modern readers will find these stories to be as entertaining as those of Robert E. Howard.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hawkmoon: The Jewel in the Skull issue 1

Hawkmoon: The Jewel in the Skull
First Comics, 1986
Issue 1 (May 1986)
art: Rafael Kayanan and Alfredo Alcala, story: Gerry Conway

In 1986 indie comics publisher First Comics, located in Chicago, obtained the rights to the Michael Moorcock property 'Hawkmoon'.

(My review of the Hawkmoon series is available here).

First Comics devoted four issues to 'The Jewel in the Skull', the inaugural volume in the Hawkmoon series, issuing them bimonthly over the span of May - November 1986.

While Gerry Conway's scripting of the four issues is not particularly effective - chunks of the book's plot are jettisoned, in favor of belaboring tangential plot points - the bimonthly schedule meant that the Filipino artists assigned to the comics could produce some outstanding artwork.

The lead artist was Rafael Kayanan, and Hawkmoon was one of his first major assignments for an American publisher. Kayanan has since gone on to become very successful as an artist for major publishers like DC and Marvel.

Inking Kayanan's art was none other than the great Alfedo Alcala.

The one major drawback to this series is the color printing. While it appears that First Comics did not use the Flexographic process, there is no denying that the color separations in 'The Jewel in the Skull' are less than optimal, with too many pages having a murky appearance that I can only partially rectify in my scans.

If ever an 80s comics series deserved to be reissued in a graphic novel compilation, one taking advantage of modern methods for re-doing color separations, it's these Hawkmoon comics. Until then, I'm going to post scans of each of the four issues in 'The Jewel in the Skull'.