Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Merlin by John Buscema

by Doug Moench and John Buscema (story) and John Buscema, Tom Palmer, and John Tartaglione (art)
Marvel Preview, No. 22, Summer 1980

Issue No. 22 of the Marvel / Curtis magazine Marvel Preview features a fine cover by the great Earl Norem.

This issue is devoted to a single story: 'Merlin'. According to the Introduction by Ralph Macchio, the idea for the story came from John Buscema, who was a fan of the classic Prince Valiant comic strip by Hal Foster.

Buscema was interested in doing a comic set in the Camelot era. Macchio approved, and assigned Tom Palmer to provide the inks for Buscema's art.

In keeping with the Medieval tenor of the story, John Costanza contributed Old Tyme lettering, using hand-drawn calligraphy (back in 1980, there was no such thing as computer-assisted lettering).

 Buscema's plot is reasonably interesting: while out hunting, King Arthur comes upon an unconscious, injured young knight, and brings him back to the Castle, to be treated by Merlin.

Once he recovers, the young knight, named Belial, reveals himself to be a man of culture and good breeding and wins over the respect of the King.

Merlin, however, has his doubts.....and as events unfold, it will be up to him to save Camelot from danger.

All things considered, this is one of the better entries in the Marvel Preview Presents series. The script is not over-written or contrived, and Buscema's artwork is top-notch considering all of the other assignments he was fielding at the time.

If you like the Knights of Merrie Olde England genre, then this one is worth picking up.


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