Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Paradox Part One

Part One
by Bill Mantlo (writer) and Val Mayerik (art)
from Marvel Preview No. 24 (Winter 1980)

By 1980, the influence of Heavy Metal magazine on Marvel Comics was undeniable. In the Winter, 1980 issue of Marvel Preview, the black-and-white comic magazine that Marvel used to introduce new characters to its readership, writer Bill Mantlo and artist Val Mayerik showcased 'Paradox', a sci-fi story that yearned to be seen as the type of edgy, daring material routinely showcased in Heavy Metal.

 Although Marvel Preview was not bound by the Comics Code, it also shied away from depicting the R-rated content that distinguished Heavy Metal. Which means that the PG-13 content in some segments of 'Paradox' gives every sign of contrived efforts to titillate...........sort of like the way Esquire magazine was regarded in comparison to Playboy and Penthouse in the 70s. 

When looked at 36 years later, however, Paradox has its appeal. Its hero, the eponymous Paradox, is a ballet dancer who specializes in routines performed in anti-gravity - obviously, in the words of a Lunar bureaucrat, Paradox is 'a bleeding fairy !' 

(Back in the early 80s,such comments weren't considered Politically Incorrect).

But the plot soon reveals that Paradox, with his parted-in-the-middle blow-dried haircut that screams late 70s - early 80 fashion, is in fact a ladies' man, and in many ways a takeoff on the Warren Beaty character from the 1975 movie Shampoo.

Throw in decadent aristocrats, a drug that turns people into human torches, conspiracies, and handy concealed wrist lasers, and you get a story that is, in many ways, superior to contemporary sci-fi comics like Saga, Black Science, and The Manhattan Projects.

Val Merik's art, while not particularly polished, is serviceable for a black-and-white magazine.

I'm posting the entire 'Paradox' story in two parts. The original print quality of the Marvel Preview magazine from which I made these scans is pretty dire, and needless to say the passage of 37 years also hasn't helped........but hopefully, at 300 dpi, the scans provide sufficient resolution to overcome some of these deficiencies...........

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