Thursday, 4 June 2020

30-Day Comic Challenge Week 1


Hot on the heels ( as they say ) ( and why do they say that? ) of my 30-day song challenge, here comes another challenge for these slightly-less-locked-down-but-still-socially-distancing days.
Yes, it's another subject close to my cold, black heart  -  comics!

Day 1  -  Your favourite comic
Conan The Barbarian no. 24 ( March 1973 )


It's almost an impossible task to choose a favourite comic but I'll go with this one because it has a very special place in my heart. As I've banged on about before, my copy ( yep, the one above ) was bought for me by my parents in the legendary Dark They Were & Golden Eyed in ( I think ) 1978 on my first visit to that there London. Many, many years later I was lucky enough to have it signed by the even-more-legendary Roy ( The Boy ) Thomas himself. On top of all that, it's just one of THE greatest comics of the Bronze Age, skilfully scripted by Roy and boasting some beautiful, impossibly detailed artwork from Barry Windsor-Smith at the very height of his powers.

Day 2  -  A comic you recommend to everybody
The Hunt ( 2016 ) by Colin Lorimer


The Hunt is a spine-tingling, creepy slice of Irish folk horror by multi-talented artist, writer, storyboard-creator and friend of TGW-S, Colin Lorimer.


Here's the beautiful cover to issue 3 and above that is a signed print of some stunning interior artwork which Colin very kindly sent to me, all the way from Canada. Not only is he a very, very talented comics creator, he's also a great guy.

Day 3  -  A great adaptation of another work
Amazing Adventures Featuring Killraven  -  Warrior Of The Worlds


Roy Thomas ( it's that man again! ) and Don McGregor project HG Wells' War Of The Worlds into the future of a barbaric, dystopian Earth ( 2019 )  -  with the help, of course, of such awesome artists as Neal Adams, Herb Trimpe, Gene Colan and ( especially ) P Craig Russell. This series was one of the highlights of Marvel's 1970s output, a savage but philosophical examination of a world crushed under the heel tentacle of Martian invaders, and of the conflicted band of freedom fighters struggling to overcome their slimy conquerors. Here's my copy of issue 29, signed by Dauntless Don himself.

Day 4  -  First comic series you seriously pursued
Of course, it's The Mighty World Of Marvel  -  Nuff Said!



For many British comic fans of my generation, MWOM ( as it's affectionately called ) was our gateway into the world of far-out fantasy. An anthology comic that began by reprinting the early years of the Marvel Age ( starting with the debuts of The Hulk, The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man ), MWOM lasted through many incarnations over the decades, and kicked off the relatively short-lived but often glorious Marvel UK line. It really was Ground Zero for me and I soon went on to collect Spider-Man Comics Weekly, The Avengers, Planet Of The Apes, Dracula Lives, The Superheroes, The Titans, Captain Britain... the list goes on...

Day 5  -   A great love story
Swamp Thing and Abigail Cable


Only Alan Moore in his prime could craft the story of a love affair between the daughter of a super villain and a walking compost-heap and make it one of the most beautiful and sensitive romances in comics.
"My vegetable love should grow / Vaster than empires and more slow"  -  Andrew Marvell
( Pretentious? Moi? )

Day 6  -  A comic that is underrated
Starman ( 1994 - 2001 )


With its intricately-designed Opal City, huge cast of characters and deep dive into DC mythology, James Robinson & Tony Harris' Starman is, at heart, a very human story about the bonds of family

Day 7  -  Your comfort comic
Fantastic Four no. 51 ( June 1966 )


Possibly the single greatest work of the Lee / Kirby team ( with Joe Sinnott! )  -  a poignant but inspiring story of how even the worst of us can find heroism.And then there's THAT iconic cover! You can read more of my thoughts ( should you want to, of course, it's not mandatory ) on this classic comic here

So, yeah, week one done. Phew! If anyone would like to join in with the challenge please leave a comment. What are your favourites?

5 comments:

McSCOTTY said...

A nice selection of comics there Simon and I can’t disagree with any of them at all especially Conan 24, FF 51 and the MWOM.
Day 1: Favourite comic: Green Lantern – Green Arrow issue 85
A pretty tough choice here but GL/GA 85 is certainly amongst my top 5 all time favourite comics. This (along with issue 86) is DCs comments on the 1970s drug issues and sports what has to be said is a pretty daring cover by Neal Adams showing Speedy (of Teen Titans fame) shooting up with both GA and GL looking on shocked. Not only has this story got lush Neal Adams art it also has an entertaining and hard hitting at times story by Denny O’Neil.

http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/mikes/features/comic.php?comicid=12633
Day 2: Comic I would recommend – Archie Horror line
Not so much a single title but a series of linked books and titles . This isn’t Dan DeCarlo’s wonderfully cute Archie, this is a different beast all together. Although these stories maintain the essence of the characters it also provides some wonderful and shocking storylines while still managing to have it’s tongue firmly stuck in its cheek. In addition these book have some top range art. I would especially recommend the Afterlife with Archie and Vampironica comics with stunning art from Francesco Francavilla and Greg Smallwood respectively.
http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/mikes/features/comic.php?comicid=188651
Day 3: Favourite comic book adaption -Planet of the Apes – Marvel
To be honest I am not a big fan of film and book to comic adaptions for some reason (with some exceptions like Aliens) but I have a soft spot for Marvels POTA especially those issue which featured Alfredo Alcala art. I know I say this a lot but his art on POTA is some of the best comic book art in any genre.
https://www.comicsbeat.com/amazing-art-alfredo-alcalas-planet-of-the-apes-will-blow-your-mind/

Day 4: First comic seriously collected – Mighty World of Marvel (MWOM)
Yep have to agree with you on this one Simon. I collected MWOM right up until its last issues (including MARVEL comic and the monthly versions) however it was the original first 2 years of the weekly MWOM that was a wonderful fun read with a great sense of fanboy ”community”. The later issues (which seemed to incorporate every failed UK Marvel title in its tile like Dracul lives, Planet of the Apes, Fury etc ) were pretty grim.

Day 5: A great love story – Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker- Amazing Spider-man issue 122 - April1973
OK it was 100% soap opera melodrama but to my teenage mind it was great stuff especially those issues drawn by John Romita / Gil Kane . When they killed off poor Gwen I was really miffed ( maybe a step too far to say I was upset) but it was an amazing end to a great superhero love storyline -On the downside I never really liked Spidey comics as much after Gwen was killed as she was for me a core characters and the older I got the more I liked the romance element of the storyline which I had been reading and “investing” in for many years
http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/mikes/features/comic.php?comicid=45149
Day 6: A comic that is underrated – Usagi Yojimbo
Ok it’s about a samurai bunny which may not be to everyone’s tastes but its really a good read and quite addictive. What can you say other than every issue contains solid cartoon art and strong entertaining easy to read storylines that are not simply just well written . Never read a bad issue of this and been reading it on and off for 15 years.
https://www.darkhorse.com/Zones/Usagi
Day 7: Your comfort comic – Silver Surfer issue 12 – January 1970
The Silver Surfer is one of my favourite comic characters but he has rarely been done well since the early 1970s (again imho). Great art from John Buscema and a wonderful story from Stan Lee. Basically it’s a good adventure tale with toned down self-reflection (winging) form the surfer plus it has the Abomination (my favourite Marvel villain) and flashbacks to the Hulk and other characters (I loved that kid of thing as a kid)
http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/mikes/features/comic.php?comicid=44204

cerebus660 said...

The "relevant" GA/GL series is, of course, a landmark in comics history. That drug-issue cover is still shocking, with Adams' realistic artwork making it really stand out. Such a shame to hear yesterday that this comic's writer, the great Denny O'Neil, had passed away at the age of 81.

I've never read the Archie horror line. In fact, I've never read an Archie comic in my life. Were the old ones ever distributed in the UK?

I absolutely loved POTA as a kid - and the films and the TV show and the cartoon. I actually joined the POTA fan club and I always mean to dig out some of the old newsletters and post them here. No arguments about Alcala - what a master!

Yep, MWOM was THE one, wasn't it? When Panini published a MWOM title a few years ago it was lovely to see that logo back on the shelves of my local WH Smith :-)

Gwen was a character that had a lot of potential but was thrown away really. It still astounds me that, when they couldn't think what to do with the character, Conway and Romita thought "let's kill her off!" It was obviously a pivotal moment in Marvel history but ( heresy, I know ) maybe it didn't need to happen...

Usagi Yojimbo is another comic I've never read. I should really do something about that.

Stan's Surfer is clearly one of the most mopey and moaning character in comics... but... Buscema's artwork makes up for it because it's just stunning.

Thanks for playing, Paul!

McSCOTTY said...

The old funny Archie's were distributed in Scotland (well the Glasgow area( and certainly in Blackpool down South as I picked them up as a kid on weekend holidays, but I dont think they were distributed everywhere. Yeah sad news about Denny another legend gone I'll get onto week 2 later today although you and Steve have many of my suggestions noted

Anonymous said...

Came back for Week 3, and thought it made sense to go back to the beginning first, Simon, so... hey ho, lets go -

Your favourite comic - The only way I can decide on just one is to define "comic" differently, as an ongoing publication rather than single issue (in the sense of "which comic(s) do you read regularly?")
So its Love & Rockets.

A comic you recommend to everybody - As "everybody" would include kids, I'd have to say Halo Jones, which seems to have a fairly universal appeal (a bit of a cheat with a collected book again there).

A great adaptation of another work - League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol 2. Hey, Martian tripods for me as well! Apologies for doing a second Moore already, but at least its not three so far...

The first comic you seriously pursued - The Marvel UK weekly Planet of the Apes.

A great love story - Ranxerox and Lubna. Ha, no, just kidding. Scott Free and Big Barda (the original Kirby stories, obviously)

A comic that is underrated - Twilight, by Chaykin and Garcia-Lopez. Great stuff - you'd expect by those two it'd be better known...

Your comfort comic - A decent collection of Wagner Dredds - like the Judge Child - from the classic 80/81 era.
If it has to be a single comic, then OMAC #2. Loved the later Kirby DCs as a kid, particularly OMAC (which, come to think of it, is not unlike Judge Dredd).

-sean

cerebus660 said...

Hi Sean! Good to see you back here in early June by the miracle of internet time-travel.

What can I say? More great choices.
L&R - I think we can all agree that this is one of the greatest comics ever. The Hernandez brothers are absolute masters of the medium and their stuff always looks fresh.

Halo Jones - just sublime! I only had the first volume of the Titan reprints for many years but have recently read the complete series. Well, I say complete, but obviously Book 4 never appeared, unfortunately. Another unfinished Moore masterpiece. And that Ian Gibson artwork! Just wonderful.

Believe it or not, I've never read beyond the first volume of LOEG...

POTA - I was a serious fan of the films, TV series and, especially, the comic. So much great stuff there and the UK version reprinted tons of old Marvel SF stories which was an added bonus. And Apeslayer :-)

Liberatore should really create a comic where Ranxerox, Lubna, Scott and Barda go on a double-date, only to be attacked by Parademons. That would be awesome.

I had that Twilight series but I think I got rid of it during my Great Comic Purge a few years ago. I remember I loved the artwork ( well, it's JLGL isn't it? ) but found Chaykin's story too cynical. ( Who would have believed that? )

OMAC #2 is a fine choice - "The world that's coming is a place of big populations!Big cities! Big Money!And for those very reasons it falls prey to big crime!!"
Peak Kirby satire.

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