Monday, February 19, 2007

I Like Ibis

Did you think as highly of The Helmet of Fate: Ibis the Invincible #1 as I did? What? you never heard of it? Never saw it? Every once in a while I think I'll write to alert you when I stumble upon a great new comic book that should not be missed but I'm worried that you otherwise might.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, editor Mort Weisinger packed three complete stories into each issue of his Superman family comic books. These days it's far more common for "epics" to stretch out over six or more issues as they arc their way toward a trade paperback. What a refreshing treat it is when a modern comic features a well-written story complete in one issue, and Ibis #1 does exactly that.

Historically, Ibis the Invincible was a Sargon-the-Sorcerer type published by Fawcett Comics as a co-feature for Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s. The Big Red Cheese was a bit of a ham and Ibis managed to make it onto the cover of only five of the 155 issues of Whiz Comics; you can take a look at those covers if you click
here and here and here and here and here (the later of which feature some beautiful artwork by Kurt Schaffenberger). Ibis was even granted his own comic book in 1943 but it lasted for only six issues, and you can see those covers (including the Mac Raboy cover of the first issue which, in my opinion, is one of the most classic and memorable covers of the Golden Age) if you click here. Sixty-four years since he starred in a comic of his own, Ibis was ready for a reboot!

The new Ibis one-shot is by the team of Tad Williams and Phil Winslade. Mr. Williams' previous DC series The Next left an unpleasant enough taste in my mouth that I seriously wondered if the man would ever be writing a comic book that I would like, but he has definitely risen to the occasion here; the story closely parallels a Billy Batson/Captain Marvel-type origin and it is generously sprinkled with humor and cleverness. The artwork is up to the high standard Mr. Winslade set for himself on The Monolith, and will somebody please give this gentleman another regular series to draw?!

As I closed the cover on Ibis #1 after reading it, I realized that I was more impressed with the quality of that stand-alone single issue than I have been with the first issues of quite a number of ongoing series that I've hobbled through in recent years. Take a look
here at the cover of this great comic, and then go get a copy for yourself from your Comic Guy .


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