Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Half of an Avengers Comic?

 My favorite comics are from earlier decades, but I do keep up with the new releases. I am optimistic that I will find some series that are as great as ones from the Golden Age or Silver Age or Bronze Age. (Geoff Johns' run on Green Lantern around the time of Darkest Night was a perfect example of just such a new greatness.)

A few weeks ago the first issue of All-Out Avengers was released by Marvel and I tried it out. As I was reading it, I wondered why it seemed like I had jumped on to a story that had already been in progress. I double-checked the cover and saw that yes, it was truly the first issue of the title. So where was the first half of this story then?

My curiosity was answered when I read the editor's page. Tom Brevoort explained that when he was reading comics growing up and not every issue of a title showed up in the store where he bought comics. So he often came to a story that was already in progress since he had not read the previous issue that led into the new issue. All-Out Avengers is Mr. Brevoort's attempt at letting everyone revel in the confusion and befuddlement that he enjoyed in his younger days.


Saturday, September 03, 2022

This Kanjar Ro is New to Me!



I thought I had seen every comics cover that Neal Adams ever drew. But no! Yesterday I laid eyes on the above artwork for the first time in my life.

At first I wasn't even sure it was by Adams. Yes, my first thought was Adams, and there was no doubt that the inks were by Dick Giordano, but the Batman torso and the Superman face could just as easily have been the work of Irv Novick.

The Grand Comics Database entry originally credited the pencils to Carmine Infantino and the inks to Neal Adams, but the editorial records of Julius Schwartz set the record straight that the artwork was the collaboration of Infantino (layouts) and Adams (pencils) and Giordano (inks).

Probably this cover will not be barging its way into even my Top 100 Favorite Neal Adams covers, but still it was an amazing revelation to stumble across it for the first time yesterday. Here is a larger look.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

1977 TCR Mailboat with Brian Hayes


I wrote a lot of letters way back when. And oh, what a mouth I had!

The Comic Reader was a beloved source of comics news throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and it was a treat every month when the latest issue arrived in the mailbox.

Dave Cockrum drew the above 1977 cover to TCR 145 to commemorate his passing of the X-Men artistry torch to the new kid, John Byrne.

 I think I recall that TCR Mailboat was an infrequent feature but there was a letters column in this particular issue. And it featured one letter to the editor. From me.

My letter is an interesting hodgepodge of items that were going on in the comics world 45 years ago, a fun snapshot of a bygone day. The image below is difficult to read so I will transcribe both my letter and editor Jerry Sinkovec's reply. (By way of explanation of the mentions of Vince Colletta, that gentleman was serving as DC's Art Director at the time.)

I have a number of comments and questions. Please bear with me. One: The past two TCR covers [Creeper, Power Man/Iron Fist] have been excellent while the accompanying back covers have been crummy. Two: I definitely disapprove of the three-column system. The cover reproductions are so small that you can't even see what's happening. I don't like it at all. Three: DC [and Vince Colletta] should be commended for letting relatively new artists [e.g., Marshall Rogers, Mike Nasser, Ed Davis] do covers. I have been very pleased with the results. Four: What's with this "Validarr" pseudonym for Rich Buckler? Five: Now that both Isis and Starfire have been shot down, what will Mike Vosburg be doing for DC? I Hope Vince Colletta doesn't let this talented guy slip through DC's fingers. Six: Why has Bob Wiacek's inking output dropped so drastically? Seven: Where is nestor Redondo? Eight: Where are SEXTET, SAVAGE WORLD, KING ARTHUR, etc.?

[It is nothing unusual for the comics field to have to have artists dropping out for awhile. They may cut back for the opportunity to do comercial work, or for any number of reasons. Wiacek and Vosburg are mentioned in this issue of TCR with new assignments. SEXTET and SAVAGE WORLD are Kanigher-Kubert projects that DC have decided not to publish. The KING ARTHUR book was shelved, partially finished, to give the artists in the Philippines time to work on other things. Rescheduling has been delayed because the DCers are no longer sure a book of that sort would sell.  Jerry]

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Restoring Jack Kirby's Thor




I have never used Photoshop but there seem to be some very interesting capabilities in that program and I may yet give it a try!

Over on twitter, Allan Harvey showed a before and after of a full-page splash by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta from 1969's Thor #161

Allan used the powers of Photoshop on the page as it appeared in the comic book and he restored it; Allan emphasized in his tweet that he did not re-create nor re-color the page, he just 'cleaned it up' in Photoshop. 

Here, have a look at the full page at a larger size.

In fact, here are those two versions at Super-Size.


 Interesting, right? 

You can see more from Allan over on twitter.com where he goes by @allanharveyres1

Monday, August 15, 2022

Len Wein was Cain!


The characters of Cain and Abel were introduced by DC Comics editor Joe Orlando over 50 years ago to serve as the hosts of The House of Mystery and The House of Secrets respectively. The two characters introduced the stories but never were really included in the stories themselves. Those DC horror/mystery titles had a great 10+ year run, and then they faded away by the early 1980s. (Back in my days of collecting original artwork I even owned a Michael Golden page 1 splash of Abel from The House of Secrets.)

But do you know the original of the designs of those two characters? It turns out that comics legend  Len Wein served as the model for Cain and Mark Hanerfeld served as the model for Abel. These grainy late 1960s photos show those two gentlemen in those two roles, and the artists who drew the characters followed these modelling photos expertly! Over here you can read the full story of this Wein/Hanerfeld chapter of comics history.

Writer Neil Gaiman re-introduced Cain and Abel in his Sandman series in the late 1980s, and legions of new fans are seeing Cain and Abel for the first time as they appear in the just-released Netflix Sandman series. And now you know where the story began!

Monday, August 08, 2022

Brian Hayes wrote to Weird Western Tales in 1977


Back in the 1970s I wrote a few letters to editors of a few comics and a few of them saw print. My strategy was to write to comics that were less popular so that I would have a higher probability of my letter getting selected.

One of my letters was printed in the "Trail Talk" of Weird Western Tales #38, dated February 1977. This was the last issue of WWT to feature Jonah Hex who would graduate to his own title the following month. I am startled to read now that I was not enamored with the artwork of Garcia Lopez because I have long considered him a master of visual storytelling and draftsmanship. My letter instead sings the praises of artist George Moliterni, a man whose name I have not heard for over 40 years! (I looked up that gentleman and see that he was Argentinian with birth name Jorge Moliterni and that he also drew the Denny O'Neil-written Three Musketeers story in 1976's DC Special #22.)

The long sentence in my second paragraph  of my letter was the victim of an editing mishap because I would not have written anything so ungrammatical. The text of my missive is difficult to read in the image below so here is a transcription:

Mr. Orlando,

I was truly pleased to read that #35 won't be the last issue of Weird Western Tales. I assume the last minute un-cancellation wasn't because of an upsurge in sales but rather because the new higher-ups at DC realized that it was the last remnant in the comics industry of an all but dead genre and that it was a superb effort in its own right and that it should be preserved, even if at a loss. And I agree.  

Garcia Lopez has been announced as permanent artist. If it's not possible for George Moliterni adds something to the mood of the strip that Lopez just doesn't have. Regardless of how things work out, WWT has my support.

Brian Hayes, Chicago, Illinois


Tuesday, August 02, 2022

50 Years of Chicago Comics

I attended all of the Chicago Comicons! Back in the mid-1970s the earliest of those Chicago Comicons were sponsored/hosted by Joe Sarno and Larry Charet and Bob Weinberg. All three were purveyors of comics and fiction and nostalgia in their separate shops in Chicagoland, and in fact Joe's Nostalgia Shop (later Comic Kingdom) was my weekly go-to from the early 1970s until he closed up shop circa 2000. 

Out in the suburbs, Gary Colabuono opened his first Moondog's Comics in the late 1970s and his empire grew to about nine different retail locations by the early 1990s.

Larry's Comic Book Store opened in Chicago in 1972 and, to celebrate the 50 years, Gary hosted a dinner party last month for Larry and a few select others including Mike Gold at Gibson's Steak House in Rosemont. Jim Wisniewski drew the accompanying poster to commemorate the occasion.

Larry still sells comics online where his ebay name is scifispy