Thursday, March 07, 2013

Instead of indie titles : talk about Non - Power Girl and old horror comics

It´s been a very long time since my last post but as usual I have been megabusy. So busy in fact that I forgot to mention in my last post that it was the 400th post. Way to celebrate that anniversary by trashing Marvel.

I really don´t like to dwell on the negative but it´s not like DC is doing any better. I mean in the last PREVIEWS I read DC announced it´s big CERTIFIED WHAT THE F?%%&§§$ MONTH, meaning that each comic that month would include one certified WHAT THE F moment. Well, let me tell you something DC : I don´t need no WTF guarantee and I don´t need you to remind me how F - ed up your books are right now. Man, this NEW 52 is just one big, collossal, continuous WHAT THE F experience for me.


Since we´re on the subject of the NEW 52 I have finally started reading the WORLDS FINEST series because while I wanted to save them for a special occassion the art really wasn´t getting better the longer the series went on. It is a given that if you have somebody like George Perez working on a monthly book he will get less and less pages finished as the series progresses due to the time it takes to produce art of such a high quality. But in the last few issues his pages have become less frequent and more and more like sketches than finished art.

Additionally there have been more and more guest artists in the pages and for some strange reason DC seems to have lost the little black book.

That´s the only reason I can guess that they have the pages drawn by guys I never heard of instead of the old veterans that are still out there but for some reason don´t get work in the industry anymore. With Norm Breyfogle working on BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED it sure can´t be so hard to have him do a few pages with Power Girl. Or what about Kerry Gamill ?

I just got the FALLEN ANGELS Marvel Premiere Edition and I think he hasn´t done any comic pages in decades. This guy could draw rings around most of the guys who fill in the pages of WORLDS FINEST any day.

Maybe it IS true what uncle Sal said about a lot of the old artists like Ron Frenz, Bob McLeod or Mike Zeck being out of the business because they weren´t okay with cutting down their page rate to 40 bucks.

Not that the art on WORLDS FINEST is the only problem with the book, the story is a bit wishy washy and when you get right down to it the character of Supergirl is still not the same as Power Girl. Aside from the fact that they are both Superman´s cousins in their respective universes they are different like night and day and apart from what some comic writers want you to believe comic characters are not interchangable. The creators seem to be aware of the problem themselves as they make sure Kara´s costume gets shredded now and then - and very often in the space that was Power Girl´s magical cleavage window - as to say " Hey, we know she´s not the REAL Power Girl but DC just doesn´t understand so let´s make the best out of it. " but even with frequent reader service you can only get so far. 

I really thought with a book about Power Girl and Huntress DC couldn´t screw this up but it seems the old curse strikes again. Yep, most books with hot superheroines don´t have good art, suffer from weak stories or don´t dare to live up to its potential. And I guess here we have all three. The first 4 issues were promising but it sure went downhill fast.


One reason why I haven´t been posting much lately is I haven´t had much luck with the internet. Either I didn´t get access because my brother had the cable or I was too tired to spend some additional hours on the interwebs or I needed all the time to go through all the spam for this blog.

And when I really wanted to write another post my computer was acting up crashing when I tried to get online and giving me the blue screen a lot. On Tuesday I wanted to write this post but it was impossible to get online. Today it seems to be okay but just to add another wrinkle and don´t make me feel neglected blogger has changed the setting for uploading pictures. For some unfathomable reason it seems now impossible to decide how big the picture will appear and on which side ( left, center or right ) the picture is going to be posted on the blog so you have to add some HTML for that manually. For the placing of the picture I have already figured that out but I have no idea how to change the size. Thanks again, Blogger. It seems I´m still posting too often for their taste so they decided to slow me down.

Back to comics and my personal recommendations I spent too much money on comics this month and one of the reasons was I just couldn´t pass up the opportunity to get one of those dreamy Dark Horse hardcover collections of the old EERIE magazines. These suckers go for 50 dollars a pice so I knew that when I saw volume 10 for 23 EUROS at I had to order it.

Growing up as a comic reading kid in the 80s you just were used to more anthology titles like the kids seem to be Today and you got them where you could. Of course there were german comics that I could get at stores like MV COMIX, ZACK or later on U - COMIX and SCHWERMETALL.

And when I was in spain there were such classics like 1984,




but the occasions on which you could find some issues of the legendary sci fi or horror anthologies like CREEPY, EERIE or even VAMPIRELLA ( which shot the hormones of most prepubescent teens into overdrive ) were few and far between.

With luck you could find an issue or two at a comic convention or in some forgotten corner of the comic shop so I really wasn´t exposed to too much of it. So to finally hold such a fine hardcover in hands is a real treat for such a consummate horror fan as myself.

Which is why I wanted to post this earlier since there are still 11 copies left. Okay, it´s number ten - which is probably one of the reasons why it´s in the bargain books section - and if you really are intent on starting with the first volume this doesn´t help you much. But if you have a real fondness for those old horror mags from the seventies like myself and want to know if it´s really worth to pay 50 dollars for one of these suckers this is a very good chance to find out first hand.

I haven´t read all of it yet but it really is a nice book to hold in your hand and it really looks great on the shelf. I have to say, my new shelf porn really starts to fill up nicely. Contentwise I have to quote a bit from the introduction by Batton Lash and say that with this volume EERIE started to experiment a little, starting serialized storylines with recurring characters and bringing in science fiction. Which was not everybody´s cup of tea judging from the letters page. Yes, that´s right, the book includes all the letter pages, the contents pages, all the ads like the stuff you could order ( werewolf rings, giant rubber flies, or famous monster kits ), the beautiful covers

and even two horror - themed, cutout game spreads, complete with rules, created by Bill DuBay and reprinted in color.

And the selection of involved artists is no less impressive. There were a lot of spanish artists working at Warren at that time and you can find them all here. The interior art is done by paisanos Jaime Brocal ( who does a stunning 19 page story about Lillith in the first reprinted issue as well as the Mummy serial ), Esteban Maroto ( who writes and draws the Dax serial ), Martin Salvador ( see art below ),

Ramon Torrents, Munes and Aldoma while the covers are courtesy of Luis Domingues, Sanjulian and Enrich.

And there are also great stories by non spanish artists like Tom Sutton ( who starts off the Dracula serial with an incredible entry ), Rich Buckler and Paul Neary who later on inked a lot of Alan Davis´ stuff like his first EXCALIBUR issues. If you are a fan of classic monsters there´s a Dracula serial here, one about the Werewolf by Rich Buckler, one about the Mummy,

possibly one about Marvin the Death Thing as well as Dax the Warrior. Which is more science fiction then horror but a continuing serial nonetheless.

So if horror comics are your thing definitely check this out as you can´t go wrong with this price tag. And - I know I´m terrible when I´m excited about something - if you like it also offers volume 11 for 28 EUROS. I know, it´s not as cheap as volume 10 but this volume also includes comics by Neal Adams and I think one of the few collaborations of Will Eisner and Richard Corben. Oh, and you just have to read the amazon review for volume 11 called EERIE, THE MONSTER SERIALS & THE BRITISH ARTISTS by Diego Cordoba if you are interested in spanish artists. This guy is just a fountain of knowledge. Here´s a short excerpt :

Alberto Breccia, the argentine artist who would inspire so many of the Spanish artists in the late 60's / early 70's, would develop his very peculiar style of inking pretty much through trial and error, and a part of genius as well. Cutting himself one morning while shaving, he pulled the razor blade out and when he was about to leave it on the sink, he noticed it left behind a series of trails pretty much like the lines he obtained while inking with a pen.

This gave him the idea to use a razor blade not only to ink, but to scratch the board and so obtain different effects on his inking. This wouldn't go unnoticed among the Spaniards, who began scratching their boards with a razor blade to extreme effects.

Breccia's extreme use of shading and shadows, leaving only slits of white on the board to give more depth to his drawings, would also be of a great inspiration to the Spaniards. Dino Battaglia, the other source of inspiration for the Spaniards, was an Italian comic book artist who in the early 50's worked for another Italian publisher who had moved to Argentina along with such Italian luminaries as Hugo Pratt and Alberto Ongaro. He used a very peculiar way of inking, working not only in heavy blacks, but with grays he obtained with a " souffle - au - cul ", a sort of metal tube divided in two sections; one part went inside the ink pot, and through the other you would blow as through a peashooter.

Blowing through one of the metal tubes, would cause the ink to rise through the other tube, thus obtaining an ink splattering on the surface you blew onto. This splattering, similar to what an airbrush does, but much more coarser, and depending on the force with which you blew, would appear almost gray in print.

This method of graying was very much appreciated by the Spaniards, who didn't know how Battaglia obtained this effect. However, they soon discovered that by dipping a used toothbrush in ink, and then rubbing the bristles with a ruler onto their artboards, they could obtain a splattering effect.

Another trick was using an old sock dipped in ink, and then applying it onto the paper. You would obtain a splatter - like effect as well. As soon as this was discovered, all the Spanish artists were either dipping their toothbrushes, socks, or any clothing with a coarse weaving, into their ink pots and applying / or rubbing them onto their artboards. These effects are used by almost the totality of the Spaniards in the late 60's/ early 70's, and you can pretty much see it in all the stories they did for Warren.

A really interesting read. And a last tidbit info, Alberto Breccia is best known for what might be one of the most important comic strips in history : MORT CINDER. His writer on this was Héctor Germán Oesterheld and to longtime readers the name sounds familiar since he also wrote EL ETERNAUTA, which I mentioned on September 2011 when the artist from that comic Solano Lpoez died. Man, that guy sure knew how to write.

As usual here are some pages to check out : vampirella covers

eerie archives volume 10 preview / eerie archives volume 11 preview

Before closing this post for Today I wanted to mention the obligatory celebrity birthday which on this ocassion is swimsuit model Tylene Buck who celebrates her 41st anniversary.

She also goes under the name of Brandi Wylde and even was a wrestling diva. Tylene began working for WCW as an NWO party girl always seen with Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner and others.

They later repackaged her as Major Gunns, the valet for the Misfits in Action. She later turned on them and joined Team Canada and managed Lance Storm. She was one of my candidates for the SEARCH FOR POWER GIRL series waaay back when it was still on this blog. Besides being one of my most used templates for banners I casted her as Ice in my Justice League movie ( the role of Power Girl was already taken by Nicole " Coco " Austin ) as well as Ms Marvel in the Avengers movie casting.

But she would be perfect for any superheroine who´s blonde and sexy. I wanted to give a shoutout to her and wish her many happy returns since she made me very happy every time she was on as Major Gunns when she was giving mouth to mouth or wearing a bikini.

Ah, the good old days when hot wrestling women and the Nitro Girls were shown on german tv - sometimes even in bikinis. Those were the times. And speaking of bikinis make sure to check out Tylene Buck in the IRON MAN swimsuit videos where she wears some supertiny microbikinis.

Todays video is another tie in to topics of earlier posts. After watching the TIME MASTERS animation movie I found the HEAVY METAL DVD at amazon for 5 bucks which really isn´t that much for a classic.

The clip below is the flight scene from the Taarna sequence which used Moebius artwork as a basis. My recommendation is get this movie since you can probably find it really cheap if you want to see how animation looked like before the manga wave hit and everything was still done by hand. For all comic aficionados this is doubly interesting since it not only has the obvious comic connection but the DVD I got includes the rough cut with a lot of pencil work and some deleted scenes.

New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest

Strength of the Earth and power of all mankind I summon you !

1 comment:

Terry Hooper-Scharf said...

Ahh. George Perez. BIG fan but you have to remember he has an ego bigger than himself at times. If you watch the Ultimate Avengers 1 you'll see Perez talking about wanting the Avengers job and basically stabbing the regular artist in the back to get the job (the other artist was just taking a vacation). On Crisis on Infinite Earths he found that he could not keep up with the work he'd been chasing so had a "nervous problem"/"health problem". Artists and their egoes. Never take on more you can handle -as the late Great Jack Kirby demonstrated in the 1970s. Justice League just leaves me cold. I note my pull box had a NEW (?!??) Justice League #1 a month ago. I'm dropping the JLA title. Earth 2 is so-so but not the Earth 2 of old and we all know that next crisis.....
Avengers has been interesting but NOT a fan on the current artists. New Avengers is interesting but where are the Avengers?? Its an "Illuminati" story so far. Avengers re-introducing the White Event, Nightmask and...the New Universe??? Yeah, later this year it'll all be gone.
I wish they'd keep consistency in costumes -Thor and Cap keep changing and it was only when someone called him Thor that I realised who the odd dressed guy was.
Just re-read through Essential Avengers 3-8 and despite all that was going on at Marvel at the time these were the most imaginative and best drawn stories -and I've followed the Avengers since I was 8 or 9 years old!! (I'm a youthful looking 54)
Ahh, the tricks we artists get up on thumbs to simulate smoke clouds, tooth-brush spray, ink blown off a paint brush....
Keep on blogging, brother!!