Hey, Kids! It's part two of my Spirit coverfest! Part one is over here.
What I said yesterday still stands but I want to point out Eisner's use of shadow and line. Especially in the first two covers below. Also, I want to reiterate how awesome it is that each of these covers tells a story. Each image feels active as if there are things happening before and after it instead of just being a portrait.
Hey, Kids! It's part two of my Spirit coverfest! Part one is over here.
I love The Spirit. I have a deep fondness for Will Eisner's work and I am a big fan of Darwyn Cooke's recent reboot. I have such a love for this comic that I am making this Awesome Cover Friday last two days. The covers below are from Kitchen Sink Press's reprints of the post-WWII spirit issues.
I'm not going to comment on each one because they speak for themselves. Each one is an exemplar of what comic-book covers should be. They are evocative and each one practically tells a whole story in a single image. It really makes me want to see how The Spirit got into that predicament and, more importantly, how he's going to get out.
Greeting, subcreatures. I have returned to shake each of you out of the stupor induced by your recent food-and-gratitude orgy.
For the record, I am thankful for my three brains, limoncello, and lax extradition treaties. Now, go and enjoy the jocularity! King Clownape commands you!
Vaklam: Thanks again, your majesty and welcome back. This week, we're going back to the late 1930s - early 1940s to focus on Feature Comics:
I so want the octopus to be named Vincent so this cover will be the lead-in to a Twilight-Zone style twist ending!
Joe Palooka was actually a highly-skilled assassin. Knobby was never seen again after this tragic "hunting accident".
Fun Fact! This same cover also appeared on an issue of Laundry Fetish Quarterly,
Ah, Marvel Comics in the 1970s. They were both awesome and ridiculous. This was the company and the decade that brought us Hellcow, Manphibian, Shang-Chi, Heroes for Hire, the motorcycle-riding Ghost Rider, and a whole slew of monster titles.
They also brought us Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Satan. You know how he got that nickname? It's because he's literally Satan's kid. Unlike his sister Satana (now, that's a name!), Daimon rebelled against his father and sought to do good. Seriously, though, how surprised can Satan be when his son betrays him? He really should have seen that coming.
Daimon (not Damien, please don't sue!) was a badass magician and healer who went around the Marvel Universe kicking ass. And being the son of Satan. Check out the covers from his title:
This comic wasn't messing around. You know that climactic confrontation that most story arcs end with. This one started with it! Take that dramatic expectations!
Marvel was known for it's hyperbole, especially on its covers. This is the company that proclaimed The Fantastic Four to be "The Worlds Greatest Comic Magazine" every single month. Now, let's take a look at the text in the lower right-hand corner of the cover:
Possibly the most thrill-packed supernatural adventure you'll read this month!
Hey, now! Don't get cocky, Marvel copy writers!
What's with all the qualifiers? "Possibly" and "this month" are bad enough but to further limit this issue's competition by only including supernatural adventures does not inspire the reader with confidence.
Holy crap! That dude's got three faces! And he's fighting Satan!
Hmmm. Maybe this one should have gone in with the Awesome covers.
I just saw the new Watchmen trailer and hoo-boy! I continue to be encouraged by what I'm seeing.
Also, I noticed something on the Ozymandias poster that thrills me beyond words:
That long-eared cat thing looks exactly like the ones Gibbons drew. Aieeeee!
I am easily amused. Carry on.
Apparently I've still got Halloween on the brain because I was thinking about Creepy the other day and how cool the covers were. Creepy was technically a magazine due to its larger format but it contained sequential art so to me it counts as a comic book. The covers did a great job of selling the stories inside.
Frank Frazetta did a lot of covers for Creepy and this is one of my favorites. I love the dark palette and the sense of claustrophobia the image evokes. Also, the fact that you can't quite make out all the details on that beast just rocks.
This cover by Vic Prezio is in sharp contrast to the moody, dark Frazetta above but it is no less effective. The palette is bright but still fairly limited. Prezio's sense of composition and line really comes through on this piece.
Here's another cool Frazetta piece that is more indicative of his fantasy-action work. That dude with the knife has got his work cut out for him.
This is one of the Creepy covers that lives up to the magazine's title. It's by Kenneth Smith and there's not much I can say about it that the image doesn't say for itself.
Casper's adventures were pretty lighhearted, in general. However, in the 1970s, the editors at Harvey Comics approved a title which put a darker spin on the character. They added a spectral horse named Nightmare to the Casperverse and the two of them rode around the world making more dead people in the name of their unholy lich lord, Morguul.
This policeman reported a strange sighting out past the old Johnson place on Highway 4. He was never heard from again but they say that on moonless nights, when the wind is right, you can hear a spectral voice saying, "Is this sort of thing even my jurisdiction?"
And here we have Casper and Nightmare cooperating to lead ships to their doom against the sharp, unforgiving rocks. There was much celebrating in the Grand Bonehalls of Morguul's blood-soaked realm that night.
Having a drought, boys? Well, let's see how you like it when my horse and I drink all your water. And here's the kicker! We don't even need it! We're already dead! See you in hell, amigos!
Hey, Sonny Bono! Race you to the bottom! Loser buys the hot chocolate!
Weird-Ass Cover Wednesday is going to be Weird-Ass Cover Thursday this week. So, here's a hint of what I'm working on:
Hey everybody! It's DEAD-alus.
Thank you, I'll be here all week.
And here's everyone's favorite spectre on his dead, rabid horse!
More ghoulish hilarity tomorrow.
Weird-Ass Cover Wednesday is taking a week off. King Clownape has retreated to an undisclosed location but he reports that two thirds of him is pleased with the results of the recent US presidential election.
Speaking of which, does Alex Ross need to 'have a talk' with the Obama campaign? You be the judge!
It's a good thing this didn't come to light during the campaign.
at 10:33 AM
The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has released a series of scents inspired by Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.
This is awesome news for two reasons:
1. BPAL makes incredible scents that people go crazy over. Seriously, I've seen it. Dozens of women in a hotel lobby sniffing each other.
2. The proceeds from every single bottle go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Go buy yourself something nice.
Happy Day after Halloween! Here are some of my favorite recent webcomics:
Cat and Girl go trick-or-treating!
OK, this one from Dinosaur Comics isn't Halloween-themed but it is funny.
Finally, Vexxar and crew sit around telling scary stories:
Monster comics hit their peak in the 1970s. Marvel put out a ton of scary titles featuring Ghost Rider and various relatives of Satan. But since this is Halloween and this is a pop-culture blog I am bound by the Monster Squad Act of 1976 which states that at least one reference must be made per year to the iconic movie monsters Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster, and The Werewolf.
Sweet! This one's got a giant spider and a dude in flashy RenFest garb! It really captures the combination of action-adventure and creepy horror that Marvel did so well.
Damn! Just...damn! This is one messed-up cover. I really want to know what's going on in this issue.
Also? My D&D character totally fought something like that and got a badass sword and, like, a billion experience points out of it.
Just in case you thought the movie monsters weren't part of the larger Marvel Universe, we have Silver Surfer throwing down with Dracula. I don't know what the vampire did to piss off Galactus's herald but he's gonna be sorry.
Black Diamond Western ran in the early 1950s and had some of the wackiest covers ever. OK, maybe not Rex The Wonder Dog wacky but these things are insidious.
If only we had listened to Black Diamond, we wouldn't be in this mess! Damn sub-prime mortgages!
Black Diamond don't let a little thing like Euclidean geometry get in the way of meting out justice. The Law of the Frontier takes precedence over the Laws of Physics. Is he the sheriff of Flatland?
Ahd the snake pit! And the horde of ninjas!
And the fact that your torso is twisted at a hideous angle!
This might just be the best comic-book cover ever. This one practically has an entire issue's worth of words on it. Let's break down the elements that make this great:
- A wicked awesome villain named Randito who refers to himself in the third person.
- A guitar that is actually a gun.
- The sentence "Oh! Your guitar is a gun!"
- Horse fight.
It's been a while since I put up a Baddass Files entry for you but Scott from Polite Dissent has done it for me by celebrating Teddy Roosevelt.
Speaking of badasses, check out this dude from the cover of Black Diamond Western. He's gonna knock that door down with his head!
I also want to bring your attention to the guy in the front who is such a huge Charles Biro fan that he has put his name on his hat. And the fellow on the far left whose concern for his floors has caused his beer to defy the laws of physics.
This week, Video Time moves out of the 80s and straight into the mid 90s! Republica burned hot and fast but while they were around they put out some rockin' electronic music. I saw them live in '97 and it was a hell of a show. Kinda like this video but louder.
Whiz Comics began with issue #2 in 1940. It was also the first appearance of Captain Marvel. You know who else showed up in that issue? Spy Smasher, that's who!
I usually reserve the old-school covers for Weird-Ass Cover Wednesday, but this week, I want to take a few minutes to highlight the awesome that some of these WWII-era covers brought.
Look at that! He's throwing a freakin' car! Superman had to pick his car up to smash it around but Captain Marvel just tosses the thing. One-armed. Do not mess with the Big Red Cheese.
Any time a tank barrel is tied in a knot an angel gets his wings.
Yeah, how'd you like to be those pilots? You wouldn't! That's how!
Those poor schmucks picked the wrong day to get in Captain Marvel's airspace. Also, any cover that has a dude attacking a plane gets extra points from me.
You knew I was going to save the best for last, didn't you? Well, here you are. I can't say anything about this cover that the picture doesn't convey to perfection. Bask in the glory folks.
I have three wives!
How do you like them apples?
Carry on with your tomfoolery. I have a canasta game to get to.
Vaklam: Thanks again, King. Good to have you back. So, romance comics. There sure were a lot of them back in the day. 'The day' for Brides Romances was the 1950s. The art on the covers is actually pretty good but what makes them hilarious is the unintentional commentary provided by the placement of the titles of the secondary stories.
They're like tragic, little thought balloons. Check 'em out!
"I was ashamed of him"
"Nobody wanted me"
What, exactly, is she wanting to explain?
Yeah. If he's saying 'Heaven is right here' and the woman he's kissing has already made her choice, I don't think you've got a dog in this race anymore.
Oh, honey! He's trying to let you down easy because of his fickle boyfriend! Take my advice and leave him now before you see him in the arms of that well-oiled lifeguard in Ibiza Getaway VII.
This one's interesting because the Brides Romance Thought Detector 3000 seems to be picking up the brainwaves of that lady in the audience rather than the main characters. But I have to say, if that's an accurate description of the arc of her love life, she's doing all right now that she's found someone to pamper her. Look at the smile on her face. Heartwarming!