Sunday, September 29, 2013

Black Panther pages by the amazing Sandy Plunkett

It was the late 80's. Moore and Miller had left mainstream comic companies behind for the brighter and freer prospects of the independent publishing movement. Long time editor-in-chief Jim Shooter was no longer spearheading Marvel comics. Todd MacFarlane was the hot new artist on the Amazing Spider-Man. And Mark Gruenwald was editing all the Avengers titles including the Might Avengers, The West Coast Avengers and even Solo Avengers, a book Hawkeye shared with other past and present Avengers alumni. A little known artist who was doing some spectacular covers for various Marvel books at the time finally got around to doing some interior art, and BOY did he pull out all of the stops. Sandy Plunkett stunned me when he wrote and drew an 11 page back up feature for Solo Avengers #19, June 1989.

In it he not only shows off his exquisite Frazetta-esque drawing ability but he also writes one mean story. He picks the Black Panther to write about, a totally cool character that was criminally under used and mostly poorly written at the time. Plunkett sets the story in the Black Panther's African back yard and even adds to the whole Black Panther mythos by giving him the role of having to dispose of the "supernatural incarnation of all that suffering manifests on this material plane". But more importantly Plunkett gives us some stunning images to soak in. I'm just in awe of his ability to create incredibly dynamic poses with stunning lighting and detail. Fortunately the hugely talented Scott Hampton was available to ink these pages as only he could with his delicately feathered lines. So go ahead and check out "The Vanities of Philip Whitehead" featuring our favorite king of Wakanda, T'Challa, the Black Panther!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Jaime Hernandez' Locas Tambien

In the 80's one of my all time favorite comics was Love and Rockets. It was produced by 2 Mexican American's brothers from Oxnard California (near LA) named Gilbert (Beto) and Jaime Hernandez (los Hernandez bros). Gilbert was great with his stories of Palomar, a small Mexican town and it's inhabitants but Jaime was my favorite. He wrote about the punk rockers that I so love and identify with. His main characters were Hopie and Maggie and, like the the bros, were both Mexican American. Of all comicdom Jaime expressed the punk rock ideal better than any other creator ever. His characters were irreverent, audacious, infuriating, oh so sweet, but above all, loads of fun. One of my favorite strips of Jaime's was a very early two pager. One incredible thing about this early strip is that not only does he establish a number of his key characters, he gets across what the "punk" life style is all about. So check out Jaime Hernandez "Locas Tambien",

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mark Beyer's "Agony" and our ecstasy!

In the 80's I grew up loving RAW Magazine and anything to do with it. One of their regular artists was Mark Beyer. He was a naive artist who took perverse pleasure in satirizing the hardships of life.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Daredevil, Rebirth of a genre! by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli

The brightly colored costume has been a trope of the super hero genre since Superman’s first appearance in 1938. In fact the long johns have defined the entire genre so much so that the publishers wouldn’t publish an issue that didn’t have them wearing the brightly colored skivvies after all, what’s a Superman comic without Superman? On the other hand, to non comic enthusiasts it’s the costumes that make superhero comics so childish and so silly.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tom Strong #9, The Perils of Dhalua, by Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse

I've been an Alan Moore fan since Swamp Thing #40, the first Moore comic I read. One thing about Moore's writing is that he seems to be able to come up with amazing concepts on a regular basis. This doesn't seem to have gotten less true as the years go by either. I was unexpectedly surprised by much of his America's Best Comics imprint as I was by his work for DC in the 80's. One good example of this is in Tom Strong #9 (Sep, 2000), The perils of Dhalua, Volcano Dreams. Tom Strong is a pretty strait forward action comic though the stories tend to be more heady than your normal comic. In The Perils of Dhalua Moore surprises us with a great twist that just stunned me the first time reading it and left a strong impression.