Saturday, 22 July 2017

Kirby & Simon's Black Magic: The Last Second Of Life

As well as backing up the Fourth World books with all those great Jack Kirby / Joe Simon classics like Boy Commandoes, Newsboy Legion and Manhunter, DC also did a brief reprint run of the team's '50's mystery book Black Magic.
From it, here's a corker, a tale of creeping terror you can absolutely see being a segment in an old b/w movie, like say, Dead Of Night. Business as usual for Jack & Joe. Sheer brilliance for everyone else.

Thursday, 20 July 2017


Haxtur was a great little series that ran in a couple of issues of 1984, then inexplicably transferred over to Eerie for the rest of it's run.
It's about ( as you'll see ) a South American mercenary who finds himself in a strange new world, where everyone seems out to kill him. It belongs to a genre probably best described as existential sword & sorcery, something there's nowhere near enough of for my taste.
As Haxtur wanders through this dangerous new land, getting involved in various quests with various different characters and not always seeing them through, we're as puzzled and eternally questioning as he is.
The strip feels also lightly satirical, particularly regarding the various false gods and religions Haxtur comes up against, as well as the way he constantly asks the questions no one ever asks in these situations, but that you or I would, such as: What gives you the right to chain me to this wall? or Why ARE you trying to kill me? Though this may be down to my own warped sense of humour.
The final revelation as to where he actually is, and what he's actually meant to be doing, probably doesn't come as that much of a surprise, but as Haxtur himself finds out, the destination isn't always as important as the journey.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Protectors

I loved The Protectors. It had one of the greatest opening AND closing title sequences ever, along with one of the best theme tunes.
Rough diamond hero with posh totty heroine? I mean, you can't go wrong, can you? Mind you, I never actually understood The Protectors. For starters, Tony Anholt ( the guy who isn't Robert Vaughn ) was always in the credits, but hardly ever in the actual show.
Plus, the stories never made any sense. But then, by all accounts they never made much sense to the cast either.
Regardless, it was great fun, and like a lot of TV at the time, it got it's own comic strip in the pages of TV Action. This piece looks like it was done by Axa / Supercats / Modesty Blaise's Enrique Romero,or maybe Jorge Galvez. Either way, it's great, even if little attempt is made to catch any of the cast's likenesses.

And here's Garth's Martin Asbury, with a b/w tonal piece, definitely going for likenesses, and equally great.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Tales Of The Zombie

Long, long, long before The Walking Dead shambled their way into our comic stores & TV's, and started a wave of Zombiemania that shows no signs of abating, the mindless corpse of Simon Garth wandered his undead way through ten issues of his own b / w horror mag from Marvel.
Here, let Tony ( The Tiger ) Isabella tell you all about it, from that world screamiere, fantastic, fear-filled first issue:

And here's Wild Bill's original Zombie ( with retouched scraggly hair and narration ), along with Big John's new & improved '70's version:

Soul-less Simon was mostly written by Steve Gerber, who was a genius at writing mindless, speechless characters and making you care about them. ( See also Man-Thing ) Pablo Marcus did the art, in great gruelly, drooly, sickly wash tones that reeked of decay and rot.
The Zombie strip itself was always kind of directionless, with Garth wandering around at the mercy of whoever had hold of the amulet of Damballah ( that being the thing that could control him ), and with only brief glimpses of his original self poking through. But he's a zombie, how motivated can he be?
This was a terrifying, forbidden strip for a Bronze Age kid ( see previous post about issue 7, which gave little me nightmares for months ) though, sad to say, the rest of the book wasn't that great, consisting of '50's reprints and movie articles ( to help cut costs ), and fairly soon, the limitations of a regular book about nothing but zombies began to show.
But the main strip itself was fantastic, and even came to a resolution in the last story, where Simon Garth is granted one day of life once more, to put his affairs in order, and return to the piece of the grave.
Here's Gerber & Marcos in fine form with the wonderfully titled  A Death Made Out Of Ticky-Tacky:

Marvel did actually bring Simon Garth back a few years ago for their Max series, by the way, in two Romero influenced mini-series by Kyle Hotz, and these are great, nasty fun also.