Friday, 23 June 2017

What Is It That Disturbs You, Stephen?

The 1976 Dr. Strange annual was, I think, one of the last things Craig Russell did during his initial time at Marvel, and like pretty much every piece of his ever, it's a tour de force.
Not that Craig was overly pleased with it, over the years trying to convince Marvel to reprint it with better production values.
Getting the go-ahead in 1997, Russell initially tried adding 12 new pages to the piece in order to reprint it as a graphic novel, before realizing how much his style had changed over the years, and sitting down to do the whole thing from scratch. It was released as Dr. Strange: What Is It That Disturbs You, Stephen? and I obviously recommend it massively.

But here's the original. If I'm honest, having read both versions, I'm still not 100% sure what the story ( co-written by Craig with Marv Wolfman ) is actually about, and what really happens, but what I can't resist about it is that it looks, in places, like it's taking place on Killraven's Earth, Russell being fresh from that strip at the time.
What I also like is the same thing that occurs to every single person who reads it: None of what happens to Doc would've been necessary if he'd just realized one simple, eternal truth.
When your hot girlfriend from another dimension tells you you're not paying her enough attention, the one thing you don't do is 'turn inward to study her words, and understand yourself'. That's exactly why she's pissed off at you, dude.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Captain Hurricane

Captain Hurricane was a strip that ran in Valiant, literally forever, and was exactly the same every single week. Which was entirely part of it's enduring charm.
Captain Hercules Hurricane was a marine commander with the people skills of Sgt. Fury, and the temperament ( and strength ) of The Hulk, who spent the entire war being driven insane by his pint-sized cockney batman ' Maggot ' Malone.
In every single episode, that ' blithering idiot ' Maggot got into his head some new career path or hobby he'd like to try out, that would then cause chaos for the Captain, who would struggle to keep his temper for as long as possible, before inevitably Hulking out into a patented ' Blazin' Fury ', and annihilating any ' sausage swilling sauerkraut's ' or ' slant-eyed sushi swallowers ' within punching range, all the while swearing alliteratively as above ( imagine if 1984's chief writer / king of cussword's Bill DuBay had got ahold of this strip! )
It was kids' comedy at it's purest, with endless variations on a single gag, and was always a good, wholesome, if slightly racist laugh.
I could've picked literally any Captain Hurricane strip to show off, so I did! Here you go, you 'orrible little bleeders!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Jim Sherman's Lightning Lad & Saturn Girl

As I've said before, I loved Jim Sherman's work on Legion Of Super-Heroes, and thought it was a real shame when his pencils were drenched in unsuitable inking, as happened so often.
The problem was ( as Jim says in the interview for Comics Feature elsewhere on this very blog ) was that he was just too slow to make the deadlines, putting way too much work in to justify what he was getting paid. As he said: 'I have to make a better living than comics can afford.'
Here's a combination that did work, as Sherman is paired with Joe Rubinstein for a little romance back-up, starring the Legion's beautiful people, Lightning Lad & Saturn Girl.
It's all stunning work, that opening splash alone taking Jim three days. Time well spent, I reckon.
Say, that professor's a bit touchy-feely, isn't he?