Working on the next MONARCHS OF MAYHEM in-between real life stuff, it’s going to come out tomorrow 14 Mar 2012, just because it’s going to take more hours to get ready. These posts take a LONG time, In the interim enjoy the following:
And wrapping up my favorite AVENGERS covers from the original series, is pretty easy. Because after 1977, with very few exceptions the covers are just uninteresting at best and plain awful at worst. Much like the book itself, it was just stumbling from weakness to weakness.
Here then are the best covers in the last 20+ years of the books original run:
It says a lot that the numbers jump over a hundred issues, before I list another cover. And this is gimmicky mess, but it was better than all the previous 100 covers. It just clarifies how bad the book got.
So needless to say you want great AVENGERS covers (and comics) stick to issues #181 and before. At least for the first Volume.
In 1998 creators Kurt Busiek and George Perez would launch a new AVENGERS series that largely just pays homage to the great years of the series, You can look at them almost as a remake of the Jim Shooter and George Perez run, that I mentioned in the previous post. But it’s done well enough by Busiek and Perez to be entertaining in its own right.
And then later would come the Bendis’ years, But that is a story for another installment. :)
Revisit the earlier posts here:
Per the previous post, in keeping with the upcoming AVENGERS movie, I’ve decided to cover my favorite AVENGERS comic book covers of all time. And this is part 2:
Okay I had intended to tackle all the great covers in the 2nd decade of AVENGERS comics, however that’s not going to happen, there are just too many great covers. So this post will cover the first five years of the 2nd decade of AVENGERS comics. The years from 1973 to 1977.
AVENGERS 136- The floating heads is always a nice touch. And even without Gil Kane signing his work, those elbows at jaunty fighting angles even in repose, screams Gil Kane. :) (turns out the floating heads are done by a different artist, John Romita, and that’s what was making some of these covers hard to call as completely Gil Kane)
AVENGERS 139- Here’s another example, the main drawing with that exagerrated action (somebody gets hit and their knees fly into their chest, and elbows shoot out)is vintage, powerful Gil Kane. But those floating heads are by Spiderman artist John Romita. A favorite comic as a kid, so that may be swaying my appreciation for the cover, which is not Kane’s best. I’m going to have to start grading harder or I’m going to end up listing every cover Gil Kane does. :)
AVENGERS 142- I promise you I’m grading harder, but what can I tell you, 1975 and Gil Kane was just knocking these covers out of the park. Add cowboys to it, or people in normal clothes and Gil was in his element. Notice the difference between this cover and the previous. The inker here was more faithful to Gil Kane’s hard angles and musculature, which I think looks more striking. Great cover.
AVENGERS 145- What?! Do you see this cover? I’m trying to avoid anymore Gil kane covers but that’s like trying not to give the MVP to Michael Jordan when he’s playing. It can’t be done. Great Kane cover, inked by Dan Adkins. Wonderful use of word balloons and typography. Something you don’t see too much in modern comics.
AVENGERS 146- Tell me this cover doesn’t have ‘buy me’ all over it? It’s a great design. However you notice how it’s rounded a bit, inked by Al Milgrom, you lose some of the angularity and power that Kane’s pencils are full of. But even subdued Kane is great.
Don’t worry Gil stops doing covers with this issue, so we should be able to jump ahead a few years before we get any more covers this good right? WRRRRRROOOOONNNGGGGG!! Cause the artist they bring in to replace him on covers is…..
AVENGERS 147-148 Last time he made this list was all the way back in issue #20, Jack the King Kirby is back doing the covers! Definitely with 148! 147 however is attributed to Buckler and Adkins, but what I’m seeing in 147 is Kirby and Milgrom.
So I’m going with my gut and attribute the penciling on both of these to Jack the King Kirby. He’s not as sophisticated as Gil Kane or John Buscema, but there is just so much life and energy in these covers, so much going on, that they are just a joy to a young kid stumbling across these issues in the libraries back issue bins or on newsstands.
And the interiors were done by Steve Englehart and Jim Shooter on scripts and George Perez and John Byrne on pencils, from this point till issue 166, almost twenty issues, they are mostly home-runs. I guess the best way to put it in perspective is… all of the comics I’ve mentioned previously… I’ve sold. This run from 147 to 166, are not for sale. In the age of digital these are the comics that are worth having as paper. :)
I won’t list all those covers here are the standouts:
As mentioned 147-148 are great, we bypass 149-150 (these are credited to George Perez, possibly George Perez’s earliest work. Look nothing like his great work now, quite frankly they are not good) and from 151-158 we get great Jack Kirby Covers. The best being the following:
159 So Kirby leaves or is let go, it’s unclear which, who the heck can they bring in till a new regular cover artist is chosen. Who else but the best? Gil Kane returns, and like he always does… he blows the doors off the place! Look at what he’s doing in this cover. It’s just a clinic on great art. Add to that the interior art by George Perez and story by Jim Shooter and you have… classic defined.
164-166 There’s a lot of nonsense about great comics out there. Here’s the straight dope… this three part storyline, issues 164-166, is the best AVENGERS storyline. Full stop. With Jim Shooter as writer, George Perez on covers, and John Byrne on interior art, they together created the throwdown for the ages. People like to use the term wide-screen entertainment to define something blockbuster in scope, these three issues from the summer of 1977… were wide-screen entertainment before the term existed. If you own only three Avengers comics… make them these three. Highest recommendation. Now that said, while all three of the covers are at least good, only one is great. This one:
AVENGERS 164- And with that cover the legendary John Byrne created the last great AVENGERS cover of 1977!
Come back next time as we finish off the 2nd decade of AVENGERS comics. the years from 1977-1983, and we also tackle the third decade, the years from 1983 to 1993.
Ya’ll come back now ya here!
p.s. As far as purchasing issues, per my previous post (scroll down) Marvel has the first 30 issues available in their oversized hardcover format they call an omnibus. It’s a good deal. However they don’t have omnibuses out for issues 31-164, so getting these issues is a little more difficult. You would think with Marvel’s AVENGERS movie due out this year they would capitalize on interest and release Omnibuses for most of these early issues. But… Noooooo. So failing that look at the links in the first post and this:
The above two are black and white collections, which is just about sacrilege, the color being such a part of these issues, but if you can’t afford the original issues, and can’t wait for the expensive hardcovers or omnibuses… they are a cheap way to read a bunch of issues.
Hold the presses!!! Here are some better color options to read these issues:
If you do choose to buy, please support this blog by using the links provided. This blog generates a couple dimes from each sale, so you guys using the links is definitely appreciated and definitely necessary to keep the blog going. Thanks!
Well with the AVENGERS movie on the horizon, I thought a nice posting would be on (come’on you can guess) my favorite AVENGERS comic book covers. And plus it’s a nice look at how typography and art styles change over time.
What typically defines a great cover for me is, is it something I would pay to have as a poster. Surprisingly enough, most covers fail this criteria.
Take a gander at the ones that don’t :) :
AVENGERS 20- While you can make an argument for a lot of the early issues because of nostalgia, this one I think stands out, primarily because of Jack Kirby’s great use of perspective to make for an exciting cover.
AVENGERS 110- And cometh Gil Kane. A series known for its great covers and artists, and here was Gil Kane blowing them all out of the water. Decades later and it still remains one of the great covers of all time.
More omnibuses are not available as of yet, so if you want to get issues 31 to 113, outside of buying individual issues (prohibitively expensive for most of us) the two ways to get the issues are:
I. MASTERWORKS- Masterworks are highquality hardcover (and lately sc) books that collect on average 6 issues on quality, glossy paper. So can be a bit pricey trying to get a lot of issues in that format, so it’s best for just getting specific must have issues.
Such as these:
Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 10 (Marvel Masterworks) Deluxe hardcover edition collecting The Avengers, nos. 89-100. These guys tend to sell out as well, and prices can go up when that happens
II. DIGITAL COMICS
Well that’s all for this installment. Come back next time as we tackle the years from 1973 to 1983!
“To the living we owe respect, to the dead we owe only the truth”
Artist, Husband, Father.
Coined ‘The Dean’ by Stan the Man Lee, was one of comics’ most beloved elder statesmen, and days ago as of this writing… he passed away.
I had the pleasure of hearing the soft spoken Gene Colan speak on a panel with the aforementioned Stan Lee, as well as via various podcasts, and he was always a gentleman in the truest definition of that word.
Growing up in the age of Neal Adams and Don Newton and John Byrne and George Perez, Colan was, like Kirby, not an artist I gravitated to.
With Colan, particularly, this is because his moody belabored pencils never came through in the garishly colored comics he was oft relegated to doing. His fine detailed pencils were lost beneath ‘get to the point’ inks, and gaudy colors. And his superhero work for me, just didn’t appeal.
It was only much later when I got the chance to see Colan’s work sans skintight costumed heroes, an unhelpful colors, that I saw an undeniable craft and consummate work ethic.
It is when working with real people, in real clothes, with creases, and expressions, and faces uncovered by masks… that Colan’s work for me came alive. Some of his best work is on books like TOMB OF DRACULA, and SON OF SATAN, where Colan’s penchant for camera angles, and atmospherics, and beautiful women could shine.
A few years back I bought the simply stellar SECRETS IN THE SHADOWS: THE ART & LIFE OF GENE COLAN. It’s a simply indispensable overview of a great artist, and an inspiring man.
I point you to that book for an indepth look at Colan’s work and Colan’s grace (spring for the HC, it’s worth the money), but I’ll end this post with a few of my favorite Colan covers.
For reasons previously stated much of Colan’s Superhero work, including covers, didn’t grab me, but there were some where I thought everything worked, the pencils, the inks, the coloring…and here are those chosen few:
I had a great time at the NY comiccon. I thought with the exception of the rat like maze, laughingly referred to as a line, that it was a well conducted event.
Being my first con, I was definitely a little overwhelmed. The sales floor really was too much for me. Navigating it on Saturday (and I tried), was a herculean task, and I couldn’t find anything.
So I mossied (I couldn’t find it in the dictionary, but you know mosying , that thing cowboys do when they can’t find a horse. It’s kinda like walking :) ) my way down to the panels.
The panels I had researched and knew what I wanted to hit. With one exception I hit pretty much every panel I was interested in, and on Sunday got to touch base with creators and personalities I’m a fan of.
Here’s a pic from the great Marvel Bullpen panel. Lot’s of fun, packed house. Sorry for the blurry pic, but I think you can pretty easily make it out. From left to right it’s Stan (The Man) Lee, Jolting Joe Sinnot, and Gracious Gene Colan!.
Stan was a riot! Panel also included Ralph Macchio and a lady they only referred to as Flo. Fun panel, full of reminisces of Marvel’s glory days. My 2nd favorite panel!
But in this installment wanted to talk about the panel that surprisingly was my favorite of the con. Michael Davis’ The Black Panel NYC.
Now, now… don’t give me that look, it was actually really good. :).
The unfortunate truth is you can’t say Black in this country without some idiot saying, “why it gotta be a Black thing” and the answer is always the same. For the same reason there is an Asian thing, or a Jewish thing, or an Italian thing, and let’s be honest America is a defacto white thing.
And for the absence of a strong sense of identity amidst that defacto standard, prisons are filled, and drugs go into veins. So it is very, very important to have a china town, or a little Italy, to have a language, and a country, and a history, and a culture, and idioms to call your own.
And a lot of that infrastructure is in need of building.
Not just for the good of the minority mind you, but for the good of the majority. It benefits the majority, for the pieces that make up the whole, to be able to bring their own identity, and strength to the table.
So trust me, a Black Panel, A China Town, a Little Italy…. these are good things.
Now quick thoughts on the panel:
Above is a nifty pic of the panel. From left to right you have:
Denys Cowan (You can just make out the tip of his hat, and his shoulder, but have a better pic below), Chuck Creekmur, Cheryl Lynn, Prodigal Sunn, Michael Davis, Reginald Hudlin, and Mark and Mike Davis of Blokhedz. I’ll get into who everyone is, and what they work on)
“I would love to work with (Christopher) Priest. Along with Denys (Cowan) he’s one of the creators I’ve reached out to.”
…Reginald Hudlin, Writer, Filmaker, Comics Pro, President of BET, and Renaissance Man, an excerpt from the absolutely was not to be missed Black Panel that took place at this years NY Comiccon. A panel decisively and brilliantly moderated by Michael Davis.
Because many times even when the panel is great, the questions are idiotic and insipid. As in the Stephen King panel, “well I haven’t read the book Mr. King, but a friend of mine told me….”
So it was great to not see that happen, and that Michael Davis steered the panel with a deft and strong hand. The panel was great, the questions were great, the vibe was stunning. You had a great Asian-Latin-Black lovefest and mutual admiration society going on, which is great and fitting, because Black really does encompass all those people, the mass media’s attempt to fractionalize that truth, aside.
Above is a pic of Prodical Sun, Michael Davis, Reginald Hudlin.
And I want to get further off topic here, Mr. Davis took flak from someone regarding using the term Black for his panel. Isn’t that amazing? You can have a Jewish Anti-Defamation League, or an Asian that, or a Korean this, or an Italian that, but noooooo… you can’t have a Black so and so.
But Luckily he told the guy go jump in the lake. Because honestly I frigging despise the term African American.
“OHHHHH!!” And the crowd gasps!
“No he didn’t just say that!”
“That Negro has lost his mind!”
Well actually I did say it, and I have as firm a grasp on my sanity as I ever had, which of course isn’t saying much.
But for you in the cheap seats, let me say it again so you catch every word: I frigging despise the term, African American.
Because it’s a very marginalizing, mass media term; that doesn’t encompass the rich vein of people and culture that word is tacked over, but segments them based on national/geo-political boundaries.
An idiotic way to define a people, painting them with a nationalistic brand or brush. And an inaccurate way.
60% (a low #) of what we consider Latin nations, Brazil/Cuba/Venezuela are heavily of African ancestry. So as a person whose blood line runs from Senegal to the islands to the Americas… Black works really well for me, hey I’ll even answer to Pan-African, Nubian, on an especially jovial day perhaps even colored(smile when you say that boy!) but you can take your African American and choke on it.
Because AA is a marginalizing divisive term taken out of the context it was first used in.
“Man that Negro is crazy!” “Pan-African please. :) ”
So getting back on topic, the fact that it was called the Black Panel, worked for me. And I think it worked for the people who were there.
Because unlike my tirades :) it was all about the creative process, and new projects, new visions, upcoming work, and generally just moving forward.
With Animation projects, comic projects, book projects, publishing ventures it was a really informative panel, bursting with networking goodness.
I should have recorded the panel, and hope someone did, because it was that good.
Here’s a better pic showing Denys Cowan and Chuck Creekmur.
Denys Cowan-Writer, Artist, Martial Artist. Very long, very brilliant comic career. Highlights for me being his work on the Question, Black Panther, Batman Blind Justice and his Milestone work, such as Hardware. Now VP of BETs new Animation Studio.
I’ve been a loud detractor of BET, since their sale to Viacom, my issue being how you can honestly call it Black Entertainment when it’s owned by a white company, you may be able to call it blackface, or propagation and fulfillment of black stereotypes but not necessarily Black entertainment.
But with names like Hudlin and Cowan at the helm I’m inclined to actually give the channel another look, and hope it becomes more than a station that panders to stereotypes.
Though I would love to see these men working on their own company rather than a subset of a larger company. Because end of the day as Michael Jackson, and Magic Johnson, and Prince have found working their projects under Sony, end of the day you are generating income for interests outside your community, making Sony’s name at the expense of your own, and end of the day when you stop generating income you will be discarded. As will your work.
That’s always the fear when talented creators of color invest their time, in properties they do not own. But again with Hudlin and Cowan in the game I’m inclined to be positive.
Check out Newsarama’s interview with him here:
Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur- President of WWW.ALLHIPHOP.COM. I admit to being out of the hiphop loop, but the site looks like a fun, easily navigated, and thankfully Flash free site. I’d love to see him partner with creators such as Aaron Mcgruder and Keith Knight, to bring their respective funny endearing, and satire filled cartoons, BOONDOCKS and THE K CHRONICLES, to a hiphop audience.
Ms. Cheryl Lynn- Unfortunately the only beautiful panelist (no offense guys) was not captured in any closeups. I consider myself pretty schooled on Comic/Cartoon history, but I was mistaken. As Ms. Lynn eloquently informed the audience about a wonderful female cartoonist who worked in the golden age of the medium, of whom I was totally ignorant… Jackie Ormes. She has a great site, and I urge you to do what I did, go to her site and get informed. And also it’s a great resource for cartoonists of color to join, or for finding great cartoonists to work with. http://theormessociety.com/.
Prodigal Sunn of Wu Tang Clan- Wu Tang Clan is among the most effective musicians to use the comic medium as an expression and extension of the story their music told. And Prodigal with a solo CD about to launch, television work, animation, and film projects on the burner remains one of the busiest and most steadfast supporters of the medium of comics.
I’d love to see Prodigal’s website become Flash Free. ;) [Black people, can't we stop using Flash. :)]
But seriously, what I would like to see is Prodigal’s Wu Tang Clan comics syndicated/reprinted on ALL HIPHOP. Also what would be great is if ALL HIPHOP offered a store where you could purchase the books, of WU TANG CLAN, BOONDOCKS, K-CHRONICLES direct from their site. A win-win situation for everyone.
Okay all the time I have for this installment. Next installment we’ll cover the last 4 members of NY Comiccon’s THE BLACK PANEL! ([ feel like that should be in big lights, and the name echoing :)]
All in all a fun, fun panel.