I know quite a number of people who are big fans of this short-lived DC title from the mid-70s, and it seems to be quite well regarded amongst critics so I am confused as to why it hasn't been collected in one format or another. That slim Bat Lash Showcase trade looked just fine to my eyes and is all we really need. The stories are entertaining and the artwork by the team of Joe Kubert and Nestor Redondo is unbelievable, ranking among the very best of the decade. It would also be fun to include the Classics Illustrated version of Green Mansions as well as the issue of Super Friends that featured an appearance by the Jungle Girl herself. Perhaps it would not be a best seller, but I am certain that there are thousands of fans out there who would like all the stories in one volume up on the bookshelf. It is a genre that is woefully under served in today's reprint market.
In 1983, Gil Kane drew six consecutive Wonder Woman covers, five of which I would describe as portraits. These has unique layouts and very creative designs, giving them a bit of a 'pop art' flavour. The cover to Wonder Woman #304 is my favourite of the bunch. The use of blue really accentuates the colours of Wonder Woman's costume in the foreground and gives a shadowy feel to the larger figure in the background. The heroic look to the smaller figure juxtaposes nicely against the warrior-like pose of the larger figure in the background. I like the way Kane snuck his initials into the empty space. This cover really shows the strength of Kane's sense of design.
I remembering reading an article about DC's Rudolph books a numbers of years go (perhaps it was in Comic Book Marketplace). This type of strip would not typically not appeal to me, but I am always intrigued by any book that has such a rabid following. It wasn't until I actually bought this digest recently that I realized that Sheldon Mayer was the brains behind these stories. They are fun and inventive with a good dose of humour. The artwork is attractive and clean and should appeal to children under 10. There is some silliness, but it never moves into 'stupid' territory and they general contain some subtle moral lessons for kids. The digest format is pretty great, but might not works so well for those planning on solving the puzzles. Some of the material here is reprinted, but a couple of stories are new and come from a planned, but never published tabloid edition. Good clean fun.
There were a lot of solid stories during the Serpent Crown saga, but this is the true stand out. While some might view it as a parody, I prefer to see it as Steve Engelhart's love letter to the JLA/JSA crossovers. Everything from the beautifully rendered splash page to the font used for the various character groupings is pure gold (or should I say silver?). The only thing that could have made it more authentic was if George Perez had tried to ape Dick Dillin or Mike Sekowsky. The irony is that George Perez would soon be working on actual JLA/JSA crossovers as a result of Dillin's untimely death. As a bonus, we also start to see some of the internal problems within the Squadron Supreme that would ultimately inform Mark Gruenwald's amazing series in the 80s. Oh yeah, Jack Kirby cover, too! This one is a real treat.
When a series lasts a mere 7 issues, it is not a tragedy when it is cancelled but it is still fun to look at the contributing factors. I thought I had read somewhere that the MFA had his origins in Marvel's attempts to bring Namor to the small screen. My 30 seconds of internet research did not confirm that rumour, but I am certain I read it in a magazine such as Alter Ego or Back Issue. If it is indeed true, it would be quite ironic for Marvel to wind up publishing a series based on a character based on a Marvel character. The TV series was cancelled quite abruptly, which obviously left Marvel in the position of shuttering the series. The letters page from this issue is filled with readers wondering what Marvel will do now that the show is off the air. This issue also ends on one of the strangest cliffhanger I've ever witnessed (and that's saying a lot). Mark returns to find that the entire MFA team have mentally regressed to age 2. Behind this is a villain identified as 'Merry', who happens to be a dead ringer for Daredevil's foe the Jester. I have only read a few issues from the series but they were entertaining enough. Fans of Frank Robbins (especially Robbins inked by Springer) will have fun with it. Robbins haters may want to stay away.
Here's a type of cover you won't see very often, as it is not very easy to work the title into a word balloon. Let's look at a few examples:
The first one that comes to mind for me is Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #59 (October, 1981) as I bought it off the spinner rack. While the character poses on the cover seem a bit awkward and the colour scheme is drab, the design and execution of the word balloon is brilliant. This is a perfect example of this type of cover. Also a good one for fans of the Gibbons fans out there. You are out there, aren't you?
I only saw the cover to Superman #11 (November, 1987) for the first time a few weeks ago and it made me smile. This is a terrific way to incorporate the Superman logo into a word balloon. I love the fact that the balloon cannot contain the logo. I also love that Lois is so triumphantly 80s. Great stuff, but I kind of wish they had a Mxyzptlk font to use for our little imp.
The cover to Weird Western Tales #44 (Jan-Feb, 1979) is in a bit of a grey area, as Scalphunter is not technically the name of the series. The thing is, this is my blog so I can make up the rules so I declare that this one qualifies. In any event, it is very inventive. It would also qualified as a 'hanging from the feet' cover and 'racist sheriff' cover.
Let's leave off with Archie... Archie Andrews. Where Are You? #3 (September, 1977). I could have chose a lot of covers from this series, as they used the Word Balloon technique for the first 20 issues. In fact, everyone from Veronica to Dilton asked this question on various covers. Does anyone know of the earliest example of this type of cover?
The history of Charlton's Attack is, like many things that came out of Derby, quite complicated. By my count, being various hiatuses and relaunches, there were five different versions of this series. This particular issue is from Attack's final incarnation. It was relaunched in 1979, a rather odd time for a new war book as the genre had started falling out of favour. This issue contains reprints from two separate issues of War Heroes from 1967. They are solid stories with some pretty nice artwork. I can't place the artist on the first story "Forced Landing" - it is really quite impressive with some lovely shadow work and some great underwater panels. The other two are also well paced and entertaining. For a dollar bin find, I was quite pleasantly surprised. I may be turning into a bit of a Charlton war fan.