Friday, August 27, 2010

Adam Strange Archives Vol. 1

One of my favorite DC archives is the one featuring the super spaceman Adam Strange, protector of the planet Rann. Nobody did science fiction as well as DC did in the 1950's and '60's, thanks in large part to the efforts of editor Julius Schwartz, who had an extensive background in sci-fi fandom before he became a comics editor. This volume reprints Showcase #17-19 and Mystery In Space #53-65 and features just beautiful artwork by the likes of Gil Kane, Mike Sekowsky, and the awesome Carmine Infantino. Carmine's sense of style was put to great use on this strip, which made it better than a lot of the other sci-fi strips DC was putting out at the time. A good example is this splash page from MIS #55, November, 1959.

Not only was the splash great but the cover to this particular issue was a standout as well, by Gil Kane and Jack Adler.

I've always loved this character and I highly recommend the whole Adam Strange archive series as well as this action figure, which I think is the best one DC Direct ever did.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Presenting The Phantom Stranger

When I first started collecting comics in 1977, one of the characters who really grabbed my interest was the mysterious Phantom Stranger. I first became aware of him through his appearances in the Justice League Of America book. I didn't know too much about him and my access to back issues was very limited at the time. He didn't appear too much in JLA so my appetite was definitely whetted for more PS. I was real excited in the summer of 1978 when this issue of my favorite book came out.

I was thrilled. I was finally going to see more of this mysterious supernatural superhero. As much as I liked Dick Dillin's version of him in JLA, it didn't hold a candle to the great Jim Aparo's version. This is a great issue by the regular B&B team of Bob Haney and Aparo. I was excited to get Aparo himself to sign the splash page when I met him in 2002.

As the years went by, I managed to acquire Aparo's early 1970's run on the Stranger's own book, which I didn't even knew existed when I was eight. Out of all the covers Aparo did for the series, these two are probably my favorites although it was hard to pick just two.

Phantom Stranger #21 October, 1972

Phantom Stranger #22 December, 1972

Of course after I got all the original issues, DC put out two volumes of Showcase Presents reprinting every issue in glorious black and white.

When I got old enough to start buying commissions from pro artists, The Phantom Stranger turned up in a couple of them, including my all time favortie commission piece from Jim Aparo in 2000.

I also got local Kansas City artist Rick Stasi to draw me a great color piece featuring the PS and the equally mysterious Spectre.

I was real jealous of my buddy Neato Coolville's Aparo commission he got around the same time as mine. What a beauty!

For more info on DC's underrated 70's hero, check out this great blog dealing exclusively with PS. There's tons of great info there. It'll make you want to break out some good old Bronze Age suspense.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hembeck's Mr. Met

I got this awesome sketch of my favorite baseball mascot standing in front of the centerpiece of the 1964 World's Fair by the one and only Fred Hembeck, one of my all time favorite cartoonists. I know Fred is a big New York Mets fan and I've always been amused by the shenanigans of Mr. Met so I thought it would be a natural and I'm definitely not disappointed. Fred does commissions and they're always great so check out his sales page on his site. Thanks again Fred!

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