Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Jim Starlin's Warlock

Originally from Warlock #10 (1976), but scanned from issue #3 of the Warlock Special Edition (1983). Warlock conveniently thinks back on how the last few issues of his adventures had led him to where he was that day. Awesome drawing.
Art by Jim Starlin

Originally created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee for an issue of the Fantastic Four, Him was a genetically perfect being created by a group of criminal scientists. Him's first act was to murder his "parents" and leave the planet heading into space.

Roy Tomas took the character several years later and gave him a name, Adam Warlock, and a job, Cosmic Messiah. The messiah of "Counter Earth" that planet circling exactly the opposite of Earth on the far side of the sun.

Eventually adopted by Marvel's resident 1970's comics guru, Jim Starlin, Warlock has been a major player in the more important "Cosmic" sagas.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Jack Chick 1924 - 2016

Let me say first of that obviously I do not follow Jack Chick's insane interpretation of Christianity, but that after 35 years of studying the man, I know what i am talking about.
Jack Chick loved people. Deeply and completely with the kind of spiritual reverence that is hard to accept considering what he wrote. What Chick wanted desperately was to save people from damnation and have them spend eternity in the arms of Christ.
That was his entire goal and sole purpose in life.
But for Chick, that meant there was no room for "lies" or kind but empty words. If you wanted to go to Heaven, God laid out some pretty strict rules and you had no choice but to follow them.
So for more than 50 years, Jack Chick laid down those rules. Being gay was the road to damnation, so was listening to Rock n Roll (mostly the European sort, not so much the African) or playing the "Devil's Game" D&D. Almost more frighting was Chick preaching the idea that even child molesters and rapists will become safe and honest citizens just as long as they find Christ. Then there is Chick's interpretation of the Bible itself. Which was a mix of Christian scholarship, conspiracy theories, the Illuminati and his extreme distrust for the Catholic Church.
From what I can tell, the only thing that Jack Chick actively hated in this world was the Catholic Church. But of course while there are indeed all sorts of things to dislike about the Church, Chick hated them because in his eyes the Catholic clergy were happily in league with Satan working to lose the war for Christ and not their actual issues as priests and men.
Still, while a deeply flawed man with a... unique, interpretation of the scriptures Chick was a true force on the American evangelical scene for 50 years.
He was wrong about so very much though. So very much.
Like a religious lawyer Chick was stuck in the rules of salvation while never capturing the mercy or compassion of Christ's teachings. And in the end that is his biggest failure. Those little comic tracts were powerful devices for proselytizing. And while they could have spent decades teaching a message of love, a message of compassion, instead they presented God as a petty, mean, faceless giant overlooking us all from a throne anxious to throw us to our well deserved damnation.
If in the end there is a Heaven, I can't help but wonder if it would surprise any of us if Jack's name wasn't in the book?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

1957 The Triumph of God's Love (original title, the Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan)

The wrap around cover for the 1957 edition of EG White's, The Triumph of God's Love (original title, the Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan) art by Russ Harlen. This piece from the 1950's reminds me of the kind of political art you see on posters in North Korea. Still, quite striking and I noticed the entire cover wasn't on the web, so I thought I'd put it up.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lost Classics of the 1970's - Sorcerer (1977)

Detail art from the movie poster for Sorcerer (1977)

I'm just a movie watching guy these days. This morning I've been enjoying director William Friedkin's 1977 adventure film, Sorcerer. In a remake of 1953's Wages of Fear, Roy Scheider is one of four men hired to drive an unstable shipment of nitroglycerin through the rough roads and flooded jungle of an unnamed South American dictatorship. Beautifully shot, with palpable tension, as trucks slowly crawl across rope bridges and impossible obstacles it is a gut wrenching visceral experience.

Roy Scheider stars as a mafioso, on the run, who learns that there is nowhere to run. Sorcerer (1977)

Despite being a first rate film, Sorcerer was a huge financial bomb on it's original release, Director Friedkin has blamed the lack of success of the film on the reality that it opened at the same time as another little movie, Star Wars. While it is true that not much was able to stand up against the pure drawing power of the original Star Wars, I'm not so sure I can agree with Friedkin.

Francisco Rabal is a hitman, also on the run. Sorcerer (1977)

I'm of the opinion that Sorcerer's failure at the boxoffice was almost 100% because despite being an adventure film about truck drivers in South America, people convinced themselves it was going to be a horror movie. Sorcerer was Friedkin's first film since 1974's The Exorcist, which was one of the most influential and critically important horror films of all time. A movie that had so successfully scared the shit out of modern american that as far as the audience was concerned the only way he could top the Exorcist was to make an even better horror film. And besides it was named Sorcerer, so how could it not be a horror film. This is despite the fact that Friedkin had already directed the French Connection and was known for action. The trailer certainly doesn't push the horror vibe either. But never the less, once the first audiences went to the theater and discovered that what they were seeing was a taunt action film about truck drivers in South America instead of a scary movie, word of mouth got around and people stayed away in droves.

Which is a shame, because in its own right, Sorcerer is a very good movie. The four leads, Scheider, Amidou, Bruno Cremer and Francisco Rabal all put in strong performances. The film is beautifully shot, and the tension going throughout the entire film right up to it's shocking ending could be cut with a knife. 40 years on this film holds up. Fairly obscure, but worth the time, Sorcerer is yet another example of 1970's gold at the movie theater.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Pile

I often refer to my comic collection as The Pile. It drives my wife a bit crazy that I don't really sort them, and never use bags or boards. But honestly I like it that way.

Friday, May 23, 2014

But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde

Clyde Barrow and his beloved Bonnie Parker

80 years ago today, May 23, 1934, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker met their fates.

This year will also see the 80th anniversary of the death of John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson. 1934 was a rough year to be a badguy.

The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde
by Bonnie Parker

You’ve read the story of Jesse James 
Of how he lived and died 
If you’re still in need of something to read 
Here’s the story of Bonnie and Clyde. 
Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow Gang, 
I’m sure you all have read how they rob and steal 
and those who squeal are usually found dying or dead. 
There’s lots of untruths to these write-ups 
They’re not so ruthless as that 
Their nature is raw, they hate all law 
Stool pigeons, spotters, and rats. 
They call them cold-blooded killers 
They say they are heartless and mean 
But I say this with pride, 
I once knew Clyde 
When he was honest and upright and clean. 
But the laws fooled around and taking him down 
and locking him up in a cell 
'Til he said to me, 
"I’ll never be free, 
So I’ll meet a few of them in hell." 
The road was so dimly lighted 
There were no highway signs to guide 
But they made up their minds if all roads were blind 
They wouldn’t give up 'til they died. 
The road gets dimmer and dimmer 
Sometimes you can hardly see 
But it’s fight man to man, and do all you can 
For they know they can never be free. 
From heartbreak some people have suffered 
From weariness some people have died 
But all in all, our troubles are small
 'Til we get like Bonnie and Clyde. 
If a policeman is killed in Dallas 
And they have no clue or guide 
If they can’t find a fiend, 
just wipe the slate clean 
And hang it on Bonnie and Clyde. 
There’s two crimes committed in America 
Not accredited to the Barrow Mob 
They had no hand in the kidnap demand 
Nor the Kansas City Depot job. 
A newsboy once said to his buddy 
"I wish old Clyde would get jumped 
In these hard times we’s get a few dimes 
If five or six cops would get bumped." 
The police haven’t got the report yet 
But Clyde called me up today He said, 
"Don’t start any fights, we aren’t working nights, 
we’re joining the NRA." 
From Irving to West Dallas viaduct 
Is known as the Great Divide 
Where the women are kin, 
and men are men 
And they won’t stool on Bonnie and Clyde. 
If they try to act like citizens 
And rent a nice flat 
About the third night they’re invited to fight 
By a sub-gun’s rat-tat-tat. 
They don’t think they’re tough or desperate 
They know the law always wins 
They’ve been shot at before, 
but they do not ignore 
That death is the wages of sin. 
Some day they’ll go down together 
And they’ll bury them side by side 
To few it’ll be grief, 
to the law a relief 
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

1976 - The Mighty Marvel Bicentennial Calendar

This time let's take a look at the utterly cool, utterly goofy, Mighty Marvel Bicentennial Calendar from 1976.

Written by Tony Isabella with are by a wide variety of great artists, this was another great calendar from the House of Ideas.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

1976 - Marvel Comics Bubble Gum Stickers

Marvel Comic Sticker Box 1976

As kids most of us had our fair share of bubble gum cards. One of my personal favorites, were the stickers Topps put out for Marvel Comics. Here is a large selection of character stickers from the 1976 edition.

Sure the jokes are dumb, but at 12 they weren't that bad really.

The Vision

The Angel

Howard the Duck

A pre-Winter Soldier Bucky


Red Sonja

Black Goliath

Doctor Strange

Blade the Vampire Slayer


Captain America

Hercules got a couple of bad jokes

Same for Luke Cage, Power Man



Hawkeye back in his Goliath era


Nick Fury

Doctor Doom

Ice Man

The Fantastic Fours, Human Torch

Also from the Fantastic Four, the Invisible Girl
And the Thing, I'm sure there is a card for Mister Fantastic, but I don't have it

Iron Man

Kid Colt, Outlaw
Loki, long before they made him all sexy and stuff


A selection of packages from the 1976 edition of Marvel stickers
If Peter Parker is around.....

... can Spider-Man be far behind????

The Punisher

The Red Skull

One of the most innocent Marvel characters, the Silver Surfer

On the other hand, the Son-of -Satan

The Incredible Hulk

The Watcher

A double shot of Volstagg


Adam Warlock

On the back of several of the cards were sections of a larger picture that when put together 
gave us a nice looking copy of the Cover to Conan the Barbarian #1