back issue #27
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DESCRIPTIONBACK ISSUE #27 bows before “Comic Book Royalty”! The turbulent waters of the ’70s/’80s career of DC’s King of the Seven Seas, Aquaman, are explored, as are those of his Marvel counterpart, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner. MIKE W. BARR and BRIAN BOLLAND discuss King Arthur and Camelot 3000 in an exclusive “Pro2Pro” interview, a variety of comics pros tell us “Why JACK KIRBY Was King,” and we ask the question, “Dr. Doom: Monarch or Menace?” Also: DON McGREGOR’s Prince T’Challa, the Black Panther; an all-new interview with ALAN WEISS; and spotlights on Arion, Lord of Atlantis; Baron Winters and the Night Force; King Kong; and the artist formerly and currently known as PRINCE. Featuring art and/or commentary by JIM APARO, MARV WOLFMAN, GENE COLAN, PAUL KUPPERBERG, and others. With a splashy Aquaman/Mera cover by NICK CARDY! Edited by MICHAEL EURY.
A p r i l 2 0 0 8
“COMIC BOOK ROYALTY” ISSUE, STARRING AQUAMAN!“COMIC BOOK ROYALTY” ISSUE, STARRING AQUAMAN!
A p r i l 2 0 0 8
ALAN WEISS ART GALLERY! SUB-MARINER! ARION, LORD OF ATLANTIS!DON McGREGOR’S BLACK PANTHER! WOLFMAN AND COLAN’S NIGHT FORCE
ELVIS AND SHAZAM JR.! and PRINCE in comics!
PRO2PRO:Mike W. Barr &Brian Bolland
PRO2PRO:Mike W. Barr &Brian Bolland
Doctor Doom:Monarch or Monster?Doctor Doom:Monarch or Monster?
Why Jack Kirbywas King!Why Jack Kirbywas King!
Volume 1,Number 27April 2008
Celebratingthe Best Comicsof the'70s, '80s,and Today!
DESIGNERRich J. Fowlks
COVER ARTISTNick Cardy
COVER COLORISTGlenn Whitmore
COVER DESIGNERMichael Kronenberg
CIRCULATION DIRECTORBob Brodsky,Cookiesoup Productions
PROOFREADERSJohn Morrowand Eric Nolen-Weathington
SPECIAL THANKSJoe AhearnJim AlexanderRoger AshMike W. BarrAl BigleyBrian BollandRandy BowenTom BrevoortJohn ByrneNick CardyJoe CaseyDewey CassellSean ClarkeGene ColanGerry ConwayDC ComicsMike DeCarloAngela FowlksKeith GiffenGrand Comic-Book
DatabaseDave GuiterrezHeritage Comics
AuctionsEric HoustonTony IsabellaDan JohnsonRob KellyJim KingmanDavid Anthony KraftJoe KulbiskiPaul KupperbergErik LarsenBob LaytonStan Lee
Paul LevitzSteve LipskyBruce MacIntoshAndy MangelsYoram MatzkinDwayne McDuffieDon McGregorSean MenardDavid MichelinieBernie MireaultAllen MilgromBrian K. MorrisTomas PardoRobby ReedRico RenziBob RozakisJaynelle RudeSteve RudeRose Rummel-EuryJim SalicrupJohn SchwirianJim ShooterSteve SkeatesAnthony SnyderTom StewartRoy ThomasTusky the WalrusMark WaidJim WardenAlan WeissBrett WeissPauline WeissMarv Wolfman
BACK ISSUE™ is published bimonthly by TwoMorrows Publishing, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh,NC 27614. Michael Eury, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Editorial Office: BACK ISSUE, c/o Michael Eury, Editor,118 Edgewood Avenue NE, Concord, NC 28025. E-mail: [email protected]. Six-issue subscriptions:$40 Standard US, $54 First Class US, $66 Canada, $90 Surface International, $108 AirmailInternational. Please send subscription orders and funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial office.Cover art by Nick Cardy. Aquaman and Mera TM & © DC Comics. All Rights Reserved. All charactersare © their respective companies. All material © their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorialmatter © 2008 Michael Eury and TwoMorrows Publishing. BACK ISSUE is a TM of TwoMorrowsPublishing. ISSN 1932-6904. Printed in Canada. FIRST PRINTING.
The Retro Comics Experience!
BACK SEAT DRIVER: Editorial by Michael Eury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
FLASHBACK: The Roiling Seas of Aquaman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3The Sea King’s on-again, off-again ’70s/’80s adventures
FLASHBACK: Sub-Mariner: Proud Prince or Perennial Punching Bag? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15The anti-social Sovereign of the Seas as a superteam social butterfly
ALAN WEISS ART GALLERY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24Eye-popping illos from the artist of Spider-Man, Steelgrip Starkey, and Tom Strong
BRING ON THE BAD GUYS: Doctor Doom: Monarch or Monster? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30The lethal Lord of Latveria and his unusual role as supervillain monarch
BRING ON THE BAD GUYS BONUS: All Hail Baron Zemo! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36An astounding pinup of the Captain America rogue by Genial Gene Colan
BEYOND CAPES: Arion: From Atlantis to New York and Beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37The story of DC’s Lord of Atlantis, with a special tribute to colorist Bob LeRose
PRO2PRO: Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland Return to Camelot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45A lavishly illustrated interview exploring King Arthur’s return in Camelot 3000
FLASHBACK: Black Panther: Don McGregor in the Jungles of Wakanda . . . . . . . . . . . . .57The groundbreaking writer recalls his collaboration with artist Billy Graham
FLASHBACK BONUS: Jungle Adventure! Jack Kirby Arrives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62Kirby’s return to Prince T’Challa, the Black Panther
OFF MY CHEST: Why Jack Kirby Was King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64An all-star lineup of artists, writers, and editors discusses comics’ real-life “King”
BEYOND CAPES: Forces of the Night, What Horrors They Faced: Marv Wolfman and GeneColan’s Night Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71The co-creators remember Baron Winters and his supernatural superteam
BACKSTAGE PASS: Elvis and Captain Marvel, Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75How the World’s Mightiest Boy inspired the King of Rock and Roll
WHAT THE--?!: The Most Famous Prince in the History of Comics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .82The pompadoured purple performer’s comics moonlighting gigs
BACK TALK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84Reader feedback on “Men of Steel” issue #25
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 1
I still vividly remember my first Aquaman comic book!It was Adventure Comics #442 (Nov.–Dec. 1975),with Aquaman on the cover leaping over the heads ofa group of scroungy sailors as they launched a nuclearmissile into the sky—complete with the caption“Can Aquaman Stop a Nuclear Nightmare? H is forHolocaust!” My 11-year-old pulse pounded—how inthe world can Aquaman do it? I had to know, and thusbegan my love affair with the world of Aquaman.
My timing could not have been any better. In 1975,Aquaman was undergoing a renaissance—a secondsurging in his on-again, off-again popularity. EverySaturday morning, he appeared on television as one ofthe core Super Friends, battling misguided scientists.And every day after school, he (along with Supermanand Batman) starred in the half-hour syndicatedreruns of the classic 1967 Filmation animated series,where he faced deadly menaces like Black Manta,the Fisherman, the Torpedo, and the Brain! Yet,oddly enough, while I was thrilled daily by Aquaman’stelevised exploits, I could not find him on the comic-book rack! What was going on here?
For the answer, one has to travel back to 1971.Aquaman had his own bimonthly title, produced bythe fan-favorite team of writer Steve Skeates, artistJim Aparo, and editor Dick Giordano, all transplantedto DC Comics from small-time competitor CharltonComics. The SAG team (as they were called by thefans) had taken Aquaman to new heights. Providingfast action pacing in the manner of rival Marvel Comics,SAG successfully infused a sense of excitement andenergy into the series in a long-running epic storyline
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Unseen AquamanAquaman—in his totally ’80s blue suit—battles the fish-monster Sreng in thisunpublished version of the cover for issue#2 of the 1986 Aquaman miniseries, penciledby Craig Hamilton and inked by Rick Bryant.The art was watercolored in 1992 by LureneHaines. Courtesy of Jim Warden of DistinctiveOriginal Art (www.doasales.com).TM & © DC Comics.
by J o h n S c h w i r i a n
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which sent Aquaman globe-hopping in search of hismissing wife, Mera, also separating the Sea Kingfrom his sidekick, Aqualad. Additionally, they hadfinally given Aquaman a personality. No longer washe the bland cookie-cutter superhero. Now he wasthe impatient king—used to giving orders and tobeing obeyed. Aquaman’s easily aroused temperfirst emerged here, an outgrowth perhaps ofSkeates’ personal issues with superheroes as beingtoo self-righteous in their use of Might to enforcetheir personal views of Right. However, Skeates wasable to carefully craft a balance between the angryhero and the clear-thinking king. Skeates explains that“in order to make him even more heroic, I decidedto portray him as a good king, a worthy leader, and Ihonestly saw no conflict betwixt that and my ownpolitical beliefs. Still, our hero here did come off bythe end of our first story arc a bit stodgy, somethingI tried to offset a couple of issues later via portrayingthe more liberal aspects of Aquaman’s leadership,more specifically his belief in free speech, a beliefthat remained intact even when the speech that was
going on constituted a personal attack upon hisown royal self!”
Yet while the SAG approach was a hit with the fans,it still could not save Aquaman from cancellation.Giordano decided to step down from his editorialposition at DC in order to go into business with fellowartist Neal Adams, leaving editorial director CarmineInfantino to decide the fates of the books underGiordano’s guidance. Steve Skeates recounts his theoriesas to what happened: “Even though he was leaving,Dick wanted to keep the Aquaman book going,wanted to edit it on a freelance basis. However,Carmine, who had had problems with Dick—forexample, a big argument over the cover to Aquaman#43 (Jan.–Feb. 1969) which Carmine had designedwhile Dick was on a vacation and in doing so hadbroken one of Dick’s primary editorial rules, that thecover of a book should not emphasize a scene thatisn’t even in the story itself—figured Dick would beeven harder to deal with as a freelance editor, andtherefore (despite sales figures that weren’t really allthat bad) he cancelled the book!”
The rejected,unpublished version
of Nick Cardy’s coverto Aquaman #43(Jan.–Feb. 1969).Original art scan
courtesy of HeritageComics Auctions
(www.ha.com).TM & © DC Comics.
King-Sized EgosThe “SAG” (Skeates/Aparo/Giordano) teamevolved the formerly bland Aquaman intoa realistic monarch often torn betweendevotions to his family and kingdom. Page 7from Aquaman #53 (Sept.–Oct. 1970),with arch-enemy Black Manta; specialthanks to Heritage Comics Auctions.TM & © DC Comics.
AQUAMAN AND HIS SUPER FRIENDSOther than appearing in Justice League of America, aguest-shot as “Aquaboy” in Superboy #171 (Jan.1971), a team-up with Superman in World’s FinestComics #203 (June 1971), and the Aquaman “Annual”in Super DC Giant #S-26 (July–Aug. 1971), Aquamanfell out of public view. That is, until 1973, when theHanna-Barbera-produced Super Friends cartoon hitABC television’s Saturday morning line-up, featuringthe roster of Superman, Batman (and Robin), WonderWoman, and Aquaman! Yes, thanks to the success ofthe Filmation Studios’ Aquaman animated series ofthe late 1960s, the H-B producers felt that Aquaman,out of all the possible DC superheroes, had therecognition factor necessary to be a member of theirnew cartoon show. After a four-year absence sinceFilmation’s DC-inspired cartoons faded from the airwaves,DC’s greatest heroes were back on television, andSuper Friends stayed on the air in one form or anotherfor 14 years. [Editor’s note: BACK ISSUE #30, shippingin September 2008, will examine both the SuperFriends TV show and DC’s spin-off comic series.]
Thus began the greatest, and worst, thing to everhappen to the Marine Marvel. Most people recognizeAquaman instantly due to his lengthy run as one of theSuper Friends. Unfortunately, people also rememberhow poorly he was portrayed on the series. Aquamanis frequently the butt of a joke, as comedians posequestions like: “What good are Aquaman’s powers?I mean, he’s great if you need someone to talk to fish,but how many crimes happen underwater?” Sadly,this makes it hard to be an Aquaman fan!
Oddly enough, the initial success of the SuperFriends did not have a direct impact on the return ofAquaman to his own series. According to Paul Levitz,president and publisher of DC Comics, the editorswere not influenced by the animated series: “On somelevel it was in the psyche but I don’t think there was alot of spillover at the time.” Instead, other factors wereat work, bringing the Sea King back to the newsstand.
AQUAMAN’S ORLANDO ADVENTURELooking back to 1973, Paul Levitz recalls the factorsinvolved: “Joe Orlando had taken over [editing]Adventure Comics after Supergirl was pulled out, or Iguess Joe did the last issues with Supergirl as well,but when Supergirl moved over to [editor] DorothyWoolfolk, Joe was casting about for what to do inthe book. It was the company’s oldest surviving title,I think, at that point. There was no great passion forcanceling it, but nobody had a really good idea ofwhat to with it. So Joe tried out a number of differentfeatures and progressively moved more towards theborders of the superhero—things like the BlackOrchid.” [Editor’s note: Other features appearing inthe Orlando Adventure issues were the “Adventurers’Club”, the “Vigilante”, and the pirate strip “CaptainFear”.] “By ’73,” Levitz continues, “I was working asJoe’s assistant, and as an old superhero fan [I was] agi-tating for things that moved more in a direction that Ihad enjoyed or that I thought belonged in the missingsuperhero titles, [and] Joe started “Aquaman” while Iwas there. So either Steve Skeates had come in saying,‘Gee, I enjoyed writing this, can I do some for you,’or I had nudged Joe about Aquaman and one way oranother he kind of stumbled on it and tried it out.”
At this point, “The Spectre”, written by MichaelFleisher and illustrated by one-time Aquaman artist JimAparo, was the lead feature in Joe Orlando’s Adventure
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Ramona Returns(below) Detail fromthe cover of DC’sSuper Friends #5(June 1977),penciled by SilverAge Aqua-artistRamona Fradon, whoalso sketched theSea King (at left) forcollector Rob Kelly.TM & © DC Comics.
Admit it: At some point you’ve called Marvel Comics’aquatic anti-hero “Sub-muh-REEN-er.” Well, in spite ofthe pronunciation of that undersea vehicle with aperiscope, Sub-Mariner’s creator, Bill Everett, says thatthe character was inspired by the epic poem bySamuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the AncientMariner” (MARE-ih-ner).
Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, was not only oneof comics’ first superheroes, he was unquestionablythe premier anti-hero. His unique blend of equalparts angst and anger made him an irresistible
subject for editors and writers of Timely Comics inthe ’40s and ’50s, as well as its progeny—Marvel—
in the ’60s and beyond. The problem was, however,that there were only so many times he could attack
America for revenge for the crimes of Managainst Atlantis, so sadly he was oftenportrayed as the spoiled bully gettinghis come-uppance.
Writers struggled to keep Subbyrelevant as the anger of theRevolutionary ’60s gave way to theexperimentation of the ’70s andthe “Me Generation” of the ’80s.His focus changed in the span of
those latter two decades, as the Sub-Mariner moved from beingthe Avenging Scion of his undersea kingdom—Atlantis—to contrite
exile, to Crown Prince, and back again to exile. In the process, the avowedloner became the social butterfly, joining almost every team and making frequent
guest appearances in most Marvel superhero titles.
A QUICK DIP THROUGH NAMOR’S HISTORYBefore examining Namor’s appearances in the 1970s and 1980s (the BACK ISSUE era), we
should start by briefly visiting his origins. The Sub-Mariner was originally “published” in amovie-theater giveaway called Motion Picture Funnies Weekly. Only eight of these promotionalcomics are known to exist, having been discovered in the estate of their deceased publisherin 1974, so it is uncertain whether they ever reached the public. That story, and the characterSub-Mariner, came from the mind of creator Bill Everett, who at the time worked for Funnies, Inc.,a studio that created comics and sold them to comic publishers. Everett soon re-used thecharacter, packaged with other stories, in Timely’s first comic, appropriately dubbed MarvelComics #1 (1939). Sub-Mariner soon became one of the “Big Three” characters at Timely,the others being the (original) Human Torch and Captain America.
The Burden of the ThroneThe Prince’s pondering won’t last for long … Marvelites know Sub-Mariner willbe in a brawl in just a matter of panels. Detail from the splash of Sub-Mariner#60 (Apr. 1973), laid out by Sam Kweskin and finished by Jim Mooney.© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 1 5
by B r u c e M a c I n t o s h
Sub-Mariner Comics ran 32 issues, until superherotitles from all comics publishers sank like a rock in 1949.The title was resumed in 1954 and ran for another nineissues until it was harpooned for good after issue #42 (Oct.1955). Following the immediate success of Stan Lee’s andJack Kirby’s Fantastic Four (which had already put a newface on another Golden Age character, the Human Torch),Marvel Comics dusted off Subby in FF #4 (May 1962).There was magic in the Marvel “Bullpen” and money inrevitalized Golden Age characters, so the Prince of Atlantiswas included in as many comics as possible during the1960s (including what turned out to be a 1967 one-shotshared mag with Iron Man) until publishing anddistribution restrictions were lifted and Marvel grantedhim another eponymous series in 1968.
Sub-Mariner #1 (May 1968) recounted the story ofhis origin: He was born of a human seafaring captainand blue-skinned Atlantean mother. His father, LeonardMcKenzie, was supposedly killed when his mother’sprotectors came to find their Princess Fen. The pink-skinned Namor was born nine months later, and thoughhe was the heir by blood to the throne of the underwater
kingdom, suffered the disrespect of hiscontemporaries and taunts of “half-breed.” He was thus tempered inhis formative years by the competingexpectations of royalty and theneed to defend his rightful claim—both verbally and physically—againstthose of full (literally) blue-bloodedpretenders. This imbued Namor with self-assurance to the point of arrogance, and apersecution complex tightly wound around hishair-trigger temper. This explosive combinationled to an unending series of tragedies for theMaritime Monarch in the ’70s and ’80s.
Time and tide wait for no man—not even theSub-Mariner—and as the ’60s turned into the ’70s,Namor was restored the ability to breathe underwater,which had literally grounded him a couple years earlier(in issue #22, the first to appear on the stands in the’70s). Then, after US Army poisonous gas canisters wipedout some Atlantean outposts, Namor waged war againstAmerica. He ordered a deadly missile fired at soldiers inNew York, but physically diverted it himself when he sawcivilians present. He was still mad, however, so he soughtto ally with Earth’s other undersea civilization, Lemuria.(They had green skin.) Unfortunately, he arrived afterLemuria’s throne was overthrown by the evil Llyra,who desired to conquer sea and land alike. Llyra wassupposedly killed in a brief battle with Namor.
In a tale with as many turns as a seahorse race,Namor finally got to the altar in Sub-Mariner #37 (May1971), only to find out that his beloved Lady Dormawas the evil Llyra in disguise. She thought that havingsaid his vows to her—though she was dissembled as hisbride—would have resulted in an unbreakable marriage.She was wrong, however, because Dorma had actuallysaid her vows earlier and the ceremony was merelya formality. This angered Llyra, who returned toher lair and killed Dorma. Following the funeral,the Sub-Mariner abdicated the throne of Atlantisand proceeded to take out his remorse on NewYork. Later, he found out that his father, longthought dead, was very much alive and had beenkidnapped by that nasty Llyra and Tiger Shark.Tragedy followed Namor like a shark to thescent of blood, and naturally Dad got killedwithin minutes of meeting his long-lost son.
One of the most interesting events of the Sub-Mariner’s “Marvel Age” series actually happened nearits conclusion: Due to exposure to deadly nerve gas,Namor was in danger of suffocating because hecouldn’t process his own natural moistures. In Sub-Mariner#67 (Nov. 1973), Reed Richards of the Fantastic Fourreplaced Namor’s scaly green swim trunks with a blackleather costume that would have made him the pride ofany biker bar if it weren’t for the half-calf leggings andbooties (designed to allow his ankle wings room to flap).The costume wasn’t just a fashion statement, as Richardsexplained the “wetsuit” was designed to recyclemoisture from Subby’s own pores while out of water.
Why give him a “hero” costume at all? Roy Thomaslamented in his own Alter Ego magazine (vol. 3 #70,July 2007) that Sub-Mariner “was always #3 of the ‘BigThree’ in the 1940s. I suspect it’s partly because he didn’thave a costume… I hate to come up with something ascrass as that, but that’s part of the reason for John Romitaand me giving him that costume near the end.”
Then, an unusual inter-company “crossover”occurred as the Sub-Mariner series drew to a close
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Two issues after themurder of his beloved
Lady Dorma, Namorcries out for vengeance
on this powerful RoyThomas/Ross Andru/
Jim Mooney splashfrom Sub-Mariner#39 (July 1971).
Courtesy of HeritageComics Auctions.
© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
with issue #72 (Sept. 1974) and a two-part storystarted at DC was concluded at Marvel! In 1971,writer Steve Skeates—then writing Aquaman for DCComics—started a tale in issue #56 (Mar.–Apr. 1971)called “The Creature That Devoured Detroit.” That storywas part one of two, and told of a new superherowith bad eyesight who invented a satellite that wouldshed light at night so he could fight nocturnal crimeand still see what was going on! The unexpected sideeffect was that it caused explosive growth in algaethat threatened to devour the city, until Aquamanbroke into the satellite’s control center and—accordingto the murky final panels—was about to push thebutton to destroy it…
…but unfortunately, Aquaman was cancelled afterthe first part of the story, with issue #56, so readersnever got to see the conclusion. That is, until Skeatesmoved over to Marvel and coincidentally scriptedthe final issue of that company’s aquatic adventurer.This provided him a unique opportunity to finallyconclude the tale he had been waiting over three yearsto tell. Sub-Mariner #72 picked up right where Aquaman#56 left off: An unidentified glove presses the satellitedestruct button, the resulting explosion sending agreen, protoplasmic alien life form hurtling to Earth.The original “Aquaman” version was to be that he wasto have learned that he had lost both his ability ofcommunicating telepathically with aquatic creaturesand the ability to breathe underwater. Now it wasSubby, and instead he briefly lost his sight! In spite ofthe temporary disability, he was still able to squeeze thealgae-being hard enough to squirt its glutinous head offinto space, and wander off lamenting his ability to everrestore his comatose Atlantean subjects to life.
Subby did regain his eyesight within a couple ofpages, just in time to conclude his series and ponder hisfate. Roy Thomas, in his final editorial text box on the“Send It to Subby” letters page, confidently advised,“[S]hed no salty tears for the Avenging Son … because wehave other plans for him—big plans.” Before we find outwhat those big plans were, let’s backtrack about a year—to one of Roy’s most enduring and beloved creations:
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 1 7
Subby’s New WetsuitDetail from John Romita, Sr.’s cover
to Sub-Mariner #67 (Nov. 1973),unveiling Namor’s leather threads.
© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
Namor byBill EverettA 1970 Subbyconvention sketchby the character’screator. Courtesyof HeritageComics Auctions(www.ha.com).© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
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No “Comic Book Royalty” issue would becomplete without a curtsey to Prince Valiant,seen here in a 2004 pencil commission.Alan’s pencil prowess is also on display inthis stunning pinup of Michael Moorcock’sElric of Melnibone.Prince Valiant © 2008 King Features Syndicate. Elric © 2008 Michael Moorcock.
Alan Weiss—whose artistic résumé includes Warlock, Shazam!, Spectacular Spider-Man,Steelgrip Starkey, War Dancer, Tom Strong, and the Elseworlds Batman: The Blue,the Grey, and the Bat—was scheduled to be interviewed in this issue, but circumstancesbeyond our control prohibited the interview’s completion. The interview will appear ina future issue. In the meantime, courtesy of the ultra-talented artist and his very helpfulwife Pauline, we are proud to present this six-page gallery of Weiss wizardry.
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 2 5
Two of Marvel’s sexiest superheroines, Tigra (left) and Valkyrie (belowleft), get the Weiss treatment in recent commissions, as does a pairingof Prince T’Challa, the Black Panther (featured in this issue) and Alan’sown character (from Defiant Comics), War Dancer (below right).Tigra, Valkyrie, and Black Panther © 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc. War Dancer © 2008 Alan Weiss.
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In the middle of Europe, surrounded by Transylvania,Symkaria, and the Carpathians, lies the tiny country ofLatveria. Home to only 500,000, Latveria remains oneof the most powerful nations in all of Europe—well,the Marvel Universe Europe, anyway. Its people appearpeaceful and happy, and crime is relatively unheard ofwithin Latverian borders. This peace and power areboth gifts from the country’s unquestioned ruler,Victor von Doom. To the world at large, he is DoctorDoom, a villain—a monster, even—who has tried timeand again to overthrow the Earth and kill the FantasticFour, although not necessarily in that order. Yet, hisrelationship with his own people is never in question.In the relatively rare visits to his homeland, Doom hasbeen portrayed both as a gracious monarch to hispeople and as a power-mad monster, leaving readers towonder, Which is the truth? If one were to look at thoseclassic stories which saw the Fantastic Four face theirgreatest enemy within Latveria’s borders, would theyfind a monarch or a monster—or, as is so often the casewith Doom, is the answer much more complex?
VILLAGE OF THE DAMNEDEarly within their legendary run on Fantastic Four,creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby came up with the ideafor Doctor Doom, a villain who they felt had a uniquebackground: He was king of his own country. Stan Leeexplains, “I had never read of a supervillain who was aking, so I thought it would be cool. It gave me lots ofadvantages because I could give him diplomaticimmunity.” Still, in those early years, visits to Latveriawere scarce. Indeed, outside of Doom’s origin story, inFantastic Four Annual #2 (1964), most of the book’svisits to Latveria took place either within Doom’scastle walls or as single-panel shots of villagers coweringfearfully outside.
Of course, comic-book readers had met villainswho ruled their own nations and even planets before.Ming the Merciless of the planet Mongo from AlexRaymond’s Flash Gordon springs to mind immediately.Such worlds, Mongo in particular, were horrifyingvisions of futures that could come to be on Earth, rifewith oppressed, downtrodden citizens, cowering beneaththe heel of a fascist government and all-powerfularmy. Thus, readers must have been surprised by whatthey saw of Latveria in those early appearances.Doom’s nation was not some sort of futuristic,Orwellian dystopia, but a peaceful European village,
The Doctor is InJack Kirby pencils to the “Doom’s Dispatch” section of Marvel’s
house fanzine, Marvelmania #1 (Apr. 1970). Courtesy of Al Bigley.© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
by E r i c H o u s t o n
populated by smiling people. Looking at one of Jack Kirby’s panelsof a typical Latverian street is almost like looking at a touristbrochure for Oktoberfest. There are no fascist armies marching thestreets of Doom’s Latveria, nor is there a slave class of lizard mentoiling in chains beneath the surface. It seemed from the start thatDoom might be a different kind of villain king, one who mightactually care for his people. Indeed, one of the final pages ofDoom’s aforementioned origin story shows Doom walking thestreets of a Latverian village. He is unaccompanied by guards, robot orhuman, as his citizens happily and fearlessly gather around him,wishing him well in word and thought.
From the very start, part of what made Doom stand out from othervillains was the complexity of his character. “I always felt that the thingthat set Doom apart from most other supervillains is the fact that hedidn’t ever feel he was doing anything wrong,” explains Stan Lee.“To me, Victor von Doom was a very complex character and one thatI cared about very much.” True enough, Stan and Jack went to greatlengths in Doom’s origin story and elsewhere to create a trulysympathetic villain. He was, after all, a man with a tragic past and realmotivations—as a youth he lost both of his parents to the same royalsoldiers who constantly harassed his gypsy band, and spent much of histime and genius in learning spells and building devices designed to freehis mother from Hell—but he was also the man who unapologeticallytried to kill our heroes time and again. Still, this sympathetic sideeasily lead readers to believe that maybe the glimpses they saw ofLatveria were true. Maybe the man who so terrorized the world trulyloved and protected a small part of it. Finally, in Fantastic Four #84–87(Mar.–June 1969), Stan and Jack sought to make their thoughts onDoom and Latveria clear once and for all.
In those landmark issues, the Fantastic Four enter Latveria on amission from Nick Fury. Their orders: Find and destroy Doom’s secretarmy. Upon entering the country, the four heroes are shocked to findthemselves welcomed with open arms. In fact, the local burgermeisterhas even declared it “Fantastic Four Fiesta Day” in their honor.During the festivities, a television screen rises from the street andDoom welcomes the FF, declaring them citizens of Latveria andbeckoning them, “Be eternally happy, or else, you die!”
As the FF struggle to discover Doom’s secret army and recovertheir missing powers, robbed via hypnosis, they also begin to discoverthe truth of Latveria. Initially, Reed, Ben, and Johnny are shockeddiscover what the readers had seen for years in those single-panelappearances: a quaint, happy European village. At first blush,Latverian life is positively idyllic. The people seem to want for nothing.Ornate meals are even provided on demand, completely free ofcharge. Better yet, the food is so good that the Thing is forced toadmit, “This joint’s got the Yancy Pizza Palace beat all to hallow!”Meanwhile, elsewhere in the issue, Doom himself declares to a disloyalcitizen, “Have I told you how dearly I love my subjects? The welfareof my people is ever closest to my heart!”
Yet, while readers had seen only those fleeting glimpses ofLatveria, the Fantastic Four are now seeing the world between thepanels, and all is not as happy as it seems. The smiles on theLatverian people seem false, almost painted-on. Even Johnny Storm,usually the last member of the FF to realize the obvious, is quick tocomment, “Despite the banners and bands, the people movearound like sleepwalkers!”
Reed continues the observation: “The mood of fear andoppression,” he says, “is so thick and heavy, you can almost touchit.” Still, Reed and Johnny don’t know how right they are. As theFantastic Four enjoy their meal, the readers are whisked away toCastle Doom, only to learn a horrifying truth: Doom’s secret army,
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 3 1
Ming the MercilessThe prototypical malevolent monarch, as excerpted from masterAlex Raymond’s Flash Gordon Sunday strip of March 13, 1936.
© 2008 King Features Syndicate.
I Can’t Drive 55As the ruler of Latervia, Doom enjoys diplomatic immunity,as this panel from Daredevil #37 (Feb. 1968) reminds us.© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
The magic is dying. And the court sorcerer ofAtlantis knows it. Fortunately, no one else does …not yet. Not his ruler nor his lover nor his best friend—and especially not the savage sub-men who roam theedges of Atlantis’ boundaries, seeking a weakness inthe land’s sorcerous defenses, to say nothing of hisin-court enemies, angered by the young wizard’sarrogance. And then there are the enemies he can’teven see, the ones who await the opportunity to strikefrom lands beyond the earthly plains.
As the magic dies, the sorcerer undergoes ajourney, one that moves him from the jeweled capitalcity of soon-to-be sunken Atlantis to a deli inBrooklyn and eventually Metropolis. But the firststep is taken in Derby, Connecticut…
“ … THE WHOLE ISLAND AND THE OCEANWERE CALLED ATLANTIS.”Charlton Publications was unique in comics history inthat it not only owned its own distribution company,but its own printing presses as well. Publishing itsdiverse line of magazines wasn’t always enough tokeep the plates constantly inked, so printing comicbooks took up the slack. Notorious for paying someof the lowest rates in the industry, Charlton Comicsallowed its writers and artists more creative freedomto compensate. Under editor George Wildman,Charlton experienced a new level of creativity fromveterans like Joe Gill, Steve Ditko, and Pat Boyette,while bringing in newer talents such as John Byrne,Mike Zeck, Joe Staton, Bob Layton, and PaulKupperberg.
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 3 7
Arion’s First StabLuckily for the Lord of Atlantis, Arionsurvived this cliffhanger ending to hisvery first adventure in The Warlord #56(Apr. 1982). Script by Paul Kupperberg,art by Jan Duursema. All art in this articleis courtesy of Paul Kupperberg, unlessotherwise noted.TM & © DC Comics.
by B r i a n K . M o r r i s
3 8 • B A C K I S S U E • C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e
Already selling a story to Charlton’s horror magazineswith Scary Tales #5 (Apr. 1976), Paul Kupperbergworked up a proposal for an ongoing series that wouldbe called Atlantis. In college, the writer was completelyfamiliar with the philosopher Plato’s metaphoricalconcept of Atlantis and “really tried to make my versionof Atlantis as close to his idea as I could, although Ichanged plenty.” Kupperberg recalls of his story’sprotagonist, “I think I intended to kind of create himvia the backdoor by using the same protagonist inseveral stories and, before you know it, I’d have anongoing character that maybe I could convince themto use on a regular basis in his own strip.” However,the Atlantis proposal was never submitted.
Kupperberg drew his inspiration primarily fromLarry Niven’s The Magic Goes Away, where magic, likepetroleum today, is discovered to be a non-renewableresource and science becomes an alternative energysource of sorts. “When I steal,” boasts Kupperberg,“I steal from the best.”
Fast forward to the early ’80s. Kupperberg nowwrote for DC Comics, regularly scripting the adventuresof the Superman family, the Doom Patrol, and theVigilante, among many others. Word reached him thateditor Laurie Sutton was looking for a new backupfeature for The Warlord. With the combination of scienceand sorcery in the title strip, backups ranging in stylefrom “OMAC” to “Claw the Unconquered” provedcomplementary. With the prominence of Atlantis not
Early “Tynan” TakesBefore they becamepro artists at Marvel
Comics, pencilerJohn Byrne and inker
Duffy Vohland brought“Tynan” to visual life,
as did then-newcomerMike Zeck.
TM & © DC Comics.
Arion ProposalTo secure a spot in the back pages of Warlord,Paul Kupperberg rewrote his “Atlantis”proposal for editor Laurie Sutton’s approval.Remarkably, the concept translated fromconception to printed page, with theexception of the hero’s and series’ names.
wC o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 4 5
Only a KingCan Save UsKing Arthur tothe rescue in thisexquisitely drawnBrian BollandCamelot 3000pinup. Courtesy ofTomas Pardo.TM & © DC Comics.
by R o g e r A s hconducted October 11, 2007
Beginnings:The Elongated Man story “Magical Mystery Mirror” in DetectiveComics #444 (Dec. 1974–Jan. 1975) [editor Julius Schwartz’s firstissue after Archie Goodwin left the title]
Milestones:Detective Comics (DC) / Batman and The Outsiders (co-creator, DC)Batman: Full Circle (DC) / Batman: Son of the Demon (DC)The Maze Agency (creator, Comico, etc.) / Mantra (creator,Malibu) / Star Trek (DC) / Star Trek: Gemini novel/ Silver Age Sci-FiCompanion (TwoMorrows)
Works in Progress:A new series for TokyoPop set todebut in 2008 / “a couple fantasynovels I’m shopping around”
Comic Scene photo courtesy of Mike W. Barr.
Beginnings:Powerman series (1975) [not the Marvel hero, but an African herowhose comic was produced in the UK but initially only sold inNigeria]
Milestones:Judge Dredd (2000AD) / Batman: The Killing Joke (DC) / covers forvarious DC titles including Animal Man, Wonder Woman, Vamps,and Green Lantern
Works in Progress:Re-coloring Killing Joke for the Batman:The Killing Joke Special Edition hard-cover (DC) / covers for Jack of Fables(DC/Vertigo) / the cover for the finalGrant Morrison Doom Patrol collection(DC/Vertigo) / “Mr. Mamoulian” forNegative Burn (Desperado)
Comic Scene photo courtesy of Mike W. Barr.
4 6 • B A C K I S S U E • C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e
In the year 3000, aliens from the tenth planet, underthe guidance of Morgan Le Fay, have invaded Earth.This threat brings about the return of King Arthur and hisKnights of the Round Table. Thus begins Camelot 3000,the rollicking science-fiction series by writer Mike W. Barrand artist Brian Bolland. Begun in 1982, this ground-breaking DC series featured a number of firsts, whichMike and Brian were kind enough to discuss; they alsoshare some behind-the-scene stories.
– Roger Ash
ROGER ASH: How did Camelot 3000 come to be?MIKE W. BARR: As I’ve written before, I had takena course in Arthurian Literature in college. Whenyou study the Arthurian mythos, one of the firstthings that you learn is that the stories don’t reallycome to an end. King Arthur is out there kind ofsleeping, recovering from the grievous wound hereceived at the end of Le Morte D’Arthur, waitingfor his return. I thought it would be cool to do ascience-fiction sequel to those stories. I had thatidea around 1974 or ’75. I hung onto it until yearslater when DC was looking for projects. One year Isubmitted Camelot 3000 to them. It got rejected.The next year I submitted it again, and that time itwas accepted.BRIAN BOLLAND: Who did you submit it to andwho rejected it?BARR: I believe it was submitted to Joe Orlando’soffice. I don’t know if he made the actual rejectionand acceptance.ASH: Had the proposal changed at all?BARR: I don’t believe so, no. I believe I just submittedthe same one. Oddly enough, in-between that time,I had submitted to Marvel, and received an acceptance,to do what became Camelot 3000 in one of theirblack-and-white magazines. Either I never gotaround to doing it, or there was some kind of acancellation in their black-and-white magazinesbefore I could do anything with it. But it neverwent anywhere at Marvel.
Then, when DC was looking around for an artist,there were a number of names that were thrownaround. Brian had done a lot of work by that timealready. The American companies were just beginningto become cognizant of the fact that there was thisuntapped stream of talent over in Britain.ASH: Was this your first major work in the US, Brian?BOLLAND: Yes, it was. I was always a DC Comicsfan, an American comic-book fan, so I knew all theartists and all the books. I was quite keen to get inon that whole thing. When my work on “JudgeDredd” in 2000AD was popular, through an acci-dent which I’ve told a number of times, Joe Staton,the artist on Green Lantern at the time, came to borrowthe spare drawing table in the flat where I lived inLondon. Through conversation with him, I said I’dreally love to do a cover on a Green Lantern comic.He phoned up Jack Harris, who was the editor onGreen Lantern, and Jack said, “Okay! Great! Let’s getthis guy to do a cover.” Once the logistics of thatseemed to work out okay, I think I became the firstof a kind of brain drain of artists and writers from overhere that drifted across the Atlantic.BARR: I think you probably were. Of course, it wasunheard of for almost anyone to work at DC unlessyou were actually physically in the New York area.BOLLAND: That’s right. The fact that we were workingfrom across the Atlantic seemed like a huge obstacle.
And he came, leaping out at us (with some odd foreshortening)from the cover of Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966),a creation of the team of Stan Lee and JackKirby. He’s the Black Panther (named beforeactivist Huey Newton’s group), the first blacksuperhero. In the issue, the FF is invited to visitthe ruler of Wakanda, an African kingdomthat none of the Four have heard of before(and they’re bribed with a cool high-techplane if they come. Nothing Reed Richardslikes more than cool tech). It’s a trap (of sorts)!The ruler, T’Challa, is the Black Panther, a title(and uniform) passed from chieftain to chieftain. Heuses the invitation to go all “Most Dangerous Game” onthe FF, hunting them through what Lee calls a “high-tech jungle,” but what Kirby depicts as a huge room ofKirby-tech. The Panther almost defeats the FF, and if itwasn’t for that pesky Wyatt Wingfoot (JohnnyStorm’s college roommate), he’d have gotten awaywith it! Turns out the Panther is a cool guy, usingthe FF to help train him to square off against hisultimate enemy, Klaw (a rather disappointing takeon the “great white hunter” yarn). The Pantherdecides to leave Wakanda and go out into thewider world to help all of mankind. End of two-issue story.
So, what has this to do with DonMcGregor’s Panther? When Don got to writethe character in 1973, he was proofreading forMarvel, reading everything that Marvel put out(and getting paid for it!), including JungleAction. At the time, you’d almost have to getpaid to read Jungle Action. It was part of theflood of titles from Marvel in the early ’70s, adeluge aimed at grabbing more of the shelf spaceaway from DC Comics. DC and Marvel were playingthe “blink first” game, and Marvel was stuffingold ’50s Atlas-era stories between new Gil Kanecovers and slapping them out as JungleAction. “Jann of the Jungle” and “Lorna,the Jungle Girl” were back (with niceJoe Maneely art), once againswinging through the jungle inTarzan’s wake, playing Great WhiteGod to the poor black natives. Whilesilly if forgivable in the ’50s, it was embarrassing in thesupposedly enlightened ’70s. Don McGregor, proofing allthis stuff and growing more and more disbelieving, calledMarvel on it:
by Tom “The Comics Savant” Stewart
© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 5 7
history6 2 • B A C K I S S U E • C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e
In 1976, Jungle Action, starring the Black Panther, was canceled.It may have been a groundbreaking series, and popular with thecollege crowd, but it wasn’t making it in sales. That doesn’t mean itwas a bad book, but like another innovative and acclaimed series,Denny O’Neil’s and Neal Adams’ Green Lantern/Green Arrow, it wasn’tmaking the numbers the publisher thought it should. A lot of booksweren’t in the ’70s, and a lot of books met the same fate. So Marveldecided to try something new with Wakanda’s Prince T’Challa.
Jack Kirby had recently come back to Marvel after a five-yearstint at rival DC Comics, and was expected to pick up right wherehe left off in 1970. Kirby had had enough of working with Stan Lee,of working with anyone, really, and wanted to do his own thing,be his own plotter and scripter, and his own editor. And he didn’twant to work on Thor, or Fantastic Four, or any of the books he’dbeen doing before his DC vacation—he wanted to do somethingnew. Jack was always looking foreword, always wanting to knowwhat was around the next corner. Instead of having Kirby becomethe company-wide idea man he would be perfect for, helping outthe entire line with new characters, new formats, and new markets,Marvel put him back right where he’d left off, putting out pages asrapidly as he could.
Kirby became the go-to guy when Marvel had a book theydidn’t know what to do with. Captain America was given to Jack asa book in trouble, and Devil Dinosaur was something they didn’tknow what to do with, as was 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was almostas if Marvel said, “I don’t know, give it to Kirby. Let’s see what hedoes with it!” And Jack never turned down a challenge. He mightnot have been getting the respect he thought he deserved after hislong service to the company (and the millions his creations hadearned), but he was always there to help, and to accept the bookthat was failing.
Which brings us (the long way ’round) to Black Panther.Marvel had canceled the Jungle Action book due to poor sales, but stillthought the Panther character was worth another try. Why not throwJack on it? After all, they needed something to fill the 15-page quotain Jack’s contract. Black Panther was a book Jack was not that interestedin—after all, he always wanted to do something new—but it wasa challenge, and Jack accepted, starting with Black Panther #1(Jan. 1977), written and penciled by Kirby and inked by Mike Royer.
Kirby never read what McGregor had done with the Panther(he usually didn’t read other’s comics—he was too busy with his own),and after all, the book had been canceled and Marvel wanted anew direction for it. Jack went for a more adventure style for BlackPanther, and focused more on the technological aspects ofVibranium, bringing in the Wakandian royal family, lost civilizations,and Kirby-style monsters. He also brought enough new ideas tokeep other writers busy for years (he was Kirby, after all). Jack didhis best with the book (his work ethic wouldn’t let him sleepwalkthough it), but he was not really happy with it, or Marvel. His oldfriend and biographer Mark Evanier claimed that Marvel in the ’70swas not the place for Jack. “They didn’t know how to use Jack…”I’d have to agree. Jack left Black Panther at #12 (Nov. 1978),leaving others to strip out what he put in, and left Marvel.
The fans who encountered Black Panther through McGregor’srun were mystified, and even angry, blaming Kirby for ending Don’srun. Others were still hung up on why Jack wasn’t doing FantasticFour. But Kirby’s Panther was, well, pure Kirby as only Kirby coulddo. Weird, innovative, and at times bizarre, but always entertaining.Jack’s entire run has been reprinted by Marvel in inexpensive tradepaperbacks, so you can find out for yourself.
Thanks to Mark Evanier for taking time off the picket line to talk some Kirby.
by Tom “The Comics Savant” Stewart
Pouncing Panther, Hidden LogoDetail from the cover to Black Panther #7 (Jan. 1978).Pencils by Jack Kirby, inks by Ernie Chan.© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
6 4 • B A C K I S S U E • C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e
“KIRBY IS COMING!”That teaser appeared in DC Comics in 1970, followed
by house ads which were, like Jack Kirby’s art, bombastic.I was a kid back then, mainly a DC fan, lured into therealm a few years earlier by TV’s Batman. I knew whoJack Kirby was, though, because Fantastic Four, one ofmany titles he co-created, was one of the few Marvelbooks I followed (another reading choice predicated upona comics-to-television adaptation). I was too young andtoo green at the time understand the newsworthiness ofwhy Jack Kirby was leaving the company he helped puton the map for its main competitor, and his first efforts atDC—the Fourth World titles (Superman’s Pal JimmyOlsen, New Gods, Forever People, and MisterMiracle)—didn’t win me over (those Plastino andAnderson Superman and Jimmy Olsen heads redrawnover Kirby’s didn’t help, either). My brother John and Iused to snicker at the awkward anatomy in Kirby’s drawings,the square-tipped fingers being a particular point of ridicule.
It was Kirby’s second wave at DC—Kamandi, the LastBoy on Earth and The Demon (which DC really shouldcollect in a Showcase Presents trade, don’t you think?)—that won me over. I was artistically wiser by that point,and Kirby’s new series weren’t encumbered by theinterlocking density of the Fourth World. With those two titles,I finally understood Kirby’s “superpower”: imagination.It’s no wonder that an alliterative nickname in Stan Lee-penned credits has instead become a title of respect.
No “Comic Book Royalty” edition of BACK ISSUEwould be complete without a celebration of Jack“King” Kirby. And so I turned to many of the King’sloyal subjects—some of comics’ finest writers, artists,and editors—and asked them to share with us theirreasons for believing…
A commissioned illustration of Kirby’s kolossalkreation Galactus by Steve “the Dude” Rude,
courtesy of the artist and Jaynelle Rude.© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
poll conducted byM i c h a e l E u r y
How is this even a question? Is there a single comic-book pro currentlyworking who hasn’t been influenced in one way or another byKirby (and if anyone says “no,” odds are they’re either lying ortoo stupid to live). All comic-book roads lead to Kirby. The questionshouldn’t be, “Why was Kirby King?,” it should be, “Why is KirbyKing?”
Kirby’s my all-time fave … a massive talent who combined speed,brilliance, and creativity in a way no one else in comics ever has.We will never see his like again, and we and the comics industry are thatmuch the poorer for it. I can think of no other creator in any disciplinewho led their field for as many years. At the top of his game, at thetop of the food chain!
Back when I was editor-in-chief of Topps Comics, an LA conventiondecided to devote a big panel to everything we were up to. Andsuddenly I found myself onstage with, amongst others, Don Heck,Ray Bradbury, and Jack Kirby. While Jack is certainly deserving of thetitle “King” or even “Comics God” or even “genius,” the Jack Iremember was the man I was with prior to that panel. In a shortperiod of time, I witnessed three fascinating sides of Jack Kirby.
First was Jack Kirby the fan. Jack was in awe of Bradbury. In Bradbury’spresence, Jack was no longer Jack “King” Kirby, but little JacobKurtzberg, the kid who read Bradbury’s stories in sci-fi pulps onthe streets of New York’s Lower East Side. Of course, Bradburyadmired Jack as well, but that thought was too mind-blowing forJack to believe.
Second was Jack the regular guy. This was a man who spoke likemy father and was very down-to-earth talking with one of his peers,Don Heck. I’ll never forget Jack asking Don, “So, did Ditko ever findhimself a woman?”
Third, there was Jack’s “comic-book guru” persona. I suspectJack thought he needed a special way to talk to comic-book fans.Jack was a genius, but you needed to take a course in “Kirbyology”to fully understand what he was talking about when he was in hispublic-speaking mode.
There have been lots of “kings,” but there was only one Jack Kirby.
AL MILGROMMarvel and DC artist/writer/editor •co-creator of Firestorm, the Nuclear ManCommissioned illustration info atwww.theartistschoice.com/milgrom.htm
JIM SALICRUPEditor-in-chief, Papercutzhttp://members.aol.com/_ht_a/jasalicrup/myhomepage
KEITH GIFFENWriter/artist of … well, almost everything!Fan site: www.lonely.geek.nz/giffen.html
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 6 5
The House of Ideas announced the departureof its chief architect in its fanzine, Marvelmania
Monthly Magazine #1 (Apr. 1970). All Marvelmaniaimages are courtesy of Al Bigley.
© 2008 Marvel Characters, Inc.
What we were told about Baron Winters twenty-fiveyears ago:
“In the murky darkness of a house which should notexist lives an enigma. He is uncomfortable existing in time,belonging perhaps to no time, yet existing in all. Why he ishere he cannot tell, but he is here nonetheless. Existing likesome shadow frozen in a moment of light. He calls himselfBaron Winters. But if that is his true name, not even heremembers.” – Marv Wolfman, Night Force #9 (Apr. 1983).
Permit me to reintroduce … Baron Winters. TheBaron is a liar, deceiver, and fabricator of stories to suithis needs and manipulate his recruits. Like the wretchedseason his name symbolizes, Baron Winters is cold,remote, isolated, and often unbearable. He has beencalled a charlatan, a quack, a placebo, and a fraud.
Yet on frequent occasions he has used his subtleand mysterious powers to save mankind from forces itcannot comprehend or successfully confront.
But as confined and dissociated as Baron Wintersis, he cannot save mankind alone. He requires his ownforces to aid him, sometimes at great cost to thoseoft-unwitting recruits.
While a Baron by definition—he is the lord of hisrealm, Wintersgate Manor, and often answerable to anunnamed higher authority—there is a severe limitationto his nobility: He cannot leave his home in the presenttime (although he, and others, can step through portalswithin his house into different time periods in thepast). What the consequences are if he does leave hishome in the present have never been made clear. It ispresumed he will wither and die, as hundreds of years,frozen in time in his domain, will catch up to himphysically when he is no longer bound to the confinesof the estate that powers his alleged immortality.
But not everything involving Baron Winters is amystery. Some things are certain.
“A DIFFERENT KIND OF MYSTERY/HORRORCOMIC”In the early 1980s, the state of the once-thriving DCmystery line was simple and sad: The genre was fadingfast. The Unexpected, Ghosts, and Secrets of HauntedHouse ceased publication over a six-month period from1981 to 1982. House of Mystery and Weird War Taleswere both canceled in 1983. In the midst of this decline,“The Night Force,” touted as a different kind ofmystery/horror comic, debuted in a special preview/prologue insert in The New Teen Titans #21 (Apr. 1982).Originally titled The Challengers then Dark Force, NightForce was settled on so as not to conflict with a HarlanEllison project involving the name “Dark Forces.”
In the Titans letters column, writer Marv Wolfmandescribed Night Force as “true graphic novels ofincredible power and density.” Wolfman and NightForce artist Gene Colan had previously garneredtremendous praise during the 1970s for their work onMarvel Comics’ Tomb of Dracula, and it was hoped byDC that they would work magic again on a seriesdevoted to mystery and the macabre.
“Night Force was my idea,” explains Marv Wolfman,“as I was looking for another book to do and felt I’d liketo create my own horror title and push the boundariesa bit more than I had with Tomb of Dracula. I really
C o m i c B o o k R o y a l t y I s s u e • B A C K I S S U E • 7 1
House ArrestBaron Winters and Wintersgate Manor, illustrated by Gene Colan
and Bob Smith, from Who’s Who vol. 1 #2 (Apr. 1985).Original art scan courtesy of Dave Guiterrez.
TM & © DC Comics.
by J i m K i n g m a n
wanted to try something different and thought I hadsolved the problem of doing an anthology series bydoing it with continued characters. The idea was towrite for the older audience, with darker and morerealistic stories than had been done at that point.”
“Marv had been wanting me to join him ever sincehe made the move to DC,” notes Gene Colan. “It wasMarv who brought me over from Marvel. It was the firstproject we tackled. I was confident it would do well.”
“This was a book I worked out in great detail before Iever wrote the first story,” continues Wolfman. “I even didastrology charts for each character. Gene did multiplecharacter designs until he got what I was looking for.After that it was a matter of me sending Gene fully workedout plots and Gene doing incredible work with them.”
“I tried to give an otherworldly visual aspect to thepanels,” adds Colan. “I remember attempting to warprooms. Whatever I could do. My concern from the startwas how quickly I could get the audience to becomefamiliar with the main characters. There were so many.”
“THE SUMMONING”The first story arc, “The Summoning,” ran for sevenissues (Night Force #1–7, Aug. 1982–Feb. 1983), withan epilogue in issue #8. The extended story fulfilled
Wolfman’s desire to utilize a graphic-novel approachthat allowed the lead and supporting characters todevelop gradually; to change, mature, or regress; and notnecessarily survive. To nominate Vanessa VanHelsing—the young woman touched by an evil thatindividual and political forces strove to raise, harness,and control—as the central character merely simplifiesthe proceedings. There are four strong personalitiesinvolved: Vanessa; Jack Gold, alcoholic and washed-upreporter; Donovan Caine, parapsychologist; and BaronWinters. They all maintain equal footing as malevolentchaos threatens to overwhelm and destroy them all.
Yet Vanessa is the crux that drives “The Summoning,”for she, according to Winters, is the great-granddaughterof Abraham Van Helsing, hunter of Dracula, and it ishis psychic rapport that has been passed down to her.That rapport has manifested considerably. She hasbecome the conduit, channeler, and vessel for what isknown as the “energy” of evil, and a lot of people wantto extract it, through what can only be called demonicceremony, and use it for their own purpose. Caine wantsto destroy the energy, the United States wants to own it,and the Soviets, more determined than everybody, wantto harness and control it as a weapon of mass destruction.
They almost succeed. Vanessa is kidnapped by twoRussians posing as CIA agents during a deadly demonicceremony performed by Caine and his students atGeorgetown University. She is taken to London, England,where she is tested in another “satanic baptism” to see ifshe is really a conduit of the evil energy. Well, of courseshe is, and a branch of the Soviet Embassy in England isdestroyed in the process. Vanessa is then taken toScience City Complex #5, deep in Siberia, where theSoviets perform their most dangerous and secretexperiments. Once again Vanessa is tormented in ademonic ceremony, only this one is the most brutal of alland the evil energy is unleashed and hell-bent ondestroying everything. Utilizing his vast resources,Winters puts Gold and Caine on Vanessa’s trail, and theymake it to the Science City complex only to be captured.But the Soviets release them in hopes that they cansubdue Vanessa. Gold is able to do that by convincingVanessa that he truly loves her, and with that the evil—which in an ironic twist desires to protect Vanessa fromthose who tormented her—collapses and disappears,leaving Vanessa cured. But not quite. The evil is stillwithin her. Gold realizes that, and he knows he lied toVanessa about his love for her. Now he must take careof her and keep her happy to keep the evil suppressed.
It is Donovan Caine who has suffered most. He losthis wife, an arm, and a leg. This is not a happy endingat all for the man who wanted to capture evil’s essenceand eliminate it, but he accepts responsibility for whathe has done and vows to focus on the upbringing ofhis son. Jack and Vanessa plan to wed. Jack feels guiltyat first about lying to Vanessa but in time he grows tolove her. Vanessa, after years of torture and torment,emerges as one happy camper, almost frantically so.She is now free of the Potomac Psychiatric Hospital shewas committed to for years, and is settling with a manwho she believes loves her. Meanwhile, after analmost-incidental series of events to remind readersthat the Baron is technically the book’s star, Wintersutilizes every trick in his book to prevent Detective EliotStone from taking him from his home and arrestinghim for the kidnapping and disappearance of Vanessa.Once Vanessa and Jack return to Wintersgate Manor atthe end of their ordeal, the Baron is in the clear and hecan begin on his next “case.”
TM & © DC Comics.
Meet Baron Winters(above) Jack Gold is quite skeptical of thebizarre Baron on page 8 of Night Force vol. 1#1 (Aug. 1982). Written by Marv Wolfman,with art by Colan and Smith. Courtesy ofAnthony Snyder (www.anthonysnyder.com/art).TM & © DC Comics.
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[Editor’s note: The following is reprinted from Dial B forBlog, with the kind permission of its author. It has been beenedited from its original form of four blog posts into this singlearticle. To view the four blogs in their entirety, with historicalphotos, visit www.dialbforblog.com/archives/85/.]
THE CAPTAIN AND THE KIDIf you think you know all about Captain Marvel, Jr.’sinfluence on Elvis Presley ... think again! Because theWorld’s Mightiest Boy didn’t just influence the King ofRock and Roll’s hairstyle—Captain Marvel, Jr. helpedshape Elvis’ entire lifestyle.
It all began on the battlefields of the first World War,with soldiers enduring bombs that whizzed right overtheir heads like a lightning bolt, then exploded nearbywith a tremendous bang. Wilford “Billy” Fawcett, a formerpolice reporter for the Minneapolis Journal, was a WorldWar I army captain. After the war, Fawcett began printinga small two-color pamphlet containing barracks humormeant to entertain disabled servicemen in veteranshospitals. The title of Fawcett’s self-published pamphletcame from his own former army rank and nickname, plusa reference to one of the “whiz-bang” bombs of WWI.The magazine was called “Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang.”But the monthly collection of off-color jokes, sexy stories,and racy cartoons wasn’t a bomb—it was an instant hit.A wholesaler picked it up in 1919 and started selling itin hotels and drugstores. It soon became an Americanstandard, published continuously for the next thirty years.
Vernon and Gladys Presley had married in 1933 andmoved into a shotgun shack in East Tupelo, Mississippi—a two-room house Vernon built himself, for $180. Gladyssoon got pregnant, and she gave birth to twin boysright in the Presley’s modest home, on January 8, 1935.The first of the twin boys, named Jesse Garon Presley,was stillborn. Vernon Presley placed the baby’s tinycorpse in a shoebox and buried it in an unmarked grave.A half-hour later, the second twin was born. GladysPresley would later tell the boy, “When a twin dies, theone who lives gets the strength of both.” The Presley twinwho survived was given Vernon’s middle name: Elvis.
Just a month after Elvis Presley turned five years old,Fawcett Publications decided to try its luck in the comic-book business. Fawcett oversaw the creation of a newsuperhero whose name came from his own actual rankduring the war, Captain, plus the source of the hero’smagical superpowers, Thunder. At the last minute,Captain Thunder’s name was changed to “CaptainMarvel” for legal reasons. The new book was titled“Whiz Comics,” a nod to “Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang.”The first issue of Whiz Comics starring Captain Marvelwas published in February 1940. The explosion thebook made when it hit the stands was not nearly as loudas that of the “whiz-bang” bombs it was named after—but for the comic industry, it would prove to be everybit as earth-shaking. In the issue, drawn in a cartoony
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And You Thought Michael Jackson’s Diana RossMakeover Was Weird…
A fantasy cover by blogger Robby Reed.Comics characters and logos TM & © DC Comics.
by R o b b y R e e d
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style by Fawcett artist C. C. Beck, a homeless young boy named BillyBatson followed a mysterious stranger deep into the tunnels of anabandoned subway station. There he encountered an ancient wizardnamed Shazam, who ordered Billy to speak his name.
“Shazam,” the magic name that transforms Billy Batson intoCaptain Marvel, is an acronym. It stands for the wisdom of Solomon,strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, invulnerability ofAchilles, and speed of Mercury. The term was popularized as a rusticexpression of surprise by Jim Nabors on the TV sitcoms The Andy GriffithShow and its spin-off Gomer Pyle, USMC. Captain Marvel wore a redmilitary–inspired uniform with gold trim and a yellow lightning-boltinsignia on the chest. His costume also included a white-collared capetrimmed with gold fleur-di-lis symbols, modeled after the ceremonialcape once worn by British nobility. With Whiz Comics selling like hotcakes,Fawcett decided to expand its line by giving Cap his own title,Captain Marvel Adventures.
With Captain Marvel outselling even Superman, Fawcett nextdecided to expand the so-called “Marvel Family.” In the fall of 1941,Fawcett writer Ed Herron came up with the idea of creating a juniorversion of Captain Marvel. DC Comics wouldn’t begin publishingSuperboy until March 1949, so this was the first time a superheroteenager was created not as a mere sidekick, but as a hero in his ownright. Would Herron’s concept work? Would comic fans accept a teenageversion of a wildly popular adult superhero? Young Elvis Presley wouldsoon get his first guitar as a birthday present when he turned 11 yearsold—would a junior version of Captain Marvel appeal to boys like Elvis?
And even if fans such as Elvis would be willing to accept the newcharacter, how could his origin be explained? After all, the wizardShazam had already given all his powers to Billy Batson—how couldthere be any left for a new teenage hero?
AT THE ROCK OF ETERNITYEons ago, after a monumental struggle, the wizard Shazam defeatedhis arch-enemy, “Evil,” and imprisoned him in a bottomless pit locatedin “Eternity.” To keep Evil trapped in this pit, Shazam placed a colossalrock atop it, and Shazam’s spirit took up residence in a temple locatednear the top of this gigantic stone, which is known as the Rock ofEternity. At the Rock of Eternity, it is possible to reach any time period,world, or dimension. Here, time itself stands still.
When creating Captain Marvel, Jr., Fawcett took a risk by hiringartist Mac Raboy to draw the character. Raboy’s fine, delicate linework was far more realistic than that of Captain Marvel cartoonistsC. C. Beck and Pete Costanza, but it was perfect for Cap Jr., a characterwhose adventures Fawcett was aiming at slightly older readers.
When Elvis was just six years old, in December 1941, CaptainMarvel, Jr. appeared on the scene. His three-part origin story crossedover between two different titles, a rarity in the Golden Age. Cap Jr.’sorigin started in Master Comics #21, continued in Whiz Comics #25,and concluded in Master Comics #22.
The story went like this: Freddy Freeman and his grandfather wereout fishing when they were attacked by a villain named Captain Nazi.Freddy’s grandfather was killed, and Freddy was crippled and left fordead. Captain Marvel discovered the young boy, barely alive, and flewhim to a hospital, where doctors told Cap that young Freddy Freemanwould not live through the night. Desperate to save the boy’s life,Cap transformed back into Billy Batson, snuck the unconsciousFreddy out of the hospital, and took him to the undergroundchamber where Billy had first met the wizard Shazam.There, Billy could communicate with the wizard’s spirit,which resided at the Rock of Eternity. Billy begged thewizard for help. Shazam said he couldn’t repair Freddy’sdamaged body, but Captain Marvel could share aportion of his mighty powers with Freddy to revive him.Billy agreed. Billy said the ancient wizard’s name—Shazam!—and was transformed into Captain Marvel.At that moment Freddy woke up, saw Cap, andexclaimed, “Captain Marvel!” As he did, the magic lightning struckagain, and Freddy Freeman was transformed into the World’sMightiest Boy, to be known henceforth as Captain Marvel, Jr.
Unlike Billy Batson, who transforms into Captain Marvel by saying thename of the wizard Shazam, Freddy Freeman transforms into CaptainMarvel, Jr. by saying the name of his hero, Captain Marvel. Fawcettthought this would remind readers to buy Cap Sr.’s book—which it mayhave—but it also had unintended comic consequences. Because of it,Captain Marvel, Jr. is the only superhero who is unable to say his ownname, since he transforms back into Freddy Freeman when he does.
Captain Marvel, Jr. began starring in Master Comics with issue #23,February 1942. Junior was given his very own title just nine months later,when Elvis Presley was seven years old. On November 6, 1948, Vernon,Gladys, and 13-year-old Elvis moved from Tupelo, Mississippi, toMemphis, Tennessee. The Presleys lived briefly in two Memphis boardinghouses, then, in September 1949, their application to reside at Lauderdale
With Five Magic Pages……Dave Cockrum endeared himself to 1970s Shazam! fansby illustrating a Captain Marvel, Jr. short story in Shazam!#9 (Jan. 1974). Shown here is an undated, unpublishedsketch of Junior by Cockrum, courtesy of Robby Reed.TM & © DC Comics.
Courts, a public-housing apartment, was approved.The Presleys’ modest two-bedroom unit consisted of aliving room, bathroom, and walk-in kitchen that camewith a working 1951 Frigidaire fridge and a tiny stoveissued by the Memphis Housing Authority—all for $35 amonth rent. Compared to their previous residences, it wasa huge improvement, but they remained dirt poor. To beeligible for public housing, a family’s income could notexceed $3,000 per year. Lauderdale Courts consisted of 66buildings and 449 apartments. The Presleys soon becamepart of this vibrant community, and it was here, in abasement laundry room, that future superstar Elvis Presleypracticed his singing and guitar playing. Presley lived herebetween 1949 and 1953, when he was attending HumesHigh School. From his apartment at Lauderdale Courts,Elvis could fill his leisure time by walking to Beale Street tohear black rhythm and blues music, attending gospelconcerts two blocks away at the Ellis Auditorium, and,quite possibly, reading comic books. Elvis’ LauderdaleCourt apartment has been preserved as a historic spot,and a copy of Captain Marvel, Jr. #51, cover-dated July1947, has been placed on a desk in Elvis’ old room.
It’s not likely that this particular issue ever made it toLauderdale Courts, though. Since the Presleys moved in1949, Elvis would had to have saved the book for over twoyears. But as a symbol of Elvis’ love for the character,it’s perfect. So, what issues did young Elvis read? From ourtimeless vantage point at the Rock of Eternity, reader, itlooks like September 1949 to January 1953 is the timeperiod when Elvis, from the ages of 14 to 18, is mostlikely to have first encountered Captain Marvel, Jr.According to Pamela Clarke Keogh’s Elvis Presley: The Man.The Life. The Legend, Elvis used comics as an escape.“Like a lot of kids with a chaotic home life, Elvis created hisown world inside his head. He read comic books and wasdrawn to Superman, Batman, and, most of all, CaptainMarvel, Jr. Around the age of 12, Elvis discovered CaptainMarvel, Jr. and quickly became almost obsessed withhim.” Billy Smith, a lifelong friend of Elvis’ and member ofthe so-called “Memphis Mafia” [Elvis’ circle of associates,friends, and yes-men], concurs: “One of the comics Elvisread when he was a kid was Captain Marvel, Jr. He wentafter Captain Nazi during WWII. And he had this dualimage—normal, everyday guy and super crime-fighter.Sounds like Elvis, don’t it?” Finally, Elvis himself oncementioned comic books in a speech. “When I was a child,I was a dreamer,” Elvis said. “I read comic books, and I wasthe hero of the comic book.” So, there can be no doubtthat Elvis Presley did, indeed, read and love CaptainMarvel, Jr. comic books. Since the Presleys were dirt poor,with a family income of just $3,000 a year, it’s likely Elvisborrowed comics from friends, and didn’t get to actuallybuy comics himself very often. Imagine the young King ofRock and Roll in front of a newsstand, staring at racksfull of comics—each one calling out to him, each onebursting with amazing action and dazzling color, eachone promising a fantastic new adventure. He could prob-ably only have afforded to buy a single comic. Whichbook, specifically, might have caught young Elvis’ eye?
A historian might say we have no way of knowing—but historians aren’t usually comic-book fans. We are.We don’t have to imagine what it’s like to stare at racksof comics and choose—we do it every week! And weknow that when money is in short supply, we comic fansare likely to buy team books, because they features lotsof superheroes. Or, if we have a favorite character,we’ll more than likely buy just that character’s owntitle, because that way we’re guaranteed more storiesfeaturing the hero we want to see. So, although
Captain Marvel, Jr. appeared in a number of differentcomics, it’s almost certain that Elvis, if buying, wouldhave gone for Cap Jr.’s own title. Given the dates ofElvis’ move to Memphis, the issues of Cap Jr. he ismost likely to have read are #77–119.
Late in 1952, Fawcett Publications was faced with alawsuit from DC Comics claiming Captain Marvel was arip-off of Superman. Rather than continue to fight it at atime when the comic-book market was in rapid decline,Fawcett discontinued the entire “Marvel” line. ForCaptain Marvel, Jr., this meant his own title ended withissue #119, Master Comics was canceled with issue #133,and The Marvel Family’s final issue was #89. The timeswere changing. And things were about to change forElvis, too. Lauderdale Courts was not meant to be apermanent residence. Tenants could be forced tomove if they were earning too much money, and thisis exactly what happened to the Presleys in 1953.
They moved to 698 Saffarans in Memphis’ Uptownneighborhood in January 1953, just one day before Elvisturned 18. He had already begun to model his look afterCaptain Marvel, Jr. “He already had the greased haircolor and black satin pants—with his friends standingnext to him in jeans and shirts,” according to Elvisresearcher Alex Mobley. “He already looked differentthan every other boy. Everyone in the Courts knew whohe was.” Six months later after moving, on June 3,1953, Elvis Presley graduated from Hume HighSchool in Memphis. What would he do now?“You know,” Elvis confided to hiscousin Earl, “I believe there’s asuperboy inside me, just waitingto bust out.” Elvis was right.He had the talent, the looks, thecharm, and the style. There wasa superboy inside him just waitingto bust out. The only thing missingwas the magic words.
What Young ElvisWas ReadingFawcett Comics’Captain Marvel, Jr.#51 (July 1947),now a museumartifact.TM & © DC Comics.
TM & © DC Comics.
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TM & © DC Comics.
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Who is the most famous prince in the history of comics? Prince Valiant? Prince Namor?Diana Prince? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. With apologies to Hal Foster, Bill Everett, andCharles Moulton (respective creators of the aforementioned princes who wouldn’t be king),the most well known comic-book prince is, well, Prince, the eccentric rock star who madehis splash during the 1980s with such flashy, funky pop songs as “Little Red Corvette,”“When Doves Cry,” and “Delirious,” and who continues to thrill pop music fans today.
You may be wondering: What in the wild, wild world of sports does Prince have to dowith comic books? In 1991, during a boom of sorts for music-basedcomic books (thanks in part to Revolutionary, the publisherof such titles as The Led Zeppelin Experience), DC Comics, underits Piranha Music label, released Prince: Alter Ego, a one-shotwritten by Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League Unlimited),penciled by Denys Cowan (The Question), and inked byKent Williams (Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown).
Emblazoned with a gorgeous cover by the always greatBrian Bolland, Prince: Alter Ego tries hard to infuse thestorytelling techniques of sequential art with the power anddrama of music. The result is a wistfully (and at timesartfully) written, hopelessly corny morality play that offersconvenient, romantic solutions to complex problems.
Our story begins with Prince cruising along on hispurple motorcycle, returning to Minneapolis after along tour, the tassels of his gaudy leather jacketblowing in the wind. As he enters the city, whichis “his favorite song, a tune he knows by heart,”he senses that the rhythm is not quite right,that something is amiss, like “hearing a favorite oldsingle playing slightly off-speed.” Obviously, themusic metaphors in this comic book run deep,which is a credit to McDuffie. In fact, they spillover into literalism as Prince decides to “make alittle music of his own” to set things straight.
Unable to find his muse, Prince leaves thestudio in hopes of distraction (her name isMuse, fittingly enough), but finds more thanhe bargained for: a pair of gangs on the vergeof war. Amazingly (not to mention unbelievably),Prince quells the conflict with the following retort:“I thought you two were supposed to be leaders.What happens to your people if you start a war witheach other?” Upon hearing these words of wisdom,the gang leaders share an epiphany that makes themappear to come out of a trance and see the error of their ways.That the scene didn’t end in tears, a hug, and an exchange ofsugar cookie recipes was a little surprising.
After stopping the gang war, Prince remains uneasy, thanks to thecity’s “subtle new rhythm.” He goes to his old haunt, the Glam Slamdance club, and hears a familiar sound: his own music, but played with“pure, explosive hatred” that causes people to “rip each otherapart.” Prince discovers that his ex-band mate, Gemini, is backon stage, producing harmful, rage-inducing music. The resultingaltercation and flashback sequence (in which Prince first
Prince by Brian BollandDetail from the cover to Prince: Alter Ego.
TM & © Warner Bros./DC Comics.
by B r e t t W e i s s