For some, reprints are of no interest. But, for those without deep pockets or a life expectancy of 175, they are a welcomed addition to a collection. One example for sure, is the work on Strange Tales by Steve Ditko. Those issues are tough to find intact at a decent price. Thanks to Marvel’s Essentials, though, I solved that problem. After Ditko left the title (and Marvel), there was a cavalcade of creators thrown on the title. Not a lack of effort or good content, just not a lot of continuity throughout. The one and only annual for the series (the 1974 series), was a bunch of reprints from the era just after Ditko left the book. You do get some cool stories of the Doc fighting monsters, a mad scientist, and his killer robot!
The issues in this annual are mostly written by Jim Lawrence (script on all but the last), a man I know very little about, to be honest. After searching his name, I saw that he did some James Bond strips, and a few things for Marvel in the 1970’s. Not bad scripts, but not up to the standard set forth by the other headliners of the times. Dan Adkins (pencils, inks on one chapter, and plots) gave us some solid pencils, and inked one issue that George Tuska filled in for him as well. The last two stories were written by Denny O’Neil, and we all know about his writing chops (Batman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Amazing Spider-Man, etc.)! As if all these names were not enough, you still get that awesome cover by none other than Gil Kane!
I’ve read these stories in black & white in Essential Doctor Strange Volume 1. Dan Adkins was a good artist, rather underrated. Obviously anyone following on immediately after Steve Ditko on Doctor Strange (a series which I feel he made so identifiably his even more than Spider-Man) is going to pale somewhat in comparison. Bill Everett and Marie Severin were both very talented, and inevitably their work on Doctor Strange was overshadowed to Ditko’s preceding iconic run. Such was also the case with Adkins. Nevertheless he did quality work with the character.
By the way, every single time I see that splash page with Voltorg it looks to me like he’s getting ready to pound out a drum solo 🙂
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Voltorg = Keith Moon 😀 Yeah, Adkins is definitely an underrated guy.
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