Time Warp 1, 1979 “Doomsday Tales and Other Things”

In the late 1970s, DC cut back on their titles, and laid off a ton of employees. The comics just weren’t selling, and they needed to regroup. The early 1980s would bring some new hope in the form of All-Star Squadron, and New Teen Titans, but there were also some additions that are very obscure, but noteworthy for the comic book aficionados out there!

A short series of only five issues, this weird book gave us some rather interesting material. Mostly sci-fi (with a little horror), this first issue is chocked full of creators with a long list of credits, and quite frankly, legends in the business. From aliens to spider-men, you’ll be whisked away to fantasy worlds that will take you back to a time when comics were great!

Cover by Mike Kaluta, interiors stories by Denny O’Neil, Michael Fleischer, George Kashdan, Mike Barr, Jack Harris, Bob Rozakis, and Paul Levitz. The art teams are nothing short of spectacular and include the late, great Rich Buckler, Dick Giordano, Steve Ditko, Tom Sutton, Jerry Grandenetti, Don Newton, Dan Adkins, and Jim Aparo!

 

 

Strange Tales 146, “The End at Last!”

All good things must come to an end…and so did the reign of a certain creator on this title! In this awesome story, we see Dormammu battling not only his nemesis Dr. Strange and then none other than Eternity! Dormammu laid a trap for Eternity and the Doc, but things fall apart rather quickly in this issue for the fiery-headed fiend! Before that though, we do see just how powerful Dormammu is, when he confronts Eternity, and manages to hold his own for a while!

The glorious artwork by “Sturdy” Steve Ditko in this, his last issue of Strange Tales, is absolutely marvelous. There are three full splash pages that are nothing short of brilliant, and Spider-Man aside, show his best work in a superhero book. Most know of Ditko’s abrupt departure from Marvel Comics, and how he’s the biggest recluse in comic book history (to my knowledge). I’d love for him to do just one interview to set some things straight, and not listen to all the pundits speculate about certain matters. Either way, he’s one of the best creators of the industry has ever seen, and should be lauded as such. The story is scripted by “Dandy” Denny O’Neil, colors by Stan Goldberg, and letters by Artie Simek!

The other story in the book (“When the Unliving Strike!”) features Nick Fury. The story by Stan Lee, and layouts by Jack “King” Kirby, pencils by “Dashing” Don Heck, inks by “Mirthful” Mick Demeo, and letters by Sam Rosen.

 

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Giant-Size Dr. Strange #1, 1975 “This Dream…This Doom!”

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!

 

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Moon Knight #23, 1982 “Perchance to Scream”

I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Moon Knight. No vitriol here, but I just never was a huge fan for some unknown reason. That being said, I am picking up a few issues to give the character a shot. One of these issues is Moon Knight #23, and with a cover like this one (by Bill Sienkiewicz), you cannot deny the high “cool” factor it delivers. The issue is basically a part two of  an encounter between Moonie and his foe, Morpheus. I’m not too familiar with this adversary, but he looks completely deranged, and a perfect fit for this title. Oh, and if you didn’t know, “Perchance to Scream” is a riff on “Perchance to Dream”, by Shakespeare (Hamlet).

Let’s be honest about this book. Doug Moench (writer) and Bill Sienkiewicz (pencils & inks) made this character what he is to this day. It’s the defining run for Moon Knight, and from what I have read/heard, rightly so. Sienkiewicz is definitely an acquired taste, and one that you definitely have to give a chance with reading a few issues and just not one or two before you make up your mind. Personally, I find his work striking, and just flat-out different from everyone else in the biz. Letters by Joe Rosen, colors by Christie Scheele, and edited by Denny O’Neil!

 

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Chamber of Darkness #1, 1969. “Tales of Maddening Magic”

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Lets be honest for a moment…who doesn’t love Jazzy John Romita?!? Of course, that was rhetorical! Just look at this offering from 1969. The credits on the interiors are just as impressive too! Stan Lee, John Buscema, John Verpoorten, Denny O’Neil, Tom Sutton, Gary Friedrich, Don Heck, and Frank Giacoia! I chose this one for not only the awesome Romita cover, but also because it’s Big John Buscema’s birthday today, too! Enjoy!