Dracula Lives! 11, 1975 “Pit of Death!” and ” Lilith Unleashed!”

In trying to focus on more mags from the Bronze Age, I thought it was time Dracula made an appearance! The Count has a long history in Marvel Comics, and although the black and white mags are awesome, nothing compares to the Tomb of Dracula series that Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan worked on together. That said, don’t sell these stories short, because they have some fantastic creators on them! Speaking of which, inside the front cover, we see an incredible illustration by Bob Hall (first image after the cover)! It remains one of my all time favorite images of Dracula.

The meat of the book has some excellent work. The biggest part of the book is the adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel Dracula by Roy “The Boy” Thomas and Dick Giordano. It’s only one chapter but the pages are incredible. It was never finished in these format but both men finished it years later and it was reproduced in a trade/HC.

Another magnificent tale (part two) “Agents of Hell” is by Doug Moench and Tony DeZuniga. We see a young man trapped in the catacombs of a castle, and he must fight off the brides of Dracula, but even if he survives, can he defeat the greatest vampire that ever existed? That story is followed by “The Vampire of Mednegna.” This story shows a man named Arnold Paole, as he returns from a trip to Greece, but he has returned a very different man. Again, we get Doug Moench (writer) but the artwork was by Golden Age stalwart, Win Mortimer!

Finally we see a very graphic tale starring none other than Dracula’s daughter, Lilith! Within just a few short panels, she tears a rapist to pieces! This is a very different story though (not just blood and guts), and a must read because the author is none other than Steve “Baby” Gerber! The artwork is credited to three gentlemen that are names synonymous with the Bronze Age- Bob Brown, Frank Chiaramonte, and Pablo Marcos!

And let us not forget the cover that was painted by Steve Fabian!

 

 

 

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Moon Knight Special Edition 3, 1984 “A Long Way to Dawn” and “”The Mind Thieves”

Every once and a while, you get a comic book that reflects society, sometimes the bad parts of society that previously no one else wanted to show. Sometimes writers and artists have a tendency to ram messages about societal problems down a readers throat, and that of course is not a good thing. I won’t give any examples but in the 1980’s, you have plenty of comics that were critical darlings that weren’t very subtle in delivering a point about social issues. There are however titles like this one, that do an excellent job of showing things as they are for some people, and enlighten the people from the other side of the tracks on just how bad things can be.

When Doug Moench (writer) and Bill Sienkiewicz (artist) took over the reigns of the character Moon Knight, they made comics that were thought-provoking, edgy, and they did it without being overt about their intentions. Too many writers nowadays fall into the trap of beating the readers over the head with their own agendas, without ever considering whether they’re even remotely right or who they may alienate. Can you even imagine what these guys would create together in this day and age? The scary part is that there isn’t anybody in mainstream comics with the cajonies these guys had back in 1980! Pimps, drunks, drug addicts, and thieves, you get them all in this book!

 

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Giant-Size Werewolf 5, 1975 “The Plunder of Paingloss”

In my time-honored tradition of spotlighting goofball villains, this one is a doosie! When the front cover of a comic book exclaims…”The Peril of Paingloss,” it’s a pretty safe bet that you’re in for something wacky. That said, Werewolf by Night could fight a troupe of clowns and I’d buy it, so maybe I’m not the best measuring stick for this one. Moving on, Jack Russell and his confidant, Buck Cowan, end up embroiled in some mystical mayhem that almost kills the two of them! Yes, by the mighty Paingloss (try to hold back your laughter)!

I didn’t know who the creative team was on this one until I got it home and checked it out. I wasn’t shocked to see the name Doug Moench (writer) in the credits. He did plenty of work on this title and during this period for Marvel. You could always count on a solid script/story with him at the helm. The artist is one that I’ve seen before, maybe once or twice, and Yong Montano (pencils/inks) definitely delivered in this issue. The letterer is another name that doesn’t evoke the Bronze Age feel, but Marcos Pelayo does a fine job. The rest of the cast is the usual bunch of stalwarts in Len Wein (editor), George Roussos (colors), and a wonderful cover by Gil Kane (pencils) and Tom Palmer (inks)! There are a couple of back-ups as well, and one features art by the legendary, Joe Orlando!

 

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Tales of the Zombie 6, 1974 “Child of Darkness!”

The Marvel black and white magazines from the Bronze Age are nothing short or astonishing. The painted covers, great creators, and over-sized goodness are just a few reasons why I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to grab more every time I hit a convention. One of the books at the top of my list, is Tales of the Zombie. This particular issue only has two stories (most had more), but they’re great ones! The first is a Simon Garth tale, and as you can imagine, it involves something eerie. A prominent couple that leaves all their wealth behind to move into a voodoo infested swamp! The second tale involves Brother Voodoo! Yes, Jericho Drumm himself, as he battles The Black Talon!

As far as creative teams go, this book is tough to beat. The Zombie story has Steve Gerber (writer), and Pablo Marcos (art)! Both men made their names in the 1970’s, and their work still resonates to this day. The second story is brought to us by Len Wein (plot), Doug Moench (script), and the art team of Gene Colan (pencils) and Frank Chiaramonte (inks). The fabulous cover is by the late Earl Norem. He did a few of these great covers for Marvel’s magazines, and really seems to have been an unsung hero of the industry.

 

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Tales of the Zombie #3, 1973 “When The Gods Crave Flesh!”

I have a new passion for a certain comic book that wont stop gnawing at me. The black and white horror magazines from the 1970s are very hypnotizing; from the fantastic artwork, the wild stories, and the overall more mature tone are really exceptional. I’ve already talked about the first issue of these that bought a while back (Monsters Unleashed #11), and that one really hooked me into the genre. I was already a fan of most of the creators that worked in this era, and saw some work from creators I’d never seen before (Billy Graham, being one). In this great issue, we start out with a story starring the one and only, Simon Garth (the Zombie)! There are four other stories (one reprint maybe?) in the issue, but this first one definitely stands out the most, as you will see!

Legendary writer, Steve “Baby” Gerber wrote the Zombie story, and with artwork by “Prolific” Pablo Marcos, you really get the best of what these magazines had to offer. Throw in more artwork by long time artists Tony Dipreta, and Bill Walton (both Golden Age alumni), and more stories written from talents like “Devil-May-Care” Doug Moench and Tony “The Tiger” Isabella, and you get an incredible book! Let’s be honest though, you’ll fall in love with this one just from the Boris Vallejo cover alone (a definite shout out to magazine editor, “Marvelous” Marv Wolfman, as well!)!

 

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Kull The Conqueror #2, 1983 “The Blood of Kings!”

You might be cool, but you’ll never be Kull fighting werewolves cool! Sorry to burst your bubble so early on, but it’s true! The story is great, and features Kull, trying to live the good life, and be with his woman, but of course, in typical hero fashion, evil is never far behind! When you mix fantasy and horror, you can get a great mix that spills out into something exceptional. This is definitely one of those times, and we have Robert E. Howard to thank for creating the awesomeness that is Kull the Conqueror!

The Bronze Age of comics gave us the beginnings of some incredible writers. One of those that doesn’t get as much air time as he should, is Doug Moench. If you look at just Werewolf by Night and Moon Knight, that in itself is something to admire. The wraparound cover and interior art is by John Bolton, and if you’ve never seen his work before, look up issues of Classic X-Men, where he and Chris Claremont did supplemental stories in the back pages of that series for a while. Joe Rosen on letters, Christie Scheele (along with Bolton) on colors, and Ralph Macchio editing, round out the creative team on this tale of the supernatural!

 

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Fantastic Four #219, 1980 “Leviathans”

The reason I chose this issue, aside from it being the Fantastic Four, is the story, and the creative team. The latter, I’ll get to in a minute, but first, let’s get acquainted with the story. In it, we see Namor, as his underwater kingdom is attacked by some foreign army of underwater creatures. On the surface, Reed is growing more and more apart from the rest of the team. Snapping at them for something miniscule, he storms off in a huff. Can the team unite and help Namor fight off a multitude of attackers, one of which has attained a relic from Atlantis that can make him unbeatable?

Now, on to the creative team. At this point, the book was in a slight bit of flux, in that the Kirby/Lee legendary run was well over, and a couple of the other, lesser known (but still kicked butt!) runs were also over (Wein/Perez, Conway/Buckler, etc.). The other big run, that of John Byrne had yet to begin, leaving room for a strange but incredible great story like this one to be presented by Doug Moench (writer), Bill Sienkiewicz (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Jim Novak (letters), colors by George Roussos, and edited by Jim Salicrup! Enjoy this great issue by this awesome team of creators!

 

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Pin-up by 'Joltin'  Joe Sinnott

Pin-up by ‘Joltin’ Joe Sinnott

Werewolf by Night #36, 1975 “Images of Death”

It’s time once again, to bark at the moon! Another tale in the twisted life of Jack Russell is upon us, and this time, we’ll see a beheading, a hanging, skeletons, rats, and a squad of ghost cops! Well, and just to be clear, we’ll see a werewolf as well! I love necromancer type characters, and virtually all magic practitioners in comic books. Why this is, I have no idea, but the sorcerer supreme, Doctor Strange is my all-time favorite. The villain in this story, is a man named Belaric Marcosa. The dude wasn’t around very long, but he was a great villain for Werewolf by Night. And besides, the dude was so cool, he had two rubies imbedded in his two front teeth!

The awesome villain was created by Doug Moench, and Don Perlin. These two guys (especially Perlin) get very little credit for their work on this title, but if you really take a long look at their run, it’s chocked full of weirdo characters that made this book so good. Don’t just forsake everything past the early issues, because if you do, you will be doing a disservice to yourself! Written by Doug Moench, art by Don Perlin, colors by George Roussos, letters by Debra James, and edited by Marv Wolfman! Enjoy!

 

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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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Werewolf by Night #40, 1976 “Souls in Darkness”

Wow, if you can find another decade that had as many off-beat (but crazy cool) characters created in it, please, let me know. In this issue, we see the return of Doctor Glitternight. This wild character is from the minds of Doug Moench and Don Perlin, and their run had some really zany moments that most people can’t even dream of trying to write, let alone make any sense of, but they did it wonderfully!

In this issue, Moench (writing) and Perlin (pencils & inks?), show us how to get down in Haiti with Brother Voodoo! The team (Brother Voodoo, Werewolf by Night, and Topaz) are trying to save the life of Raymond Coker. In doing so, Topaz gets turned into a demon, and tries to kill everybody! You get werewolves, zombies, demons, a sorcerer, and Brother Voodoo to cap it all off! It seems (by the credits) that Perlin inked himself in this issue, and sometimes when artists that normally do a lot of pencils ink themselves, it doesn’t turn out for the best for some reason. But in this case, it looks pretty solid. Actually, the first splash page kind of reminds me  Gene Colan (check it out and see if I’m wrong!). Credits also include – Ed Hannigan & Tom Palmer (cover), Debra James (letters), Janice Cohen (colors), and Marvelous Marv Wolfman (editing).

 

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