Star-Lord Special Edition 1, 1982

Two names that are synonymous with the Bronze Age are most certainly Chris Claremont and John Byrne (and Terry Austin). Their collaboration on the character Iron Fist was the beginning, but then the real feast came in the X-Men, of course. One lesser known partnership between the two juggernauts was in an issue of the magazine Marvel Preview (#11 to be exact). Claremont would write a few more stories after this one but not with Byrne on art. This special edition reprints that story, plus adds some framing sequences with art by Michael Golden (only posting the Byrne artwork though, as that’s how it was originally released)! And I’ll definitely include the great wrap-around (sort of…first and last images) cover by Terry Austin! Enjoy!

 

The Project Pegasus Saga Part One (Marvel Two-in-One 53, 54, 55, 1979)!

As of now, you can buy a deluxe hardcover of this great story, but back in the day, you had to grab the single issues. One of my favorite off-beat books of all time is most certainly Marvel Two-in-One! The title almost always featured Ben Grimm, and this Jack Kirby creation is one of the best characters to spring from his incredible mind. When thrown-in with another character, Grimm really shines. His personality is often repressed slightly when issue after issue of Fantastic Four he was portrayed as just muscle (with exception of an issue here and there). His sense of humor really shined in these stories, and solidified him as one of Marvel’s greatest characters.

One of the names synonymous with Marvel Comic’s history is Mark Gruenwald (writer). His days as an editor, writer, and overall continuity cop are nothing short of legendary. Along with Ralph Macchio (writer), these two men gave us an epic story that endures! If you need two men to render a story, you might as well get John Byrne (pencils) and Joe Sinnott (inks)! Toss in names like Bob Sharen (colors), John Costanza (letters), Diana Albers (letters), George Pérez (cover pencils to 55), and Roger Stern (editor),  and the dream team is set!

 

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Silver Surfer (vol. 2) #1, 1982

In this awesome issue, we see the Silver Surfer, as he’s trying to break the curse put on him by his former master, Galactus, and leave Earth. He hungers for another chance to scour the space-ways, and see his beloved Shalla Bal again. With the help of the Fantastic Four, he accomplishes this feat, but as we all know, there is always a price to be paid for actions such as these. In this one-shot, we see victory, defeat, agony, and irony. The Surfer, and his enemy forever, Mephisto!

In this one issue, John Byrne gives us an absolute masterpiece. His plot is fantastic, and with a script by Stan Lee, letters by Rick Parker, and inks by the ever-present Tom Palmer, you get one heckuva creative team on this one! Byrne really flexes his artistic muscles here, and shows a wide range. From the awesome shots of the Marvel cosmic universe, to the demonic depths of Mephisto’s realm, you will be in awe of the details in his work. Check it out!

 

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Superstar Artists- John Byrne! Pt. 3

In this, the last installment of my John Byrne tribute, we’ll see some of his spectacular work on Captain America (with collaborator Roger Stern), his brilliant X-Men (with partner Chris Claremont) work, and a couple of nuggets from the mid-1970’s, in Marvel Team-Up! Whether it was Josef Rubinstein or Terry Austin on inks, you cannot deny the power of Byrne’s pencils. He really knew how to grab the readers eyes, and have them glued to the panels! So, get ready and strap on your seat-belt, because we’re getting cosmic and crazy with this post! Enjoy!

 

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Superstar Artists- John Byrne! Pt. 2

After seeing some of John Byrne’s awesome work on the Fantastic Four in my earlier post, I thought it was time for some of his other work, you know, stuff off of the beaten path. His early Avengers work, the West Coast run, Silver Surfer, and a Hulk story from Marvel Fanfare that will knock your socks off will be featured in today’s post. So, get ready to be dazzled! Enjoy!

 

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Superstar Artists- John Byrne! Pt. 1

Another week, and another post that spotlights a giant in the comic book world! John Byrne has accomplished many things as an artist and a writer, but most hold him high for two specific runs in his lifetime (3 for me). First, is probably his X-Men work alongside longtime stalwart, Chris Claremont. That era of X-Men really put them on the map, and resurrected that team from the dead (HUGE thanks to Len Wein, Dave Cockrum (who’ll get his own spotlight soon!), and editor Marv Wolfman, as well). I’m going to start out with some of his work on Fantastic Four, and then move on to other titles. From action to the mundane, he could do it all. So, without further delay, get ready for some classic Byrne! Enjoy!

 

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Fantastic Four #224, 1982. “When Calls Galactus”

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Just look at that cover! You know, John Byrne did some incredible work on this title, personally though, I think his X-Men work is his best stuff! In this fantastic issue, we get to see a few different things, (seen in flashback) one of which being Galactus, at the mercy of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Dr. Strange. You see, he had just traveled to Earth, and dealt with his herald, Terrax, which left him starving. At this point, he was defeated by those above mentioned forces, but they felt compelled to help him live.

Reed, along with Iron Man, and Thor, builds a contraption to feed Galactus enough power to leave Earth. Richards also uses his intellect to find suitable sustenance for Galactus as well. As Galactus awakens, he is puzzled by his enemies helping him, but tells them that if their calculations are off about the planets nearby, he’ll have to come back, and feed on Earth. At that point, the heroes will have to either let him feed (destroy Earth), or kill him.

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Meanwhile, Johnny’s girlfriend, Frankie Ray, A.K.A. Nova, has been watching and listening. She then makes a sacrifice, and volunteers to become the new herald of Galactus! Johnny is incensed at the thought of losing her, but she tells him that it’s what she wants. Galactus then pushes the Fantastic Four aside, encasing them in a bubble, and uses his cosmic power to enhance Nova, making her capable of things she never dreamed. She immediately takes off for the cosmos, as Johnny attempts to follow her. He falls short though, as he reaches Earth’s upper atmosphere, and flames out, due to the lack of oxygen. Galactus then ponders why he agreed to Reed and Frankie’s terms, but pauses, and as he teleports to his ship, he remarks that he might actually call these Earthlings, friends.

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Back in the “now”, Johnny is grief-stricken, and is comforted by Juliette D’Angelo. After hearing all this, she’s absolutely floored. In the last few pages, we see a bit of a prologue, as little Franklin Richards is playing with Ben and H.E.R.B.I.E. We see him pick up a Rubik’s Cube, and his eyes begin to glow with power. H.E.R.B.I.E., then senses an immense power within him, but is blown to pieces by the surge within the child!

The artwork by Byrne is obviously great, but the story is pretty good too, especially when you consider this book was under the watchful eyes of people like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas, and other greats over the years. I hope you enjoyed this post, and be ready for another good one in a few days!

 

 

 

 

The Avengers #185, 1979. “The Yesterday Quest”

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I don’t know if it’s possible to imagine a better comic book. Mark Gruenwald & Steven Grant (plot), David Michelinie (script), John Byrne (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Costanza (letters), and Slifer (colors). Oh, and did I forget to mention George Perez and Terry Austin on the cover? The story is one of my all time favorite Avengers stories. It digs into the past of Wanda & Pietro Maximoff (Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver), and also showcases Modred, Ch’Thon, and the High Evolutionary! Enjoy!