The 1970’s had such an eclectic selection of comic books, that looking back, you can’t deny the place it has in history. It’s understood that without the Golden Age, and Silver Age, things wouldn’t have turned out that way, but that fact doesn’t diminish the greatness of the Bronze Age! Take for instance, the title, Black Goliath. In only five issues, it gave us a superhero of color, and one that was definitely a strong character. If you look back, that was something in short supply. The scientist, Bill Foster, was an employee of Stark Industries, and later became the scientific partner of Hank Pym. In this, the final issue of the series, Foster must do battle with a giant alien savage named Mortag! And also protect two others with no superpowers!
The story is pretty good, and with someone like Chris Claremont writing, you kind of expect it after all he’s done. The artist is the terribly underrated Keith Pollard (a guy I’ve spotlighted before on my blog). He had a good run on the Fantastic Four, and Thor, and if you check out those issues, you’ll be impressed. The colorist is Bonnie Wilford, and the letterer, Irv Watanabe. The short-lived editor, but always reliable writer, Archie Goodwin rounds out the team! Oh, and let us not forget the action packed cover by the master, Gil Kane (pencils) and another Marvel stalwart of the era, Al Milgrom (inks)!
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I agree, and in the case of this issue of the Fantastic Four, you can definitely see that the entire thing is an homage to Jack Kirby. The Fantastic Four are awesome enough, but throw in the Inhumans, and Thraxon the Schemer, and you get a Bronze Age winner! Alright, the big draw isn’t Thraxon the Schemer, but a throw-down between the Sphinx and Black Bolt! Yes, these two heavyweights go toe to toe, and this is one brawl you can’t miss!
When the epic adventure starts with an incredible cover by “Big” John Buscema (pencils) and “Joltin” Joe Sinnott (inks), you know you’re in for a great visual story. The FF at this time was under the guidance of “Marvelous” Marv Wolfman (writer & editor) and he really crafted some cool cosmic tales during his tenure. The interior work was also very good, and we have Bob Hall (pencils, first half), Keith Pollard (pencils, second half), and Bob Wiacek (inks) to thank for that! Rounding out the team is Glynis Wein (colors) and John Costanza (letters).
In many ways, nothing screams the 1970’s more than Power Man and Iron Fist! A bad street dude with impenetrable skin and a millionaire playboy with an affection for martial arts, the perfect combination, no doubt. You get the martial arts craze, plus the blaxploitation angle as well. Quite an awesome mixture! In another great and timely scenario, we see a one-time villain, the Incinerator! Not to mention a quick glimpse of the awesome Thunderer, from Ku’n L’un! Any fan of the more recent Iron Fist series (Brubaker, Fraction, and Aja), knows that name and place very well.
The story, written by Ed Hannigan, is one that covers a lot of ground. By issues end though, you get a feeling that it’s complete. The penciler is an artist I’ve never even heard of, but Lee Elias does a pretty solid job. Inks by Bob Jenny and Ricardo Villamonte, letters by Jean Simek, and colors by F. Mouly, rounds out the creative team. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the totally awesome cover by Keith Pollard (pencils) and Frank Giacoia (inks)!
You know, whenever I’m feeling kind of down, I can always turn to comic books and/or old school horror/sci-fi movies to brighten up my life. There’s actually one thing that you can add to those two mediums that helps even more, and that is blaxploitation. The movie “Blacula,” and its sequel, are both films that make me laugh, but also movies that scream the 1970’s, with their atmosphere, music, and vernacular. Just a great time for both comics and movies (and T.V.)! Marvel Comic’s answer to that sub-genre, was of course, the Hero for Hire, Luke Cage! This tough, street-wise dude was one bad mamma jamma, and has skin that bullets can’t penetrate!
In this issue, we see Cage fight two of the most off-the-wall villains you’ll ever see, in the Cockroach and Piranha! Both of these crooks posed different problems for Cage, but in the end, he figures out a way to stop both of them. The story was written by one of the best Bronze Age writers, Don McGregor. The art was equally impressive, with Rich Buckler (cover by Rich Buckler and Klaus Janson) and Arv Jones on pencils, and Keith Pollard inking. Petra Goldberg was the colorist, and the letters by Denise Wohl. All of these talented people were on top of their game for sure. The book was edited by none other than ‘Marvelous’ Marv Wolfman!
Why the name Keith Pollard isn’t mentioned among Marvel’s elite, is beyond my comprehension. Sure, you have the likes of Jack Kirby, John Romita, and so on, but for me, Pollard belongs right in the next tier alongside Perez, Byrne, Simonson, and the rest. His work is really great, and he actually drew most of my favorite Thor story as well. I think that’s actually the first time I saw his work, and I was blown away.
Whether it was in the pages of Thor, The Fantastic Four, or any other, you’ll soon realize that he’s one of the most underrated artists of all time! I’ll actually throw in a few covers he did as well, just to show the great range he had too. With incredible inkers like Joe Sinnott, and Chic Stone, Keith’s work really stands out. His list of credits may not be as lengthy as some others, but you cannot deny his talents. So, here’s to you, Keith Pollard, thanks for your contributions to the comic book industry!