The House of Mystery 224, 1974 “Sheer Fear!” 100 page Spectacular!

Do You Dare Enter the House of Mystery? Yes, I do! Sounds like a marriage proposal. This issue was one of those finds that would make any reader/collector get ecstatic. A good comic isn’t that difficult to find, but a great one that you can find at a bargain is getting more and more difficult as the years pass by.

Continuing a look at one of Dc comics’ best horror titles, this one is probably packed with the most talent of any book from that era. This exquisite horror anthology tells tales of a gym rat (Night Stalker in Slim City), a haunted house with an old hag (The House of Endless Years), a western werewolf (The Deadman’s Lucky Scarf), a boy sorcerer (The Reluctant Sorcerer), a magician that meets the Specter and the devil (Abraca-Doom), a problem with the mail (The One and Only Fully Guaranteed Super-Permanent 100%), a time travel tale with unintended consequences (The Gift that Wiped Out Time), a woman who has nightmares (Sheer Fear), A werewolf in Uncle Sam’s army (The Claws of Death), The Phantom Stranger has trouble with some elves (Mystery in Miniature), and finally a story that is picture perfect (Photo Finish).

The credits in this book are a murderers row of creators that are top-notch! Writing credits include- Dave Michelinie, Gerry Conway, Michael Fleisher, Howard Purcell, Denny O’Neil, Marv Wolfman, Sheldon Mayer, George Kashdan, John Broome, and Steve Skeates.

Artists include- Joe Orlando, Frank Robbins, Bill Draut, Alfredo Alcala, Howard Purcell, Berni Wrightson, Dick Dillin (w/Neal Adams inks), Mort Meskin (w/ George Roussos inks), Gerry Talaoc, Alex Niño, Frank Giacoia, and Mike Sekowsky.

 

 

 

 

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The Man Called Nova 23, 1978 “From the Dregs of Defeat!”

Wait, why am I spotlighting a random issue of Nova…? I’ll tell you why! Because of the villain(s) in this mag! First of all, I’m a huge zealot when it comes to the Tomb of Dracula! In my humble opinion, the best villain in that awesome comic was none other than that body-less brain, Dr. Sun! But wait, didn’t he perish in the series? NO, he did not! And thanks to one of his creators, he appears once again in the pages of Nova! And at the end of this tale, we also see another great megalomaniac, The Sphinx!

The sheer amount of comics either written, plotted, and/or edited by Marv Wolfman (writer/editor) is astounding! For me his crowning achievement will always be Tomb with Gene Colan (pencils on the flashback panels with Tom Palmer inks), but his Fantastic Four is pretty good, and his work on Marvel Two-in-One, Teen Titans, and of course all the great content in the black and white mags from the 1970s! Long time DC comics artist Carmine Infantino (pencils- cover and interiors- cover inks by Bob McLeod), the inking was by a plethora of gentleman (M. Hands…many hands), colors by Janice Cohen, and letters by Jim Novak!

 

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Machine Man 11, 1979 “Byte of the Binary Bug!”

The title “Machine Man,” was from the incredible mind of Jack “King” Kirby. As with virtually everything he touched, the book was great, but his run only lasted for the first nine issues. After that, it took a strange turn when Steve Ditko took over the artistic duties. This story brings in a techno-villain that seems to have what it takes to not only commit daring crimes, but also to stop Machine Man as well! A wild story with a tragic ending, as only Marvel in the Bronze Age can supply!

The man named Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), must have lived in the studio during the Bronze Age. Between the writing, plotting, and editing, his resumé is ridiculous. He’ll always be a legend for his collaboration with Gene Colan (Tomb of Dracula), but he was always a consistently good writer no matter what title. Steve Ditko (interior art and cover) needs no introduction or hyperbole thrown his way. If not for him, Spider-Man wouldn’t be the iconic character he is today, period. Michele Wolfman (colors) and John Costanza (letters), round out the creative team!

 

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Daredevil 124, 1975 “In The Coils of The Copperhead!”

Back again, and this time I have another shot of Daredevil for you! The silly villain this time around is called “Copperhead.” It seems that Daredevil has competition out there in the form of a person imitating a character from a pulp book from the 1930s. This man has no regard for life (sort of like the Punisher), and lays down judgement on wrongdoers all over the city. It’s up to Mr. Murdoch to try to stop this renegade, if he can! Copperhead is no joke…OK, he is but he does have poison tipped darts that he shoots out of his gun, and a diamond hard mask to protect his identity! Plus, we get some political drama with Foggy as well in this issue!

I’m not quite sure why, but the issue is written by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman (he was the steady writer around this time, and Wein the editor). No matter though, as both guys gives us the straight forward dialogue you came to expect from this title in the Bronze Age. The artistic team is one that I’m torn over. Gene Colan (pencils) is without a doubt my favorite penciler of all time. He’s so uniquely talented, you’ve got to love the guy’s work. The inks are provided by Klaus Janson. His work with Frank Miller on Daredevil in the 1980s is fantastic, as is his solo work. He just doesn’t seem like the best match for Colan’s pencils. The colors are provided by Michele Wolfman, and the letters by Joe Rosen. We also get a great cover by the team of Gil Kane (pencils) and Frank Giacoia (inks)!

 

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Daredevil 129, 1975 “Man-Bull in a China-Town!”

Has there ever been a better title for a story than this one? Exactly. Lame villains are what make the world go ’round, as we all know. Daredevil has seen his fill of these wacky characters, and it’s why I love this title during the Bronze Age! The book got way too serious for me once Frank Miller took over (even though, I still enjoy some of those stories). But wacky stories involving characters  like the “Man-Bull,” are just too awesome to not spotlight. The man without fear versus a guy that’s part man, part bull…what’s not to like?

Seeing the name Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), at the helm always puts me at ease. Whether it was Tomb of Dracula, Batman, or Crisis on Infinite Earths, the guy gets it done. Not the most well known tandem in comics, but Bob Brown (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks), do hold their own and give us some nice visuals. Michele Wolfman (colors) and Joe Rosen (letters), round out the interior creative team! As usual, we get a cool cover, and the team of Rich Buckler (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks) are responsible!

 

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The Wedding of Dracula (1991- Originally 1974-76) “Blood Rites”

It’s time once again, to spotlight the best comic book title from the Bronze Age! Yes, you read that correctly. Not the best horror comic, THE best comic book, period. The Tomb of Dracula ran for 70 issues, from 1972 until 1979, and was without a doubt one of the best series ever. This little reprint book from 1992 has three issues in it. Two of the issues are back to back (45-46) and one is a standalone (30). The two consecutive issues revolve around Dracula using his influence on a satanic cult, and getting married. Good stuff, but I love the standalone issue better. That one shows Dracula reminiscing about some adventures he had in the past. One in particular where he meets a blind girl is quite fascinating.

The dream team of Marv Wolfman (writer), Gene Colan (pencils), and Tom Palmer (inks and colors), was in place for a while when these issues were published. They were on a roll by this point, and churning out fantastic stories. You add John Costanza (letters), and the crew is complete. This creative team would go on for 70 issues total in this series, and Wolfman and Colan would do more Dracula work in the future as well (Tomb of Dracula, 1991-92 – Epic, and The Curse of Dracula, 1998 – Dark Horse). Whatever the format, get out and grab one of the best books around!

 

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Dr. Strange Annual #1, 1976 “…and there will be worlds anew!”

There are many creators that made their mark in the Bronze Age, and some that ascended from an embryonic stage to stardom. Of course, these men and women didn’t realize it back in the day, but decades later, others like myself revel in their works, and hold them in high esteem for it! A title that most certainly gave opportunity for those willing to work on it was Dr. Strange! Think about it. Limitless worlds, characters, scenarios, etc., that was a springboard for the imaginations of its creators that had the wherewithal to use.

One of those above mentioned creators without a doubt, is P. Craig Russell (co-plotter, pencils, inks, colors)! This man’s work is nothing short of extraordinary to say the least. His run on Amazing Adventures is the stuff of legend. His inks over the pencils of Gil Kane (Marvel Fanfare) are noteworthy as well. As with many books of that era, Marv Wolfman (script and co-plot) lent his tremendous skills as a writer, and joined Russell in creating a gem. Letters by John Costanza, and a fantastic cover by none other than Dave Cockrum!

 

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Daredevil #143, 1976 “”Hyde and Go Seek”, Sayeth the Cobra!

Unlike most comic book readers, I’m not a huge fan of the gritty era that eventually engulfed the 1980’s. Yeah, I like Watchmen, Swamp Thing, and V for Vendetta (especially this last one), but that’s about it. I like my comics to have more of a lighthearted tone or just not as hardcore as say the works of Frank Miller. The importance and place in history of his work aren’t lost to me, but those stories just don’t get me excited to read comics. Miller is a guy that I like the early work of on titles like The Punisher, and his Spider-Man work. One character that everyone raves about though, as far as Miller is concerned, is Daredevil. Now that is the one character that I can really get into when it’s Miller for some odd reason. I just feel he’s a character that Miller was born to write/draw. Honestly though, I love the material that came out in the years earlier to his legendary run even more.

One issue in particular that I absolutely love is #143. It’s part two of a story that features DD up against his old enemies, Mr. Hyde and the Cobra! These two villains have plagued DD on several occasions, and always give him a run for his money! We get to see a lot of action in this one but also some intrigue as well with Heather Glenn’s father and his “business” ventures. Some jungle action, a man-eating lion, and the usual DD butt-kicking fight scenes are all packed in this comic book!

Marv Wolfman (writer), had a decent run on this title as writer and editor (about 2 years). We all know his ability to write a good story, whether it be a one and done, or a lengthy story over a few issues, he can get it done! Artists Bob Brown (pencils) and Keith Pollard (inks) are two guys that don’t get a lot of airplay, but when you look at their bodies of work, you’ll be impressed nonetheless. The cover art was done by none other than Dave Cockrum, and his exploits on the X-Men, and Legion of Superheroes is well documented, as it should be!  John Costanza provided the letters, and Janice Cohen the colors, to round out this solid creative team!

 

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Daredevil #132, 1976 “No Matter What Happens—BULLSEYE Rules Supreme!”

This issue is one of the oldest issues of Daredevil that I own. It’s also the second appearance of Bullseye! The first appearance showed Bullseye giving old horn-head a butt whoopin’! But, in this issue, we see Matt get some revenge, and put this crazy villain in his place! At a circus, no less! Back then, Bullseye wasn’t quite as homicidal as he’s portrayed later on by Frank Miller, and other writers, but he certainly wanted to kill Daredevil! In this issue we see everything, from Bullseye riding an elephant (yes, seriously!), and then him shooting another man out of a canon at DD! Created by Marv Wolfman (writer) and Bob Brown (pencils), Bullseye brought something new to the table, and obviously he’s been a mainstay in the Marvel Universe ever since! Inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Michele Wolfman, and letters by Joe Rosen! Great cover as well, and we have Rich Buckler and Dan Adkins for that one! On Friday the 13th, is there anything more frightening than Bullseye riding an elephant? I think not! Enjoy!   Image (30) Image (33) Image (37) Image (34) Image (35) Image (36)

Dr. Strange King-Size Annual #1, 1976 “and there will be worlds anew!”

Different decades mean different things to all of us, but certain eras are definitely made more spectacular by a select few. A couple of those names for me personally (for the 1970’s) are most certainly Marv Wolfman and P. Craig Russell. Both of these gentleman became big names in the 1970’s, and rightfully so. Wolfman for his work with Marvel Comics horror titles, initially (Tomb of Dracula, and wrote/edited many black & white mags), and Russell with his work also for Marvel, on the title Amazing Adventures featuring Killraven. Of course, both did spot jobs here and there on whatever they could get their hands on, but both have a knack for creating on titles with a supernatural or mystical aspect to them.

In this wild adventure, Dr. Strange must travel to an otherworldly plane to battle for his lover, Clea. The enemy he must face is beautiful as well though, but very dangerous and powerful! Get ready, because this one’s a real head trip! Co-plotted by Russell and Wolfman, scripted by Marv Wolfman, pencils, inks, and colors by P. Craig Russell, letters by John Costanza, and cover by Dave Cockrum! Enjoy!

 

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