Monsters Unleashed Annual 1, 1975 “Super Annual Issue”

Annuals can be tough as far as finding good material. A lot of the time they’re just reprints, so if you own the content in another form, it’s kind of a waste of money. This mag gives you no new content, but does have a cool cover and a couple of new stories to make it worth the dough. And of course, if you’re a completest, you must buy it anyway!

Of course you get all top-notch creators from Marvel at the time in this one. Seeing some of these creators that aren’t known for their horror work turn out such great material is just more proof that this was an incredible time for comics. Each one brings their own personality to the stories, and even though some might say these quick little stories are an afterthought, they are very good and stand the test of time.

The cover is absolutely fantastic, and artist Ken Bald really brought his best to this one. He’s a guy that had worked since the Golden Age, and some of his covers are absolutely gorgeous (look them up!). The first full story (The Cold of the Uncaring Moon) is by Steve Skeates (writer), George Tuska (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks). There’s nothing like a good werewolf story to get the mag started! Next, we get World of Warlocks! This one is brought to us by Roy Thomas and Gardner Fox (story/writers), and Gene ‘The Dean’ Colan (artist)! This incredible tale of fantasy is a great one! “Lifeboat” follows, and Spidey-scribe Gerry Conway (writer), and Jesus Blasco (art) shows us what terror really is! The writer of the next story, Don McGregor, is one of my favorites, and doesn’t really get credit for much other than his Black Panther work. The guy wrote some really good horror stories, and “Demon of Slaughter Mansion” with art by Juan Boix is no exception! “Birthright,” has a giant serpent-type creature terrorizing a jungle that inhabits most;y peaceful people. Roy Thomas (writer), Gil Kane (pencils) and The Crusty Bunkers (inks) bring us this tale of fantasy! What does Jack the Ripper and a werewolf have in common? Chris Claremont (writer) and Don Perlin (art) know, and they weave a tale to show us. Finally (almost), we see the notorious muck monster, Man-Thing, and he must face not only vicious alligators, but vampire bats as well! Story by Tony Isabella and art by Vicente Alcalzar. There are also three one-pagers “Thunderbird” “They Might be Monsters”  and “Monsters from the Sea” by Tony Isabella and Ernie Chan (Pablo Marcos) on art for the They Might be Monsters story)!

 

 

 

Monsters Unleashed #11, 1975

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This gem is my first foray into the magazine market of Marvel Comics. I was really shocked at how fantastic the interiors were in this one (not to mention that fabulous cover by Frank Brunner)! Not only does it contain three really good stories, but the very inside cover brings an illustration by the late, great, Dave Cockrum (below)! And not just any illustration, but one of my favorite Universal Monster movies, Creature From The Black Lagoon! It has a short prose piece underneath the artwork, and with just one small paragraph, you get the chills thinking about that great film!

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Next, we get a very scary story, starring Gabriel, Devil Hunter! In this one, we see Gabriel, as he must exorcise a very powerful demon from an old man. This demon isn’t going quietly though, and it will take every trick in the book to put this one down! Great tale by Doug Moench & Sonny Trinidad!

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“The Empire”, is a story by Gerry Conway & Rico Rival, and it tells of corporate viciousness, and all that it leads to in the end. This one might not have the guts, blood, or demons, but it really makes you wonder about things that are quite sinister in the corporate world on a daily basis, I’m sure!

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Last, but not least, we see a story that Don McGregor & Billy Graham really use to send the issue out with a bang! Literally! This one reminds me of a Jonny Quest episode, where a mad scientist is experimenting with genetics in the reptile family. A once small lizard, grows out of control and terrorizes the city. The ending is reminiscent of the Ray Harryhausen movie, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms!

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As you can see, the stories and artwork in this magazine are excellent. Editor-in-chief, Marv Wolfman, along with Don McGregor (editor/writer), David Anthony Kraft (associate editor), and John Romita (art director), were the driving force behind the editing and art direction of these fine publications, and Marvel had a ton of them during this decade (Vampire Tales, Savage Tales, Tales of the Zombie, etc.)!