EERIE 46, 1972 “The Bloodlust of Dracula Rises Again”

After recently visiting a small show in New Jersey, I came home with twenty new magazines from the Bronze Age! These new mags are the very first I’ve ever read from Warren publishing! It took a long time to get some of these fantastic issues, but it was worth the wait! This first one I’m going to spotlight is a cracker, and it has some incredible artwork inside, and an unbelievable cover by Manuel Sanjulian!

Inside the front cover and back cover, you get a quick look at some of the backstory of Vlad the Impaler, A.K.A. Dracula! Cool little tale with great illustrations. Fred Ott (script) and Aureleon on art.

The first story of the actual issue is “And an Immortal Died” by writer Bill DuBay and artist Tom Sutton! We see the immortal Count Dracula, Vampirella, and more! Twelve pages of Sutton artistic brilliance, along with an interesting story! Definitely the gem of the book!

Next up, we get one of the craziest stories I’ve ever read (“The Things in the Dark“). You see, there is a local ghost story about a certain graveyard, and three boys are about to find out if there is any truth to it! After one of them does find out the hard way, there is an old man that recruits a local psychic investigator to help with the matter. But he might end up as worm food as well! Written by Fred Ott, with art by Jimmy Janes.

The third story is “Garganza,” and cerrtainly the weakest of the book. Basically a Kaiju story without any real substance that doesn’t pull you in. Bill Warren writer, and Paul Neary artwork.

“The Root of Evil” is a story that reminds me of something Amicus studios would’ve put out in the 1970s. A twisted tale about a woman who takes in an alcoholic as a renter. He soon becomes a victim of an insidious scientist. Written by Mike Jennings, with art by Martin Salvador.

The penultimate entry in this book is called “Planet of the Werewolves” and it (ahem) slightly mirrors the movie Planet of the Vampires by Mario Bava.  We look in on a spaceship with scientists that crash-landed on a distant planet that has been beleaguered by Werewolves! Story by Gerry Boudreau, and art by EC comics stalwart, Reed Crandall!

Finally, we get an entry into an ongoing story “Dax the Warrior.” A story with a Conan-esque character, Dax, as he must free his captive mate, and slay the Giant! Story and art by Esteban Maroto!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Sutton- The Charlton years!

There are certain creators that invoke a feeling of excitement for me. One of those names for sure, is Tom Sutton! Of course he’s one of those guys that mainstream comic book fans might not recognize, but the old school/hardcore fans know it well. His work in the horror genre is legendary, and rightly so, but he’s also drawn superheroes, war, westerns, etc., but horror is his forte. At Marvel comics, you saw his excellent version of Ghost Rider, all sorts of horrific scenes in the black and white magazines, and more. The same over at DC, as he did solid work on House of Mystery (I, Vampire) and other titles.

The focus of this week’s post will be not on the work Sutton did for the big two, but for Charlton comics. Some may not recognize the work when compared to what he did at Marvel, but they kept a house style and smooth lines for their artwork. The work is fantastic (see episode 9 of Into the Weird for some thoughts of mine and The Longbox of Darkness), but again, isn’t his developed style. Once he started working at Charlton though, he really brought his own unique work to the horror genre. These images are just a small sample of what Sutton did there, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!

 

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Supernatural Thrillers Featuring The Living Mummy!

As I sit here watching The Mummy’s Shroud (1967, Hammer Studios), The Living Mummy (N’Kantu) seemed like a good subject to present during my month-long look at horror comics. As the title Supernatural Thrillers switched from new characters every in issue to an ongoing monster of its own in the mummy.

In the first few issues, we see N’Kantu being disoriented, then fighting thieves and hoodlums. Later though, he would be pitted up against other supernatural beings, and that was a spectacle. It’s a natural progression of course, and sufficed to say it gave the readers some good entertainment. These “Elementals” (Hydron, Magnum, Hellfire) showed some real persistence and continually attacked N’Kantu and his friends (once the mummy became more lucid, he became a hero).

From a standpoint of creativity, these books had some of Marvel’s best talents during this era at the helm (and I’ll list them all below). You had some that had been around for a few years and some that were early in their careers (especially with Marvel). This mix led to so much excellent content not only in horror stories but every genre. It’s also worth to note that N’Kantu is the second supernatural character of color in Marvel (he predates Brother Voodoo by a month, but Blade was the month just before his first appearance). This was all part of a change in the business to include more characters and creators that were minorities.

Make no mistake, this title was Val Mayerik’s coming out party. Not only did he provide pencils (and inks for some issues), for most of these issues, but also plot assists for a few as well! He’ already had great success with Howard the Duck, and Man-Thing, but this really solidified him as an all around creator.

 

Issue 5 – cover by Rich Buckler and Frank Giacoia; written by Steve Gerber, art by Rich Buckler and Frank Chiaramonte, colors by Petra Goldberg, and letters by Jean Izzo.

 

Issue 7 – cover by Ron Wilson and John Romita; written by Steve Gerber, art by Val Mayerik, colors by Linda Lessman, letters by John Costanza.

 

Issue 8 – cover by Larry Lieber and Tom Palmer; written by Tony Isabella, art by Val Mayerik, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Tom Orzechowski.

 

Issue 9 – cover by Gil Kane and Al Milgrom; written by Tony Isabella, art by Val Mayerik and Dan Adkins, colors by Linda Lessman, letters by Tom Orzechowski.

 

Issue 10 – cover by Gil Kane and Al Milgrom; scripted by Len Wein (plot by Isabella and Mayerik), art by Val Mayerik and Dan Adkins, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Artie Simek.

 

Issue 11 – cover by Frank Brunner; written by Tony Isabella, art by Val Mayerik (plot assist as well), colors by Bill Mantlo, and letters by Alan Kupperberg.

 

Issue 12 – cover by Gil Kane and Klaus Janson; written by Tony Isabella, art by Val Mayerik (plot assist as well), and Klaus Janson, colors by Bill Mantlo, letters by Karen Mantlo.

 

Issue 13 – cover by Gil Kane and Mike Esposito; written by Tony Isabella, art by Val Mayerik (plot assist as well) and Dan Green, colors by Janice Cohen, letters by Karen Mantlo.

 

Issue 14 – cover by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer; written by John Warner, art by Val Mayerik (plot as well) and Al McWilliams, colors by Phil Rachelson, and letters by John Costanza.

 

Issue 15 – cover by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer; written by John Warner, art by Tom Sutton, colors by Phil Rachelson, and letters by John Costanza.

 

 

 

Time Warp 1, 1979 “Doomsday Tales and Other Things”

In the late 1970s, DC cut back on their titles, and laid off a ton of employees. The comics just weren’t selling, and they needed to regroup. The early 1980s would bring some new hope in the form of All-Star Squadron, and New Teen Titans, but there were also some additions that are very obscure, but noteworthy for the comic book aficionados out there!

A short series of only five issues, this weird book gave us some rather interesting material. Mostly sci-fi (with a little horror), this first issue is chocked full of creators with a long list of credits, and quite frankly, legends in the business. From aliens to spider-men, you’ll be whisked away to fantasy worlds that will take you back to a time when comics were great!

Cover by Mike Kaluta, interiors stories by Denny O’Neil, Michael Fleischer, George Kashdan, Mike Barr, Jack Harris, Bob Rozakis, and Paul Levitz. The art teams are nothing short of spectacular and include the late, great Rich Buckler, Dick Giordano, Steve Ditko, Tom Sutton, Jerry Grandenetti, Don Newton, Dan Adkins, and Jim Aparo!

 

 

Captain America 244, 1980 “The Way of All Flesh!”

Taking a peek at a comic book that gets overlooked because it fits between two legendary runs (Englehart/S. Buscema and Stern/Byrne). Sometimes people forget or just out right malign certain batches of issues because they aren’t widely regarded as gems. There’s a huge downside to that though, as many never get to see books like this one. The second issue of a two-parter, we have a sort of a “monster gone amok” story. But, not just all action, there are some great panels of emotion in this issue as well!

The names attached to this book are some of my favorites. Roger McKenzie (writer- click here for an interview that Roger recently gave on the Charlton website), is probably most famous for his excellent run on Daredevil, or his horror work, but don’t sleep on his other stuff, because the guy knows how to write any kind of story. Don Perlin (pencils) is one of those under-appreciated guys that I hope some day gets the recognition he deserves. His work on Ghost Rider and Werewolf by Night are super cool. An artist that you don’t see much for Marvel (that I know of) in the way of inking another penciler, is Tom Sutton. Like McKenzie, he’s probably most noted from his horror work, and that genre definitely suited him best (but he did do a solid job here). Mark Rogan (letters), George Roussos (colors), and Jim Salicrup (editor), round out the interiors. The cover is by the team of Frank Miller and Al Milgrom!

 

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Doctor Strange 29, 1978 “He Who Stalks!”

Another post about Doctor Strange, and this one is another favorite of mine. One of the reasons is because it has several guest appearances. The tale centers around the Doc and Nighthawk (both heroes are members of the non-team “The Defenders“), as they face off against a villain that’s been in the pages of Daredevil during this era as well. The Death-Stalker is a very mysterious villain and a sinister one too that has the power of intangibility, and a “death touch” that renders lesser men dead!

In his long career, Roger Stern (writer) has written some very compelling stories, and had some lengthy runs on titles. Of course, most everyone will gravitate to his Amazing Spider-Man work, or his tremendous collaboration with John Byrne on Captain America, but don’t sleep on his Dr. Strange stories because they are great! Tom Sutton (pencils) is most noted for his horror work, but given the opportunity, he can draw a wider range of material. Veteran artist Ernie Chan (inks) is always a welcome sight in the credits box, because he was a very solid artist that put in good work. Petra Goldberg (colors), Annette Kawecki (letters), and Archie Goodwin (editor), round out the creative team! I shall not forget awesome artist, Frank Brunner (cover), who is one of the best to ever pencil the Doc!

 

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A Chamber of Chills Ensemble!

After being thoroughly exhausted from a weekend trip and now work, I’m playing catch-up now! Instead of posting about a single issue, I thought I’d just post a good-sized helping of a horror title to whet your appetites, and get you in the Halloween mood! The title “Chamber of Chills,” has always been one that I thought had good content, with either new stories or reprinted material from the Atlas Era. The first few issues featured new material from names like Thomas, Brunner, Russell, and so forth, but eventually the book went with just all reprint stories. Not that it was a bad thing mind you, because then you got to see work by greats like Heck, Ayers, Ditko, and early Perlin, as well!

These men were masters, one and all, and the legacy they’ve left for toady’s creators to follow is nothing short of extraordinary. Some are still with us, sadly others are not,  but their incredible contributions live on in the pages of comic books just like the issues I’m about to showcase! Sit back, and relax, because you’re about to go on a journey into a very scary and chilling place!

 

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Marvel Team-Up #93, 1980 “Rags to Riches”

You can try to contain him, but you cannot even hope to stop the Tatterdemalion! Sorry for giving away the villain…as if the cover already didn’t! There were many goofy or one-off villains from the Silver and Bronze Ages, but there’s no doubt that one of my favorites is this guy! Created by the artistic genius of Tom Sutton (RIP), and Gerry Conway, this quirky character didn’t make many appearances, but when he did, it was hilarious! You cannot help but laugh, when a character’s profile page has statements like this in it…”He is an expert tap dancer, and a highly proficient bottle-cap collector” or my favorite…”He wears a long scarf, which is tipped with lead weights, as a weapon” or the coup de grâce…”Due to his lack of proper hygiene habits, the Tatterdemalion emits a harsh offensive odor at all times.” Folks, when you have abilities/powers like that, everyone fears you.

The story was written by Steven Grant, and although I don’t own many stories written by him, I do know that he’s a capable writer that also wrote some good Avengers stories back in the 1970’s/80’s. The pencils are by the exceptional Tom Sutton and the late, great Carmine Infantino, and I love Sutton’s pencils on Dr. Strange from the Bronze Age, as well as his inks on many other books. Speaking of inks, the incomparable Jim Mooney (RIP), inked this issue, and you get the consistency he always brought to the game! Colors by Ben Sean, letters by Rick Parker, and edited by Denny O’Neil! The awesome cover is by Don Perlin and Al Milgrom! Spider-Man, Werewolf by Night, “Cat’s Jazz Club”, and the Tatterdemalion…what else could be asked for in a comic book?

 

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Astonishing Tales #15, 1972 “And Who Will Call Him Savage?”

The title “Astonishing Tales”, is one of my favorites from the 1970’s! It started out with some awesome Dr. Doom stories, plus Ka-Zar too! Eventually, it became a vehicle for the gritty Deathlok! And believe me, we’ll take a look at that character real soon! This issue (as well as a few others) focuses on Ka-Zar, and his trip to the “big city”, also known as New York City. He isn’t there very long though, and he must face some gang members, and believe me, he’s in for some wild action!

When you have names like Mike Friedrich (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Tom Sutton (inks), John Costanza (letters), and Roy Thomas (editor), you know you are getting a grade “A” comic book! To make things even better, you get a surprise appearance by Bobbi Morse, as well! She and Ka-Zar share some kind of unique bond, and actually seem to have an affection for one another. This adds a cool angle to the book that you don’t often get in the comics of this era. Do yourself a favor, and grab these issues if you can find them in the discount bins at a con. They’re well worth a couple of bucks in good condition!

 

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Doctor Strange (1974) -The Stern/Sutton Run!

The 1974 volume of Dr. Strange is nothing short of fantastic. When you look at all the creative titans on that series (Steve Englehart, Frank Brunner, Marshall Rogers, Jim Starlin, Paul Smith, Sal Buscema, Gene Colan, etc.) it cannot be denied. There are three specific runs though that really highlighted what Doctor Strange is really all about. The magic, mayhem, his relationship with Clea, the insane and arcane forces that he must deal with that others  do not even know about or can’t even comprehend. The first one of them that I want to spotlight is the Roger Stern & Tom Sutton issues (#27- 30, 33-35)! These two gentlemen really show the qualities that a creative team must be able to relay to the readers. Sutton’s artwork is nothing short of unbelievable, and paired with Stern, the two really were a great follow-up to the previous direction. Kudos must also be given to Ernie Chan, for his great job inking as well! So, now, let’s get ready to check out some of the best stories that these two guys put forth! Enjoy!

 

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