Rampaging Hulk 1, 1977 “The Krylorian Conspiracy!” and “Trail of the StarStone!”

It’s always cool to get a good deal on a comic/magazine. It’s even better when it’s a “Pulse-Pounding First Issue!” Admittedly, this post is sort of a continuation from last week, as the back up story in this magazine is the next chapter in the comic book life of a certain monster hunter. But that’s for later, as first, we must see what’s going on in the life of the Jade Giant, The Hulk!

The firs story in this incredible mag is a tale of the Hulk and Rick Jones, as they investigate an alleged flying saucer in Spain! We actually get a re-telling of the Hulk’s origin first (in a couple of glorious pages), then the main story. We see everything you could want in this one. Betty, Thunderbolt Ross, Rick Jones, The Gargoyle, an alien and of course the Hulk (and puny Banner)! This one has a good story by Doug Moench, and incredible artwork by Walt Simonson (pencils) and Alfredo Alcala (inks)!

The second tale involves that monster hunting madman, Ulysses Bloodstone! Last week’s post familiarized you (hopefully) with the character, now see him in all his glory as he battles aliens that have come to…do…something! No, really, it’s more of a continuation of his search for answers, and then being attacked by a giant lizard creature and his old nemesis,  Ulluxy’l. Special guest appearance by Killer Shrike! Written by John Warner, art by “Big” John Buscema (breakdowns) and Rudy Nebres (finishes)! The incredible cover is by Ken Barr (one of the best painted covers of the entire series!).

 

 

Mystic Arcana (2007)- Marvel’s Realm of Magic!

Typically, this forum is for me to spotlight something Bronze Age, but this series is something special. In 2007, I saw a book on the shelf at my local comic shop, and the cover of the Black Knight is all that was needed to suck me in. I’m a big fan of Arthurian legend, and the Black Knight has always been one of my favorite Avengers. The concept of the limited series, Mystic Arcana, (of one-shots), was to show some of the magical “highlights” of the Marvel Universe, jumping from Medieval Camelot, to ancient Egypt, and everywhere in-between. Each of the four one-shots featured one of Marvel’s magic based characters. The Black Knight, Magik, Scarlet Witch, and Sister Grimm, all have an arcane adventure in each book of the series.

In addition to those stories, there was a back-up story as well, featuring the Dr. Strange nemesis, Ian McNee. We see the young mage, as he attempts to do the bidding of Oshtur, or so he thinks. By stories end, he’s battled Morgan La Fey, Queen Llyra, Nagala, and so on. These tales were written by David Sexton, and illustrated by Eric Nguyen.

The series of one-shots was littered with talent new and old. Everyone from Roy Thomas, Walt Simonson, Jeff Parker, C.B. Cebulski, Phil Noto, and others, contributed to this great series, and everyone who’s a fan of Marvel’s magical side needs to own this one. Oh, and before I forget, check out these ridiculously awesome covers by Marko Djurdjevic, too! There was also an OHOTMU edition published later too, and it must be mentioned for any and all who covet these volumes of information!

 

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The Mighty Thor Annual #13, 1985 “And Evil Shall Inherit”

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It would be extremely difficult for me to find a better comic in my collection than this one. Some might argue it isn’t the greatest story ever told, and I’d probably agree, but when you get a cover by Walt Simonson, and interior pencils by “Big” John Buscema you must agree it’s a top-tier issue! So, basically, that’s enough for me to call it one of the best issues I own. This tale involves the dark lord, Mephisto, as he attempts to use Ulik, the troll, to fight Thor. The first few pages show Mephisto plotting in his fiery realm. He tortures some of the tenants (stepping on them as he walks around), and the visuals are just dynamite!

Mephisto tricks Ulik into his service, and then he and Thor do battle. You see, Mephisto thinks he can get to Thor’s soul, now that he’s a bit sorrowful over his father’s death (recently, Odin died fighting the fire demon Surtur). Thor defeats Ulik after some back and forth, but this is only the beginning for Thor. Before he can even take another breath, he’s transported to Mephisto’s realm, and must match wits and brawn against this seemingly unbeatable foe.

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The two spar verbally, and then physically, but Thor is no match for Mephisto in the demon’s home. The evil demon soon realizes though, that Thor has more resolve than he thought. Even after being tempted with the ghost of his dead father, and even his beloved Lady Sif, Thor will not be broken. Mephisto does show him that during his battle with Ulik, that a few bystanders were killed. Of course, Thor doesn’t believe him, as Mephisto is the father of lies. Mephisto releases Thor, but when he returns to Asgard, he realizes that Mephisto was telling the truth about the villagers. Thor then vows to use everything in his power to fight him forever. Mephisto laughs, as he basks in the hatred that flows from Thor this day.

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Alan Zelenetz does tell a good story, and his contributions should not be understated. Honestly though, it’s tough to outshine masters like Simonson and Buscema, no matter who you are! See you in three days!

Thor #262, 1977. “Even An Immortal Can Die”

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You’ll soon come to realize that Thor is one of my all time favorite characters. When I had the chance to buy this book, and get the writer/editor, Len Wein to sign it for me (at C2E2 2013), I was ecstatic. The interior pencils are by the incomparable, Walt Simonson (with inks by the late Tony DeZuniga, colors by Glynis Wein, letters by Joe Rosen), and really show his great skills with a pencil from early in his career. As if that wasn’t enough, you get a cover by ‘Big’ John Buscema, Joe Sinnott, and John Costanza! Enjoy!