Apr 132014
 
It's been a long time since I first mentioned the secret comics project that I'm working on with artist Peter Grau, but that's mostly because I didn't get much of my part of it done over the winter. It turned out to be a hellish few months, with too much else going on. Now, though, I'm back to work on the script(s), so I thought I'd post another preliminary sketch from the pulp space opera epic by my amazingly talented collaborator.

Still no schedule or target date for the finished project; it'll be done when it's done. I will be keeping interested folks posted on our progress though, here on my blog.
Sep 252013
 
I'm currently reading the Paizo Press/Planet Stories edition of Northwest Of Earth, a collection of gothic space opera stories originally published in Weird Tales back in the 30s. They're written by C.L. (Catherine) Moore, a well-regarded pulpster best known for her sword & sorcery heroine Jirel of Joiry.

The Paizo Press/Planet Stories hardcover I own has a nice enough cover painting, but I prefer the vintage duotone illustration above, which graced a 50's edition of the material. I don't know who the artist is, but I really dig the Old School space opera vibe of the illustration.
Sep 242013
 
Okay, I can't resist sharing this here:
 

This is a preliminary sketch by artist Peter Grau, who comic fans may remember from his stint at Valiant Comics back in the 90s on titles like Solar, Man of the Atom and Secret Weapons, for a new graphic novel project we're just beginning to collaborate on.

I've been a fan of Peter's for years, and when I was an editor at Tekno*Comix in the mid-90s, I hired him to draw several issues of Mickey Spillane's Mike Danger. I've always thought that he was a terrific, underrated visual storyteller and illustrator in the classic "adventure comics" style, but I don't think that the material he was assigned at Valiant (or by me at Tekno) really played to his strengths. He basically retired from comics in the early '00s, and has been doing commercial illustration in recent years. To my great surprise, he's chosen to return to the medium for this project. I hope that this graphic novel will be a proper showcase for his talents.

I don't want to go into too many specifics about the book, but it is a retro-styled space adventure with square-jawed heroes, pretty space girls, rocketships, rayguns, aliens, monsters, robots, cavegirls (and cavemen), dinosaurs and lots of two-fisted action.

It's not intended as a spoof or pastiche, but the best, most sincere, Gardner Fox-styled, Old School space opera I can manage. Regular readers of this blog may be able to make some educated guesses as to the particulars of the project, but I'm going to try and not get too far ahead of myself this time. To often, out of enthusiasm, I've discussed comics projects here on the blog that ended up fizzling out before completion... but I feel really good about this one.

The plots are finished, and I'm starting the scripts this week; I don't know exactly how long this book will take to complete (though we're shooting for about this time next year), or even where it will end up, but - obviously - I'm very excited about it.
Sep 042013
 
A couple weeks ago, I chose as my "Wednesday Cover" the 1953 Fiction House sci-fi one-shot, Man O' Mars. Well, that comic, featuring the heroic John Hunter of the Marsmen, has been reprinted a couple of times, including this edition from a shady outfit known as I.W. Publishing in 1958. The Grand Comics Database tentatively credits the art to Sid Check.

Whoever actually drew it, it's a terrific pulp space opera tableau, with all the elements - flying saucers, bubble helmets, rayguns, etc. - that make the genre such a personal favorite.
Aug 152013
 
Monark Starstalker was, despite a nigh-impossible to say aloud name, a cool Howard Chaykin sci-fi creation for Marvel Comics. The interstellar bounty hunter appeared in Issue #32 of the company's "try-out" title, Marvel Premiere in 1976, but failed to earn his own series. In fact, he wasn't seen again until 2009, guest starring in Nova, and then, a few years later, a Wolverine(!) miniseries.

I have not seen any of those later appearances, but from what I've read online, they really don't sound much like the character Chaykin create in '76.
Jul 312013
 
Two great tastes that taste great together - Charlton Comics' 1952 Space Western! This book ran six issues and featured Spurs Jackson and His Space Vigilantes, who battled alien invaders, Commies and Nazis (in space)! And that's all I know - except that these covers were drawn by Stan Campbell - because I've never read an issue! Looks like fun, though!

I'm going to have to check out the public domain comics archive, Comic Book Plus, and see if I can read some of these Spurs Jackson adventures...
Jul 292013
 
Back in February, I launched the Perils On Planet X webcomic, with new, free, full-color comics pages posted every Friday. The first chapter of that swashbuckling space saga ("Captives Of the Corsair Queen") concluded after 24 weeks (with nary a missed update!), on July 12th. (The whole first chapter is still available, by the way, if you want to catch up... and it's free, as always!)

Chapter Two, "Flight Into Terror," will begin on August 2nd. The creative team remains the same: Yours Truly, writer; Gene Gonzales, artist; and Ian Sokoliwski, colorist.

In "Flight Into Terror," time-tossed Earth astronaut Donovan Hawke and the beautiful Xylosian princess, Odyri, make a daring escape from the aerial city of the savage Strato-Pirates, only to find themselves lost in a vast, untamed, alien jungle. "Flight" will run for 28 weeks, and is packed with action and excitement, including raygun battles, aerial dogfights, giant monsters, jetpacks, lost cities... and savage, sanguinary simians.

I hope you'll join us next Friday, and even more, I hope you'll enjoy the adventure enough to share the comic with your friends (and your enemies - I'm not picky!).
Jul 172013
 
I recently came across a bunch of scans of George Wilson artwork for Gold Key comics. Wilson was a highly prolific illustrator who was Gold Key's go-to guy for cover art. He produced hundreds of cover paintings - for comics, paperbacks and magazines - in his long career, and every single one of them was exceptional.

The scans, which I've been posting occasionally on my Facebook page, included original art for titles like Tarzan, Space Family Robinson, Magnus, Dark Shadows, Turok, Time Tunnel, Twilight Zone, Boris Karloff, and Doctor Solar. Among them was this painting for Issue #15 of the company's Star Trek comic book.

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