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 182013
Art by George Perez & Bob McLeod
Marvel's Man-Wolf was a weird character. Originally John Jameson, astronaut son of Spider-Man foil J. Jonah Jameson, he was briefly known as the super-powered "Jupiter Man," before discovering a strange, supernatural ruby on the moon, which caused him to transform into a pseudo werewolf. Later, he journeyed to an alien dimension, where he became a sword-wielding barbarian hero fighting wizards and other fantastic menaces.

Art by George Perez & Terry Austin
Anyway, I enjoyed some of those sword & sorcery-styled exploits when the character took over a couple issues of Marvel Premiere in 1978. Here are the covers to those issues, penciled by the great George Perez!
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 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.
Jun 262013
 Dick Briefer's Rex Dexter of Mars was a delightfully bizarre interplanetary adventure strip that ran in Mystery Men Comics from Fox Publications in the early 40s. In the Fall of 1940, the space-hopping Rex received his own comic - which lasted exactly one issue, the cover of which is posted above.

Someday, stargods willing, I will write a Rex Dexter graphic novel; he's one of two Golden Age space heroes (the other, of course, being Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk) that really fascinate me. As the character is now in the public domain, all I need to do is find the time... and an artist to collaborate with! 
Jun 202013
The "Quarry" series, chronicling the life of a Vietnam vet-turned-hired killer, is my favorite of author Max Allan Collins' various crime fiction series. Originally published in the 70s, the series got a new lease on life in recent years at neo-pulp publishing house Hard Case Crime, for which Collins has written five new Quarry novels. The latest, The Wrong Quarry, will be out next year under this gorgeous cover painting by Tyler Jacobson.

I've neglected this blog of late, while I concentrated on wrapping up a couple of projects, but I'm back and should be posting about comics, B-movies and other pop culture goofiness fairly regularly again... for a while, anyway. Stay tuned.