I really enjoy watching an artist's work improve with time. In comics, it means seeing them become more comfortable with a particular character, or characters, as they begin to inject more of their own ideas, and the character becomes "theirs." One of the greatest examples of this phenomenon I have ever seen is P. Craig Russell's work on Marvel Comics' Amazing Adventures Featuring War of The Worlds in the mid-'70's.
Russell began his work on the book in 1974 with issue 27, and, with the exception of three issues, continued as premier penciller through its cancellation with issue 39. As his work progressed, readers saw him take artistic ownership of Killraven (the main character), as the futuristic warrior lead Earth's rebellion against the Martian race.
Though most impressive when inking his own work, Russell's pencils were still some of the best Marvel had to offer when finished by inkers such as Jack Abel and Sonny Trinidad, who also worked for Marvel at the time.
One of the most striking characteristics of Craig's art was his use of storytelling, or panel-arrangement on a page. Much like Jim Steranko's work on Marvel's Nick Fury, Agent of Shield, events flowed through some pages in a style that was as reminiscent of some "fine" art, as it was comic art.
Also impressive was his sense of design. Russell arguably produced some of the most imaginative, and visually horrific, monsters and villains in Marvel's history.
Don McGregor handled the writing for this issue-run, and credit must be given to his very involved plots, as well as his ability to pack a lot of story into a 32-page pamphlet.
Not highly sought after today, these Amazing Adventures issues may be found in your local comic-dealer's fifty-cent, or even twenty-five-cent boxes. Of course, you wouldn't have to bother if Marvel would just produce a trade paperback collection...
Comic conventions and online auctions are also a good place to inquire.
Amazing Adventures, published by Marvel Comics, 32 pages.
Review by Mark Allen.
End Audio Series
Michael Vance has teamed with William Windom to present an incredible collection of SF and fantasy stories. Set in the eerie town of Light’s End, Maine, these stories have been called “[a] meshing of myth and reality, [of] stack details of place, an...unromantic vision of horror...” Light’s End is a gathering place for the worst in human nature.
Mr. Windom's impressive experience has prepared him well for the telling of these scary tales. He is well known for his TV roles on Murder, She Wrote, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, All In The Family, and Barney Miller. He also won an Emmy for his TV series My World…and Welcome to It. His movie roles in To Kill a Mockingbird and True Crime won him additional acclaim. His stage performances as James Thurber and Ernie Pyle have entertained thousands. He's performed in eighteen Broadway plays, countless radio shows, and several books-on-tape.
Michael Vance's work is published in numerous magazines. He has appeared as a syndicated columnist and cartoonist in over 500 newspapers. His history book, Forbidden Adventure has been called a "benchmark in comics history”. Vance, best known for his Suspended Animation columns, briefly wrote the comic strip Alley Oop and his own strip for five years, Holiday Out. He also wrote comic books including Straw Men, Angel of Death, The Adventures of Captain Nemo, and Bloodtide. His work has appeared in comics anthologies, and he is listed in the Who's Who of American Comic Books. With novelists Mel Odom and R.A. Jones, he co-wrote Global Star, a world where babies born with bowling balls in their stomachs are common, and the New York Times is “trash journalism”.
Suspended Animation readers will be able to order a copy of Lights End Volume 1 personally autographed by both William Windom and Michael Vance. Volume 1 contains the stories "A Change of Heart" and "Cross Purposed."
What are you waiting for? It's just $19.95 signed or $11.95 not, plus shipping.
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