Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Guest Post - If I Had a Buck... Marvel and DC? Never Heard of 'em!


Doug: Welcome to another comic book covers challenge. Today it's not Mike S. (aka Martinex1) steering the ship, but Edo Bosnar. Edo has a nice riff on multiple ideas, so take it away!

Edo Bosnar: The inspiration for this one is the recent “Suggestions Unboxed” post about non-Big 2 comics. So today we’re going to be spending that hypothetical buck on a selection of Bronze Age comics not published by Marvel or DC. But additionally, no “kiddie” stuff, either: so no Archies, no funny animals, no friendly ghosts or sad sacks and especially NO Richie Rich. Nope, just serious and sophisticated fare for us today, the super-hero, action, horror, etc. comics vying for our attention on the spinner racks of the Bronze Age in that veritable sea of titles put out by the Big 2.


So here are your choices – since I’m sure many are not very familiar with these titles, I included some details on the contents obtained at the very useful Grand Comics Database. As usual, the price you pay is the one featured on the cover:

E-man (Charlton) no.2, $0.20, December 1973. Cover by Joe Staton, “The Entropy Twins” by Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton; back-up feature: “Enter Killjoy” by Steve Ditko.

Red Circle Sorcery (Red Circle) no. 9, $0.25, October 1974. Cover by Gray Morrow. “If I Were King” (by Marv Channing and Alex Toth), “The Devil’s in Borley!” (story and art by Pat Boyette), “The Goal is Death!” (by Marv Channing and Vicente Alcazar), “Come In and Meet the Piano Player” (by Marv Channing and Carlos Pino), and a text story, “The Journey” by Marv Channing, illustrated by Gray Morrow).

Destructor (Atlas/Seaboard) no. 1, $0.25, February 1975. Cover by Larry Lieber and Wally Wood.“The … Birth of a Hero” by Archie Goodwin, Steve Ditko and Wally Wood.

Phoenix (Atlas/Seaboard) no. 3, $0.25, June 1975. Cover by Frank Thorne. “The Day of the Devil” by Gabriel Levy and Sal Amendola; Back-up feature, starring the Dark Avenger: “The Rat Pack!” by John Albano, Pat Broderick and Terry Austin.

Tales of Evil (Atlas/Seaboard) no. 3, $0.25, July 1975. Cover by Rich Buckler. “Man-Monster!” by Tony Isabella, Rich Buckler (co-plotters), Gary Friedrich (script), Rich Buckler (pencils) and Mike Vosburg (inks). Back-up feature: “Vampire Killer Still at Large” by Gabriel Levy and Romero.

Tragg and the Sky Gods (Gold Key/Western) no. 2, $0.25, September 1975. Cover by Jesse Santos.“The Day the Earth Thundered” by Don Glut and Jesse Santos.

Demon Hunter (Atlas/Seaboard) no. 1, $0.25, September 1975. Cover by Rich Buckler.“The Harvester of Eyes” by David Anthony Kraft and Rich Buckler.

Magnus, Robot-Fighter (Whitman/Western) no. 42, $0.25, January 1976 [complete reprint of Magnus, Robot Figther no. 19 from August 1967].Cover by Vic Prezio (at least that’s who’s credited with the 1967 cover, which looks exactly like this one). “Fear Unlimited” by Russ Manning; back-up feature: “An Alien Phobia” by Russ Manning.

The Occult Files of Dr. Spektor (Gold Key/Western) no. 24, $0.30, February 1977. Cover by Jesse Santos.“Dragon Fire” by Don Glut and Jesse Santos.

Doomsday +1 (Charlton) no. 10, $0.35, January 1979. Cover by John Byrne. “Hidden Empire!” by Joe Gill and John Byrne (reprints the story from Doomsday +1 no. 4 from 1976).

Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom (Whitman/Western) no. 29, $0.50, October 1981. Cover by Dan Spiegle. “Li’Rae” by Roger McKenzie and Dan Spiegle; back-up feature: “The Steel-smashing Return of Magnus, Robot Fighter” by Roger McKenzie and Frank Bolle.

Charlton Bullseye (Charlton) no. 4, $0.50, November 1981. Cover by Larry Houston. “The Vanguards” by Larry Houston (art and story).





25 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

By the way: it only occurred to me once I’d sent this text to Karen & Doug that our friend the Groovy Agent may have posted some of these, so a few days ago I went through his archives and checked, and sure enough, he has quite a few of them up. So if anyone’s more curious about the contents (or wants to conduct an inspection before making a purchase – kind of like flipping through a book at the spinner rack before investing your money), here’s the links:

E-man #2
Destructor #1
Phoenix #3
Demon Hunter #1 (actually just a few original art pages, but with an interesting accompanying text by Buckler himself, well worth reading)
Tales of Evil #3 (the lead story only)
And Doomsday+1 #4, which is reprinted in #10.

Groove didn’t post the specific issue of Dr. Spektor above, but he did post two others by the same creative team, Dr. Spektor #17 and Dr. Spektor #22

Also, if you’re interested in seeing what Tragg and the Sky Gods looked like, here’s issue #1, and a back-up story from issue #9.

Redartz said...

Thanks for this interesting take on the 'dollar challenge', Edo! And thanks for the links above; I'll have to check some of those out later {after a day spent making a living).

Choices: Definitely E-Man. Good ol' Alec Tronn...

Red Circle Sorcery; I always enjoy anthologies. Never had an issue of this title, but this issue has a pretty striking cover and nice story lineup.

Doomsday + 1 = a good read. Had several issues of that series. Some good early Byrne work.

This leaves me, sadly, a lousy nickel short of picking up "The Destructor". Ah, maybe it'll still be on the rack next week hidden behind one of those Richie Rich books...

Martinex1 said...

Edo thanks for carrying the torch with a great challenge. I am going to choose the Charlton Bullseye because I am curious about the Vanguards. That cover looks so familiar to me both in layout and style. I cannot place it but feel like I've seen that before. Charlton overall is sorely missing in my collection. I'd also choose E-Man because I've never read any and hear wonderful things. And last, I would take the Robot Fighter book. I've followed Magnus in Valiant's run but never in its previous incarnation.

I wish I can take them all as I don't currently own any. I have a fondness for Seaboard Atlas and their great raw talent, but never read these particular titles. Are there storylines from any of the minor comic houses that you recommend? It's too bad these aren't collected (maybe they are and I don't know it). I'd love to see some old Charlton collected.

Humanbelly said...

Oh, curse you, edo, curse you--
I will never EVER be able to un-see that DEEPLY alarming outfit the boy Entropy Twin, there, is sporting. My life will now be measured as "before I saw that outfit" and "after I saw it". . .

If only one could turn back the hands of time.

Perhaps if I fly backwards around the Earth really fast. . .

But I'll still go w/ E-man, Magnus, and then Dr Solar. . . 'cause Dr S always kinda catches my eye in the 25-cent bins, AND I get a 2-story jump, of sorts, on taking a look at good ol' Doc Magnut, Robot Biter--!

HB

The Groovy Agent said...

Very cool topic--I have a real love for these "off-brand" mags! Thanks for the wonderful (and highly appropriate) use of my posts, Edo--that's the kind of thing I love to see! :D

As for how I'd spend my buck, I'm sure I'd nab E-Man, Red Circle Sorcery, and Demon Hunter; it's a toss-up between Tales of Evil and Doomsday +1, 'cause Doomsday would put me over the buck limit...but if I could go back in time and get the original ish of Doomsday rather than the reprint, I'd even have a penny or two left after paying sales tax!

Humanbelly said...

Ha! Picking up the original Doomsday+1 issue crossed my mind as well, Gary---! The rare instance where buying the original is more economical than purchasing the reprint. . .

HB

Doug said...

Gary? Groovy? Do I detect the evil hand of AUTOCORRECT at work here? ;)

Doug

William said...

I'll take that "Destructor" #1 just for the art team alone. Wally Wood and Steve Ditko! Yes please.

In fact I'll go all in on Atlas Comics and also pick up "Phoenix", "Demon Hunter", and "Tales of Evil".

Looks like Atlas was really trying to be Marvel back then, so if nothing else, the art and the characters look interesting.

I'll buy that for a Dollar!

Edo Bosnar said...

Oh, come on, Doug; don't you know that Gary is part of the etymology of Groovy? It started out as 'gear' in the early '60s, became Gary in the late '60s (due to a garbled mash-up of Jerry Garcia's name after too many bong-hits) and this morphed into Groovy by the early '70s. I totally and honestly did not make any of that up...

Martinex, besides E-man, the only one of these I ever had was that issue of Charlton Bullseye - I believe you when you say the cover looks familiar, as I recall seeing that comic in the spinner racks of various grocery stores where I was growing up for what seemed like several months. Never sure why that was the case, but I finally relented and bought it, and as I recall it's a pretty solid story. I'm really trawling my memory banks, but I seem to recall it was kind of a space opera story in which the three titular heroines try to save their home planet from some kind of malevolent conquerors. As far as I know, that was their one and only appearance.
As for Doomsday, I deliberately put the slightly higher-priced reprint issue there to create some purchasing dilemmas, and because those reprint issues from the late '70s were the only ones I ever remember seeing on the spinner racks.

Taking my own challenge, I'd use my buck to get E-man (because you always have to take E-man), Magnus and Dr. Spektor (because back in the day I always remember being intrigued by the beautiful painted covers on those Gold Key books but almost never bought them because they were too far out of my superhero comfort zone), and although the competition for the last quarter is pretty stiff, because Tragg (another painted cover!), Destructor, and Demon Hunter are equally tempting, I'd get Phoenix (because Amendola is a really underappreciated artist, and I'm also curious about that back-up feature with art by Broderick and Austin, which isn't posted at Groove's site).

Russ said...

I owned most of those comics at one time or another. Charlton was really interesting during that period, a virtual renaissance of titles and promising young artists like Byrne, Staton, Newton and Zeck. A favorite from that era was House of Yang; I was a huge fan of Korean Sanho Kim. His work on the Cheyenne Kid for Charlton made for one of the most unusual and beautiful Westerns ever.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat surprised to see Edo didn't offer up The Scorpion as one of the Atlas titles here:)

Generally the Atlas comics weren't any good; Wood/Ditko sounds worthwhile, but somehow Atlas always seemed to get the worst out of their artists - they even managed to make Russ Heath look average - so it'll take more than that to convince me.

Charlton seemed the only one of these publishers I recall as worthwhile, particularly their horror(Tom Sutton seemed to appear in them regularly, which is a good sign). I only read the later First version of E-Man, but I recall enjoying it and it was by the same team (I think).

Sooo... I'd get the Charltons and avoid the Atlas titles, except maybe - just maybe - the Demon Hunter (only because Blue Oyster Cult are something of a guilty pleasure) Other than that, I'll have to check out Diversions for more info before spending more ....

-sean

Colin Bray said...

I own a smattering of Atlas/Charlton/Gold Key comics from this era but haven't yet read one of 'em. I look forward to catching up with the darker (to me) corners of the Bronze Age though.

So really, going by the covers only, I would go with Charlton Bullseye (love the cover) and Tales of Evil (the cover is more Marvel than even Marvel)

From the rest I pick E-Man, purely for the costume worn by Entropy Boy. It'll bring great mirth to the room when friends come around to discuss comics.

Humanbelly said...

What in the world??
Who the heck is Gary-???
Is THIS the kind of interwebs government mind control that we've been so stridently warned about--???? One's very fingers not even under their own command--?

I'm gettin' my tinfoil hat back out. . .

(Doug, I owe the freedom of my unshackled mind all to you. . . )

HB

Edo Bosnar said...

HB, man, I had your back on the whole Gary thing, but ya just weren't paying attention...
By the way, you've been psychologically scarred by the boy entropy twin's outfit? Have you never seen Cosmic Boy in the 1970s?

Redartz said...

Edo and HB- that Entropy Boy outfit may just have inspired Dr. Frank N Furter in "Rocky Horror", you think? All that's missing are fishnets and red lipstick...

Garett said...

Right off the bat: E-Man, The Destructor, and the 2 by Rich Buckler, Man Monster and Demon Hunter. I read the original E-Man series recently, and it's fantastic. I'm not a big Ditko fan, but I have this Destructor comic and I'm fond of it. I've had the 2 Buckler comics at one time or another, and it seems to me the interiors don't live up to these cool covers-- but I'd like to get them back again and check anyway!

But...that Sorcery comic sounds good, with art by Toth and Gray Morrow inside. So since I already own E-man and Destructor, I'll replace them with Sorcery and Dr. Spector. That art you posted by Jesse Santos looks pretty good.

Garett said...

Whoops, now I'm 5 cents over! Dr. Spector why must you be 30 cents!! Ok I'll get Robot Fighter. It always had nice covers, and though I'm not a big fan of Russ Manning, he's solid and worth a look.

Anonymous said...

None of these really jumps out at me, but I've always been curious about some of those old Charltons and Gold Keys, so I'd probably check out Dr. Solar, Magnus, and E-Man just to see what they're like.

Mike Wilson

Humanbelly said...

D'oh! What I meant to say was, uh. . . uh. . . what edo said. He, er, retconned the words right out of my mouth. Or something.

And I dunno, fellas-- Cosmic Boy may have had the hot-pants/pink theme thing goin' on, but I think Entropy Boy,here, trumps them outright with his hybrid thigh-boots/leg-warmers. His stuff-struttin' stance, however, does have Tim Currie's lipstick-prints all over it, no question.

Edo, edo-- you are CONTRIBUTING to the shameless hijacking of YOUR OWN POST! Discipline, man-- Discipline!!

HB (goin' to pick up Mom at the airport for the Holidays now-- keep me in your thoughts, eh?)

Anonymous said...

Hmm toughie her Edo! Awright lemme see here now ... I'd pick Destructor, Phoenix, Tragg and Magnus!


- Mike 'Gary/Groovy? Just don't call me Mickey!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Martinex1 said...

I know that Demon Hunter was modified only slightly to become Devil Slayer over at Marvel. Did any of the other Atlas Seaboard creations make the leap with their creators when AS folded?

Anonymous said...

Martinex - Chaykin's The Scorpion became, more or less, Dominic Fortune.
But I don't think there were any others (which is just as well, really)

-sean

SonOfCthulhu said...

I want all of those so very, very much...

The Groovy Agent said...

Groovy Gary (not Friedrich) here! ;D Just wanted to drop by and give Edo (and anyone else interested) the good news that the Black Avenger story from Phoenix #3 is indeedy-do posted over on my burgeoning blog! It's right-chere!

http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com/2009/06/bring-on-back-ups-dark-avenger-vs-rat.html

Will that magnificent Broderick/Austin art "sell" more copies in this here discussion? It's making me re-think my final choice...

Edo Bosnar said...

Wow, Gar--, er, I mean Groove! Obviously my search of your archives was not sufficiently thorough. Thanks for the link! Just glancing at the art, I have to say I'm quite impressed, so I think I made a good choice with Phoenix #3.

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