Tuesday, July 9, 2019


Being a gathering of short comments and item on the comics we love so dearly and maybe even those we don’t.

On June 6, I wrote about Conan e Kazar #27, a 1976 Italian comic that reprinted one of my “It! The Living Colossus” tales in between reprints of Conan and Kull stories. After discussing the stories in the issue, I turned my attention to the back cover:

The back cover of this issue is an advertisement for L’Uomo Ragno [Spiderman] #153. My first thought was that this reprints an issue of Marvel Team-Up, but I was able to pin the cover to any specific issue. If any of my bloggy readers can identify the cover/issue, I will say wonderful things about them in a future bloggy.

John Sink came to my rescue. I don’t know how I managed to miss it, but that’s the cover of Marvel Team-Up #22 [June 1974]. The cover is pencilled and inked by John Romita. In that story by writer Len Wein, penciller Sal Buscema and inkers Frank Giacoia and Dave Hunt, Spidey and Hawkeye must stop Quasimodo from taking over all of the computers on Earth. I’m not sure they succeeded. I mean, how else can we explain Comicsgate and the ongoing Russian interference in our elections?

Thanks, John. For your efforts, you get a no-prize, not redeemable anywhere in the known universe.


Marvel has reprinted thousands of vintage comics over the years in packages ranging from the traditional 36-page comic book to $100+ omnibus additions. However, with the exception of the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby run of Rawhide Kid, Marvel has not delved into its vast backlog of western comics. When I can pick them up for one or two bucks, I buy these Marvel western books, read them and then resell them in my garage sales.

Red Wolf #5 [January 1973] with its Gil Kane cover was one of those purchases. It’s a Gil Kane cover, always a good thing, with a new-at-the-time, 20-page story by Gardner Fox with artists Syd Shores and Chic Stone. It’s a decent enough story - Roy Thomas rewrote a lot of the dialogue - with pretty good art. Yet, reading it with my 2019 eyes, I’m thinking it’s a bit tone-deaf when it comes to its portrayals of indigenous peoples, though, in all fairness, it’s far less tone-deaf than some other Marvel western comics of the 1960s and 1970s.

I doubt we’ll ever see a collection of the original Red Wolf comics of the 1970s. The western version of the character was introduced in an issue of Marvel Spotlight and his own title ran nine issues. I'd buy it, especially if it also an introduction that addressed the tone-deafness of the stories and provided a more accurate history of indigenous peoples. I’m not sure anyone else would buy it. Which is too often the case with old comics I love.


I’ve written about Commando, the British war comics digest, several times in the past. This time out, I wanted to draw your attention to Commando #5155 [9/6/18].

Commando has gotten more inclusive over the years. The protagonists of “The Pact” and Indian Army soldiers battling the Japanese army in World War II. On the final page of the tale, writer Heath Ackley writes:

“The Indian Army was the largest volunteer force in history with over two and a half million soldiers in its ranks. They did not only serve in the Burmese campaign, but in Italy, North Africa, South Asia and France. Often overlooked, the Indian Army played a valuable role in gaining victory.”
A major book publisher’s representative once told me his company never lost money with books about World War II. It’s not something I wish to pursue, and I realize the book market has changed considerably since I owned a book store, but I wonder if a graphic novel about the Indian Army would succeed.


Sometimes I read something that comes highly recommend and, after reading it, I wonder why it came highly recommend. I usually decide it’s a case of “your mileage may vary” and leave it be. Sometimes I have something more to say. Albeit not a lot more.

I got four issues into The Long Con Volume 1 [Oni Press; #19.99]. Five years ago, a cataclysmic event destroyed everything within a 50-mile radius of a stand-in for the San Diego Comic-Con. Outside the radius, the government has quarantined the area. A reporter who survived the event goes back to report on what happened. He finds a great many fans and guests have survived. Indeed, those survivors think zombies rule the outside world. It’s the scoop of the century and not a bad premise.

My problem is that, four issues in, I don’t like any of the cast. They represent the worst of multiple fandoms and close to the worst of humanity. What some call lovingly written and drawn, I saw as an exercise in self-loathing. Ugh.

The Big Bang Theory was criticized on the same grounds on which I’m giving a thumbs down to this book. I contend there was almost more humanity in the Big Bang cast that I see in The Long Con. Which is why it was such a delight to see those characters change and grow over the run of the series.

Maybe that will happen with The Long Con. But I’m just not feeling it. If you enjoy the book, that’s terrific. Really. Not every comic book has to be to my taste. The comics world is big enough for all of us.

Just some reminders.

I will attending G-Fest - the world’s best Godzilla convention - on July 12-14, Friday through Sunday, at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hara Hotel. Following that, I will be at the San Diego Comic-Con from July 17-21, Wednesday night through Sunday, at the San Diego Convention Center. If you want to get together with me at either of these events, e-mail me as soon as possible. I will not be able to receive or send e-mail after tomorrow night until late Monday or Tuesday. After that brief window when you can reach me by e-mail, I will again not be able to receive or send e-mail from July 17-21. I will return from Comic-Con on July 22, albeit fairly late in the day. It’ll take me a day or two to recover from attending two big conventions back-to-back.

Whether at these events or afterwards, I’m always willing to talk to people who might want to hire me for comics or other creative endeavors...or who want to book me as a guest for their events. I’m also available for talks about comics, comics history and diversity at colleges, libraries and schools.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2019 Tony Isabella

No comments:

Post a Comment