Let's set the stage for this week's Review of Old Comics. In 1992, Jim Shooter had been ousted as Editor-In-Chief of Valiant Comics. A year later, he founded Defiant Comics in the crowded direct market of the 1990s. To stand apart, it was decided that the first issue of their flagship series, Plasm, was to be produced as a trading card set. When the cards were put into binder pages, they would reveal the complete story. Due to varying allotment, gaining the entire story proved difficult. There was a print version made available through Diamond Comic Distributor's catalog, Previews, but aside from that, readers had to wait until it was collected in Warriors Of Plasm: The Collected Edition.
I'm resurrecting another favorite old series of mine, Elementals, by Bill Willingham. This time it's an issue that I remember being exceptionally good. Will this be another case of memory being fooled by a more critical eye years later? Let's have a look.
Morningstar Special #8 April 1990 Wouldn't you know that I went to find an independent comic to review, and I end up picking Morningstar Special from 1990, another Elementals issue. This one features story and art from creator Bill Willingham from later in his career when his art style was maturing and becoming a thing of beauty. If you only know of Bill Willingham as a writer on books like Fables, then you're missing out on a great artist. SYNOPSIS: In Avalon, Morningstar has just returned from her honeymoon with her new husband, Ambrose. Fantasia Faust is taking her on an excursion while he catches up on some work he has as regent of Avalon. Unknown to them, they are being followed by a cloaked figure. Their journey takes them by one of Avalon's biggest tourist attractions, King Arthur's tomb.
Elementals #8 June 1986 I set out to find an independent comic to review, and the first one I came across was one of Bill Willingham's early Elementals issues. I chose not to review it, as it came from the middle of a story. I searched for one that stood alone, and essentially what I could find was this one where it's a stand alone issue, although some subplots get set in motion. SYNOPSIS: At the Mercer Island estate serving as the Elementals' base of operations, Fathom is woken up by a phone call from Eddie, who had developed a crush on Fathom when she was captive on "the island." (NOTE: This is Nacht Island, where the Elementals were held captive by Saker before they defeated him.) He wants to meet her where they first met, as he apparently has a deep crush on her. Half asleep, Fathom agrees to meet him and then bolts up having just realized what she just agreed to.
TALES TO OFFEND #1 July 1997 With the Reviews of Old Comics, I try to alternate between DC, Marvel and other publishers, It gets a little hard sometimes to find good Independently published comics from before the 2000s. However, since the announcement of Frank Miller returning for a third Dark Knight mini-series, this comic has been sitting on my desk waiting for the opportunity to review it. It's Frank Miller doing politically incorrect material with a tongue-in-cheek treatment of it. SYNOPSIS: Somewhere in the galaxy, there is a dinosaur planet where a female tour guide uses it as a lesson that the dinosaurs lived peacefully and it was mankind that bespoiled nature's beauty. Right as she's making her point, a T-Rex snatches her flying tour car out of the air, devouring the guests on her tour. Even as it bears down on her, she maintains her view of nature's way being right and just.
E-Man #2 May 1983 I like reviewing older comics that may have been forgotten, either due to rarity or just a general lack of continuation over the years. E-Man is one of those series that has not had a large enough profile to keep visible, especially to newer readers. SYNOPSIS: In the office of Private Investigator Michael Mouser, E-Man works as his assistant. E-Man's girlfriend Nova Kane visits before leaving town for the weekend in her job as an exotic dancer. Mauser is hired by Mr. and Mrs. Porn to find their missing teenage daughter Kitty. She is the latest in a line of disappearing teenagers, all in the same area. Coincidentally, the area is where Nova is going this weekend. Nova is upset that E-Man and Mauser are tagging along, since it was meant to be the first opportunity she would have to come to terms with being an energy being like E-Man since gaining those powers a couple months ago.
RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! #71 July 1977 My wife loves this series, if for no reason than her memories of reading it at her Granmother’s as a child. For that reason, whenever we go on shopping trips for comics, she looks for copies. SYNOPSIS: In the first story, a bird watcher in rural Scotland
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA #3 December 1992 It was the boom era for comic books, as speculators drove sales into the stratosphere, where comics sold easily in the five and six figures. Sports Card company Topps, after branching into the non-sports market sought to diversify by launching a comic book line, starting with the licensed comic for
STARSTREAM #3 1976 No Spoilers this week, as this is an anthology published by Whitman in 1976. I seem to recall that my original copies were purchased at a discount store (think K-Mart-ish) when I was five or six in a pack of 3. That means to get all four issues of this series, I must've ended up with multiples of something. The premise of the anthology is that there are comic adaptations of science fiction short stories, with an occassional original thrown in. The caliber of artists is quite good for the most part, with only few exceptions. At another time, I may cover the other issues, but I have a reason for getting to this one first. Also, I used the synopsis for the April Fool's entry, What If #34. Again, no spoilers, since for the summary, I'm just going to copy from the contents page.
Minimum Wage #2 1995 A little while ago, I wrote a review for Bob Fingerman's sequel to Minimum Wage, currently being published by Image. At the time, I meant to post my old review from my old Blogger site for an issue of the first Minimum Wage. Well, here it is, and changed a little bit for the time passage to today. This is a "Mature Readers" title, so any of you that are younger shouldn't be able to buy this. Sometimes, you'll find this titled listed as "adult," but this particular issue is labeled as "Mature Readers." In the case of this issue, that means profanity, nudity and adult situations. I keep my copies of Minimum Wage on a spinner rack I traded a drawing for about ten years ago. As always, at least until I can get around to making a banner that says it, spoilers abound. SYNOPSIS: Rob is moving out of his apartment into a new place that he'll share with his girlfriend, Sylvia. His roommate Jack isn't helping, possibly out of some passive-aggressive resentment of Rob's leaving. Rob's annoying friend Matt shows up to pick through Rob's collection of comics and videos and be generally loud and annoying.
SAMUREE #1 May 1987 Writer: Neal Adams Pencils: Mark Beachum Inks: Ian Akin & Brian Garvey Colors: Liz Berube Letters: Ken Bruzenak Lately I've been on a run of reviewing DC Comics. So I went through my comics looking for something to review that wasn't by DC. My last comic was one of the best comics ever published, so I decided to go with something a little more underrated. Enter the world of Neal Adams's Continuity Comics. In 1987 I was getting back into comics after a brief period of abandoning them in an attempt to get girls to like me. Yeah, if I could go back in time, I probably would tell that kid to get over it, life gets better after High School. Nevertheless, my only outlet at first was a convenience store with a spinner rack that let me get reacquainted with the X-Men, and discover a few new titles, including Samuree. SYNOPSIS: Daryl Sheppard, a sixteen year old girl, alias Samuree is training exceptionally hard, but not being noticed by Lieutenant Pierce, with whom apparently she is in love and practically throwing herself at him. He reads in a newspaper about a hijacking that led into a hostage situation in a natural history museum. Meanwhile, three young superheroes working out also notice the same newspaper article and recognize a name among one of the hostages.