Wednesday, July 23, 2014

John Coleman Burroughs...John Carter Warlord of Mars

Burroughs had tried to have a John Carter strip as early as 1929, but was caught up in the media wars between United Features Syndicate and King Features Syndicate as the early attempts were shelved for a later date. One of the creator’s sons influenced by artists J. Allen St. John and Gustave Dore decided to give it another try after a comic book adaptation he did for The Funnies. So on the unfortunate date of December 7, 1941, John Coleman Burroughs introduced his John Carter of Mars syndicated Sunday newspaper strip that he wrote and illustrated for seventy two exciting episodes which debuted in The Chicago Sun and finally ending in March of 1943. Since it opened on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the feature was picked up by very few papers with paper rationing and competition from other strips. Starting with an adaptation of A Princess of Mars, he changed the storyline after five weeks in order to provide more action after King Features Syndicate made the request. The artist's wife served as a model for the lovely Dejah Thoris as she also helped with the backgrounds, lettering, and inking some of the Sunday. Featured below is an unpublished John Carter page produced for The Funnies that unfortunately never saw print.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Greatest Adventure: Prez, First Teen President

Written by Joe Simon and wildly illustrated by artist Jerry Grandenetti, Prez: First Teen President debuted in 1973 lasting only four short issues before its quick cancellation. Following the adventures of Prez Rickard, the first teenage President of the United States of America, whose election had been made possible by a Constitutional amendment lowering the age of eligibility to accommodate the then-influential youth culture of the baby boom. Named  Prez by his mother since she thought he should someday be the president, the lad was hired as a front for shady businessman Boss Smiley to run for United States Senator. As an idealist, he rebelled against Smiley and with almost half the voters under age thirty, the youthful Congress passed an amendment lowering the eligibility age for the presidency and Senator Rickard was voted President of the United States. Once in office with the young Native American, Eagle Free, as his director of the FBI, Prez fights vampires, a right-wing militia run by a descendant of George Washington and evil chess players before his quick demise in 1974 on this wacky but interesting DC series.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Planet of the Apes Gallery

Riding on the great success of the hit movie franchise, Marvel Comics' Planet of the Apes magazine was published under their Curtis imprint from 1974-1977 as part of their new black-and-white magazine series. It has a special place in many young fans hearts since it was the first ongoing comic book series related to the Planet of the Apes franchise. It was also the first medium to introduce new original Planet of the Apes material set in a variety of different regions, eras and conditions that had never been seen before (or since), beginning with a non-continuity serial entitled "Terror on the Planet of the Apes". One of Marvel's best writers Doug Moench wrote these imaginary tales for the twenty nine issue run with some dynamic Mike Ploog and Tom Sutton interior artwork. But the real draw for me and many others were those fantastic full color covers! These painted gems were provided by the likes of artists Earl Norem, Gray Morrow, Ken Barr, Bob Larkin, and Malcolm McNeill as shown on the examples featured below. Used for the American series a group of the best were also used for the Planet of the Apes series published in England.