Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Esteban Maroto's "Buried Pleasure"

I thought I'd end the year with this captivating and detailed pirate tale by the talented Spanish artist, Esteban Maroto. It features ten dynamic pages of swashbuckling action. The complete story is a wonderful example of Maroto's moody work. It includes a fantastic full page title splash and a "creepy" sexy vampire finale page. Maroto was no stranger to fantasy and horror, having worked heavily in the genres within CreepyEerieSavage Tales as well as other Warren and Marvel magazine format titles. But don't take my word for it enjoy this tale entitled "Buried Pleasure" published in Creepy #49 in 1972...



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Direct Currents: Ultra The Multi-Alien

With his first appearance in DC Comics Mystery in Space #103 for November of 1965,Ultra the Multi-Alien pushed out both long-time space heroes Adam Strange and Space Ranger from that anthology title. Created by writer Dave Wood and artist Lee Elias, Ultra was originally Earth spaceman Ace Arn, living in an future era when spaceflight was commonplace. After crash landing on a planet in a far off solar system, he was attacked by four aliens, each a member of a different species from their respective planets Ulla, Laroo, Trago, and Raagan. The four aliens simultaneously shot him with ray guns designed to transform him into an obedient member of their respective species. Because all four rays hit him at the same time, he was instead transformed into a combination of the four aliens, but free of their control. The upper right section of his body grew green fur and gained super strength; the upper left section turned blue and gained magnetic powers; his right leg grew feathers and small wings, giving him the ability to fly; and his left leg was transformed into a bolt of lightning. He combined the first letter of the worlds the four aliens were from, along with the first letter of his name to come up with: U-L-T-R-A, his new name. He soon finds a device to convert back to human form, giving him a secret identity. His series lasted until issue #110, September of 1966, when Mystery in Space was cancelled. He would not reappear for several years again in the DC Universe and occasionally pops up in titles still today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Atlas/Seaboard Comics: Ironjaw

The first of the Atlas sword-slinging characters, Ironjaw #1 debuted in January of 1975 with a dynamic cover scene by artist Neal Adams. Written by comic veteran Michale Fleshier and drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Jack Abel, our savage hero roams the world in earth's distant, post-apocalyptic future. The story starts out as Ironjaw is hired by rebels to help overthrow a tyrannical king, but the warrior soon discovers his true heritage. As an infant, his mother's lover killed Ironjaw's father, the true king, and ascended to the throne himself. With the complicity of the queen, the new king ordered the infant killed, since he would inherit the throne and depose the usurper upon reaching adulthood. However, a soft-hearted stable hand abandoned the boy on a snowy mountainside, rather than kill him. The baby is then discovered and raised by the bandit Tar-Lok and his tribe. Ironjaw eventually kills the tyrant-king and claims his throne with the help of his sister who noticed their identical birthmark that revealed his true identity. But the new crowned majesty slips away in the night since kingly duties are of no interest to a barbarian. The only character in the Atlas line up to have four issues and one appearance in the anthology title, The Barbarians, Ironjaw was one of the most fleshed out characters as we discover his origin in Ironjaw #4 how his jaw was removed by a jealous group of thieves and replaced with the hideous jaw made of iron. Pablo Marcos' bold style was a good choice to continue the artistic chores as new writer Gary Friedrich took the barbarian in a different direction before the company suddenly folded.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Comic Artist's Speak...Al Williamson

This may be the wildest interview ever with the classic EC Comic artist Al Williamson, It's his "Let's Get Cozy With Larry Wargo" presentation. Unfortunately this is just some excerpts from the longer version on YouTube you have to see, and I understand why Al wore the dark glasses for this one, but  he does explain his long career and love for the Western, Science Fiction, and fantasy genres....