Thursday, September 10, 2009

Neal Adams and Alex Nino on Man-Gods

Marvel Preview was the black and white magazine equivalent of DC Comics First Issue Special.  It premiered a new series with every issue, and none, except for Star-Lord, appeared more than once.  The first issue was published in 1975 with a great Neal Adams cover.

Neal Adams cover to Marvel Preview 1, 1975

The inspiration for "Man-Gods From Beyond the Stars" was taken directly from the book Chariots of the Gods by Erich Von Däniken.  This book was tremendously popular; you could find it not only in bookstores but in almost all supermarket checkout stands.  The theory--or fantasy--that extraterrestrial visitors interacted with early civilizations was irresistible to people fascinated with UFOs and TV programs like In Search Of... (hosted by Leonard Nimoy).  I didn't buy that stuff, but I certainly could buy any magazine with an Adams cover like this one.

Alex Nino Page from Man-Gods in Marvel Preview 1, 1975

The story was a pretty good yarn by Doug Moench, from a concept by Roy Thomas.  But what was really surprising was the art by someone I never heard of before: Alex Nino!  I was blown away by his unique vision and style.  His panel construction and storytelling was also unique, as you can see in this panel, where a pre-historic woman is chased by a saber-toothed tiger.  The alien captain observes from a vantage point and has to decide whether to break his non-interference pledge.  He will, because he's crushing on this loincloth babe.

Alex Nino Last Page from Man-Gods in Marvel Preview 1, 1975

There are three things about Marvel Preview #1 that stand out: the cover, Alex Nino, and this last page where the captain admits to his ship-mate that he had not only violated the rules--he had sex with the loincloth chick!  Nino's representation of her face amid the backdrop of the galaxy was incredible.

I followed Nino's work for a number of years after this story.  I remember buying a huge coffee table book featuring the art of Alex Nino, with lots of original drawings and color work.  Nuff said.

No comments:

Post a Comment