Sunday, October 31, 2010

Celebrate Halloween with the Bronze Age of Marvel Horror: Dracula, Werewolf, Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, and Son of Satan!

Halloween 2010 is finally here!  My favorite holiday...somehow I feel the rest of the year is all downhill from this point.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, bah, not as good in my opinion.  In fact I would like to be put in suspended animation starting on November 1st.  Re-animate my body after January 1st, give me a strong cup of coffee and everything will be just fine.

Here are some classic Marvel horror comic covers from the Bronze Age.  No particular order, just grabbing a pack of Marvels that lurk in the dead of night.

Tomb of Dracula 026 cover by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer

Tomb of Dracula #26 cover by Gil Kane and Tom Palmer, from 1974.  The story by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan was part 1 of the Chimera storyline, a very good one as I recall.

Werewolf by Night 5 cover by Mike Ploog

Werewolf by Night #5 cover by Mike Ploog from 1973.  Jack Russell's sister Lissa is held captive by a madman, who sends the Werewolf out to assassinate someone who lives in a heavily guarded compound.

Frankenstein Monster 10 cover by Gil Kane and John Romita

The Frankenstein Monster #10 cover by John Romita from 1974.  The cover is evocative of the early Frankenstein horror films and could almost be a poster.  In this case, the cover was much better than the interior story, about the Monster meeting "The Last Frankenstein" who brings him over to London.

Frankenstein 10 cover by Gil Kane and John Romita from RomitaMan

It's even better to look at the original art by John Romita to the Frankenstein Monster #10 cover.  I found this over on Romitaman's website.

Ghost Rider 2 cover by Gil Kane

Ghost Rider #2 cover by Gil Kane and Joe Sinnott is frightening because you've got big bad SATAN, all red and aflame and eager to snatch up Johnny Blaze's soul.  Given that groovy midriff-bearing outfit, it would be hard to deny Witch-Woman's request to Step Right Up and Shake Hands with SATAN!

Marvel Spotlight13 Son of Satan cover by John Romita

John Romita also drew the cover to Marvel Spotlight #13, the second full length story featuring the Son of Satan.  Who else can stop the Big Satan except for his ever rebellious son?  This comic featured the origin story of Daimon Hellstrom, which made me very uncomfortable to think that anyone's Mom would sleep with the Devil.  BTW, you think it is easy to design a costume for the Hellspawn?  That outfit by Romita is sheer genius.

Have a great Halloween 2010!  Were I made the emperor of the world, we would abolish those holidays and make them Halloween part 2 and 3.  Nuff Said!

Update: Comments from my old MT blog...


While the inks on the Frankenstein cover are definitely by John Romita, the pencils are by the one and only Gil Kane.
Nick Caputo
Thanks for sharing!! the comics are great!
Thanks for this Richard. Great memories. Gil Kane did some lovely work on Captain Marvel, they were my favourites.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gil Kane Fear #25 cover, Morbius the Living Vampire

One of my favorite Marvel monsters was the man called Morbius--The Living Vampire!  The best Morbius covers were drawn by his creator, Gil Kane. 

Fear 25 Morbius cover by Gil Kane

Adventure into Fear #25 (1974) featured this scene, with Morbius entering an apartment window in New York City.  He looks eager to bite into that woman sleeping on the bed, while her daughter looks on in horror.  You Always Kill the One You Love! Of course, things are not always what the seem.  The little girl is looking for Morbius' help and this scene doesn't really appear in the story.  But a cover like this can help sell a comic!

Adventure into Fear 25 original art cover by Gil Kane from Romitaman

I have to admit, I am featuring this cover because I found the scan to the original on Romitaman's web site.  The cover is really well designed and drawn.  I have to wonder if John Romita inked the cover, or at least the woman on the bed.

Adventure Into Fear 23

Here is another of my all-time favorite FEAR covers by Gil Kane.  Happy Halloween and Nuff Said!

Update: Comments from my old MT blog...


I believe the cover is inked by Frank Giacoia.
Nick Caputo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Four great Man-Thing pinups by Art Adams, Neal Adams, Vicent Alacazar, and Jim Starlin

Whosoever knows Fear burns at the Man-Things touch!  And these artists burn quite hard for Marvel’s favorite muck-monster. 

Art Adams Man Thing

Art Adams drew this Man-Thing pinup for a commission in 2004.

Man-Thing pinup from Neal Adams 2008 Sketchbook

This pinup of Man-Thing appeared in Neal Adams 2008 sketchbook.  I just love that overhead angle looking down at him.

Vicente Alcazar Man-Thing pinup from Marvel Preview 8, 1976

This illuminating pinup by Vicente Alacazar appeared in Marvel Preview 8 magazine, 1976.  That kid really needs to be brave and not fearful.

Jim Starlin Ernie Chan Man-Thing Hulk pinup from Rampaging Hulk 7

Rampaging Hulk #7 magazine featured this pinup by Jim Starlin and Ernie Chan.
Note to Satanists, Death cultists, racist rednecks, murdering thugs, FoolKillers and evildoers:  Do not get stuck in the Florida everglades this Halloween!  Nuff Said!

Update: Comments from my old MT blog...


I remember the bottom two from their respective publications.
However, did you know that the Neil Adams piece was also used as the cover to "Strange Tales" v4 (1998) # 2 )

And that Arthur Adams illo is to be the cover for THUNDERBOLTS # 154
Just helping out.
No idea the Adams piece was used on the Strange Tales cover, thanks for showing me that! Yeah, I did see in the recent Marvel solicits that the Art Adams Man-Thing piece would be the alternative cover for Thunderbolts. That was an easy choice for Marvel.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Three Marvel Monster covers by Neal Adams: Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing

I was actually looking at some of the terrific horror covers that Neal Adams drew for the Distinguished Competition, when I came across these early 70s Marvel Monster covers.

Tomb Of Dracula 1 cover by Neal Adams

Tomb of Dracula #1 launched the King of the Vampires in his own color comic in 1972.  Entirely spooky and would entice you to buy the comic, especially if you were a fan of Hammer horror films.

Fear 011 Man-Thing cover by Neal Adams

Adventure into Fear #11 was Man-Thing's second appearance in the title, also in 1972.  This cover plays on a recurring theme by Adams: children playing innocently while a monster approaches them from behind.  In this case, it's the monster (Man-Thing) that is innocent, as the kids draw a Satanic pentagram in the dirt.

Marvel Spotlight 2 Werewolf by Night cover by Neal Adams

Marvel Spotlight #2 was the first appearance of Jack Russell, Werewolf by Night.  But this has to be one of the worst covers that Neal Adams has ever produced.  A series of panels showing the Werewolf changing, and he doesn't resemble the version drawn by Mike Ploog at all.  What the heck, I had to buy this comic anyway!  Nuff Said!

Update: Comments from my old MT blog...


I gotta wonder if John Romita inked the Werewolf cover. Look at the people in the background in the last panel. Those look like Romita-drawn folks to me, not Adams.
Those are Tom Palmer inks

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monster Monday: Tales of the Zombie, Simon Garth!

Some images just remain stuck in your head for eternity.  I remember being utterly frightened by just the thought of the Exorcist, for example.  Couldn't even watch the commercial on TV without getting frightened.  When Marvel started publishing monster magazines, I didn't get creeped out too easily.  Dracula was scary, but guys like Frankenstein and Werewolf by Night were heroes to me. 

Tales of the Zombie 1 cover by Boris Vallejo

On the day I saw Boris Vallejo's cover to Tales of the Zombie #1 (1973) in the bookstore, I definitely felt pangs of fear and apprehension.  I hadn't even planned on buying this magazine, but when I saw the cover, I was sold.  A monster, holding a pretty lady by the arm in a foggy graveyard?  It's not Vallejo's greatest painting by any means, but it just nailed the look of the Zombie.  This was the first time I had ever seen anything by Boris Vallejo.  He did a few more Zombie covers, some Savage Sword of Conan covers, and then his career took off outside of comics.

I think I was doubly sold when I opened up TOTZ to find that Steve Gerber had written the story (with plotting help from Roy Thomas) and John Buscema / Tom Palmer / Syd Shores did the artwork.

Original Zombie story by Bill Everett

The new story was a framing sequence around an early 50s horror tale by Stan Lee and Bill Everett, was given the classic Gerber treatment.  Simon Garth is a wealthy industrialist who lives in New Orleans.  To say that Garth was a Type-A personality doesn't come close.  One thing after another happens and Garth is kidnapped and used in a Voodoo ritual, run by his gardener and secretary.  Garth is killed, turned into a Zombie, but with a twist: he can be controlled by whoever holds the Amulet of Damballah.  The matching talisman hangs around Simon Garth's neck.  The 2nd person narration in the captions that Stan Lee wrote would be used in the 1970s version.

Tales of the Zombie 2 splash page by Pablo Marcos

Pablo Marcos took over the artwork on Tales of the Zombie #2 and redefined the character visually.  The Everett version was skinny had sunken flesh around the bones; his eyes were dark slits.  Marcos' version is more robust, which matches Buscema's depiction of Garth as a man who liked to work out.  But it also more closely matched the illustration of the Zombie on Boris Vallejo's cover painting.  The stories called for Simon Garth to rip apart humans and other monsters with supernatural strength, so this change made sense.  Garth's eyes changed from slits to open eyeballs that had rolled upward.  White, blank, and ten times more frightening.

While other Zombies usually deteriorate after a way, this one remained intact after getting whipped, mauled, chewed on by giant spiders and even set on fire.  Simon Garth was the superman of Zombies!

Tales of the Zombie 5 splash page by Pablo Marcos

The Zombie presented another writing challenge that only Steve Gerber could conquer.  How do you write a story with a main character who cannot speak?  The Zombie didn't even have thought balloons.  Gerber solved this problem by using Stan Lee's 2nd person narrative in the captions, like on this splash page to issue #5:
You stand in a dark windswept field somewhere outside New Orleans...but you do not feel the chill of the blustery night breeze.  You do not feel anything.
The supporting cast was another obstacle.  Aside from Garth's daughter Donna, there wasn't much of one.  But the Amulet of Damballah floated around from person to person, most of them with terrible plans for a Zombie.  One of the good ones was Phillip Bliss, who rewarded Simon Garth with a grave.  The bad ones included a group of partying swingers who used the Zombie to kill people they hated.

Tales of the Zombie 6 splash page by Pablo Marcos

Tales of the Zombie magazine lasted only for 10 issues and 2 years, but it's one of my favorite Marvel horror series.  Ironically enough, the story of Simon Garth concluded in issue #9 story, "A Day in the Life of a Living Dead Man", where he was transformed back into a living human for 24 hours before returning to the grave for his eternal rest.  Making this Marvel's first maxi-series, in a roundabout way.  Nuff Said!

Update: Comments from my old MT blog...


Man, that Bill Everett splash is awesome. Some of the other art is nice, too, but that Everett piece really makes me want to read these. There might be a Essential Tales of the Zombie purchase in my future!
Just so you know--the Bill Everett story is only 10 pages.
Makes me wonder how many great other horror Everett gems are around waiting to be discovered?
Essential Tales of the Zombie is a really nice package - it collects pretty much everything, and you lose nothing in reproduction since it was a b&w magazine (well, except the color covers...).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Strange Sunday: Dracula versus Doctor Strange by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer

One week until Halloween 2010!  Halloween always brings back the classic Marvel Monsters in my memory.  Here's a piece that I've been saving for this occassion: Gene Colan and Tom Palmer celebrating the first time Doctor Strange encountered Dracula.

Dracula vs Doctor Strange by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer

I forgot the original source for this illustration!  But I believe it must be from one of the early calendars that Marvel produced.  Dracula glories in his triumph over the Master of the Mystic Arts, who made the mistake of attacking him in his coffin boudoir.

Tomb of Dracula 44 Doctor Strange versus Dracula

Doc first fought Drac in 1976, in a special two-issue cross-over event that was drawn by Colan and Palmer.  Part 1 was in Tomb of Dracula #44, written by Marv Wolfman.  The cover for this issue seemed very psychedelic to me, almost Dali-esque.  Most of the Dracula covers are dark, fearful, mysterious, or suspenseful.  This is probably the brightest colored cover in the history of this title.  By the end of the story, Dracula has sunken his fangs into Doc and looks forward to turning him into a vampire.

Doctor Strange 14 1976 cover by Gene Colan and Tom Palmer

The fight continued over into Doctor Strange #14, the very same month, written by Steve Englehart.  This cover is still great, though it isn't as ground-breaking as ToD #44.  Doc Strange doesn't let a vampire bite stop him, not with an astral form who can torment Dracula until he forces a resolution.

I was really into both of these titles as a young Marvel collector.  I thought the writing by Wolfman and Englehart was great, and of course, the artwork by Colan and Palmer was superb.  Just a month before this event, Englehart had announced that Doctor Strange was successful enough to transition to monthly publication.  The only problem that presented to them was having Gene Colan and Tom Palmer draw 2 books per month.  The artistic team decided to go for it, and in this two-part special, they just knocked it out of the ballpark for me.  Nuff Said!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Steve Rude is Madly in Love with Gwen Stacy

A while ago I wrote this article: Why Amazing Spider-Man 121 is the single most important comic in my life.  That classic issue featured the shocking death of Gwen Stacy, probably the first fictional character I had ever had feelings for!  It was, as Kurt Busiek suggested in Marvels, the end of innocence in Marvel Comics.

Gwen Stacy by Steve Rude

In the years since then, it's been fashionable to knock Gwen Stacy.  Was she as glamorous or as fun as Mary Jane?  We tend to think of MJ as the wild party girl and Gwen as the uptight blonde from a more conservative family.  But Ms. Stacy was the one to shine a light in Peter Parker's gloomy world.

Gwen Stacy 01 by Steve Rude from ComicArtFans

Steve Rude certainly doesn't see Gwen that way, as you can tell by these illustrations.  Gwen had a unique beauty that was perfectly captured by John Romita.  Rude's interpretation of the character pays homage to Romita through the Dude's ultra-cool romanticized style.

  Gwen Stacey Final by Steve Rude from ComicArtFans

I love how Rude not only captures the character, but the fashion and style of the late 60s and early 70s in these drawings.  Dig the coke bottle glass in the first pic, the belt in the second, the beads, bracelets, and boots in the last picture.

Steve Rude - Gwen Stacy

For Archie fans, the choice is Betty or Veronica, but for Spidey fans in this time period, the choice was between Gwen and Mary Jane.  I always went for Gwen.  And I preferred Betty, too.  I don't think it's a blonde thing, I just thought they were nicer girls!

Steve Rude is currently selling a lot of artwork to help keep his house afloat.  You can support the Dude by checking his Facebook page and eBay site to see what he is selling.  Also check out, where he has a Gwen Stacy Cobwebs print ready for sale at a fantastic price below $20.  Nuff Said!

Link:  Steve Rude Gwen Stacy Cobwebs print.
Link:  Steve Rude's Gallery at ComicArtFans (source for all images in this article).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Strange Sunday: Berni Wrightson wraparound cover to Dr Strange Special Edition 1982

Ever wondered how Berni Wrightson might approach Doctor Strange?  In 1982, thanks to the glorious Baxter reprint specials, we got a chance to see Wrightson draw a cover with the Master of the Mystic Arts.

Dr Strange Special Edition 1982 cover by Berni Wrightson

Doctor Strange Special Edition from 1982 reprinted the classic Silver Dagger storyline from Doctor Strange #1-5 by Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner.  Wrightson went nuts drawing all those souls and skeletons trapped in Limbo.  Nuff Said!

Update: Comments from my old MT blog...


Berni Wrightson is so good... Thanks for this post!
I own this reprint edition of DR Strange and the cover by Bernie is great as is the inside art by Frank Brunner! I think you have a really wonderful site!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Strange Sunday: Doctor Strange by Rudy Nebres

A cool pinup by Rudy Nebres features Doc levitating among an ethereal plane.

rudy nebres dr strange from collectingfoo

Sorry, I don't remember the site where I collected this pinup.  Nebres fans may also want to check out my article Enter the Iron Fist for a cool splash page by Nebres.  Nuff Said!