ASTONISHING TALES #20 (Marvel Comics) October 1973
Cover: John Romita Sr. • Writer: Mike Friedrich • Artists: Marie Severin & Werner Roth • Inkers: Frank Giacoia & Marie Severin
This title started out with the pages split in half between short stories featuring Doctor Doom and the other half featuring Ka-Zar (Lord of the Hidden Jungle). Eventually, Ka-Zar took over the whole book. Who was the villains the Jungle Lord was fighting month after month. Can you believe it … AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics). Introduced in this series, as a supporting character, was Shield Agent Barbara (Bobbie) Morse. Yeah, this is the same girl who would become briefly the Huntress (go look it up) and then Mockingbird …. and then Clint (Hawkeye) Barton‘s wife. In this particular issue, there was an AIM villain named Victorius who was leading a rebellion to take control of AIM from Modok. As this issue tied up a long-running storyline, we were treated to: the SHIELD Helicarrier, villains Gemini and Lord Plunder, Nick Fury and (of course) the always fabulous Zabu. But best of all, check out these final three panels featuring Fury as well as Ka-Zar sucking face with Hawkeye’s future wife. Notice Ka-Zar’s spiffy suit and generous use of thought balloons.
Anthology featuring the work of Jack Kirby, Mark Martin, A.C. Farley, Richmond Lewis, Michael Dooney, Steve Lavigne, Mark Thibodeaux, Guy Romano, Michael Zulli, Steve Murphy, Rob Caswell, Michael R. Gaydos and Dan Berger.
There was a time in the not so distant past that a couple of inspired creators, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, set the comics world on edge when they created and published Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The release of that comic started what came to be known as the “black-and-white” boom. For a while, there was nothing more profitable in comics than to be in the TMNT business. What makes this anthology special is Jack “The King” Kirby providing Turtle artwork (see the panel below the cover art). Certainly Kirby always supported the efforts of creator ownership and upstart efforts. Is it odd or perfectly natural? I don’t know. What do you think?
Cover: S. Clarke Hawbaker / Writer: R. A. Jones
Pencils: Thomas Derenick / Inks: Mike Deodato
Letters: Clem Robins / Editor: Dan Danko
Probably the strangest and most unique “enhancement” of any comic published. This issue of Malibu’s PROTECTORS series featured a hole drilled completely through the comic. Yep, If you held it up to your face, you could look right through it. It was the brainstorm of Malibu employee (and now IDW VP) Alan Payne. It wasn’t completely arbitrary, as Night Mask was shot to death inside the issue. This particular issue sold exceptionally well, both in comic shops and on the newsstand. To be sure that fans wouldn’t find out which character died (unless they actually bought it), the direct market copies were shipped in a plastic bag with promotional printing on it (the top cover of the two pictured here). Gruesome, huh?
SHADOW OF THE GROUNDHOG #1
(Saga Publishing) 1986
This legendary release is known for how amazingly amateur it is. Yet those of us that saw it and (gasp!) actually read it have a weird attachment to it. The drawings were extremely crude and the story ridiculous. The publisher saved money by printing the cover in only three colors (ain’t the lavender terrific), but the savings were put to good use. Appearing at first to be be typical black-and-white comic, the wonderous surprise inside: the preposterous violent scenes inside were splashed with blood red ink. Gotta love the “injury to the eye” motif on the cover, right?