Monday, June 20, 2016
Back when I was 14 or so for X-mas one year my mother gave me this huge hardcover book. It was about the history of comics from the start of comic strips in America all the way up to the mid 80s indy boom. This is where I first discovered the classic first wave of Underground comix. Since then anytime I can find an ok shape underground comix for a decent price I grab it.
I found this issue at a tiny comic shop in Beaumont TX. It kind of stood out cause almost everything else in the store was Marvel/DC/Image or Dark Horse. But there it was hanging up with the wall books. I couldn't see a price marked on it so bit the bullet and asked them how much. Got told what was a decent price,but a more than I wanted to pay. So let him know I was gonna pass on it. Took the stack of stuff I had grabbed out of their cheap bins,mosts filling in gaps in lots of those Marvel Mid 80s 4 issue mini series like Falcon or Iceman,up to the counter. The guy rings me up then tells me he will be right back. He comes back with the Insect Fear. "OK what is the most you are willing to pay for it?" I told him a price that was what I considered fair. "OK Sure,you are the first person to even ask about it since I got it in 4 years ago." And that is how I added one more issue to my very tiny Underground Comix collection.
So how is the issue? Well the art is pretty decent. The stories.... a few are OK.The rest read like they would be much better if you were a bit inebriated. The line up is pretty good group of talent. Guys like Spain,S Clay Wilson,Jaxon and a bunch of others I hadn't heard of before getting this comic.
Insect Fear #03 gets a borrow.
Oh Aircel,the IIRC insulation/AC company that Barry Blair talked into funding a comic company in the mid to late 80s.And while this series was co Creator by the previously mentioned Blair,creepy fuck that he was,Dale Keown co created,drew and writing it.
I remember when this came out it was one of them titles that the shitty comic shop in Biloxi,Diversions,after a week had jacked the price up to $5. Yeah that store fucking sucked and ripped off/ran off many a fan. I never bothered with much from Aircel back then. But after many buys of say 20lbs of random comics I acquired a later series that reprinted this original Dragonforce series. Of course this reprint series came out around the time that Dale was huge cause of Hulk and then Pitt.
The series isn't bad. The writing does suffer from the flaws that anything written by a lifelong fanboy does. But the art is pretty damn good. Keown this early on in his career had a polish to his work that it seems to take most artists at least a few years to get.
Dragonforce #01 gets a borrow.
Wow this was a great cheap bin discovery.For 4 years at Coast Con I had a guy that would bring between 12 to 20 longboxes. All packed with 70s thru early 2000s stuff. Lots of 80s indy stuff. And if you bought a bunch he would really cut ya a deal. So I grabbed this and stuck it in the to read pile.
Now if this just was a bunch of Steve Bissette written or drawn short horror stories it would be great. Same if you replaced Bissette with Rick Veitch. But nope this is even better. And I do wonder if this might become one of those books that goes from the cheap bins to being 20 bucks once word gets out. Jovial Bob Stine and Jane Stine written most of the stories. Bob Stine is better known as R.L.Stine of Goosebumps fame.
So I read through what is 12 or so 2 or 3 page horror stories,and then find a multipage text piece on where all this came from. Seems Schoolastic had a mag in the late 70s thru early 80s called Weird Worlds. And each issue had a few page long horror comic. Using at the time current students at the Joe Kubert School. Which of course Bissette and Veitch were part of the first class.
So unless something has changed this is a great collection of what has to be some hard to find fun horror comics.
Bissette&Veitch Fear Book #01 gets a BUY!
Just look at that cover. Pretty sure this is first of the Pre-COIE Crisis crossovers I read. You got Per Degaton with some of the All Star Squadron,who sadly abbreviate out to ASS,in a giant hourglass.Then bordering that image is starting on the left side...
All Star Squadron
Johnny Quick,Firebrand,Robotman,Steel and Liberty Belle.
The bottom has the JLA.
Zatanna,Superman,Firestorm,Hawkman and Aquaman.Then finally the Justice Society of America on the right.Green Lantern (Alan Scott),Power Girl,Starman(Golden age version),Huntress(the daughter of Batman and Catwoman of Earth 2) and finally Dr. Fate. And to top it off it is drawn by JOE KUBERT. It was covers like this that slowly got me into reading more DC stuff in the early 80s.
The story is pretty good. IIRC this story was 6 parts,running through 3 issues of ASS and JLA.For the second part of a 6 part series this reads fairly well. I need to go back and re-read the rest of the story.But I didn't feel that lost reading this.
All Star Squadron #14 gets a buy,