Published: August 6th, 2019
Written by: Roy Thomas
Art by: Gil Kane, John Buscema, Neal Adams, Rich Buckler
Based on: Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard
Marvel Comics, 856 Pages
There’s not much I can say about how good this is that I didn’t say in the review for volume one. This is virtually more of the same but that’s a great thing.
Roy Thomas is still writing these stories and adapting the work of Robert E. Howard while mixing in his own original ideas that he keeps as close to the spirit of the source material as possible.
I did like the monsters in a lot of these stories more than the ones from the earliest issues, as they felt more imaginative and refined.
We also get a few stories that team-up Conan and Red Sonja again, which is something I’ve always loved and that we’ll never get to see again unless both heroes end up at the same publisher one day.
This collection is massive, beefy but none of it is dull, even if some one-off issues and adventures may start to feel a bit repetitive after awhile.
Conan is still a cool and engaging character, however, so even when the stories feel like they may be retreading something you’ve already read, Conan still makes it fun and worthwhile.
Pairs well with: other Conan and sword and sorcery comics penned by Roy Thomas.
Written by: Larry Hama, John Albano
Art by: Pat Broderick, Frank McLaughlin, Russ Heath, Neal Adams (cover), Dick Giordano (cover), Larry Lieber (cover)
Atlas/Seaboard Comics, 96 Pages
Since Atlas/Seaboard Comics only lasted for a year or so, I’ve been trying to round up as many of them as I can. This series was the first one that I completed, so I wanted to give it a proper review.
What drew me to it was both the premise and the fact that it was written by Larry Hama. Granted, Hama only wrote the first issue, so that was a bit of a disappointment when I got to issue numero dos.
Another disappointment was that the third issue, the series’ last, is not a final issue or a conclusion to the story. It leaves you anticipating a fourth issue but one never came. So like all great things in my life, this ended on an unresolved cliffhanger.
But let’s be positive!
The cover art of the first issue was done by Neal Adams and man, it’s a dynamic, energetic and colorful image that hits the right notes for me. If I was a kid in 1975 (3 years before my birth) I would’ve been all over this book like I was all over Image Comics in 1992.
What I really dug about this is that Earth in this story felt a lot like the movie version of Logan’s Run, except overrun by vampires. What’s cool about that is that this comic was out a year before that film.
The story sees astronauts return to Earth from a mission that kept them in space for several years. Upon returning, the Earth looks like it was ravaged by war. The newly arrived astronauts are saved from ravenous humans but soon find out that their heroic hosts are alien vampires that farm humans for blood.
On paper, this comic has just about everything I could want in a ’70s, pulpy, sci-fi, horror story. It was like Buck Rogers meets Hammer Horror.
However, despite the fun story, solid art and my engagement in both of those things, it was pretty sad that it didn’t have a proper conclusion.
I’ve heard negative things about the quality of Atlas Comics’ releases but had they finished this tale, it would be considered a fairly satisfying comic.
Pairs well with: other Atlas/Seaboard comic releases.
Published: December 2nd, 1970
Written by: Jack Kirby
Art by: Jack Kirby, Vince Colletta, Neal Adams (cover)
DC Comics, 22 Pages
Man, this was a weird ass comic book! But it was also done by Jack Kirby during his stint at DC Comic, where he did some really outside of the box stuff that led to the creation of his Fourth World universe within the larger DC Universe.
This issue of Jimmy Olsen was tied to all of that, as this is the first appearance of Darkseid, one of the greatest villains in the entire history of DC Comics.
I wanted to read this, as I’ve been reading a lot of the first appearances of some of my favorite villains. That being said, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this comic but it was pretty insane.
This issue is trippy as hell! I’m not sure if that was normal with Jimmy Olsen but I really dug it, even if it was hard to make sense of the proceedings, as I don’t have the issues around this to give it more context.
Superman even shows up in this but he was a pretty regular fixture in this title. Sadly, we don’t get to see Supes square off with Darkseid. In fact, we only get a peek at Darkside in one panel. That’s it, his big debut was just in a single panel where he was a talking head in a TV set, giving commands to one of his minions.
This is creative, kind of nuts and it flew by. I can’t say that it’s a solid comic as a standalone issue but reading it was interesting, as it was a quick, small sample of Kirby’s earliest work at DC.
For Jack Kirby fans, this is worth checking out.
Pairs well with: any of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World titles at DC Comics.
Release Date: June 5th, 2007
Cast: Neal Adams, Jim Lee, Stan Lee, Jeph Loeb, John Romita Sr., Alex Ross, Tim Sale, Walter Simonson, Bruce Timm, Len Wein, Barry Windsor-Smith, Marv Wolfman
Marvel Studios, Sparkhill Production, 20th Century Fox, 64 Minutes
I’ve been watching through a lot of comic book documentaries on YouTube, lately. I came across this one that discusses the work and legacy of Jack Kirby.
I’m not sure if this was made as a special feature on a DVD, as it was produced by Marvel and 20th Century Fox. Maybe it was included on one of the Fantastic Four DVD releases a decade ago.
Anyway, if you appreciate and admire the great work of Jack Kirby, this is a really engaging documentary.
It is rather short, considering the long career of the man but it does cover a lot of ground. It also interviews a lot of other comic book greats that worked with Kirby or were inspired by him.
This feels like a quickly thrown together low budget fluff piece and if I’m being honest, Jack Kirby deserves a proper documentary or a real biopic. As much as this does talk about how much Jack did, I still don’t feel like it captures the real importance and scale of it all.
But this is still a worthwhile watch because there really isn’t anything better… yet.
Pairs well with: other comic book industry biographical documentaries.
Release Date: October 25th, 2013
Directed by: Scott Devine, J.M. Kenny
Written by: Scott Devine, Jack Mulligan
Music by: Kris Dirksen (as Methodic Doubt)
Cast: Christopher Lee (narrator), Neal Adams, Clancy Brown, Kevin Conroy, Guillermo del Toro, Dan Didio, Paul Dini, Richard Donner, Marc Guggenheim, Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, CM Punk, Michael Shannon, Scott Snyder, Zack Snyder, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman
DC Comics, mOcean, Warner Bros., 99 Minutes
This was just a really cool documentary accented by the narration of the legendary and superb Christopher Lee. It also had a fantastic cast of interviewees.
A great retrospective on the darker half of DC Comics’ long history, Necessary Evil was delightful. I enjoyed it so much and wish that it was actually a lot longer. The DC mythos and it’s rich history could easily fill up a season of a documentary series. I could sit through a Ken Burns’ Baseball length documentary on this subject and maintain the same level of excitement. Assuming its as well produced as this is.
You can’t have a great hero without a great villain and this does a fantastic job at making the audience understand how these characters truly are a “necessary evil” in how they make the heroes better and how they make these stories last for decades. Comic books are America’s mythology and a good villain with a good story is at the forefront of the most memorable moments in these epic tales.
This film analyzes a lot of key villains in the DC universe. Unfortunately, you can’t cover every villain in 99 minutes and frankly, this probably only touches on like one percent of them, as there have been so many in the 80 years since the first Superman comic was published. One of the interviewees mentioned that DC’s villain count was into the thousands and really, that doesn’t seem too far fetched in the grand scheme of things.
I really enjoyed hearing from Jim Lee, Geoff Johns and Scott Snyder. These guys have been at the forefront of many of the stories I’ve enjoyed since the ’90s. We also get to see movie directors Richard Donner, Zack Snyder and Guillermo del Toro chime in.
A lot of comic book documentaries are done on the cheap and can’t round up a very solid cast of people to interview. In the last few years, we’ve gotten some really good documentaries on the subject, though. This is one of the best out there and really, who doesn’t love the f’n villains?
Pairs well with: Other recent comic book documentaries: The Image Revolution, Chris Claremont’s X-Men and Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously.