Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Comic Comments"

Got in several issues of the 1960's Charlton title, Thunderbolt recently. I liked the costume design of this character: reminds me a lot of the old Lev Gleason "Daredevil" character from the 1940's. Plus he's one of several Charlton characters that didn't actually have what you'd call a super-power. Like "Judomaster" and "The (Ditko version) Blue Beetle", "Sarge Steel", "The Fightin' 5", "The Shade", and "The Peacemaker" (albeit I will admit some of those other characters used a few gimmicks), he relied more on his fighting skills.

For anyone not familiar with Thunderbolt, he was the creation of Peter A. Morisi (who signed his work under the initial pseudonym of "P.A.M.), and the title ran from 1/66 to 11/67; a total of eleven issues.

T-Bolt started with a "No.1", then the second issue was actually #51, continuing the numbering of another Charlton hero, "Son of Vulcan" (who had continued HIS numbering from Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds; typical Charlton move there).

Around the middle of this run, Pay Boyette took over the art chores, and Serguis O'Shaugnessy (a pseudonym for Denny O'Neil) took over the writing.

T-Bolt fought many oriental-type villians such as "The Dragon", & "The Tong", but also "Mongols", "Pigmy Warriors", "Dum-Dum Barnes", and "Man-Apes".

The back-up stories were fairly interesting. For a few issues a group of heroes called "The Sentinels" appeared, a "rock" group turned super-heroes which was a total "Fantastic Four" rip-off, each character in conflict with the other and one nothing more than a "Ben Grimm" imitator.

The most interesting of the back-ups however was in the last issue, #60, where O'Neil and the (late) Jim Aparo presented "The Prankster" (See above illo). This was really well-written, and had some of Aparo's best silver-age artwork. It's a shame we didn't get to see further installments.

Other items that have arrived include a copy of the 1983 Aardvard-Vanaheim one-shot special, Strange Brew, which is a collection of material, mostly previous published, done by Michael T. Gilbert, and this came out right before he went on to create his most popular character, "Mr. Monster".

It did contain one new story with his old Spirit-take-off character, "The Wraith"(which was the LAST Wraith tale ever published). There's also one story which he wrote which was illustrated by Jeff Bonivert, whose art-deco style you can always spot a mile away. Many of these tales were reprinted from earlier independent titles from the 1970's, such as New Paltz. A great all-around "read".

In, as well, was a copy of Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. V1, #12 from 1969, written by Stan Lee and drawn in the early artwork of Barry (Winsor-) Smith. This was from a time that Smith was still trying to imitate the styles of both Kirby and Steranko, but I must say that it was some of the first work of his that impressed me during that era. Of course, it wasn't much longer afterwards that anyone that read Marvel Comics knew his name very well when he started drawing the Conan comics.

One comic ( which I've just won this week so it'll be a while before it arrives) is a book I didn't know existed. Well...I knew the book existed, but I didn't realize "what" was in it, and that's DC's Ghosts #97 (from 1981). I had always thought that the only Aparo series of "The Spectre" had appeared in issues of Adventure Comics (in the 1970's), but issues 97 thru 99 also has him drawing the Spectre VS. "Dr. 13", so I'll be on the lookout for the other two issues now.


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