Matt Wagner’s Grendel series was one of the seminal works of the 80s and 90s. Here’s the start of the whole saga in 1983:
Cover art by Matt Wagner. Published by Comico.
Recently, while looking for comic covers to post as part of the Indie Cover Spotlight feature, I ran across several books from a publisher called Spoof Comics. You may remember them from their oh-so-clever Wolverbroad vs. Hobo book, or Spider-femme vs. Denim.
I’m just kidding. Nobody remembers Spoof Comics.
Well, I’m here to tell you that judging by the covers of their other books, it’s a testament to the strength (and insanity) of the 90s era speculative market that they lasted as long as they did. Again, I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t read a single one of these comics, but honestly, I can’t imagine any of them actually being funny. For example, we’ve got O-X: Cow O’ War:
Because nothing’s funnier than recasting Valiant’s successful X-O: Man O’ War as a cow. Cow’s have udders, which are funny, right? Ugh.
Or how about The Punish-her Score Journal:
First of all, the character’s name doesn’t even make sense, other than it’s the best they could come up with that would somewhat rhyme with Punisher. I don’t even want to know how they wove in the theme of dating and sex and “punishment,” because I have a feeling it’s a bunch of frat house juvenile humor. But hey, check out the early Dave Johnson cover. At least he went on to bigger and better things.
And speaking of great cover artists, the folks at Spoof Comics were at least smart enough to know they’d have a better chance of selling their books if they put some recognizable talent on the covers. My guess is the interiors of these comics were drawn by hungry, naive young artists with way more enthusiasm to “break in” than actual talent. You know, the Bluewater model. So if you can get some nice looking covers, you may at least trick some unsuspecting souls into buying your crap comics.
Case in point, Swamp Thang:
Oh, Kelley Jones, you must have had a car payment to cover that month. But at least it’s a really good cover.
And then there’s Spider-femme:
That’s right, despite the normal looking (and sized) breasts, that’s pinup artist extraordinaire, Adam Hughes. Incidentally, the above cover is from their anthology series Spoof Comics Presents, which, get this, lasted 19 issues! And in that year and a half of publication, they gave us such gems as Daredame:
…Vertigo parodies like Dame Patrol:
…and the super-innuendo of Green Lanterns:
(by the way, I’m pretty sure that’s a Cully Hamner cover on GL)
…and so many other comedy classics, from Justice Broads to Wet Shirts. I’m telling you, Spoof Comics was a veritable (un)funny factory, churning out not just comic book spoofs, but also those of celebrity rock bands. Behold, Kisses:
But even in the early stages of their careers, guys like Adam Hughes and Kelley Jones probably charged too much for a cover (and by too much, I mean “not free,” which seems to have been Spoof Comics’ payment standard), so their other books looked more like this:
That’s right, Youngspud. What’s funnier than a parody of Rob Liefeld’s Youngblood book, than a bunch of potato superheroes? God, I can just imagine all the funny lines in that book: the heroes drink a lot to get “mashed,” or maybe they fight a French supervillain team called Les Frites?
Well, I’m afraid that’s about as much as I can stand to write on this topic. But before I go, I’ll leave you with the best of the bunch. Behold teh funny of Soul Trek:
I don’t even want to know.
(A version of this post originally appeared on my Ferret Press blog, April, 2011)
Yes, I’ve featured this particular series before. And yes, for the purposes of this feature, I’m counting Marvels’ imprint Epic as an indie publisher, given the creator-owned nature of a lot of their books.
Cover painting by Paul Johnson. Published by Epic Comics, 1990.
Welcome back to our weekly spotlight on splash pages! Let’s just get to this week’s batch…
John Byrne, from Fantastic Four #247:
Pat Broderick, from The Micronauts #28 (thanks to Matt Kish for the scan):
And a classic page from the Ferret Press blog, June 2nd, 2010, with original commentary by Craig Bogart:
So in completely unexpected news, it looks like the seminal indie series Puma Blues, which introduced artist Michael Zulli to the world, is going to be completed and collected!
This is one of the books from 80s that I’m aware of, and even have a few issues, but have never read. part of my hesitation was knowing that the creators had a falling out and never completed it. But now it looks like I’ll be able to finally dig into the experimental series.
Cover art by Michael Zulli, published by Dave Sim’s Aardvark One International, 1986.
Running a bit late this week…
Anyway, here’s a splash page by Esteban Maroto, from Dracula: Vlad The Impaler #3:
No, it’s not Marvel’s old Fun N’ Games magazine; it’s Shang-Chi battling his way through a maze of assassins, and artist Paul Gulacy provides an actual maze for our enjoyment. From Giant Size Master of Kung Fu #2.
Here’s today’s ICS, the cover to WaRP Graphics Annual #1, by Debbie Hayes and Paul Abrams, with colors by Mark Wheatley:
This comics was published in 1989 by Warp Graphics (which stood for Wendy and Richard Pini, the husband and wife team behind the venerable Elfquest series), and featured a bunch of (now) well-known creators: the aforementioned Pinis, Robert Asprin, Phil Foglio, Jim Valentino, Colleen Doran, Mark Wheatley, Marc Hempel, Romeo Tanghal, and more.
Matt Kish is killing it with all the splash pages he’s been providing me for this feature, so let’s just get right into it:
Starting off with The King himself, Mr. Jack Kirby (inked by Mike Royer), from 2001 #2:
Next up, some early work from Chris Bachalo (finished by Mark Buckingham), from Ghost Rider 2099 #1:
And here’s the classic page with commentary by Craig Bogart, from my old Ferret Press blog, May 19, 2010
From the story that made me a comic fan in general and a Spider-Man fan in particular; Amazing Spider-Man #147 (the roots of the clone story that ran off the tracks a couple decades later). By my personal favorite Spider-Man artist, Ross Andru:
On his blog, writer J.M. DeMatteis has the entirety of his mid-90s film treatment for a Daredevil movie, for producer/screenwriter Chris Columbus and his 1492 Pictures company.
THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR
Final Draft Treatment
J. M. DeMatteis
—on the Manhattan neighborhood called Hell’s Kitchen, fifteen years ago, where we find a gang of teenagers strutting their stuff down the hot summer streets. The clear leader of the group is sixteen year old MATT MURDOCK…a cocky young Cagney, with energy, anger, and an attitude. He’s the focus of the group’s attention: their unquestioned leader.
Welcome back to Splash Wednesday, where I’ll be featuring splash pages from various comics books, and reprinting posts from my old blog with the same feature.
This week, I’d like to throw the spotlight on Keith Giffen, from his Image era. That’s right, it’s…Trencher!
This page is from Images of Shadowhawk #1. Thanks again to Matt Kish for the page.
And here’s the classic page, from the Ferret Press blog, May 12, 2010. Text and selection by Craig Bogart:
From Marvel Premiere #15, by Gil Kane: Wendell Rand has a very bad day while searching for the lost city of K’un Lun, thanks to the machinations of a jealous business partner.