Wednesday, March 28, 2012
I admire Bill Black's AC Comics, if for no other reason than Bill and his gang keep plugging away making comics in all environments good, bad and indifferent. AC Comics was one of the earliest Indy publishers when the direct sales market opened up in the early 80's. Bill Black though was in a very strong position then to move because he'd been publishing comics under his Paragon banner for over a decade before.
Paragon Publications were typically magazine-size and black and white publications with offbeat mono-color covers. The interiors features early versions of Black creations such as Captain Paragon, Tara of the Dark Continent, Scarlet Scorpion, Synethesia The Girl LSD, The Shade, a revised Phantom Lady (who became both Nightveil and Blue Bulleteer ultimately) and others. Alongside vintage reprints of classic comics these new heroes and heroines fought strange battles, often with a singularly sexual subtext in title after title.
When Black and his comrades started AC Comics, they rebooted these heroes re-utilizing and re-purposing much of the original artwork and created another slightly more coherent universe which still lives and grows today.
Now at long last, those Paragon stories are getting a reprint treatment all their own, in their original forms as those early versions of these heroes get to speak at last in their original voices. The volume Bizarre Thrills - The Paragon Publictions Story should be an intriguing glimpse of a real comics pioneer and his earliest attempts to make comics the appealed not only to himself but to other fans as well.
Here's a gallery of some vintage Paragon publications. I've been collecting these off and on for years now, and don't have all of them by any means, but those I do own are energetic and entertaining regardless of the questionable taste some exhibit.