Friday, August 17, 2012

The Power Of Warlock!


Warlock created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane out of the fabric woven by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby with the character "Him" is a significant Bronze Age Marvel figure. Not so much for his level of moderate success which was sporadic, but in that he shows off what Marvel did best during that period, which was to develop and enliven the rich creations of the Silver Age. Both Thomas and Steve Englehart were expert at taking older concepts and shining them up for a new audience. Warlock is perhaps the best example of that.

Warlock which debuted in 1972 in the aptly-named Marvel Premiere #1 quickly was launched into his own series only to lapse a year later, a failed effort with great art along the way by Gil Kane and Bob Brown. It also featured scripts by the likes of Mike Friedrich and Ron Goulart. The Warlock saga came to a conclusion of sorts in the pages of The Incredible Hulk written by Thomas with art by Herb Trimpe during 1974. Warlock, a rather on-the-nose Christ analog, made for some vibrant storytelling.

Then came Jim Starlin in 1975 who took the fabric woven by Thomas and Kane and fleshed it out, giving us one of Marvel's iconic figures at last in full figure. The title Strange Tales had been revived and Warlock came back there only to very quickly pick up his own series where he left off and again things were splendid for a year or so.

Then another cancellation in 1976, and the saga found its final episodes scattered among an issue of Marvel Team-up drawn by John Byrne and then finished truly in the two grand epic annuals in the summer of 1977, a sprawling saga beginning in The Avengers and ending in Marvel Two-in-One.

To follow the journey of Warlock demands a keen attention to Marvel Bronze Age history and access to a rich back issue bin, at least until now. Several of these issues have been reprinted in one place or another, other Essentials volumes in fact. The Jim Starlin stuff has been available off and on since it first hit the stands in various reprint packages, but never has it all been available together in such a handsome volume. This is the thing the phone book reprint volumes excel at, getting sagas like this in a handy format.

This one is highly recommended, if only for the gorgeous inking by Tom Sutton on Gil Kane's pencils on those early issues. Truly a team which should've done more work together, they were outstanding.

Below are the issues you will get in this handsome book in their proper order.




























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7 comments:

  1. Th eimage of Warlock on that MARVEL PREMIERE 2 is one of my all-time favorite Gil Kane poses. I used to trace it endlessly! Still have at least one tracing I did!

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  2. The artwork by Kane was stunning. The inking on that series, especially by Tom Sutton still stands out in my memory.

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  3. Think I need to get this on payday. My recollection is the Kane Warlock material was reprinted in the UK Planet of the Apes Weekly, while the Starlin strips were in Star Wars Weekly. I also think the Power of Warlock reprints either ended before the Brute story or maybe the relevant POTA issues weren't distributed to our local newsagents Too long ago now to be sure.

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  4. My fave series EVAH! I own all the issues, but still want that Essentials collection for my birthday!

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  5. You'll love it. I have the issues too, but it's so dang cool to have the stories in one convenient package for easy reading.

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  6. Even though I'd always wanted to see a little more of Him, I thought the revamp of Him to "Warlock" was a nice restyling of the original character. I also had the impression the soul gem, which was never fully dealt with in the first series, was meant to be a more visible manifestation (and to take the place of) Him's "mind power" that was alluded to when the character battled Thor; and it had one or two other tricks, like de-evolving his foes. The Warlock of the first series, though, seemed to rely mostly on his strength and power of flight, with the soul gem's energies used on an as-needed basis.

    Where Warlock really took off, I agree, was under Starlin's writing and art, with Starlin's rich array of characters and concepts as his backdrop. (Though I think I could have done without that cloak! :) )

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  7. With MP1,warlock became my favorite marvel character,and when they killed him off back in 1977, the same month elvis died, Well,I lost a great deal of my feeling for marvel comics, more so when they killed mar-vell off. IF they would have stuck it out with warlock,kept him around, I think that the character today would be one of their major stars.Dispite nearly 22 years of having him back,they just havent been able to really do much with him the past 15 or so years.

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