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.