Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Crusader Legacy!

That is one beautiful Jerry Ordway cover for this rather interesting reprint collection. This reasonably priced volume offers up a good solid look at the latest attempt to revive the MLJ heroes who have been around in some form since the Golden Age. There have been many such attempts over the years, first during the Silver Age at the height of the Batman craze as Mighty Comics, then later during the heyday of the direct sale market under the Red Circle and Archie labels, later still as part of DC's Impact line, and just a few years ago, again by DC. This latest version takes the Infinity Inc. route (hence the appropriateness of getting Ordway for this cover) and gives us the kids of the original heroes and has them form a team and train under the guidance of the original Shield. It's a neat idea, and has been done many times before.

But it's not that really that got me to pick this up, it's the fact that in this book the story of the new team is told in tandem with tales of their predecessors which were chronicled very effectively in 1983 by Rich Buckler and many, many other great talents.  The list of artists in this book is phenomenal and includes Buckler himself, Steve Ditko, Dick Ayers, Carmine Infantino, Alex Nino, Gray Morrow, and many more. There are stories featuring the Shield, Jaguar, the Web, Fly-Girl, Black Hood, Steel Sterling, and the Fox.The highlights of the issue are a Jaguar story with art by Vicatan and a Fox story with art by the great Alex Toth.

The one weakness is that the some of the reproduction is too dark, but that helps some stories and hinders others. The stories are selected from a wide array of comics produced by Red Circle/Archie during the short stint in 1983 to 1984 when the company tried to find a toehold in the direct sales market. That didn't work, but I remember this effort fondly as a full-blooded effort to imbue these characters with some real vitality using some top-notch talent.

Stories and parts of stories used in the collection came from the comics shown below. If you're a fan of the MLJ heroes in any form, I can recommend this collection heartily. For the price it will bring back some fond memories of a vital comics heyday.

Rip Off


  1. JC Comics was operating out of the Archie offices (down by the 59th Street Bridge in Manhattan, before they moved to Mamaroneck), so I got to see a lot of the goings-on first-hand.
    (BTW, that's why the final JC THUNDER Agents story appeared in Blue Ribbon Comics and Black Hood stories were printed in JC's Basically Strange b/w magazine!)
    Red Circle Editor/Art Director Rich Buckler and Archie's Victor Gorlick (who handled the production end) really busted their butts trying to make it work, but a number of factors (financial and personal) ended both Red Circle and JC prematurely...

    1. Neat insider info.

      Those were heady days in comics, with all kinds of start ups and all kinds of comics on the stands. I miss that energy.

      Rip Off

  2. I'll HAVE to get that trade reprinting the 1983 stories! I really enjoyed that. My local comics shop stopped carrying the book, though, and I never found out. Did they ever complete The Shield's serial?


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