Friday, August 31, 2012

Knight Of The Moon!

Covers by Gil Kane

The Moon Knight I prefer is the original created with such gusto by Doug Moench and Don Perlin in 1975 in the pages of Werewolf by Night, as a nemesis for the lycanthropic Jack Russell. Perlin's design is sleek and modern, using the notion that the Knight is clothed in silver to excellent effect.

Here's a the second page ever to feature Moon Knight, as the debut story begins with the Werewolf and the Knight battling out.

Cover by Don Perlin

Cover by Jack Kirby

After the debut, some value was seen in this character and so he was tried out the next year in 1976 in his two-issue turn in Marvel Spotlight. He's essentially the same swashbuckling character we'd seen in the debut. Sadly Marvel Spotlight #28 was the only time Perlin ever drew his creation on a Marvel cover.

Covers by Ed Hannigan & Al Milgrom

In 1977 the Moon Knight returns yet again, this time featured alongside other offbeat heroes in four very bizarre issues of The Defenders.

Keith Giffen's rendition of the Moon Knight in this issue begins to cleave away a bit from Perlin's original, but still is slick and attractive.

Covers by Dave Cockrum & Keith Pollard

Another year passes, then in 1978 Moon Knight joins up with Spidey in the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man to quell the threat of Cyclone.

But more importantly Moon Knight gets his own ongoing feature, albeit in the back pages of Hulk magazine. This time he gets drawn by Gene Colan, and the Knight we knew is well on his way out.

Cover by George Perez & Joe Sinnott

The following year in 1979 the Thing crosses paths with the Knight, giving him some vital cover exposure. His was still all but a stealth project in the Hulk book.

And then with the appearance in 1980 of Marvel Preview the new and not-necessarily improved Moon Knight gets a cover by Bob Larkin.

It features the new simpler design created by Bill Sienkiewicz, the artist most associated with the character by most fans, and the artist who would draw the character when he finally got his own ongoing self-titled comic in late 1980. It's an effective and dramatic design, but I miss the old styling with the stronger contrast between silver and black.

But for me the prime artist for Moon Knight will always be Don Perlin.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Red Men Of The Moon!

With all the recognition that Edgar Rice Burroughs is justly getting this year for his iconic creations John Carter of Mars and most importantly Tarzan of the Apes, there are lots of stories by ERB which garner little attention. Among these are his Moon books, a trilogy of tales collected in two volumes in their ACE versions.

With all the folderal of the political season in full gale force and politicians finding Socialist plots around every corner once again in these United States, it might be a good time to revisit this tale by Burroughs written originally in response to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and postulating a sci-fi future redolent with Commies. Later the threat was safely couched in purer sci-fi clothing and the enemy was changed to men from the Moon, Lunarians.

See this link to read more of and about The Moon Maid, The Moon Men, and Red Hawk.

Whatever, as usual Frank Frazetta could be counted on to deliver some evocative cover art to draw in the casual reader to a book he or she would otherwise give barely a sniff. Magnificent!

Much stronger I must say than the original ACE Moon Maid cover by Roy Krenkel or the painting by Ed Emswhiller for Moon Men, though obviously both represent the same scenes.

All this Moon Maid talk was prompted in part when I glommed this cover for a 90's Conan Handbook from Marvel, which if you look closely offers up a swipe of the fabulous Moon Maid in


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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Destination Moon!

Destination Moon was something of an epic 1950 sci-fi flick justly famous for its authentic feel and sense of overall reality within a concept which at the time was pure speculation and anticipation.

The movie, an ode of sorts to venture capitalism in space, was written in part by Robert Heinlein, and featured the artwork of Chesley Bonestell. Fawcett published a concise and effective adaptation of the movie in 1950 scripted by Otto Binder featuring artwork by Dick Rockwell and Sam Burlockoff. To read it check out this link, then this one, and finally this one. But then Fawcett's assets were taken over by Charlton after their demise, and this property was reprinted many times.

First in 1956 in an issue of Space Adventures under the new and far less dramatic title of "First Trip to the Moon". They use the splash page as the cover this time.

Then again a few years later in 1958 in later issue of Space Adventures, this time titled on the cover "Space Trip to the Moon". This issue sports an interesting Charles Nicholas and Vince Alascia cover.

After the collapse of Charlton Comics, Richard Broughton bought many of its assets, including those the Derby Publisher had gotten long ago from Fawcett and began his brand ACG/Avalon which reprinted the story first in 1997. The splash page is back in service as the cover art.

A few years later in 1999 it was reprinted yet again.

A whole other adaptation of the story was created in 1950 by DC Comics for the debut issue of Strange Adventures, this one featuring scripting by Gardner Fox and some tasty Curt Swan and John Fishcetti artwork. It hit the stands at almost the same time as the Fawcett version, if not a wee bit sooner. Check it out at this link.

At that same link you can also read this whole other third adaptation, a prose version for the debut issue of Captain Science. (Thanks to BrittReid, a friend of this blog, who operates Secret Sanctum of Captain Video for all the great material; it made life easy one-stop shopping when I decided to research this subject a few days ago.)

This tale has told and retold, sold and resold many times thanks to clever marketing and the glory of public domain.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Moon Shots!

In celebration of the magnificent accomplishment of Neil Armstrong and the other brave astronauts of the Apollo program, here is a gallery of comic book covers featuring all manner of trips to our best pal in all of space -- the Moon.

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