Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Man-Gods And Monsters!

This month at the Dojo the focus will be on Charlton's Hercules. I've made not secret of my adoration for this Sam Glanzman-Joe Gill creation which burst onto the comic stands in late 60's. The "Adventures of the Man-God" was one of the most important books, binding my ten-year old understanding of mythology with the comic books I was beginning to explore with a mildly more serious eye. In these stories the myths were present in a way they weren't in other comics. The exception was the awesome Tales of Asgard in the pages of Thor, but by the time I was around the series had already wrapped and I discovered it thanks to an awesome annual. Later this month or early next month Dark Horse will release these Hercules adventures in a singular collection at long last. In anticipation of that event I want to represent some of the posts I worked up on these issues in the earliest days of the Dojo.

A bit of serendipity stepped in when I was asked recently to contribute an introduction of sorts to an upcoming Sam Glanzman production from Drew Ford and the folks at IDW's It's Alive brand. Drew is reprinting some of Glanzman's finest work for Dell from the comic book Combat. New covers have been created by notable comics talents Walt Simonson and Russ Heath among others. Looking forward to this one for sure.

On the tube this month (despite the beginning of school again...sigh) I am planning on reviewing the first three Ultra series shows from Japan. These wacky shows are an oddball offshoot of the kaiju movies which rolled out from the shores of Japan during the decades of the 50's and 60's and beyond. Ultra Q, Ultraman, and UltraSeven are all slated for a glimpse.

I've a number of anthologies from Dark Horse which have been accumulating featuring some of the best of the vintage Warren magazines. The Rook, Hunter, El Cid, and anthologies featuring Rich Corben, Berni Wrightson, Alex Toth, and Steve Ditko are on the schedule for a read through. And speaking of the late great Ditko.

I have begun a project which will last longer than a mere month -- I am digging out the vintage Steve Ditko stories I have and will be giving them a proper re-reading. Paying little  heed to chronology I've begun with his seminal issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, which I and many others regard as the highlight of this long and successful run. I hope to turn my attention to other of Ditko's great runs on Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Hawk and Dove, The Creeper, and Shade the Changing Man among many others. Also there are years and years of weird and fantastic tales from his formative years at Charlton and others in the 50's. There's no lack of Ditko to read, an artist who held firm to his philosophy and was a visceral advocate for his craft.

All this and doubtless some more (maybe). As I said, school is starting and best laid plans can often go astray.

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