Friday, January 30, 2015

The Art Of OMAC!

To close out this month-long look at Jack Kirby's OMAC, here are some of the "King's" delicious art in its raw original form.

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The Worlds Of OMAC!

After Jack "King" Kirby had left DC for Marvel and parts unknown, he left behind a remarkable trove of characters for the talent there to play with. There was a revival of the New Gods and Mister Miracle with great art by the likes of Don Newton and Marshall Rogers. But one of the most intriguing revivals was of OMAC (One-Man Army Corp) by the exceedingly talented Jim Starlin.

For his part Starlin revised the origin of OMAC, but first he brought the fans up to date and even supplied an ending of sorts onto the saga which had so summarily been halted with Kirby's abrupt departure.

In this variation of the OMAC story, the GPA  (Global Peace Agency) aren't human at all, but aliens seeking some measure of control of the Earth .

The saga unfolded first in the pages of Kamandi but when that book too was cancelled it was shifted over to Mike Grell's Warlord title.

OMAC in these stories is much more assured and while confronted with a somewhat new reality approaches it with a mixture of realism and bravura which keeps him still much the hero in a somewhat grittier universe.

After some spectacular battles Starlin takes his leave of the character.

But OMAC would continue for a few episodes further in the lands of other talents. The concept would prove to be a sturdy one for DC and has been revised and revisited many times since, always coherent largely due to the strong concepts originally devised by Kirby.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Game Of Kings!

Once upon in the dim past board games were a nigh ubiquitous aspect of marketing nearly anything in the popular culture. And so it's hardly surprising that King Features comic heroes like The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician and Flash Gordon would have their own games.

The Phantom's "Ruler of the Jungle" game from 1966 looks especially keen to play. I love the board design and play pieces too.

If anything Mandrake's board from 1966 is even more visually striking, though the play pieces seem a bit more generic. Still looks like a lot of fun to play.

This Flash Gordon game from 1977 is rather bland comparatively. Though I appreciate the nifty atomic design, it still falls somewhat short. On the upside the play pieces look a tad more sturdy.

Wouldn't mind having any or all of these lovely mementos of days gone by.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dennis And The Bible Kids!

In 1977 Hank Ketcham allowed his Dennis the Menace character to be used for a series of six religious comics telling Bible stories. The artwork on the covers of the Dennis and the Bible Kids from series from Word Books is typically eye-catching.

In 1980 Ketcham and crew added four more books for a total of ten. This last quartet is not as strong in its cover design as the original six were. And indicative of the inflationary times, the price per comic had jumped a whopping twenty cents in just three years.

Anytime comic characters get used in some other way like this, it's usually effective. Comics speak to us in very fundamental ways and using them as vehicles to proselytize can be very effective. Archie was doing much the same thing at Spire Comics at the time and like these Dennis comics are very memorable. I think the little icon of Dennis with the halo above his head plays neatly against his somewhat less benign  and well established reputation in comics and elsewhere.

For a bit more on these books check this out.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Variant Popeye!

Above is an alternate cover for the most recent issue of Popeye Classics which is the only ongoing comic series I still regularly pick up. I don't however pop (tee hee) for these variant covers, preferring to get the all-vintage versions for my personal reading pleasure.

But they are fun variations. Below are more of these often exceedingly weird takes on Elzie Segar's invention.

And this gives me a chance to feature once again arguably the most unsettling interpretation of the famous Sailor Man I've ever chance across.

That's not pleasant.

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