*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.
Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.
But Then There’s that One Issue… (Part 1)
When you ask someone about the various comic books that rock their world, their eyes tend to light up right before they begin to tell you about a series or a character or maybe even a story arc that is just too cool for school and that you simply must rush out and read. It’s wonderful to see the passion people have for their favorite comics and the joy that comes with sharing that love with potential new fans. But if you really want to get someone thinking, ask them about a particular issue that changed everything for them, that got them excited, that filled them with dread, that broke their dagburned heart. Ask them about that certain issue that affected them the most and made comics not just a hobby but a necessity of life. Here are a few issues that got to me the most…
X-Men and the Micronauts limited series, that are worthy of high praise, but it was issue #28 that changed everything for me. The cover alone made my heart skip a beat with its depiction of the mighty Acroyear facing off against the centaur form of the tyrant Baron Karza. The proclamation of “Rann—Doomed! Karza—Defeated! Spartak—Destroyed!” had me rushing home and brooking no interruptions as I carefully took in every panel of this amazing comic before gulping and turning to the next page. As gorgeous and as thrilling as this cover is, I was in no way ready for what was contained within: kings possessed, queens sacrificed, worlds destroyed, betrayal by allies, Nick Fury fighting against Hydra, leaders fall, and so much more. This issue promised the world and delivered oh so much more. Even flipping through it over three and a half decades after its initial release has me wanting to return to this amazing series that unfortunately is still tied up in a licensing quagmire that will require you to hunt down the original issues, which, no discussion, you must do. Just be sure to start with issue one, as the emotional impact of issue #28 necessitates getting to know the characters and experiencing the triumphs and failures that lead to this monumental battle.
Preacher Book One is the place it all starts.
Swamp Thing #10 illustrated by Bernie Wrightson is the first comic that really caused me to take note of the art and realize that not all illustrators are created equal; I gained an appreciation of what art brings to a story. I then followed the character where I could, and I picked back up the revitalized series that started up in 1982. As much as I loved seeing Swamp Thing back on the grocery store spinner rack, and as solid as issues #1–19 are, it was #21 that took my breath away. The story was unlike anything I had ever read. Here we have the title character dead, on a slab, in a freezer, being dissected by another plant man at the behest of the head of an evil corporation. Now, I had missed the six or seven issues leading up to this one, but Moore gives the reader enough background as to what happened to catch them up and leave them fine not knowing the details of what came before (again, those issues are still really good and introduce things Moore will expand upon later and are definitely worth reading). It also doesn’t hurt to have Bissette and Totleben as the very worthy successors to Wrightson’s breathtaking earlier work, but as great as that art is and as much as it makes The Saga of the Swamp Thing a must-own book, it’s the concepts, characterization, and creepy-as-hell mood and horror-tinged themes that Moore introduces into the Swamp Thing mythos that makes this one of the best runs ever. Oh, man...to see that bright green sprout emerging from the dead, grey husk of the Swamp Thing…it just doesn’t get better than that. The Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book 1 contains this issue, but I’m certain you will need the other five volumes and then want to go back and get the Swamp Thing: The Bronze Age Omnibus for everything that leads up to Moore’s definitive run.
Marvel Team-Up #63
(Written by Chris Claremont, illustrated by John Byrne, originally published in 1978 by Marvel Comics)
Iron Fist, we saw my favorite Kung-Fu hero fighting Sabertooth and the X-Men and then to pop up in my cherished series Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man? Dang, cuz, what’s not to love! Anyhow, this issue brings in the big bad version of Iron Fist, the Steel Serpent, who had steadily been draining poor Danny Rand’s chi over the course of a few issues. Here, the Steel Serpent succeeds in completely taking the dang iron fist from our hero and not even Spider-Man or the Daughters of the Dragon can stop him. I expressly remember reading this issue in the back of my mom’s station wagon as she carted us off to the pool and back one summer. I also remember pleading with her to stop by the mall so we could see if the next issue happened to be at the newsstand. We did. It wasn’t. I also had to wait about three decades to finally see how the brutal cliffhanger resolved in the pages of the Iron Fist: The Fury of the Iron Fist collection and let me say, as a grown-up (sorta), the ending was everything I coulda hoped for. Seek this one out for some Bronze Age goodness.
The Immortal Iron Fist: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 will set you up good and proper for this martial arts extravaganza.
That’s it for this installment, Denizens. See you next time and be sure to watch some Iron Fist at your earliest convenience!