Pulled From My Files #49: X-MEN MUTANTS EVENT

All images © Marvel.

In 1994 (I believe) I was contacted by Marvel editor Bob Harras about designing three connected logos for an upcoming X-Men three-title event. The lead line was to be MUTANTS with the individual titles below that. I suggested we start with that word, and develop the rest to match. All these sketches are drawn in pencil and inked in markers. Continue reading

And Then I Read: ARTHUR, THE SEEING STONE by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Generally I steer away from retellings of the Arthurian legends because I so love the version by T.H. White that others pale by comparison. This book, the first of a trilogy, seemed a different enough approach to be worth a try, and I enjoyed it.

The Arthur of this story is Arthur de Caldicot, living with his family in their manor house/castle on the English side of the Welsh border in 1199. Arthur’s father is the lord of the small village and nearby territory. One of the members of his village is an old man named Merlin who is revered for his wisdom, but in many ways seems no more than an old man. Arthur’s life is troubled by the jealousy of his older brother, and the treatment of some of the lower class people in his village. He longs to become a Knight like his father, but in fact shows little aptitude for it.

All that changes when Merlin secretly gives him a shiny black stone that in time becomes a window into the past. A window into the time of another Arthur who is the one we know of in the legends. This story’s Arthur sees many parallels in that Arthur’s life to his own, and as mystery of the seeing stone reveals ever more of the past, the Arthur of 1199 finds his secret knowledge gives him insights into those around him he never had before. Soon secrets in his own life begin to unravel, opening up new possibilities for the boy, all against a well-researched backdrop of mediaeval life of the time.

Well done, I will look for the rest of the trilogy. Recommended.

And Then I Read: DOCTOR FATE #18

Image © DC Comics.

The final issue of this run of DOCTOR FATE is the second half of a two-part story that mostly stands apart from the previous issues, with psychedelic art by Brendan McCarthy and a pretty good story by Paul Levitz. This issue drops us into everything midstream with no recap or explanation. I suspect these issues were intended to be an Annual, but that’s just a guess.

The best thing in it is that Khalid finally gets to meet the god who powers his helmet and himself, Thoth. Taking a break from battling evil creatures, Thoth and Khalid have a wonderful conversation about wisdom and free will that’s worth the price of admission. The rest of the issue is fun visually but somewhat predictable. There’s not much sense of closure at the finish, another signal this was not written as a final issue, but in the DC Universe, Doctor Fate will go on to other iterations, so perhaps that’s okay. We can imagine Khalid’s future in our own ways.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: WONDER WOMAN #11

Image © DC Comics.

The first modern-day story arc by writer Greg Rucka and artist Liam Sharp concludes with an issue full of delicious, lush coloring by Laura Martin. Diana and Steve Trevor have arrived in Themyscira at last, but one that’s strangely different than either of them remember. Diana has a hard time recognizing this at first, and when she does, with Steve’s help, she is devastated. What has gone wrong? Meanwhile, Wonder Woman’s handlers and friends are facing a threat from within their own ranks that will tear that group apart. Fine writing, wonderful art, great issue.

Recommended.

Incoming: STARSTRUCK, OLD PROLDIERS NEVER DIE #1

Image © Elaine Lee & Michael Wm. Kaluta.

So, a package arrived from IDW today. Looked like comics. I was puzzled. Didn’t recall lettering anything for IDW. When I opened it, I remembered. I’d done the work directly for Elaine and Michael, as I’ve done since this project began around 1980, and forgot that IDW was publishing the serialized form.

STARSTRUCK runs like a live wire through my professional comics lettering life. It was the first big project I did outside of DC Comics, allowed because it wasn’t being published in direct competition. (HEAVY METAL was the first American publisher, not considered so by DC.) Later I worked on more for Marvel, with special permission from DC, as I was still on staff there then. Later still I worked on it directly for Elaine and Michael again when I was a full-time freelancer, and pages I lettered were published by several more companies.

The lettering credit for this series is complicated. I’m listed as the sole letterer, but it’s not so. There were times when I wasn’t able to work on the series, and other letterers were used. Many of the pages in this issue were not originally lettered by me. Some were lettered by Ken Bruzenak, some by Tim Harkins, at least that’s my judgment based on style. Willie Schubert might be in there too. Michael and Elaine aren’t sure either. There are pages in upcoming issues lettered by John Workman, and then there are new pages here and in future issues that ARE all me. My assignment on the previously lettered pages was to tie things together by redoing all the narrative captions, and add anything new or different Elaine had decided on for this current version, which is expanded and added to from what was originally done. STARSTRUCK is constantly evolving. This storyline is all different from the previous IDW series, though, that was earlier material. If you’re a fan, as I am, you’ll want to check it out.