My favorite science fiction novels for younger readers were the ones by Robert Heinlein, but his friend and fellow writer Isaac Asimov also wrote some that I thought were pretty good when I read them as a child. I didn’t know they were by Asimov until later, as he wrote them under the pen name Paul French. There were six short novels in all, this book has the middle two. I remembered some things from the Venus one, but nothing from the Mercury one, so I may never have read it before.
These are essentially mystery and action/adventure stories in the tradition of the science fiction pulp magazines. The mysteries are clever and the action is entertaining, but the characters are far from complex, more caricatures than anything. David “Lucky” Starr is the intrepid hero with a clever mind for solving mysteries, and his sidekick John Bigman Jones is there for comic relief, fight backup and to ask the Dr. Watson questions. The science they were based on was accurate for the time, but the Venus one in particular—of an ocean world—has been completely ruled out by later discoveries. There are less obvious science flaws in the Mercury story.
I enjoyed reading them, but they do not hold up all that well to my adult ideas about good writing. I may reread the others at some point, but it won’t be a high priority.
Continuing my look through a set of photocopied cover lettering and related material from the files of Marvel letterer Danny Crespi compiled by his friend, work-mate and fellow letterer Phil Felix. This time covering pages 69 to 72. Page 69, above has only two blurbs. I can’t find a source for the first one.
Quite a change of pace this issue with a new storyline, setting and mostly new or long-unseen characters. We first see Rose Walker (last appearance in the original series as far as I know) visiting her mother in the hospital where she’s dying and unconscious. In a nearby room is Lucien (I think) barely conscious, apparently brought to the hospital by Rose. Rose tells the story of her daughter Ivy’s romance with Dream (Daniel), an odd love story with an appearance by Desire. It’s an intriguing tale that gives us more information about what Dream has been up to and where.
The art by Abigail Larson is not so appealing to me, though it does have a romance/fashion model vibe that fits the storyline. I’m not sure if she is the new regular artist or not. The writing by Simon Spurrier is fine, though, and keeps me satisfied with the series.
I like the lettering by Simon Bowland in this series, but was a little disappointed in his font choice for Desire, as it’s so different from what did originally. I’m sure he had his reasons.
To put this in perspective, the first issue of DETECTIVE I owned was #279, May 1960. When I started working at DC Comics, the first issue I saw in the production department was probably #472, Sept. 1977. The first one that had a story I lettered was #483, April-May 1979, “The Curse of Crime Alley” by Denny O’Neil, Don Newton and Dan Adkins.
This 96-pager has a wide variety of material and creators, eleven stories and several pinups. I was happy to be asked to letter the story by Kevin Smith, Jim Lee and Scott Williams. It was also great to see one written by Denny O’Neil with art by Steve Epting.
There’s no attempt to tie things together, it’s an anthology, though the final story by Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke will continue in the next issue, so I guess that one is in continuity. Looks cool, a new Gotham Knight that seems to be an actual knight.
The opening story by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion is a fun idea: Batman is led on a very long clue chase that ends at a sort of secret society for detectives. The Kevin Smith story focuses on the creation and special nature of Batman’s chest symbol. Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen’s funny entry is about the worst henchman in Gotham. Warren Ellis and Becky Cloonan tell a tale of a violent criminal. Denny O’Neil brings us back to Crime Alley one more time. Christopher Priest and Neal Adams’ story involves Ras’ Al Ghul. Bryan Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev relate a meeting between a very old Penguin and Bruce Wayne. Geoff Johns and Kelley Jones show us a deadly birthday party. James Tynion IV, Alvaro Martinez-Bueno and Raul Fernandez have Bruce and Alfred discussing whether to take Dick Grayson into the crime-fighting life (excellent art on this), and Tom King, Tony S. Daniel and Joëlle Jones present a meeting of the entire Bat family.
I’ve just received copies of this new version of the 1996 award-winning series I lettered. It’s 392 pages, and seems to include all the extras from all the previous versions including the 20th Anniversary edition. Not bad for $19.99. I’m a little sad that they redid all the design work and eliminated nearly all the uses of the Kingdom Come font that Alex and I created for the original run, replacing it with the small bland one seen on the cover, but on the other hand, that does leave lots more room for art in some cases, so not such a bad thing. Amazon shows it on sale May 7, comics retailers may well have it sooner, but I can’t find a release date. Coming soon, anyway.