This is another instance where I wasn't familiar with the source material before finding the comic version. (One more like that, coming up.) Sure, I'd heard of Shakespeare; as a schoolkid I knew I was supposed to hate his work. Luckily, I was just contrary enough to want to try it. So on a slow week, I picked up this Classics Illustrated version.
I was gobsmacked. This was Shakespeare? But it was really good! It excited me like the usual super-dude stuff just didn't. For days I would read the 'To be or not to be' soliloquy over and over in my head.
Did it make for a wordy comic? Sure. Was the artwork stiff compared to, say, Kirby? Sure. Didn't care. This book sparked a love for Shakespeare that has lasted all my life. Hamlet remains my favorite of his plays. I did a paper on the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia in college, which remains one of only two such works I can even remember. (The other was a 'missing' chapter from Anna Karenina, for the record.) Hell, I have 'to be or not to be' tattooed on my arm. (Okay, it's in Klingon, but still. . .)
Post by M. W. Gallaher on Dec 28, 2018 18:57:10 GMT -5
3. Godzilla King of the Monsters #1-24, Marvel Comics 1977-1979 Adapted from the Toho film monster by Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe (with a little Tom Sutton)
I've always had a soft spot for giant monsters, and this neat little run is my favorite comics kaiju. Doug Moench took Toho's giant lizard to the US, and with the help of artist Herb Trimpe, who I've always loved, with a few fill-ins by Tom Sutton on art, took the world's most famous kaiju on a trek from the west coast to the east, delivering a satisfying, complete epic of Godzilla's American adventure. A maxi-series before there were maxi-series, I loved the variety that Moench managed to come up with, especially when Henry Pym shrunk the Big G down to rat-size, where Godzilla was in danger from ordinary vermin, and then growing again to human size before regaining his full majesty in a dramatic showdown with SHIELD and the Champions. I liked that Moench incorporated so many traditional tropes from the Japanese films--the young boy character, the giant robot opponent (Red Ronin, who, being a Marvel creation, continued on after the license was lost)--and that he did a serviceable job of creating new kaiju, although the absence of the likes of Mothra and Ghidorah was definitely felt. Perhaps it was a bit childish by the standards of the time, but it was a romp, and I loved it enough to have it very highly ranked among my favorite comics adaptations.
Post by Mister Spaceman on Dec 30, 2018 9:54:43 GMT -5
The Tomb of Dracula #'s 1-70 (Marvel, 1972-79)
As has oft been observed, The Tomb of Dracula is remarkable for its sustained excellence by the same creative team for the vast majority of its run. Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer brilliantly demonstrated that a character introduced in a 19th century novel and codified in a 1931 Hollywood movie could still be relevant in a 1970s comic book. That it still represents a high water mark in the field of comics simply reinforces the truism that intelligent writing and beautiful art, just like undead protagonists, are eternal.
The Shadow 1-12 (DC Comics) November 1973 - September 1975
Sorry, but I’m again writing about a series that several other posters have already nominated. But, to make a slight distinction, keep in mind that I knew the Shadow less by any reading of the novels than by reading about the character. For me, though, DC’s first Shadow series, thanks largely to the artwork of MW/ Michael Wm. Kaluta, as he was then known, and the scripting by Denny O’Neil, as he was then known, was as fine an adaptation of the spirit of a pulp character as you’re going to see in comics.
(And, somehow, in the sea of homogeneity that was DC’s “trade dress” and cover art in those years, the covers of The Shadow’s brief run managed to be consistently compelling. )
Again, I had not been a Shadow reader; I was more influenced by the snippets of his radio show I had come across and of his legend, as described in books about the pulps, old radio, and heroes of popular culture. (When I finally tried a Shadow novel, sorry to say, it didn’t do it for me.) Still, the trappings of the character were more than enough to lure me in, and everything about the comics seemed to capture the eeriness, the cynicism, the hard-edged naturalism of the Shadow’s world.
If Doc Savage was the pulps’ Superman, The Shadow was their Batman, and O’Neil and Kaluta captured that aspect of him perfectly. The covers, the interiors and the stories were lurid and racy, hinting at decay beneath the surface the way Raymond Chandler did in The Big Sleep. Like Marlowe and Sam Spade, The Shadow himself seemed both apart from but also hopelessly enmeshed in that demi-monde of criminals, crazies and creeps, a leader respected but dreaded by his followers.
Kaluta’s art drew upon Warner Brothers crime movies, Ghastly Ingalls’ horror comics, Eisner's Spirit, and the iconic pulp covers of Graves Gladney and knit them into macabre masterpieces that moved like lightning and dripped with atmospheric detail.
Inevitably, Kaluta moved on after five superb issues, and his replacements, Frank Robbins (an acquired taste for many, I know) and E.R. Cruz, did a more than creditable job of filling in for him; it helped that O’Neil remained the series' writer. Still, Kaluta brought a distinctive touch of perversity and menace to his stories that Robbins and Cruz just couldn’t. They produced good comic books; Kaluta produced good stories.
"The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." -- The Tempest, 5.1
It worked, but the disguise job is barely effective, as the story is still very obviously an adaptation of Casablanca - and maybe the weirdest Sgt Fury issue ever.
Wow, I never knew. I would love to see some scans.
A couple images from the finished (barely doctored) issue:
Over at CBR, Brian Cronin did a writeup that had some stuff about the alterations - here's a look at the pre and post change images, you can see the clear likenesses from the movie, and how they fixed them to avoid a lawsuit (and some of the text changes as well):
Y'know, I’d originally planned to write a long post extolling the virtues of today’s entry, only to discover that codystarbuck had beat me to the punch on Day 5 when he selected
3. Jonny Quest (Comico, 1986-88)
Seriously, cody said literally everything I was going to say about this superlative series, even citing the exact stories and sequences I was going to cite. So I really have nothing to add beyond “What he said.”