Archive for the 'Comic Books' Category

Harlan Ellison’s Chocolate Alphabet, 1978

CA 1978-1

CA 1978-8

CA 1978-2

CA 1978-3

CA 1978-7

CA 1978-4

CA 1978-5

CA 1978-6

“From A to Z, in the Chocolate Alphabet” is a short story—a series of short shorts, really—written by Harlan Ellison and first appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (October, 1976). The inspiration for the story came from a Larry Todd painting called “N is for Nemotropin,” which Todd showed to Ellison in 1974 (see the title page above). Ellison wrote the story two years later while sitting in the window of the dearly departed A Change of Hobbit bookstore in Westwood, California.

The comic book adaptation was published by Last Gasp Eco-Comics in 1978, with Todd responsible for all artwork. The original “N is for Nemotropin” painting (below) appeared on the back cover. Note what Ellison calls Todd in the introduction: “one of America’s premier visual technicians.”

Nemotropin Todd

Cotati Con Program, 1973

Cotati 1973-1

Cotati 1973-2

Frank Brunner and Larry Todd splash the front and back covers with their signature characters, Dr. Strange and Dr. Atomic, respectively. Cotati is about 45 miles north of San Francisco.

(Images via eBay)

Larry Todd Art: Infinity #5 (Summer, 1973)

Todd Infinity #5 1973-2

Todd Infinity #5 1973

Todd Infinity #5 1973-4

Todd Infinity #5 1973-5

Todd Infinity #5 1973-6

Todd Infinity #5 1973-3

Todd, who created the notable underground comic Dr. Atomic, was very active in the sci-fi/fantasy zine circuit of the 1970s, including Warren (Creepy, Eerie) and Skywald (Nightmare, Psycho) Publications. He and friend Vaughn Bodē did a number of terrific cover collaborations as well.

The above work is a smashing example of the intersection of counterculture themes (psychedelics, Native American culture, the American biker lifestyle, anti-authoritarianism, sexual freedom, and so on) and the expanding sci-fi and fantasy community. Per psychotropicis ad astra!

The “Aircar circa 1989” on the second page kind of reminds me of the Spinner cars in Blade Runner.

(Images via The Golden Age and Comic Attack)

Greg Irons Art: `Strange Happenings’ Handbill, 1967

Strange Happ Irons 1967

Strange Happ Irons 1967-3

So very interesting. Steve Ditko created the Dr. Strange character in the early ’60s, and Stan Lee introduced the “Master of Black Magic” in Strange Tales #110 (1963). The Ditko/Lee creation was a reflection of the uncanny times, a generation’s embrace of all things mystical and occult. Here Irons simultaneously appropriates the Marvel “property” (there is no mention of the company or the character name) while emulating Ditko’s style and the spirit of his and Lee’s Sorcerer Supreme. Irons did at least three posters for Space Age.

California Hall is a San Francisco landmark and makes an appearance in Dirty Harry (1971) in the scene where Callahan talks down a suicide jumper.

Greg Irons Art: Berkeley Con Button, 1973

Berkeley Con Irons 1973

Berkeley Con was the first underground comix convention. It ran from April 20 through April 22, 1973 at the UC Berkeley campus and featured Jaxon, S. Clay Wilson, Trina Robbins, Greg Irons, and Larry Todd, among several other now-legends. (Bob Foster posted several photos from the con here.) The Irons button—punk before punk—was actually the three-day pass to the event.

Greg Irons, you might remember, illustrated the hell out of The Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Album (1979) for Troubador Press, one of TSR’s first licensed products. I like to imagine an alternate universe where TSR hires Irons, who collaborates with Erol Otus on a series of trippy modules centering on raucous, transdimensional pirates and the sentient treasure they’re chasing. The duo eventually take over the company by sheer force of guts and talent. TSR is bankrupt by 1983, but Christ, who cares?

Irons left behind a huge body of work—he’s revered as a tattoo artist as well, so ‘body of work’ carries a significant double meaning—for someone who died so young (37).

(Image via Hake’s)

Comic Book Club, 1982

Comic Club 1982

Pic courtesy of Matthew Mann (the kid on the far right holding Micronauts #1) at Comics and Other Imaginary Tales.

Richard Corben Cover Art: Anomaly #4 (November, 1972)

Anomaly #4 Corben 1972-2

Anomaly #4 Corben 1972-1

Front and back covers. Images are via The Golden Age. Corben is one of the greats, and what about that title design?

Girl Reading Comic Book, 1943

Robinson Crusoe 1943-1

Robinson Crusoe 1943-2

The poignancy of the photo multiplies when you consider that the young lady may have been in an American internment camp when it was taken. Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from the Pacific coast to inland locations directly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Robinson Crusoe, you’ll recall, is a story about a British castaway who tries to survive and civilize (i.e. Anglicize) an “Island of Despair.”

The original Classics Illustrated series was published continuously—by three different publishers—from 1941 to 1971.

The Amazing Spider-Man Adventure Set (Colorforms, 1974)

Spidey Colorforms 1974-1

Spidey Colorforms 1974-2

Spidey Colorforms 1974-3

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends Trade Ad (1981)

Spidey 1981

Thundarr was #1. Spidey was #2. I always wondered: what happened to all those ice bridges after the friends beat the bad guys and went back to Aunt May’s? It’s better not to think about the answer as an adult.




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