The PopCult Bookshelf
This week the PopCult Bookshelf will update three subjects that we’ve addressed previously.
The Charlton Arrow (reviewed HERE) was successful enough that a second issue has been released, and future issues, as well as a spin-off title, will continue to celebrate the legacy of Charlton Comics, the Roger Corman/New World Pictures of the world of comics. Once again, ComicFix does the publishing honors.
A labor of love, with a mix of new contributions from Charlton veterans, fans of the original comics and even a couple of vintage stories, The Charlton Arrow #2 is another fun package of comics by creators run wild. The appeal of the original Charlton comics was that the writers and artists were afforded creative freedom in lieu of decent pay. This new comic capturs that spirit very well. The “creative freedom” part, at least. I don’t know about the pay.
Like the first issue, this is an anthology with a wild mix of comic genres. Charlton and DC vet, Steve Skeates, contributes a fun werewolf story, with art by Howard Bender and Neil Vokes that truly channels the spirit of the late Tom Sutton. Roger McKenzie and Sandy Carruthers bring us a new chapter of The Spookman. Mort Todd writes and draws a hilarious parody of The Sentinals. The book opens with a new adventure of Mr. Jigsaw, by Ron Fortier and Gary Davis.
A welcome surprise this issue is the presence of two vintage stories. One of them seeing print for the first time.
Jack Keller’s “Never Hitch A Ride,” from a 1968 issue of Hot Rods and Racing Cars is presented in pristine form, reproduced from the original silver prints of the art. This is used very effectively as a tease for Classic Hot Rods and Racing Cars Comics, another ComicFix title that I’m probably gonna have to order (you can find it HERE).
The other vintage story is the first part of an unpublished adventure of The Peacemaker, by Joe Gill and Pat Boyette. This was written and drawn in 1968, but has not been published until now. It’s a great story, created by the original Peacemaker team in their prime, and it’s also of interest because the character is among the group of Charlton superheroes that was sold to DC Comics in the early 1980s. In fact, the character “The Comedian” from Alan Moore’s Watchmen was based on The Peacemaker.
The bad news and good news is that both of these vintage stories will continue in issue #3. The bad news is that they aren’t complete in this book. The good news is that The Charlton Arrow will continue for many issues to come.
The response to the first issue was so great that a second title, Charlton Action, will soon be added to the fold. Ordering details for this book, as well as the second printing of the first issue and Classic Hot Rods and Racing Comics can be found HERE.
Bernie Wrightson On The Mend
I wrote about the master horror artist, Bernie Wrightson, and his health issues last month. From his Facebook page comes word that he’s doing better…
“Bernie was discharged from the hospital last Thursday, and is feeling pretty good, with no apparent long-term effects. We still have many tests, and possible surgery in front of us. He apologizes for having to cancel his appearances at Capitol City Comic Con and SDCC. We will take the rest of the year’s schedule show by show, as we’re not sure what the doctors have in store for him. Thanks so much for all the kind notes and well-wishes!! Bernie is quite touched!! You are the best fans on Earth!!!”
This is wonderful news and PopCult wishes Bernie a speedy recovery.
Starstruck Bigger Than Ever
Last year I wrote about a Kickstarter campaign for a new Starstruck graphic novel by Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta. Work is still progressing on that book. The campaign was so successful that the stretch goals were met, which means that the book will be printed in color, and that takes more time.
In the meantime, IDW has released a Treasury Edition of the first Starstruck graphic novel. It’s printed larger than ever, on glossy white paper, and you can soak in all the detail from Kaluta’s incredible art.
This is what I wrote about Starstruck back in 2010…
Starstruck is set in a bizarre alternative future. Billed as a space opera, Starstruck follows the offspring of two powerful houses as they vie for wealth and dominance in a universe that is newly freed from the Incorporated Elysian Republic. Populated by characters such as Baron Bajar and his son Kalif and daughter Lucrezia, the story recalls Shakespeare, if he’d collaborated with Douglas Adams.
Lee’s complex story makes for a very rewarding comic-reading experience. The visuals are beautiful, thanks to Kaluta’s art, but Lee’s story provides more than simple eye candy. There are strong female characters, exotic settings and lots of alien landscapes on which to play.
The Starstruck Treasury Edition should be available through your local comic book shop or online sources. It is a work of art that should be lovingly gawked-at by all comics fans.
Next week The PopCult Bookshelf will attempt to catch up with the latest works by Los Bros. Hernandez.