Monday, February 28, 2011

No color today? Is the blog broken or something?

Although I remember the big treasury books of the 70's, and later I was a huge fan of Marvel's Savage Sword of Conan magazine; a lot of the other magazine-style comics of the time I missed completely. I almost never saw anything like Creepy or Heavy Metal, and while I have a soft spot for some of the old Marvel Super Specials like Raiders of the Lost Ark, I never saw a lot of those, either. Which means I must've bought today's book long after it left the newstand: Bizarre Adventures #32, featuring a bitchin' Joe Jusko cover.

The theme of the issue was gods, and opens with an exquisitely drawn Thor story from Alan Zelenetz and John Bolton. Most readers are probably familiar with Bolton for his run of X-Men backup stories; but his art looks amazing in black and white. The story isn't too shabby either: during a yearly festival, Thor always has to miss the party and visit the Norns, keepers of fate.

Can't we have one party without someone bringing in a horse?

Years ago, in the time of the vikings, Thor heard the desparate prayer of Runolf, who was alone, lost at sea, and doomed. Odin tells Thor to leave it. The Norns tell him Runolf's fate is sealed. Even Heimdall chimes in with some advice, and he's basically the doorman. But Thor stubbornly refuses to let a brave man die ignobly...
A norse fights sea horse, of course, of course...oh, that's terrible.
I'm not sure if the Norns are in the details, as it were, and can't tell if Runolf was 1. fated to die alone at sea; 2. fated to die at sea because of Thor; or 3. fated to die at sea because of a giant sea horse. This is a "Thor learns humility" story, which is pretty common for him; but undercut a bit by the fact that Thor would be such a jerk by the 20th century that Odin would kick his ass to earth. (Oddly, I like this story for Thor; but conversely feel that Hercules should never learn humility, even if he gets beat or realizes he's been an ass...)
I always forget Hama drew a fair amount, too.
Also this issue: "Demon's Bridge," an entertaining short story of swordsmen, demons, and gods; written and drawn by Larry Hama! I think he also did this little teaser piece for the next issue, and I love it:
Wow, the direct market really did do a number on newstands.

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