Right after the first movie was released in 1977, Marvel published the Star Wars (A New Hope) story in the first six issues of a new series. The intent was to continue the series indefinitely with new stories not related to the film. Marvel’s run lasted 107 issues with the final comic published in 1987.
The artist on the first few books was Howard Chaykin (who revamped The Shadow for DC and made me a big fan of his work). Some of the other artists included Carmine Infanto, Tom Palmer, Michael Golden, Dan Day, Walt Simonson, and Ron Frenz. Here’s some artwork from the series.
Back in the 1980s, a fantastic comic book called Grimjack was published by independent publisher, First Comics. Grimjack was a gritty, creator-driven series written by John Ostrander and illustrated (initially) by Tim Truman. One of the features of the comic was a series of back-up stories called Munden’s Bar — typically light-hearted escapades of drunken, rough-and-tumble aliens that hung out at a seedy water hole at the nexus of the universe. Several artists and writers contributed and occasionally characters from other stories (and other publishers) crossed over. In issue #26, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made an appearance, written and illustrated by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Here’s the story.
If you liked that, try another Munden’s Bar story by Brian Bolland. You can see the diversity of the stories — this one’s a horror tale.
One of my favorite comics from the 1980s was Johnny Nemo by the British duo Peter Milligan and Brett Ewins. Unfortunately, Johnny only appeared in a handful of issues. I picked up the ones published in the United States by Eclipse Comics, (short episodes in Strange Days and the solo three-issue series, Johnny Nemo Magazine). The stories were republished in black & white with some new material a few years later in the British anthology mag, Deadline. All of it was compiled in The Complete Johnny Nemo by Titan in 2014.
So, here’s the story. It’s 2921, New London is a futuristic canker of a hellhole where religious nuts clash with debaucherous denizens of this fabulously stylish but filthy dystopian future. Enter Johnny Nemo, a hitman for hire who lives the hard life because he can easily replace damaged organs anytime he likes and because #@%! you. Johnny moves along with an air of Dirty Harry but along the way, he discovers that his assignments aren’t quite what they seem. And the violent mystery-solving is afoot.
Sure, there are other detectives-of-the-future, violent-but-funny books out there (one of my favorites being the sadly very short-lived Kelvin Mace), but Milligan and Ewins have a certain panache that makes Johnny Nemo particularly enjoyable.
It seems this is fast becoming a website that is an homage to Black Widow. I actually just had a lot of pictures I’ve collected over the years and some drafts for posts I never finished were collecting dust, so I might as well get them all out here. If you’ve gotten to this post directly rather than through the front page, either go there or pick your poison for the other Black Widow posts.
As I mentioned elsewhere, Black Widow is one of my favorite characters. She’s been around since her introduction to the Marvel Universe way back in 1964. That was less than three years after the Marvel Comics began publishing its modern-era comics. That was also the same year the Avengers were formed and Daredevil was introduced. Even Spider-man had only been around for about two years.
Black Widow, AKA Natalia Romanova AKA Natasha Romanoff, is probably one of the characters women most commonly cosplay.Makes sense. Her costume is pretty easy to make and she’s sexy as hell. But if you haven’t actually read any of the comics she’s in, you’re missing out. She’s an Avenger, a soloist, an assassin, a secret agent, a partner, a beautiful socialite, a mysteriously old woman (born in the 20’s) with a veiled background, a backup and a main character, and a lover. She’s very smart, very skilled, and very dangerous. Why there isn’t a solo movie about her is mind-boggling. There are so many stories that could be told.
Anyway, Black Widow isn’t just a favorite character to cosplay, she’s also a popular character for artists to sketch and paint. Here’s a random sampling of sketches, commissions, and general artwork.
Black and White Sketches and Art
Art by Phil Noto (artist on the Black Widow series starting in 2014)
I put these Black Widow graphics together for various pages on the website and some made it and others didn’t. As crudely done as they are with my limited tools and talents, some of them turned out pretty nicely, I thought. So, I’m making them available to you if you want to use them for wallpapers, your own websites, whatever. I would love it if you pointed your links back to my site.