Friday, June 13, 2008

phantom zone follies...

I think I said I was going to put this up a while ago, and got sidetracked or something, but I got down to scanning some comics for future postings today, and figured it was time to roll it out. Here, for your perusal, are some pages from DC's 1982 "Phantom Zone" series, written by the late, great Steve Gerber with art by the equally great Gene Colan (who has been having some health problems recently, read about it and how you can help here). Gerber and Colan had worked together several times prior to this 4-issue mini-series, most notably on "Howard the Duck," Mr. Gerber's signature creation at Marvel. Other collaborations between the two included work on "Daredevil" and "Marvel Preview."

Creatively, Gerber and Colan were a great match. Colan's moody, expressionistic yet oddly realistic style is perfectly in tune with Gerber's thoughtful, esoteric writing. "Phantom Zone," with I'm guessing was kind of a throw-away mini-series designed to cash in on the popularity of the second "Superman" film is actually a great example of both of these masters working perfectly within their element. Gerber uses the space to continue the kind of self-referential, metaphysically experimental work he'd started years before on "Howard the Duck" and "Omega the Unknown," and Colan is perfectly at home in the shadowy recesses of Gerber's psychological netherworld. It's also a great chance to see Colan working on heroes he didn't draw that often- Superman, Supergirl, Green Lantern, even Elongated Man and Zatanna (Batman and Wonder Woman also appear- Colan was later a regular on both WW and Detective Comics)...

Anyway, take a gander and enjoy. I'm still pretty bummed over (everything) Gerber's death earlier this year. The final issue of his Dr. Fate series in "Countdown to Mystery" was released recently, which I guess he wasn't able to finish before he died, so DC, as a tribute, had several different writers do different endings based on how they thought Gerber would have wrapped things up. The results are at once touching, funny, exciting and left me wanting more of this particular take on Dr. Fate (on of my favorite comic characters), and wishing that Gerber was still around to write it...







I'll be posting a few more scans from this series in the near future, and promise (sincerely) more comics-related posts in the near future, including more Gene Colan and some spotlights on a few of my favorite comic book characters. Also coming soon, of course, more movie reviews, including one for the stuipifingly bad "Southland Tales."

Stay negative....

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