One Mad Dog

[The Saga Of Solomon Kane] – (Roy Thomas, Ralph Reese, Alan Weiss, Doug Moench, Steve Gan, Mike Zeck, Howard Chaykin, Don Glut, Alan Kupperberg, Sonny Trinidad, Virgillo Redondo, D Nebres, Dino Castrillo, David Wenzel, Marillitz, Duffy Vohland, Bill Wray, Robert E. Howard, Jo Duffy, Danny Bulandi, Steve Carr, John Arcudi, Al Williamson, Alan Rowlands, Colin MacNeil)

This collection Includes:

  • “Skulls in the Stars” written by “Roy Thomas”  with art by “Ralph Reese”.
  • “Castle of the Undead” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Alan Weiss”.
  • “The Hills of the Dead” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Alan Weiss”.
  • “Into the Silent City” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Alan Weiss”.
  • “The Right Hand of Doom” by “Doug Moench” with art by “Steve Gan”
  • “The Silver Beast Beyond Tinkertown” by “Doug Moench” with art by “Mike Zeck”
  • “Rattle of Bones” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Howard Chaykin”
  • “The Castle Of The Devil” written by “Don Glut” with art by “Alan Kupperberg” and “Sonny Trinidad”
  • “Solomon Kanes Homecoming” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by”Virgillo Redondo” and ” D Nebres”
  • “The Dragon At Castle Frankenstein” written by “Don Glut” with art by “Sonny Trinidad”
  • “The Cold Hands Of Death”  written by “Don Glut” with art by “Steve Gan” and “Dino Castrillo”
  • “Retribution In Blood” written by “Don Glut” with art by “David Wenzel”  and “Marillitz”
  • “Blades of The Brotherhood” written by “Don Glut” with art by “David Wenzel” and “Duffy Vohland”
  • “Moon of Skulls” written by  “Don Glut” with art by “David Wenzel” and “Bill Wray”.
  • “The Return of Sir Richard Greenville  written by “Roy Thomas”  with art by “David Wenzel”.
  • “Wings In The Night” written by “Don Glut” with art by “David Wenzel”.
  • “The One Black Stain” written by “Robert E. Howard” with art by “David Wenzel”.
  • “Red Seas” written by “Jo Duffy” with art by “Danny Bulandi”.
  • “Solomon Kane’s Homecoming” written by “Robert E. Howard” with art by “Steve Carr”.
  • “Shattered Innocence” written by “John Arcudi” with art by “Steve Carr” and “Al Williamson”.
  • “Satan’s Sanctuary” written by “Alan Rowlands” with art by “Steve Carr” and “Al Williamson”.
  • “Deaths Dark Riders” written by “Roy Thomas” with art by “Colin MacNeil”.
It also includes some articles and prose stuff. It has good quality paper which is unusual for these phone book collections and this really helps the black and white art standout.

I enjoyed this collection and it blessed by some really good black and white art. There are a huge variety of stories and styles but they are all readable.  I particularly enjoyed the artwork of Alan Weiss and Ralph Reese and the story telling of Roy Thomas.  My least favorite stories had David Wenzel as the author and I found them harder work to read. My least favorite artists were “Howard Cheykin” and  “Colin MacNeil” but Colin’s art was still good and improved as the story progressed.

I am not a fan of prose in Graphic novels so I didn’t read all these sections  but they may appeal to some people.   This book represent a great taste of Solomon Kane with over twenty stories. ISBN-13: 978-1595823175. 7/10

[Tom Strong Book 3] – (Alan Moore, Chris Sprouse, Leah Moore, Howard Chaykin, Shawn McManus)

Tom Strong Book 3 collects issues issues #15-19 which include:

  • Tom Strong #15 – “Ring Of Fire!” –  Tesla Strong is kidnapped by one of the mysterious Salamander people that first appeared in Tom Strong #8 and it is up to the Strong’s s to rescue her. What they find doesn’t please Tom at all.
  • Tom Strong #16 – “Some Call Him The Space Cowboy”  – Part One: While Tom Strong is a bit stressed out trying to come to terms with his daughter’s new boyfriend, a mysterious three-eyed stranger arrives in Millennium City with a warning for Tom Strong.  Tom is in no mood to entertain strangers and behaves in an uncharacteristically un-gentlemanly way . #16 also sees the welcome return of ex Tom Strong adversary Temple Baldry and gives a back story on the Weird Rider.
  • Tom Strong #17 – “Ant Fugue!”  – Part Two: Tom Strong and the Weird Rider attempt to prepare a force to tackle the impending invasion of Earth by calling upon friends and past adversaries. Unfortunately the strongmen decide to tag along which has dramatic consequences.
  • Tom Strong #18 – “The Last Roundup” – Part Three: Tom Strong and company defend Earth against the alien ant menace and attempt to rescue the strongmen. This is the final part of this 3 episode story arc.
  • Tom Strong #19 – This issue contains three short stories :  1) “Electric Ladyland!” with art by Howard Chaykin where Dhalua is kidnapped by a secret society of women. 2) “Bad To The Bone” which is written by Leah Moore with art by “Shawn McManus”  where the details of Paul Saveen’s death are revealed as he searches for the Temple of Everlasting Life. 3) “The Hero-Hoard Of Horatio Hogg!” with art by Chris Spouse where Tom and Tesla are trapped inside a booby-trapped comic-book by crazed collector Horatio Hogg.

Book #3  keeps up with the excellent story telling and art that have characterized this series. I enjoyed this book as much as book 1 and more than the slightly weaker book 2.  I think it is important that this series is read in order and would not consider this 3rd volume to be a jumping on point. The two main stories and three short stories are all of a high standard but it is the story of the Space cowboy that stands out the most.

Chris Spouses’s art is excellent and his work really defines the Tom Strong universe.  Shawn McManus also does a really good job of capturing the correct look and feel in the excellent “Bad to the Bone” short story. I am sorry to say that the only real let down in the art department in my opinion was the work of Howard Chaykin in the short story “Electric Ladyland”.  Its not that his work is bad but just that it appears dated and lacking in detail when put next to Sprouse and McManus.

Buying this should be a safe bet for fans of Tom strong and the stories and artwork should appeal to a wide audience. [ISBN-13: 978-1401202859]. 8/10

[War Is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle -HC] – (Garth Ennis, Howard Chaykin]
April 18, 2011, 4:44 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Garth Ennis, Howard Chaykin

This book collects Garth Ennis’s “War Is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle” #1-5.  It is the story of a mysterious American pilot who arrives at a British airbase with dubious papers and his own gaudily painted plane to join in the fight against the Hun.   After an unfortunate mishap he bluffs his way into the squadron and quickly discovers the horrors of war and the high jinks of his fellow pilots.

The story follows a familiar formula to the one used by many British war comics (e.g. Commando) where a new recruit has to prove himself to his peers, becomes horrified with the reality of actually killing his fellow man and ends up being a bit of hero.  It also follows on from great war comic pioneers such as Pat Mills in that it takes a real stab at authority and the Generals of the time.

It is a pretty violent book but generally seems to be toned a notch down from the horrors of Ennis’s other work . It’s actually pretty light hearted at times and seems to be historically sound too.   My only real complaint is that it doesn’t really add anything fresh to the genre but it is still worth a read.

“War is Hell” has great art and the coloring of the scenes really captures the WW1 theme well.  The art also jumps off the page thanks to the good quality glossy paper stock.  Chaykin does a really good job of portraying action and the backdrops and weaponry are also very impressively rendered.  Although the art is really nice to look at, I don’t really like the way Chaykin draws faces. His faces have an odd appearance and contain lots of scratchy lines and blotches that look quite strange next to the bold inking on the face outline.  Sometimes it looks as if someone has shook an ink pen on the page. Despite this, the coloring and overall impact of the artwork is still great and the highlight of the book. There are some first rate splash pages.

I don’t think these Marvel Max 120 page hardcover books represent good value at $25 and would struggle to recommend it at this price.  With a bit of searching you should be able to find the book at a much better price and then the book is worth a try for the glorious looking art and solid story.   ISBN-13: 978-0785116431. 7/10

[The Chronicles Of Solomon Kane] – (Roy Thomas, Ralph Macchio, Howard Chaykin, Steve Carr, Bret Blevins, Mike Mignola, Jon Bogdanove, John Ridgeway))
November 7, 2010, 10:34 am
Filed under: 7 stars, Bret Blevins, Howard Chaykin, Jon Bogdanove, Mike Mignola, Solomon Kane

This TPB contains all of the original 1970’s and 1980’s Marvel color comic books based upon Robert E. Howard’s puritan hero Solomon Kane. It features the stories “The Mark of Kane” and “Fangs of the Gorilla God”  and the entire Sword of Solomon Kane mini-series.

  • “The Mark of Kane !” written by Roy Thomas with art by Howard Chaykin.
  • “Fangs of the Gorilla God” written by Roy Thomas with art by Howard Chaykin.
  • “Red Shadows” written by Ralph Macchio with art by Steve Carr and Bret Blevins.
  • “And Faith, Undying” written by Ralph Macchio with art by Bret Blevins.
  • “Blades Of  The Brotherhood” written by Ralph Macchio with art by Bret Blevins.
  • “The Prophet !” written by Ralph Macchio with art by Mike Mignola.
  • “Hills Of The Dead” written by Ralph Macchio with art by Jon Bogdanove.
  • “Wings In The Night !”  written by Ralph Macchio with art by John Ridgeway.

The storyline  is a classic Solomon Kane where an innocent is wronged and Solomon pursues the perpetrators to the end of the earth. The first two stories definitely feel a bit dated  and are retold in “Red Shadows” by Ralph Macchio where they felt a bit fresher and benefited from improved art.  I seem to remember Solomon Kane was a good bit more puritan and unwielding in other stories that I have read but this book even had him using the forces of black magic and befriending a witchdoctor.

I didn’t like Howard Chaykin’s art in the first two stories which seemed to suffer from poor inking. The artwork in the rest of the book is pretty good featuring classic comic style art. Mike Mignola’s art was unlike his present style and actually looked very similar to the other artists. I enjoyed this collection and would recommend it to Robert E. Howard fans. [ISBN-13: 978-1595824103]. 7/10

[Fafhrd And The Gray Mouser] – (Howard Chaykin, Mike Mignola)
May 6, 2010, 2:43 am
Filed under: 7 stars, Howard Chaykin, Mike Mignola

This book has the same look and feel as BPRD/Hellboy and is printed on the same satisfyingly high quality paper stock. It is a collection of adaptations of Fritz Leiber stories that were adapted into Graphic novel form by Howard Chaykin then re-issued some time later with artwork re-imagined by Mike Mignola.  Mike Mignola’s artwork is excellent and really fits the stories well. Even in his pre “Hellboy” days he had a unique style which definitely adds to the character and enjoyment of this Graphic Novel.

The stories have their own particular quirky style that for some bizarre reason they remind me of Oscar Wilde. I enjoyed all of the chapters but the second story where they basically traveled round the land seemed a little disjointed and confusing. The Dialogues between Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are often quite strange but at the same time intriguing. It is not your average sword and sorcery book and it is just different enough to stand out from other stuff in this genre. Well worth a read. [ISBN-13: 978-1593077136]. 7/10.

[Punisher Max, Vol. 5 – Hardcover] – (Garth Ennis, Howard Chaykin, Goran Parlov)
April 5, 2010, 1:05 am
Filed under: 9 stars, Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov, Howard Chaykin, Punisher

Two fantastic books make up this hardbound volume, “Long Cold Dark” and “Valley Forge”. In “Long Cold Dark” we see the return of the ultra violent killing machine  Barracuda and it’s a battle that the punisher barely comes out of alive. I found the artwork to be a little inconsistent in this story but things settled down as the story progressed. The story itself is fantastic.  “Valley Forge” is also an excellent Punisher story with an unusual amount of prose thrown in. The prose sections are good and thought provoking but they do tend to break up the action a little bit. The artwork in this collection is definitely less colorful than the earlier volumes and it resorts to classic comic style palettes (must have been costing too much to make). Great ending to Garth Ennis’s stint on the Punisher. [ISBN-13: 978-0785137825]. 9/10