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John Wickett
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Posted: 20 January 2023 at 8:49pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Inspired by the George Perez topic-

In the 70s, some of the best drawn stories published by DC and Marvel were backup strips, or in some cases, ie George Perez's work on Deadly Hands of Kung Fu, were part of an anthology title.  

Many such stories have either never been reprinted, or have shown up only rarely over the years.  What are some you'd love to see again?

Here are a few of mine-

Marshall Rogers and Mike Grell from Detective Comics- DC has reprinted Marshall's Batman stuff from his run as the main artist on Detective Comics several times, but before that he was doing backup strips.  He and Grell penciled a series of backups featuring individual members of the Justice League fighting the Calculator.  Then in Detective #468 they all came together for a book length tale where they teamed up to beat him.  It was the best drawn Justice League story of the Bronze Age until Perez took over the main Justice League title.

Jose Luis Garcia Lopez on Deadman- When Adventure Comics was a "Dollar Comic" circa 1978 - 1979 Deadman was a regular feature, sometimes drawn by Jim Aparo, and other times by Garcia Lopez.  Both did a great job, but the Garcia Lopez version was right up there with Neal Adams.  Beautiful stuff.

Speaking of Deadman, he appeared as a backup in a few issues of Aquaman, drawn by Neal Adams.  

Mike Nasser on Legion of Superheroes- Nasser did a handful stories featuring individual Legionaires that were backups in the main Superboy and the Legion title. 

Perez on Sons of the Tiger, and Later White Tiger in Deadly hands of Kung Fu.  Actually that magazine had a bunch of great strips, including Rudy Nebres on Iron Fist and Jim Starlin on Shang Chi.

All worth tracking down if you haven't seen them.


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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 20 January 2023 at 11:32pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Yes, Mon-El never looked better than when Mike Nasser did those back-ups.  And I remember being blown away by that Marshall Rogers Calculator story.  (He and Mike Golden also gave us some amazing-looking Man-Bat back-ups.)

I fondly remember Jim Starlin on OMAC in the back of KAMANDI for a short time.  When I first started reading comics, ACTION COMICS had a Green Arrow (in a war on drugs) back-up written by Elliot Maggin and very tightly illustrated by Mike Grell that ensured that I would love comics forever.  George Perez did a Firestorm back-up in FLASH for a while which was cool since I doubt he would have done a full FIRESTORM comic.  DC gave us tons of back-ups where they could try out new characters--Nemesis in BRAVE & THE BOLD, I...Vampire in HOUSE OF MYSTERY, and Mr. E in SECRETS OF HAUNTED HOUSE stand out in my memory.  Old favorites like Steve Ditko on the Creeper got a second chance in WORLD'S FINEST COMICS, as did the very enjoyable Shazam by E. Nelson Bridwell and Don Newton.

There seems to be a lot of talented artists who can't quite handle a full monthly book.  You would think that they would be drafted more often to do quality back-ups here and there.


Edited by Eric Jansen on 20 January 2023 at 11:33pm
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 21 January 2023 at 12:14am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

One of my favorites was Black orchid, who started out in Adventure Comics but wound up as a back up in Phantom stranger.

Drawn elegantly by artists like DeZuniga, Redondo and Carrillo.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 21 January 2023 at 2:24am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I've had that one Calculator story in Detective a long time but not sure I ever knew about the back-up stories leading up to it. I probably thought I had all the Marshall Rogers Batmans with the feature length Detectives he drew and also what was in Batman Family and that one special with Michael Golden on the main story. :^o

I followed Perez' Firestorm in the back of The Flash pretty avidly as it came out though missing him from The Avengers pretty badly. That was one second feature that usually outshone the lead... another was Michael Kaluta's Carson Of Venus in DC's Korak, Son Of Tarzan. Probably my two favorite back-up features of all though were at Charlton... Rog 2000 and Steve Ditko's fun/bizarre Killjoy just before that! E-Man was pretty cool too though... Joe Staton was really new then.

Logan's Run from Marvel had the most surprising back up for just one issue... a Thanos story with Mike Zeck art!

I'm thinking the Garcia-Lopez Deadmans in Adventure might've been the ones originally intended for the Showcase title before it was imploded. They were beautiful and I seem to remember one was reprinted in the annual 'year's best' digest DC was putting out for awhile.

Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 21 January 2023 at 2:30am
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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 21 January 2023 at 4:57pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I liked all of the Flash back-ups.  After Firestorm moved to his own book, there was an eight issue run of Dr. Fate with Keith Giffen and then some Creeper stories by Dave Gibbons and Chuck Patton.
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 23 January 2023 at 3:29pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Marvel had hardly back-up features, and when they did, it was jarring.  (I remember I had to pay a dollar extra for CAPTAIN AMERICA for about a year when they added some weird dimension-hopping female Nomad feature in the back--and all I wanted was the Brubaker-Guice main story!)  But DC had some fantastic back-ups--sometimes better than the main story!  A great place to premiere new talent that would go on to become big names.

And I really enjoyed the Legend back-ups--Torch of Liberty in the back of DANGER UNLIMITED and Monkeyman & O'Brien in the original HELLBOY mini-series.
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John Wickett
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Posted: 23 January 2023 at 5:52pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

"Marvel had hardly back-up features"

Depends on how far back you go. In the 60s Marvel had several titles that were double features- Amazing Adventures (Black Widow/Inhumans), Strange Tales (Human Torch/Doctor Strange), Tales to Astonish (Giant Man/Hulk), etc. 

In the 70s Marvel mostly used backups and anthologies for reprints, but not always. Marvel's magazine sized anthology books are one of the notable exceptions.  They contained new material that was often very good.

In that respect, although Marvel produced less backup material than DC, I think their strategy was better, because they reprinted great stuff that people would buy, and they didn't package it with garbage.  

I remember buying issues of Marvel Tales that had Lee & Ditko Spiderman stories as the lead feature, with Ditko's early Doctor Strange stories as a backup feature.

I think I still have an issue of Marvel Superheroes that led with a Jack Kirby X-Men story.  The main backup was Daredevi vs. Namor by Wally Wood, and the third feature was a Hulk story with (maybe) the first appearance of the Leader.

Those are much better packages than a really bad Flash story with a 6 or 8 page Firestorm backup, even though Firestorm had early Perez art. Having said that, those Firestorm stories were great, and are exactly the type of hidden gems this thread is about.

In the 80s Marvel seemed to shift strategies again, and started using quarterly anthology books like Marvel Superheroes and various holiday specials to showcase new talent.  Marvel Comics Presents was a notable exception, where they utilized some big name talent on rotating features.

 

 


Edited by John Wickett on 23 January 2023 at 5:56pm
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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 24 January 2023 at 12:22am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I am always a little puzzled when I read an early 60s issue of Journey Into Mystery.  Instead of a 22 page Thor story, they give us a 16 page Thor story and then a 6 page Tales of Asgard story.  Also starring Thor.   By exactly the same creative team.   What was the point?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 24 January 2023 at 1:01am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Entertaining the audience.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 24 January 2023 at 1:13am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I loved those. Loved when you did a similar thing too, JB.
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 24 January 2023 at 1:32am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Though I knew that JB was going to be drawing the main story of X-FACTOR ANNUAL #4 with Simonson on inks (and was very much eager to see the result), I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that he also pencilled and inked a backup tale in the same issue featuring Magneto and Dr. Doom.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 24 January 2023 at 1:38am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

X-F ANNUAL 4 is one of my favorite comic books of all time ever.
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