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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Suicide Squad & The Origin of Darwyn Cooke's "The New Frontier"

Anyone who’s read Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier knows that it is an affectionate retelling of the early Silver Age stories from DC Comics. Cooke deftly came up with a story that retroactively (for this book) melded together the significant elements from the various DC heroes earliest outings into what amounts to an(other) origin for the Justice League.

Older readers enjoyed seeing characters like The Challengers of the Unknown and The Losers in a story that does justice to the stories we remember from our youth (vs. the bland stories that many actually were).

Cooke gave The Suicide Squad and ‘Dinosaur Island (form the “The War That Time Forgot” stories in Star-Spangled War Stories) pivotal roles in The New Frontier, and revealed a keen knowledge of the early Silver Age DC Universe.

The story presented here (Raid of The Dinosaurs!) is The Suicide Squad's 4th outing in The Brave and The Bold (#37). It reveals some of the bigger plot threads for The New Frontier, e.g., the dinosaur invasion and the seemingly unified mind behind their intelligence. Read the story then check out a few of the homage-like panels that I picked out of the story.

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A few similarities between B&B #37 and TNF:

1. Prehistoric super intelligence wants to destroy the world.

2. Giant pterodactyls attack big buildings.

3. Shiny red disc plane.

4. A thoughtful Major Flagg.

5. Psychedelic adventures.

6. Watch out for those darn pterosaurs!

7. Dinos attack!

8. Shiny red space ship bites the dust.

The Suicide Squad © DC Comics.
Story by Robert Kanigher. Art by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito.

9. Actually the cover for the next issue (#38) but shows the origin of the SS's aerial battle about the Statue of Liberty.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

King Kong Illustrated by Richard Powers

Here’s a King Kong item that I was not aware of until it was presented to me by a good friend (thanks M.M.!) – the original novelization illustrated by the legendary SF artist, Richard Powers. You probably don’t recognize the name, but if you’re a fan of 1950’s SF or related art then you’ve seen the surrealistic cover art he provided for seemingly hundreds of pocket books.

This Kong book seems to have been produced in conjunction with the DeLaurentis production of Kong that came out in the mid-70’s. By the looks of the art I suspect that Powers produced these pieces very fast. They’re reproduced in green in the book (see the image below) making them look decidedly cheesy. For this blog entry I’ve converted them back to B&W where they regain some real power – the image of Kong first appearing over Fay Wray tied to the alter is particularly evocative.

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