Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review- Morbius: The Living Vampire Nos. 1-8

Morbius: The Living Vampire Nos. 1-8 (Marvel, cover dates September, 1992- April, 1993)

Writer: Len Kaminksi

Artists: Ron Wagner (penciler) and Mike Witherby (inker)

Long have I dreamed of seeing this series compiled in a trade paperback or hardcover. Big Ben's Comix Oasis in Allen Park, MI, was having a massive back issue blow out a year or so ago, with $1.00 box comics being liquidated for .10 each. I saw a fair run of this title in there and decided to make a go of it. Over the last 12-15 months, I have completed the entire run, with the only issue costing me more than $1.00 was the elusive issue 31. That one set me back $5.80 on eBay. I got the “collector's edition” of Issue 1, sealed in it's original sealed polybagged glory. It even came with a poster. Wow!

I was on sabbatical from the hobby when this series first came out. The '90s were a strange time for comic books. The fact that the first issue of this series was part 3 of a 6 part crossover that ran across 5 other titles seems pretty shitty. I actually own the Rise of the Midnight Sons trade paperback from the '90s, so I've read the full crossover before. I deliberately only read Issue 1 this time out to see if it made sense on its own, and for the most part, it does. While Issue 2 doesn't answer the few subplots that are resolved in the crossover, things are laid out clearly enough where it doesn't really matter.

The artwork by Ron Wagner and Mike Witherby is frenetic. This being the early '90s, everything is !!!eXtreme!!!, but this art was worlds better than the dreck over at Image during this time period. Morbius' costume and powers are quickly updated, which is fine, since they don't really stamp out the existing stories but add to them. I enjoyed Len Kaminski's writing. Even though this is a quick, proto-decompressed read, each issue has a point while building and moving forward. 

Janice Chaing's lettering sucks. I can't state that enough times. Her lettering really, really takes me out of the story and is unpleasant to the eye. She makes a strong case for computerized font lettering that we see in comic books today. Make mine Artie Simek!

No OCD zone for comic books. The nice thing about reading actual comic books as opposed to collected editions is that the linework and color palette are 100% faithful. No gutter loss. I still prefer chunky trade paperbacks or monster hardcovers myself, but am not opposed to reading single comic books as long as they are cheap.

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