Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review- Logan's Run Nos. 1-7

Logan's Run Nos. 1-7 (Marvel, cover dates January- July, 1977)
Writers: Gerry Conway (No. 1), David Kraft (Nos. 2-5), David Zelag Goodman (motion picture screenwriter issues 1-5 adapted from), George C. Johnson and William F. Nolan (co-writers, original novel), John Warner (Nos. 6, 7), and Scott Edelman (Thanos back-up story from No. 6).
Artists: George Perez (Penciler, Nos. 1-5), Klaus Janson (Inker, Nos. 1-5, 7), Tom Sutton (Penciler Nos. 6, 7), Terry Austin (Inker, No. 6), Mike Zeck (Thanos back-up story from No. 6).

I recently celebrated my 40th birthday. Most folks throw huge bashes, take a trip or have a midlife crisis. I had a monstrous slab of my Avengers cake, went on a long bike ride, and read all seven issues of Marvel's adaptation of Logan's Run in one sitting. I haven't read these comics since the '80s. I've been holding out for a hardcover or trade paperback collection but realize that it will likely never happen. While Bluewater Comics currently holds the rights to the title, those rights only include the book version and not the movie version. They currently don't have the rights to reprint these comic books, unfortunately.
Gerry Conway nails the script in the first issue. He tells his history with the book on the page that would become the letters page. I was shocked to see him replaced with David Kraft with issue 2. John Warner scripts the issues of new material which took place after the original movie. The movie adaptation lasted five issues. 
The artwork is great. George Perez and Klaus Janson would go on to great acclaim, but here they were both in their “salad days”. Issue 6 was the first one that I bought, a quarter box find circa 1983. I read that issues tons of times and was pleasantly surprised this past week to see the artwork by the team of Tom Sutton and Terry Austin. Those two names meant nothing to me as a 9-10 year old but as an adult I know them well. Tom Sutton did tons of quality work for the Warren Magazines (Creepy, Eerie, etc.) and Terry Austin did a legendary run on Uncanny X-Men.
Old school science fiction purists hated this movie since it was a liberal adaptation of the original novel. I like the Hollywood take as it taps into the zeitgeist of 1976. Shopping malls were the future back then, being a dominant social meeting place for youngsters until the Internet killed the real world by the turn of the 21st century. So the idea that we would live in a dome shaped mall world because of a nuclear war (this was during the Cold War and such anxieties ran high) was pretty cool. The whole life must end at 30 angle played right into the baby boomer mantra of “Don't trust anybody over 30”. The Availability circuit, where swinging singles could scan channels and pick a mate for the night predicted and predated the Internet and chatrooms and dating sites by decades. I love the movie and these comic books. 
This is a solid, flawless adaptation (except for Kraft's misspelling of cacophony) of the 1976 classic. I watched this on reruns on second string channels like 20 or 50 in Detroit, as they seemed to play this often in the late '70s and early '80s. Issues 6 and 7 take place after the movie. Issue 6 is only 12 pages long due to Marvel having to clear what they could and could not do per their licensing agreement with MGM. The issue is bolstered by a 5 page Thanos and Drax the Destroyer story. Of note is the early Mike Zeck artwork and the fact that it is the first Thanos “solo” story. This particular issue is skyrocketing in value as the emphasis on the character Thanos is increasing since he will be the featured villain in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
One of the interesting things about the two post-movie stories is that Logan retrieves his gun which functions as the one in the original novel did, with six different types of bullets. Judge Dredd swiped that one from there for sure. MGM never made movies to either sequel of the book, and there was a short-lived television series in the late '70s that I can barely remember watching. The comic series had the plug pulled in the middle of an arc and we were all left hanging. I have found no information online as to why this series was cancelled, so one must assume that it was obviously due to low sales. There have been rumors of artwork for an issue 9 surfacing, but I have spent an unhealthy amount of time online trying to find it for myself. Would love to read even the raw or unfinished numbers 8 and 9. I need closure, man! 
All in all, this was a blast to go back and re-read these classics. They hold up pretty well over 35 years after their original publication. I would still buy a collected edition of this stuff in a heartbeat.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Man, the print quality and paper used on old comic books sucks. I have become so accustomed to high quality collected editions that anomalies like line bleed and off register printing become glaringly obvious. I shuddered at printing press errors like random specs of black ink which yanked me out of the reading experience. While it is cool holding something that is an artifact from the era rather than a facsimile, it is like watching a VHS in an era of Blu-Rays: worn out and tired looking. On the plus side, all colors and linework are correct, so there's that.

3 comments:

  1. The series was not cancelled due to low sales. Marvel was made aware that they did not have a license to produce stories beyond the movie adaptation, and so the series was immediately dropped.

    Indeed two pages of artwork from issue #9 have surfaced, albeit sans dialogue.

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    1. Thanks for clarifying. I spent a while online trying to find out why it was cancelled and came up empty handed. I would still love to know at least an outline of what they planned to do, and who the mysterious figure was.

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