Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Review- HEROIC TALES: THE BILL EVERETT ARCHIVES VOL. 2


HEROIC TALES: THE BILL EVERETT ARCHIVES VOL. 2 (Fantagraphics, 2013; Hardcover)

Collects selections from Adventures Into Weird Worlds #4, 5, Amazing Man Comics #9-11, Amazing Mystery Funnies Vol. 2 #3-5, Cracked #3, 6, 24, Famous Stars #2, Journey Into Mystery #20, Journey Into Unknown Worlds #14, Nightmare #1, 2, 4, Personal Love #24, Psycho #3-6, Reg'lar Fellers Heroic Comics #6-9, Silver Streak Comics #1, 20, 21, Suspense #5, 6, Target Comics Vol. 1 #3, 4, 7-9, and War Stories Vol. 1 #1 (cover dates March, 1939- September, 1971)

Writers: Bill Everett, Allen L. Kirby, Doug Allan, Bob Davis, Ray Gill, and Gardner Fox
Artist: Bill Everett with Joe Maneely (splash page assist on Suspense #5)

Finishing up Bill Everett's Golden Age comics and going into his non-Marvel work until the time that he retired, this book is a joy to behold. Skyrocket Steele is a generic Flash Gordon ripoff, while Amazing-Man and Hydro-Man are a ton of fun. I find it interesting how these characters were split across each volume as opposed to being presented in just one book, since this is grouped by character or genre. Not a complaint, just an observation.

Can you imagine the Internet OUTRAGE if this were shown in a comic today? Those PETA losers would cry all over their soy milk. 

Everett's style is unique and completely genius, and it makes reading comics that I normally wouldn't be interested in enjoyable. I dislike Romance and Western comics but liked the ones in this book. Thankfully Marvel allowed Blake Bell to present 8 of his 1950s Atlas Horror stories, seven of which haven't been reprinted in the Marvel Masterworks line. The Scarecrow (Journey Into Unknown Worlds #14) and I Deal With Murder! (Suspense #6) are both genius, and it makes me sad that Marvel has mothballed their Atlas line of hardcovers. Who knows what other treasures await? The Skywald stories suck, but what do you expect? Skywald's output sucked! They plagiarized 1950s Horror comics for crying out loud. Even Everett's art couldn't save them.

I love Everett's lettering. 

I am glad that Blake Bell went the distance and saw this project through. Many of these comics are scarce and none of them are cheap. Top it off with the fact that the scanning process can sometimes destroy a comic and you have a sacrifice made for the good of all. Yes, some comics may have been sacrificed so that this book could be made, but not Everett's work has been scanned and digitized and will now live for eternity.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Fantagraphics always makes nice books. They never arrive on time but they never disappoint, either.
Linework and Color restoration: High resolution, digitally cleaned up raw scans. All anomalies and imperfections of the original four color printing process are present, including line bleed, off-register printing, and benday dots. I have had many discussions with folks on the Internet about it, and many of the misinformed out there believe that benday dots were some sort of artistic choice; they were not. Many artists were disappointed with how their work looked when they saw the final product but accepted it due to the limitations of the technology of the day. Benday dots and line bleed are no more artistic choices than pops and surface noise on vinyl records are. They are byproducts of the reproduction of said formats.
Paper stock: Thick uncoated stock with zero sheen.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding. The book does not lay completely flat.
Hardback cover notes: The image is printed on the casewrap, which has a dull matte finish coating which is resistant to scuffing.

No comments:

Post a Comment