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For Sale Friday: Blue Devil!

As part of my ongoing efforts to reduce the size of the Longbox Graveyard comics collection, I’m inaugurating a new series of occasional Friday posts here at the blog — For Sale Friday, where I offer select comics runs for sale directly to my readers! I’ll keep each lot up for a week, then I’ll bump the price a bit and move them on to eBay.

My first lot is Blue Devil, a fun 1980s DC Comics series from Dan Miskin, Gary Cohn, and Paris Cullins.

Blue Devil

I liked this series quite a bit when I was heavily collecting comics in the 1980s. It was a light, humorous, swashbucking superhero series about a stunt man who gets fused with his Blue Devil power suit while battling a real-life demon on a movie set. Look, just go with it … this is far from the strangest thing that happened in this series, which became known for off-beat events and storylines. In time, Blue Devil would be characterized as a kind of “weirdness magnet” that brought all this odd stuff upon himself …

Blue Devil Lot

The lot I have on offer is Blue Devil #1-23, plus Annual #1. All books are individually bagged and boarded, and in mid-grade condition or better. Your price for this lot is $20.00, plus postage (U.S. addresses only, please). I will charge you exact postage based on destination — the lot will weigh about four pounds and ship from zip code 92078 in case you would like to log onto USPS.com and run some scenarios.

Blue Devil #1

 

If you’d like these comics for your very own, write me — longboxgraveyard (at) gmail (dot) com — and we will work out the details. Think of it as a way of supporting Longbox Graveyard while filling out your own collection with some cool comics!

Blue Devil #1

See you back here next week for another For Sale Friday … and in the meantime, please be sure to check my individual comics issues for sale, and my eBay auctions, too!

 

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Old Vampires Never Die …!

It’s only taken two decades, but the publicity campaign for the two issues of Rune that I wrote is finally hotting up!

That’s right! Two issues of Rune (that I blogged about writing, HERE) were recently the subject of not one; and not TWO; but THREE podcasts by the illustrious Professor Alan!

You can listen to Prof Alan’s assessment of Rune #4 HERE.

Rune Volume 2, #4

And you can listen to Prof Alan’s review of Rune #5 HERE.

Rune Vol. 2 #5

And then you can listen to Prof Alan interview ME about both those books (and other comics stuff, besides) HERE!

And for a really deep dive, be sure to check out my original comic scripts for these issues of Rune!

Barry Windsor-Smith's Rune

There you have it … all the Rune you can stand … and a blast from the past in the form of a contemporary interview about work I did in the 1990s. Gotta love the internet! And you gotta love Prof Alan for exhuming my stuff from the Quarter Bin.

Thanks, Prof!

Happy Fourth Of July From Longbox Graveyard!

It’s July 4th around the world, but it’s only The Fourth of July here in the United States!

Since Longbox Graveyard is perpetually stuck in 1978 … and since I had this calendar on my wall when I was a patriotic lad of fourteen summers … it seems only appropriate to celebrate with the Marvel Comics fife and drum corps from Marvel’s 1976 Bicentennial Calendar!

Marvel Patriots

Have a happy day, wherever you may be. Go blow something up!

Star-Lord: Windhoelme!

Longbox Graveyard #134

Welcome to the Dollar Box, where I look at classic comics with an original cover price of a dollar or less!

This month, my subject is the historic first teaming of the classic comics team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin, and Tom Orzechowski.

Am I writing about Uncanny X-Men? Or maybe an issue of Iron Fist?

Nope!

The very first time this team worked together on the same book was … Star-Lord?

Marvel Preview #11

Published in 1977 in the pages of Marvel Preview #11, Marvel’s black-and-white anthology magazine, “Windhoelme” was the second outing for Star-Lord, a science fiction adventure character who debuted in issue #4 of that same mag. The original Star-Lord, by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, was an ill-tempered, borderline-psychopath who stole his superpowers as part of his quest to avenge his mother’s death at the hands of space aliens.

This Star-Lord … was something different.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

 

It was characteristic that Star-Lord’s second outing was a “reboot” — additional reboots would follow, seemingly every-other issue in the character’s brief career, culminating in a near-total rewrite that saw Star-Lord enter the Marvel Universe in the pages of Thanos #8-12 — and now, as the leader of the Guardians of the GalaxyStar Lord is fast-tracked for pop culture stardom in next month’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

the Star Lord you probably know

the Star Lord you probably know

I like the new Star Lord, but he really has little to do with this Star-Lord, who headlined this little jewel of a science fiction adventure in Marvel Preview #11. What with all the space empires, swashbuckling sword-fights, and humanoid aliens running around this story, you could be forgiven for thinking Star-Lord was a fast-follower of Star Wars … but Marvel Preview #11 was conceived and created months before Star Wars hit the theaters. The similarity is down to common origins, with the Robert A. Heinlein “juveniles” that Claremont cited as his inspiration providing a rich portion of the pulp science fiction tradition that Lucas drew upon for Star Wars.

It’s also kismet, of the negative sort, in that Star-Lord was just … that … much ahead of its time. If release of this issue had been able to take better advantage of Star Wars mania, maybe Star-Lord would have gone on to become a superstar comic book character. As it was, Star-Lord came and went, and while the character would have additional outings under various creative teams prior to fading into obscurity for a decade or two, he would never be better than in this rollicking, two-fisted space opera.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

Displaying the fast-paced, catch-you-up-while-we’re-on-the-run storytelling that would characterize his X-Men work, Claremont drops us in the deep end of his story, with a peaceful planet conquered by slavers, and a pair of young adventurers eager to fight back. Kip and Sandy are fairly stock supporting characters, but they’re not without spirit, and Sandy is sort of hot, in that square-jawed, big-eyed John Byrne kind of way …

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

With the population of a planet hanging in the balance, we’re introduced to Star-Lord, who makes a confident and understated entrance (despite the characteristic internal self-doubt Claremont’s script would display later in the issue). It’s never really made clear who our hero is, or where he came from, but that’s actually a strength of this story. It’s more entertaining to try to piece together the details of our hero’s powers and origin as we go along (and besides, it was all on display in the character’s inaugural appearance in Marvel Preview #4 for those who simply had to know).

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

In the pages that follow, we learn that Star-Lord can breathe in outer space, that he can handle himself in a fight, and that he takes a dim view of slavers. But freeing Kip, Sarah, and everyone else on the slave ship is just the start of our adventure.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

In short order we are winging across the galaxy with our little crew, exactly in the fast-paced manner that we’d learn to love when Han Solo settled behind the controls of his Millennium Falcon.

Star-Lord’s spaceship isn’t quite so cool as Han’s legendary ride, but “Ship” has secrets of her own. For one thing, she can change shape. For another, she’s sentient … and she may also be in love with our hero. Certainly Star-Lord and “Ship” have a long and unexplained history between them — just another of a score of intriguing story hooks Claremont drops into this story.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

So far we’ve checked off most of the compulsory boxes for a good space opera. A virtuous hero, young people in distress, spaceships and starfaring adventure, enigmas and mysteries at every turn.

But there are also hissable bad guys, who torment our innocent supporting characters …

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

… cruel lizardmen who get exactly what they deserve …

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

… and in the finest sword-and-planet tradition, our hero locks steel with a corrupt galactic nobleman to determine the fate of a stellar empire. Looking back on this sequence from a post-Star Wars perspective, it’s impossible not to hear lightsabers humming and crackling.

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

“Windhoelme” is a brilliant bit of comic book space pulp, fast-paced, imaginative, heartfelt, and fun. It (re)introduces a great science fiction hero in Star-Lord and follows him on an arc that sees him liberate the throne of a far-flung star empire, and then toss it all aside for a life of adventure roaming the stars …

Star-Lord by Byrne, Austin, and Claremont, Marvel Preview #11

It’s a great set-up for a continuing series of adventures, but Star-Lord’s mojo would quickly fade. Byrne and Austin never drew the character again, and Chris Claremont’s following outings with Star-Lord never quite reclaimed this story’s magic. After a host of lesser appearancesStar-Lord would diminish from memory, leaving only the bright star of Marvel Preview #11 behind.

Original copies of Marvel Preview #11 aren’t all that easy to find, but if you want to read this superior comic story, here’s a Dollar Box pro tip. If you’ll allow me to exceed my brief by recommending a book with an original cover price of more than a dollar (gasp!), then I’ve got just the thing for you …

Star-Lord Special Edition

 

Star-Lord The Special Edition #1 (the one and only issue in the line) reprinted Marvel Preview #11 in 1982. This is a standard-sized comic book, and the tale is slightly altered here (with a new introduction and a postscript by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden), but the meat of the tale is as Claremont, Byrne, and Austin created it in 1977 … with the added bonus of color! Purists will want the original tale, but I’ve grown fond of the colorized version as well, and it also has the advantage of being readily and cheaply available on the back-issue market.

Star-Lord in living color!

Star-Lord in color!

But whether you experience this tale in color or glorious black & white, “Windhoelme” from Marvel Preview #11 is well worth tracking down. It is a relentlessly entertaining space opera comic that is presently lost to the mists of time, but may shortly loom large in our pop culture, pending Star-Lord’s big screen debut in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I strongly suggest you score your copy of this best of the early Star-Lord adventures before the Imperial scum start jacking up the prices on eBay!

This article was originally published at Stash My Comics.

NEXT MONTH: #135 All This And World War Too!

 

Robots To The Rescue!

That my most recent Longbox Soapbox also marked the third birthday of Longbox Graveyard was not lost on one of my most considerate correspondents — the enigmatic Mars Will Send No More!

Mars sent birthday wishes via good ol’ fashioned snail mail:

The Unholy Sarcophagus!

The “Unholy Sarcophagus!” I like the sound of that.

And who wouldn’t want a jetpack alien to carry them away to adventure?

robots to the rescue!

That girl is going to get windburn!

This post card would be right at home in my Science Fiction Pulp Gallery. As is, it’s going on the bulletin board out in my Secret Headquarters.

Thanks for the kind thoughts, Mars!

(And if you haven’t visited in awhile, be sure to mouse over to Mars Will Send No More for an eclectic mixture of comics, fine art, and surprises!)

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