Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Starlord #3

Mentioning the galactic freedom fighters weekly journal to us mere Earthlings back in that Battle post gave me a taste to have a wee revisit.
So here we have issue 3, cover dated 27th May 1978 and sporting an excellent Kevin O'Neil battle scene, highly reminiscent of the Chris Foss/Peter Elson etc SF paperback covers of the time. Except, where they did theirs with an airbrush, Kev is all line work. And might fine fine linework it is too. The details just amazing, especially on the pilots outfit and cockpit. Does this still exist? Would love to have it.
Turn the page and we have "Planet Of The Damned", in my mind a rather over-looked tale. It may be highly derivitive (especially of Hammers "Lost Continent") and, of course, once they get back the tales done, but on the way it was a lot of fun. Quite nasty too - really get the feeling it'd have fit into Action no probs.
The arts what makes it. Lovely work from Azpiri - guessing out of the Spanish studios - with some nice gross designs, and here we have the acid spitting aliens.
What's curious is the use of grey in this strip. It doesn't look like the regular Letratone used for shading, more like the strip is coloured but printed in black and white.
Which beggars the question - was the original in colour, does it still exist, and what's the chances of it being reprinted?

Next up, "Ro-Busters". My favourite back then but, as with most strips of the time, it wasn't anything to do with the characters - it was the robots, the ships and the weapons that had all the appeal. A good case is here in this excellent double spread from Dave Gibbons - would've killed for a Preying Mantis model kit.

Another example of this is next in "Strontium Dog". The appeal of it was Alpha's weapons and that we got Star Wars type ships and battles every week. Here we have a classic example of Carlos Ezquerras brilliant, off-beat, simple looking spaceship designs that aren't really. I've tried making ships with this mass of panel lines and detail but what Carlos makes look so easy to do is blummin' difficult to recreate.

We have the start of "Mind Wars" next, which is a pretty slow start, saved by Redondo's excellent art.

Finally we've got "Timequake", another strip screaming out for a graphic novel treatment. Dredger, sorry, Blocker - has to go back in time to fight an earlier version of himself to prevent a future nuclear war. Nice, easy, action-packed stuff with stunning work by (said it before and i'll say it again) the crimingly over-looked Ian Kennedy.
What i said before about "Planet" looking like it was in colour but printed B/W is true here as we have the first pages looking like this with the last page in colour.

Summing up, only issue 3 but most strips have settled in nicely and there's a neat mix of different tales, a deliberate move to enable us kids to train up to join Starlords army.
A drawn out "Aaaieeeee" from a guy in "Planet" - but, as he's being dissolved by acid, guess we can allow that.

1 comment:

John M. Gilheany said...

Is there anything comparable to the intricacy of Kev O'Neil linework between the late '70's and early '80's?

Maybe Geoff Darrow on Hard Boiled, I suppose but that was among the last series I've bought because of stuff like Starlord remaining unread among other classic titles in my collection.

I was hoping that the recently reprinted 'Complete Ro-Busters' might have harnessed the original splendour of the strip or who knows, maybe even enhanced it in the digital era but not so. It's quite a murky affair when compared to the first batch of Titan albums.

Looking at the Strontium Dog highlights, it's also difficult to escape the sense that some of Ezquerra's spaceships seeped into the subconscious of Red Dwarf's producers!