Tags Matching: Epic comics

Larry the Alien Legion Guy

I’m going to continue to post Larry Stroman art auctions until you ingrates buy them all. Larry is the most underrated artist working in comics. He’s stylized and unique but still tells a story using all the familiar building blocks. He’s a rare talent… getting rarer by the minute because he seems to be off every radar at the moment.

Here’s a splash from his work on Alien Legion. Great material and I urge you to pick up the entire run, but right here right now, grab this bold giant worm.

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Back With A Bang…

A giant bang. From a giant gun.

In 1987, two decades before super violent comics like The Boys, Wanted, and Kick-Ass came along to take the piss out of super heroes by depicting them as perverted, ineffectual, and deluded pricks, Marvel’s Epic Comics imprint published a six issue mini series from Nemesis the Warlock creators Kevin O’Neill and Pat Mills that didn’t just take the piss out of it’s perverted, ineffectual, and deluded superheroes. It beat it out of them. With a barbed wire bat.

Meet Marshal Law.

Marshal Law is a hero hunter. He hunts heroes. He usually doesn’t find any. So instead, loosely veiled versions of every superhero you can imagine get to meet gory ends courtesy the often over-sized bullets of his often over-sized guns. Take Batman, for example (“Superman” was taken care of in the original miniseries). In Marshal’s world he’s a youth obsessed billionaire who tortures criminals via impromptu street surgeries, uses his wards as involuntary organ donors, and who arranged the very murder of his parents that set him down the path to vigilantism.

The Avengers? The Silver Surfer? Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman? Namor? Daredevil? Spider Man? All stark raving mad and locked in an insane asylum for the super powered. Throw an ex-CIA torturer version of The Punisher looking for an insanity defense into the mix (and in fact it was originally supposed to BE The Punisher), and it’s almost completely surprising that Marvel agreed to put this out, Epic imprint or no Epic imprint (later Marshal stories would be published by a variety of other companies, mainly Dark Horse).

The Legion of Superheroes? Marshal is forced to team up with a team of very loosely X-men styled heroes to save the Legion analogues from aliens. And when I say aliens, I mean Aliens, the kind you find in the Sigourney Weaver movies (sort of).

Marshal Law hated heroes so much, that he even hated them after they were dead, which allowed him to take on thinly veiled versions of the Golden Age Justice Society… in zombie form.

Later on, Marshal would actually end up crossing over with other heroes. Well, ok, ONE hero (Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon) and two demonic entities: Pinhead and The Mask.

It was in these crossovers that Marshal finally came to terms with his hatred of superheroes, along with his own self loathing (after all, as a former super soldier with enhanced durability in a leather costume and mask with a secret base and arsenal of weapons and vehicles, he basically WAS a superhero himself), and prepared to retire his SS cap and barbed wire arm wrap… until the conclusion of the Mask crossover, where he returns to the fascist Marshal of series past (sort of).

Sadly, he hasn’t been seen in graphic novel form since (though there have been a couple literary works, which I have not read). There also has not been a definitive collection as of yet, but word is Top Shelf Productions will be coming out with a Marshal Law Omnibus in 2011, and all I can say is it’s about damn time. The violent satire of Marshal Law was every bit as important to the start of the superhero deconstruction movement started by Watchmen, and it deserves just as much attention.

‘Nuff Dead.

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Wild Cards: a prelude.

I’ve been promising myself I’d do a big ol’ post about the Wild Cards series for the past couple months.

Thing is, auctions for the full series are few and far between, and if I’m going to go to town with a full blown history of the series, I want to have auctions for the full series to show you. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still Wild Cards gems to be found on the ‘bay.

I know role playing games aren’t really the norm for nerds anymore, but the Wild Cards series stemmed directly from it’s creators (which included such notables as George RR Martin) participating in a campaign from the role playing game Superworld…

…so it should be no surprise that the Wild Cards series itself ended up as a role playing campaign.

And since both the books and the rpg’s were inspired by superhero comics (the books conceit was a “realistic” take on what the world would be like if superpowers and mutants had existed since the end of WW2; yes we’ve seen that idea many times since but when the books first came out in 1987 it was an almost entirely new concept.), it should also be no surprise that eventually, things would come full circle, and Wild Cards would end up in the world of comic books.

Both of these are actually really good sources for the Wild Cards beginner; regardless of whether or not you’re planning on doing the campaigns, the GURPS sourcebook contains 60 character biographies, many of which are for characters that never really get much background in the books, and the Epic series, though hampered by the constantly varying quality of the art (multiple artists worked on each issue) retells the origins of the main characters and the history of the series up to that point as part of it’s story. While they won’t have you up to speed for anything past book 5 or 6 (the books recently broke into the 20s), they’re still an incredibly great introduction for a Wild Cards new comer.

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