Tags Matching: quasar

Excellent and underrated

Perhaps one of my strangest comic book obsessions is the oddball era of the Avengers circa issue 300. The team was in a very weird place and honestly, the Avengers (West Coast) were almost pulling the trump card on them. They had Iron Man, Hank Pym, and the Wasp, three of the original members. and long time favorites Hawkeye and Vision. But somehow a rag tag team of Captain America, Thor, Quasar and… whoever was around (really, look at the cover. She-Hulk and Black Panther. Before that? Gilgamesh, Mr. Fantastic, and the Invisible Woman.) worked JUST enough with some off kilter stories that the true version of Avengers found it’s way.

Throw in the Lava-Men, mindless lava creatures who took down a pretty bad idea (Avengers Island? Ew.) and this is a must have. You can find it in all sorts of used bins, but I’d scoop this copy up quickly. Comics at their finest.
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Greg Capullo, an appreciation.

Greg Capullo started as a comic artist with a style that, while not always the most critically applauded, had it’s own feel. If you know his name, most likely the first thing you think of, however, is his work on SPAWN, which people will argue was just a reference piece rip of Todd McFarlane’s style. It brings to light the question, what role does originality play in terms of recognition of quality. I would like to take a minute to appreciate the fact that Capullo was a master of form, and anything lacking in terms of originality was more than made up for in terms of aesthetic and growth over the years.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite. Quasar.

This is the era with which I recognize the most uniquely “signature” form in Capullo’s style. While he will reference John Buscema as a notable influence, I would say that his style in this period was somewhere between Arthur Adams and the mid ’80s work of Sal Buscema. It had some of the same flair for emotive, but simple facial expression that Adams somehow mastered. Compare the rest of his figure illustrations and then the faces of these figures. His use of fine details in his figures should be seen in a nice contrast with his very simple faces. His focus instead – in his finer moments – in the face was to direction, eyes, and emotion. Capullo did this well, and while his style does not share that fine detail with Adams, it begins to work in sharp but defined lines that work very well with motion and proportion, ala Sal Buscema’s work on Spectacular Spider-Man. I could go on, but just go with me here.

While I definitely enjoyed Capullo’s work (for some reason I vividly remember some of these issues of Quasar featuring Makkari moreso than many of the much more big name Marvel romps of the time) I also will not deny that it had it’s failings. His facial work fluctuated from the emotive style I mentioned above to simple flat and lifeless. Arthur Adams soft, rounded lines helped to cover the deadface moments – with Capullo’s near “L” shaped jaws there’s no room for a lackluster moment. He had those. And it hurt.

When he moved on to be the successor of Rob Liefeld on X-Force, the pressure was on. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel was trying to have a bit on visual continuity on one of it’s more valuable properties at the time. Capullo gave a downright Darwinian effort – he evolved his style to a more bombastic, detailed effort that should be seen as both a success and failure. He was slowly moving away from some of the simple angles that could draw comparison to the work of Sal Buscema, but was also moving towards that Liefeld style of nuclear-steroid musculature. He managed, however, to keep a faithful hand to proportion, a welcome change on X-Force that held it together after the big name ticket left the title.

Given the situation, Capullo did a much more than competent job and by the end of his run on X-Force (10 issues, as compared to Liefeld’s 9) the series had transformed from a vehicle for a single entity to a living, breathing comic book.

And that might be his greatest strength. When Capullo moved to SPAWN, his style again had morphed. This time it echoed with the ever present McFarlane style, with uber-detailing and his angles and line softening, it also can be compared with some of the best work of Adam Kubert in the mid to late ’90s.* He was able to take McFarlane’s level of style and make it an applicable long standing form that transformed the book much the same way he helped to transform X-Force. From a fan’s perspective, Liefeld’s X-Force and McFarlane’s Spawn were merely vehicles for artist/creators who were larger than life, larger than the project. It can be compared to watching a Chicago Bulls game in 1993; you weren’t watching the Bulls really. You were watching MICHAEL JORDAN. Sure there were 9 other players on the floor, coaches, organizations, history… all of that was secondary to this individual.

And it takes something, or someone, transcendent to take interest that is focused on the strength of an individual and redirect it to a more intangible entity. Capullo did this. Twice, in my opinion. And to even do it once is something that should be exalted.

*I would have given my right arm to see what Capullo would have done with some of the Marvel X-Men books in ’90s. It would have been just awesome.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #62

I wanted to get away from the big names for a spell here. But that doesn’t mean I’m getting away from great single issues.

And though Quasar probably isn’t remembered for many, this was a great one. Self contained, I think this may be the best Quasar issue ever.

(BUT WHAT IS THAT REALLY SAYING…)

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The Absorbing Man is one of the best Marvel villains – but he’s not in that upper echelon. I often make sports analogies here (guilty) but this is my favorite yet. When Acts of Vengeance came down, there were obviously some heavy hitters out there – Dr. Doom, Magneto, Ultron… they were spoken for quickly. The Absorbing Man… he was likely down the list, but man, what a steal. Like a late first round pick that just turns out to be the best of the whole draft.

The root of the story is simple enough – Absorbing Man goes at Quasar and absorbs (duh) the power of the Quantum Bands. Ruh-roh.

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100 Days of Summer Comics… #99

#99 – Avengers #303

Let me set this up. The Avengers are essentially Gilgamesh, Captain America, Thor, the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic. Huh? Weird right? Well by the end of this issue, the Avengers are back on the good foot.

If you can’t tell, this issue has three things I’m a sucker for. One – the West Coast Avengers. Two – Nova and the Nova Corps. Three – Quasar. I kind of know both things are pretty wack. But I like them anyways, like that one lame friend who still makes fart jokes in front of girls in high school – sometimes you can’t believe you hang out with him, but you still do. This issue has all of those things and the kitchen sink. The Thing in full cragrock mode? Boom. Mr. Fantastic getting persnickety¬†about being told what to do? Boom. A reenactment of David and Goliath starring Hawkeye and a giant SuperNova? BOOM!

All in all a romping good time and I am DYING for a collection of this era of the Avengers. Get this for $2 or less and enjoy.

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Quasar + Manga = Mixed results?

I’m working on a Quasar (who?) mega post. Chris inspired me with his killer New Warriors post so I’m going to aim high.¬†

Consider this an appetizer.

Wendell Vaughn was like a true life Clark Kent. Nerdy, bad hair and an even worse streak of luck. But for poor Wendell, even the quantum bands (read: fancy space bracelets) didn’t really make his life better. Or easier. Or even really cooler. So we’ll dig into that later this week, but until then, there’s this.

For the 1 quasar fan reading this, wtf? I didn’t know how to feel about this… but then I looked at it again and thought, if anything, he looks cooler than the real Wendell Vaughn ever did. And how about that Uatu (The Watcher)? Kinda works. At least considerably more than that weird as all get out FF. Anyone read this? Give me some feedback…

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