Saturday, May 9, 2015

Poe 1977, Pt. 1

(Continued from Poe 1976, Pt. 4)


I now reach another item I have been really looking forward to,
and the first all-POE comic since CREEPY #70.

Marvel Comics (at times in its early history sometimes referred to as Timely or Atlas) was always a 2nd-level publisher-- somewhere in the middle as far as quality was concerned-- whose specialty was flooding the market with imitations of whatever was then currently popular.

One of the areas Marvel decided to get into in the mid-1970s, in a rather half-hearted way, was "Classics" comics.  Since Gilberton's CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED went belly-up in the late 1960s, a few other publishers had decided to fill the void.  First you had Editorial Bruguera in Spain with their marvelous JOYAS LITERARIAS JUVENILES ("Literary Youth Jewels"), which ran some 270 titles between 1970-83.  The only problem there was, only 32 out of those 270 comics were ever translated into English.

Then you had Pendulum Press and their NOW AGE BOOKS, edited by Vincent Fago, which did at least 20 books between 1971-77, some of which, like their Spanish counterparts, had begun life as serials in children's magazines before being reprinted in book form.  The only "problem", from my point of view, is that although these books originated in New York, every single one of them was illustrated by artists from the Phillipines.  (Can you say... "OUT-SOURCING" ??)  All 3 of these lines (Gilberton, Bruguera, Pendulum) have been reprinted multiple times over the years.

Then there's Marvel. Their series ran 36 issues from 1976-78, plus a number of one-shot specials over the years after that.  The really odd thing is, the series started out doing color reprints of the Pendulum Press versions (which had all been in B&W originally), before switching over to their own NEW versions-- usually with OTHER artists from the Phillipines.  Which no doubt must have caused some confusion over the years.

Case in point:  MCC #28, their sole foray into POE material.  As it happens, both Marvel and Pendulum did one collection of POE stories apiece, both came out in 1977, and both featured Phillipino artists!  What sets the Marvel version apart from the other book is, as far as I know, it has never been reprinted, and, the entire book was adapted by one of Marvel's BEST writers from the era--  
Don McGregor!

McGregor stands alone among writers who did work for Marvel in the 1970s in that, apart from writer-artists who did it all themselves (Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin, etc.), he was the ONLY writer who did not work using the infamous (and disingenuous) "Marvel Method", of having a writer do a loose plot first, having the artist "flesh out" the story (often supplying more story than the "writer" was), and then having the writer-- or a 3rd person entirely-- do the dialogue & narrative text.  Not the most coherent way to create any story, and not the most honest, either, when you consider the REAL reason it was used for so long was to maintain the LIE that the company's "editor" from the 1960s had supposedly been doing it that way all along.

McGregor's work style was closer to Harvey Kurtzman's on MAD.  He not only wrote "full script"-- complete story and dialogue before-the-fact-- but also supplied page layouts for all his artists to follow!  I always KNEW there was some reason, from the first time I encountered his work (on the "Black Panther" series in JUNGLE ACTION), that I loved his work so much.  He also managed to inject more heart, more soul, more real human feeling, into his stories, than just about any other writer I've ever run across.

Let me put it this way:  if I suddenly won a huge amount of money, the FIRST comics professional I'd want to contact about publishing THEIR work would be Don McGregor.


     The longest of the 3 adaptations in the issue, it was the 13th comics adaptation of this story, following...
Charlton's YELLOWJACKET COMICS #3 (Nov'44),
Gilberton's CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED #40 (Aug'47),
Marvel's SPELLBOUND #2 (Apr'52),
Youthful's BEWARE #10 (Jun'52),
Ziff-Davis's NIGHTMARE #2 (Fall'52),
Continental's CLASSICOS DE TERROR #9 (1960),  
Temporae's EL MONJE LOCO #40 (Sep 4, 1968),
Skywald's SCREAM #2 (Oct'73),
Warren's CREEPY #69 (Feb'75),
Valenciana's SOS #1 (Feb'75),
Novaro's CUENTOS EDGAR ALLAN POE (1975), and
Maisal's TERROR CLASICO MAISAL #2 (1977)
     ...the last one released a few months earlier.  At 24 pages, it was also the longest one yet, almost double the length of the Gilberton version.

By the way, it's a good thing I had found scans of the original art awhile back.  The printing on the actual comic was SO bad, that the "reverse" lettering on page 1 of this story was UNREADABLE.  But by combining parts of the other scan, I was able to "fix" it, decades after-the-fact.

ENJOY!  Or, at least...  ENDURE!!  (Heh heh heh...)

cover by Gene Colan & Tom Palmer   (Marvel  /  [May] 1977)

Adaptation & Layouts by Don McGregor  /  Art by RUDY MESINA  /  Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Don't go away!  We'll be right back with the conclusion...

Copyright (C) Marvel Comics.

     from my collection!

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read about Edgar Allen Poe at The Poe Museum site.

Visit the Don McGregor website!
Read about Rudy Mesina at the Lambiek Comiclopedia site.
Read about Rudy Mesina at the Komixpage site.
See more of Rudy Mesina's work at the Comic Art Fans site.

Read about THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM at the Spark Notes site.
Read about THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM at the Cliff Notes site.
Read about THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM at the Shmoop site.

Read the complete story at the Poe Stories site.
See the PENDULUM Gallery of Illustrations.

Hear the Basil Rathbone PIT AND THE PENDULUM recording!
See the Vincent Price PIT AND THE PENDULUM performance!
Hear the Henry Hull SUSPENSE episode!   (ep. 24  /  1-12-1943)
Hear the Jose Ferrer SUSPENSE episode!   (ep. 273  /  11-28-1947)
Hear the Vincent Price SUSPENSE episode!   (ep.724  /  11-10-1957)
Hear the Raymond Burr SUSPENSE episode!   (ep.805  /  6-7-1959)
Hear the Tony Roberts CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER episode!  (3-4-1975)

Read the Gus Schrotter PENDULUM adaptation!
Read the August M. Froehlich PENDULUM adaptation!
Read the Russ Heath PENDULUM adaptation!
Read the Doug Wildey PENDULUM adaptation!
Read the Everett Raymond Kinstler PENDULUM adaptation!

Read the Gedeone Malagola PENDULUM adaptation!
Read the Ruben Lara Romero PENDULUM adaptation!
     See the Pablo Marcos PENDULUM tribute!
Read the Ricardo Villamonte PENDULUM adaptation!
Read the Jose Ortiz PENDULUM adaptation!
Read the Felipe Jimenez De La Rosa PENDULUM adaptation!
     (coming soon!)

Read the Guido Del Carpio Rivera PENDULUM illustrated story!
     (coming soon)
Read the Juan Sarompas PENDULUM illustrated story!   (coming soon!)
Read the Don McGregor / Rudy Mesina PENDULUM adaptation!
Read the Gerry Talaoc PENDULUM adaptation!

See my Edgar Allan Poe overview at this very blog!

Don't miss the EPIC conclusion... coming up next!!!

(Continued in Poe 1977, Pt. 2

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