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Tag Archive: Sal Buscema


Review by C.J. Bunce

If you only could choose one book to represent the potential–maybe even the highest form–of the comic book medium, a new book hitting the stands today may be on your short list.  IDW Publishing is releasing a stunning anthology of the history of the Holocaust as seen in comic books of the past, presented with an introduction and afterword by Stan Lee, the creator who broke more stereotypes in his stories than anyone in comic books’ first century.  In We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust, artist Neal Adams, who changed the way comic book stories were told in the early 1970s with his Green Lantern/Green Arrow and Batman series, Holocaust scholar Rafael Medoff, and comics historian Craig Yoe have compiled what is arguably the most noble use of comic books–educating kids in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s on a subject of history virtually ignored in mainstream circles.  Along with Congressman John Lewis’s March series about the civil rights movement, We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust should be in every library and taught in every history class.

My high school history teacher was astonished to learn none of us knew the details of Watergate–we were only infants at the time–and I recall the realization he saw of what he and his peers were not teaching. This weekend my eighteen-year-old nephew mentioned watching the footage of 9-11 in school this year for the first time.  In the 1980s only the last paragraph of the last chapter of our World History textbooks discussed the Holocaust, yet we at least spent a week talking about the subject.  But not until the 1990s was the Holocaust taught in most of American school systems.  Even today only 35 states require education in the subject in school curriculums.  Certainly the most important lessons in history can be taught with its study, and in that light We Spoke Out should serve as a wake-up call to everyone, citizens, educators, and leaders.  Oddly enough, for generations of American kids, the only place they learned about the murder of six million Jews, the stories of concentration camps, of the atrocities committed by Hitler and his Nazis, was in the comics pages.

   

The stories in the anthology present the atrocities of World War II without the overdone blood and gore of many 1950s “horror” comics.  In an April 1955 story from Impact Issue #1 we meet a Jewish man post-War still haunted by his memories in what would now be called PTSD.  In the pages of December 1951’s Frontline Combat, Issue #3 story the then-lauded Nazi general Rommel is dressed down, revealing the villainous truths of his leadership in the face of contemporary efforts to re-invent Rommel as a military hero.  Based on the real-life Nazi Ilse Koch, in a story from Beware! Terror Tales, Issue #4, we are reminded of the vilest of humans who made household goods from the tattooed skin of captured Jews–a real-life horror some may think is only the stuff of fiction from Silence of the Lambs.  Among these stories ripped from real life, Adams, Medoff, and Yoe fill in the blanks of time with historical context, including details of what the stories leave out.

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Rom #1 Subscriber Cover b, by Tom Whalen    Rom #1 R1 Cover B, by Michael Golden

We first previewed the return of the classic borg series Micronauts here at borg.com back in January.  Now borg.com Hall of Fame inductee ROM, the original Hasbro cyborg blinking-eye spaceman action figure made famous in a line of 1970s-1980s Marvel Comics, is returning next month for Free Comic Book Day with an ongoing series beginning in July from IDW Publishing, titled simply ROM.

Rom first appeared in ROM Spaceknight #1 (December 1979) by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema.  Based on the Parker Brothers toy designed by Scott Dankman, Richard C. Levy, and Bryan L. McCoy, the early cyborg action figure was considered a failure in the toy industry, only selling between 200,000 and 300,000 figures.  But the comic book series went on to continue in 79 issues.

Rom #1 R1 Cover C. Art by P. Craig Russell, colors by Lovern Kindzierski     Rom #1 Main cover by J.H. Williams III

With a #0 issue as its launch point, ROM is back in a series written by Christos Gage and Chris Ryall with artwork by David Messina and several great cover variants available.  ROM faces off against the Dire Wraiths in the first story, “Earthfall”.

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Black Dynamite cover 1

Former CIA agent, international ladies man, and sworn ass-kicking enemy of The Man… he’s BLACK DYNAMITE.

IDW Publishing is releasing a new comic book series tomorrow that will be a must for many readers’ comic book store pull lists, Black Dynamite.  Based on the 2010 movie and Adult Swim animated series by Michael Jai White, Byron Minns, and Scott Sanders, the new comic book series is almost a mash-up of Shaft meets Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.  Black Dynamite is the first time the character has his own ongoing monthly series.  He is, of course, THE greatest action star of the 1970s–he has a way with the ladies and a way with getting in the middle of the action.  Written by Brian Ash with pencils by Ron Wimberly, inks by Sal Buscema and colors by J.M. Ringuet, the first issue has the retro look of the art and design found in Bill Cosby’s 1970s animated series featuring kids living around a Philadelphia junkyard.

Black Dynamite alt cover variant

He’s the biggest, baddest, meanest, most not to be trifled with dude in the history of the universe and he’s coming to comics!  Such superlatives could only describe one man.  A former CIA agent and expert in all disciplines of international ass kicking and a thirst for the sweet nectar of justice, hero to the downtrodden, sworn enemy of the Man… BLACK DYNAMITE!

BD alt cover

Black Dynamite is an off-the-wall introduction to the blaxploitation meets kung-fu films of the early 1970s.  It’s a series you could imagine coming from Quentin Tarentino, complete with the action and the look and feel you’d find in Grindhouse.  Is that Richard Roundtree and Pam Grier?

And check out that Marvel Comics circa 1975-inspired cover.

Click here for a seven-page look at Black Dynamite, Issue #1.

Black Dynamite, Issue #1 hits comic book stores tomorrow, January 15, 2014.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com