Daily Archives: April 22, 2008

Everybody Hercs

Hulk Special #1 from 1968New publisher Radical Publishing is looking to make a name for itself in the world of comics, and it’s recruited some big-name talent to help in those efforts. The Los Angeles-based company issued a news release Tuesday to announce that comics legend Jim Steranko has provided cover artwork for the first two issues of its new Hercules: The Thracian Wars series. Furthermore, Steranko designed the look for this incarnation of Hercules as well as the cover logo for the series.

What I found interesting about the announcement was the nature of the Steranko cover art for the second issue. That cover is an homage to a well-known cover the artist produced for Marvel Comics 30 years ago: that which adorned Incredible Hulk Special #1. It’s an easily recognized image in comics, one that’s been reproduced and homaged often. Boasting a strong Will Eisner influence, perhaps the reason it’s been referenced time and time again over the years is how effective it is in conveying the power and struggle that are inherent in the premise and character. The Hulk is in danger of being crushed under a rock that spells out his own name. The earth and rock beneath his feet cracks and crumbles from the sheer weight. The seemingly simple cover says a lot about the title character. The biggest threat that the Hulk faces is himself, his own raw, uncontrolled power (and how others perceive it as a threat).

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Fence Post

White Picket Fences: Double Feature original graphic novel
Writers: Matt Anderson & Eric Hutchins
Artists: Micah Farritor, Brian Mead & Tim Lattie
Colors: Micah Farritor & Brian Mead
Letters: David Hedgecock
Editor: Kevin Freeman
Publisher: Ape Entertainment
Price: $6.95 US

While this book reads more like a short collection of a couple of issues, the Comics Space website for the property bills it as an original graphic novel. Actually, it’s an original graphic anthology, with the same setting and characters appearing in all three stories. This is my first exposure to White Picket Fences, which apparently has already been published as a limited series, with another on the horizon. It’s a cute, comic tribute to science-fiction and super-heroes of a bygone era. While entertaining, there’s little that’s actually original to be found here — save for its visual style. The exaggerated, angular art on the opening and closing sequences, as well as an unconventional approach to coloring, really held my interest. While there’s not a great of logic in how the characters act in these stories, there’s no denying the charm, sense of adventure and — most of all — innocence that draws one into this all-ages book.

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