From Marvel's July solicits:
ESSENTIAL KILLRAVEN VOL. 1 TPB
Written by ROY THOMAS, NEAL ADAMS, GERRY CONWAY,
MARV WOLFMAN, DON MCGREGOR, BILL MANTLO, KEITH GIFFEN
& JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER
Penciled by NEAL ADAMS, HOWARD CHAYKIN, HERB TRIMPE,
RICH BUCKLER, GENE COLAN, CRAIG RUSSELL, KEITH GIFFEN,
SAL BUSCEMA & JOSEPH MICHAEL LINSNER
Cover by JOHN ROMITA SR.
Remember the Martian invasion of 2001? No? Not to worry, some of Marvel's top talents have preserved it for you! Relive the sequel to H.G. Wells's masterpiece as a sword-wielding slave leads a band of fearless freedom fighters against Earth's alien overlords! Featuring mutants, madmen, metal monsters and more! Guest-starring (who else?) Spider-Man! Free Earth! Collects AMAZING ADVENTURES (Vol. 2) #18-39, MARVEL TEAM-UP #45, MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #7, and KILLRAVEN #1 (Marvel Knights).
504 PGS./T+ SUGGESTED FOR TEENS AND UP ?$16.99
Well, here it is. Even though I've already got every single issue that's reprinted here, I still think I'd like to have this. Mostly because those original issues of mine aren't getting any newer, y'know, and this way I could dig 'em out and read them more often, even though they'll be in black and white- hardly an improvement over yellowed pages and 1970s rubylith coloring flats.
This is a collection of the entire 70's Killraven opus, with Joe Linsner's better-than-I-expected one-shot tacked on to the end. At the beginning, you'll get the tentative Roy Thomas/Neal Adams/Gerry Conway/Howard Chaykin version which appeared in the first two issues, then they gave way to Marv Wolfman (who wrote every single comic published in the 1970's, I think) who in turn gave the disappointing, sales-wise title to unproven fan-turned-pro Don McGregor, and McGregor took the thing and ran with it. McGregor's style tended to be overwritten and florid; but one thing you couldn't deny about the man's work was that he had a distinctive, singular voice- and once you got accustomed to its rhythms it grabbed your brain with every hook and wouldn't let go. Because while it seemed that Mcgregor was in love with his own verbosity, the truth was that he loved each of his characters very much, and wanted to tell you so, along with every nuance of what each character was dealing with in the given situation. And that, in turn, caused me to feel a bond with his characters, and the way he described them and their world. So while there were certainly more than a few panels that were three-quarters captioned text and one-quarter art, it was OK because you knew what McGregor was trying to do. His first few issues were fine, illustrated by the steady, if unexceptional, Herb Trimpe, one especially (Grape)nutty story by Gene Colan and another by the team of Rich Buckler and Klaus Janson (there's that man again!)- but when one of Marvel's never-ending rotation of editors assigned P. Craig Russell, an artist with a rapidly developing, innovative style, to provide pictures, everything clicked and resulted in eleven issues (there were also a couple of issues inked by others, and a couple of fill-ins) of high adventure and imaginative drama, and mid-teenager me loved those books like few others. Of course, I'll freely admit that much of what went into these issues hasn't aged all that well- the costumes are very 70s, and those of a cynical bent can have a snarky field day with not only that but McGregor's hyperbolic prose. I well remember reading a rejected Warren Ellis proposal from the early 90s which intended to recast KR as a black-leather wearing, grim-and-gritty type because he regarded the original issues as campy. Glad that never got off the ground, but Alan Davis' recent miniseries did and while many liked it, for me it paled in comparison to the sheer chutzpah and verve of McGregor and Russell when they were hitting on all cylinders, instead giving us formulaic Mad Max-isms. And naturally, the proposed film will be based on Davis' mini, so I'm not looking forward. It's just as well- McGregor & Russell's take will always be the definitive one because it had heart and soul.
The series ended abruptly with issue #39; there was a one-shot Marvel Graphic Novel from the mid-80s which reteamed McGregor and Russell to tie up at least one long-running plot thread left from the regular series. It was fine, but also pointed out how much the two co-creators had grown and gone beyond comic-book sci-fi superheroics...more so Russell than McGregor. There was even the intention of letting them do another 12-issue series, in which they would wind up the saga of KR's battle against the forces of Mars once and for all, but the creators couldn't see eye-to-eye with the Shooter Regime, so it came to naught. What a shame.
Anyway, if you break down and pick this up when it comes out, remember what I've been trying to explain and keep an open mind- these stories are products of a different era and a different mindset than the comics of today. Let yourself get acquainted with KR, M'Shulla his "mud-brother", Old Skull, Volcana Ash, Mint Julep, and all the other bizarre denizens of McGregor's post-Martian occupation future, and you may be surprised.
Most of the rest of the solicits are given to Marvel's latest company-wide gimmick, "House of M"-does that sound like porn, or what?- which I intend to strenuously ignore. But a few titles stood out:
Looks like Giffen, Dematteis and Maguire are going to try to rekindle that Bwah-ha-ha over at the competition with their take on THE DEFENDERS in a five-issue mini. As you all know, I liked their JL-whatever, so I'll check this out for sure.
Looks like more bwah-ha-ha here on the cover of MARVEL TEAM-UP #10. It makes me chuckle. But I won't be buying.
Another excellent James Jean cover from AMAZING FANTASY #10. I looked through #7 last Wednesday, but the interior art left me cold so I passed. I wish someone would issue a collection of Jean's cover art...
LIVEWIRES #6 is the final issue; I hope I'm still as interested in it by then as I am now.
I guess that's it- you know I'm not much of a Marvel reader, so this will be all I'd be interested in picking up, besides the usual Ultimates 2, Daredevil, and Powers.