MARVEL PREVIEW #19 KULL THE DESTROYER

“Riders Beyond the Sunrise”
Writer: Roy Thomas based on story by Robert E. Howard and Lin Carter
Artists: Sal Buscema & Tony DeZuniga

Kulls is listening to his councilor Tu go on about how a noblewoman has run off with a foreign adventurer from Farsun. The noblewoman was betrothed to a noble who is as ugly as a rhinoceros and with a temperament to match. But marriage is not about love in civilization. Kull doesn’t really care until a messenger arrives. The man Fenar has crossed the border into Zarfhaana. He left a message to Kull that he thinks the king is a woman who he plans to one day come back and dress as such so he can take care of his horses. Now this gets Kull angry because barbarians take any challenge to their manhood seriously. So off he goes with his Red Slayers and Brule to capture this rogue. The chase leads him across the continent to the wastelands unknown. There he confronts Fenar who turns out to be Thulsa Doom. A sword fight almost results in Kull’s defeat. He manages to disarm Doom and use his magic sword against him.

“The Tiger of Atlantis”
By Jim Neal

An article on Kull’s story so far in Marvel comics. An interesting and concise article.

“Kull II”
Artists: Marie & John Severin

Eight pages of Kull portfolios drawn by the artists that first drew him for Marvel. Beautiful work and shows these two have a truly artistic talent.

“The Footfalls Within”
Writer: Don Glut based on story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Will Meugniot & Steve Gan

Solomon Kane the adventuring Puritan is wandering around Africa. He comes on the body of a young girl that was killed by Arab slave raiders. He tracks them down and shoots a man who is about to kill a young girl. A fight ensues where sheer numbers overpower Kane. He is a captive of the slavers but is befriended by one who is fascinated by the Ju-Ju staff he carried. The staff is a powerful magic talisman that was used by Moses and King Solomon. The slavers come on a tomb in the middle of the jungle and break in thinking that it is filled with gold. Instead it contains a blob like creature that kills most of the Arab slavers. Kane uses the Ju-Ju staff to defeat the creature and lock it back in its tomb. He frees the slaves and continues on his journey.

This was an enjoyable issue. It was done after the Kull series was cancelled so it was testing the waters for a revival. It adopted a fragment of a Howard story that Lin Carter completed. The first part is typically Howard as we have the barbarian king go into a rage over an insult questioning his manhood. You do not mess around with a barbarian on such matters. The story captures that perfectly. Thulsa Doom is killed but knowing Doom it is highly unlikely he will stay dead.

The Solomon Kane story was another by Howard that was just golden. His adventures in Africa are my favorite and his noble fight against the heathen slavers is just another pure Howard story.

Combine this with an interesting recap article of Kull’s past adventures and a Severin portfolio makes this a very enjoyable issue.

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MARVEL PREVIEW #18 STAR-LORD

“Less Than Human”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Bill Sienkiewicz & Bob McLeod

A ship with beastmen is testing a new weapon that will destroy a planet. Their ship is attacked and all are killed and the weapon is taken but not before they send out a distress call. Now Starlord has arrived on a planet because his ship has detected a massive power source. Starlord lands in a city that is located inside a crater. The city is actually quite primitive except the police who confiscate Starlord’s pistol. Only bladed weapons are allowed. At the local tavern he finds out the planet is home to people that reject technology for a simple life. Quan-Zarr has founded this world.

Suddenly two beastmen come in and kill two soldiers that were acting as couriers for Quan-Zarr. Starlord grabs a sword from a woman and pursues with the woman behind wanting her sword back. The chase leads to a confrontation with the beastmen and the truth. Years ago Quan-Zarr attacked the peaceful civilization on this world. The survivors were used in experiments that created the beastmen. Now the beastmen are planning for revenge and Starlord must make a decision. Abandon his pledge of not killing or let a whole planet of innocents die.

“Into The Shop”
Writer: Ron Goulart
Artists: Steve Bissette & Rick Veitch

On a futuristic world a marshal and his Lawagon enforce the law. The Lawagon is starting to malfunction when it mistakes an innocent man for a wanted criminal. The Lawagon is judge, jury and executioner. After it kills the mechanic sent to fix him mistaking him for a wanted criminal the marshal knows its malfunctioned but doesn’t have time because a former love has been kidnapped. Unfortunately the Lawagon kills both the kidnapper and woman. It also takes out the marshal once again confusing him for a wanted criminal.

“The Destiny of the Dinosaurs”
Writer: Don Thompson
Artist: Lee Elias

A professor and his assistant build a time machine. The professor is obsessed with seeing the dinosaurs. So they travel through time and witness history. They reach the mesozoic ear and find a giant rocket. There are intelligent dinosaurs that are leaving the planet because its getting too cold. The dinosaurs try to kill the travelers when they try to contact them and they flee back to the future. They don’t have too long before rockets land all over the world. The dinosaurs are back to reclaim the planet.

Well this was an exciting issue and the last time Starlord appears in Marvel Preview. Interesting on the contents page it states that Starlord is shedding his “space-sissy image.” This is a Starlord that has to overcome his aversion to kill. Now in past issues he has done this so its probably unfair to call him a sissy. Still he does come to the realization that to save lives he may have to kill. A very enjoyable story.

The Ron Goulart story was also fun. A malfunctioning Lawagon that starts to see everyone as the dangerous criminal Sheldon Kloog. A warning about relying on infallible machines. The marshal was also too busy trying to save his girlfriend and ignoring the problem with his Lawagon. Obvious problems like killing cars should never be ignored.

The final story was the best. I loved the idea of intelligent dinosaurs with rocketships. I could see them looking at humans as vermin that has to be eliminated. All around some very interesting stories for his issue.

MARVEL PREVIEW #15 STAR-LORD

“A Matter of Necessity!”
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Carmine Infantino

The planet Carillon is attacked by the Haalmhad. They literally destroy the planet. Now they are headed to the third planet in the system named Cymoril. Cymoril is defenseless and has hours left. The Haalmhad are a nomadic people that travel in a giant starship. They are apparently threatened by a possible alliance this system was about to enter. Starlord’s ship decides to go to the rescue. We learn that the ship was at one time a sun that had two inhabited planets in its orbit. One day a fleet came and shot a missile into the sun causing a supernova. The sun’s consciousness survived and was later rescued by our sun’s master. She then was made into the ship that Starlord would use.

So Starlord agrees to help the ship and he manages to sneak aboard the Haalmhad ship. There he sabotages their systems. The Haalmhad are forced to abandon the ship and start over on an uninhabited world. So Starlord and his ship manage to save Cymoril without killing the Haalmhad.

“Time Travel: The Fantasy of Science Fiction”
By Arthur Curtis

An article on time travel fiction. It points out that time travel has no actual basis in science and should be classified as fantasy. He goes on about the history of time travel in fiction. It includes movies and TV. This was an informative article about time travel. There were a number of books that sounded interesting and I might try sometime.

“Worlds Enough”
Writers: Don & Maggie Thompson
Artist: Lee Elias

A man finds himself in front of a statue of Adolf Hilter. It lists him as dying in 1973 and this is the place the Lincoln Memorial should be. Harry Pitzer knows he is not back in his own world. So a twist of the knob on his belt and he is in another world. This one ruled by the Romans. World after world he goes to. Some are like his but have subtle differences. Others are completely different. A world with British and Arab soldiers fighting a battle. The Union Jack flies on the White House. Aliens are invading one world.

Harry is from the future of 1990. This time has discovered the secret of dimension jumping. It is illegal but Harry hit a dimensional patrolman who materialized in front of his car. He took the belt so he could go to a more advanced dimension and grab a money making idea. In this case a new paperclip. Now he is desperate to get back because the dimensional police can track the belt and also know if a person doesn’t belong in a dimension. Unauthorized travel to dimensions is death.

Finally Harry gets back to a world that looks like his. He finds his house and car with the damage to the front. So he sets the belt to travel by itself and plans to make a lot of money on his new found invention. He goes to the bookstore and realizes he has made a mistake. The book he finds is “The Collected Love Poems” of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

So this Starlord story was an exciting one. We get to find out about his ship who has a sentience of its own. It was a sun. The ship was willing to go it alone if Starlord didn’t help which shows the ship is an independent entity. This had an epic feel with the Haalmhad ship and its destructive power. An enjoyable story.

The real fun story was the backup which overshadowed the main story. I loved this idea of a man traveling into parallel worlds. Just a wealth of strange worlds that had dinosaurs, cavemen, aliens and victorious Nazis. There was some real humor in the various newspaper headlines. James Dean Wins an Oscar. Communists Praise Senator Joe McCarthy. President Agnew Wins a Fourth Term. Katherine Hepburn Elected President. Pentagon Warns WWIV Inevitable. Of course the big reveal that he was mistaken about his world was priceless.

MARVEL PREVIEW #14 STAR-LORD

“Sandsong”
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Carmine Infantino

Starlord has arrived at a desolate desert world in response to a call for help. He is attacked by the dreadnoughts of the Lorq a reptilian race. The ship crashes and severely injures Starlord. The ship decides to create a physical persona of itself and forms a beautiful woman. She names herself Caryth Halyan. She pretends to be a survivor from another ship that found him and healed him. So the two go off looking for the intelligence that brought Starlord to this world. They find a cavern deep inside a mountain. After successfully fighting off hordes of small crabs they connect with the Trinity. The Trinity is about to give birth to a tree of life. Starlord and Caryth fight off the Lorq and defeat them but Caryth loses her human body.

“Three Kinds of the Fannish Encounters”
By Don & Maggie Thompson

An article about science fiction fans. There are three kinds. The first that buy, read and collect the various books and memorabilia. The second is communicating with other fans through fanzines then they recommend three popular ones. The third is direct contact at conventions. Interesting but a bit dated for this now internet age. Oh and don’t call it sci-fi. Apparently that’s an insult.

“Starworld Cyndriana”
Writer David Kraft
Artist: Bob Wakelin

A craft lands on the forbidden world of Cyndriana and a pilot prods an elderly couple off the ship. He then murders them and takes their valuable. As he hides it in the jungle he is confronted by a naked woman. She seduces him and later he finds himself attacked by the plant life. As he tries to reach his ship the skeletons of the murdered couple come to life and drag him underground.

“Detour”
Writer: Rich Marshall
Artist: Alfredo Alcala

Cathy Bailey is a college student driving home for the holidays. She stops at a diner for coffee and gets some unwanted attention from a biker. She leaves and later finds the man pursuing her. She desperately tries to escape and ends up crashing the car into a tree. The biker comes and breaks open the window and drags her out. Now a flying saucer is over the crash site. It takes the car and motorcycle then zips away. The man was trying to warn the girl and not after her.

So this Starlord story was a mixed bag. On one hand the story itself was in some ways kind of dull. The redeeming part was having the ship create a human body. There seems to be a love that the ship has for Starlord and now it can actually interact with him. Some beautiful artwork but as I said the story was sort of ho-hum.

The second was also OK but nothing special. Sort of your typical evil doer gets his comeuppance.

The third was my favorite. It was a written story with illustrations to go along with it. A very interesting story with suspense and a twist ending.

MARVEL PREVIEW# 11 STAR-LORD

“Windholme”
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Bryne

The small colony world of Windholme is raided by slavers. They kill everyone except the young to take off world and sell. Kip a young man rebels against the slavers and escapes into the air ducts. There he meets a young woman named Sandy from another world also raided by the slavers. Their rebellion is aided by the arrival of Starlord. He disables the ship and allows the slaves to rise up and kill their slavers.

Starlord then goes off to search for who is behind this operation. After leaving the freed slaves on the planet Windholme, he heads off along with Kip and Sandy to Cinnibar. Cinnibar is a pleasure world with floating cities. The world is run by Shakati who is behind the slave raids. Starlord and his friends find out that the raids are a greater plot to finance a coup of the emperor by his uncle. So its off to the world of Sparta to warn the emperor.

When they get there Starlord faces the uncle and his ally the leader of the Ariguan Confereracy. This alien is the lizard-man who killed Starlord’s mother. So they fight and Starlord forgets his pledge to not kill. He then manages to take out the uncle. It is discovered that Starlord is the emperor’s son. The emperor’s ship crashed on Earth and he fell in love with his mother. He later left with a promise to return. He unfortunately trusted his uncle who had the aliens come and assassinate his mother. Now he can inherit the galactic empire but decides to remain an explorer. He recommends that Kip be adopted as his son and become the heir.

“Our “Alien Heritage or the Central-Casting Syndrome.
By John Bryne

An article about how actual alien life would look nothing like humans but how it has become popular to humanize aliens in fiction. Ok article but didn’t really have anything new to say.

So Starlord is back in a second story. This time they have decided to portray Peter Quill as much more likable. He is now dedicated to being a guardian of the universe and no longer obsessed with revenge. Indeed he is somewhat of a pacifist who will not kill. But still human and forgets that when actually confronted by the alien that killed his mom. The story also established the character by giving him a ship that is sentient. There is a sort of love interest with the female persona that the ship has. This was a really great story. It had an epic feel with the different worlds that just seemed larger than life. The revelation of Peter’s origin was a surprise. The character was being set up to have his own series but it would be quite some time before he gained some popularity.

MARVEL PREVIEW #4 STAR-LORD

“Starlord First House: Earth!”
Writer: Steve Englehart
Artist: Steve Gan

Young Peter Quill is growing up with his mother in the rural Western US. One day aliens land and murder his mother. The local authorities don’t believe his story of aliens and he ends up in an orphanage. There he makes it his goal in life to seek revenge against the aliens. So he joins the space program and exceeds in astronaut training. But his attitude doesn’t win over any friends. So in this future 1990 the US has a working space station in orbit named Eve. While there an apparition appears claiming to be a Starlord. He invites the Earth to send it’s best representative to become a Starlord.

This is the chance Quill has been waiting for. But the authorities have someone else in mind and Quill gets fired when he acts out. Not to be stopped he hijacks a shuttle and shoots his way onto the station. He manages to get to the right place and taken by the alien force. He finds himself taken to the Sun. There in a golden palace he meets an old man on a throne. He is the Master of the Sun. He gives Quill the power of the Starlord. Then he sends him to find the aliens that killed his mother.

“Introduction: The Sword in the Star”
By Bill Mantlo & Edward S. Barkin

An article that introduces the next story. It is based on the old epic classics. It goes on too much and seemed filler that wasn’t really needed.

“The Sword in the Star!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Ed Hannigan, Craig Russell & Rick Bryant

On the world of Ithacons a great battle is being fought. A dying king orders his son to leave with a wizard named Delphos. He reluctantly abandons his father just before the Hammin arrive and destroy the army. Wayfarer the son is taken by Delphos to a secret underground chamber. There he is attached to the learning machine. He learns the history of humanity. How they fled Earth and established many civilizations. Now the advanced Hammin are coming and he must search for the Sword in the Star to save the galaxy. He escapes in the ship Starseed as the Hammin find the cavern and kill Delphos who was ten thousand years old.

So this is the first Starlord story. This Starlord is a lot different from the Chris Pratt character. For one he is way more serious and actually an unlikable character. Obsessed with revenge he finally gets it. Or does he? Was is an illusion by the Master of the Sun. Just to get it out of Peter Quills system. His powers are also mystic in origin or maybe so advanced as to appear mystic. Starlord appeared in a number of the Marvel Previews and some other anthology series. Never catching on although now thanks to the movies its quite popular. I do enjoy this gritty version.

The back up story was also and interesting read and looked like it was to be a possible series. It had an epic feel to it. I don’t know if it continued on in some other form but this is the only appearance I know of for Wayfarer and his quest. It had potential but this story was just Ok.

MARVEL PREVIEW#24 PARADOX

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“Paradox”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Val Mayerik

It is two hundred years in the future. Earth is the center of the Terran Empire. A paradise world mainly devoted to agriculture. Its how the Earth maintains its control over the solar system. Industry, crime, pollution and poverty have been exported to the other worlds. On the other worlds are gengineered humans genetically engineered to survive on the world they live from Mercury to Pluto. On Luna the Moon the Terran ambassador dies in a traffic accident. He was taking Fireflite an illegal drug that will make a person spontaneously combust if they don’t take an antidote in time.

The ISA (Interplanetary Security Agency) sends its best agent Paradox to investigate. Paradox is a well known anti-gravity dancer who is secretly an ISA agent. He is also been genetically engineered to be a shapeshifter. His investigation takes him to find out that the ambassador’s death is from his wife; who is a Lunan who was gengineered to be a beautiful woman. The drug addiction was a plot by Lunan revolutionaries to get secrets to help their rebellion.

This was a really fascinating story. I love the idea of a future where humanity has engineered slave races to work the outer worlds. Paradox is this sort of foppish entertainer who in reality can change into any one the various species or an individual. A real unique idea for a series. Endless possibilities with a decadent Earth controlling the grimy repressed servant races of the colonies.

MARVEL PREVIEW#17 BLACKMARK

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“The Mind Demons”
Writer & Artist: Gil Kane

It is the far future when Old Earth died in a nuclear holocaust. Now the world is known as New Earth. New Earth is comprised of warring city states. Mutations roam the blasted landscape and swim in the seas. Technology is shunned by the inhabitants as a form of evil magic. Into this world is born Blackmark. Blackmark is the son of peasants. King Amurix was a man who studied science and was overthrown by his subjects for this blasphemy. He used the old science to transfer his knowledge while Blackmark was still in his mothers womb.

Eventually he grows up and leads a slave revolt using the old king’s knowledge. He now has successfully united the warlords under his rule. There is one warlord a Raynard who still plots against him. Suddenly the mutants from the northern island stronghold of Psi-Keep attack. Blackmark uses old energy lances to beat back the hordes. He finds the beautiful princess Shandra to marry and plans to build a fleet to assault Psi-Keep.

Well Lord Raynard manages to seduce Shandra away from Blackmark. Raynard also has betrayed humanity by going to Psi-Keep to warn them of the impending invasion. He also stabs Shandra and leaves her in a small boat for Blackmark to find. After the fleet is wrecked by sea monsters and a storm the survivors reach Psi-Keep. There a final battle takes place. Blackmark confronts Reynard who not only betrayed him and killed his wife. He is also responsible for killed Blackmark’s mother and father. An epic sword battle takes place with Blackmark victorious and the mutants destroyed.

So this issue we get a full length story about Blackmark. This character was originally released as a series of paperbacks. Later it was serialized in the Savage Sword of Conan comic. I found this character an interesting idea. Combining old fashioned sword & Sorcery with a modern post-apocalypse world.

MARVEL PREVIEW #16 MASTERS OF TERROR

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“The Hero-Killer Principle!”
Writer: Richard Marschall
Artists: Gene Colan and Tony DeZuniga

A series of murders are plaguing the el train in Manhattan in the 1930’s. Hodiah Twist is a Sherlock Holmes type detective who is investigating these murders. With is Watson type sidekick Conrad Jeavons the two ride the train that he thinks will have the next murder. It turns out that he was correct as the sinister murderer starts to pick off the passengers one by one. The murderer turns out to be a fourteen year old boy who turns into a werewolf. The werewolf dies when it goes up top and gets decapitated by a low hanging beam.

“Voices!”
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Gene Colan & Tom Palmer

A man finds out that his C-B radio can come through the TV set of his neighbor a mildly retarded man. The man thinks the voice is God and the neighbor starts out to have fun. He then starts to order the man to kill people that he doesn’t like. It backfires when a plot to kill his wife backfires and ends up in the death of the man with the C-B radio.

“The Rise of the Private Eye”
By Ron Goulart

An article on the birth and growth in popularity of the private detective story. Goulart argues that is it one of Americas greatest contributions to the popular culture of the world. The concept started with Carroll John Daly and his pulp character Race Williams. Later Dashiel Hammond and Raymond Chandler solidified the mythology. Gangster movies from the ’20s later combined the detective to give it the lasting popularity.

“Death by Disco!”
Writer: Steve Gerber
Artists: Gene Colan & Tony DeZuniga

Lilith the daughter of Dracula has no corporal form and must reside in the body of Angel O’Hara a pregnant ad-taker for a small Greenwich Village publication. At night she loses consciousness and Lilith takes over and hunts down the evil criminals to feed on. One night when Angel goes to a disco club for a story Lilith takes over. She gets involved with the owner who is somewhat of a douche bag. Her girlfriend shoots the man then Lilith gets her revenge by feeding on her.

This issue was about detectives and horror as the main themes. The stories were dark and moody. Hodiah Twist was an interesting character. He sounds like someone who lost everything in the stock market crash and went into his own Sherlock Holmes reality. Then he gets involved with supernatural phenomenon. A real interesting idea set in depression era America.

The Voices story was also a fun and intriguing idea. Someone using a C-B radio to convince a simple-minded guy to carry out murders. It ended with the guy getting what he deserved.

The Lilith character was strange but interesting. She seems to be cursed with being a vampire without a body. Yet she only goes after the evil men. All three stories were a fun read and Hodiah Twist and Lilith have great potential for future story arcs.

MARVEL PREVIEW #9 MAN-GOD

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“Man-God!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: Tony DeZuniga

Hugo Danner is working as a sailor on a ship headed toward Marseille. A child falls over and he jumps in to rescue him. He manages to break a shark’s jaw in the process. When the ship lands a fellow American seeks him out at a cafĂ©. While there it is announced that war has broken out with Germany. Hugo decides to join the Foreign Legion and his new friend accompanies him. They then have to fight off thugs who try to rob them and Hugo uses his superhuman strength to easily take them out.

Thus we then flashback to Hugo’s origin. His father was a doctor that developed a serum derived from insects to give super strength and invulnerability. His first test is a little kitten that goes on to terrorize the countryside killing cattle. The doctor poisons it but decides to try this serum out on his newborn son. The son grows up with super strength, can leap great distances and invulnerable skin. He goes to college and becomes a successful football player. After his parents go bankrupt he gets a job as a strongman at Coney Island. When he returns to college football he accidentally kills a man and that is what brought him to his current position.

So in the Legion his great strength manages to take on the Germans singlehandedly and get him noticed by the generals. He is about to go to Berlin but the mission is cancelled because the war is over. He is left wondering what a superhuman man like him can do in a world at peace.

“Philip Wyle”
By Don & Maggie Thompson

An article on the life and works of author Philip Wylie whose book this feature story was based on. An interesting article and make me interested in checking out some of his work.

“Supermen In Science Fiction”
By Don & Maggie Thompson

An article on the history of supermen in the history of literature from the ancient Greeks to the present. An ok article that gets a little dry here and there.

This story is the adaptation of Philip Wylie’s novel Gladiator. It is the first modern Superman and was probably the inspiration for the Superman character. Hugo Danner is a tragic figure. His great power is more of a curse since he can’t live a normal life. An interesting story but somewhat depressing. This was the first half of the book and the second was never adapted because it was probably so depressing. I still would have liked to read the conclusion and one day may check out the book.