Random Ramblings about Things and Whatever

Random Ramblings about Things and Whatever

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Random Comics Review: Man-Thing #22, 1975

Alright, this was the last issue of the first Man-Thing on-going series. Man-Thing was a scientist who was transformed into a mindless swamp monster who had the power to burn people who felt fear in his presence. Although mainly a horror comic, some of the stories took a mystical bent featuring sorcerers and other worldly beings.

The story in this issue is by Steve Gerber who wrote the majority of the tales in this run and the art is by Jim Mooney. This issue wraps up several bizarre plot lines involving demons, wizards, "emotion boxes" and of course, the end of the universe. It's pretty off beat to say the least. The title is "Pop Goes the Cosmos!" The splash page depicts Steve Gerber himself sitting on the floor of his wrecked apartment writing a letter to editor Len Wein explaining why he can't write the comic anymore. Basically all the adventures were real and told to Steve by the wizard, Dakimh. But now Steve was becoming too involved and his life was at risk so he was quitting the book. Dakimh gets Steve embroiled in a journey to defeat Thog, the nether-spawn from building a pyramid of emotion boxes that will allow Thog to plunge the world into madness...or something. There's demons running around and Steve is sucked across dimensions, of course Man-Thing shows up to save the day. Most modern comics fans credit Grant Morrison for being "post-modern" and putting himself into the comic book he was writing, here's Steve Gerber doing it 15 years earlier! Interestingly enough, Chris Claremont used the exact same device in the last issue of Man-Thing vol.2 (Chris went as far as to have himself transform into Man-Thing).

The art by Jim Mooney is serviceable and professional. It doesn't knock my socks of but it's moody and just stylistic enough to hold my interest. There's no noticeable credit for the cover. If I had to guess, I'm pretty sure the inks are by Klaus Janson (who went on to fame on Daredevil) and the pencils are probably(?) Gil Kane. Gil was doing a lot of Marvel covers at time including Man-Thing. It's just that Klaus's inks are so heavy it's hard to tell.

Man-Thing #22 is the end of the series, so it feels a little rushed and loose at the same time. One gets the feeling Steve would have liked one more issue to tie it all up a bit more neatly, but maybe the editor told him "Forget it, it's done." However, the storytelling is clear and the reader is never confused as to who the characters are or what their motivations are. Definitely off the beaten track, but absolutely worth a read.

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