Friday, April 17, 2009

April showers (part three of four)

We're having a month of Storms this April on Comic Art Friday. Ironic, this, because it's supposed to be sunny and in the mid-80s here this weekend.

Still, we press on.

The third manifestation in our Storm front is this striking take on Ororo, penciled by Mark Beachum and inked by Bob Almond.

Mark Beachum began his career in mainstream comics in the early 1980s, when he drew several issues of Wonder Woman for DC, then moved over to Marvel to draw mostly covers on the various Spider-Man titles. My interest, however, in Beachum's work stems from a single cover he penciled for one of my all-time favorite non-superhero comic books: Thriller.

Beachum landed the cover assignment for Thriller #7, I suspect because he was a hungry young artist who just happened to be available, and DC editorial needed a cover in a hurry. Thriller #7 was the final issue of the short-lived series to be produced by the original creative team, scripter Robert Loren Fleming and illustrator Trevor Von Eeden.

For a variety of reasons, many of which remain shrouded in mystery nearly a quarter-century later, Fleming and Von Eeden both quit (or were dumped from, depending on who's telling the story) Thriller abruptly. Fleming was supplanted as writer by former Vampirella scribe Bill DuBay, beginning with issue #8. The incomparable stylist Alex Niño took over the art chores from Von Eeden in issue #9.

Thriller, an idiosyncratic tale under the best of circumstances — that is to say, in the hands of the only two people on the planet who truly understood what it was supposed to be about, and where the narrative was intended to go — limped along under the new creative team until issue #12, by which time anyone still reading the book gave up trying to follow the increasingly bizarre storyline. DC, long since ready to cut its losses, canceled the troublesome title.

None of which has anything at all to do with Storm, aside from the fact that the artist who drew the Storm seen above is the same guy who drew the only Thriller cover not drawn by either Von Eeden or Niño.

That, and the fact that I'm one of the infinitesimally puny number of comics fans who not only still remember Thriller fondly — or indeed remember it at all — but actually own all twelve issues.

Of course, that doesn't have anything to do with Storm, either.

I was going somewhere with this, but I'm not certain exactly where. Kind of like Thriller.

One more Storm next week.

And that's your Comic Art Friday.


1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Nick Ahlhelm offered these pearls of wisdom...

I didn't read Thriller 'til years later, but was always intrigued by its place in Who's Who. When I finally did, I was surprised by just how forward thinking a book those first few issues were. It was a truly adult comic when the only place you found those kind of stories was in a Alan Moore book. Too bad more people do not remember it better.

2:26 PM  

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