Tuesday, July 28, 2009

1985 Marvel Age Annual #1 Dreadstar Preview Art by James P. Starlin

Coming bi-monthly issues of DREADSTAR will see the addition of three surprising new allies for Vanth Dreadstar. Surprising has to be the word when two of them are his enemies Dr. Mezlo and Ultra Violet! The pair is joined by the enigmatic Omni, and what all this will mean for the rest of Dreadstar's crew is anyone's guess... but particularly that of Jim Starlin, who continues to chronicle their exploits with the help of inker Sam De La Rosa. And the DREADSTAR AND COMPANY title will continue apace, reprinting the earlier installments of the series in a format available at newsdealers everywhere.
I was introduced to this series through the newsstand reprints, which sadly only lasted six issues. I swear I've never in my life felt the wait between issues of a comic like I did when following Dreadstar & Co., and I howled when I read the cancellation notice in the last issue. Considering it was selling better than half as many copies as the new issues (through Capitol City anyway,) I wonder if the series' wrapping had more to do with Starlin's moving the property from Epic to First Comics midway through Company's run. Then again, did any of the Epic newsstand editions fare well? Elfquest, even? Anyway, check out the new characters and costumes! I don't recall Willow ever wearing that very '80s top, though her hair went that direction after Starlin stopped drawing the book. I think Vanth's suit was worn for the rest of the issues Starlin wrote, during his war criminal hunting days, but it looked quite different when drawn by Luke McDonnell. I don't recall what became of the late additions (didn't UV take her own life?) I never liked that bunch, as they seemed to switch sides as a plot device more than a natural development. Starlin was sick of drawing comics by that point, so I figure he was just rushing his magnum opus to a conclusion so he could dump the chore. I'd guesstimate the book was only selling about 20K by that point anyway, so he may have just needed work-for-hire funds.

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