Joe Guy

April 12, 2008

Joe Guy was America’s foremost hero. What, you’ve never heard of him? He appeared in a few issues of “The Rook”. What, you’ve never heard of The Rook? He appeared in Warren’s Eerie as well as in his own self-titled black and white magazine-sized comic book. What, you’ve never heard of Warren ? I must be getting old !

Joe Guy discovers he is the son of Superman and doomed aviatrix Amelia Lockhart. Eventually he arrives at the Fortress of Solitude and meets his father for the first time along with the others living there.

It seems that in 1963 whilst travelling through the time barrier Superman accidently witnessed his own demise at some future date. This so unnerved him that he has never left his Fortress of Solitude since that time. All the heroic feats performed by Superman since then have been performed by Superman robots. Can Joe defeat this approaching menace, change history and prevent his father’s death? Did DC ever notice this story?

This was all set out over four 8 page stories in “The Rook”. There were enough ideas here for an on-going series. In fact, the writer Jim Stenstrum was full of ideas. He wrote “Thrillkill” and “Sherlock Holmes” as well as “Joe Guy” and other “humorous” fare like “Rex Havoc and the Ass-Kickers of the Fantastic” and “The Super Abnormal Phenomena Survical Kit”.

  

 

 I rate Jim Stenstrum’s writing up there with Steve Gerber and Alan Moore. Like many other comic book creators he moved into animation directing “Scooby Doo” cartoons amongst other things. I think his Warren work would make fantastic animations. How about it Jim?

Warren produced some of my favourite comics from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s. Actually I wasn’t really that interested in horror comics, but luckily the Warren  anthology titles also covered other genres like fantasy, science fiction, and sword and sorcery. “Creepy” was mostly horror. “Eerie” also had science fiction. “1984/1994” was “adult” similar to “Metal Hurlant/Heavy Metal”. Vampirella was…a sexy female vampire basically. There were a number of one-shot magazines over the years and “Famous Monsters of Filmland” completed the line-up. 

 

In 1980 you could still purchase those early (very limited animation) Marvel cartoons in glorious black and white or colour in Super 8 (or even Regular) Film reels. Actually, thinking about it I didn’t own a (BetaMax/BetaCord) Sanyo Video Recorder until 1981.   

 It has been said that the only reason for the Warren comic books were for the 20 odd pages at the back advertsing the weird and wonderful (mainly SF and horror related) products Warren sold under the guise of The Captain Company. That is being very unfair. Just look at the talented artists to be found within the pages of Creepy 75 for example.   

How can you go wrong with art by Wally Wood, Alex Toth and Neal Adams? In fact Creepy 75 contains one of the most famous stories ever issued by Warren. “Thrillkill” from 1975 written by Jim Stenstrum and illustrated by Neal Adams was ground-breaking and all too realistic.   

 

10 Responses to “Joe Guy”

  1. George Bunbury Says:

    As a Warren fan how about showing a page or 2 from Rex Havoc and the Ass-Kickers of the Fantastic that you mention. With Rocket Raccoon offering him a recent name-check I suspect Rex’s time in the sun may be approaching.

  2. themagicrobot Says:

    This year I began the daunting task of entering my comic books into a database. Its taken me six months to do half of one box! I get side-tracked when I find something interesting. I end up flicking through the comic or scanning a cover for this blog.At this rate it will take years. The books aren’t stored in any order and there must be 100 boxes!

    I have already put to one side a few Warren 1984/1994 magazines to re-read, scan and mention on this blog in the future. Issues 4,5,6 and 9 of 1984 contain the Rex Havoc stories.I’m sure I have those issues. They were also collected together in “Warren Presents” issue No 14 which I don’t think I have. You should keep a lookout on eBay for that book before the film is released and the rest of the world catches on!!

  3. Jim Stenstrum Says:

    This Jim Stenstrum fellow has fascinated me for years. Here is a guy with a buttload of talent, and he pissed it away on booze, drugs, women, and men who pretended to be women. I hear conflicting stories of where he is today. I read somewhere he’s running a brothel in Thailand, but then I read somewhere else he’s living in Wisconsin, selling clothes made from human skin. What a waste. But I guess the line that separates comic book genius from madness is fragile indeed.

  4. tibia Says:

    hey,glad to see someone remembers thoses old comics
    I have a pretty big collection of Creepy,Errie,and the first three or four issues ofFreddy Kuger…

  5. themagicrobot Says:

    Hi Tibia
    Thanks for the feedback. As I review my Comic Book collection of 40 years and counting it is the Warren books I’m getting the most enjoyment out of re-reading. Dare I say it? They are standing the test of time well…better even than EC Comics!

    Hi Mr Stenstrum
    Its an honour. Perhaps you could clear up one little mystery for me (as I’m not a “fanboy” and don’t particularly hunt around the Internet for answers to questions perhaps no-one else is asking anyway). Is it true that Jim Stenstrum is just a psued..psoo…alias for ALBASTER REDZONE and/or STRONTIUM WHITEHEAD who were the other writers in those far-off Warren times whose stories also posessed that rare combination of humour and imagination??

  6. Jim Stenstrum Says:

    Hi Magic,

    (May I call you “Magic”? “Mr. Robot” seems so formal…)

    I used the Alabaster Redzone handle for rewrites. Very often Bill DuBay (Warren editor at the time) would send me stories originally published in Europe, or others (U.S. origin) that were just too dreadful to publish, and I was asked to write completely NEW stories using the existing artwork. Sometimes I could improve the stories, sometimes not, but regardless of the outcome it was poor Al Redzone who always ended up with the credit, or the blame.

    It wasn’t that I was ashamed of these stories — they just weren’t MINE. Nor were they the stories of the original writers(s) any longer. So it seemed reasonable to credit these hybrid stories to a fictional author.

    Strontium Whitehead was one of Bill DuBay’s pen names. I’m only aware of him using it once (“Greatest Hero of Space and Time”), when he asked me to rewrite one of his OWN stories. Thus the strange creditline: Written by Strontium Whitehead and Alabaster Redzone.

    Hope this clears up any questions that have been vexing you.
    Thanks for the kind words in your articles. And it’s “Jim,” not “Mr. Stenstrum,” by the way. (God, that makes me feel old.)

  7. themagicrobot Says:

    Jim,
    Who said “You’re only as old as the person you feel” ?
    Thanks for sharing your secret identity with me. I very nearly used “Alabaster Redzone” as the title for this blog but couldn’t at the time place where I had heard the name before…until I unearthed my Warren magazines recently. I’m now relieved I didn’t step on your toes.
    When Warren imploded did you continue writing? Perhaps there are some novels I should be looking out for? Are you involved in this rumoured “Rex Havoc” film ? So many of the Warren characters like The Rook and Joe Guy would make fab films…still what do I know…I thought the “Dark Knight” film would be a flop!!!

  8. Jim Stenstrum Says:

    Magic,

    After Warren imploded, my life ended and I was hounded like a pariah from village to village. At long last a kind priest took me in and fed me, and I repaid his kindness by stealing two of his gold candlesticks. (Oh wait a minute, that’s the plot of “Les Miserables.”)

    All seriousness aside, I moved immediately into animation, where I’ve remained the last seventy years (or so it seems).
    I miss comics terribly, however, and am putting together some projects I hope to publish in the next year or so, including a possible return of REX HAVOC. Just a matter of finding the time to finish the things.

    As far as the REX HAVOC movie goes, I’m afraid I can’t comment on it yet. Legal crap and the like. As time goes on, I’m sure you’ll be hearing plenty on the matter.

  9. EZ Says:

    Hi Magic, I enjoyed your site very much! There was a story in one of the Warren magazines that I have been trying to find. You may remember it…There was a woman named “melody” who could not speak words but only music. She rode on a mount the had bat wings. there was a minotaur warrior who loved her. She dies in battle and at the end of the story the minotaur climbs a staircase to the sky and he reaches his hand out and crushes the moon. The tides rise and cover everything. It was probably published between 74 and 77. I can’t remember the exact year. It was a haunting story for a young kid. If you have any ideas they would be appreciated! All of the best to you. EZ

  10. themagicrobot Says:

    Although to me it sounds more like something that would have appeared in “Heavy Metal”, it could well have been a Warren story…perhaps in an issue of “Vampirella” ?? I’m slowly working my way through a humungous heap of Warren back issues and if I come across it I’ll let you know.


Comments are closed.