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.