Monday, December 13, 2010

Number 860

The Fantastic Spider

I don't know a whole lot about the background of today's subject.

I know very little about comics from the UK, and I don't want to expose more of my ignorance than is necessary. I'm interested in UK comics, but I just don't get to see many of them. I'm interested in the character The Spider because I read that many of his stories were written by Superman creator Jerry Siegel. I also have a couple of 1971 Spider digest-sized comics in French, called Spiderman.

Spider was once a villain who turned hero. You can read more about him here.

This story from the 1977 Vulcan Annual reads like Jerry Siegel and the work he was doing for the Archie Comics revival of their MLJ heroes in the mid-1960s. The unidentified artist drew it for black line printing, and it seems much moodier than most American comics of the era.

It's my understanding that the comic, Vulcan, was a reprint comic, no longer being published.

I found these Spider scans on, appropriately enough, the web, and want to send out thanks to the anonymous scanner who posted them.


Steve W. said...

Hi, Pappy, I used to read "Vulcan" in the mid-1970s. It was indeed a reprint comic and was printed on thin but glossy paper. Its highlight for me was always a strip called, "The Trigan Empire," about an alien civilisation that was like a high-tech version of Ancient Rome. If you're not familiar with the strip, you should look into it. The artwork was a thing of beauty.

Unknown said...

Siegel is the writer of the Spider. That's been established already.

Booksteve said...

Back in 2007 I reviewed the above SPIDER volume. It might still be available. I kept thinking he looked like the Sub-Mariner, though.

borky said...

Thanks for putting this stuff up Pappy.

As a (Liverpool) Limey reader of kids comics in the '60s I loved British stuff like this, Janus Stark, Kelly's Eye and Toys of Doom, (god, I loved Toys of Doom - still get shivers down my spine from remembering my first encounter with it in Buster...mind-blowin', absolutely mind-blowin'!).

Apparently the artist behind most, if not all these strips, was the Argentinian Francisco Solano López.

I don't know whether it was the Argentinian literary tradition of Magical Realism, or the Spanish influence of the likes of Goya, but there was something about this guy's work that gave it the feel of a strangely realistic dream on the verge of turning into a nightmare - especially Toys of Doom!

Pappy said...

Steve W., I have the Trigan Empire volume reprinted several years ago, and it is a thing of beauty, indeed. At the time there were just no American comics that came close to that kind of deluxe production.

will.15 said...

The artist is the main Spider artist, Reg Bunn. It does read like Siegel, but trying to look at a Lion checklist for annuals I can't figure out what story that is. It appears to have been retitled. While Siegel wrote most of the serialized Spider stories in Lion, the annual stories and the ones in the Fleetway Library also have other authors.

SpongeB said...

If you got a taste for British classics, try The Steel Claw, drawn by great Jesus Blasco.