Category Big Bang Comic News

BB Chronological 43: BB #23 – The Sphinx Flies Again

A legend was reborn in BIG BANG COMICS #23 as a successor assumed the mantle of the Sphinx!

Peter Chefren was a genius, inventor, industrialist and one of the world’s richest self-made men. He was also known to the world as the super hero the Sphinx. What nobody knew was that Chefren was not of this Earth, but a refugee from a parallel dimension. When that past caught up to him (in Big Bang #13) Peter Chefren returned to his own dimension to close the dimensional gateway and protect this Earth from invasion by his own people.

The world never learned Chefren’s secret, believing that he died in an explosion atop his skyscraper. He left his company and fortune to his friend and business partner Allison Kane, and also bequeathed to her the uniform and legacy of the Sphinx.

BB #23 featured Allison’s inaugural adventure as the new Sphinx, which didn’t start off very well. Trying to assist the police by ending a car chase, her “help” results in a multiple car wreck endangering civilians, and a verbal tongue-lashing from an irate cop.

The despondent Allison returns home, questioning her decision to continue as the Sphinx. Most of her friends and colleagues try to discourage her too, but when a terrible fire rages through a housing project in the city, Allison knows what Peter Chefren would want her to do and suits up as the Sphinx to help!

The fire department doesn’t want her help, but there’s a nine year old girl trapped in the building and the Sphinx goes in after her anyway. After a harrowing battle with the burning, collapsing building Allison finds the girl and both barely escape with their lives. The Sphinx has earned the gratitude of the fire department and regained her self respect.

BB #23 was a 24 page comic with b&w interiors and published by Image Comics in 1998. Story, art & cover for this issue (as well as the other Sphinx appearances in BB #s 9, 13, 20 and elsewhere) were by series creator Jeff Weigel. He is an amazingly talented fellow, and currently the artist on the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate.

For more about Jeff and lots more samples of his work, check out my previous BANG! Blogs about BB #s 9, 13, and 20. Like the blurb on the front of BB #23 says, Jeff was a 1998 nominee for the Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer in Comics for The Riddle of the Sphinx from BB #13. You should also check out Jeff’s website at http://www.jeffweigel.com

Like the story which ran in Big Bang #13, this issue’s Who Do You Think You Are predated Jeff Weigel and the Sphinx’s involvement with Big Bang Comics. An advertisement for both of the ashcans for those stories ran along with the Sphinx’s first appearance in BB #9 and can be seen in that BANG! blog. The original front cover to the second ashcan is seen here.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

The Sphinx trade paperback published by Pulp 2.0 Press contains all of the Sphinx stories plus some other goodies is available from Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Sphinx-Big-Bang-Comics-Collection/dp/1490316825/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533239299&sr=8-1&keywords=the+sphinx+-+big+bang+comics

Gary Carlson

6/13/2019

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary Carlson and Chris Ecker.

The Sphinx and all related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel.

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BB Chronological 42: BB #22 – Birdmen and Dr. Insect

The Knight Watchman and Kid Galahad had their hands full in Big Bang Comics #22 when the Pink Flamingo hatched his most nefarious scheme yet! And, to be perfectly honest, my attention was somewhere else – – working on the History of Big Bang Comics which would appear in issues 24 and 27. As such, I don’t recall having much involvement with this issue beyond the Editor-In-Chief credit I received on the inside front cover.

The front cover by Chris Ecker leads right into the Knight Watchman story, “Crime From The Skies” which was written by Mark Schirmer with pencils and inks by Dan Preece, who also provided an illo for the inside front cover.

I dug through my filing cabinets and digital back-ups and can’t find a script for this story, so I’m guessing that it was submitted fully completed and printed as-is. If Dan or Mark are out there somewhere, I apologize if that wasn’t the case.

Either way, it’s a fun story in which the Pink Flamingo builds a machine called his Animal Essence Extraction Device which does exactly what it sounds like. Using the device on one of his collection of exotic birds, Pinky then drinks the serum produced and becomes a human/animal hybrid for an hour. During the tale, the Flamingo metamorphs into an eagle, a falcon and more, to commit a string of robberies.

Knight Watchman and Kid Galahad track down Pinky’s latest lair and find the device. The Knight uses the device on a stray cat that followed them in to become a Cat-man to stop their fowl fiend. The Kid Whiz drinks the “Essence of Sparrow” and together they put the Flamingo behind bars – – in this case, a Dodo’s cage. Mark and Dan did a great job of capturing the look and feel of a 1960ish KW tale.

Dan Reed’s Dimensioneer makes his third Big Bang appearance in the next story, “Dr Insect and His Ant Men”. A new criminal mastermind is on the loose in Silver City and only the Dimensioneer can stop him. Dr. Insect, the Master of Myrmecology, can control the minds of ants to do his bidding, but now he has outfitted his human henchmen with Quantum Fluctuator devices which transform them into gigantic ants, capable of lifting hundreds of times their own weight. Now, the Guru of Greed is using them to steal the Gold from the National Treasury!

Luckily the Dimensioneer is on the job and disrupts the robbery, using his power to fold dimensional space to damage the fluctuators and return the bad guys to their human forms. Dr. Insect transforms into a giant bug and flies away, issuing the chilling threat that soon he will be able to control every insect on the planet.

For lots more of the Dimensioneer, check out Dan’s website at www.dimensioneer.com or pick up the trade paperback containing the earliest stories of the Dimensioneer (including this one) at https://www.amazon.com/Dimensioneer-1-Dan-Reed/dp/1974158195

The third story in this issue is the original unused version of the Agents of B.A.D.G.E. chapter from the Savage Dragon crossover in Big Bang #14. This was written by myself and Chris Ecker, with pencils by Chris and inks by Jim Brozman. As fun as it is, a decision was made at the time that it ought to look more like Jim Steranko’s art style from Agent of Shield.

And finally, there is a Pantheon Of Heroes pin-up featuring art by Darren Goodhart. It was originally a double-page spread from issue 18, but a number of intrigued readers asked who all the characters were, so we provided this key to who was who.

Big Bang Comics #22 was a 32 page comic with b&w interiors, published by Image Comics in September of 1998. Also in the issue were an ads for Knight Watchman Graveyard Shift #4 and the History of Big Bang Comics Volume 1, plus a letters page.

Rounding out the issue on a high note was a gorgeous painting by Dan Reed of his Dimensioneer in action against the Outrageous Animator.

Gary Carlson

4/24/2019

Knight Watchman, Galahad, Pink Flamingo, the Badge, Pantheon of Heroes and all related characters are © and TM Gary Carlson and Chris Ecker. Savage Dragon, Mighty Man and all related characters are © and TM Erik Larsen. The Dimensioneer and all related characters are © and TM Dan Reed. The Sphinx is © and TM Jeff Weigel. ShadowHawk is © and TM Jim Valentino. The Absolute is © and TM Darren Goodhart.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store: http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

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BB Chronological 41: BB #21 – Shadow Lady & Friends!

Jerry Acerno’s beautiful and enigmatic Shadow Lady returned to the pages of Big Bang Comics in June of 1998. Chapter 2 of “Murder By Microphone” featured story, art and a gorgeous front cover by Jerry Acerno (with cover colors by Tom Luth). In the story, the singing stars of radio station WXKZ continue to be murdered on the air.

The latest victims are yodeler Cowboy Roy and opera diva Hermione Pflankhorst. The medical examiner’s prognosis is the same as the other victims: a split skull resulting from cerebral hemorrhage with no signs of external damage.

Veronica Prescott (aka the Shadow Lady) is looking into the murders and her investigation is pointing toward Maurice Dvorak, a famous singer whose voice went bad and he lost his show at WXKZ. Dvorak invented a device he called the Vocal Resonator that results in his proteges singing like nightingales, but he lost the copyright to WXKZ. While examining a recording of Cowboy Roy’s last show, Veronica detects an ultra-high frequency in the background.

Utilizing her lumen-diffuser ray, Veronica creates a duplicate of herself from a reflection in the mirror and Shadow Lady is on the case. Veronica heads off to a banquet at the radio station while her doppelganger goes in search of Dvorak before he can strike again. Thus ends Chapter Two, but for more info on Shadow Lady’s first appearance in BB #17, feel free to check out an earlier chapter of this blog at http://bigbangcomics.com/news/bb-chronological-33-bb-17-the-whole-she-bang/#more-4467.

The second story in Big Bang Comics #21 stars another pretty lady. The mysterious Masker was created by Philip Cable, who wrote and directed the “Knights of Justice” film, featuring Ultiman, Knight Watchman, Thunder Girl and Phil’s character Masker. She makes her comics debut in “Plunder of the Air Pirates,” in which a criminal calling himself Redbeard goes on a crime spree, and then brags about it by cutting into the signal of TV station WOW in Chicago. The stations co-owner Kitty Philips develops a device to track the Pirates’ bootleg transmission signal, but it’s not needed since the TV station is Redbeard’s next target! His “broadcasts” on WOW have boosted their ratings and he’s come for their profits. They lock the feisty Kitty in a closet, where she changes into her Masker costume and proceeds to defeat the criminals on live TV, exposing Redbeard as a two-bit gangster “Fat Boy” Wilson. The script was written by me, with art by Ed Quinby.

You can view a clip of the “Knights of Justice” on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwI5sr0F-ZI or order the film from Dichiera Productions through the Big Bang website at http://bigbangcomics.com/knights-of-justice-the-big-bang-movie/

Next up is a Dimensioneer tale by the Atomic Playboy himself, Dan Reed. While the Dimensioneer is a male character, I felt that the story sort of fit into my She-Bang concept of all female characters because the hero’s main antagonist is the half man/half woman freak called The Better Half. Mike and Jenny start off as a happy couple, joined at the hip until they run afoul of the vampiric Victor Vargos. Disgusted by their happiness, Vargos rips their bodies in half from head to toe and connects them together using his vampiretic blood! Now they will be together forever, he gloats.

The whole process disorients the conjoined couple, who begin a life of crime as the Better Half. They start by robbing Vargos’ T-Rex Casino, attracting the attention of their old friend Frank Fontana, who swings into action as the Dimensioneer to stop and hopefully help them. He does just that, creating dimensional portals to stop them before Vargos can do them any further harm,

For lots more of the Dimensioneer, check out Dan’s website at www.dimensioneer.com.

Last but not least in this issue is Ladybug, written and drawn by long-time comics pro Carl Gafford. Set in 1964, Patty Wheeler and her friends stake out the Ed Sullivan Theater, hoping to get a glimpse of the Beatles, who are set to appear that night. While they wait, Patty sees a pickpocket steal a woman’s purse so she transforms into Ladybug and stops the crook. Before she can get back in line with her friends, she stops two thugs whose victim turns out to be Brian Epstein, the Beatle’s manager! Ladybug ends up with a ringside seat at the Beatles set and some autographed phots of the Fab Four!

Ladybug has returned a few times in more recent issues of Big Bang books, but her biggest BB legacy is her nephew, who inherited her abilities and used them to find fame and fortune as the slimy paparazzi photographer Shutterbug.

Gary Carlson

3/19/2019

Shadow Lady and all related characters are © and TM Jerry Acerno. Ladybug is © and TM Carl Gafford. Masker is © and TM Philip Cable.The Dimensioneer and all related characters are © and TM Dan Reed.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store: http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

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BB Chronological 40: Knight Watchman #4

Welcome to one of my own personal favorites out of every comic I’ve ever written and or published: Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #4. Written by Chris Ecker and myself, with covers and art by Ben Torres, I just think it’s great.

It is the conclusion of our “Dark Night Returns” meets “Sin City” storyline. Ben’s art is superb throughout and contains a number of tips of the hat to Frank Miller’s fantastic works.

The story opens with Acting Mayor John Princeton having called a press conference to announce that his war on vigilantes has been won by the special Badge unit of armored policemen. They have captured public enemy #1 – – the Knight Watchman. But when the prison van is opened, it instead contains three prisoners. The Watchman himself shows up to ask the Mayor why the three men in the van sent to apprehend him in the Badge armor weren’t cops, but were instead criminals – – members of the Pink Flamingo’s gang. Then the Purple Paladin escapes before the real Badge cops can touch him.

Next we cut to Galahad in the hospital, who is getting a good report from the surgeon who repaired his broken leg. The Doc mentions the Knight Watchman’s appearance at the Mayor’s press outing and asks Galahad what he will do now that the Mayor has outlawed vigilantes. The TV news recap mentions that Galahad is in custody and is under arrested if he doesn’t join the police force. Midway City’s “White Knight” decides he’d better escape.

The hero dons the Badge armor that was custom made to entice him into joining the force and leaves through the window. On the roof he is defeats a Badge cop that is keeping an eye on him. The cop is a friend of Galahad’s, who has proof that the Watchman definitely didn’t kill a cop as he was accused of. Galahad heads for home and the Badge sets out for Wertham Asylum to free former top cop Bob Locke from jail, who was also set up.

A quick interlude follows where an angry Mayor Princeton returns to his office and finds the Pink Flamingo seated behind his desk. The Mayor tells Pinky that their deal has been cancelled, so the Flamingo pops a sword blade out of his cane and agrees.

Next, Galahad’s wife Maggie catches their daughter Gwen wearing one of her hubby’s old Kid Galahad uniforms, preparing to go out to protest the Mayor’s costumed vigilante law. They are interrupted by the Watchman, who has come to “borrow” Gwen, but orders her to take off the Galahad uniform and put on a dress.

Gwen accompanies her Uncle Reid Randall (also out of uniform) on a visit to Victoria Fleming’s house. The old lady was a friend of Reid’s Mother’s, and also the mother of the nefarious Pink Flamingo. The ancient Mrs. Fleming tells them where her son can be found. Outside, they are accosted by the Flamingo himself who basically tells Reid to stay away from his Mother. When Pinky leaves, Reid is aghast to discover that Gwen has ridden off hidden on the back of his limo.

Reid heads back to Galahad’s house to pass the bad news on to Maggie, but his former partner has just arrived. They head out in uniform as the Knight Watchman and Galahad to rescue Gwen.

All parties converge at the Pink Flamingo’s miniature golf emporium, where Pinky plans to electrocute Gwen for sticking her nose into his business. Galahad and KW burst in and rescue Gwen, but Pinky emerges wearing Badge armor which makes him the physical equal of our heroes. The Flamingo is captured when he runs afoul of the electric blast he meant to use on Gwen. The armor saves him, but he is still fairly deep-fried in the process.

The police show up to arrest Pinky. Mayor Princeton lies and claims that he had been forced by the Flamingo to outlaw vigilantes. The Knight Watchman tells Galahad and Bob Locke that he plans to retire for good, and offers the KW identity to Locke who refuses. Locke says it belongs to Galahad, and that he has plans of his own, referring to his Brother ‘Hood identity previewed by us years earlier in Berzerker #4. (http://bigbangcomics.com/?s=brother+hood)

As they leave, Gwen says that if her dad becomes the Knight Watchman, that Reid can train her as the new Kid Galahad. Reid agrees – – but only if she gets her Mother’s permission. Good luck with that, kid!

Until next time, Happy New Year.

Gary Carlson

12/30/2018

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, Pink Flamingo and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

The Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift trade paperback from Pulp 2.0 Press collects all four issues is available on Amazon.com at:

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Watchman-Graveyard-Chris-Ecker/dp/1481885340/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536016616&sr=8-1&keywords=knight+watchman

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BB Chronological 39: Knight Watchman #3

Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #3 by Chris Ecker, Ben Torres and myself hit the comic book stands around August of 1998, about three years after issue #2 had been published by Caliber Press. During that time, Big Bang Comics had moved to our new publisher Image Comics and had to establish ourselves. Graveyard Shift #s 1 and 2 had been reissued by Image (with new back-up material) so our new, larger audience wouldn’t have to go hunting for them. The inside front cover of issue 3 featured a recap of the story from the first two, along with a Who’s Who roster of the main characters.

The story itself picks up where #2 ended, with the Knight Watchman in a free-fall after being blasted off the ledge of a tall apartment building. He had gone there to confront the police officer he’d entrusted with a captured bad guy who later turned up dead and blamed the murder on the Knight. A fall guy indeed.

However, the window to the apartment was boobytrappped and set off a bomb which sent the KW sailing and killed the policemen inside the building. The Watchman managed to grab onto a fire escape to break his fall (and almost his shoulder). Unfortunately, the masked paparazzi photographer known as Shutterbug had been on hand to take pictures of what appeared to be the KW setting off the bomb deliberately. There was also a squad of cops down below, waiting for the Knight Watchman.

It was all a set-up, of course. Acting Mayor John Princeton was working with the arch criminal the Pink Flamingo, each with their own agenda. Princeton wanted to discredit the Watchman and establish his own Badge unit of armored cops. The Flamingo merely wants to eliminate his foe the Watchman, and become the main crime boss in Midway City.

The next day, the Knight Watchman (in disguise) visits his ex-partner and successor Galahad at the hospital to make sure that his former sidekick knows that he is innocent. Galahad’s leg had been shattered in the assassination attempt that almost killed the real Mayor, Lionel Richards.

After that, KW heads out to Wertham Prison to meet with Officer Bob Locke, who had been framed and locked up for the attack on Mayor Richards. Locke was previously seen as Brother Hood in the back-up story in Berzerker #4 in 1993 from Caliber Press. The back-ups in those first 4 issues of Berzerker introduced the major Big Bang characters and convinced Caliber to give Big Bang its own title. (Spoiler alert – that Brother Hood story is actually a sequel to, and takes place after Graveyard Shift #4).

Locke, the city’s former top cop, tells KW that he had been investigating corruption including payoffs and kickbacks that led back to John Princeton, but the evidence disappeared and was replaced with dirty money and other “evidence” tying him to the assassination attempt.

While at Wertham, we get a look at some of the Watchman’s rogues gallery, including a few that never did get their stories told in Big Bang Comics. We see Grandfather Clock and Mr. Mask (now going by Deathmasque) as well as Paper Doll, the Creep and the Cheshire Cat.

The Knight Watchman leaves the prison, only to be confronted by seven members of the super-cop Badge unit to take him in. KW’s old pal Ultiman appears in the sky to help, but KW tells him to stay out of it. The Ultimate Human Being can only watch as the Watchman beats up the Badges, who turn out not to be cops but some of Pink Flamingo’s flunkies sent out to kill KW.

After the fight, Ultiman lands and he’s in worse shape than the Watchman. He had been having trouble rejuvenating his powers with the radioactive meteor that had given him his powers. Nearly powerless, he had still shown up to help out his friend. (Note: the dialogue sets up the timing to establish that this story takes place prior to the story in Megaton #1 in which Ultiman’s recharging goes very wrong and establishes his daughter Christie as Ultragirl, and Ultiman’s supposed death).

Ultiman flies away and the Knight Watchman heads back to town for a confrontation with the Pink Flamingo, that will occur in the next issue. There are a few pin-ups by artist Ben Torres to fill out the issue and a peek at Ben’s cover to Graveyard Shift #4.

Until next time, Happy Holidays.

Gary Carlson

11/30/2018

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

The Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift trade paperback from Pulp 2.0 Press which collects all four issues is available on Amazon.com at:

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Watchman-Graveyard-Chris-Ecker/dp/1481885340/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536016616&sr=8-1&keywords=knight+watchman

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BB Chronological 38: Knight Watchman #2

I am as proud of the four part Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift saga as anything else I have written or been a part of in the comic book industry. KW:GS was a collaboration between Chris Ecker, Ben Torres and myself. I may be wrong, but I believe that my scripting contribution, especially here in part 2, was mostly in the Galahad sections.

This is a dark story, but it’s also quite fun. The Knight Watchman has come out of retirement after five years because his former partner, and successor, Galahad was injured and criminals are running amuck in Midway City. However, after a night on the town chasing crooks, he’s ready for a rest. Unfortunately, he discovers that one of the hoods that he turned over to a police officer was beaten to death and the cop is blaming the Watchman.

Once more into the fray, we follow the Knight into his old headquarters, the Watchtower, where all of his uniforms and equipment have been stored in mothballs and boxes by Galahad. He locates his motorcycle, the Iron Horse and heads out to discover why Officer Hartle was framing him for murder.

We, as readers, have already seen Hartle collecting his payoff from the nefarious Pink Flamingo, who is also responsible for Galahad‘s injury, Midway City’s crime wave, and is partnering with acting Mayor John Princeton to put vigilantes like Galahad and the Knight Watchman out of business.

The Mayor wants Galahad to join the police and run the Badge program – – armored super-hero cops which Mayor Princeton will use to clean up the crime wave – – including the Flamingo – – and ensure his reelection.

Meanwhile, the Knight Watchman has tracked down Officer Hartle to a room in a skyscraper high above Midway City, but when he opens the window to pay a visit to the dirty cop he flips a tripwire. Unfortunately, it’s not an alarm. It’s a bomb. BOOOOM!

The second story in the issue explores a bit of the history between the Knight Watchman and his partner Kid Galahad.

Penciled by Chris Ecker and inked by Jim Brozman, “The Pink Flamingo’s Kid Sidekick” details how the Pink Flamingo, tired of being outnumbered two to one by the Knight and his squire, decides to take on a junior partner of his own. An easy chore for the Fagin-ish criminal who controls a gang of street urchins.

Soon, the Knight Watchman and Galahad interrupt the Flamingo as he robs a museum, accompanied by his new partner. The Pigeon is older, bigger and stronger than Galahad, but the Kid Whiz has years of training and easily defeats his opponent. The Pink Flamingo escapes, only to reappear soon enough with a new and improved Pigeon – – a girl!

“Jeepers – I can’t fight a girl,” says Galahad before discovering that she is a he; a boy wearing a wig – and bombs in his brassiere. The Flamingo escapes, ditching his sidekick who in turn helps our heroes. He and Galahad trade uniforms, and when next they meet the Flamingo is flattened by his own sidekick.

Next up in the issue is a Ben Torres’ Sketchbook, showing Ben’s original designs of all the main characters, some used and some unused, going back to the Knight Watchman’s original design with an eyeball as his chest symbol.

Finally, the issue ends with a back cover by Ban Torres featuring the Knight Watchman facing off against a super-cop Badge in a nice homage to Frank Miller.

Gary Carlson

9/19/2018

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

The Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift trade paperback from Pulp 2.0 Press which collects all four issues is available on Amazon.com at:

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Watchman-Graveyard-Chris-Ecker/dp/1481885340/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536016616&sr=8-1&keywords=knight+watchman

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BB Chronological 37: Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #1

Time for a detour.

The last episode of this blog was about Big Bang Comics #20, but instead of moving on to the next issue, it’s time to play a little “catch up”.

If you recall, Big Bang started out as a series of back-up stories in my Berzerker comic book, published by Gauntlet Comics/Caliber Press starting in 1993. (If you don’t recall, you can go back to earlier BANG blogs #s 4 through 15 and read all about the good old days).

The retro back-up stories proved so popular that we spun them off into their own book, Big Bang Comics, which celebrated and paid homage to the comic book artists and writers of the Golden and Silver Ages. When our deal at Caliber soured, Erik Larsen invited Chris Ecker and myself to move Big Bang to Image Comics, which we did in 1996.

The move to Image was a good deal for us and meant higher visibility for Big Bang, but it also messed up the schedules of our other titles, Dr. Weird and Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift.

Ed DeGeorge self published two more issues of Dr. Weird through his October Comics imprint. Two issues of Graveyard Shift had already been published by Caliber Press, but the final two were put on hold as we attempted to establish Big Bang at Image.

Now, two years and 20 issues later, the Knight Watchman’s time to shine had arrived again. The decision was made to publish Graveyard Shift as intended, a four issue mini-series, reprinting the first two issues with new covers and back-up stories.

Knight Watchman #1 was published by Image Comics in June of 1998. We dropped Graveyard Shift from the title to avoid confusion with the Caliber series. It featured a new front cover by series artist Ben Torres, a new 1938 styled back-up drawn by John Thompson, and a back cover by Mark Lewis.

The main story was the the same one from the Caliber issue. In it, the Mayor of Midway City was severely wounded in an assassination attempt, along with Midway’s guardian angel, Galahad. The newly appointed acting Mayor, John Princeton wants no vigilantes in his city and offers the injured hero the opportunity to join the police department as the head of the new Badge unit, one man swat teams of the department’s own costumed officers. Either accept the offer or retire, because vigilantes will no longer be tolerated in Midway City.

One catch – Galahad would have to reveal his civilian identity to the Mayor, but he doesn’t think his mentor the Knight Watchman would like that idea. And that is true, especially since the acting Mayor is in cahoots with the Watchman’s arch enemy, the Pink Flamingo.

With Galahad in the hospital, the crime rate is soaring in Midway City. The acting Mayor’s plan is to restore order with the Badge unit and get re-elected. Unknown to him, the Flamingo wants to ruin the Badge program and discover Galahad and his former partner’s true identities.

What none of them counts on is the Knight Watchman coming out of retirement after five years to take on the rampaging criminals. All over town he takes on one punk after another, leaving them tied up for the cops. Unfortunately, the end of the issue finds KW handing off a thug to an officer that is one of Mayor Princeton’s crooked cops, who proceeds to beat the crap out of the prisoner, saying “It looks like you picked the wrong night to mess with the Knight Watchman – – he didn’t realize how rough he was on you!” To be continued.

When Chris and I set out to create KW: Graveyard Shift, our inspiration was Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. We had been paying homage to Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Shelly Moldoff, Dick Sprang and others, but now it was time to reference a modern master. When we had received art samples from Ben Torres, we knew we had found the right artist.

Graveyard Shift grew out of one of the original back-up stories in Berzerker #4 from 1993 titled Brother ‘Hood. It was a sly modern take on the Robin Hood legend. Once we saw Ben Torres’ final art for the story, we decided to tie it into the Knight Watchman mythos and give it the Frank Miller treatment.

I don’t know about Chris, but I had not read Sin City in 1993 and was thinking Dark Knight Returns all the way. But Ben had, and he gave Graveyard Shift its “Batman in Sin City” look and edge, transforming it beyond a Dark Knight pastiche. Thanks Ben.

In addition to drawing comics, Ben Torres was also a designer for Hasbro Toy Group on such lines as Star Wars, GI Joe, Batman, Starting Line Up, Pokemon, Aliens, Predator, Monsters Inc, Planet of the Apes, and others. He also served as creative consultant on various TV series such as GI Joe, Vor-Tech and Transformers, and contributed concept designs and story content for various movies such as Star Wars, Men In Black and Jurassic Park. More recently he has worked on Daredevil and Kingpin for Marvel, and on numerous projects with Roger McKenzie and the Charlton Arrow.

The back-up story for this issue was brand new, a Knight Watchman adventure done in a 1938 Bob Kane style by John Thompson detailing the first meeting between the KW and Pinkerton Fleming, a.k.a. the Pink Flamingo. I have to admit that while I wrote the script, I stole the basic idea from a pulp story that Chris Ecker had started. Sorry Chris.

The back cover, of Deductive Comics #30, was penciled, inked and colored by Mark Lewis, and was purported to have been the cover of the issue that the back-up story originally appeared in.

All in all, one of my favorite Big Bang issues ever. Truthfully, all four issues of Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift have always been at the top of my list. Next time – – KW:GS #2.

Gary Carlson

9/3/2018

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

The Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift trade paperback from Pulp 2.0 Press which collects all four issues is available on Amazon.com at:

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Watchman-Graveyard-Chris-Ecker/dp/1481885340/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536016616&sr=8-1&keywords=knight+watchman

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BB Chronological 36: Big Bang #20 – The Free and the Brave!

The only involvement I had with this particular issue of Big Bang Comics was as editor-in-chief, and acting as a sounding board to the three talented writer/artists who created the stories.

Big Bang #20 features a front cover by one of my all-time favorite BB artists – – David Zimmermann. It features the Knight Watchman and the Blitz, and is an extension of the main story, “D Is For Daughter, Deceit And Death.” It is an homage to the Bob Haney/Jim Aparo Brave & the Bold stories of the 1970s which co-starred the Batman with other DC Comics heroes.

Our team-up, called the Free & the Brave, was written and drawn by Chris Khalaf, making (I think) his only appearance in the pages of Big Bang Comics. I have always felt that it was one of the most successful approximations that we ever produced.

In the story, the Knight Watchman goes undercover in search of Linda Taylor, the daughter of a friend of his alter-ego Reid Randall. Linda has been kidnapped, with a one million dollar ransom request for her safe return. The Watchman’s disappearance is noted by local villains in Midway City, and crime is on the rise until the Blitz turns up to fill in for the missing Twilight Paladin.

Meanwhile, the Knight Watchman has tracked down the missing Linda Taylor, who is the brains behind her own kidnapping and planning to use the million dollars to finance a terrorist crime wave to rebel against her capitalist father. Shades of Patty Hearst! The Blitz turns up in the nick of time to help the Watchman arrest the angry heiress and put an end to her reign of terror.

Jeff Weigel’s Sphinx returns to the pages of Big Bang Comics in “On The Trail Of The Doomsayer.” In this mini classic, the Sphinx’s search for the missing Professor Demios has taken him to Jefferson University, where the eccentric, unstable genius used to teach. Demios disappeared after an explosion in his robotics lab on the college campus a few years earlier, only to have resurfaced in Big Bang Comics #9 as the evil Doomsayer, who had transferred the brains of condemned killers into robots.The Sphinx thwarted Demios then, and is looking to stop him again.

At the university, prodigy graduate student Allison Kane is assigned to guide Peter (the Sphinx) Chefren around the campus. She takes him to the school’s ugly new mechanical engineering building, which turns out to be a giant robot controlled by the Doomsayer.

As the Avian Ace battles and distracts Professor Demios, Allison uses one of the Sphinx’s spare helmets to damage the robot’s gears, immobilizing it. Then the Sphinx takes control of the robot, defeating it and humiliating Demios at the same time. Finally, Peter Chefren offers Allison a job after she graduates from the university.

Jeff Weigel is an amazing storyteller, writer and artist. Everything he does is fantastic, including the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate, which Jeff is currently drawing.

The complete collection of Sphinx stories, part of The Big Bang Comics Collection published by Pulp 2.0, is available at Amazon.com. I highly recommend them to anyone who loves comics. Check it out at:

https://www.amazon.com/Sphinx-Big-Bang-Comics-Collection/dp/1490316825/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533239299&sr=8-1&keywords=the+sphinx+-+big+bang+comics

The third and final story in the issue introduced a brand new hero to the Big Bang Comics universe – – the dynamic Dimensioneer! This brand new hero is just learning to use his powers, which include creating dimensional portals that allow him to warp himself or anything else to another location.

Created, written and drawn by Dan Reed, the Dimensioneer is not an homage to, or based on any existing heroes from comics’ Gold or Silver Ages. Yet, like the Sphinx, both have the look, feel and heart of classic, timeless comic books.

In this tale, the Dimensioneer faces a villain known as The Outrageous Animator who has the ability to bring inanimate objects to life to do his bidding. He starts by animating the safe of a bank he is robbing, ordering it to walk away with his ill-gotten gains. At this point the Dimensioneer shows up and foils that robbery by creating a portal in the ground and trapping the safe in a hole. Angry, the Animator causes a building to come to life and attack our hero. During that battle, the villain escapes with the safe, leaving the Dimensioneer disappointed in himself.

Dan Reed has been my good friend for over 35 years, dating back to Megaton #1 in the early 1980s. He’s been tweaking names and making a few edits in his Dimensioneer canon in recent years, including coloring the stories. Check out his website at www.dimensioneer.com, or click here to view this story featuring The Outrageous Animator in beautiful full color:

http://www.dimensioneer.com/animator%20soap.htm

You can also buy print editions or digital downloads of Dan’s Dimensioneer books at IndyPlanet. Check them out here at http://www.indyplanet.us/dimensioneer-1/

The fun continues on the inside and outside back covers, featuring the photos of the cast of Phil Cable’s “Knights of Justice” film, featuring Ultiman, Knight Watchman, Thunder Girl and the new character Masker. An unsold pilot, it’s fun to see our characters come to life. You can view a clip of it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwI5sr0F-ZI

or order the film from Dichiera Productions through the Big Bang website: http://bigbangcomics.com/knights-of-justice-the-big-bang-movie/

See you next time.

Gary Carlson

8/3/2018

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, the Blitz and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. The Sphinx and all related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel. The Dimensioneer and all related characters are © and TM Dan Reed.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

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BB Chronological 35: BB #19 – TOP SECRET ORIGINS!

Big Bang Comics #19, published in June of 1998 by Image Comics was the second issue to be subtitled TOP SECRET ORIGINS. The first had been BB #5 two years earlier. That issue had starred Ultiman, Knight Watchman and the Silver Age Blitz,

This particular issue didn’t contain any of Big Bang’s headliners, but it did expand our horizons and started to pave the way for the two volumes of HISTORY OF BIG BANG COMICS that would be printed in the next year.

The three heroes featured on the front cover by Jeff Weigel, and whose origins were presented in BB #19 were both the Golden and Silver Age Beacons, and the Silver Age Hummingbird.

The Golden Age (GA from now on) Beacon had previously appeared in a few earlier issues. There was a text piece from our very first issue from Caliber Press, plus he was a part of the 3rd Caliber issue featuring THE CRISS-CROSS CRISIS (a classic story reprinted in #6 of the Image series).

The original Beacon also appeared as a back cover pin-up by Golden Age great Mart Nodell in Image BB #2, and also in a chapter of the Knights of Justice story in Image #4, also drawn by Mart Nodell,

Nodell had co-created (with Bill Finger) the Beacon’s inspiration, DC’s original Green Lantern in 1940. Mart and his wife Carrie were fixtures at Comic Conventions in the 1980s and 90s, and it was always fun to visit with them (and fellow Golden Age legend Sheldon Moldoff and his wife Shirley). It was fun that they each did some work for the early issues of Big Bang (or “The Bang” as Carrie always called it – which is where the title of this blog came from).

The GA Beacon’s origin here in BB #19 was written by Bud Hanzel, who had scripted most of the character’s other appearances mentioned above. This particular story tells how geologist Scott Martin discovered a subterranean city and was thrown into a prison as a spy. There he finds that a dictator has taken over the underground kingdom using a fragment of the powerful Ko-Dan crystal to control the inhabitants’ minds.

Scott Martin escapes from prison and ends up battling the usurper Tyrnos, who uses the power of the crystal to subjugate Martin. A battle of wills develops and Martin wins. The jewel was capable of emitting multi-colored beams of radiation, each of which bestowed a different ability. One enabled him to fly. Another made him strong, while a third made him bulletproof. Yet another produced a heat ray.

He affixes the crystal to his mining helmet and returns to the surface world, adopting the guise of the Light of Justice – The Beacon! Layouts for this story were by Stephanie Sanderson, with finished pencils and letters by Chris Ecker and inks by Jim Brozman.

When Chris Ecker originally designed the character, he adopted many of the visuals of the original Green Lantern, but added the miners helmet in a nod to the GA Flash.

The second origin story in this issue stars the Silver Age Hummingbird in, naturally, The Hummingbird’s First Flight! In it, ornithologist Alan Laurel and his girlfriend Margaret Silver are hiking in the woods outside of Circle City in search of a new breed of Hummingbird that has been sighted. Instead, they witness the Mayor of said city being kidnapped, shrunk and taken aboard a miniature alien spaceship.

They find the shrinking device and follow the aliens into the tiny ship, where they discover the aliens are the Kr’wallian race, micro-fascists from another galaxy. They have been kidnapping and brainwashing Earth’s leaders, who will be programmed to surrender when the invasion begins. Alan garbs himself in an alien spacesuit and the pair rescue Mayor Hughes.

Alan fights off the aliens while Margaret and the Mayor escape and return to normal size. However, the size changing device and the alien ship are damaged, and the aliens fly off, leaving Alan Laurel trapped at a height of six inches tall. Since the alien suit allows him to fly and communicate with certain birds, he adopts the identity of the Hummingbird to fight crime.

The Hummingbird’s First Flight! was written by Terrance Griep Jr., with art by Jeff Weigel. While clearly intended as an avatar of the Atom, Terrance also wove some aspects of Ant Man and the Wasp into the mix.

The third and final story in Big Bang Comics #19 features the origin of the SilverAge Beacon, in a story by Bud Hanzel, pencils by Carl Taylor, with inks by Mike Matthew and Tim Stiles. Set in the early 1960s, Dr. Julia Gardner witnesses a flying saucer crashing. Inside, she discovers an injured alien who urges Julia to take the jewel that has apparently powered the ship.

The alien disintegrates, and Julia wraps the glowing gem in the alien’s clothing. Heading back to her car to inform the authorities, the spaceship blows up. Heading back to her lab, the energy from the jewel encases the car in a yellow glow, causing it to car fly through the air! Back at the lab,she and her assistant study the jewel, which only seems to work for Julia – endowing her with special powers connected to the colors of the spectrum.

As they work, a news flash on the radio tells of another spaceship outside of Gateway City – this one bent on conquering the Earth! Using the alien uniform,the power gem and some safety goggles to hide her identity, Julia flies off to help the army, calling herself the Beacon!

The army, led by Julia’s boyfriend Capt. Jordan Stuart are getting their butts kicked by the Synestrom invaders until the Beacon shows up and starts kicking Synestrom ass. Purple force fields, yellow flight rays, green strength beams from the amazing crystal make the Beacon a force to be reckoned with.

The invaders recognize the Beacon’s outfit and jewel as coming from their enemies the Dextrons, who had come to protect the Earth. When the Beacon discovers that the Synestroms destroyed the Dextron ships, she obliterates their weapons and flings their ship out of our solar system. And best of all – Julia’s boyfriend Captain Stuart didn’t recognize her in her Beacon gear. The Beacon was here to stay.

I guess that I have always felt that the Beacons were a bit too close to their inspirations, but always enjoyed Carl Taylor’s very Gil Kaney art on the character and this story. The Silver Age Beacon had appeared previously in issues 3 and 4 of the Caliber Press Big Bang mini-series (and the reprint in #6 of the Image run).

There were two other fun things that appeared at the end of the issue.

Major Discovery, one of the comic strips that Chris Ecker and I had created appeared on the inside back cover to fill space above a 3/4 page ad from Bill Schelly’s Hamster Press.

And there was an ad on the outside back cover for Mark Lewis’ Bugboy comic, alongside one for Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #2, both soon to be published by Image Comics.

That’s the end of the story on Big Bang #19. Remember, back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

Until next time. . . .

Gary Carlson

6/16/2018

Big Bang Comics, the Beacons, Hummingbird and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Knight Watchman is a registered trademark of Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Bugboy is © and TM Mark Lewis.

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Big Bang Role Playing Game

For those of you who’ve asked about a Big Bang Comics role playing game,

check out Scott Casper’s HIDEOUTS & HOODLUMS Supplement V featuring the Big Bang Universe. Only $6 for the digital version! For information and previews, check it out at:

http://drivethrurpg.com/product/157126/Supplement-V-Big-Bang

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