Category Big Bang Comic News

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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BB Chronological 34: BB #18 – End Of Time Being!

The front cover to Big Bang #18 was penciled and inked by Dave Cockrum, featuring Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon fighting the Pantheon of Heroes. It should be noted that Cockrum’s original version contained Thunder Girl, but he was kind enough to provide me the Ultragirl art to patch on that I requested for some reason no longer known to me. Both versions are reprinted here.

I was a big fan of Dave’s, especially his run on the Legion of Super-Heroes, and this issue gave me the opportunity to provide homages to three separate eras of the LSH, one of my favorite comics growing up and of all time.

It was truly an honor for this fanboy to get the chance to work with Dave, and he was good natured enough to draw these Pantheon characters, designed by Mark Lewis and Darren Goodhart with an eye toward Cockrum’s work on the Legion and other projects over the years.

Recap time.

The time-bomb strapped to Savage Dragon’s chest has taken him on a journey through Big Bang’s history, but has finally landed him millions of years in the desolate future! At the end of Part Two in BB #14, Dragon met the Time Being, a seemingly benevolent immortal who has collected mankind’s greatest artistic and scientific achievements in his Palace at the End of Time. However, as that issue ended, Dragon discovered a machine that was draining the life and energy out of dozens of versions of Ultiman!

End of recap. Whew.

Now, as Big Bang Comics #18 opens, Dragon discovers that the Ultimen are not from various times and parallel Earths as he originally thought, but are replicants of Clone Boy, a hero from the future’s Pantheon of Heroes who has been forced to duplicate Ultiman’s DNA over and over so the Time Being can steal and stockpile the atomic energy. His plan – – to go back to the beginning of time to create his own Big Bang, establishing himself as God!

Chapter 1 in BB #18 is End of Time and was told in our best Jack Kirby/Fourth World style, penciled by Joe Zierman with inks by Steve Collins and Mike Matthew. And in true DC/Kirby tradition, I had Jeff Weigel redraw a number of Ultiman’s heads in his best Curt Swan/Murphy Anderson style and dropped them on top of the Kirby art.

In it, we (and Dragon) discover that the Time Being is actually an anomaly created when villain Grandfather Clock traveled through time and met himself. He was a watcher – unable to interact with the world at large until he stole the Infinity Orb, and became master of time and space.

Clone Boy turns himself into Ultiman one last time and then into the Time Being. Unfortunately, this also duplicates the energy of the Infinity Orb, causing an explosion that will travel back through time. Dragon escapes into a Time Tunnel, heading back to the past to stop this deadly future from unfolding, closely followed by the beautiful and deadly Oblivia, whose kiss brings not only death but erases the victim from ever having existed.

Now we check in with an appearance by two members of the Pantheon of Heroes from five seconds earlier. They are unaware of the Time Being, but have been keeping track of Dragon, who they call the Time Bomber, because the time device strapped to his chest has been weakening the time-stream. Unfortunately, Snowstar and Galactic Lad are the first victims of the Big Bang at the end of time. Art by Jason Howard.

The TimeStorm backlash moves on its way back through time, to wipe out an earlier era of the Pantheon in 2969. Clone Boy, Brain Boy, Anti-Matter Lad and the rest are destroyed, but Tele-Girl escapes to the past using a time-pill to find help. The art on this one pager was by Jeff Weigel.

Meanwhile, Dragon is racing back through time, harassed by the Time Being and chased by Oblivia. Just as she catches up to him and prepares to erase Dragon from existence, he snags a ride on a passing time ship and escapes – only to find himself facing the killer cyborg known as Berzerker in the year 2150. Ducking a fight, Dragon plays dead and hitches another ride on the time traveling cyborg’s time sphere in this section penciled by Jason Millet and inked by Jim Brozman.

And where Dragon went next is a mystery, in this issue anyway. The artist drawing the next chapter kept promising that it was coming – – but it never did. I’m reprinting the one page apology that ran in BB #18. One of the biggest black eyes to ever occur in Big Bang. I was sorry then and sorry now.

The chapter was eventually drawn by another artist and was finally printed in BB #33. It featured Tele-Girl from the Pantheon meeting up with Dragon and the New Whiz Kids and a host of Big Bang heroes in 1981 fighting the Time Being in the GodRealm. When things look bleakest, Dragon hitches a ride with the Golden Age Blitz to go back farther in time.

Ten years earlier, in fact – – to the GodRealm, where they join Ultiman and Venus to try to stop the creation of the Time Being at the spot where Grandfather Clock met himself. But they are thwarted because the Time Being exists in all times already, and he brings Oblivia to bestow her Kiss of Death upon Dragon. Artwork this time courtesy of Jason Millet with inks by Fred Gartner.

At the last second, the Blitz pushes Oblivia and she kisses the Time Being, who fades from existence. The cataclysm is over – because the Time Being never existed! Venus takes Oblivia back to the GodRealm to find out who and what she is, and Dragon heads back to Time’s End, where all is well.

Except – – the Pantheon of Heroes is waiting for Dragon at the end of time, to apprehend the villain known to them as the TimeBomber. Dragon is captured and sentenced to a prison planet for weakening the time-stream and endangering the universe. Even though the Time Being was wiped out in the 1970s, Dragon’s adventure with the timebomb started in 1963.

The entire team watches in a gorgeous double page spread by Darren Goodhart. He also designed many of the Pantheon characters, and penciled the rest of the chapter which was inked by Patrick Tuller.

At the last second again, Ultragirl and Thunder Girl arrive from the past to vouch for Dragon who is sent back home to 1997 where it all started. He defeats the Wicked Worm who has taken over Mighty Man’s brain. The art for this chapter was by Joe Cooper, who had also provided the initial “modern” chapter back in Big Bang #12. The story, after three issues, was finally over. (Except for that damn missing chapter).

And except for the last page, which shows the Time Being popping in and out, laughing his butt off at Dragon and the rest of us.

And yet, the Time Being has not reappeared in the past 20 years, so maybe it really was THE END.

Gary Carlson

6/6/2018

Big Bang Comics, Ultiman, Thunder Girl, Ultragirl, Venus, Pantheon of Heroes and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Savage Dragon, Mighty Man, Wicked Worm, Horde and all related characters are © and TM Erik Larsen.

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 33: BB #17 – The Whole SHE-BANG!

This issue of Big Bang Comics was something of a departure for us; three stories, all featuring female protagonists, with all stories set in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Jerry Acerno’s front cover promises THRILLS – MYSTERY – GLAMOUR” and I like to think that we delivered.

As our first “all-girl” issue, I dubbed this issue a “She-Bang” on the inside front cover. Headlining this issue is Jerry’s beautiful and sexy Shadow Lady starring in Chapter One of the serial “Murder By Microphone”.

In true serial cliffhanger form, the story picks up from the previous issue with a car that our heroine commandeered from some thugs going over a cliff and spinning down a hill. All turns out well, as Veronica Prescott is awakened from a bad dream by a radio show.

I don’t recall if the entire introductory chapter was supposed to have appeared in the previous issue or all in this issue. Either way, I’m guessing that the lost Bill Fugate Thunder Girl story left us a few pages short in BB #16 and creator Jerry Acerno graciously let us split the intro.

Speaking of Jerry, he wrote an introductory piece about Shadow Lady that ran on the inside front cover to Big Bang #17. Rather than paraphrase it, I’ll just reprint it here. Please take the time to read and enjoy his thoughts.

Regardless, the Shadow Lady story continues at radio station WXKZ where they were broadcasting the live episode of Feeble McDweeb, which had been playing on Shadow Lady’s radio. Unfortunately, she had turned off her radio before the lead actor dies onstage before the live audience.

The next morning, beautiful scientist Veronica Prescott is working in her father, Professor Aloysius Prescott’s laboratory, assisting him to perfect his latest invention, an Inviso-Ray Projector. Things don’t go well and her father stalks off, but Veronica agrees to a date with fellow assistant Hank for the following night.

As she prepares for the date, Veronica reads about the mysterious death of Feeble McDweeb while soaking in the bathtub and listening to the radio. As she reads, one of the stars of Tubbins And Nubbins dies laughing on the radio and Veronica decides that the Shadow Lady had better investigate these strange deaths, leaving poor Hank without a date.

She heads for radio station WXKZ where we witness the Program Director auditioning a beautiful foreign singer for a job, before his own shadow moves across the floor and merges with the Shadow Lady’s. And that’s where Chapter 1 of “Murder By Microphone” ends, to be continued in Big Bang Comics # 21 (and concluded in #26). Jerry’s art is gorgeous throughout, with plenty of cheesecake posing to keep the pages turning themselves.

Our second story stars Zhantika, Princess of the Jungle in “The Poachers of the Elephant Graveyard.” Written by Lyle Dodd, penciled by Mark Lewis and inked by David Zimmermann, both the story and the heroine are a thing of beauty.

The tale begins with Zhantika ambushing two poachers who are planning to kill some elephants for their tusks. The hunters escape in their jeep, but our princess follows on the back of an elephant, while using the powers of her mystic knife to trail them by seeing through the eyes of a leopard.

Zhantika follows them to a legendary elephant graveyard, where despite hundred’s of tusks on the ground, the poachers set their sights on a pair of black tusks atop a black obelisk. Despite Zhantika’s warning, they remove the black tusks, releasing an ancient evil being from its prison. Luckily, the Princess of the Jungle is up to the task of defeating the poachers and returning the giant monster to his prison.

The third and final story in this issue stars Big Bang veteran Venus, the Goddess of Love & Laughter in “Eye of the Gorgon.” Written by BB co-creator Edward DeGeorge, the story opens with a man and woman at the Museum of Sciences, viewing a statue of a Gorgon wearing a jeweled necklace. Mesmerized, the woman puts on the amulet, transforming herself into Medusa, complete with a head full of snakes and begins turning all the guards and her boyfriend to stone.

The police call upon Venus for help, who arrives with her two besotted boyfriend sidekicks Thomas and Mick. A quick history lesson about Medusa and Perseus follows, after which Thomas is caught unaware by the Gorgon and turned to stone. Venus faces off against Medusa, who is stopped when Mick, angry that she hurt his friend, jumps on the Gorgon’s back and rips loose the amulet.

The Gorgon reverts to her human self, but the men are all still trapped as stone statues so Venus rides her winged horse Pegasus to the Homeland of the Gods for some berries of a sacred Juniper bush that can reverse the Gorgon’s spell.

While plucking the magic berries, Venus is attacked by a Chimera that destroys the bush. She returns to Earth and restores all but one of the stone men – – the boyfriend of the woman who had been bewitched. Luckily, the woman’s tears prove to be more powerful than the Gorgon’s Curse and the lovers are reunited. Tony Manginelli did an outstanding job penciling the story and capturing the look and feel of the Wonder Woman stories of that era, aided and abetted by the inks and letters of Shawn Van Briesen and his studio partner CHAS.

That completes the stories in the issue, but the four pages of ads remaining are just as much fun to me. First up is an ad for the next issue, Big Bang #18 containing the third and final part of the storyline starring Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon. The cover is by one of my favorite artists ever – Dave Cockrum and it just had to co-feature the Pantheon Of Heroes, Big Bang’s homage to the Legion of Super-Heroes, one of my favorite series, especially Cockrum’s run on it.

Then came a one page preview of my pal Dan Reed’s Dimensioneer strip, soon to appear in BB #s 20, 21, and 22. Dan was on hand with me way back in 1982 with my debut in Megaton #1. He was back in some of the earlier issues of Big Bang and then started on his own creation, which he has been perfecting over the years. For tons more on Dan’s Dimensioneer (and even some of my old Nero comic strips) check out Dan’s great website at http://dimensioneer.com.

The inside back cover of BB #17 featured an ad for Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #1 which would be coming soon from our publisher, Image Comics. It features a fantastic cover by Ben Torres, who has gone on to draw Daredevil and Kingpin at Marvel Comics, and equally fun stuff for Mort Todd and Roger McKenzie at the Charlton Arrow.

Last but certainly not least, the outside back cover of the issue was an ad for “Your Big Book of Big Bang Comics,” a trade paperback collecting the three issues of Golden Age material from issue #s 0, 1 and 2 originally published by Caliber Press. The ad featured the fantastic cover by Mark Lewis, as well as positive blurbs and quotes from no less than Alan Moore, Jim Steranko, Cliff Biggers and cat yronwode.

Ah – – the good old days. See you next time.

Gary Carlson

5/30/2018

Big Bang Comics, Venus, Knight Watchman and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Savage Dragon is © and TM Erik Larsen. Shadow Lady is © and TM Jerry Acerno. Zhantika is © and TM Lyle Dodd and Mark Lewis. The Dimensioneer is © and TM Daniel 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 32: Big Bang #16 – Alakazam!

The front cover of Big Bang Comics was drawn by the late, great Bill Fugate and promises a Thunder Girl story entitled “The Land Of Long Ago.” Yet, when you flip open the cover, there is the World’s Strongest Girl starring in “The Clock That Turned Back Time.” Huh? What gives?

Here’s what happened. Bill Fugate wrote and drew the story that accompanied the cover, but was going through a rough stretch in his life at the time and was locked out of his apartment by an S.O.B. of a landlord who threw away all of Bill’s stuff, including the afore mentioned story and art. All this about two weeks before the issue was due at the printer.

I didn’t see how we could print the issue without the story to match the cover, so I quickly wrote

“The Clock That Turned Back Time.” Tim Stiles jumped in to pencil the story, which was lettered and inked by Shawn Van Briesen and his late studio partner CHAS. Two weeks later, we were at the printer. While I’m sure it was nothing like what Bill had done, it’s a fun story.

Thunder Girl’s pal, inventor and scientist Professor Eureka has invented a time machine in the shape of a pocket watch. Unfortunately, the watch was accidentally taken by the Professor’s assistant, Handy Andy who went out to run some errands, and every time he checks the time he opens a portal that lets in time travelers from times past.

As T Girl searches for Andy, she runs across the Wright Brothers, some marauding Vikings and a Brontosaurus before the watch is accidentally broken. The artists did a wonderful job on the art, especially in such a short time. And I believe it was the first story in which Thunder Girl wasn’t drawn by Bill Fugate.

The second story in the issue is actually a preview of the three chapter serial “Murder By Microphone” set in 1947 written and drawn by Jerry Acerno, starring his wonderful Shadow Lady!

In it, our mysterious heroine is interrupted as she gets ready for a date by a jewel robbery across the street. She jumps into action as the Shadow Lady and chases down the bad guys, only to leave us wanting more in a cliff-hanger ending straight out of a movie serial. She returned in the next issue, BB #17, so there will be more about the Shadow Lady next time around in this blog.

As for Jerry (he also goes by Gerry), he began in the 1980s as an inker for DC and Marvel, moving into animation in the early 90s, doing storyboards and art at Disney, Dreamworks and others.

The third tale in this issue features the return of the hero known as The Absolute by writer Daniel Wilson and Big Bang Hall-Of Fame artist Darren Goodhart. He was last seen in Big Bang Comics #11 (go ahead – check back to the blog on that issue to refresh your memory).

This time around, The Absolute is in police custody for an assassination attempt on Senator Gus Garrett. As the cops grill him, the former hero breaks free – – only to be stopped by the real Absolute! He tells the astonished prisoner that he is merely a clone, grown from cells stolen by a group called Biohost. During a struggle, the clone is shot and killed by the police and the Absolute is handcuffed and taken into custody. Lots of fun and definitely in the vein of Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s Manhunter run.

This issue also contained a Who’s Who page about Ryan Brown’s character Bog, who appeared in the previous issue. I already reprinted that page in my blog last time about BB #15, so you can see it there.

Next up is one of my favorite pieces to ever appear in an issue of Big Bang Comics. It was the 2-page “How To Draw Ultiman – A Guide To Drawing The Ultimate Human Being!” by THE Ultiman artist, Jeff Weigel. I’m reprinting the first page here – – I highly recommend picking up the issue to see the second page. As much as I love Jeff’s Ultiman, I absolutely adore his rendition of Carl Kelly – Ultiman’s jackass of a brother. When Carl died in the comics, Ultiman adopted his guise as a secret identity to escape from the grind of being a super hero 24 hours a day.

And in case you didn’t know, Jeff Weigel is currently drawing the syndicated Sunday Phantom comic strip and it is gorgeous!

Rounding out this issue was a team-up between adventurer Johnny Ruckus and the Monster Patrol. While on patrol, Johnny Ruckus runs across a vampire who escapes by turning into a bat and flying away. Johnny heads for Monster Mountain, home of his old friend Dr. Paul Malone, the man with the most knowledge of monsters in the world. Malone introduces Johnny to the members of the Monster Patrol: the yeti Dr. Bigfoot, stone icon Kona, the amphibian Neptus, Xorkarr and the Doctor’s beloved robot, Martha.

Dr. Malone mentions the sighting of a werewold the night before, and Kona, watching the television, points out that the sightings match the movies that had shown on the TV show Dangerous Spooky Theater the past two nights. That night’s movie is “King Klung Vs. Gorzilla”, and the two giant monsters turn up in the city. The Monster Patrol go to battle with them while Johnny Ruckus heads for the TV station to stop the mystery man there..

In addition to Johnny Ruckus and Monster Patrol, Frank created and later self-published the Creepsville comic book. Kurtz was managing editor of HERO Illustrated magazine in the 1990s, co-creator of Monsterscene magazine, as well as co-writer and co-director of the horror film Carnivore.

Rounding out this issue was an ad for the Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift mini-series by myself, Chris Ecker and art by Ben Torres, as well as a back cover touting the next issue starring the Shadow Lady in “Murder By Microphone” promising Thrills, Mystery and Glamour! Be here next time to see how Jerry delivered.

Gary Carlson

5/15/2018

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Shadow Lady is © and TM Jerry Acerno. The Absolute is © and TM Daniel Wilson and Darren Goodhart. Bog is © and TM Ryan Brown. Johnny Ruckus is © and TM Franklin J. Kurtz and Ron Murphy. Monster Patrol is © and TM Franklin J. Kurtz.

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 31: BB #15 – Masters of the Macabre!

Despite being present way back at the birth of Big Bang Comics as one of the back-up stories in my Berzerker comic book for Caliber Press, Big Bang Comics #15 (published by Image Comics in November of 1997) gave Dr. Weird his first real chance to shine in the pages of Big Bang.

The front cover was by Stephen R. Bissette and heralded the main story in which “Doctor Weird meets Bog, Swamp Demon!

To be fair, the Master of the Macabre had appeared in a few solo stories over the course of the 19 or so issues of Big Bang which preceded this one, guest-starred in the Round Table of America stories and even headlined three issues of his own title at Caliber Press, but this was his biggest exposure in the main title so far.

Long-time readers may recall that Dr. Weird actually predated Big Bang by about thirty years. He was created by Howard Keltner and appeared in the fanzine Star-Studded Comics from 1963 to 1972, plus two issues of his own book.

I met Howard through his good friend Grass Green in the 1980s while working on my Megaton title. Dr. Weird was going to join that comic universe until we stopped publishing. He even appeared in the Megaton Explosion, a 16 page color Who’s Who featuring our characters in 1987. Howard later sold us the rights to the character when he became ill.

From the earliest days of Big Bang, it was decided that Dr. Weird’s Journals of Mystery would have been his Golden and early Silver Age comic book title, being a play on Atlas/Marvel’s Journey Into Mystery horror-fantasy anthology that later brought us Thor.

Big Bang Comics #15 featured three comic book stories, two of which starred Dr. Weird, and both referenced the Journals of Mystery sub-title. The first story was “Terror In The Swamp,” in which Dr. Weird’s pursuit of evil conjurer Lemuel Brisbane leads them both into Killbuck Swamp, the domain of a demon named Bauggroth, a.k.a. Bog, Swamp Monster. The art by Matt Roach and David Vance was nicely reminiscent of Bernie Wrightson, who had drawn Swamp Thing for DC (as did cover artist Stephen Bissette).

The story was by Edward DeGeorge and Bog’s creator Ryan Brown. Bog had already appeared in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and his own title before this appearance. I merely functioned as editor on the story, my main achievement being page 6 of the story, which began life as four separate pages – a double page spread, a normal page and a full page splash – which I editted down to a single page.

The second story in the issue is an EC horror homage starring the Golden Age Blitz, as told by a narrator named the Grave Robber. Ed DeGeorge plotted this tale, which was finished and drawn by Shawn Van Briesen and his studio partner Chas. The Blitz is on the trail of a Nazi spy that is murdering elderly Americans and stealing their savings when things take a supernatural turn in “Clickity-Split.” It’s a little creepy, a lot of fun and recaps the Blitz’s origin as a prisoner of the Nazis in World War 2.

Dr. Weird returns in “The Sorcerer’s Death Wish!” to witness a confrontation between a sorcerer, a vampire and a werewolf. Written and drawn by Ed Quinby, the good Doctor shows up at the end to tie up the story.

Finally, the Knight Watchman stars in a two page prose story, in which he trails a robber into an abandoned Victorian mansion rumored to be haunted. The Purple Pimpernel puts his deductive powers to the test to solve the riddle in “There Was An Old Lady.”

All this, plus an ad for the new Dr. Weird volume 2 #1 from Ed DeGeorge’s October Comics and an ad for the four issue mini series Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift, soon to be published by Image Comics.

And that was it for this issue. See you next time for issue 16 of Big Bang Comics featuring Thunder Girl, Shadow Lady, the Absolute, Johnny Ruckus and the Monster Patrol and lots, lots more fun.

Gary Carlson 4/4/2018

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Dr. Weird and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Edward DeGeorge. Dr. Weird created by Howard Keltner. Bog is © and TM Ryan Brown.

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 30: BB #14 – Return of the Dragon!

The Savage Dragon’s journey through the past, present and future of Big Bang Comics continued in BB #14, published by Image Comics in October of 1997. What had started as a potential single issue continued to grow, spilling over into this second part and eventually into a third issue.

This wasn’t the original plan as evidenced by the front cover to Big Bang Comics #14, penciled and inked by Rich Buckler, which features, among others, Berzerker, who doesn’t show up until the conclusion in BB #18 some six months later.

Oh well. . . . .

The issue starts off with Dragon teleporting into Chicago in what appears to be his own time, on the very day his adventure started back in issue #12.

Unfortunately, his fellow police officers, including Alex Wilde don’t recognize him, and are put off by the big green guy wearing a bomb strapped to his chest. In fact, they call in the cavalry – in the form of the National Guardians.

“Who just in the Hell are the National Guardians?” asks a bewildered Dragon as an arm reaches in and drags him out the window. He finds himself facing an angry Ultiman who punches him, announcing that he’s been waiting for 59 years to do that.

Dragon is confused. In issue #12 he met Ultiman in the 1960s and 1980s, but never in the 1930s. Another atomic punch literally launches Dragon through time, where he finds himself facing Ultiman in 1938.

Another fight ensues, with Dragon activating the time-bomb to escape.

The blast propels Dragon to 1952 in Korea, where he meets the goddess Venus, who is working as a U.S. Army nurse. She believes Dragon, and realizes that he’s

talking about Dr. Binana, who discovered a gateway to another Earth and that maybe he is from that other plane. Unfortunately, Binana and the heroine Thunder Girl disappeared in 1946 during a visit there and were trapped.

Dragon blasts back to 1944, hoping to use Binana’s device to get back to his own time and world and free himself of the time-bomb. Once there, he stops Binana from killing Molly Wilson, who is trapped and unable to transform into Thunder Girl. Once free, she helps Dragon locate Binana’s portal device and sends him home.

Or so they think – unaware that Binana has unplugged the device – trapping the Dragon between Earth-A where it is 1969 and Earth-B where it is 1949.

Luckily, the Blitzes of both worlds who use their speed to vibrate his atoms to align with those of Earth-A.

Unfortunately, the time-bomb detonates, sending him to 1965 where he meets the Agents of B.A.D.G.E. who think he’s a communist spy sent there to steal the cosmic powered Infinity Orb.

While they battle, a mysterious figure does arrive to steal the Orb. Dragon and the Badge follow him through the time-stream to the desolation at the end of time.

There Dragon meets the lovely and deadly Oblivia, whose kisses bring extinction – erasing the victim and all memory of them from existence. She brings Dragon to the Palace at Time’s End and introduces him to the Time Being, an anomaly who exists outside of time.

The Time Being claims to be protecting the time-stream, which is being weakened by the time-bomb strapped to Dragon’s chest. But before he can send old finhead back to his own time, Dragon discovers a room full of trapped Ultimen, whose powers are being leeched to power up a giant Infinity Orb. And that’s where the issue ends, promising a mind-bending conclusion in Big Bang #18.

The issue was plotted by myself with Chris Ecker, and scripted by me. The art for the chapters was provided by:

1997 – National Guardians: pencils: Joe Cooper • inks: Patrick Tuller

1938 – Golden Age Ultiman: art: John Thompson

1952 – Venus: art: Dan Preece

1944 – Thunder Girl: art: Bill Fugate

1949/1969 – Gold and Silver Age Blitzes: art: David Zimmermann

1965 – Agents of B.A.D.G.E.: layouts: Mark Lewis • finished art: Ken Lester

The End of Time – The Badge, Time Being, Oblivia: pencils: Joe Zierman • inks: Ken Lester

Like Big Bang #12, this issue is another of my favorites. I feel like the artists of each section did a great job nailing the styles of their time period. They are all among my favorite all-time Big Bang artists – and working with Rich Buckler again was a blast.

Thanks again to the fantastic Erik Larsen for making it possible and trusting us with the Savage Dragon.

Until next time – –

Gary Carlson

2/22/2018

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Savage Dragon and all related characters are © and TM Erik Larsen.

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 29: BB #13 – Riddle of the Sphinx!

Jeff Weigel’s fantastic character The Sphinx was back to star in Big Bang Comics #13, published by Image Comics in the late summer of 1997. The Riddle Of The Sphinx was a novel length 40 pager that filled BB #13 from cover to cover.

The Sphinx had already appeared in the 9 pager Deeds of the Doomsayer in BB #9, but the epic here in Big Bang #13 was written and drawn over two years earlier.

I met Jeff Weigel at the Chicago ComiCon in 1995, where he handed me an ashcan copy of Riddle Of The Sphinx to show me samples of his work. To say that my mind was blown would be an understatement. Jeff’s work was GORGEOUS! The story was great, the storytelling classic, he penciled like Curt Swan and inked like Murphy Anderson! And the Sphinx himself was a nice character, a clever Hawkmannish fellow with wings, yet not as blatantly homagey as we were doing at Big Bang.

At the time, we were either still at Caliber Press or making the move to Image, and had only published 5 issues and a few earlier back up stories. I think Jeff initially feared that we were simply ripping off DC Comics, but the issues I gave didn’t scare him away. He did a few faux covers and agreed to pencil the Ultiman/Knight Watchman story for the Image BB #3.

Next, Jeff agreed to let the Sphinx sort of join the Big Bang Universe. He wrote and drew the short story in issue #9 to introduce the character, and then allowed us to run his original epic here in Big Bang #13. (The Sphinx returned in issues 20 and 23, but those are stories for another day). I thought it would be a good idea to showcase the Sphinx in the earlier issue, because The Riddle Of The Sphinx not only introduces us to Peter Chefren, a visitor from a parallel Earth, but also – SPOILER ALERT – features the “demise” of the character and the introduction of his replacement.

This way, rather than having a “one and done” appearance, we established something of a Silver Age history for Chefren to appear in other stories and also in the upcoming (at the time) History of Big Bang Comics.

Jeff has been a major part of Big Bang Comics up to the present day, recently providing the cover for Big Bang Universe #3, published by AC Comics. He has also written and illustrated multiple children’s books and graphic novels, including Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley, Thunder From The Sea, Atomic Ace (He’s Just My Dad) and Atomic Ace and the Robot Rampage.

The Sphinx trade paperback collects all of the BB stories, as well as some other goodies.

(Pictured here are color versions of covers Jeff drew for his kids in 1997).

Jeff art directed and designed the book Curt Swan: A Life In Comics by Eddy Zeno, a deluxe hardcover career retrospective of the late, great Superman artist. He also illustrated SMASH!, a non-fiction graphic novel written by Sara Latta that explains the science behind the Large Hadron Collider, The Monster Alphabet by Michael P. Spradlin, as well as Spradlin’s New York Times bestseller It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Zombies: A Book Of Zombie Christmas Carols and the follow-ups, Every Zombie Eats Somebody Sometime: A Book of Zombie Love Songs and Jack and Jill Went Up to Kill: A Book of Zombie Nursery Rhymes. He also authored, illustrated and designed STOP MATH, an interactive storybook app for iPad.

All of the above books are fun and available online from Amazon. Check them out. The Atomic Ace books especially will appeal to just about any Big Bang Comics fan.

In 2017, Jeff became the artist on the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate. What a pleasure to see new work from him every single week! You should check out Jeff’s website for info on all these books and projects at http://www.jeffweigel.com/Books.html

Next time: Part 2 of the Savage Dragon TimeBomber epic from BB #14.

Gary Carlson

1/9/2018

Big Bang Comics and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. The Sphinx, Atomic Ace, Dragon Girl and related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel. The Phantom is © and TM King Features Syndicate.

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/page/2/

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BB Chronological 28: BB #12 – Enter the Savage Dragon!

People often ask what my favorite issue of Big Bang Comics is and I tell them that it’s too much like picking your favorite child. But the truth is that there are a few that I am extremely proudest of (issues of Big Bang that is, not children) and Big Bang #12 is one of them.

BB #12 was the first part of a three issue arc guest starring Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon, sending old finhead on a wild trip through BB comics history. Erik was (and is) a good friend from my Megaton Comics days and I’ve always loved his work. It was gratifying that he liked Big Bang and was instrumental in taking us to Image Comics. It was even nicer that he let us play with his characters.

The story continued in #s 14 & 18 and featured a Who’s Who of the top BB artists: Bill Fugate, Jeff Weigel, Chris Ecker, Dave Zimmermann, Mark Lewis, John Thompson, Joe Cooper, Darren Goodhart , Shawn Van Briesen and many more, not to mention covers by Rich Buckler and Dave Cockrum on the later issues.

It also gave me a chance introduce the Pantheon of Heroes, my homage to DC’s Legion of Super Heroes, showcasing four different eras of the team.

The cover to Big Bang #12 was penciled and inked by David Zimmermann, except for the Dragon who was penciled and inked by Erik Larsen. The cover and logo were homages to the Justice League, and to this day I get the biggest kick out of the Blitz’s “spit take” as Dragon appears.

It pains me to say that it didn’t occur to me to ask if Erik would like to do the same on the following two covers, or even contribute to the modern sections of the story. Sorry Erik. I just didn’t want to bother such a busy guy. Years later, we were talking about reprinting the whole thing as a trade paperback and Erik was thinking about redrawing the Dragon on every page!

The story opens at a meeting of The Society of Evil Minds – Dr. Binana, Cortex, Baron Brain, Grandfather Clock, the Wicked Worms, Dr. Nirvana – as they plot to use an invention of Grandfather Clock’s to collect monsters from across time to defeat their enemies – starting with Mighty Man – in 1963. Binana’s own invention lets them see a newscast of the Savage Dragon defeating Mighty Man in 1997, so they send the invention to bring Dragon back to their time in 1963.

Cut to 1997 where Dragon is battling Mighty Man, who is under the control of Horde, (the future version of Mr. Mind). Dragon has nearly defeated MM/Horde when a bomb appears out of thin air. Dragon leaps to cover and/or dismantle it but it blows up, sending him through time.

Back to 1963 where the Society of Evil Minds is waiting for him and orders him to kill Mighty Man. Dragon tells them that he’s a cop and they’re all under arrest. Grandfather Clock uses the controller to send Dragon back to where he came from – but the controller is damaged by the blast, sending Dragon on a journey through time and Big Bang Comics history.

Dragon reappears in 1965 where The Round Table of AmericaUltiman, Mr. Martian, Blitz, Atomic Sub, Hummingbird, Beacon, Knight Watchman and Mike Merlin help him stop a dam from collapsing. Dragon attempts to beat up Mr. Martian (because Mars Attacked Earth and Image Comics in 1996). The bomb goes off again, sending Dragon on his way. Ultiman and Blitz pursue him through the time stream but lose him.

Dragon’s arrival in 1945 causes a house fire. Dr Weird arrives, takes notes on the timebomb and attempts to go with Dragon to the future to find eternal peace, but time traveller Simon Ward is repulsed: he must serve his time in the past.

Now Dragon ends up in the future, 2965 where he briefly interrupts a cattle call of heroes trying to join the Pantheon of Heroes. He is rejected because the bomb is a mechanical device and members must have super powers of their own.

The bomb goes off, sending him back to Midway City in 1962 where he helps Knight Watchman and Kid Galahad stop Grandfather Clock, a year before Clock built the timebomb. Clock eagerly inspects Dragon’s device before the bomb detonates, sending Dragon to – –

1985. Ultiman is married, retired and living in his Rocky Mountain fortress. Powers faded, he supervises a a team of super powered robots to do his heroing, while living blissfully with his wife Arlene and the toddler daughter Christie. Kelly is nonplussed and tells Dragon that he and Venus have already helped him out in the 1970s, and that Dragon just hasn’t gotten there yet. The timebomb goes off again- –

– sending Dragon to 1972, where Dr. Weird & Knight Watchman are waiting for him. It seems that Dragon’s journey through history is weakening the time stream and they want to prevent a catastrophic event. They break into Grandfather Clock’s place to try to find a controller for the bomb. There they find two Grandfather Clocks – both in shock after running into each other.

They ship one Clock back to his own time and take the other to the hospital, and send Dragon on his way back to the day after he was trapped by the timebomb so he won’t run into himself.

The issue was plotted by myself and Chris Ecker and I scripted the whole thing. The art for the chapters was provided by:

1963Society of Evil Minds: art: Bill Fugate

1997 – Savage Dragon vs Horde: pencils: Joe Cooper • inks: Billy Hodge

1963 – Society of Evil Minds: art: Bill Fugate

1965 – Round Table of America: art: David Zimmermann

1945 – Dr. Weird: pencils: Mark Lewis • inks: Patrick Tuller

2965 – Pantheon of Super-Heroes: art: Jeff Weigel

1962 – Knight Watchman: pencils: Chris Ecker • inks: Jim Brozman

1985? – Ultiman: art: Jeff Weigel

1972 – Knight Watchman & Dr. Weird: art: Shawn Van Briesen

And that was it for Big Bang #12. It was a 32 page comic with b&w interiors and was published by Image Comics in 1997. While it feels like the story was more or less complete, we knew that it would continue if BB #14.

Gary Carlson

12/5/2017

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Dr. Weird is © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Edward DeGeorge. Savage Dragon and all related characters are © and TM Erik Larsen.

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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