Category Big Bang Comic News

BB Chronological 23: BB #7 – Back in Black… and White

Big Bang Comics #7, published in December 1996 by Image Comics, was a bit of a departure from our previous issues. Up to this point, Big Bangs had a decidedly DC Comicsy feel to them. This latest issue, however, was more in the Marvel vein.

Part of the reason for our DC bent is that I was a National Periodical Publications guy during the 1960s, the Avengers being the only Marvel book that fit into my elementary school budget. Superman, Batman, Teen Titans and the Legion of Superheroes were my mainstays. They were the books I read and wanted to write some day. When DC threw out its continuity after Crisis On Infinite Earths in the mid 1980s, I went ahead and wrote those stories through Big Bang.

Also, by the time we convinced a publisher to take a chance on our “retro” book, Alan Moore’s 1963 came along and was already mining the 1960 Marvel territory so we stayed out of his way for a while. However, our plan all along was to create homages and pastiches of all eras of comic book heroes and creators’ styles, and BB #7 was pretty much our first step in this direction.

The cover and main story featured Erik Larsen’s Mighty Man. We had already done a story or two of the World’s Mightiest Man a la C.C. Beck’s Captain Marvel. The real Cap had disappeared from comic books for 20 years – DC sued Fawcett Publications for copyright infringement of Superman and they ceased publication in the 1950s – only to be brought back into print by DC in the 1970s.

During that lapse, Marvel Comics trademarked the name Captain Marvel for a new character. DC has since marketed and recently rebranded theirs under the Shazam monicker. DC’s 1970s reboot was drawn by C.C. Beck and later Kurt Shaffenberger, the same guys who had drawn the character in the 40s and 50s.

Writer/artist Jim Starlin was one of my favorite comics creators from the 1970s onward, especially his runs on Captain Marvel (and Warlock). Jim’s work was full of cosmic concepts of God, Death, Suicide and Infinity, and so we based our latest version of Mighty Man on Starlin’s Captain Marvel work.

The cover blurb on BB #7 declared THE MOST COSMIC BATTLE OF ALL TIME!!! MIGHTY MAN VS. MIGHTY MAN! The story itself was titled Ominous Reprieve and as written by Terrance Griep, Jr., a despot from the distant future travels back through time to steal the power from Bobby Berman in the 1970s. Most of the conflict takes place in a cosmic void called The Warp, a vacuum between seconds where both can duke it out, each as Mighty Man.

The art and front cover were by one of my favorite Big Bang artists, Darren Goodhart, and his love for Starlin’s work shines bright. It’s full of skulls, and close-ups and twisting realities. The gorgeous inks were by Mike Matthew.

“Ominous Reprieve” was remastered in 2015, relettered by Adam Pruett and colored by Erik Larsen himself, and printed in Savage Dragon #’s 205 and 206, along with a new pin-up/cover by Darren. The art I’ve reprinted here is from this latest version of the story.

Oh. Did I mention that Big Bang #7 was printed in black & white. No color interiors. It was a cost saving move. You can read all about it in my “Gary’s Graffiti” column from the inside front cover of the issue.

Next up was The Assassination Run starring Shanghai Breeze, making his only Big Bang appearance. Written and penciled by Stan Timmons, with inks by Mike Matthew and letters by John Thompson, the story had the look and feel of a Marvel comic to me and this was the first issue it seemed to fit in style wise. More of an anti-hero, Shanghai Breeze, wearing a powersuit, tracked down a hijacker who had executed a plane full of victims. Shanghai killed the bad guy, snapping his neck, unaware that the hijacker’s young son was in the room. The kid shoots Breeze, vowing to track him down and kill him when he is older.

I Met Oogur From Outer Space was a tip of the hat to the late 50s/early 60s Marvel Monster stories. Written by Carl Gafford and drawn by Frank Fosco, it was a short tale about John. Q. Nebbish, a loser who never got respect from anybody during his lifetime. When a spaceship piloted by a large alien shows up, demanding a volunteer to return to his planet to be eaten by their Emperor or the Earth will be blown up, Nebbish volunteers, to everyone else’s delight. There’s a nice twist ending, where Nebbish survives as the last man from Earth. Inks were by James Daly, with letters by Susan Dorne.

Finally, something familiar arrived for the longtime Big Bang fan: a classic Knight Watchman story, The Ghost Robbers Of The Wax Museum. In it, a series of robberies in Midway City are apparently committed by exhibits from the Rogues Gallery of the local wax museum.

Jesse James, Blackbeard, Attila the Hun and Adolph Hitler all commit crimes that lead the Knight Watchman to the museum to find the rubber-faced Mr. Mask, now dressed as Jack the Ripper, laying in wait to kill his arch-enemy. The Watchman manages to stop the villain with the aid of the “World’s Greatest Detective” – the mirror in the Sherlock Holmes exhibit. Ghost Robbers was written and drawn by Watchman creator Chris “Tom King” Ecker and inked by Jim Brozman.

And that was the end of the issue, except for a back cover ad for the next issue, Mister U.S.: – 50 Forgotten Years! More info on that one next time.

See you then.

Gary Carlson


Mighty Man and all characters are © and TM Erik Larsen. Oogur is © and TM Carl Gafford. Shanghai Breeze is © and TM Stan Timmons. Big Bang Comics and Knight Watchman 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:


BB Chronological 22: BB #6 – The Criss-Cross Crisis Returns

Big Bang Comics #6 was not a dream, not a hoax and not an imaginary story. It was worse – depending on your point of view – it was a reprint!

That’s right. BB #6 was a reprint of our third issue from the Caliber Press mini-series two years earlier, from 1994. The ad for the issue on the last page of BB #5 said “The Most Requested Big Bang Story of All Time Is Here!” That was probably true at the time.

The story in question, The Criss-Cross Crisis was certainly the most important one we had done to date. It established the Golden and Silver Age continuities on Earths A and B as co-existing 20 years apart. It brought Thunder Girl from the 1940s to the 1960s universe, introduced the Whiz Kids, the junior sidekicks of the Round Table of America, and it contained the death of a major character, the Atomic Sub.

It was the only issue from the Caliber run that had completely sold out. We didn’t even have any comp copies left to sell to fans requesting back issues, now that we had a higher visibility at Image Comics. Oh yeah, it also had a great cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

Plus, we had the negatives to print from, saving us the 4 to 5 thousand dollars that we were spending on color separations per issue that we weren’t recouping. We knew that this was to be our last issue with color interiors for a while, so reprinting it made sense.

I’ve already talked about the Caliber issue in an earlier blog (you can read all about it here: big-bang-chronological-pt-12). This time around, we only had to slightly recolor the front cover and slap the Image logo onto it, and come up with new inside front and back covers and a new outside back cover.

As part of the new IFC, I printed a copy of Curt Swan’s original pencils. You can find that, and Chris Ecker’s original layout sketch in the previous blog. A letter column went on the IBC, and an ad for the all-new Big Bang #7 starring Mighty Man went on the back cover. The story itself was 32 pages and reprinted exactly as before from the original negatives. Easy as pie.

I don’t recall anybody complaining about the reprint. I just thumbed through the letter columns for the following 3 or 4 issues and didn’t see any carping in those, so I can only hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.

My favorite part of this issue was getting to create the Whiz Kids, our homage to the Teen Titans. I still love seeing the panel in which Cyclone says “Gee Moray, your baby whale is one groovy taxi!”

Since I told the background story about this one previously, I’m just going to let the artwork by penciler Steve Adams and inker Jim Brozman speak for itself.

Thanks for reading.

Gary Carlson


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


BB Chronological 21: BB #5 – Top Secret Origins

Big Bang was rolling right along at Image Comics in October of 1996. With issue #5 we were maintaining a monthly schedule of 32 page 4-color comics of all-new material. Granted, we’d had almost a year to load up after leaving Caliber Press, but it was still a big deal for me/us. This was the Big Time and we seemed to be fitting in.

Big Bang was, and is, an anthology book, each issue being a collection of different stories by different creators starring different characters. Why? Why not Big Bang Comics Starring the Knight Watchman (or Ultiman, or whoever) every issue? The answer of course was money. Cold hard cash.

Or the lack of it. The book had made a little money at Caliber Press. We were able to print in color there because of their distribution deal with Walmart, who got the books at a high discount. But it paid for the color separations and printing so we were able be in color on the Direct Market through Diamond Distribution.

The profits weren’t enough for any of us to live on, much less all of us. I told anybody that wanted to work with us that Big Bang was a labor of love. People signed up to draw a story or two for very little pay. I was financing the whole thing out of my own pocket. I had made a little money from my Vanguard mini-series at Image. Unfortunately, it had been cancelled for selling less than 100,000 copies per issue. Those were heady times for the industry.

We had high hopes that Big Bang’s move to Image would mean a much higher circulation and some actual profits, but it didn’t quite work out that way. I believe the new #1 sold about 12,000 copies and made a little money. The drop off in orders to #’s 2 (and 3 and 4) was steep and by the time of Big Bang Comics #5 we owed Image a couple of thousand dollars. Color sep fees were killing us.

We had a choice: either stop publishing or drop the color. Since Image had to be paid back, we kept publishing in black and white and eventually got out of the red. More on that in the next few entries in this blog. But in the meantime, #s 5 and 6 had been solicited in color and were set to go.

Big Bang #5 was cover titled “Top Secret Origins” and offered origins of the Knight Watchman, the Silver Age Blitz and Ultiman. The cover was mostly a montage of images taken from the stories inside, but the centerpiece was a Blitz figure by David Zimmermann. Dave was very instrumental to the development of Big Bang since our earliest days. The initial back-up stories in Berzerker had been mostly Golden Age riffs. David sent in a number of drawings, including this one, that made doing credible Silver Age stuff seem like a reality. Thanks Dave!

Terrance Griep, Jr. was back, after spearheading BB #4, with the scripting of the origin of the Silver Age Blitz. The story was penciled by Darren Goodhart, inked by Jim Brozman and lettered by Susan Dorne. It told the story of race car driver Jimmy Travis, whose car was sabotaged prior to a cross-county race in Monte Carlo. He crashed in a remote area and discovered an abandoned underground Nazi lab from the 1940s, where they had been trying to create the “Ubermensch,” an Aryan Superman.

Two gamblers responsible for his crash follow Travis in to finish him off, and Jimmy gets doused with some old chemicals that burn him and his race suit. He puts on an old Nazi “super suit” and discovers that the chemicals have given him super speed. Quickly, he ties up the crooks, dismantles the car of the East German driver who had run him off the road and pushes his own car to the finish line, jumping in to coast to victory. The Blitz had been born.

Next up was a reprint of the two page Ultiman origin written and drawn by Chris Ecker from Berzerker #2. I did drop in a different “title panel” to change things up a bit. It had been submitted by my long-time Megaton & Big Bang buddy John Thompson, and I especially loved his Ultiman logo.

This was followed by Chris Ecker’s all-new origin of the Knight Watchman. Written, penciled and inked by Chris, it was inked by Jim Brozman and Mike Matthew. In it, college student and Olympic hopeful Reid Randall is called home to Midway City when his brother Ted runs afoul of gangster “Gentleman” Mac Duggin. Ted had run up some serious gambling debts and Duggin wanted the Reid family’s garment business as payback.

Reid sent the gangsters packing, who responded by killing Ted and his wife, and trashing the family’s factory and warehouse. There, they are surprised by a masked Reid Randall wearing a wrestling outfit, who uses his athletic skills to beat up the thugs and leaves them tied up. The police find the toughs wearing women’s’ clothes from the factory, and a note reading “These fellows wanted to be big men in women’s clothing – – looks like they are! Knight Watchman.”

The final story in the issue is “A Visit To Ultiman’s Secret Citadel,” in which Ultiman gives a lucky young boy named Jimmy a guided tour through his hidden sanctuary inside of a volcano. While it isn’t an origin story, it does offer a bit of info on how astronaut Chris Kelly gained his powers and became the Ultimate Human Being. The Citadel is kind of a combination of the Batcave and the Fortress of Solitude.

A Visit To Ultiman’s Secret Citadel” was plotted and drawn by Ed Quinby, who had inked the Silver Age Ultiman story in BB #3. The scripting was a collaboration between myself and Ed, or perhaps just very heavy-handed editing on my part to get some details right that had so far existed only in my brain. Overall, it tied together some things from the story in BB #3, and the original Ultiman story from way back in Megaton #1 some 14 years earlier. My favorite bits in the Visit were the bottled city of Atlantis and the info about the dead astronaut, to set up a still-untold story.

And that was Big Bang Comics #5. Plus the letter column “Big Bang Theories,” and ad for the next issue, an ad for ACTION FIGURES UNLIMITED where Dennis Harry could create your own custom Big Bang action figures and a gorgeous back cover pin-up of Mighty Man by the wonderfully talented, and sorely missed, Bill Fugate.

Until next time…

Gary Carlson


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


BB Chronological 20: BB #4 – Going For The Gold

Big Bang Comics #4 was an All-Star issue of Big Bang in more ways than one. Cover dated September 1996 from Image Comics, this story was an homage to DC Comics’ Justice Society of America, the first super hero team, who had starred in All-Star Comics back in the 1940s. An all star team of Big Bang creators worked on this issue, along with top pros Terry Beatty (who provided the front cover), Rich Buckler and comics legend Mart Nodell.

Our group of Golden Age heroes was the Knights of Justice, who had individually been introduced in issue #s 0, 1 and 2 of the Caliber Press mini-series. The KOJ team debuted in the 3rd issue, “The Criss-Cross Crisis.” While that story was meant to invoke the Silver Age Justice League/Justice Society crossovers of the 1960s, this issue of the ongoing series from Image Comics was the first appearance of the KOJ as a team in their own time period. (You can check out the entries for those issues in previous posts of this blog).

Like their inspiration, the JSA in All-Star Comics, each of the Knights of Justice starred in their own solo chapter, written and drawn by different creators, and the team itself only appeared together in the first and last segments.

The Knights of Justice (in this issue) were Ultiman, Knight Watchman, Thunder Girl, Venus, the Blitz, the Beacon and the Badge. The impetus of the story has the KOJ convening to welcome Dr. Stellar as their newest member. He asks how the team was formed and each member obliges by narrating how they became involved.

The wraparound segments that start and end the story were written by long-time Big Bang scribe Terrance Griep, Jr. He sets the table by introducing the tale of “The Great Minds Summit” in which President Roosevelt invited the greatest minds of America and her allies to Washington D.C. to help end World War 2.

Terrance also scripted the first chapter starring the Blitz, who in his identity as a newsreel reporter was accompanying inventor Hank Fort to D.C. on the Super Chief. The train is attacked by Nazi spies, led by a General who is a combination of Adolph Hitler and Moe Howard of the Three Stooges. The Blitz stops the attack, builds a jail out of loose boulders and races off to get back on the train, all in three pages which were drawn by Big Bang co-creator Chris Ecker.

Mr. Griep has gone on to write Scooby-Doo and various projects for DC Comics as well as Heroic Publishing, Alias Enterprises and others. He also wrestles professionally as the SpiderBaby.

The second chapter features the Beacon, who battles some thugs in the Statue of Liberty. They are using a death ray to stop a ship bringing inventor Tom Ettleson to the Great Minds Summit. (Hank Fort? Tom Ettleson? Think Henry Ford and Tom Edison.)

The Beacon chapter was written by Bud Hanzel (who had previously written the Beacon prose piece “The Razor’s Edge” in Caliber’s BB #1). The art was provided by Mart Nodell, the then 80 year old creator of the Golden Age Green Lantern. Mart had also drawn a Beacon pin-up which appeared two issues earlier as the back cover to BB #2. Marty and his wife Carrie were regulars at Comic Cons back in those days and were a lot of fun. Carrie always referred to us and Big Bang as “The Bang,” which is where the title of this blog comes from. Both are sorely missed.

Next up came the first of three chapters in a row written by me. In it, the Badge foils the kidnapping of scientist Dr. Reinstein, who is taking his top-secret formula to Washington. At the end of the chapter, the Doc tells the Badge that America needs more heroes like him, and he’ll soon have lots of help if his formula is a success. This chapter was penciled by Mark Lewis and inked by Jim Brozman. Mark’s Simon & Kirby style stories always have been among my very favorites in Big Bang’s 30+ year history.

Thunder Girl shows up, thwarting a Nazi zeppelin that was trying to stop her friend Professor Eureka and his pal Dr. Igorski from reaching the Great Minds Summit. Bill Neville provided the art, admirably filling the big shoes of regular T-Girl artist Bill Fugate, who was sick at the time.

The following chapter stars “the eerie twilight paladin known as the Knight Watchman.” Penciled by Rich Buckler, one of my all time favorites, and beautifully inked by Terry Beatty, it looks different than all the other Watchman stories we’ve ever done, yet authentic. What a blast! In three pages we see the Watchwagon, the very Batcavesque laboratory of Dr. Igor Eisner who provides many of the KW’s marvelous toys, KW in a jetpack turned batwing glider, and KW tossing a hand grenade at a Nazi submarine. Whew!

Ed DeGeorge wrote the Venus segment, in which the Goddess of Love and Laughter is bound to the Liberty Bell and later uses her flying horse Pegasus to rescue foreign scientist Madame Furie from a Nazi agent known as the Temptress. It was penciled by Stephanie Sanderson (now Heike) and inked by John Thompson with a gorgeous Harry G. Peter-inspired patina.

John Thompson provided both pencils and inks on the Ultiman chapter, in which the Ultimate Human Being serves as bodyguard to Winston Churchill, who is in Washington D.C. for the Summit. There, Ultiman foils the plot of a weird green-skinned fiend who has turned the Washington Monument into a rocket aimed at the White House.

This leads to the final chapter, featuring art by Charles Smith, in which the green fiend is revealed to be scientist Dr. Henry Hyde. Bitter over not being invited to the Summit, he decided to derail it. Using a weapon he invented, an animator ray gun, Hyde brings the exhibits to life at the Smithsonian Institution, where the Summit is being held. Chaos ensues! The Knight Watchman battles a mummy. The Badge fights some stuffed gorillas. Ultiman takes on a T. Rex skeleton. But Dr. Hyde pushes his weapon too far and it backfires, killing him.

At that point, one of the other scientists discovers that Dr. Hyde’s invite had been stuck to his own invitation to the Great Minds Summit. FDR and Churchill suggest that the heroes team up for good, and the Knights of Justice were born!

Gary Carlson


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


Big Bang Stars

Whiz Kids


Thunder Girl
Speed Queen Earth A
Roberta Ryan BADGE
Knight Watchman Graveyard Shift
Knight Watchman
Kid Galahad
El Diablo
Dr Weird
The Blitz Earth A
The Beacon Earth A
Badge Silver Age


Big Bang Universe #3 – on sale in May 2017 from AC Comics

Just a heads up to remind you all to look for Big Bang Universe #3 in May 2017 from AC Comics. It’s got a great cover by Jeff Weigel, (right) plus an amazing alternate cover by Ron Williams (below).

You asked for it – – you’ve got it! An 80 Page Giant featuring Ultiman, America’s Greatest Hero, in his most fantastic adventures ever, with an all-star line-up of guest heroes and super villains!

First up is the three-part novel, “Ultiman of the Atom” in which Ultiman is transported to the nucleus of an Ultranium atom, the radioactive element that gives him his powers. There he discovers a futuristic civilization of people with super powers like his own and falls in love! This Silver Age gem features art by Joe & Rob Sharp, and Tim Stiles!

Next, the Ultimate Human Being finds himself in a slugfest with Vesuvius, the Human Volcano from Faust’s Four who is trying to break INTO a maximum security prison! Then Ultiman finds himself refereeing a fight between an irate Venus, Goddess of Love and War, and the super paparazzi known as Shutterbug, who made the mistake of snapping a picture of the Goddess when she was topless! This 2-parter features fabulous art by Donnie Page, with inks by Bob Rivard, Mike Matthew and Donnie Page!

Finally, the Man of The Future confronts a caped and cowled predator in the dead of night that turns out to be the infamous arsonist known as Diablo, come to wreak havoc and raise hell in modern day Empire City, by Ron Williams!

EpisoPlus – – the Knight Watchman comic strip adventure “The Crime Chef!” by Chris Ecker and Roger McKenzie, and Hannibal the Cannibal by Mike Worley!

Remember – look for it from AC Comics in Diamond’s Previews for a May 2017


80pgs, B&W……………………………..$9.95

For the Diamond online Preview, and a free download promo, visit:


BB Chronological 19: BB #3 – Third Time’s The Charm!

With the third issue of Big Bang Comics published under the Image Comics banner, I thought that we were really on a roll. Ultiman and Thunder Girl made their debut at Image, and our flagship character the Knight Watchman was back for his third consecutive issue.

Big Bang was essentially an anthology series, featuring different characters in every issue because frankly, it wasn’t making enough money to support any of us. Orders for the book on the direct market had improved over what we had been doing at Caliber, but they weren’t really that great for an Image title. Therefore, we were making sure that the Knight Watchman was a constant presence so fans would find a familiar face in each issue and keep coming back.

This issue’s main story, “The Ultimate Criminal” was a Silver Age World’s Finest type story featuring Ultiman and the Knight Watchman (known to us at Big Bang as the World’s Best Friends). From the very beginning, we made no bones about the characters being homages and we definitely weren’t making fun of how stupid the old stories may have been. Hopefully the love showed.

I wasn’t reinventing Superman or trying to rip him off. The similarities were obvious. It was the differences that we were proud of. We always called it “taking a left hand turn” from the actual characters. Villain Dexter Cortex was something of a combination of Lex Luther and Brainiac, a man who hard-wired his brain into a computer to outsmart Ultiman.

The other villain, Reverso escaped from a mirror-image world where everything was opposite. Where Ultiman was good, his doppelganger was evil. For a while, even Ultiman thought he was committing crimes that he couldn’t remember under some evil influence, until the Knight Watchman turned up to help. Reverso was definitely a nod to Bizarro – the dialogue in his word balloons was reversed (not actually backwards typeface but the words were in reverse order: YOU I LOVE instead of I LOVE YOU).

There were lots of “twists” in the mythos. Ultiman’s Secret Citadel was in a live fiery volcano. U-Man’s secretary Lori Lake was in love with him ( astronaut turned super hero Chris Kelly), but detested his “brother” Carl who was something of a jerk. Of course, Carl was Ultiman’s alter-ego. Carl really had been Ultiman’s brother, but when he perished in an as yet unpublished story, Chris decided to adopt his bad-boy brother’s persona to get a break from being Ultiman all the time, and to get an “in” with the more unsavory element of civilization, a la Matches Malone. Just a heads up – – the real Carl Kelly will finally be making an appearance in comics in May 2017, in the pages of “Ultiman of the Atom” in Big Bang Universe #3 from AC Comics, written by me with art by Joe & Rob Sharp on Chapter 1 (and Tim Stiles in Chapters 2 and 3)..

I loved (and still do) the classic Superman stories and had a blast writing this one and creating the mythology of Ultiman. What made it even more special for me was the art by Jeff Weigel. I had met Jeff at the Chicago ComiCon, and when he showed me his samples I jumped up saying “This looks like Curt Swan inked by Murphy Anderson!” He backed away saying “Yeah, that’s what everyone says.” Curt was a dinosaur at the time, having been shunted aside by DC in favor of John Byrne and the other new guys on Superman.

I showed Jeff what we were doing with Big Bang and eventually convinced him we weren’t just trying to rip off DC. Jeff penciled the front cover, which was inked by Andrew Pepoy, and also penciled the main story, which had inks by Ed Quinby. The issue even had an ad for the two self-published issues of Jeff’s own character, the Sphinx, who eventually joined the Big Bang Universe a few issues later.

Big Bang #3 also featured a two page centerfold pin-up of the Knight Watchman and Silver-Age Shadowhawk penciled by Jim Valentino and inked by Chris Ecker, done prior to the “Angry Red Aliens” story from issue #2.

This was followed by a Superswine one-pager by Gary Fields, and ended with Thunder Girl Meets Her Evil Imitator!” written and drawn by the wonderful Bill Fugate. Bill was as great a writer as he was a cartoonist, and I would’ve been jealous to be so easily replaced on my own character’s story if I hadn’t loved his work so much.

In this tale, that nefarious chimp Dr. Binana builds a machine that can duplicate the World’s Strongest Girl’s powers. He then bestows them upon the criminal Bad Penny (one half of the crime duo Penny and Claude), turning her into Tornado Girl. Luckily, Thunder Girl prevails and carries the criminals off to their just rewards.

Classic Big Bang from cover to cover.

Gary Carlson


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

Thunder Girl Digest is available through Amazon at:

Ultiman: The Ultimate Collection is available through Amazon at:

The Sphinx Collection by Jeff Weigel is available through Amazon at:


Coming Soon to A Comic Shop Near You…

Just a quick heads up to all you Big Bang Comics fans out there!

Feathers of Doom,” the Golden Age Knight Watchman story that introduced the nefarious Pink Flamingo to comics audiences everywhere returns to comic book shelves in the pages of Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon #220 any day now.

Presented in color for the very first time, this story was written by myself and Chris Ecker, with amazing art by John Thompson. It was originally published in Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #1 a long time ago, but has been painstakingly colored by Adam Pruett and Anthony Cuzon for its appearance in Savage Dragon #220.

Be sure to haunt your comic shop to pick up this issue of my favorite comic book being published today!

Hopefully this will whet your appetites for the all-new Big Bang Universe #3 coming this May from AC Comics. Watch for it in Diamond Previews soon!

Gary Carlson



BB Chronological 18: BB #2 – The Second Time Around

We felt that our second issue of Big Bang at Image Comics was another very strong one. It featured our flagship character, the Knight Watchman, guest-starred Jim Valentino’s Silver Age Shadowhawk, contained a Golden Age era Badge story with Mark Lewis’ wonderful Simon & Kirby homaged artwork, and concluded with a short Dr. Weird prose story written by Ed DeGeorge.

All of that PLUS a back cover pin-up of the Beacon by Golden Age legend Mart Nodell, creator of the Green Lantern!

The front cover and main story, The Angry Red Aliens were the work of Chris Ecker; writing, pencils, inks and letters – a quadruple threat. I asked Chris if he would share his recollections of creating this story, and the following is what he had to say:

“I don’t really remember whose idea it was to do a Big Bang Comics story combining Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk, but it was probably Jim Valentino’s. Jim had always been an enthusiastic Big Bang supporter and I had previously drawn a modern Shadowhawk trading card in the Tom King style at Jim’s request. He had already toyed with the Silver Age Shadowhawk and published some stories as I recall when we came on board at Image. Jim drew a Silver Age Shadowhawk/Knight Watchman pin up page in the style of a Bob Kane Golden Age Batman cover and sent it to me for inking.

Looking back, I don’t think Jim really imposed many (if any) rules on the use of Silver Age Shadowhawk and Squirrel (SSH’s son & sidekick), but I knew better than to add anything substantive to the continuity or mythos. I wanted to use only the major characters of Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk as equals, and I knew I didn’t want to have the sidekicks getting in the way.

I also knew that I wanted to set the story in the 1950s and use a thinly veiled Red Scare of that era as a tent pole for the story. I figured the 50s entertainment was full of alien invasions, communist sleepers, the FBI as authoritarian heroes, and newly televised Government processes.

Let me digress for a moment to give a little creative insight for me in general, and this story specifically. As an infant of the late 50s and a child of the early 60s, my view of “comic book” Superheroes was informed by what I saw on TV. That is to say, MY Flash Gordon was Buster Crabbe, MY Superman was George Reeves, MY Batman was Adam West. Because I viewed the live action series first, then discovered the print versions, in MY mind, the comic books and the newspaper strips were reflections of THEM, not the other way around. Consequently, when I create comics, I see and hear those voices, see those images, feel that atmosphere—in my mind, and try to translate that to the page.

Anyway…I decided that in this story, both Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk were publicly known and welcomed as independent crime fighters of the highest caliber. The threat would appear to be of alien origin, but in reality would be Earthbound and of a sinister anti-American nature. Our heroes would each independently volunteer to help, and the FBI would be involved.

As I usually do, I added personal touches like having the congressional hearings on Superhero activities in the story presided over by creator friends of mine; Larry Marder, Donald Simpson, and Jim Valentino, who surround the secret villain of the piece, Senator Keefhouser. The kidnapped scientific genius, who is also the Knight Watchman’s inventive confidant, is a caricature of one of my favorite creators, Will Eisner, known in this story as Igor Eisner. Eisner creates a bogus circuit board as a clue that he hopes Knight Watchman will eventually find and decipher.

All in all, I was and remain pretty proud of the story, having been allowed to play in one of the Image founding fathers’ creative sandboxes, and adding to the Image story.”

Thanks Chris. Shown above are two of the pages from his roughs to finals.

The other featured story in this issue was The Zombie Crime Boss, starring the Badge and his young Rookies (Trooper and Bobbie). The villain of the piece was Dr. Cadaver (created by David Easter) – the city’s coroner who aimed to become the city’s new crime boss by reanimating corpses in the morgue and sending them out to commit crimes. Cadaver was tripped up in the story by one of his zombies – – the infamous Public Enemy #1 – Louie “Scarface” Provalone, who had been executed earlier that evening. But Scarface didn’t take orders from anybody and filled Dr. Cadaver full of lead.

This story was written by myself and inked by Jeff Meyer, but Mark Lewis’ pencils are the star of this one. I love all of the work Mark did for Big Bang over the years, but his Joe Simon/Jack Kirby stories are my favorites.

Last but not least was the Dr. Weird story, Creatures of the Night. It is a powerful little tale that pitted the Golden Ghost against a demonic Changeling that had replaced a young boy in his parent’s own house, and the dramatic rescue from the nether dimension where the boy was trapped.

Gary Carlson


Back issues for most issues are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:



Starting over? A new beginning? It didn’t really feel that way after leaving Caliber Press to join Image Comics. Most of the material in the first few issues at the Big “I” was in the works before we left Caliber. The interiors were still in color. Had we hit the big time? I don’t know. We knew that we had the chance to reach a wider audience so we just kept plugging away.

We decided to hit the ground running and lead off the new run with a few Image characters. Erik Larsen’s Mighty Man starred in volume 2 number 1, and Jim Valentino’s (Silver Age) Shadowhawk guest-starred in number 2.

Mighty Man went way back to the beginning of my career in comics – – my independent comic Megaton! The World’s Mightiest Man was present in the first batch of samples and character designs that Erik had sent me prior to our collaboration on the Vanguard stories in 1981 or so, and he first showed up in Megaton #2. Here we were, 15 years later and I was working for Erik. We did a few Vanguard mini-series, and Mighty Man was appearing in Savage Dragon.

Erik was (and is) a big fan of the original Captain Marvel. I think he grew up reading his Dad’s comics collection. Me? I started with DC’s 1970s revival (unless you count Steranko’s History of the Comics and the one page that DC allowed Jules Feiffer to reprint in The Great Comic Book Heroes) and worked my way backward.

Thunder Girl was technically Big Bang’s homage to the Big Red Cheese, but we were thrilled to get the chance to do Mighty Man. Bill Fugate’s art was as perfect for MM as it was for T-Girl. The villain of the story was the Wicked Worm, a leech that could mind-control any living being it latched on to. While obviously an homage to Cap’s own worm Mr. Mind, it also tied in to the villainous Horde that was wreaking havoc in Savage Dragon. Horde was a pile of the brain-sucking leeches. I figured that the Wicked Worm was the first of many.

My co-conspirator Chris Ecker drew a layout for the front cover and Bill Fugate finished it up beautifully. Chris also wrote and penciled a Knight Watchman story, the second feature in BB #1, which was inked by Jim Brozman. The Sinister Quizmaster introduced Nestor Whitt, a television game show writer gone bad. The Knight Watchman was forced to match wits with the Quizmaster, who had strapped the Twilight Paladin’s sidekick Kid Galahad in an electric chair. While KW evaded the villain’s questions designed to expose their secret identities, Galahad escaped and socked his captor.

Rounding out the issue was a two page Dr. Weird prose story, written by Ed DeGeorge and illustrated by Stephanie Sanderson (now Heike). In The Master of Ghosts, Dr. Rex Ward faced off against an old man with a golden amulet who called himself the Ghost Master! Although he himself was dead, the Golden Avenger was able to disobey the amulet’s power, so the old fiend called upon the ghosts of Aaron Burr, Tecumseh and Cleopatra for aid.Volume 2 number 1 was one of our strongest issues ever, but my own favorite piece in the book was (and is) the introduction on the inside front cover by Big Bang scribe Terrance Griep, Jr (also known now as the indy wrestling star Spider Baby). He introduced us and some of the characters, and told the readers what to expect in the future. Toward the end of it he wrote “If this is your first Big Bang comic, then I genuinely envy you. . . you’re about to take a thrilling journey back in time”. Do yourself a favor – click on it and read it for yourself.

See you next time.

Gary Carlson


Back issues for most issues are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store. This link will take you to the Image series, but there are also lists of the Caliber issues, Big Bang Presents, and even some Megaton back issues. Check ’em out: