Category Big Bang Comic News

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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Recommended Reading: Dan Reed’s Dimensioneer

Submitted for your approval:

Attention, all you Big Bangers – – the Dimensioneer is back!

The cosmic hero, who debuted in Big Bang Comics #’s 20 through 22 has returned in a fantastic mini-series published by Xomics. The Dimensioneer is a labor of love by the long-time comics pro Dan Reed, written-illustrated-lettered-and-colored by the veteran of Marvel, DC, Charlton, Image, AmeriComics as well as my own Megaton and Big Bang.

Unlike many of the Big Bang characters, the Dimensioneer is not an homage to any particular hero. He is more like an embodiment of the Silver and Bronze Age of Marvel Comics – a flawed character with a great rogues gallery featuring Dr. Insect, the Outrageous Animator, the Better Half, and master vampire Victor Vargos.

And that doesn’t even include the dark gods Maltavic and Zaltavar, or their master Ch’thulu, who is known on Earth as Satan. Or the Dimensioneer’s pals like the Great Pyramid and Bob Barricade.

Dan Reed has been previewing the stories on his website for a while now. Check them out at

http://dimensioneer.com. (While you’re there, check out the Fabulous Funnies pages for my old Nero comic strip).

The first three issues of the Dimensioneer are available right now in a limited print run of of 50 copies, and will be the only ones that have “First Printing” in the indicia, and they come with a free button!! Be a Dimensioneer! Send your $20 via Paypal to thedimensioneer@gmail.com to get all three “first printing” issues, and go through the dimensional portal to action and adventure!

After this initial print run, all subsequent copies of the books will all be labelled POD EDITION, available through Indy Planet at http://www.indyplanet.us/product/151845/ as either print-on-demand or digital downloads.

After the events in Dimensioneer #s 1 through 6, the adventures will continue in the pages of Xomics. For now, if you like exciting, fun comics then the Dimensioneer is for you! Check it out and order today! You will be glad that you did.

Gary Carlson

10/18/2017

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BB Chronological 27: BB #11 – a 70s Vibe!

Big Bang Comics #11 was published in June 1997 but the issue itself has the feel of a mid-1970s issue of DC’s Detective Comics. The lead story features the Knight Watchman, followed by a solo adventure of his former sidekick (don’t call me Kid) Galahad, now a college student at Memorial University, and the final story details the return of the Golden Age manhunter known as The Absolute!

The Knight Watchman stars in The Radical Return Of Faulty Towers, which was plotted by artist Dan Reed, and scripted by me. The main villain is F. Roark Towers, a brilliant architect who went mad when one of his creations collapsed and decided to destroy all of them.

Now an occupant at the Wertham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, he discovers that fellow inmate Chester Katz, aka the infamous Cheshire Cat had stolen and sold one of his recent blueprints and that the new building is set to open the next day. Towers breaks free to destroy the “stolen” structure.

Towers, decked out in a fancy costume with a jetpack sets demolition charges throughout the building. Luckily, the Knight Watchman is on the job and rescues the dishonest owners of the structure in his Flying Shield, and Towers is captured, thanks to the interference of the wacky Cheshire Cat.

One of my favorite things about this story is that we get to see the Watchman in his real identity as fashion designer Reid Randall, prepping a line of women’s clothes for a fashion show with his mother, Ma Randall.

Next up is Galahad, the former Kid Whiz in The Library Looter. Written by Terrance Griep, Jr., the story details a treasure hunt on the campus where college freshman Jerry (Galahad) Randall is enrolled. It seems the founder of the college left a hidden treasure somewhere and everyone from students to a biker gang are trashing the campus trying to find it. Luckily, Galahad is on hand to help keep the peace and to apprehend the villainous librarian who is out to find and keep the treasure.

This is one of my favorite Big Bang tales of all time, for no other reason than than the art by David Zimmermann (with inks by Jim Brozman) is so wonderfully close to Irv Novick’s style. I think I’ve mentioned before that Chris Ecker and I started doing Knight Watchman and Ultiman as fun Golden Age back-ups, but some submissions from Mr. Zimmermann led me to believe that we could pull off ghosting all eras. In fact, one of Dave’s earlier pieces, a Knight Watchman pin-up from two years earlier, again ably inked by Jim Brozman.

Thanks again, Dave. If only Big Bang had been making money. Just imagine the fantastic stuff we could have done with Dave, Jeff Weigel, Bill Fugate, Ben Torres, Chris Ecker and the others.

Speaking of fantastic stuff, the final tale in BB #11 stars The AbsoluteHe’s The Last Word In Justice! Written by Daniel Wilson with art by Darren Goodhart, it’s a wonderful homage/pastiche/tribute to Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s Manhunter stories from Detective Comics. The story introduces readers to the Absolute, a Golden Age hero and Axis fighter who had been kidnapped from his hidden Himalayan fortress in Nepal by a criminal organization to steal his secrets. The tale has twists and turns; both the art and story are a love letter to Archie & Walt. Even better, the Absolute returned a few issues later.

Next time: Big Bang Comics #12 – – part one of the Savage Dragon crossover!

Gary Carlson

9/5/2017

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, Galahad and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. The Absolute and related characters are © and TM Darren Goodhart and Daniel Wilson. Faulty Towers 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 26: BB #10 – Turtle Power Manga!

May of 1997 was a pretty great time for me. Big Bang Comics was still chugging away at Image Comics, where I was currently writing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Erik Larsen’s Highbrow imprint. Plus we were getting set to issue the Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift mini-series which had begun in our waning days at Caliber Press but had never been concluded. All was well. And it all intersected in May 1997 with a sort of crossover between Big Bang #10 and TMNT #9.

I had asked for and received permission to guest star the Knight Watchman in the pages of TMNT. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were also kind enough to let the turtles appear in the pages of Big Bang. Thanks again, guys.

A little background here. TMNT began life as a parody of a number of comics of the early 1980s, including Frank Miller’s work on Daredevil and Ronin. The Foot Clan was a play on the evil ninja gang the Hand. Et cetera. Our upcoming Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift books were done as an homage to Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and Sin City titles.

Ben Torres, the artist on KW: Graveyard Shift kicked things off with the wrap-around cover for BB #10 featuring Galahad, Splinter and the Foot Clan, with the Watchman looking on. It’s one of my all time favorite BB covers. What can I say – – Robin was my favorite character growing up and Kid Galahad was my homage to my hero. And I love Ben’s artwork!

The story itself was told in the style of Frank Miller’s Daredevil work and set in the 1980s. No longer a kid, Galahad was grown up, married and tracking down a mysterious hired killer named the Headhunter who had murdered a friend of his. His search led him to a cheap motel room in New York City. Bursting in, he faces off against an unfazed Japanese crime lord that turns out to be a master of ninjitsu. Galahad uses a taser on him, only to discover that he wasn’t the Headhunter. A woman that Galahad had presumed to be a prostitute was.

Their fight is epic, and takes them out to the street where they are surrounded by an army of ninjas – – the Foot Clan. Their leader, and Headhunter’s latest target was Oraku Saki, also known as the Shredder. In the melee, she escapes and Galahad is overwhelmed and dumped in a sewer to drown. Instead, he was found by four very young turtles and their master, Splinter, who patches up the White Knight, provides an antidote for the poisoned arrows in his back and sends him on his way.

Galahad follows a trail of dead ninja to Foot Clan HQ, where Shredder has subdued Headhunter by breaking her fingers and severing the tendons in her hand. Galahad insists on taking her in as his prisoner, but underestimates Headhunter again and she escapes.

The story was penciled by Clarence Burk and inked by Jim Brozman and has a nice 80s Frank Miller feel, especially the interior shots with backgrounds lit by venetian blinds. I have always been especially proud of the TMNT segment with its extensive zipatones to give that section a murky feel.

Just for the record, Headhunter was a tip of the hat to the first comics story that Chris Ecker and I had worked on. A villain by that name starred in the Crusader/Sentinel story from Megaton #1.

The Crusader later morphed into the Knight Watchman which led to the creation of Big Bang Comics. Also, there’s nothing in this story that spells it out, but my intention was that Headhunter would have been Pimiko’s mother over in our TMNT continuity.

Switching over to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9 which takes place 10 or 15 years later, Leonardo has arrived in Midway City, where a “bat plague” is changing normal citizens into bat creatures. Leo figures correctly that the plague is being passed on by his Master Splinter, who had been mutated into a giant bat by synthetic mutagen.

In Midway City, Leo runs into Galahad, who has assumed the Knight Watchman identity. They track down the bats’ HQ and release a gas bomb containing the antidote to the rabies which Splinter has passed on to his followers. We had a lot of fun with the bat imagery in a KW story with pencils by Frank Fosco, inks by Andrew Pepoy, and letters by Chris Eliopoulos. Cover inks were by the boss, Erik Larsen.

Back in BB #10, another Knight Watchman story appeared. It was a real departure for us, in that it was very influenced by the Japanese manga comics. Chris Ecker and I had met a 15 year old artist at a St. Louis Comic Convention the year before. His name was Chris “Skippy” Samnee and we were knocked out by his talent and enthusiasm. He reminded us of another young guy we’d worked with ten years earlier named Rob Liefeld.

Knight Watchmanga was plotted by Chris and Chris that day. Chris Samnee drew it up soon after and I dialogued it. The story took place in Japan, where the commercial airplane that Reid and Jerry Randall were riding in crash lands in a city.

I believe it was Chris’ first published comics work. His style evolved into a more mainstream style, and he drew another story for BB a while later in the Whiz Kids Special. Then it was off to Marvel Comics and the big time for Chris Samnee, although I still tend to think of him as Skippy, and have a folder full of fun drawings and sketches by him.

Next up in Big Bang #10 was Speed Queen’s Strange Revenge, a two page prose piece by Terrance Griep, Jr. starring the Golden Age Blitz. In it, the Blitz and his girl friend confront Boss Nero, who has been stealing uranium. It was Nero who had shot Louise Darnell years earlier, necessitating a blood transfusion from the Blitz that turned Louise into the Maid of Motion.

Featuring spot illustrations by Shawn Van Briesen, the Blitz kept side-tracking Speed Queen, fearing that she might seek revenge on Nero. Instead, he is amazed when she thanks him for changing and improving her life.

The last feature in BB #10 was a preview of the upcoming comic book The Invincibles by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler. Rich was a favorite of mine, having watched him progress from some Robin back-up stories to the Avengers and eventually creating Deathlok. Rich had done a 3 pager for Big Bang #4 and was doing a cover for the upcoming Savage Dragon/Big Bang storyline and it was fun to be able to be able to do him a favor. It was a fun book – – well worth tracking down.

Gary Carlson

7/10/2017

Big Bang Comics and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. TMNT and related characters are © and TM Viacom International, created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The Invincibles are © and TM Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler. Koichi Kanzaki is © and TM by Chris Samnee.

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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Have A Happy 4th!

Have a safe and happy 4rth of July. Here’s one of our more patriotic heroes – Miss Firecracker! The top piece was penciled by Mike Worley and inked by Jeff Austin. The star was a drop in for the cover of Big Bang Presents #1 by Mark Lewis, where the above pin-up appeared. Mike W and I were working on a Miss F story that was unfortunately never finished. Finally, a pin-up Mark did a while back for his very fun website – http://marklewisdraws.com/ – check it out!

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BB Chronological 25: BB #9 – Sphinx! Blitz! Sub! Doc W!

BB #9 was the third “non-traditional” issue of Big Bang Comics in a row. By that I mean that it was another issue without a regular BB character featured on the cover or the inside of the book. Erik Larsen’s Mighty Man had starred on the cover of #7 which also contained Shanghai Breeze and the monster story I Met Oogur From Outer Space before the Knight Watchman showed up. Issue #8 had been cover to cover Mister U.S. – a non Big Bang character (although definitely the BB style treatment).

A brand new character, Jeff Weigel’s the Sphinx was the star of Big Bang #9, on the front cover and the lead-off story. Jeff had drawn the Ultiman/Knight Watchman team-up back in BB #3, and I wrote a bit about meeting him six blogs back in BB Chronological #19. The first art samples Jeff had shown me were two complete Sphinx issues, which blew me away. He offered them for sale in an ad back in #3, but both were later printed as future issues of Big Bang.

This time around, Jeff wrote a brand new 8 pager, Deeds of the Doomsayer to introduce the Sphinx to BB readers. Being a winged character, we figured that he fit right into the Big Bang continuity as a Hawkman-ish character.

The Sphinx was Peter Chefren, originally from a parallel Earth where ancient Egypt had conquered the globe and was now searching for other worlds to conquer. Chefren used his advanced science and technology to block his people from tracing him and locating this Earth, as well as becoming a super-hero and humanitarian. However, a madman known as the Doomsayer developed a teleportation device to kidnap criminals from death row, that also opens a portal to the Sphinx’s home world.

Jeff’s writing is as wonderful as his art and he became a mainstay of the Big Bang Gang. In fact, he was the cover artist for Big Bang Universe #3, published by AC Comics, which is on sale right now and recently became the artist on the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate.

The other three heroes featured in BB #9 were long time Big Bang characters that had already appeared a number of times: the Blitz, the Atomic Sub, and Dr. Weird.

First up was an awesome adventure of the World’s Fastest Human – – the Blitz! The Amazing Menace of Pain Glass was plotted and drawn by Dan Reed, with additional dialoguing by myself. Dan Reed was one of the first artists I had worked with back in Megaton #1 in the early 1980s. He had gone on to do a bunch of work for Marvel UK and others. By this time in 1997, he had been self publishing his own titles, New World Order and Retro-Dead and we had recently worked together on my Berzerker comic at Caliber Press.

Dan’s work is always fun, and this little story is one of my favorites from over 25 years of Big Bang Comics. Scientist Elmer Payne was buried beneath molten radioactive glass and transformed into a being of living glass. Adopting the name Pain Glass, he naturally turned to a life of crime. While the art doesn’t scream Carmine Infantino at me, Dan captures the essence of the Silver Age Flash stories in a way I can only dream of.

Dan Reed was back a few issues later with a Knight Watchman story before creating the Dimensioneer, which has become his life work. If you want to have some real fun, check out his website at http://dimensioneer.com. While you’re there, check out my old Nero comic strip in the Fabulous Funnies section.

Next up is the Atomic Sub in The Four SeaHorsemen of the Apocalypse. This is the same character that was known as the Human Sub back in the Golden Age. This tale is set in the early Silver Age and features his young granddaughter Moray before she became a hero and joined the Whiz Kids and Bubbles the Sea Monkey.

The script, written by Bud Hanzel, features a team of underwater explorers who discover an Atlantean treasure chest. Unfortunately, it contains pendants that transform the four companions into the aquatic versions of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – War, Death, Famine and Pestilence. It’s up to Noah Talbot, aka the Atomic Sub to save the day.

The story was penciled by Stephanie Sanderson (Heike), with inks by Mike Matthew and letters by Susan Dorne. I have always loved Stephanie’s art and it’s a shame we didn’t get more work her way at Big Bang. She had her own wonderful style but at that point we were trying hard to ghost specific styles and the loss was definitely ours. Sorry Steph.

The final story starred Dr. Weird and actually was a reprint from the 1960s. Written by by Raymond Miller, with art by Landon Chesney, The Slaves of the She Beast originally appeared in an issue of Star-Studded Comics. The she beast in the title is a werewolf, who has been kept chained and enslaved by her husband for forty years and now seeks her revenge.

Dr. Weird was also present on the inside front cover in an illustration by David Zimmermann. Once again, I misspelled his name as Zimmerman, leaving out the second N. I don’t know how many times I actually did it but I felt pretty stupid when Dave eventually pointed it out to me. Sorry again for that, Dave.

Finally, the outside back cover featured the sort of crossover between two books I was writing at Image in those days – – the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9 and Big Bang Comics #10. More on those in the next installment of The BANG! See you then.

Gary Carlson

6/28/2017

Big Bang Comics and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Dr. Weird was created by Howard Keltner and is © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Edward DeGeorge. The Sphinx and related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel.

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

The Sphinx trade paperback by Jeff Weigel is available from Pulp 2.0 at Amazon.com for $8.99 at: https://www.amazon.com/Sphinx-Big-Bang-Comics-Collection/dp/1490316825/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498673827&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Sphinx+-+Jeff+Weigel

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In Stores Now! Big Bang Universe #3 from AC Comics!

Big Bang Universe 3

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