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Once Upon A Time in Battleworld: Marvel’s “1872” #1

marvel comics, secret wars, battle world, war zones, captain america, 1872

Artist Skottie Young illustrates his youthful spin on Sheriff Steve Rogers for this Marvel “1872” #1 variant cover.

Younger Than Yesterday…
Fans of artist Skottie Young can mount their hobby horses and wave their 10 gallon hats for the just revealed variant cover of Marvel Comics1872 #1 on sale July 1, 2015. I love Young’s “little kid” spin on the superheroes of Marvel. They rarely fail to make me smile. I hope his designs find their way into an expanded line of collector toys and figures.

marvel comics, secret wars, battle world, war zones, captain america, 1872

Nik Virella handles the interior art for Marvel’s “1872” #1.

Red, White, and Blue Badge of Courage…
The Secret Wars story, written by Gerry Duggan and drawn by Nik Virella, follows Steve Rogers (Captain America) as the sheriff of a small town called Timely (wink, wink) in the burgeoning American West of the 19th century. It joins the juggernaut of announced Battleworld warzones rattling the Marvel universe to shreds.

Other cover variations by artists Alex Maleev and Evan “Doc” Shaner reveal town casino kingpin Wilson Fisk, a gamma green “snake oil” elixir being brewed by a certain Dr. Bruce Banner, native American Red Wolf, and The Vision!

marvel comics, secret wars, battle world, war zones, captain america, 1872

Evan “Doc” Shaner variant cover for Marvel’s “1872” #1.


SkeletonPete Says…
Seems like time to put on an Ennio Morricone soundtrack, kick back with a shot of “rot gut”, and dig into a very different view of your favorite superheroes and villains.
marvel comics, secret wars, battle world, war zones, captain america, 1872

Marvel Comics’ “1872” #1 cover by Alex Maleev.

Strapping Young Lad: Hellboy & the B.P.R.D. (1952)

Hellboy joins the B.P.R.D. for his first mission in 1952.

Hellboy joins the B.P.R.D. for his first mission in 1952.


Portrait of the Agent as a Young Hellboy…
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola (with John Arcudi) spins up a new mini-series for Dark Horse Comics charting the earliest mission of the big red guy. It’s 1952 and the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense is adding a global vision to its explorations. They’ll be investigating the possible occult nature of mass murders in a small Brazilian mountain town and, at the urging of B.P.R.D. Director Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, taking along their until now sequestered ward.
Mike Mignola's issue #1 alternative cover art.

Mike Mignola’s issue #1 alternative cover art.


Shadows and Tall Trees…
Artist Alex Maleev (George Romero’s Empire of the Dead) renders atmospheric, “hard lit,” panels that convey the nuevo-noir feel of 1960’s – 70’s Italian giallo films like those of Mario Bava and Dario Argento. It’s an appropriate analog to Mignola’s own stark style and to my eye reminiscent of Eugene Colan’s work (Daredevil, The Tomb of Dracula) in the unabashed use of swaths of opaque black. Longtime Mignola collaborator Colorist Dave Stewart(Baltimore) heightens the effect by establishing a monochromatic pallet that makes the Hellboy’s red complection all the more incongruous and striking.

If there are any Hellboy novices left after 20 years of publication and two Guillermo del Toro films, the first issue of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1952 offers readers enough backstory to make this an easy entry point. Issue one hits comic stands on December 3, 2014 and the 5 issue mini-series will run monthly through April 2015. The tale promises to be a core addition to the HB mythos.

A look ahead to Alex Maleev's issue #3 cover art.

A look ahead to Alex Maleev’s issue #3 cover art.