Sep 24, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 212: Alien Worlds #2, May 1983

And here I was worried about what I was going to read after Age of Apocalypse. There, sitting behind the AoA section of the collection was the Bruce Jones-scripted anthology title Alien Worlds. I really like this title, and its horror cousin Twisted Tales. Jones has got a great knack for telling a short, spooky, quirky story, a la the old Steve Ditko tales that were reprinted in my Doctor Who Weeklys, and the amazing array of artists he gets to join him is a treat. Dave Stevens' art on the cover story is just...well, how about I let it speak for itself? Aurora is really something.

Now, the nice thing about the character is that, after this single cheesecake-y shot, she dons her action suit and proceeds to be something of a badass for the rest of the story. I'm hoping that it's a story that continues, because I'm kind of intrigued by the premise. The other two stories in the book are emblematic of Jones' style on this and Twisted, in that they're fairly straightforward sci-fi tales, though entertaining and well-wrought ones to be sure, with a twist at the end. Could it be that Jones is the M. Night Shyamalan of comics, though far less-maligned? A question for another day.

According to the GCD, the series ran 7 issues at Pacific and a further 2 at Eclipse. I don't have all of them, but as I'm heading up to the Edmonton Comic Con this weekend, perhaps I'll track them down. This era of speculative fiction in comics is pretty great. At this point, Heavy Metal's only a few years old, Warren's 1984 is still a fresh memory, and Epic Illustrated is in full swing, not to mention the "ground-level" comics that skewed heavily toward fantasy and science fiction. I wonder what it was about the early 80s that made so many writers and artists embrace these genres across so many levels (and, to be fair, qualities) of publishers? Backlash against the stagnation many perceived in superhero comics, perhaps. Recall, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Watchmen, and Dark Knight were a few years off at this point. Early 80 superhero comics were good, but in that amusing, campy way, still escaping the influence of the 60s Batman television show. Sci Fi and Fantasy were perhaps a good place to go if you wanted to tell intelligent and interesting stories.

First post-Age of Apocalypse comic. Feeling pretty good. Only missing the X-Men slightely. More Alien Worlds tomorrow. See you then!

(Edit: After writing this, I found out that Dave Stevens died a few years ago. His official site is still up and is well worth an hour or so of your time.)

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