Jan 13, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 323: Star*Reach #1, April 1974

Okay, first things first, I want to be quite clear that I did not put this comic up here today solely because it has pictures of naked green women on the cover.

Though I'd be lying if I said that that didn't have something to do with it. Ahhh, 70s science fiction.

Star*Reach and its ancillary publications, and those that followed it in the later 70s, are a nice example of what they themselves term "ground-level" comics. This is in response to the Undergrounds, which were a lot more political, a lot more crass, and a lot less serious. The science fiction and fantasy titles that came out of the independent market at this time were trying to tell serious, interesting stories while still remaining outside of the strictures of the mainstream press. And, by and large, they were successful.

This issue's highlights are definitely Jim Starlin's Death and God stories. I feel like there's the seeds of a series happening here, something almost along the lines of the Sandman series, where the titular characters are a common background for other stories. Of course, his art is quite spectacular, and demonstrates to me yet again that I've not given the 70s writers and artists nearly the attention I ought to have. There really were many of them attempting to push their genres, and the medium as a whole, into very interesting, and literary, realms.

I even enjoyed the Howard Chaykin "Cody Starbuck" story, though I've historically not been a fan of Chaykin's work. He's definitely got an distinctive and kind of awesome art style, but the characters he creates or applies himself to have spoken to me very little.

It was nice to find this comic in a quarter bin. It's a 4th printing, and the center pages have come loose from the staples, but it's still complete and, center aside, in really nice condition. And, as always the most important part, it's got fantastic stories inside.

And green, naked women.

More tomorrow!

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