Sep 15, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 568: My Greatest Adventure #81, August 1963

In honour of Gerard Way and Nick Derington's Doom Patrol having debuted yesterday (and my hope that I'll actually have a moment to go pick it up today), I thought I'd start reading through some of the original adventures of the team. I did a review of My Greatest Adventure #80, the first appearance of the Doom Patrol 468 days ago, so we'll start today with their second adventure in the following issue.

My Greatest Adventure, prior to the advent of the Doom Patrol, was a weird science fiction anthology title, so today's issue features both a story of the "World's Strangest Heroes" and an odd tale about men mutating into prehistoric people. This second story is illustrated by the much-revered Alex Toth, and it's an interesting and entertaining little weird tale

It should come as no surprise that I pay attention to the Doom Patrol. My affection for the team runs deep. So in today's comic, I decided to be watchful of the artwork - I know Drake's stories are strange and fun, but I didn't have any definite opinions on Premiani's work, really, so I wanted to be able to talk about it a bit. His art is an interesting juxtaposition - it seems to be both typical and atypical at the same time. While the poses and the linework are very mush indicative of this early era of the revived superhero, Premiani's art distinguishes itself, at least from much contemporary superhero art, by having distinctive and individual faces for every character. There's a couple of shots of Rita Farr that are just lovely (see below). It's not that the art is necessarily better than other art in comics of the same era, but the care given to making each character, be they star or background, individual is lovely. I notice in contemporary comics far too often that characters are often only distinguishable from one another by clothes or hair style. Here, at least, we see characters distinguished by the thing that most of us use to achieve that distinction: faces.

This panel, in particular, stood out to me. It's not exceptional, but it's a lovely piece of artwork:

"Great Starfish" indeed! More Doom Patrol tomorrow. Onward!

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