Oct 6, 2016
The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 589: Power Man #31, May 1976
I have to say that one of the most interesting things about this comic is the coming next month box which advertises a story called "The Fire This Time," an obvious shout out to James Baldwin's seminal piece of protest literature, The Fire Next Time. I feel like I have to go back to my Baldwin before reading the next issue, just to see how the two connect.
What this does is solidify a position I've been coming to personally, though perhaps a bit late given the other writings on 70s Marvel that I've come across, that there was something rather profound going on with these writers in the Marvel bullpen. Many of the artists on Marvel properties through the 70s gained a good deal of stardom - George Perez, just to name one, continues to be a force in the industry, and has influenced countless new artists. But the writers, though their names are known, carry nowhere near as much weight as the British Invasion writers of the 80s and 90s, or the American writers who followed in their wake.
This article highlights four writers that you should pay attention to: Doug Moench, Steve Englehart, Don McGregor, and Steve Gerber. I've already waxed lyrical about Gerber numerous times on this blog, and I truly believe he's one of the great writers of American literature, let alone comics. But the other three are every bit as good, and were experimenting with the medium every bit as much, at the time. McGregor (who's our writer for today) did a spectacular run on the War of the Worlds sequel comic "Killraven, Warrior of the Worlds" in Amazing Adventures. Not only does this spiritual successor to Wells tell a remarkable post-apocalypse science fiction story, but it also features some early work by luminary P. Craig Russell. You could go much farther wrong than picking it up.
But what about today's comic? Well, if finishes off the story line of the Roach and the Piranha, and Cage saves the city from being exposed to a carcinogenic chemical that would have turned lung cancer into an epidemic. He also defeats the toothy antagonist in a battle alluded to on the cover, but nowhere near as dire as the cover makes it look.