“You can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you came from.”
Arkhaven Comics offers a wide variety of the very best in new comics from superheroes to YA to urban fantasy. It publishes gritty, adult adventure, and humor. But this company goes a step further, Arkhaven also honors the rich history of the American comic book.
Harlen Ellison once said, “…there are five native American art forms that we’ve given to the world: Jazz, of course. Musical comedy as we know it today. The detective story as crafted by Poe. The banjo. And comic books.”
In today’s Arktoons roundup we’ll look at just a few of the Arktoons celebrating the rich history of that American-created artform, the comic book.
Right Ho Jeeves: A Gentleman is Employed
When English humorist P.G. Wodehouse decided he wanted to get into the American market, he figured the easiest way to win over the Yanks was to invent a character that made ruthless fun of the English. He invented the all-time classic brainless aristocrat in Bertie Wooster.
However, to get Wooster out of his troubles he would get himself into, he also created the perfect gentleman’s gentleman in Jeeves. In 1916 the first Jeeves story appeared in Collier’s Magazine.
This panel is reminiscent of the illustration art that was archetypal of magazines like Collier’s when Jeeves and Wooster were at the height of their popularity during the late twenties and early thirties. These illustrations were typically rendered in dry brush with some water or gouache coloring against a white background.
These stories hold up. Even after better than a hundred years, they are still funny.
Chuck Dixon Presents: War: Show Them How to Die – On The Front Lines.
“The Legend” Chuck Dixon shares his vast treasure of comics knowledge, in Arkhaven’s Chuck Dixon Presents, series. In each episode, Dixon selects a classic Golden Age comic book from a genre that current publishers have long since abandoned.
No real infantryman will suffer the life of an “Admin Pogue” willingly. It is institutionally viewed as the vilest shame a fighting man can endure. Sergeant Shepard is a career man who fought his way through the toughest meat grinders in Italy during WWII. But now he is losing his eyesight and has been relegated to desk work while some of the worst fighting of the war is taking place at Heartbreak Ridge.
It will be somewhat amusing for the modern audience to see how much stigma was attached to wearing glasses in the early 1950s.
After Dixon selects his comic, Arkhaven goes through a careful restoration process that brings these classics comics back to life. It’s as if you had just pulled them out of the drugstore turnstile rack in 1953.
This Korean War-era comic book was drawn by Alex Toth and inked by John Celardo. Alex Toth’s would go into animation at Hanna Barbara. His later works include Space Ghost, Super Friends, Scooby-Doo. He returned to comics in the mid-1970s and died at his drawing table in 2006.
Deus Vult is written by Hispanic writer Jon Del Arroz. It follows the adventures of Sir Domingo, a Spanish knight in the First Crusade. After the capture of Antioch, he is sent home to tell the news to King Sancho and ask for reinforcements. But he is distracted from his mission by a vision of the Holy Grail and Domingo pursues his quest into a realm of magic and sorcery.
All of Deus Vult’s artwork is done in tribute to the Silver Age of Comics giant, John Buscema. His list of works at Marvel include Avengers, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and Thor. But it was with Conan the Barbarian that Buscema would have his greatest impact.
During the course of Marvel’s run of Conan the Barbarian and Savage Sword of Conan, the artist would contribute to more than one hundred issues of each title. Buscema’s artwork, helped Conan find a new and devoted generation of fans. If it had not been for him, the savage Cimmerian would probably be no better remembered today than The Spider, Master of Men or Doc Smith’s Lensmen.
This scene from Deus Vult carries the same air of mystery, wonder and adventure the 1970s Conan comics would convey.
Jon Del Arroz has done a fantastic job creating a story that has the feel of a Robert Howard world. It has the air of Solomon Kane, Kull, and Bran Mak Morn.
A Throne of Bones
And finally, in this week’s episode of a throne of Bones. The Legionaries dig in for a fight that would leave the Romans of our history longing for the howling hordes of long-haired Gauls.
When you are in the military, and you are expecting trouble. When you know it’s coming, you are so wound, it’s like you have wire tightly wound around your chest. You hear yourself breathing a lot and you feel your heart inside your chest.
Heinlein got that one right, you aren’t really scared (unless you are), you are like a racehorse in his stall waiting for the gate to open. You are in The Now like you can be in no other way in your life.
That’s it for this week’s Arktoon’s roundup. Arkhaven’s publisher promises that Arktoons content will be free to all, forever. However, if you would like to support the website, please consider buying a subscription.
See you next week.