BB Chronological 38: Knight Watchman #2

By Gary Carlson

I am as proud of the four part Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift saga as anything else I have written or been a part of in the comic book industry. KW:GS was a collaboration between Chris Ecker, Ben Torres and myself. I may be wrong, but I believe that my scripting contribution, especially here in part 2, was mostly in the Galahad sections.

This is a dark story, but it’s also quite fun. The Knight Watchman has come out of retirement after five years because his former partner, and successor, Galahad was injured and criminals are running amuck in Midway City. However, after a night on the town chasing crooks, he’s ready for a rest. Unfortunately, he discovers that one of the hoods that he turned over to a police officer was beaten to death and the cop is blaming the Watchman.

Once more into the fray, we follow the Knight into his old headquarters, the Watchtower, where all of his uniforms and equipment have been stored in mothballs and boxes by Galahad. He locates his motorcycle, the Iron Horse and heads out to discover why Officer Hartle was framing him for murder.

We, as readers, have already seen Hartle collecting his payoff from the nefarious Pink Flamingo, who is also responsible for Galahad‘s injury, Midway City’s crime wave, and is partnering with acting Mayor John Princeton to put vigilantes like Galahad and the Knight Watchman out of business.

The Mayor wants Galahad to join the police and run the Badge program – – armored super-hero cops which Mayor Princeton will use to clean up the crime wave – – including the Flamingo – – and ensure his reelection.

Meanwhile, the Knight Watchman has tracked down Officer Hartle to a room in a skyscraper high above Midway City, but when he opens the window to pay a visit to the dirty cop he flips a tripwire. Unfortunately, it’s not an alarm. It’s a bomb. BOOOOM!

The second story in the issue explores a bit of the history between the Knight Watchman and his partner Kid Galahad.

Penciled by Chris Ecker and inked by Jim Brozman, “The Pink Flamingo’s Kid Sidekick” details how the Pink Flamingo, tired of being outnumbered two to one by the Knight and his squire, decides to take on a junior partner of his own. An easy chore for the Fagin-ish criminal who controls a gang of street urchins.

Soon, the Knight Watchman and Galahad interrupt the Flamingo as he robs a museum, accompanied by his new partner. The Pigeon is older, bigger and stronger than Galahad, but the Kid Whiz has years of training and easily defeats his opponent. The Pink Flamingo escapes, only to reappear soon enough with a new and improved Pigeon – – a girl!

“Jeepers – I can’t fight a girl,” says Galahad before discovering that she is a he; a boy wearing a wig – and bombs in his brassiere. The Flamingo escapes, ditching his sidekick who in turn helps our heroes. He and Galahad trade uniforms, and when next they meet the Flamingo is flattened by his own sidekick.

Next up in the issue is a Ben Torres’ Sketchbook, showing Ben’s original designs of all the main characters, some used and some unused, going back to the Knight Watchman’s original design with an eyeball as his chest symbol.

Finally, the issue ends with a back cover by Ban Torres featuring the Knight Watchman facing off against a super-cop Badge in a nice homage to Frank Miller.

Gary Carlson

9/19/2018

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

The Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift trade paperback from Pulp 2.0 Press which collects all four issues is available on Amazon.com at:

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Watchman-Graveyard-Chris-Ecker/dp/1481885340/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536016616&sr=8-1&keywords=knight+watchman

BB Chronological 37: Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #1

By Gary Carlson

Time for a detour.

The last episode of this blog was about Big Bang Comics #20, but instead of moving on to the next issue, it’s time to play a little “catch up”.

If you recall, Big Bang started out as a series of back-up stories in my Berzerker comic book, published by Gauntlet Comics/Caliber Press starting in 1993. (If you don’t recall, you can go back to earlier BANG blogs #s 4 through 15 and read all about the good old days).

The retro back-up stories proved so popular that we spun them off into their own book, Big Bang Comics, which celebrated and paid homage to the comic book artists and writers of the Golden and Silver Ages. When our deal at Caliber soured, Erik Larsen invited Chris Ecker and myself to move Big Bang to Image Comics, which we did in 1996.

The move to Image was a good deal for us and meant higher visibility for Big Bang, but it also messed up the schedules of our other titles, Dr. Weird and Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift.

Ed DeGeorge self published two more issues of Dr. Weird through his October Comics imprint. Two issues of Graveyard Shift had already been published by Caliber Press, but the final two were put on hold as we attempted to establish Big Bang at Image.

Now, two years and 20 issues later, the Knight Watchman’s time to shine had arrived again. The decision was made to publish Graveyard Shift as intended, a four issue mini-series, reprinting the first two issues with new covers and back-up stories.

Knight Watchman #1 was published by Image Comics in June of 1998. We dropped Graveyard Shift from the title to avoid confusion with the Caliber series. It featured a new front cover by series artist Ben Torres, a new 1938 styled back-up drawn by John Thompson, and a back cover by Mark Lewis.

The main story was the the same one from the Caliber issue. In it, the Mayor of Midway City was severely wounded in an assassination attempt, along with Midway’s guardian angel, Galahad. The newly appointed acting Mayor, John Princeton wants no vigilantes in his city and offers the injured hero the opportunity to join the police department as the head of the new Badge unit, one man swat teams of the department’s own costumed officers. Either accept the offer or retire, because vigilantes will no longer be tolerated in Midway City.

One catch – Galahad would have to reveal his civilian identity to the Mayor, but he doesn’t think his mentor the Knight Watchman would like that idea. And that is true, especially since the acting Mayor is in cahoots with the Watchman’s arch enemy, the Pink Flamingo.

With Galahad in the hospital, the crime rate is soaring in Midway City. The acting Mayor’s plan is to restore order with the Badge unit and get re-elected. Unknown to him, the Flamingo wants to ruin the Badge program and discover Galahad and his former partner’s true identities.

What none of them counts on is the Knight Watchman coming out of retirement after five years to take on the rampaging criminals. All over town he takes on one punk after another, leaving them tied up for the cops. Unfortunately, the end of the issue finds KW handing off a thug to an officer that is one of Mayor Princeton’s crooked cops, who proceeds to beat the crap out of the prisoner, saying “It looks like you picked the wrong night to mess with the Knight Watchman – – he didn’t realize how rough he was on you!” To be continued.

When Chris and I set out to create KW: Graveyard Shift, our inspiration was Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. We had been paying homage to Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Shelly Moldoff, Dick Sprang and others, but now it was time to reference a modern master. When we had received art samples from Ben Torres, we knew we had found the right artist.

Graveyard Shift grew out of one of the original back-up stories in Berzerker #4 from 1993 titled Brother ‘Hood. It was a sly modern take on the Robin Hood legend. Once we saw Ben Torres’ final art for the story, we decided to tie it into the Knight Watchman mythos and give it the Frank Miller treatment.

I don’t know about Chris, but I had not read Sin City in 1993 and was thinking Dark Knight Returns all the way. But Ben had, and he gave Graveyard Shift its “Batman in Sin City” look and edge, transforming it beyond a Dark Knight pastiche. Thanks Ben.

In addition to drawing comics, Ben Torres was also a designer for Hasbro Toy Group on such lines as Star Wars, GI Joe, Batman, Starting Line Up, Pokemon, Aliens, Predator, Monsters Inc, Planet of the Apes, and others. He also served as creative consultant on various TV series such as GI Joe, Vor-Tech and Transformers, and contributed concept designs and story content for various movies such as Star Wars, Men In Black and Jurassic Park. More recently he has worked on Daredevil and Kingpin for Marvel, and on numerous projects with Roger McKenzie and the Charlton Arrow.

The back-up story for this issue was brand new, a Knight Watchman adventure done in a 1938 Bob Kane style by John Thompson detailing the first meeting between the KW and Pinkerton Fleming, a.k.a. the Pink Flamingo. I have to admit that while I wrote the script, I stole the basic idea from a pulp story that Chris Ecker had started. Sorry Chris.

The back cover, of Deductive Comics #30, was penciled, inked and colored by Mark Lewis, and was purported to have been the cover of the issue that the back-up story originally appeared in.

All in all, one of my favorite Big Bang issues ever. Truthfully, all four issues of Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift have always been at the top of my list. Next time – – KW:GS #2.

Gary Carlson

9/3/2018

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

The Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift trade paperback from Pulp 2.0 Press which collects all four issues is available on Amazon.com at:

https://www.amazon.com/Knight-Watchman-Graveyard-Chris-Ecker/dp/1481885340/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1536016616&sr=8-1&keywords=knight+watchman

BB Chronological 36: Big Bang #20 – The Free and the Brave!

By Gary Carlson

The only involvement I had with this particular issue of Big Bang Comics was as editor-in-chief, and acting as a sounding board to the three talented writer/artists who created the stories.

Big Bang #20 features a front cover by one of my all-time favorite BB artists – – David Zimmermann. It features the Knight Watchman and the Blitz, and is an extension of the main story, “D Is For Daughter, Deceit And Death.” It is an homage to the Bob Haney/Jim Aparo Brave & the Bold stories of the 1970s which co-starred the Batman with other DC Comics heroes.

Our team-up, called the Free & the Brave, was written and drawn by Chris Khalaf, making (I think) his only appearance in the pages of Big Bang Comics. I have always felt that it was one of the most successful approximations that we ever produced.

In the story, the Knight Watchman goes undercover in search of Linda Taylor, the daughter of a friend of his alter-ego Reid Randall. Linda has been kidnapped, with a one million dollar ransom request for her safe return. The Watchman’s disappearance is noted by local villains in Midway City, and crime is on the rise until the Blitz turns up to fill in for the missing Twilight Paladin.

Meanwhile, the Knight Watchman has tracked down the missing Linda Taylor, who is the brains behind her own kidnapping and planning to use the million dollars to finance a terrorist crime wave to rebel against her capitalist father. Shades of Patty Hearst! The Blitz turns up in the nick of time to help the Watchman arrest the angry heiress and put an end to her reign of terror.

Jeff Weigel’s Sphinx returns to the pages of Big Bang Comics in “On The Trail Of The Doomsayer.” In this mini classic, the Sphinx’s search for the missing Professor Demios has taken him to Jefferson University, where the eccentric, unstable genius used to teach. Demios disappeared after an explosion in his robotics lab on the college campus a few years earlier, only to have resurfaced in Big Bang Comics #9 as the evil Doomsayer, who had transferred the brains of condemned killers into robots.The Sphinx thwarted Demios then, and is looking to stop him again.

At the university, prodigy graduate student Allison Kane is assigned to guide Peter (the Sphinx) Chefren around the campus. She takes him to the school’s ugly new mechanical engineering building, which turns out to be a giant robot controlled by the Doomsayer.

As the Avian Ace battles and distracts Professor Demios, Allison uses one of the Sphinx’s spare helmets to damage the robot’s gears, immobilizing it. Then the Sphinx takes control of the robot, defeating it and humiliating Demios at the same time. Finally, Peter Chefren offers Allison a job after she graduates from the university.

Jeff Weigel is an amazing storyteller, writer and artist. Everything he does is fantastic, including the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate, which Jeff is currently drawing.

The complete collection of Sphinx stories, part of The Big Bang Comics Collection published by Pulp 2.0, is available at Amazon.com. I highly recommend them to anyone who loves comics. Check it out at:

https://www.amazon.com/Sphinx-Big-Bang-Comics-Collection/dp/1490316825/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533239299&sr=8-1&keywords=the+sphinx+-+big+bang+comics

The third and final story in the issue introduced a brand new hero to the Big Bang Comics universe – – the dynamic Dimensioneer! This brand new hero is just learning to use his powers, which include creating dimensional portals that allow him to warp himself or anything else to another location.

Created, written and drawn by Dan Reed, the Dimensioneer is not an homage to, or based on any existing heroes from comics’ Gold or Silver Ages. Yet, like the Sphinx, both have the look, feel and heart of classic, timeless comic books.

In this tale, the Dimensioneer faces a villain known as The Outrageous Animator who has the ability to bring inanimate objects to life to do his bidding. He starts by animating the safe of a bank he is robbing, ordering it to walk away with his ill-gotten gains. At this point the Dimensioneer shows up and foils that robbery by creating a portal in the ground and trapping the safe in a hole. Angry, the Animator causes a building to come to life and attack our hero. During that battle, the villain escapes with the safe, leaving the Dimensioneer disappointed in himself.

Dan Reed has been my good friend for over 35 years, dating back to Megaton #1 in the early 1980s. He’s been tweaking names and making a few edits in his Dimensioneer canon in recent years, including coloring the stories. Check out his website at www.dimensioneer.com, or click here to view this story featuring The Outrageous Animator in beautiful full color:

http://www.dimensioneer.com/animator%20soap.htm

You can also buy print editions or digital downloads of Dan’s Dimensioneer books at IndyPlanet. Check them out here at http://www.indyplanet.us/dimensioneer-1/

The fun continues on the inside and outside back covers, featuring the photos of the cast of Phil Cable’s “Knights of Justice” film, featuring Ultiman, Knight Watchman, Thunder Girl and the new character Masker. An unsold pilot, it’s fun to see our characters come to life. You can view a clip of it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwI5sr0F-ZI

or order the film from Dichiera Productions through the Big Bang website: http://bigbangcomics.com/knights-of-justice-the-big-bang-movie/

See you next time.

Gary Carlson

8/3/2018

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, the Blitz and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. The Sphinx and all related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel. The Dimensioneer and all related characters are © and TM Dan Reed.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 35: BB #19 – TOP SECRET ORIGINS!

By Gary Carlson

Big Bang Comics #19, published in June of 1998 by Image Comics was the second issue to be subtitled TOP SECRET ORIGINS. The first had been BB #5 two years earlier. That issue had starred Ultiman, Knight Watchman and the Silver Age Blitz,

This particular issue didn’t contain any of Big Bang’s headliners, but it did expand our horizons and started to pave the way for the two volumes of HISTORY OF BIG BANG COMICS that would be printed in the next year.

The three heroes featured on the front cover by Jeff Weigel, and whose origins were presented in BB #19 were both the Golden and Silver Age Beacons, and the Silver Age Hummingbird.

The Golden Age (GA from now on) Beacon had previously appeared in a few earlier issues. There was a text piece from our very first issue from Caliber Press, plus he was a part of the 3rd Caliber issue featuring THE CRISS-CROSS CRISIS (a classic story reprinted in #6 of the Image series).

The original Beacon also appeared as a back cover pin-up by Golden Age great Mart Nodell in Image BB #2, and also in a chapter of the Knights of Justice story in Image #4, also drawn by Mart Nodell,

Nodell had co-created (with Bill Finger) the Beacon’s inspiration, DC’s original Green Lantern in 1940. Mart and his wife Carrie were fixtures at Comic Conventions in the 1980s and 90s, and it was always fun to visit with them (and fellow Golden Age legend Sheldon Moldoff and his wife Shirley). It was fun that they each did some work for the early issues of Big Bang (or “The Bang” as Carrie always called it – which is where the title of this blog came from).

The GA Beacon’s origin here in BB #19 was written by Bud Hanzel, who had scripted most of the character’s other appearances mentioned above. This particular story tells how geologist Scott Martin discovered a subterranean city and was thrown into a prison as a spy. There he finds that a dictator has taken over the underground kingdom using a fragment of the powerful Ko-Dan crystal to control the inhabitants’ minds.

Scott Martin escapes from prison and ends up battling the usurper Tyrnos, who uses the power of the crystal to subjugate Martin. A battle of wills develops and Martin wins. The jewel was capable of emitting multi-colored beams of radiation, each of which bestowed a different ability. One enabled him to fly. Another made him strong, while a third made him bulletproof. Yet another produced a heat ray.

He affixes the crystal to his mining helmet and returns to the surface world, adopting the guise of the Light of Justice – The Beacon! Layouts for this story were by Stephanie Sanderson, with finished pencils and letters by Chris Ecker and inks by Jim Brozman.

When Chris Ecker originally designed the character, he adopted many of the visuals of the original Green Lantern, but added the miners helmet in a nod to the GA Flash.

The second origin story in this issue stars the Silver Age Hummingbird in, naturally, The Hummingbird’s First Flight! In it, ornithologist Alan Laurel and his girlfriend Margaret Silver are hiking in the woods outside of Circle City in search of a new breed of Hummingbird that has been sighted. Instead, they witness the Mayor of said city being kidnapped, shrunk and taken aboard a miniature alien spaceship.

They find the shrinking device and follow the aliens into the tiny ship, where they discover the aliens are the Kr’wallian race, micro-fascists from another galaxy. They have been kidnapping and brainwashing Earth’s leaders, who will be programmed to surrender when the invasion begins. Alan garbs himself in an alien spacesuit and the pair rescue Mayor Hughes.

Alan fights off the aliens while Margaret and the Mayor escape and return to normal size. However, the size changing device and the alien ship are damaged, and the aliens fly off, leaving Alan Laurel trapped at a height of six inches tall. Since the alien suit allows him to fly and communicate with certain birds, he adopts the identity of the Hummingbird to fight crime.

The Hummingbird’s First Flight! was written by Terrance Griep Jr., with art by Jeff Weigel. While clearly intended as an avatar of the Atom, Terrance also wove some aspects of Ant Man and the Wasp into the mix.

The third and final story in Big Bang Comics #19 features the origin of the SilverAge Beacon, in a story by Bud Hanzel, pencils by Carl Taylor, with inks by Mike Matthew and Tim Stiles. Set in the early 1960s, Dr. Julia Gardner witnesses a flying saucer crashing. Inside, she discovers an injured alien who urges Julia to take the jewel that has apparently powered the ship.

The alien disintegrates, and Julia wraps the glowing gem in the alien’s clothing. Heading back to her car to inform the authorities, the spaceship blows up. Heading back to her lab, the energy from the jewel encases the car in a yellow glow, causing it to car fly through the air! Back at the lab,she and her assistant study the jewel, which only seems to work for Julia – endowing her with special powers connected to the colors of the spectrum.

As they work, a news flash on the radio tells of another spaceship outside of Gateway City – this one bent on conquering the Earth! Using the alien uniform,the power gem and some safety goggles to hide her identity, Julia flies off to help the army, calling herself the Beacon!

The army, led by Julia’s boyfriend Capt. Jordan Stuart are getting their butts kicked by the Synestrom invaders until the Beacon shows up and starts kicking Synestrom ass. Purple force fields, yellow flight rays, green strength beams from the amazing crystal make the Beacon a force to be reckoned with.

The invaders recognize the Beacon’s outfit and jewel as coming from their enemies the Dextrons, who had come to protect the Earth. When the Beacon discovers that the Synestroms destroyed the Dextron ships, she obliterates their weapons and flings their ship out of our solar system. And best of all – Julia’s boyfriend Captain Stuart didn’t recognize her in her Beacon gear. The Beacon was here to stay.

I guess that I have always felt that the Beacons were a bit too close to their inspirations, but always enjoyed Carl Taylor’s very Gil Kaney art on the character and this story. The Silver Age Beacon had appeared previously in issues 3 and 4 of the Caliber Press Big Bang mini-series (and the reprint in #6 of the Image run).

There were two other fun things that appeared at the end of the issue.

Major Discovery, one of the comic strips that Chris Ecker and I had created appeared on the inside back cover to fill space above a 3/4 page ad from Bill Schelly’s Hamster Press.

And there was an ad on the outside back cover for Mark Lewis’ Bugboy comic, alongside one for Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #2, both soon to be published by Image Comics.

That’s the end of the story on Big Bang #19. Remember, back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

Until next time. . . .

Gary Carlson

6/16/2018

Big Bang Comics, the Beacons, Hummingbird and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Knight Watchman is a registered trademark of Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Bugboy is © and TM Mark Lewis.

Big Bang Role Playing Game

By Gary Carlson

For those of you who’ve asked about a Big Bang Comics role playing game,

check out Scott Casper’s HIDEOUTS & HOODLUMS Supplement V featuring the Big Bang Universe. Only $6 for the digital version! For information and previews, check it out at:

http://drivethrurpg.com/product/157126/Supplement-V-Big-Bang

BB Chronological 34: BB #18 – End Of Time Being!

By Gary Carlson

The front cover to Big Bang #18 was penciled and inked by Dave Cockrum, featuring Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon fighting the Pantheon of Heroes. It should be noted that Cockrum’s original version contained Thunder Girl, but he was kind enough to provide me the Ultragirl art to patch on that I requested for some reason no longer known to me. Both versions are reprinted here.

I was a big fan of Dave’s, especially his run on the Legion of Super-Heroes, and this issue gave me the opportunity to provide homages to three separate eras of the LSH, one of my favorite comics growing up and of all time.

It was truly an honor for this fanboy to get the chance to work with Dave, and he was good natured enough to draw these Pantheon characters, designed by Mark Lewis and Darren Goodhart with an eye toward Cockrum’s work on the Legion and other projects over the years.

Recap time.

The time-bomb strapped to Savage Dragon’s chest has taken him on a journey through Big Bang’s history, but has finally landed him millions of years in the desolate future! At the end of Part Two in BB #14, Dragon met the Time Being, a seemingly benevolent immortal who has collected mankind’s greatest artistic and scientific achievements in his Palace at the End of Time. However, as that issue ended, Dragon discovered a machine that was draining the life and energy out of dozens of versions of Ultiman!

End of recap. Whew.

Now, as Big Bang Comics #18 opens, Dragon discovers that the Ultimen are not from various times and parallel Earths as he originally thought, but are replicants of Clone Boy, a hero from the future’s Pantheon of Heroes who has been forced to duplicate Ultiman’s DNA over and over so the Time Being can steal and stockpile the atomic energy. His plan – – to go back to the beginning of time to create his own Big Bang, establishing himself as God!

Chapter 1 in BB #18 is End of Time and was told in our best Jack Kirby/Fourth World style, penciled by Joe Zierman with inks by Steve Collins and Mike Matthew. And in true DC/Kirby tradition, I had Jeff Weigel redraw a number of Ultiman’s heads in his best Curt Swan/Murphy Anderson style and dropped them on top of the Kirby art.

In it, we (and Dragon) discover that the Time Being is actually an anomaly created when villain Grandfather Clock traveled through time and met himself. He was a watcher – unable to interact with the world at large until he stole the Infinity Orb, and became master of time and space.

Clone Boy turns himself into Ultiman one last time and then into the Time Being. Unfortunately, this also duplicates the energy of the Infinity Orb, causing an explosion that will travel back through time. Dragon escapes into a Time Tunnel, heading back to the past to stop this deadly future from unfolding, closely followed by the beautiful and deadly Oblivia, whose kiss brings not only death but erases the victim from ever having existed.

Now we check in with an appearance by two members of the Pantheon of Heroes from five seconds earlier. They are unaware of the Time Being, but have been keeping track of Dragon, who they call the Time Bomber, because the time device strapped to his chest has been weakening the time-stream. Unfortunately, Snowstar and Galactic Lad are the first victims of the Big Bang at the end of time. Art by Jason Howard.

The TimeStorm backlash moves on its way back through time, to wipe out an earlier era of the Pantheon in 2969. Clone Boy, Brain Boy, Anti-Matter Lad and the rest are destroyed, but Tele-Girl escapes to the past using a time-pill to find help. The art on this one pager was by Jeff Weigel.

Meanwhile, Dragon is racing back through time, harassed by the Time Being and chased by Oblivia. Just as she catches up to him and prepares to erase Dragon from existence, he snags a ride on a passing time ship and escapes – only to find himself facing the killer cyborg known as Berzerker in the year 2150. Ducking a fight, Dragon plays dead and hitches another ride on the time traveling cyborg’s time sphere in this section penciled by Jason Millet and inked by Jim Brozman.

And where Dragon went next is a mystery, in this issue anyway. The artist drawing the next chapter kept promising that it was coming – – but it never did. I’m reprinting the one page apology that ran in BB #18. One of the biggest black eyes to ever occur in Big Bang. I was sorry then and sorry now.

The chapter was eventually drawn by another artist and was finally printed in BB #33. It featured Tele-Girl from the Pantheon meeting up with Dragon and the New Whiz Kids and a host of Big Bang heroes in 1981 fighting the Time Being in the GodRealm. When things look bleakest, Dragon hitches a ride with the Golden Age Blitz to go back farther in time.

Ten years earlier, in fact – – to the GodRealm, where they join Ultiman and Venus to try to stop the creation of the Time Being at the spot where Grandfather Clock met himself. But they are thwarted because the Time Being exists in all times already, and he brings Oblivia to bestow her Kiss of Death upon Dragon. Artwork this time courtesy of Jason Millet with inks by Fred Gartner.

At the last second, the Blitz pushes Oblivia and she kisses the Time Being, who fades from existence. The cataclysm is over – because the Time Being never existed! Venus takes Oblivia back to the GodRealm to find out who and what she is, and Dragon heads back to Time’s End, where all is well.

Except – – the Pantheon of Heroes is waiting for Dragon at the end of time, to apprehend the villain known to them as the TimeBomber. Dragon is captured and sentenced to a prison planet for weakening the time-stream and endangering the universe. Even though the Time Being was wiped out in the 1970s, Dragon’s adventure with the timebomb started in 1963.

The entire team watches in a gorgeous double page spread by Darren Goodhart. He also designed many of the Pantheon characters, and penciled the rest of the chapter which was inked by Patrick Tuller.

At the last second again, Ultragirl and Thunder Girl arrive from the past to vouch for Dragon who is sent back home to 1997 where it all started. He defeats the Wicked Worm who has taken over Mighty Man’s brain. The art for this chapter was by Joe Cooper, who had also provided the initial “modern” chapter back in Big Bang #12. The story, after three issues, was finally over. (Except for that damn missing chapter).

And except for the last page, which shows the Time Being popping in and out, laughing his butt off at Dragon and the rest of us.

And yet, the Time Being has not reappeared in the past 20 years, so maybe it really was THE END.

Gary Carlson

6/6/2018

Big Bang Comics, Ultiman, Thunder Girl, Ultragirl, Venus, Pantheon of Heroes and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Savage Dragon, Mighty Man, Wicked Worm, Horde and all related characters are © and TM Erik Larsen.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 33: BB #17 – The Whole SHE-BANG!

By Gary Carlson

This issue of Big Bang Comics was something of a departure for us; three stories, all featuring female protagonists, with all stories set in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Jerry Acerno’s front cover promises THRILLS – MYSTERY – GLAMOUR” and I like to think that we delivered.

As our first “all-girl” issue, I dubbed this issue a “She-Bang” on the inside front cover. Headlining this issue is Jerry’s beautiful and sexy Shadow Lady starring in Chapter One of the serial “Murder By Microphone”.

In true serial cliffhanger form, the story picks up from the previous issue with a car that our heroine commandeered from some thugs going over a cliff and spinning down a hill. All turns out well, as Veronica Prescott is awakened from a bad dream by a radio show.

I don’t recall if the entire introductory chapter was supposed to have appeared in the previous issue or all in this issue. Either way, I’m guessing that the lost Bill Fugate Thunder Girl story left us a few pages short in BB #16 and creator Jerry Acerno graciously let us split the intro.

Speaking of Jerry, he wrote an introductory piece about Shadow Lady that ran on the inside front cover to Big Bang #17. Rather than paraphrase it, I’ll just reprint it here. Please take the time to read and enjoy his thoughts.

Regardless, the Shadow Lady story continues at radio station WXKZ where they were broadcasting the live episode of Feeble McDweeb, which had been playing on Shadow Lady’s radio. Unfortunately, she had turned off her radio before the lead actor dies onstage before the live audience.

The next morning, beautiful scientist Veronica Prescott is working in her father, Professor Aloysius Prescott’s laboratory, assisting him to perfect his latest invention, an Inviso-Ray Projector. Things don’t go well and her father stalks off, but Veronica agrees to a date with fellow assistant Hank for the following night.

As she prepares for the date, Veronica reads about the mysterious death of Feeble McDweeb while soaking in the bathtub and listening to the radio. As she reads, one of the stars of Tubbins And Nubbins dies laughing on the radio and Veronica decides that the Shadow Lady had better investigate these strange deaths, leaving poor Hank without a date.

She heads for radio station WXKZ where we witness the Program Director auditioning a beautiful foreign singer for a job, before his own shadow moves across the floor and merges with the Shadow Lady’s. And that’s where Chapter 1 of “Murder By Microphone” ends, to be continued in Big Bang Comics # 21 (and concluded in #26). Jerry’s art is gorgeous throughout, with plenty of cheesecake posing to keep the pages turning themselves.

Our second story stars Zhantika, Princess of the Jungle in “The Poachers of the Elephant Graveyard.” Written by Lyle Dodd, penciled by Mark Lewis and inked by David Zimmermann, both the story and the heroine are a thing of beauty.

The tale begins with Zhantika ambushing two poachers who are planning to kill some elephants for their tusks. The hunters escape in their jeep, but our princess follows on the back of an elephant, while using the powers of her mystic knife to trail them by seeing through the eyes of a leopard.

Zhantika follows them to a legendary elephant graveyard, where despite hundred’s of tusks on the ground, the poachers set their sights on a pair of black tusks atop a black obelisk. Despite Zhantika’s warning, they remove the black tusks, releasing an ancient evil being from its prison. Luckily, the Princess of the Jungle is up to the task of defeating the poachers and returning the giant monster to his prison.

The third and final story in this issue stars Big Bang veteran Venus, the Goddess of Love & Laughter in “Eye of the Gorgon.” Written by BB co-creator Edward DeGeorge, the story opens with a man and woman at the Museum of Sciences, viewing a statue of a Gorgon wearing a jeweled necklace. Mesmerized, the woman puts on the amulet, transforming herself into Medusa, complete with a head full of snakes and begins turning all the guards and her boyfriend to stone.

The police call upon Venus for help, who arrives with her two besotted boyfriend sidekicks Thomas and Mick. A quick history lesson about Medusa and Perseus follows, after which Thomas is caught unaware by the Gorgon and turned to stone. Venus faces off against Medusa, who is stopped when Mick, angry that she hurt his friend, jumps on the Gorgon’s back and rips loose the amulet.

The Gorgon reverts to her human self, but the men are all still trapped as stone statues so Venus rides her winged horse Pegasus to the Homeland of the Gods for some berries of a sacred Juniper bush that can reverse the Gorgon’s spell.

While plucking the magic berries, Venus is attacked by a Chimera that destroys the bush. She returns to Earth and restores all but one of the stone men – – the boyfriend of the woman who had been bewitched. Luckily, the woman’s tears prove to be more powerful than the Gorgon’s Curse and the lovers are reunited. Tony Manginelli did an outstanding job penciling the story and capturing the look and feel of the Wonder Woman stories of that era, aided and abetted by the inks and letters of Shawn Van Briesen and his studio partner CHAS.

That completes the stories in the issue, but the four pages of ads remaining are just as much fun to me. First up is an ad for the next issue, Big Bang #18 containing the third and final part of the storyline starring Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon. The cover is by one of my favorite artists ever – Dave Cockrum and it just had to co-feature the Pantheon Of Heroes, Big Bang’s homage to the Legion of Super-Heroes, one of my favorite series, especially Cockrum’s run on it.

Then came a one page preview of my pal Dan Reed’s Dimensioneer strip, soon to appear in BB #s 20, 21, and 22. Dan was on hand with me way back in 1982 with my debut in Megaton #1. He was back in some of the earlier issues of Big Bang and then started on his own creation, which he has been perfecting over the years. For tons more on Dan’s Dimensioneer (and even some of my old Nero comic strips) check out Dan’s great website at http://dimensioneer.com.

The inside back cover of BB #17 featured an ad for Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #1 which would be coming soon from our publisher, Image Comics. It features a fantastic cover by Ben Torres, who has gone on to draw Daredevil and Kingpin at Marvel Comics, and equally fun stuff for Mort Todd and Roger McKenzie at the Charlton Arrow.

Last but certainly not least, the outside back cover of the issue was an ad for “Your Big Book of Big Bang Comics,” a trade paperback collecting the three issues of Golden Age material from issue #s 0, 1 and 2 originally published by Caliber Press. The ad featured the fantastic cover by Mark Lewis, as well as positive blurbs and quotes from no less than Alan Moore, Jim Steranko, Cliff Biggers and cat yronwode.

Ah – – the good old days. See you next time.

Gary Carlson

5/30/2018

Big Bang Comics, Venus, Knight Watchman and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Savage Dragon is © and TM Erik Larsen. Shadow Lady is © and TM Jerry Acerno. Zhantika is © and TM Lyle Dodd and Mark Lewis. The Dimensioneer is © and TM Daniel Reed.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 32: Big Bang #16 – Alakazam!

By Gary Carlson

The front cover of Big Bang Comics was drawn by the late, great Bill Fugate and promises a Thunder Girl story entitled “The Land Of Long Ago.” Yet, when you flip open the cover, there is the World’s Strongest Girl starring in “The Clock That Turned Back Time.” Huh? What gives?

Here’s what happened. Bill Fugate wrote and drew the story that accompanied the cover, but was going through a rough stretch in his life at the time and was locked out of his apartment by an S.O.B. of a landlord who threw away all of Bill’s stuff, including the afore mentioned story and art. All this about two weeks before the issue was due at the printer.

I didn’t see how we could print the issue without the story to match the cover, so I quickly wrote

“The Clock That Turned Back Time.” Tim Stiles jumped in to pencil the story, which was lettered and inked by Shawn Van Briesen and his late studio partner CHAS. Two weeks later, we were at the printer. While I’m sure it was nothing like what Bill had done, it’s a fun story.

Thunder Girl’s pal, inventor and scientist Professor Eureka has invented a time machine in the shape of a pocket watch. Unfortunately, the watch was accidentally taken by the Professor’s assistant, Handy Andy who went out to run some errands, and every time he checks the time he opens a portal that lets in time travelers from times past.

As T Girl searches for Andy, she runs across the Wright Brothers, some marauding Vikings and a Brontosaurus before the watch is accidentally broken. The artists did a wonderful job on the art, especially in such a short time. And I believe it was the first story in which Thunder Girl wasn’t drawn by Bill Fugate.

The second story in the issue is actually a preview of the three chapter serial “Murder By Microphone” set in 1947 written and drawn by Jerry Acerno, starring his wonderful Shadow Lady!

In it, our mysterious heroine is interrupted as she gets ready for a date by a jewel robbery across the street. She jumps into action as the Shadow Lady and chases down the bad guys, only to leave us wanting more in a cliff-hanger ending straight out of a movie serial. She returned in the next issue, BB #17, so there will be more about the Shadow Lady next time around in this blog.

As for Jerry (he also goes by Gerry), he began in the 1980s as an inker for DC and Marvel, moving into animation in the early 90s, doing storyboards and art at Disney, Dreamworks and others.

The third tale in this issue features the return of the hero known as The Absolute by writer Daniel Wilson and Big Bang Hall-Of Fame artist Darren Goodhart. He was last seen in Big Bang Comics #11 (go ahead – check back to the blog on that issue to refresh your memory).

This time around, The Absolute is in police custody for an assassination attempt on Senator Gus Garrett. As the cops grill him, the former hero breaks free – – only to be stopped by the real Absolute! He tells the astonished prisoner that he is merely a clone, grown from cells stolen by a group called Biohost. During a struggle, the clone is shot and killed by the police and the Absolute is handcuffed and taken into custody. Lots of fun and definitely in the vein of Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s Manhunter run.

This issue also contained a Who’s Who page about Ryan Brown’s character Bog, who appeared in the previous issue. I already reprinted that page in my blog last time about BB #15, so you can see it there.

Next up is one of my favorite pieces to ever appear in an issue of Big Bang Comics. It was the 2-page “How To Draw Ultiman – A Guide To Drawing The Ultimate Human Being!” by THE Ultiman artist, Jeff Weigel. I’m reprinting the first page here – – I highly recommend picking up the issue to see the second page. As much as I love Jeff’s Ultiman, I absolutely adore his rendition of Carl Kelly – Ultiman’s jackass of a brother. When Carl died in the comics, Ultiman adopted his guise as a secret identity to escape from the grind of being a super hero 24 hours a day.

And in case you didn’t know, Jeff Weigel is currently drawing the syndicated Sunday Phantom comic strip and it is gorgeous!

Rounding out this issue was a team-up between adventurer Johnny Ruckus and the Monster Patrol. While on patrol, Johnny Ruckus runs across a vampire who escapes by turning into a bat and flying away. Johnny heads for Monster Mountain, home of his old friend Dr. Paul Malone, the man with the most knowledge of monsters in the world. Malone introduces Johnny to the members of the Monster Patrol: the yeti Dr. Bigfoot, stone icon Kona, the amphibian Neptus, Xorkarr and the Doctor’s beloved robot, Martha.

Dr. Malone mentions the sighting of a werewold the night before, and Kona, watching the television, points out that the sightings match the movies that had shown on the TV show Dangerous Spooky Theater the past two nights. That night’s movie is “King Klung Vs. Gorzilla”, and the two giant monsters turn up in the city. The Monster Patrol go to battle with them while Johnny Ruckus heads for the TV station to stop the mystery man there..

In addition to Johnny Ruckus and Monster Patrol, Frank created and later self-published the Creepsville comic book. Kurtz was managing editor of HERO Illustrated magazine in the 1990s, co-creator of Monsterscene magazine, as well as co-writer and co-director of the horror film Carnivore.

Rounding out this issue was an ad for the Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift mini-series by myself, Chris Ecker and art by Ben Torres, as well as a back cover touting the next issue starring the Shadow Lady in “Murder By Microphone” promising Thrills, Mystery and Glamour! Be here next time to see how Jerry delivered.

Gary Carlson

5/15/2018

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Shadow Lady is © and TM Jerry Acerno. The Absolute is © and TM Daniel Wilson and Darren Goodhart. Bog is © and TM Ryan Brown. Johnny Ruckus is © and TM Franklin J. Kurtz and Ron Murphy. Monster Patrol is © and TM Franklin J. Kurtz.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 31: BB #15 – Masters of the Macabre!

By Gary Carlson

Despite being present way back at the birth of Big Bang Comics as one of the back-up stories in my Berzerker comic book for Caliber Press, Big Bang Comics #15 (published by Image Comics in November of 1997) gave Dr. Weird his first real chance to shine in the pages of Big Bang.

The front cover was by Stephen R. Bissette and heralded the main story in which “Doctor Weird meets Bog, Swamp Demon!

To be fair, the Master of the Macabre had appeared in a few solo stories over the course of the 19 or so issues of Big Bang which preceded this one, guest-starred in the Round Table of America stories and even headlined three issues of his own title at Caliber Press, but this was his biggest exposure in the main title so far.

Long-time readers may recall that Dr. Weird actually predated Big Bang by about thirty years. He was created by Howard Keltner and appeared in the fanzine Star-Studded Comics from 1963 to 1972, plus two issues of his own book.

I met Howard through his good friend Grass Green in the 1980s while working on my Megaton title. Dr. Weird was going to join that comic universe until we stopped publishing. He even appeared in the Megaton Explosion, a 16 page color Who’s Who featuring our characters in 1987. Howard later sold us the rights to the character when he became ill.

From the earliest days of Big Bang, it was decided that Dr. Weird’s Journals of Mystery would have been his Golden and early Silver Age comic book title, being a play on Atlas/Marvel’s Journey Into Mystery horror-fantasy anthology that later brought us Thor.

Big Bang Comics #15 featured three comic book stories, two of which starred Dr. Weird, and both referenced the Journals of Mystery sub-title. The first story was “Terror In The Swamp,” in which Dr. Weird’s pursuit of evil conjurer Lemuel Brisbane leads them both into Killbuck Swamp, the domain of a demon named Bauggroth, a.k.a. Bog, Swamp Monster. The art by Matt Roach and David Vance was nicely reminiscent of Bernie Wrightson, who had drawn Swamp Thing for DC (as did cover artist Stephen Bissette).

The story was by Edward DeGeorge and Bog’s creator Ryan Brown. Bog had already appeared in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and his own title before this appearance. I merely functioned as editor on the story, my main achievement being page 6 of the story, which began life as four separate pages – a double page spread, a normal page and a full page splash – which I editted down to a single page.

The second story in the issue is an EC horror homage starring the Golden Age Blitz, as told by a narrator named the Grave Robber. Ed DeGeorge plotted this tale, which was finished and drawn by Shawn Van Briesen and his studio partner Chas. The Blitz is on the trail of a Nazi spy that is murdering elderly Americans and stealing their savings when things take a supernatural turn in “Clickity-Split.” It’s a little creepy, a lot of fun and recaps the Blitz’s origin as a prisoner of the Nazis in World War 2.

Dr. Weird returns in “The Sorcerer’s Death Wish!” to witness a confrontation between a sorcerer, a vampire and a werewolf. Written and drawn by Ed Quinby, the good Doctor shows up at the end to tie up the story.

Finally, the Knight Watchman stars in a two page prose story, in which he trails a robber into an abandoned Victorian mansion rumored to be haunted. The Purple Pimpernel puts his deductive powers to the test to solve the riddle in “There Was An Old Lady.”

All this, plus an ad for the new Dr. Weird volume 2 #1 from Ed DeGeorge’s October Comics and an ad for the four issue mini series Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift, soon to be published by Image Comics.

And that was it for this issue. See you next time for issue 16 of Big Bang Comics featuring Thunder Girl, Shadow Lady, the Absolute, Johnny Ruckus and the Monster Patrol and lots, lots more fun.

Gary Carlson 4/4/2018

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Dr. Weird and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Edward DeGeorge. Dr. Weird created by Howard Keltner. Bog is © and TM Ryan Brown.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 30: BB #14 – Return of the Dragon!

By Gary Carlson

The Savage Dragon’s journey through the past, present and future of Big Bang Comics continued in BB #14, published by Image Comics in October of 1997. What had started as a potential single issue continued to grow, spilling over into this second part and eventually into a third issue.

This wasn’t the original plan as evidenced by the front cover to Big Bang Comics #14, penciled and inked by Rich Buckler, which features, among others, Berzerker, who doesn’t show up until the conclusion in BB #18 some six months later.

Oh well. . . . .

The issue starts off with Dragon teleporting into Chicago in what appears to be his own time, on the very day his adventure started back in issue #12.

Unfortunately, his fellow police officers, including Alex Wilde don’t recognize him, and are put off by the big green guy wearing a bomb strapped to his chest. In fact, they call in the cavalry – in the form of the National Guardians.

“Who just in the Hell are the National Guardians?” asks a bewildered Dragon as an arm reaches in and drags him out the window. He finds himself facing an angry Ultiman who punches him, announcing that he’s been waiting for 59 years to do that.

Dragon is confused. In issue #12 he met Ultiman in the 1960s and 1980s, but never in the 1930s. Another atomic punch literally launches Dragon through time, where he finds himself facing Ultiman in 1938.

Another fight ensues, with Dragon activating the time-bomb to escape.

The blast propels Dragon to 1952 in Korea, where he meets the goddess Venus, who is working as a U.S. Army nurse. She believes Dragon, and realizes that he’s

talking about Dr. Binana, who discovered a gateway to another Earth and that maybe he is from that other plane. Unfortunately, Binana and the heroine Thunder Girl disappeared in 1946 during a visit there and were trapped.

Dragon blasts back to 1944, hoping to use Binana’s device to get back to his own time and world and free himself of the time-bomb. Once there, he stops Binana from killing Molly Wilson, who is trapped and unable to transform into Thunder Girl. Once free, she helps Dragon locate Binana’s portal device and sends him home.

Or so they think – unaware that Binana has unplugged the device – trapping the Dragon between Earth-A where it is 1969 and Earth-B where it is 1949.

Luckily, the Blitzes of both worlds who use their speed to vibrate his atoms to align with those of Earth-A.

Unfortunately, the time-bomb detonates, sending him to 1965 where he meets the Agents of B.A.D.G.E. who think he’s a communist spy sent there to steal the cosmic powered Infinity Orb.

While they battle, a mysterious figure does arrive to steal the Orb. Dragon and the Badge follow him through the time-stream to the desolation at the end of time.

There Dragon meets the lovely and deadly Oblivia, whose kisses bring extinction – erasing the victim and all memory of them from existence. She brings Dragon to the Palace at Time’s End and introduces him to the Time Being, an anomaly who exists outside of time.

The Time Being claims to be protecting the time-stream, which is being weakened by the time-bomb strapped to Dragon’s chest. But before he can send old finhead back to his own time, Dragon discovers a room full of trapped Ultimen, whose powers are being leeched to power up a giant Infinity Orb. And that’s where the issue ends, promising a mind-bending conclusion in Big Bang #18.

The issue was plotted by myself with Chris Ecker, and scripted by me. The art for the chapters was provided by:

1997 – National Guardians: pencils: Joe Cooper • inks: Patrick Tuller

1938 – Golden Age Ultiman: art: John Thompson

1952 – Venus: art: Dan Preece

1944 – Thunder Girl: art: Bill Fugate

1949/1969 – Gold and Silver Age Blitzes: art: David Zimmermann

1965 – Agents of B.A.D.G.E.: layouts: Mark Lewis • finished art: Ken Lester

The End of Time – The Badge, Time Being, Oblivia: pencils: Joe Zierman • inks: Ken Lester

Like Big Bang #12, this issue is another of my favorites. I feel like the artists of each section did a great job nailing the styles of their time period. They are all among my favorite all-time Big Bang artists – and working with Rich Buckler again was a blast.

Thanks again to the fantastic Erik Larsen for making it possible and trusting us with the Savage Dragon.

Until next time – –

Gary Carlson

2/22/2018

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Savage Dragon and all related characters are © and TM Erik Larsen.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 29: BB #13 – Riddle of the Sphinx!

By Gary Carlson

Jeff Weigel’s fantastic character The Sphinx was back to star in Big Bang Comics #13, published by Image Comics in the late summer of 1997. The Riddle Of The Sphinx was a novel length 40 pager that filled BB #13 from cover to cover.

The Sphinx had already appeared in the 9 pager Deeds of the Doomsayer in BB #9, but the epic here in Big Bang #13 was written and drawn over two years earlier.

I met Jeff Weigel at the Chicago ComiCon in 1995, where he handed me an ashcan copy of Riddle Of The Sphinx to show me samples of his work. To say that my mind was blown would be an understatement. Jeff’s work was GORGEOUS! The story was great, the storytelling classic, he penciled like Curt Swan and inked like Murphy Anderson! And the Sphinx himself was a nice character, a clever Hawkmannish fellow with wings, yet not as blatantly homagey as we were doing at Big Bang.

At the time, we were either still at Caliber Press or making the move to Image, and had only published 5 issues and a few earlier back up stories. I think Jeff initially feared that we were simply ripping off DC Comics, but the issues I gave didn’t scare him away. He did a few faux covers and agreed to pencil the Ultiman/Knight Watchman story for the Image BB #3.

Next, Jeff agreed to let the Sphinx sort of join the Big Bang Universe. He wrote and drew the short story in issue #9 to introduce the character, and then allowed us to run his original epic here in Big Bang #13. (The Sphinx returned in issues 20 and 23, but those are stories for another day). I thought it would be a good idea to showcase the Sphinx in the earlier issue, because The Riddle Of The Sphinx not only introduces us to Peter Chefren, a visitor from a parallel Earth, but also – SPOILER ALERT – features the “demise” of the character and the introduction of his replacement.

This way, rather than having a “one and done” appearance, we established something of a Silver Age history for Chefren to appear in other stories and also in the upcoming (at the time) History of Big Bang Comics.

Jeff has been a major part of Big Bang Comics up to the present day, recently providing the cover for Big Bang Universe #3, published by AC Comics. He has also written and illustrated multiple children’s books and graphic novels, including Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley, Thunder From The Sea, Atomic Ace (He’s Just My Dad) and Atomic Ace and the Robot Rampage.

The Sphinx trade paperback collects all of the BB stories, as well as some other goodies.

(Pictured here are color versions of covers Jeff drew for his kids in 1997).

Jeff art directed and designed the book Curt Swan: A Life In Comics by Eddy Zeno, a deluxe hardcover career retrospective of the late, great Superman artist. He also illustrated SMASH!, a non-fiction graphic novel written by Sara Latta that explains the science behind the Large Hadron Collider, The Monster Alphabet by Michael P. Spradlin, as well as Spradlin’s New York Times bestseller It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Zombies: A Book Of Zombie Christmas Carols and the follow-ups, Every Zombie Eats Somebody Sometime: A Book of Zombie Love Songs and Jack and Jill Went Up to Kill: A Book of Zombie Nursery Rhymes. He also authored, illustrated and designed STOP MATH, an interactive storybook app for iPad.

All of the above books are fun and available online from Amazon. Check them out. The Atomic Ace books especially will appeal to just about any Big Bang Comics fan.

In 2017, Jeff became the artist on the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate. What a pleasure to see new work from him every single week! You should check out Jeff’s website for info on all these books and projects at http://www.jeffweigel.com/Books.html

Next time: Part 2 of the Savage Dragon TimeBomber epic from BB #14.

Gary Carlson

1/9/2018

Big Bang Comics and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. The Sphinx, Atomic Ace, Dragon Girl and related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel. The Phantom is © and TM King Features Syndicate.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store: http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/page/2/

BB Chronological 28: BB #12 – Enter the Savage Dragon!

By Gary Carlson

People often ask what my favorite issue of Big Bang Comics is and I tell them that it’s too much like picking your favorite child. But the truth is that there are a few that I am extremely proudest of (issues of Big Bang that is, not children) and Big Bang #12 is one of them.

BB #12 was the first part of a three issue arc guest starring Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon, sending old finhead on a wild trip through BB comics history. Erik was (and is) a good friend from my Megaton Comics days and I’ve always loved his work. It was gratifying that he liked Big Bang and was instrumental in taking us to Image Comics. It was even nicer that he let us play with his characters.

The story continued in #s 14 & 18 and featured a Who’s Who of the top BB artists: Bill Fugate, Jeff Weigel, Chris Ecker, Dave Zimmermann, Mark Lewis, John Thompson, Joe Cooper, Darren Goodhart , Shawn Van Briesen and many more, not to mention covers by Rich Buckler and Dave Cockrum on the later issues.

It also gave me a chance introduce the Pantheon of Heroes, my homage to DC’s Legion of Super Heroes, showcasing four different eras of the team.

The cover to Big Bang #12 was penciled and inked by David Zimmermann, except for the Dragon who was penciled and inked by Erik Larsen. The cover and logo were homages to the Justice League, and to this day I get the biggest kick out of the Blitz’s “spit take” as Dragon appears.

It pains me to say that it didn’t occur to me to ask if Erik would like to do the same on the following two covers, or even contribute to the modern sections of the story. Sorry Erik. I just didn’t want to bother such a busy guy. Years later, we were talking about reprinting the whole thing as a trade paperback and Erik was thinking about redrawing the Dragon on every page!

The story opens at a meeting of The Society of Evil Minds – Dr. Binana, Cortex, Baron Brain, Grandfather Clock, the Wicked Worms, Dr. Nirvana – as they plot to use an invention of Grandfather Clock’s to collect monsters from across time to defeat their enemies – starting with Mighty Man – in 1963. Binana’s own invention lets them see a newscast of the Savage Dragon defeating Mighty Man in 1997, so they send the invention to bring Dragon back to their time in 1963.

Cut to 1997 where Dragon is battling Mighty Man, who is under the control of Horde, (the future version of Mr. Mind). Dragon has nearly defeated MM/Horde when a bomb appears out of thin air. Dragon leaps to cover and/or dismantle it but it blows up, sending him through time.

Back to 1963 where the Society of Evil Minds is waiting for him and orders him to kill Mighty Man. Dragon tells them that he’s a cop and they’re all under arrest. Grandfather Clock uses the controller to send Dragon back to where he came from – but the controller is damaged by the blast, sending Dragon on a journey through time and Big Bang Comics history.

Dragon reappears in 1965 where The Round Table of AmericaUltiman, Mr. Martian, Blitz, Atomic Sub, Hummingbird, Beacon, Knight Watchman and Mike Merlin help him stop a dam from collapsing. Dragon attempts to beat up Mr. Martian (because Mars Attacked Earth and Image Comics in 1996). The bomb goes off again, sending Dragon on his way. Ultiman and Blitz pursue him through the time stream but lose him.

Dragon’s arrival in 1945 causes a house fire. Dr Weird arrives, takes notes on the timebomb and attempts to go with Dragon to the future to find eternal peace, but time traveller Simon Ward is repulsed: he must serve his time in the past.

Now Dragon ends up in the future, 2965 where he briefly interrupts a cattle call of heroes trying to join the Pantheon of Heroes. He is rejected because the bomb is a mechanical device and members must have super powers of their own.

The bomb goes off, sending him back to Midway City in 1962 where he helps Knight Watchman and Kid Galahad stop Grandfather Clock, a year before Clock built the timebomb. Clock eagerly inspects Dragon’s device before the bomb detonates, sending Dragon to – –

1985. Ultiman is married, retired and living in his Rocky Mountain fortress. Powers faded, he supervises a a team of super powered robots to do his heroing, while living blissfully with his wife Arlene and the toddler daughter Christie. Kelly is nonplussed and tells Dragon that he and Venus have already helped him out in the 1970s, and that Dragon just hasn’t gotten there yet. The timebomb goes off again- –

– sending Dragon to 1972, where Dr. Weird & Knight Watchman are waiting for him. It seems that Dragon’s journey through history is weakening the time stream and they want to prevent a catastrophic event. They break into Grandfather Clock’s place to try to find a controller for the bomb. There they find two Grandfather Clocks – both in shock after running into each other.

They ship one Clock back to his own time and take the other to the hospital, and send Dragon on his way back to the day after he was trapped by the timebomb so he won’t run into himself.

The issue was plotted by myself and Chris Ecker and I scripted the whole thing. The art for the chapters was provided by:

1963Society of Evil Minds: art: Bill Fugate

1997 – Savage Dragon vs Horde: pencils: Joe Cooper • inks: Billy Hodge

1963 – Society of Evil Minds: art: Bill Fugate

1965 – Round Table of America: art: David Zimmermann

1945 – Dr. Weird: pencils: Mark Lewis • inks: Patrick Tuller

2965 – Pantheon of Super-Heroes: art: Jeff Weigel

1962 – Knight Watchman: pencils: Chris Ecker • inks: Jim Brozman

1985? – Ultiman: art: Jeff Weigel

1972 – Knight Watchman & Dr. Weird: art: Shawn Van Briesen

And that was it for Big Bang #12. It was a 32 page comic with b&w interiors and was published by Image Comics in 1997. While it feels like the story was more or less complete, we knew that it would continue if BB #14.

Gary Carlson

12/5/2017

Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Dr. Weird is © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Edward DeGeorge. Savage Dragon and all related characters are © and TM Erik Larsen.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

Recommended Reading: Dan Reed’s Dimensioneer

By Gary Carlson

Submitted for your approval:

Attention, all you Big Bangers – – the Dimensioneer is back!

The cosmic hero, who debuted in Big Bang Comics #’s 20 through 22 has returned in a fantastic mini-series published by Xomics. The Dimensioneer is a labor of love by the long-time comics pro Dan Reed, written-illustrated-lettered-and-colored by the veteran of Marvel, DC, Charlton, Image, AmeriComics as well as my own Megaton and Big Bang.

Unlike many of the Big Bang characters, the Dimensioneer is not an homage to any particular hero. He is more like an embodiment of the Silver and Bronze Age of Marvel Comics – a flawed character with a great rogues gallery featuring Dr. Insect, the Outrageous Animator, the Better Half, and master vampire Victor Vargos.

And that doesn’t even include the dark gods Maltavic and Zaltavar, or their master Ch’thulu, who is known on Earth as Satan. Or the Dimensioneer’s pals like the Great Pyramid and Bob Barricade.

Dan Reed has been previewing the stories on his website for a while now. Check them out at

http://dimensioneer.com. (While you’re there, check out the Fabulous Funnies pages for my old Nero comic strip).

The first three issues of the Dimensioneer are available right now in a limited print run of of 50 copies, and will be the only ones that have “First Printing” in the indicia, and they come with a free button!! Be a Dimensioneer! Send your $20 via Paypal to thedimensioneer@gmail.com to get all three “first printing” issues, and go through the dimensional portal to action and adventure!

After this initial print run, all subsequent copies of the books will all be labelled POD EDITION, available through Indy Planet at http://www.indyplanet.us/product/151845/ as either print-on-demand or digital downloads.

After the events in Dimensioneer #s 1 through 6, the adventures will continue in the pages of Xomics. For now, if you like exciting, fun comics then the Dimensioneer is for you! Check it out and order today! You will be glad that you did.

Gary Carlson

10/18/2017

BB Chronological 27: BB #11 – a 70s Vibe!

By Gary Carlson

Big Bang Comics #11 was published in June 1997 but the issue itself has the feel of a mid-1970s issue of DC’s Detective Comics. The lead story features the Knight Watchman, followed by a solo adventure of his former sidekick (don’t call me Kid) Galahad, now a college student at Memorial University, and the final story details the return of the Golden Age manhunter known as The Absolute!

The Knight Watchman stars in The Radical Return Of Faulty Towers, which was plotted by artist Dan Reed, and scripted by me. The main villain is F. Roark Towers, a brilliant architect who went mad when one of his creations collapsed and decided to destroy all of them.

Now an occupant at the Wertham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, he discovers that fellow inmate Chester Katz, aka the infamous Cheshire Cat had stolen and sold one of his recent blueprints and that the new building is set to open the next day. Towers breaks free to destroy the “stolen” structure.

Towers, decked out in a fancy costume with a jetpack sets demolition charges throughout the building. Luckily, the Knight Watchman is on the job and rescues the dishonest owners of the structure in his Flying Shield, and Towers is captured, thanks to the interference of the wacky Cheshire Cat.

One of my favorite things about this story is that we get to see the Watchman in his real identity as fashion designer Reid Randall, prepping a line of women’s clothes for a fashion show with his mother, Ma Randall.

Next up is Galahad, the former Kid Whiz in The Library Looter. Written by Terrance Griep, Jr., the story details a treasure hunt on the campus where college freshman Jerry (Galahad) Randall is enrolled. It seems the founder of the college left a hidden treasure somewhere and everyone from students to a biker gang are trashing the campus trying to find it. Luckily, Galahad is on hand to help keep the peace and to apprehend the villainous librarian who is out to find and keep the treasure.

This is one of my favorite Big Bang tales of all time, for no other reason than than the art by David Zimmermann (with inks by Jim Brozman) is so wonderfully close to Irv Novick’s style. I think I’ve mentioned before that Chris Ecker and I started doing Knight Watchman and Ultiman as fun Golden Age back-ups, but some submissions from Mr. Zimmermann led me to believe that we could pull off ghosting all eras. In fact, one of Dave’s earlier pieces, a Knight Watchman pin-up from two years earlier, again ably inked by Jim Brozman.

Thanks again, Dave. If only Big Bang had been making money. Just imagine the fantastic stuff we could have done with Dave, Jeff Weigel, Bill Fugate, Ben Torres, Chris Ecker and the others.

Speaking of fantastic stuff, the final tale in BB #11 stars The AbsoluteHe’s The Last Word In Justice! Written by Daniel Wilson with art by Darren Goodhart, it’s a wonderful homage/pastiche/tribute to Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s Manhunter stories from Detective Comics. The story introduces readers to the Absolute, a Golden Age hero and Axis fighter who had been kidnapped from his hidden Himalayan fortress in Nepal by a criminal organization to steal his secrets. The tale has twists and turns; both the art and story are a love letter to Archie & Walt. Even better, the Absolute returned a few issues later.

Next time: Big Bang Comics #12 – – part one of the Savage Dragon crossover!

Gary Carlson

9/5/2017

Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, Galahad and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. The Absolute and related characters are © and TM Darren Goodhart and Daniel Wilson. Faulty Towers is © and TM Daniel Reed.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 26: BB #10 – Turtle Power Manga!

By Gary Carlson

I had asked for and received permission to guest star the Knight Watchman in the pages of TMNT. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were also kind enough to let the turtles appear in the pages of Big Bang. Thanks again, guys.May of 1997 was a pretty great time for me. Big Bang Comics was still chugging away at Image Comics, where I was currently writing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for Erik Larsen’s Highbrow imprint. Plus we were getting set to issue the Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift mini-series which had begun in our waning days at Caliber Press but had never been concluded. All was well. And it all intersected in May 1997 with a sort of crossover between Big Bang #10 and TMNT #9.

A little background here. TMNT began life as a parody of a number of comics of the early 1980s, including Frank Miller’s work on Daredevil and Ronin. The Foot Clan was a play on the evil ninja gang the Hand. Et cetera. Our upcoming Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift books were done as an homage to Miller’s Dark Knight Returns and Sin City titles.

Ben Torres, the artist on KW: Graveyard Shift kicked things off with the wrap-around cover for BB #10 featuring Galahad, Splinter and the Foot Clan, with the Watchman looking on. It’s one of my all time favorite BB covers. What can I say – – Robin was my favorite character growing up and Kid Galahad was my homage to my hero. And I love Ben’s artwork!

The story itself was told in the style of Frank Miller’s Daredevil work and set in the 1980s. No longer a kid, Galahad was grown up, married and tracking down a mysterious hired killer named the Headhunter who had murdered a friend of his. His search led him to a cheap motel room in New York City. Bursting in, he faces off against an unfazed Japanese crime lord that turns out to be a master of ninjitsu. Galahad uses a taser on him, only to discover that he wasn’t the Headhunter. A woman that Galahad had presumed to be a prostitute was.

Their fight is epic, and takes them out to the street where they are surrounded by an army of ninjas – – the Foot Clan. Their leader, and Headhunter’s latest target was Oraku Saki, also known as the Shredder. In the melee, she escapes and Galahad is overwhelmed and dumped in a sewer to drown. Instead, he was found by four very young turtles and their master, Splinter, who patches up the White Knight, provides an antidote for the poisoned arrows in his back and sends him on his way.

Galahad follows a trail of dead ninja to Foot Clan HQ, where Shredder has subdued Headhunter by breaking her fingers and severing the tendons in her hand. Galahad insists on taking her in as his prisoner, but underestimates Headhunter again and she escapes.

The story was penciled by Clarence Burk and inked by Jim Brozman and has a nice 80s Frank Miller feel, especially the interior shots with backgrounds lit by venetian blinds. I have always been especially proud of the TMNT segment with its extensive zipatones to give that section a murky feel.

Just for the record, Headhunter was a tip of the hat to the first comics story that Chris Ecker and I had worked on. A villain by that name starred in the Crusader/Sentinel story from Megaton #1.

The Crusader later morphed into the Knight Watchman which led to the creation of Big Bang Comics. Also, there’s nothing in this story that spells it out, but my intention was that Headhunter would have been Pimiko’s mother over in our TMNT continuity.

Switching over to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9 which takes place 10 or 15 years later, Leonardo has arrived in Midway City, where a “bat plague” is changing normal citizens into bat creatures. Leo figures correctly that the plague is being passed on by his Master Splinter, who had been mutated into a giant bat by synthetic mutagen.

In Midway City, Leo runs into Galahad, who has assumed the Knight Watchman identity. They track down the bats’ HQ and release a gas bomb containing the antidote to the rabies which Splinter has passed on to his followers. We had a lot of fun with the bat imagery in a KW story with pencils by Frank Fosco, inks by Andrew Pepoy, and letters by Chris Eliopoulos. Cover inks were by the boss, Erik Larsen.

Back in BB #10, another Knight Watchman story appeared. It was a real departure for us, in that it was very influenced by the Japanese manga comics. Chris Ecker and I had met a 15 year old artist at a St. Louis Comic Convention the year before. His name was Chris “Skippy” Samnee and we were knocked out by his talent and enthusiasm. He reminded us of another young guy we’d worked with ten years earlier named Rob Liefeld.

Knight Watchmanga was plotted by Chris and Chris that day. Chris Samnee drew it up soon after and I dialogued it. The story took place in Japan, where the commercial airplane that Reid and Jerry Randall were riding in crash lands in a city.

I believe it was Chris’ first published comics work. His style evolved into a more mainstream style, and he drew another story for BB a while later in the Whiz Kids Special. Then it was off to Marvel Comics and the big time for Chris Samnee, although I still tend to think of him as Skippy, and have a folder full of fun drawings and sketches by him.

Next up in Big Bang #10 was Speed Queen’s Strange Revenge, a two page prose piece by Terrance Griep, Jr. starring the Golden Age Blitz. In it, the Blitz and his girl friend confront Boss Nero, who has been stealing uranium. It was Nero who had shot Louise Darnell years earlier, necessitating a blood transfusion from the Blitz that turned Louise into the Maid of Motion.

Featuring spot illustrations by Shawn Van Briesen, the Blitz kept side-tracking Speed Queen, fearing that she might seek revenge on Nero. Instead, he is amazed when she thanks him for changing and improving her life.

The last feature in BB #10 was a preview of the upcoming comic book The Invincibles by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler. Rich was a favorite of mine, having watched him progress from some Robin back-up stories to the Avengers and eventually creating Deathlok. Rich had done a 3 pager for Big Bang #4 and was doing a cover for the upcoming Savage Dragon/Big Bang storyline and it was fun to be able to be able to do him a favor. It was a fun book – – well worth tracking down.

Gary Carlson

7/10/2017

Big Bang Comics and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. TMNT and related characters are © and TM Viacom International, created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The Invincibles are © and TM Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler. Koichi Kanzaki is © and TM by Chris Samnee.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

Have A Happy 4th!

By Gary Carlson

Have a safe and happy 4rth of July. Here’s one of our more patriotic heroes – Miss Firecracker! The top piece was penciled by Mike Worley and inked by Jeff Austin. The star was a drop in for the cover of Big Bang Presents #1 by Mark Lewis, where the above pin-up appeared. Mike W and I were working on a Miss F story that was unfortunately never finished. Finally, a pin-up Mark did a while back for his very fun website – http://marklewisdraws.com/ – check it out!

BB Chronological 25: BB #9 – Sphinx! Blitz! Sub! Doc W!

By Gary Carlson

BB #9 was the third “non-traditional” issue of Big Bang Comics in a row. By that I mean that it was another issue without a regular BB character featured on the cover or the inside of the book. Erik Larsen’s Mighty Man had starred on the cover of #7 which also contained Shanghai Breeze and the monster story I Met Oogur From Outer Space before the Knight Watchman showed up. Issue #8 had been cover to cover Mister U.S. – a non Big Bang character (although definitely the BB style treatment).

A brand new character, Jeff Weigel’s the Sphinx was the star of Big Bang #9, on the front cover and the lead-off story. Jeff had drawn the Ultiman/Knight Watchman team-up back in BB #3, and I wrote a bit about meeting him six blogs back in BB Chronological #19. The first art samples Jeff had shown me were two complete Sphinx issues, which blew me away. He offered them for sale in an ad back in #3, but both were later printed as future issues of Big Bang.

This time around, Jeff wrote a brand new 8 pager, Deeds of the Doomsayer to introduce the Sphinx to BB readers. Being a winged character, we figured that he fit right into the Big Bang continuity as a Hawkman-ish character.

The Sphinx was Peter Chefren, originally from a parallel Earth where ancient Egypt had conquered the globe and was now searching for other worlds to conquer. Chefren used his advanced science and technology to block his people from tracing him and locating this Earth, as well as becoming a super-hero and humanitarian. However, a madman known as the Doomsayer developed a teleportation device to kidnap criminals from death row, that also opens a portal to the Sphinx’s home world.

Jeff’s writing is as wonderful as his art and he became a mainstay of the Big Bang Gang. In fact, he was the cover artist for Big Bang Universe #3, published by AC Comics, which is on sale right now and recently became the artist on the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate.

The other three heroes featured in BB #9 were long time Big Bang characters that had already appeared a number of times: the Blitz, the Atomic Sub, and Dr. Weird.

First up was an awesome adventure of the World’s Fastest Human – – the Blitz! The Amazing Menace of Pain Glass was plotted and drawn by Dan Reed, with additional dialoguing by myself. Dan Reed was one of the first artists I had worked with back in Megaton #1 in the early 1980s. He had gone on to do a bunch of work for Marvel UK and others. By this time in 1997, he had been self publishing his own titles, New World Order and Retro-Dead and we had recently worked together on my Berzerker comic at Caliber Press.

Dan’s work is always fun, and this little story is one of my favorites from over 25 years of Big Bang Comics. Scientist Elmer Payne was buried beneath molten radioactive glass and transformed into a being of living glass. Adopting the name Pain Glass, he naturally turned to a life of crime. While the art doesn’t scream Carmine Infantino at me, Dan captures the essence of the Silver Age Flash stories in a way I can only dream of.

Dan Reed was back a few issues later with a Knight Watchman story before creating the Dimensioneer, which has become his life work. If you want to have some real fun, check out his website at http://dimensioneer.com. While you’re there, check out my old Nero comic strip in the Fabulous Funnies section.

Next up is the Atomic Sub in The Four SeaHorsemen of the Apocalypse. This is the same character that was known as the Human Sub back in the Golden Age. This tale is set in the early Silver Age and features his young granddaughter Moray before she became a hero and joined the Whiz Kids and Bubbles the Sea Monkey.

The script, written by Bud Hanzel, features a team of underwater explorers who discover an Atlantean treasure chest. Unfortunately, it contains pendants that transform the four companions into the aquatic versions of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – War, Death, Famine and Pestilence. It’s up to Noah Talbot, aka the Atomic Sub to save the day.

The story was penciled by Stephanie Sanderson (Heike), with inks by Mike Matthew and letters by Susan Dorne. I have always loved Stephanie’s art and it’s a shame we didn’t get more work her way at Big Bang. She had her own wonderful style but at that point we were trying hard to ghost specific styles and the loss was definitely ours. Sorry Steph.

The final story starred Dr. Weird and actually was a reprint from the 1960s. Written by by Raymond Miller, with art by Landon Chesney, The Slaves of the She Beast originally appeared in an issue of Star-Studded Comics. The she beast in the title is a werewolf, who has been kept chained and enslaved by her husband for forty years and now seeks her revenge.

Dr. Weird was also present on the inside front cover in an illustration by David Zimmermann. Once again, I misspelled his name as Zimmerman, leaving out the second N. I don’t know how many times I actually did it but I felt pretty stupid when Dave eventually pointed it out to me. Sorry again for that, Dave.

Finally, the outside back cover featured the sort of crossover between two books I was writing at Image in those days – – the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9 and Big Bang Comics #10. More on those in the next installment of The BANG! See you then.

Gary Carlson

6/28/2017

Big Bang Comics and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. Dr. Weird was created by Howard Keltner and is © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Edward DeGeorge. The Sphinx and related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store: http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

The Sphinx trade paperback by Jeff Weigel is available from Pulp 2.0 at Amazon.com for $8.99 at: https://www.amazon.com/Sphinx-Big-Bang-Comics-Collection/dp/1490316825/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498673827&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Sphinx+-+Jeff+Weigel

In Stores Now! Big Bang Universe #3 from AC Comics!

By Gary Carlson

Big Bang Universe 3

BB Chronological 24: BB #8 – Mr. U.S. 50 Forgotten Years!

By Gary Carlson

Hello Big Bangers – – Gary Carlson here! The focus this time is on Big Bang Comics #8 starring Mister U.S., published by Image Comics in January of 1997. The issue was written by Nat Gertler, penciled by Mark Lewis and inked by Jeff Meyer.

For my own recollections of how the issue came to be, you’ll just have to read my “Gary’s Graffiti” column that ran in the issue. It also contains Mark’s character design from 1992. I had nothing to do with the creation of any of this material. Nat and Mark were creating it at about the same time that Chris Ecker and I were working on the first Knight Watchman story.

Mister U.S. was fun stuff, and they were mining the same material that we were. Mark Lewis became a major cog in the Big Bang Machine and a very good friend of mine. It was a no-brainer to publish this material as an issue of Big Bang.

The patriotic Mister U.S. only appeared one more time in Big Bang, in a parody of a Hostess ad that ran on the back cover to the Giant Ultiman Special. He did make two uncredited cameo pop-ins, on the back cover to BB #27 in one of Andrew Sheppard’s beautiful paintings, and in the Whiz Kids chapter of the Savage Dragon three parter. (This was the “missing chapter” which finally ran in BB #33, courtesy of artist Darren Goodhart). See if you can locate Mister U.S. in those two pages toward the end of this post.

Nat Gertler kindly volunteered to write up the full story behind the issue and the character, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Mark Lewis dug out the color roughs for all the alternate era covers which are presented here for the first time. Some are visible on the wrap-around cover to BB #8 above, but most aren’t. I dropped on the logo and sub-titles as they originally appeared in the issue itself.

Now, I leave you in the capable hands of Mr. Gertler. Take it away, Nat:

“The Mister U.S. issue of Big Bang Comics is my greatest personal example of failing my way up the chain.

I’d been doing a fair amount of writing for Entity Comics and their Parody Press imprint, and that imprint was built on a rickety base. Much of their effort was putting out parodies of other comics, and they thought that the best time to strike was just when that comic was getting the most possible attention – which means, when it was first released.

In order to release the parody in the same month as the first issue of what was being parodied, that meant creating the parody before the target was released, which meant in most cases we could only base it on whatever amount of concept and sample art had been made available. That is not the route to a good parody. It also meant that retailers had to order the book before they knew how people had reacted to the thing being parodied, which does not seem to be a way to encourage high orders. You’re taking a little risk that the core book itself would be of interest, but it’s a much bigger risk to hope that people will be interested in a parody of that thing.

Because of that uncertainty, a lot of the parody books got low orders… too low, in the publisher’s view, to bother publishing. Which meant that a fair portion of what was created wasn’t being released… and it seemed a waste to put much effort into something that was likely never going to be seen. While there are a couple items that I am proud of from my Parody Press days, that batch also contains much of my worst writing. (Alas, it wasn’t the crappiest ones that failed to see print.)

So when I was asked to write a parody of 1963, the then-not-yet-released Silver Age tribute from Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, and fellow talents, I rebelled somewhat. There was no way that I could address what those talented folks were doing in more than just a hideously shallow way. But maybe I could tackle the idea of doing retro comics… and maybe I could send up the entire history of the superhero form in doing so. And thus was born something with the awkward title of 1968 Plus Or Minus 25 Years. Take one hero, tell his origin six times, as it would have been told at six different points during comics history, and show how the illusion of consistent characters was subsumed under whatever was going on in comics and culture at the moment.

Parody Press ran with the concept. If we were going to do six periods, we should have six different covers! That way, people would buy six comics to have them all! This left me with the question “who the heck wants to order six copies of a parody book?”

The answer was, of course, no one. With the orders for the book split up over six different publications, none of them sold well enough to hit the level at which Parody Press printed things. So we failed… but we failed upward one step. Artist Mark Lewis, whom I had not selected and whom I’d never worked with before (but believe me, I found excuses to work with him again since!) had delivered such a lovely set of visual pastiches of the various eras that it would be a shame for it to go to waste. So the work was solicited again, only this time without the burden of being a parody of something else. It was it’s own fake history project, Mister U.S.: Fifty Forgotten Years, which much better suited it. And it only had one cover (although if memory serves, it was an “enhanced” cover in some form – with an enhanced price to match.) And yet again, it did not sell enough.

So yet again, we failed forward. The publisher of Parody Press had introduced Gary to some of Mark’s work, and unsurprisingly Gary had glommed onto Mark for Big Bang, using his same strength a period pastiche that had made Mister U.S. so good. He showed the Mister U.S. work to Big Bangster Gary Carlson, who fortunately a) liked the work and b) was eager to keep Big Bang on schedule. Having a whole issue already in the can would help that greatly. So even though it was not part of the Big Bang Universe, the book ended up as an issue of Big Bang, with a new cover that integrated the original six covers. That meant that instead of being published by the tiny and failing Parody Press, the comic came from the juggernaut Image Comics.

Writing this project was difficult in ways, but fun. I had to nail each of the periods as well as I could. I had to make it funny, but while there are a few gags within the stories, the main base of the humor is actually in-between the stories, seeing how this character had been mutilated and mauled over the years to fit in with the trend of the moment. The use of a patriotic superhero (in the tradition of Captain America and The Shield) gave us some of the angles on that. As US allies from World War II became our enemies in the Cold War, the stories changed in concert.

The Golden Age story could be perfectly blunt. The early Silver Age material had to have that hero-as-a-loser motif from what Stan & Jack & Steve were serving up in those days. The later Silver Age version was about the influence of television, with comics trying to capture what the Batman TV series had done to comic book concepts, with some Man From UNCLE thrown in there for good measure. And we had to have a gorilla.

The Bronze Age tale drew its inspiration from the Marvel writings of such writers as Englehart and Gerber, with a hearty dose of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’s work on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, and with Adams being the key inspiration for the art. The naming of the bigoted sheriff as “B. Gott” may seem over-the-top, but I was drawing directly from my old friend/mentor Gerber naming a Man-Thing character “F.A. Schist”.

The 1980s version was the hardest to write, but also the most fulfilling. If you want to fake being Alan Moore, you have to really pay attention to detail. Moore was someone I took very seriously, even compiling Moore bibliographies for an APA (that’s a fanzine of sort, kids) (and a fanzine is a magazine put together by and for fans) back in the days before such information was easy to track down. I knew that I had to get things right, and suggest a larger world than what we were seeing. Using the Watchmen 9-panel grid as a Hollywood Squares was fun, in part because I had to make sure that the game flowed properly, with the position in the game going along with the orders that the panels were read. Despite the silly aspect of that page, I thought for a long time that I could do a series Mister U.S. miniseries in that style and including that sequence; it would’ve been good.

The gear-shift going from that to the all-surface, no-substance 1990s version was of course very purposeful; I wasn’t going for the average material from each era, but for the extreme. It was a gear shift for Mark as well. He realized that aping Dave Gibbons’s Watchmen style meant you couldn’t cheat a scene; your scene details had to be precise and rendered in each panel. For the 1990s material, though, it was much more loose, anything goes, and could be drawn quickly. There was one hang-up though, and it was my fault: I’d given a set of panels for the two-page spread that didn’t work when laying out. This was one of those problems that proved to be an opportunity. We hit upon the idea of having it so that you had to rotate the book in the middle of the page, to give a little slap at some of the flashier artists who were putting sideways two-page spreads in the midst of the book, which I thought pulled the reader out of the reading experience.

This was not, we were happy to say, the end of Mister U.S. He was included in the Big Bang Universe (with permission obtained – cough, cough – after the fact) in one of the later issues of the series. But we were fine with that, because Mark and I had come to a realization: having created a character whose sole reason for existence was to show how he had been abused by various creators over the years, we could lend him out for other people to use without worrying about what they might do with him. Normally, when one loans out characters for crossovers or guest appearances, one wants to monitor carefully what is being done with them, to prevent misuse… but almost nothing counts as misuse where Mister U.S. is concerned. Kill him off? No problem! So if anyone wants to borrow Mister U.S. for any comic book story, we say okay, so long as they promise us a few copies, a proper credit, and it’s not an adults-only book. This has so far lead to his appearing in everything from other hero comics to a psychology text book.

Having given permission to others to abuse him, I felt free to do so myself. Mister U.S. was a recurring character in Licensable Bear™, my licensing-oriented humor series. There, he was treated as a never-quite-prime-time hero, desperate for recognition and the marketing success that would accompany it. I even killed him off once… but don’t worry, he got better. And Mark and I do have another small Mister U.S. project planned, should the ever-busy Mark ever have the time again! And I do have a few other short Mister US pieces, should I ever find the artist and place for them. (With luck, we’ll get it something out for the fictional 75th anniversary of our fictional character.)”

Nat Gertler

Thanks Nat. Mister U.S. Is welcome back any time. The next BANG! blog will feature Big Bang #9, starring another welcome “visiter” to the BB universe – – The Sphinx by Jeff Weigel. (You know – – the guy that’s currently drawing the Sunday Phantom comic strip?).

See you all soon.

Gary Carlson

6/1//2017

Mr. U.S. and related characters are © and TM Nat Gertler and Mark Lewis. Savage Dragon is © and TM Erik Larsen. Big Bang Comics and related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 23: BB #7 – Back in Black… and White

By Gary Carlson

Big Bang Comics #7, published in December 1996 by Image Comics, was a bit of a departure from our previous issues. Up to this point, Big Bangs had a decidedly DC Comicsy feel to them. This latest issue, however, was more in the Marvel vein.

Part of the reason for our DC bent is that I was a National Periodical Publications guy during the 1960s, the Avengers being the only Marvel book that fit into my elementary school budget. Superman, Batman, Teen Titans and the Legion of Superheroes were my mainstays. They were the books I read and wanted to write some day. When DC threw out its continuity after Crisis On Infinite Earths in the mid 1980s, I went ahead and wrote those stories through Big Bang.

Also, by the time we convinced a publisher to take a chance on our “retro” book, Alan Moore’s 1963 came along and was already mining the 1960 Marvel territory so we stayed out of his way for a while. However, our plan all along was to create homages and pastiches of all eras of comic book heroes and creators’ styles, and BB #7 was pretty much our first step in this direction.

The cover and main story featured Erik Larsen’s Mighty Man. We had already done a story or two of the World’s Mightiest Man a la C.C. Beck’s Captain Marvel. The real Cap had disappeared from comic books for 20 years – DC sued Fawcett Publications for copyright infringement of Superman and they ceased publication in the 1950s – only to be brought back into print by DC in the 1970s.

During that lapse, Marvel Comics trademarked the name Captain Marvel for a new character. DC has since marketed and recently rebranded theirs under the Shazam monicker. DC’s 1970s reboot was drawn by C.C. Beck and later Kurt Shaffenberger, the same guys who had drawn the character in the 40s and 50s.

Writer/artist Jim Starlin was one of my favorite comics creators from the 1970s onward, especially his runs on Captain Marvel (and Warlock). Jim’s work was full of cosmic concepts of God, Death, Suicide and Infinity, and so we based our latest version of Mighty Man on Starlin’s Captain Marvel work.

The cover blurb on BB #7 declared THE MOST COSMIC BATTLE OF ALL TIME!!! MIGHTY MAN VS. MIGHTY MAN! The story itself was titled Ominous Reprieve and as written by Terrance Griep, Jr., a despot from the distant future travels back through time to steal the power from Bobby Berman in the 1970s. Most of the conflict takes place in a cosmic void called The Warp, a vacuum between seconds where both can duke it out, each as Mighty Man.

The art and front cover were by one of my favorite Big Bang artists, Darren Goodhart, and his love for Starlin’s work shines bright. It’s full of skulls, and close-ups and twisting realities. The gorgeous inks were by Mike Matthew.

“Ominous Reprieve” was remastered in 2015, relettered by Adam Pruett and colored by Erik Larsen himself, and printed in Savage Dragon #’s 205 and 206, along with a new pin-up/cover by Darren. The art I’ve reprinted here is from this latest version of the story.

Oh. Did I mention that Big Bang #7 was printed in black & white. No color interiors. It was a cost saving move. You can read all about it in my “Gary’s Graffiti” column from the inside front cover of the issue.

Next up was The Assassination Run starring Shanghai Breeze, making his only Big Bang appearance. Written and penciled by Stan Timmons, with inks by Mike Matthew and letters by John Thompson, the story had the look and feel of a Marvel comic to me and this was the first issue it seemed to fit in style wise. More of an anti-hero, Shanghai Breeze, wearing a powersuit, tracked down a hijacker who had executed a plane full of victims. Shanghai killed the bad guy, snapping his neck, unaware that the hijacker’s young son was in the room. The kid shoots Breeze, vowing to track him down and kill him when he is older.

I Met Oogur From Outer Space was a tip of the hat to the late 50s/early 60s Marvel Monster stories. Written by Carl Gafford and drawn by Frank Fosco, it was a short tale about John. Q. Nebbish, a loser who never got respect from anybody during his lifetime. When a spaceship piloted by a large alien shows up, demanding a volunteer to return to his planet to be eaten by their Emperor or the Earth will be blown up, Nebbish volunteers, to everyone else’s delight. There’s a nice twist ending, where Nebbish survives as the last man from Earth. Inks were by James Daly, with letters by Susan Dorne.

Finally, something familiar arrived for the longtime Big Bang fan: a classic Knight Watchman story, The Ghost Robbers Of The Wax Museum. In it, a series of robberies in Midway City are apparently committed by exhibits from the Rogues Gallery of the local wax museum.

Jesse James, Blackbeard, Attila the Hun and Adolph Hitler all commit crimes that lead the Knight Watchman to the museum to find the rubber-faced Mr. Mask, now dressed as Jack the Ripper, laying in wait to kill his arch-enemy. The Watchman manages to stop the villain with the aid of the “World’s Greatest Detective” – the mirror in the Sherlock Holmes exhibit. Ghost Robbers was written and drawn by Watchman creator Chris “Tom King” Ecker and inked by Jim Brozman.

And that was the end of the issue, except for a back cover ad for the next issue, Mister U.S.: – 50 Forgotten Years! More info on that one next time.

See you then.

Gary Carlson

5/24/2017

Mighty Man and all characters are © and TM Erik Larsen. Oogur is © and TM Carl Gafford. Shanghai Breeze is © and TM Stan Timmons. Big Bang Comics and Knight Watchman are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker.

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 22: BB #6 – The Criss-Cross Crisis Returns

By Gary Carlson

Big Bang Comics #6 was not a dream, not a hoax and not an imaginary story. It was worse – depending on your point of view – it was a reprint!

That’s right. BB #6 was a reprint of our third issue from the Caliber Press mini-series two years earlier, from 1994. The ad for the issue on the last page of BB #5 said “The Most Requested Big Bang Story of All Time Is Here!” That was probably true at the time.

The story in question, The Criss-Cross Crisis was certainly the most important one we had done to date. It established the Golden and Silver Age continuities on Earths A and B as co-existing 20 years apart. It brought Thunder Girl from the 1940s to the 1960s universe, introduced the Whiz Kids, the junior sidekicks of the Round Table of America, and it contained the death of a major character, the Atomic Sub.

It was the only issue from the Caliber run that had completely sold out. We didn’t even have any comp copies left to sell to fans requesting back issues, now that we had a higher visibility at Image Comics. Oh yeah, it also had a great cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

Plus, we had the negatives to print from, saving us the 4 to 5 thousand dollars that we were spending on color separations per issue that we weren’t recouping. We knew that this was to be our last issue with color interiors for a while, so reprinting it made sense.

I’ve already talked about the Caliber issue in an earlier blog (you can read all about it here: big-bang-chronological-pt-12). This time around, we only had to slightly recolor the front cover and slap the Image logo onto it, and come up with new inside front and back covers and a new outside back cover.

As part of the new IFC, I printed a copy of Curt Swan’s original pencils. You can find that, and Chris Ecker’s original layout sketch in the previous blog. A letter column went on the IBC, and an ad for the all-new Big Bang #7 starring Mighty Man went on the back cover. The story itself was 32 pages and reprinted exactly as before from the original negatives. Easy as pie.

I don’t recall anybody complaining about the reprint. I just thumbed through the letter columns for the following 3 or 4 issues and didn’t see any carping in those, so I can only hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.

My favorite part of this issue was getting to create the Whiz Kids, our homage to the Teen Titans. I still love seeing the panel in which Cyclone says “Gee Moray, your baby whale is one groovy taxi!”

Since I told the background story about this one previously, I’m just going to let the artwork by penciler Steve Adams and inker Jim Brozman speak for itself.

Thanks for reading.

Gary Carlson

4/20/2017

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 21: BB #5 – Top Secret Origins

By Gary Carlson

Big Bang was rolling right along at Image Comics in October of 1996. With issue #5 we were maintaining a monthly schedule of 32 page 4-color comics of all-new material. Granted, we’d had almost a year to load up after leaving Caliber Press, but it was still a big deal for me/us. This was the Big Time and we seemed to be fitting in.

Big Bang was, and is, an anthology book, each issue being a collection of different stories by different creators starring different characters. Why? Why not Big Bang Comics Starring the Knight Watchman (or Ultiman, or whoever) every issue? The answer of course was money. Cold hard cash.

Or the lack of it. The book had made a little money at Caliber Press. We were able to print in color there because of their distribution deal with Walmart, who got the books at a high discount. But it paid for the color separations and printing so we were able be in color on the Direct Market through Diamond Distribution.

The profits weren’t enough for any of us to live on, much less all of us. I told anybody that wanted to work with us that Big Bang was a labor of love. People signed up to draw a story or two for very little pay. I was financing the whole thing out of my own pocket. I had made a little money from my Vanguard mini-series at Image. Unfortunately, it had been cancelled for selling less than 100,000 copies per issue. Those were heady times for the industry.

We had high hopes that Big Bang’s move to Image would mean a much higher circulation and some actual profits, but it didn’t quite work out that way. I believe the new #1 sold about 12,000 copies and made a little money. The drop off in orders to #’s 2 (and 3 and 4) was steep and by the time of Big Bang Comics #5 we owed Image a couple of thousand dollars. Color sep fees were killing us.

We had a choice: either stop publishing or drop the color. Since Image had to be paid back, we kept publishing in black and white and eventually got out of the red. More on that in the next few entries in this blog. But in the meantime, #s 5 and 6 had been solicited in color and were set to go.

Big Bang #5 was cover titled “Top Secret Origins” and offered origins of the Knight Watchman, the Silver Age Blitz and Ultiman. The cover was mostly a montage of images taken from the stories inside, but the centerpiece was a Blitz figure by David Zimmermann. Dave was very instrumental to the development of Big Bang since our earliest days. The initial back-up stories in Berzerker had been mostly Golden Age riffs. David sent in a number of drawings, including this one, that made doing credible Silver Age stuff seem like a reality. Thanks Dave!

Terrance Griep, Jr. was back, after spearheading BB #4, with the scripting of the origin of the Silver Age Blitz. The story was penciled by Darren Goodhart, inked by Jim Brozman and lettered by Susan Dorne. It told the story of race car driver Jimmy Travis, whose car was sabotaged prior to a cross-county race in Monte Carlo. He crashed in a remote area and discovered an abandoned underground Nazi lab from the 1940s, where they had been trying to create the “Ubermensch,” an Aryan Superman.

Two gamblers responsible for his crash follow Travis in to finish him off, and Jimmy gets doused with some old chemicals that burn him and his race suit. He puts on an old Nazi “super suit” and discovers that the chemicals have given him super speed. Quickly, he ties up the crooks, dismantles the car of the East German driver who had run him off the road and pushes his own car to the finish line, jumping in to coast to victory. The Blitz had been born.

Next up was a reprint of the two page Ultiman origin written and drawn by Chris Ecker from Berzerker #2. I did drop in a different “title panel” to change things up a bit. It had been submitted by my long-time Megaton & Big Bang buddy John Thompson, and I especially loved his Ultiman logo.

This was followed by Chris Ecker’s all-new origin of the Knight Watchman. Written, penciled and inked by Chris, it was inked by Jim Brozman and Mike Matthew. In it, college student and Olympic hopeful Reid Randall is called home to Midway City when his brother Ted runs afoul of gangster “Gentleman” Mac Duggin. Ted had run up some serious gambling debts and Duggin wanted the Reid family’s garment business as payback.

Reid sent the gangsters packing, who responded by killing Ted and his wife, and trashing the family’s factory and warehouse. There, they are surprised by a masked Reid Randall wearing a wrestling outfit, who uses his athletic skills to beat up the thugs and leaves them tied up. The police find the toughs wearing women’s’ clothes from the factory, and a note reading “These fellows wanted to be big men in women’s clothing – – looks like they are! Knight Watchman.”

The final story in the issue is “A Visit To Ultiman’s Secret Citadel,” in which Ultiman gives a lucky young boy named Jimmy a guided tour through his hidden sanctuary inside of a volcano. While it isn’t an origin story, it does offer a bit of info on how astronaut Chris Kelly gained his powers and became the Ultimate Human Being. The Citadel is kind of a combination of the Batcave and the Fortress of Solitude.

A Visit To Ultiman’s Secret Citadel” was plotted and drawn by Ed Quinby, who had inked the Silver Age Ultiman story in BB #3. The scripting was a collaboration between myself and Ed, or perhaps just very heavy-handed editing on my part to get some details right that had so far existed only in my brain. Overall, it tied together some things from the story in BB #3, and the original Ultiman story from way back in Megaton #1 some 14 years earlier. My favorite bits in the Visit were the bottled city of Atlantis and the info about the dead astronaut, to set up a still-untold story.

And that was Big Bang Comics #5. Plus the letter column “Big Bang Theories,” and ad for the next issue, an ad for ACTION FIGURES UNLIMITED where Dennis Harry could create your own custom Big Bang action figures and a gorgeous back cover pin-up of Mighty Man by the wonderfully talented, and sorely missed, Bill Fugate.

Until next time…

Gary Carlson

4/17/2017

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 20: BB #4 – Going For The Gold

By Gary Carlson

Big Bang Comics #4 was an All-Star issue of Big Bang in more ways than one. Cover dated September 1996 from Image Comics, this story was an homage to DC Comics’ Justice Society of America, the first super hero team, who had starred in All-Star Comics back in the 1940s. An all star team of Big Bang creators worked on this issue, along with top pros Terry Beatty (who provided the front cover), Rich Buckler and comics legend Mart Nodell.

Our group of Golden Age heroes was the Knights of Justice, who had individually been introduced in issue #s 0, 1 and 2 of the Caliber Press mini-series. The KOJ team debuted in the 3rd issue, “The Criss-Cross Crisis.” While that story was meant to invoke the Silver Age Justice League/Justice Society crossovers of the 1960s, this issue of the ongoing series from Image Comics was the first appearance of the KOJ as a team in their own time period. (You can check out the entries for those issues in previous posts of this blog).

Like their inspiration, the JSA in All-Star Comics, each of the Knights of Justice starred in their own solo chapter, written and drawn by different creators, and the team itself only appeared together in the first and last segments.

The Knights of Justice (in this issue) were Ultiman, Knight Watchman, Thunder Girl, Venus, the Blitz, the Beacon and the Badge. The impetus of the story has the KOJ convening to welcome Dr. Stellar as their newest member. He asks how the team was formed and each member obliges by narrating how they became involved.

The wraparound segments that start and end the story were written by long-time Big Bang scribe Terrance Griep, Jr. He sets the table by introducing the tale of “The Great Minds Summit” in which President Roosevelt invited the greatest minds of America and her allies to Washington D.C. to help end World War 2.

Terrance also scripted the first chapter starring the Blitz, who in his identity as a newsreel reporter was accompanying inventor Hank Fort to D.C. on the Super Chief. The train is attacked by Nazi spies, led by a General who is a combination of Adolph Hitler and Moe Howard of the Three Stooges. The Blitz stops the attack, builds a jail out of loose boulders and races off to get back on the train, all in three pages which were drawn by Big Bang co-creator Chris Ecker.

Mr. Griep has gone on to write Scooby-Doo and various projects for DC Comics as well as Heroic Publishing, Alias Enterprises and others. He also wrestles professionally as the SpiderBaby.

The second chapter features the Beacon, who battles some thugs in the Statue of Liberty. They are using a death ray to stop a ship bringing inventor Tom Ettleson to the Great Minds Summit. (Hank Fort? Tom Ettleson? Think Henry Ford and Tom Edison.)

The Beacon chapter was written by Bud Hanzel (who had previously written the Beacon prose piece “The Razor’s Edge” in Caliber’s BB #1). The art was provided by Mart Nodell, the then 80 year old creator of the Golden Age Green Lantern. Mart had also drawn a Beacon pin-up which appeared two issues earlier as the back cover to BB #2. Marty and his wife Carrie were regulars at Comic Cons back in those days and were a lot of fun. Carrie always referred to us and Big Bang as “The Bang,” which is where the title of this blog comes from. Both are sorely missed.

Next up came the first of three chapters in a row written by me. In it, the Badge foils the kidnapping of scientist Dr. Reinstein, who is taking his top-secret formula to Washington. At the end of the chapter, the Doc tells the Badge that America needs more heroes like him, and he’ll soon have lots of help if his formula is a success. This chapter was penciled by Mark Lewis and inked by Jim Brozman. Mark’s Simon & Kirby style stories always have been among my very favorites in Big Bang’s 30+ year history.

Thunder Girl shows up, thwarting a Nazi zeppelin that was trying to stop her friend Professor Eureka and his pal Dr. Igorski from reaching the Great Minds Summit. Bill Neville provided the art, admirably filling the big shoes of regular T-Girl artist Bill Fugate, who was sick at the time.

The following chapter stars “the eerie twilight paladin known as the Knight Watchman.” Penciled by Rich Buckler, one of my all time favorites, and beautifully inked by Terry Beatty, it looks different than all the other Watchman stories we’ve ever done, yet authentic. What a blast! In three pages we see the Watchwagon, the very Batcavesque laboratory of Dr. Igor Eisner who provides many of the KW’s marvelous toys, KW in a jetpack turned batwing glider, and KW tossing a hand grenade at a Nazi submarine. Whew!

Ed DeGeorge wrote the Venus segment, in which the Goddess of Love and Laughter is bound to the Liberty Bell and later uses her flying horse Pegasus to rescue foreign scientist Madame Furie from a Nazi agent known as the Temptress. It was penciled by Stephanie Sanderson (now Heike) and inked by John Thompson with a gorgeous Harry G. Peter-inspired patina.

John Thompson provided both pencils and inks on the Ultiman chapter, in which the Ultimate Human Being serves as bodyguard to Winston Churchill, who is in Washington D.C. for the Summit. There, Ultiman foils the plot of a weird green-skinned fiend who has turned the Washington Monument into a rocket aimed at the White House.

This leads to the final chapter, featuring art by Charles Smith, in which the green fiend is revealed to be scientist Dr. Henry Hyde. Bitter over not being invited to the Summit, he decided to derail it. Using a weapon he invented, an animator ray gun, Hyde brings the exhibits to life at the Smithsonian Institution, where the Summit is being held. Chaos ensues! The Knight Watchman battles a mummy. The Badge fights some stuffed gorillas. Ultiman takes on a T. Rex skeleton. But Dr. Hyde pushes his weapon too far and it backfires, killing him.

At that point, one of the other scientists discovers that Dr. Hyde’s invite had been stuck to his own invitation to the Great Minds Summit. FDR and Churchill suggest that the heroes team up for good, and the Knights of Justice were born!

Gary Carlson

4/10/2017

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

Big Bang Stars

By Allen Berrebbi

Whiz Kids

CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR GALLERY


Ultiman
Thunder Girl
Speed Queen Earth A
Roberta Ryan BADGE
Ramm
Protoplasman
Oblivia
Knight Watchman Graveyard Shift
Knight Watchman
Kid Galahad
El Diablo
Dr Weird
The Blitz Earth A
The Beacon Earth A
Badge Silver Age

Big Bang Universe #3 – on sale in May 2017 from AC Comics

By Gary Carlson

Just a heads up to remind you all to look for Big Bang Universe #3 in May 2017 from AC Comics. It’s got a great cover by Jeff Weigel, (right) plus an amazing alternate cover by Ron Williams (below).

You asked for it – – you’ve got it! An 80 Page Giant featuring Ultiman, America’s Greatest Hero, in his most fantastic adventures ever, with an all-star line-up of guest heroes and super villains!

First up is the three-part novel, “Ultiman of the Atom” in which Ultiman is transported to the nucleus of an Ultranium atom, the radioactive element that gives him his powers. There he discovers a futuristic civilization of people with super powers like his own and falls in love! This Silver Age gem features art by Joe & Rob Sharp, and Tim Stiles!

Next, the Ultimate Human Being finds himself in a slugfest with Vesuvius, the Human Volcano from Faust’s Four who is trying to break INTO a maximum security prison! Then Ultiman finds himself refereeing a fight between an irate Venus, Goddess of Love and War, and the super paparazzi known as Shutterbug, who made the mistake of snapping a picture of the Goddess when she was topless! This 2-parter features fabulous art by Donnie Page, with inks by Bob Rivard, Mike Matthew and Donnie Page!

Finally, the Man of The Future confronts a caped and cowled predator in the dead of night that turns out to be the infamous arsonist known as Diablo, come to wreak havoc and raise hell in modern day Empire City, by Ron Williams!

EpisoPlus – – the Knight Watchman comic strip adventure “The Crime Chef!” by Chris Ecker and Roger McKenzie, and Hannibal the Cannibal by Mike Worley!

Remember – look for it from AC Comics in Diamond’s Previews for a May 2017

release.

80pgs, B&W……………………………..$9.95

For the Diamond online Preview, and a free download promo, visit:

https://www.previewsworld.com/Catalog/MAR171233

BB Chronological 19: BB #3 – Third Time’s The Charm!

By Gary Carlson

With the third issue of Big Bang Comics published under the Image Comics banner, I thought that we were really on a roll. Ultiman and Thunder Girl made their debut at Image, and our flagship character the Knight Watchman was back for his third consecutive issue.

Big Bang was essentially an anthology series, featuring different characters in every issue because frankly, it wasn’t making enough money to support any of us. Orders for the book on the direct market had improved over what we had been doing at Caliber, but they weren’t really that great for an Image title. Therefore, we were making sure that the Knight Watchman was a constant presence so fans would find a familiar face in each issue and keep coming back.

This issue’s main story, “The Ultimate Criminal” was a Silver Age World’s Finest type story featuring Ultiman and the Knight Watchman (known to us at Big Bang as the World’s Best Friends). From the very beginning, we made no bones about the characters being homages and we definitely weren’t making fun of how stupid the old stories may have been. Hopefully the love showed.

I wasn’t reinventing Superman or trying to rip him off. The similarities were obvious. It was the differences that we were proud of. We always called it “taking a left hand turn” from the actual characters. Villain Dexter Cortex was something of a combination of Lex Luther and Brainiac, a man who hard-wired his brain into a computer to outsmart Ultiman.

The other villain, Reverso escaped from a mirror-image world where everything was opposite. Where Ultiman was good, his doppelganger was evil. For a while, even Ultiman thought he was committing crimes that he couldn’t remember under some evil influence, until the Knight Watchman turned up to help. Reverso was definitely a nod to Bizarro – the dialogue in his word balloons was reversed (not actually backwards typeface but the words were in reverse order: YOU I LOVE instead of I LOVE YOU).

There were lots of “twists” in the mythos. Ultiman’s Secret Citadel was in a live fiery volcano. U-Man’s secretary Lori Lake was in love with him ( astronaut turned super hero Chris Kelly), but detested his “brother” Carl who was something of a jerk. Of course, Carl was Ultiman’s alter-ego. Carl really had been Ultiman’s brother, but when he perished in an as yet unpublished story, Chris decided to adopt his bad-boy brother’s persona to get a break from being Ultiman all the time, and to get an “in” with the more unsavory element of civilization, a la Matches Malone. Just a heads up – – the real Carl Kelly will finally be making an appearance in comics in May 2017, in the pages of “Ultiman of the Atom” in Big Bang Universe #3 from AC Comics, written by me with art by Joe & Rob Sharp on Chapter 1 (and Tim Stiles in Chapters 2 and 3)..

I loved (and still do) the classic Superman stories and had a blast writing this one and creating the mythology of Ultiman. What made it even more special for me was the art by Jeff Weigel. I had met Jeff at the Chicago ComiCon, and when he showed me his samples I jumped up saying “This looks like Curt Swan inked by Murphy Anderson!” He backed away saying “Yeah, that’s what everyone says.” Curt was a dinosaur at the time, having been shunted aside by DC in favor of John Byrne and the other new guys on Superman.

I showed Jeff what we were doing with Big Bang and eventually convinced him we weren’t just trying to rip off DC. Jeff penciled the front cover, which was inked by Andrew Pepoy, and also penciled the main story, which had inks by Ed Quinby. The issue even had an ad for the two self-published issues of Jeff’s own character, the Sphinx, who eventually joined the Big Bang Universe a few issues later.

Big Bang #3 also featured a two page centerfold pin-up of the Knight Watchman and Silver-Age Shadowhawk penciled by Jim Valentino and inked by Chris Ecker, done prior to the “Angry Red Aliens” story from issue #2.

This was followed by a Superswine one-pager by Gary Fields, and ended with Thunder Girl Meets Her Evil Imitator!” written and drawn by the wonderful Bill Fugate. Bill was as great a writer as he was a cartoonist, and I would’ve been jealous to be so easily replaced on my own character’s story if I hadn’t loved his work so much.

In this tale, that nefarious chimp Dr. Binana builds a machine that can duplicate the World’s Strongest Girl’s powers. He then bestows them upon the criminal Bad Penny (one half of the crime duo Penny and Claude), turning her into Tornado Girl. Luckily, Thunder Girl prevails and carries the criminals off to their just rewards.

Classic Big Bang from cover to cover.

Gary Carlson

1/31/2017

Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

Thunder Girl Digest is available through Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Girl-Digest-Comics-Collection/dp/1494803100/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485895214&sr=1-9&keywords=Thunder+Girl

Ultiman: The Ultimate Collection is available through Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Ultiman-Ultimate-Collection-Bang-Comics/dp/1511404140/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=8PHNKZR3FVA4V3M63Y4S

The Sphinx Collection by Jeff Weigel is available through Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.com/Sphinx-Big-Bang-Comics-Collection/dp/1490316825/ref=pd_sim_14_4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=4R9XH1G1HDHXTQW487MJ

Coming Soon to A Comic Shop Near You…

By Gary Carlson

Just a quick heads up to all you Big Bang Comics fans out there!

Feathers of Doom,” the Golden Age Knight Watchman story that introduced the nefarious Pink Flamingo to comics audiences everywhere returns to comic book shelves in the pages of Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon #220 any day now.

Presented in color for the very first time, this story was written by myself and Chris Ecker, with amazing art by John Thompson. It was originally published in Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift #1 a long time ago, but has been painstakingly colored by Adam Pruett and Anthony Cuzon for its appearance in Savage Dragon #220.

Be sure to haunt your comic shop to pick up this issue of my favorite comic book being published today!

Hopefully this will whet your appetites for the all-new Big Bang Universe #3 coming this May from AC Comics. Watch for it in Diamond Previews soon!

Gary Carlson

1/29/2017

BB Chronological 18: BB #2 – The Second Time Around

By Gary Carlson

We felt that our second issue of Big Bang at Image Comics was another very strong one. It featured our flagship character, the Knight Watchman, guest-starred Jim Valentino’s Silver Age Shadowhawk, contained a Golden Age era Badge story with Mark Lewis’ wonderful Simon & Kirby homaged artwork, and concluded with a short Dr. Weird prose story written by Ed DeGeorge.

All of that PLUS a back cover pin-up of the Beacon by Golden Age legend Mart Nodell, creator of the Green Lantern!

The front cover and main story, The Angry Red Aliens were the work of Chris Ecker; writing, pencils, inks and letters – a quadruple threat. I asked Chris if he would share his recollections of creating this story, and the following is what he had to say:

“I don’t really remember whose idea it was to do a Big Bang Comics story combining Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk, but it was probably Jim Valentino’s. Jim had always been an enthusiastic Big Bang supporter and I had previously drawn a modern Shadowhawk trading card in the Tom King style at Jim’s request. He had already toyed with the Silver Age Shadowhawk and published some stories as I recall when we came on board at Image. Jim drew a Silver Age Shadowhawk/Knight Watchman pin up page in the style of a Bob Kane Golden Age Batman cover and sent it to me for inking.

Looking back, I don’t think Jim really imposed many (if any) rules on the use of Silver Age Shadowhawk and Squirrel (SSH’s son & sidekick), but I knew better than to add anything substantive to the continuity or mythos. I wanted to use only the major characters of Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk as equals, and I knew I didn’t want to have the sidekicks getting in the way.

I also knew that I wanted to set the story in the 1950s and use a thinly veiled Red Scare of that era as a tent pole for the story. I figured the 50s entertainment was full of alien invasions, communist sleepers, the FBI as authoritarian heroes, and newly televised Government processes.

Let me digress for a moment to give a little creative insight for me in general, and this story specifically. As an infant of the late 50s and a child of the early 60s, my view of “comic book” Superheroes was informed by what I saw on TV. That is to say, MY Flash Gordon was Buster Crabbe, MY Superman was George Reeves, MY Batman was Adam West. Because I viewed the live action series first, then discovered the print versions, in MY mind, the comic books and the newspaper strips were reflections of THEM, not the other way around. Consequently, when I create comics, I see and hear those voices, see those images, feel that atmosphere—in my mind, and try to translate that to the page.

Anyway…I decided that in this story, both Knight Watchman and Silver Age Shadowhawk were publicly known and welcomed as independent crime fighters of the highest caliber. The threat would appear to be of alien origin, but in reality would be Earthbound and of a sinister anti-American nature. Our heroes would each independently volunteer to help, and the FBI would be involved.

As I usually do, I added personal touches like having the congressional hearings on Superhero activities in the story presided over by creator friends of mine; Larry Marder, Donald Simpson, and Jim Valentino, who surround the secret villain of the piece, Senator Keefhouser. The kidnapped scientific genius, who is also the Knight Watchman’s inventive confidant, is a caricature of one of my favorite creators, Will Eisner, known in this story as Igor Eisner. Eisner creates a bogus circuit board as a clue that he hopes Knight Watchman will eventually find and decipher.

All in all, I was and remain pretty proud of the story, having been allowed to play in one of the Image founding fathers’ creative sandboxes, and adding to the Image story.”

Thanks Chris. Shown above are two of the pages from his roughs to finals.

The other featured story in this issue was The Zombie Crime Boss, starring the Badge and his young Rookies (Trooper and Bobbie). The villain of the piece was Dr. Cadaver (created by David Easter) – the city’s coroner who aimed to become the city’s new crime boss by reanimating corpses in the morgue and sending them out to commit crimes. Cadaver was tripped up in the story by one of his zombies – – the infamous Public Enemy #1 – Louie “Scarface” Provalone, who had been executed earlier that evening. But Scarface didn’t take orders from anybody and filled Dr. Cadaver full of lead.

This story was written by myself and inked by Jeff Meyer, but Mark Lewis’ pencils are the star of this one. I love all of the work Mark did for Big Bang over the years, but his Joe Simon/Jack Kirby stories are my favorites.

Last but not least was the Dr. Weird story, Creatures of the Night. It is a powerful little tale that pitted the Golden Ghost against a demonic Changeling that had replaced a young boy in his parent’s own house, and the dramatic rescue from the nether dimension where the boy was trapped.

Gary Carlson

1/23/2017

Back issues for most issues are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store: http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

BB Chronological 17: A NEW IMAGE FOR BIG BANG COMICS.

By Gary Carlson

Starting over? A new beginning? It didn’t really feel that way after leaving Caliber Press to join Image Comics. Most of the material in the first few issues at the Big “I” was in the works before we left Caliber. The interiors were still in color. Had we hit the big time? I don’t know. We knew that we had the chance to reach a wider audience so we just kept plugging away.

We decided to hit the ground running and lead off the new run with a few Image characters. Erik Larsen’s Mighty Man starred in volume 2 number 1, and Jim Valentino’s (Silver Age) Shadowhawk guest-starred in number 2.

Mighty Man went way back to the beginning of my career in comics – – my independent comic Megaton! The World’s Mightiest Man was present in the first batch of samples and character designs that Erik had sent me prior to our collaboration on the Vanguard stories in 1981 or so, and he first showed up in Megaton #2. Here we were, 15 years later and I was working for Erik. We did a few Vanguard mini-series, and Mighty Man was appearing in Savage Dragon.

Erik was (and is) a big fan of the original Captain Marvel. I think he grew up reading his Dad’s comics collection. Me? I started with DC’s 1970s revival (unless you count Steranko’s History of the Comics and the one page that DC allowed Jules Feiffer to reprint in The Great Comic Book Heroes) and worked my way backward.

Thunder Girl was technically Big Bang’s homage to the Big Red Cheese, but we were thrilled to get the chance to do Mighty Man. Bill Fugate’s art was as perfect for MM as it was for T-Girl. The villain of the story was the Wicked Worm, a leech that could mind-control any living being it latched on to. While obviously an homage to Cap’s own worm Mr. Mind, it also tied in to the villainous Horde that was wreaking havoc in Savage Dragon. Horde was a pile of the brain-sucking leeches. I figured that the Wicked Worm was the first of many.

My co-conspirator Chris Ecker drew a layout for the front cover and Bill Fugate finished it up beautifully. Chris also wrote and penciled a Knight Watchman story, the second feature in BB #1, which was inked by Jim Brozman. The Sinister Quizmaster introduced Nestor Whitt, a television game show writer gone bad. The Knight Watchman was forced to match wits with the Quizmaster, who had strapped the Twilight Paladin’s sidekick Kid Galahad in an electric chair. While KW evaded the villain’s questions designed to expose their secret identities, Galahad escaped and socked his captor.

Rounding out the issue was a two page Dr. Weird prose story, written by Ed DeGeorge and illustrated by Stephanie Sanderson (now Heike). In The Master of Ghosts, Dr. Rex Ward faced off against an old man with a golden amulet who called himself the Ghost Master! Although he himself was dead, the Golden Avenger was able to disobey the amulet’s power, so the old fiend called upon the ghosts of Aaron Burr, Tecumseh and Cleopatra for aid.Volume 2 number 1 was one of our strongest issues ever, but my own favorite piece in the book was (and is) the introduction on the inside front cover by Big Bang scribe Terrance Griep, Jr (also known now as the indy wrestling star Spider Baby). He introduced us and some of the characters, and told the readers what to expect in the future. Toward the end of it he wrote “If this is your first Big Bang comic, then I genuinely envy you. . . you’re about to take a thrilling journey back in time”. Do yourself a favor – click on it and read it for yourself.

See you next time.

Gary Carlson

1/19/2017

Back issues for most issues are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store. This link will take you to the Image series, but there are also lists of the Caliber issues, Big Bang Presents, and even some Megaton back issues. Check ’em out:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/image-comics/

Coming in May 2017: BIG BANG UNIVERSE #3 From AC Comics

By Gary Carlson

Hey Gang! Just a heads up to let you know to keep your eyes open for Diamond Previews for May 2017 because that’s when AC Comics will be soliciting for the latest and greatest issue of Big Bang Universe!

We’re just putting the finishing touches on the book and it’s just about ready to go.

It’s another 80 Page Giant with all-new material, this time starring America’s Greatest Hero — Ultiman! It features a cover by THE Ultiman artist, Jeff Weigel and an alternate (1 out of 5) cover by Ron Williams, all for the low price of $9.95!

This issue is chock full of guest heroes and villains, as you can see by the above cover. Venus, the Goddess of Love and War is on hand, as is the super paparazzi known as Shutterbug as well as such bad guys as the walking volcano known as Vesuvius, and the villainous Vibrator – all in an action-packed thriller drawn by the dynamic Donnie Page and inked by Bob Rivard & Mike Matthew!

Ultiman also faces off against the creepy denizen of the night known as Diablo in a story drawn by the talented Ron Williams.

BB Universe #3 will feature one of the favorite stories that I’ve ever written – – a Silver-Age 3-Part Novel starring Ultiman that has been years in the making. “Ultiman of the Atom” features character designs and Chapter One art by the amazing Sharp Brothers of Australia, Rob & Joe Sharp, and concluding chapters by the terrific Tim Stiles!

And just for the heck of it, we’re including the comic strip starring Ultiman’s Best Friend, the Knight Watchman as he faces off against the crazy Crime Chef by Chris Ecker, Roger McKenzie and Matt Hansel.

I’ll be posting more info and links when Previews hits the stands, but keep your eyes peeled. It’s going to be a May to remember!

Gary Carlson

1/13/2017

GARY REED

By Allen Berrebbi

R.I.P. Gary Reed

BIG BANG UNIVERSE #2!

By Allen Berrebbi

BBU_2_AC_COMICS

Shipping in December from AC Comics: BIG BANG UNIVERSE #2!
Just in time for Christmas! 80 pages of all out action as the National Guardians – Badge, Golden Idol, Venus, Ramm, Butterfly, El Gigante, BlackAdder – combine forces to protect the world from deadly threats such as the Hyper-Ape! The Blue Ox! The Ancient Mariner! Dr. Cadaver and Iron Maiden!

If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, call your comic book shop TODAY!

The post BIG BANG UNIVERSE #2! appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

DIMENSIONEER is back

By Allen Berrebbi

DimensioneerPromo

It’s ALIVE!

Attention all Big Bang fans: Dan Reed’s dynamic DIMENSIONEER is back!!!!! The star of Big Bang Comics #s 20-22 is alive and well and starring in his own brand-new website. The original stories have been remastered and are presented in full color for the very first time, and all-new adventures are on the way from the pen of dynamic Dan Reed. Check it out!

The post DIMENSIONEER is back appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

BIG BANG COMICS ROLE PLAYING SUPPLEMENT

By Allen Berrebbi

BB-roleplaying supplement

HIDEOUTS & HOODLUMS Supplement V is finally here! This is the first time H&H, the premier retro comic book RPG, has teamed up with a retro comic book publisher, Big Bang. Big Bang founders Gary Carlson and Chris Ecker have reviewed and endorsed this product, in addition to offering invaluable feedback and access to their archives.

CLICK HERE OR IMAGE FOR MORE

The post BIG BANG COMICS ROLE PLAYING SUPPLEMENT appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

PROTOPLASM COLOR CAVALCADE

By Allen Berrebbi

PROTOPLASM COLOR CAVALCADE

Product Description
Meet Protoplasman, the Human Waterballoon! The Liquidy Lawman uses his weird powers to fight evil in Mammoth City with his partner, P.I. Rose Daly. They often succeed despite the “help” of their sad sack sidekick, woeful Willie Wampum.
Thrills, Chills and Laughs abound in this Collectors’ Edition of 5 wild PROTOPLASMAN tales! You’ll see GIANT VAMPIRES! 2-HEADED CORPSES! HOLLYWOOD HOODLUMS! VIOLENT VIXENS and other menaces out to POP the Human Waterballoon!

Click the image above to find out more about the FULL COLOR collector’s edition of Protoplasm Color Cavalcade.

The post PROTOPLASM COLOR CAVALCADE appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

THE KNIGHT WATCHMAN THROUGH THE YEARS

By Allen Berrebbi

knight-watchman-various-looks

Once again, from our pals at Pulp 2.0, another peak at what’s in store for the Big Bang History of Comics. Various looks of the Knight Watchman throughout the years.

The post THE KNIGHT WATCHMAN THROUGH THE YEARS appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

KNIGHT WATCHMAN PULP COVER

By Allen Berrebbi

Big Bang Comics History Knight Watchman Pulp Cover

From our pals at Pulp 2.0

When you’re designing a book like the BIG BANG HISTORY OF COMICS, you’re part historian/ part archeologist. When you’re digging around the vault you’re bound to find most anything. (Beware of the snakes!)

For example: Here is the long lost cover to the aborted KNIGHT WATCHMAN pulp magazine. True fans know Garrison Robillard, the founder of Big Bang Comics got his start in the pulps, and for a brief moment considered creating a pulp magazine to complement the sales of DEDUCTIVE and other comics that Knight Watchman appeared within. Robillard was never afraid to “use all of the buffalo,” as long as it didn’t cost him a lot of money, and his magazine distribution co. needed product.

This cover was “commissioned” on a Friday and expected to be on Robillard’s desk Monday morning, hence this artwork’s resemblance to another pulp character who ironically also originated from comics [Which is where we think Robillard got the idea! ] — with Chris Ecker and Gary Carlson.

The post KNIGHT WATCHMAN PULP COVER appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

SIMMONS AND KINGLER KNIGHT WATCHMAN

By Allen Berrebbi

simmons-kigler-knightwatchman

The Knight Watchman and Kid Galahad by the mighty team of Simmons & Kingler… from the upcoming BIG BANG HISTORY OF COMICS exclusively from Pulp 2.0!

The post SIMMONS AND KINGLER KNIGHT WATCHMAN appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

INDICIA PAGE – BIG BANG HISTORY OF COMICS

By Allen Berrebbi

BBHOC1

Work in progress indicia page for our upcoming BIG BANG HISTORY OF COMICS. Creating a lot of two-page spreads for this to give it a BIG look.

The post INDICIA PAGE – BIG BANG HISTORY OF COMICS appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

Coming Soon! The Ultimate Collection

By Allen Berrebbi

ULTIMAN_COVER_WEBREZ-thin

From our pals at Pulp 2.0 comes the Ultimate Collection!

From the Pulp 2.0 Site:

Ultiman is created by Gary Carlson & Chris Ecker and is part of our Big Bang Comics Collection.

Chris Kelly is The Ultimate Human Being – Ultiman! Chris was a 4F reject driving home from his draft board, when his car was hit by a glowing meteor, charging him up with atomic power. He became as strong as an ox, as fast as a racing car, had skin like steel and could jump the length of a football field. He donned a costume and became ULTIMAN.

The 5th volume in the BIG BANG COMICS COLLECTION gathers together all of the stories from Ultiman’s long list of super-heroic adventures. A cornerstone of the Big Bang Comics Universe (along with Knight Watchman and Thunder Girl), Ultiman is a classic comic book character whose adventures are fun for the whole family to read!
In addition to all of the Ultiman stories, this Pulp 2.0 edition features bonus materials such as never-before-seen artwork, the History of Ultiman, and rare material not seen in a decade. They’re all here – Ultiman, Lori Lake, Ultragirl, Thunder Girl, and the Pantheon of Heroes — the entire Ultiman Family of characters from the Big Bang universe.

Included in this edition is the NEVER-BEFORE-PUBLISHED STORY by Ultiman Artist Jeff Weigel (THE SPHINX)

We’d like to thank the following talents for their work on the stories that comprise this Ultimate Collection:

Jerry Acerno, Jeff Austin, Howard Bender, Odie Bracy, James Cassara, Ed DeGeorge, Susan Dorne, Rusty Gilligan, Darren Goodhart, Butch Guice, Bob Hack, Greg Kirkpatrick, Mike Kirsten, Mark Lewis, Tony Manginelli, Mike Matthew, Jeff Pedigo, Ed Quinby, Daniel Reed, Bob Rivard, Andrew Sheppard, Don Simpson, Mark Spears, Tim Stiles, and especially John Thompson and Jeff Weigel.

Order now from CREATESPACE.

Coming any moment to Amazon outlets worldwide!

List Price: $9.99
6.69″ x 9.61″
Black & White Bleed on White paper
160 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1511404143
ISBN-10: 1511404140
BISAC: Comics & Graphic Novels / Superheroes

CLICK HERE TO VISIT PAGE ON PULP 2.0 SITE

The post Coming Soon! The Ultimate Collection appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

SHOP IS BACK ONLINE

By Allen Berrebbi

comics-shop

We have a few ways to buy, all in the navigation menu under STORE.

But here is the link to the back issue shop. Priced to move.

ONLINE SHOP

The post SHOP IS BACK ONLINE appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

BIG BANG UNIVERSE #1 – DIAMOND PREVIEWS STAFF PICK

Big Bang Universe #1 is a Diamond Previews Staff Pick for February! Published by our good friends at AC Comics.

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW FOR THE WRITE-UP

Diamond Previews

DIAMOND PREVIEWS STAFF PICK

By Allen Berrebbi

Diamond Previews

Big Bang Universe #1 is a Diamond Previews Staff Pick for February! Published by our good friends at AC Comics.

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW FOR THE WRITE-UP

The post DIAMOND PREVIEWS STAFF PICK appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

WIZARD WORLD MADISON

By Allen Berrebbi

Wizard World Madison

Our very own Gary Carlson will be a guest at Wizard World Madison the weekend of the February 6-8 2015. Don’t forget to stop by and say hi and discuss all things Big Bang!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE CONVENTION

The post WIZARD WORLD MADISON appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

COMING IN APRIL 2015 FROM AC COMICS!

Big Bang Universe 1 - Regular

Big Bang Universe 1 – Standard Cover – Kerry Talbot

BIG BANG COMICS is back!! BB returns to comic shops with an 80 page Giant of new material from AC Comics!! The KNIGHT WATCHMAN stars in “Skeletons In The Closet”, a 48-page contemporary novella written by Gary Carlson and illustrated by Kerry Talbott, a solo GALAHAD story by Carlson with art by C.B. Burk featuring SHUTTERBUG and an unpublished Retro-60’s KW adventure by Bobby Nash and Jeff Austin.
Special Notes: Ships with TWO covers in an approximate 4-to-1 ratio, 4 with the Kerry Talbott Knight Watchman (cover A) and 1 with the Galahad – Lady In Waiting painted design by C.B. Burk (cover B).

Click either cover to find out more information

Big Bang Universe 1 - Galahad Variant

Big Bang Universe 1 – Galahad Variant Cover – C.B. Burk

COMING IN APRIL 2015 FROM AC COMICS!

By Allen Berrebbi

Big Bang Universe 1 - Regular

Big Bang Universe 1 – Standard Cover – Kerry Talbot

BIG BANG COMICS is back!! BB returns to comic shops with an 80 page Giant of new material from AC Comics!! The KNIGHT WATCHMAN stars in “Skeletons In The Closet”, a 48-page contemporary novella written by Gary Carlson and illustrated by Kerry Talbott, a solo GALAHAD story by Carlson with art by C.B. Burk featuring SHUTTERBUG and an unpublished Retro-60’s KW adventure by Bobby Nash and Jeff Austin.
Special Notes: Ships with TWO covers in an approximate 4-to-1 ratio, 4 with the Kerry Talbott Knight Watchman (cover A) and 1 with the Galahad – Lady In Waiting painted design by C.B. Burk (cover B).

Click either cover to find out more information

Big Bang Universe 1 – Galahad Variant Cover – C.B. Burk

The post COMING IN APRIL 2015 FROM AC COMICS! appeared first on Big Bang Comics.

THE CRIME COOK

CLICK IMAGE BELOW TO READ FROM THE BEGINNING

The Crime CookThe Crime Cook

ORIGINAL ART

Origin-26-Sunday

CAN WE BUY ORIGINAL ART FOR THE COMIC STRIP?

Since the Knight Watchman Digital Strips posted so far are completely remastered, digitally created documents, we’re looking into the possibility of printing either full color or black and white limited original art size, signed prints for art collectors.

Like other strips, we will only print one of each (one in B&W & one in color), and we will let you know what the cost would be for them, once we find out if this can be done reasonably.

Click the following image to find out more:

ORIGINAL ART

GARY CARLSON INTERVIEW WITH TWO GEEKS TALKING

GARY CARLSONGary Carlson is also interviewed by Two Geeks Talking and it is very informative. Here about his long and extensive history in the comic biz and learn about how he met Chris, as well as the origins of Big Bang Comics

CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW
TWO GEEKS TALKING

ON SALE NOW – KNIGHT WATCHMAN THE GOLDEN AGE

When Reid Randall, fashion designer, dons a hood mask and shield to avenge the murder of his brother by vicious mobsters eager to take over the family garment business as a front for their criminal operations, he becomes THE KNIGHT WATCHMAN.

From the archives of the BIG BANG COMICS COLLECTION comes this rare glimpse into the origins of Midway City’s Twilight Paladin. Totally remastered in crisp black & white , this volume collects his greatest golden age stories together for the first time! Thrill as the Knight Watchman and his sidekick, KID GALAHAD, thwart the plans of master criminals like PINK FLAMINGO, GRANDFATHER CLOCK, MR. MASK, and QUIZMASTER.

Featuring classic stories by CHRIS ECKER, GARY CARLSON, PAUL FRICKE, MIKE MATTHEW, JIM BROZMAN, DAVID ZIMMERMAN, MARK SCHIRMER, DAN PREECE, STUART SAYGER, JOHN THOMPSON, BILL SCHELLY, MIKE WORLEY, TERRY BEATTY, TERRANCE GRIEP, JR. , TIM STILES, JEFF AUSTIN, and many,many more!

Including our Pulp 2.0 Bonus Features: The History of the Knight Watchman, Toy Development Sketches, Animation Model Sheets, Sketches, Promotional Materials, The Knight Watchman Costume, and much, much, more!

CLICK HERE OR IMAGE BELOW FOR MORE:

KNIGHT WATCHMAN GOLDEN AGE

INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS ECKER

A very interesting interview with Big Bang Comics co-founder Chris Ecker.

CLICK HERE OR IMAGE BELOW:

Two-Geeks-Talking-Logo-Header2

CHRIS ECKER

CHRIS ECKERChris Ecker has had an over thirty year career in both the creative and retail ends of the comics industry, worked as a professional wrestling announcer, held journalist positions on two national magazines, and designed toys, children’s books, and national advertising campaigns.

Hired as the first full time employee of the Moondog’s Comics chain, Chris spent over fifteen years in management of ChicagoLand’s most prominent chain of comic book and pop culture stores.

He was also a mainstay at Gary Carlson’s MEGATON Comics, where he co-created and drew the independent b&w comic book RAMM with writer Lee Dolezal, as well as helping with lettering and production work on other titles.

His cartooning career included a short stint as assistant to Rick Fletcher, supplying lettering on the DICK TRACY syndicated comic strip and as a gag cartoonist, with work appearing in the Chicago Tribune Sunday comics.

He was one of the original founders of Chicago’s NOW Comics after the release of his self published EB’NN the Raven comic book in the 1980s drew the attention of entrepreneur Tony Caputo. With the third issue, EB’NN became one of the fledgling company’s tent pole titles. At Ecker’s suggestion, NOW Comics pursued such licensed titles as SPEED RACER and ASTRO BOY, eventually adding REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, TERMINATOR, Married With Children and other licensed properties to their publishing roster.

Chris also created and served as editor/writer on BATTLE-AXE MAGAZINE for Comics Interview, and worked as a freelance artist in advertising–supplying production art for Curious George and Cap’n Crunch, as well as producing art for comic books published by First Comics and Mirage Studios before co-creating BIG BANG COMICS with Gary Carlson.

Chris eventually moved into journalism as a writer/markets editor for Sendai publications HERO ILLUSTRATED magazine and HERO ON-LINE where he reported on the market trends in the burgeoning direct market comic business of the 1990s.

He also worked with Marvel/DC artist and pro wrestler P.D. “Dark Angel” Gabrielle as a ring and on air announcer for CIWA Pro Wrestling and on the POWERSLAM Pro wrestling TV show.

After a three year stay in the motorcycling industry as an advertising artist for a chain of Harley-Davidson dealerships, Ecker became the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Moose International, the parent organization for the Loyal Order of Moose Fraternity, serving as Associate Editor of the international Moose Magazine. He also designed the Tommy Moose plush toy and a wrote and drew a children’s book featuring the character for the organization.

Ecker is currently producing the Knight Watchman Digital Comic Strip released online every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and which will soon be written by legendary comic book writer Roger McKenzie, and inked by Matthew Hansel.

KNIGHT WATCHMAN THE GOLDEN AGE – COMING SOON

Check out a sample, while in the production process.

GoldenAgeKW-In Progress

KNIGHT WATCHMAN GOLDEN AGE

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