What a convention!
Can that Gareb Shamus & Co. throw a 3-day party
or what? Every year since CGC opened its doors, Wizard
World Chicago has gotten better. That is a hard statement
to make, since every Wizard World Chicago has been awesome,
but it is a statement that I think is definitely true.
CGC, Heritage Auctions and the great people at Wizard
Entertainment knocked the socks off the windy city this
And to think, it started on such a downer. Stan "The
Man" Lee had to cancel his appearance. I think
everyone was sad that he couldn't share the convention
with his fans, but the show must go on.
signed many new members to the ever-growing Collector's
Society. We got to meet people who post in our chat-room
Forums and put faces with the names. Even after close
to three years running strong, CGC is still getting
new Member Dealers, like Gotham City, who joined on
Saturday and submitted their first books on Sunday morning.
As usual, Sunday morning was the biggest & most
hectic day for submissions. Our overall submissions
blew away all past records for Wizard World Chicago.
No rest for CGC!
There were many new faces this year, the biggest presence
being Hasbro. They promoted all of the new 80's revamped
lines of GI Joe & Transformers. Marvel opted for
a signing booth. Dreamwave's booth doubled in size due,
in part, to the huge popularity of the Transformers.
CrossGen continued to cause quite a buzz with its most
recent announcements of the new CGE imprint line lead
by Red Star & the publishing of their entire comic
line for distribution in China.
Meeting people is one of the great things about conventions.
All of us got to meet some really inspiring creators.
The oddest for me was talking to Mark Waid in the men's
room at Morton's Steakhouse. We also met John Cassaday
(Captain America), Bart Sears (The Path), Matt and Jeremy
from "Paradigm", (a new comic signed to Image),
and Pat Lee (Transformers) who did a surprise signing
at the Graham Crackers booth. The best part was that
they all knew of CGC and only had positive things to
CGC had many important meetings at Wizard World Chicago.
We are trying to do some new things, working with creators
& publishers. All will hopefully bear fruit. Keep
an eye out on the website for some exciting updates.
Well, Wizard World Chicago 2002 is in the books and
CGC is gearing up for San Diego. I apologize for repeating
myself, but NO REST FOR CGC!!!
Gruesume But Wonderful
fans of silver-age Marvel super-heroes know that many
of their favorite characters were born in the pages
of comics peopled with monsters created by atomic radiation
and sinister alien menaces from distant stretches of
space. Not as many are familiar, however, with the gruesome
but wonderful horror stories that defined Atlas comics,
which would become Marvel, through the better part of
the 1950's. These pre-code titles, and the artists who
brought their grim and ironic morality tales to life,
make up a body of work as compelling today as it was some 50 years ago.
Comic enthusiasts have long revered EC comics as the
standard bearer of horror comics, partly because they
were the most visible victims of Dr. Wertham and the
Comics Code Authority, and because new generations enjoyed
these books through numerous reprint projects. But Atlas
horror comics, though always less accessible, maintained
comparable and consistent standards of quality, with
some high points that rival the very best of EC.
In particular, some wonderful artists graced the pages
of every Atlas horror title with their accomplished
and meticulous work. EC may have had Frank Frazetta
and Wally Wood, but Atlas had Bill Everett and Russ
Heath, whose best efforts are as good as, if not better
than, anything EC had to offer. Everett, of course,
created the Sub-Mariner and contributed to many Timely
titles, but after World War II, when the super-hero
craze had run its course, Everett's talent found its
best expression in his horror work. One look at the
breathtaking covers of Strange Tales #10 and Venus #19,
just to name two, or one reading of a story like "The
Monster Maker" in Uncanny Tales #2, will justify
to anyone why the artist, who died 30 years ago, still
has such a dedicated following. Heath, whose earliest
work appeared in the pages of Marvel western titles
like Kid Colt, Outlaw, also found horror a terrifically
fertile medium; indulge your eyes on the covers of Spellbound
#3 or Suspense #14, or read "The Village Graveyard"
in Adventures into Weird Worlds #4. Absolutely fantastic
One very little known but regular Atlas contributor,
whose name is credited only once, to my knowledge, is
Harry Anderson, who drew a number of extraordinary covers
and an occasional story. The cover of Strange Tales
#28 represents one of his most singular achievements.
I loved his work but for a long time could not identify
the artist, until a fellow fan told me about him nearly
fifteen years ago. I still had only that person's word
until I bought a copy of Bible Tales for Young People
#4, where his name appears on the sixth page.
To me, Atlas horror books stand on equal footing with
EC, and these two groups tower over the same sort of
material from other publishers during the same period.
While high-grade examples of Atlas titles are expensive
and difficult to find, searching for low to mid-grade
copies can expose any collector to this impressive canon
beautiful, spooky and always ironic tales.