I am sticking with the funny book theme from last month’s Howard the Duck and transitioning into Marvel‘s 1989 miniseries, Damage Control.
Damage control was conceived by the late, great comic duo of Dwayne McDuffie (writer) and Ernie Colon (artist). The premise is “a sitcom within the Marvel Universe”.
The story follows around: Anne Marie Hoag (founder), John Porter (account executive), Robin Chapel (traffic manager), Eugene “Gene” Strausser (Technician) and Lenny Ballinger (foreman) as the run the company, Damage Control – the business that cleans up after superheroes and villains.
The comic feels like it was scripted as a 80s sit-com: Porter and Chapel are rivals but there is some sexual tension between them. Hoag is a stoic but sage figurehead, Strausser is the nerd that helps his friends when they are in a jam and Lenny is the gruff but lovable blue collar comic relief.
There is no major overarching storyline. Each issue can be read and enjoyed individually. I got a few chuckles out of the re-read of the series and compare it to a great sit-com, Cheers. You may draw comparisons to similar sit-coms. It is a blue print on how you can make a sit-com in the Marvel Universe. Disney, are you reading this?
Enjoy the podcast and then read the comic. It’s a mostly spoiler free review.
Another week and a new episode of the Comics Misremembered Podcast is created. It is just me, Jim doing the podcast this week. Jon will hopefully be joining us in some later podcasts but for the month of November, it will be me.
November is also my birthday month so I will be celebrating all month long with comics that are near and dear to me that we haven’t covered yet.
Week 1 of the month long celebration, we are covering Howard the Duck (the 1970s run).
Howard the Duck was created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerick on the pagers of Adventure into Fear featuring The Man-Thing #19 (Dec. 1973) published by Marvel Comics.
I started collecting comics in the early 80s. I started with titles like ROM and Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew (look – I was young, okay!). The comic shop I was going to at the time had a back issue room and I discovered Howard the Duck! These issue excited me because they were old (at least 10 years!) and I could buy large chunks for close to cover price. I bought up the majority of the run there. I thought the art was great and the stories were pretty funny too.
A few years would pass and there was news that a Howard the Duck Movie would be coming out and it would be directed by George Lucas! This guy did Star Wars!! The Howard movie is going to be awesome!
Well, it wasn’t but now re-reading the Howard comic run, I can see how they got some of the ideas for the movie. I break this down in the podcast.
The comic also had lots of philosophical sub-text that I did not pick up on as a child that I see while reading as an adult. This was a well made, smart comic that appeals to kids and adults. If you never read the original comics, I highly recommend picking them up in collected trades.
The Rocketeer comic series, much like a rocket itself, burned fast and bright and then seemed to disappear into the cosmos never to be seen again. Why does a short lived comic from 1983 still have so many fans today?
In this week’s Podcast we are talking about the original run of the Rocketeer comic that was created by writer/artist Dave Stevens.
We start out with the convoluted printing history of the story itself – it started as a back-up story to a Pacific Comic called Starslayer and then gain popularity to be released as it’s own comic. It will go from Pacific Comics to Comico Comics to Dark Horse and eventually find it’s home at IDW Publishing. The comic only has a total of 6 chapters and then Dave Stevens stopped writing and drawing it. It would have later versions and stories by other artists but it never lived up to the popularity of the original.
Jon and I then talk about the comic and it’s fantastic artwork. Dave Stevens did a great job on this comic with the Pre-World War II aesthetic artwork and it’s snappy dialogue. There are many iconic images in the comic but the one that Jon and I remember the most was the Betty Page “shocker” scene…
From left to right: The scene was it looked in the original 1983 comic, the art from the Eclipse Special Edition of the comic and Terry Dodson’s homage to the original scene. The page that sold a thousand posters, comics, t-shirts and more.
We end the podcast talking about Dave Stevens himself, some of the real people that he used in the comic like Betty Page, Noah Dietrich, Ken Marcus and Howard Hughes.
This was a great time and fun look back on a comic that was very influential to comic creators today.