Al Milgrom

Bullwhip 1 (April 2017)

Bullwhip #1Is Josh Bayer the right person to write Bullwhip? It’s about a seventies female superhero who fights bad guys named “The Misogynist” and time traveling space vampires who are also misogynists. There are enough misogyny “jokes,” one might even think Frank Miller wrote this thing. So, no, he’s not the right person. He goes overboard with the joke and lacks any humanism in his portrayal of Bullwhip. She’s the butt of various jokes and action setpieces, but she’s hardly the lead in the comic. It also has time traveling vampires, which is fine, though it’s all ripped off from popular media (save the vampire aspect). At least Ben Marra and Al Milgrom’s art is all right.

CREDITS

Web of Oblivion!; writers, Benjamin Marra Josh Bayer; penciller, Marra; inker, Al Milgrom; colorist, Matt Rota; letterer, Rick Parker; publisher, Fantagraphics Books.

Howard the Duck 31 (May 1979)

Howard the Duck #31What a bad comic. Whether it’s Mantlo’s rhyming of adjectives and nouns, the lamebrain fight scene, Bev’s silly way of resolving her situation–it’s all bad. It’s all bewilderingly disconnected, not just from the series, but from the other elements of the comic. It’s like Mantlo can’t even figure out how to move these characters in relation to one another.

And I want to be positive about it. Like anyone would be in trouble trying to followup Gerber but Mantlo does a bad job. Independent of not being Steve Gerber, he does a bad job. Howard acting like a snarky sitcom character isn’t Howard. He and Bev get together again it’s not even a scene. Regardless of having Colan on the pencils (though Milgrom’s inks weaken quickly), it doesn’t feel right.

Howard’s big adventure ends and it’s not even Howard anymore. It’s a clueless imitation. Marvel Nurse Ratchet’d him.

CREDITS

The Final Bong!; writer, Bill Mantlo; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Al Milgrom; colorist, George Roussos; letterer, Irving Watanabe; editor, Jim Shooter; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Howard the Duck 30 (March 1979)

Howard the Duck #30Al Milgrom inking Gene Colan. And it’s not bad. It looks like Milgrom does a lot of work on Howard’s face–his lines are smoother than everything else–but otherwise, it’s not a bad job inking at all.

Milgrom’s not the only change. Steve Gerber’s gone and Bill Mantlo’s scripting. He changes some details about Howard’s current predicament, immediately removing the complications for Howard and Beverly, and gets going with the adventure.

Howard gets a suit of Iron Man armor to fight Dr. Bong. It’s really dumb and it’s hard to believe it won’t some day end up in a Marvel movie with Robert Downey Jr. doing a $100 million five minute cameo.

At one point in the issue–which is terribly written–Mantlo gives Howard a line about how death is preferable to humiliation. Howard might survive without Gerber, but Mantlo’s humiliating the poor Duck, page after painful page.

CREDITS

If This Be Bongsday!; writer, Bill Mantlo; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Al Milgrom; colorist, Michele Wolfman; letterer, Elaine Heinl; editors, Mark Gruenwald and Jim Shooter; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 21 (September 1984)

Indy 21There are a bunch of inkers on this issue. They stay consistent until the finish, when it’s very obvious the inker has changed. The final inker changes Steve Ditko’s pencils so much, it barely looks like the same comic.

Ditko doesn’t do a great job on Jones, but it’s really cool to see his old standard panel arrangements used again. And the eyes. Love the eyes. It’s a shame Priest didn’t write the issue as a retro thing to match Ditko, but given the number of inkers, I’m sure no one at Marvel had any idea who was drawing it when Priest was writing it.

The story itself is lame. It’s a lot of action and some silly villains. Priest continues to flush the romance between Indy and Marion… Not to mention playing up Marcus Brody being tough.

Priest is also really bad with the setting. He writes too modern.

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p style=”font-size:11px;”>CREDITS

Beyond the Lucifer Chamber; writers, David Michelinie and Christopher Priest; penciller, Steve Ditko; inkers, Bob Wiacek, Steve Leialoha, Jack Abel, Al Milgrom, Carl Potts, Edward Norton and Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Rob Carosella; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Eliot Brown; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 109 (May 1996)

35925.jpgI can’t believe I’m about to make this statement—I liked Milgrom’s story the best. It’s some charming little thing about a guy treating his roaches as pets (after all other attempts at pet owning in New York fail). Milgrom’s style is more comic strip than I’ve seen and it works. Even if the protagonist does look like Peter Parker with a receding hairline.

Pope’s One Trick opens the issue and I remembered all the characters in this installment. One of them was mentioned briefly in the first installment. One Trick doesn’t seem to be meant for a lengthy, interrupted read. Pope’s pacing suggests it should be read in a sitting (I know Dark Horse traded it eventually).

Devil Chef ends this issue… it’s a slightly less annoying read knowing Pollock won’t be back with it next time.

And French’s Ninth Gland? Still no real story, just incredibly, uncomfortably weird.

CREDITS

The One Trick Rip-Off, Part Nine; story and art by Paul Pope; lettering by Michael Neno. Devil Chef, Part Three; story and art by Jack Pollock. The Ninth Gland, Part Four; story and art by Renée French. New York Pets; story and art by Al Milgrom. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 95 (October 1984)

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I guess this issue is better than the last one. Milgrom’s directly continuing it, which will probably wreck havoc in the monthly Spider-Man continuity over in Amazing, and he keeps his recap of the previous issue brief.

The writing is still bad–in the case of Cloak and Dagger and the Black Cat, very, very bad–and the art is still exceptionally weak, but at least it all passes somewhat painlessly. There’s nothing idiotic this time, just a bunch of bad dialogue and plotting. The pacing isn’t terrible–the issue takes a while to read because Milgrom has maybe nine different characters who get thought balloons. Lots of villains appear. It’s lame, but it’s not breezy.

Suffering through these issues, I wonder how anyone made it through this period of Spectacular. Black Cat alone would have made me quit reading the comic.

Another bonus: Peter whines less this issue.

CREDITS

The Dagger At the End of the Tunnel!; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 94 (September 1984)

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What would I do without Al Milgrom? I’d never have been able to understand this issue, like when Cloak and Dagger talk to each other about their origin. Or when Peter thinks all about the problems he’s been having with the Black Cat and then explains their last adventure together.

But Milgrom is dealing with a beloved character and supporting cast so I guess he doesn’t actually have to be writing anything interesting. Or have any story developments–Black Cat is still a complete twit, who hates Peter Parker and only likes Spider-Man–wait, she’s mentally ill? Explains tons.

So, it’s a bad soap until the lame villain arrives (Silvermane?) and kicks Spidey’s butt.

Milgrom’s art is worse than usual. There’s one place where he reuses the same panel three times in unison (for powering on the alien costume).

The comic doesn’t have a point or any charm, eighties nostalgia or otherwise.

CREDITS

How Ya Gonna Keep ‘Em Down at the Morgue After They’ve Seen N.Y.C.?; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 93 (August 1984)

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Milgrom sure does like some naked Peter Parker. He’s got Petey traipsing around his apartment in a too short robe, even answering the door for his landlady in it, then tossing it at the fourth wall to get into his costume.

The art this issue is rather bad, which is always a surprise. Spider-Man was the only character at Marvel with two titles to himself and they had Milgrom on it. He overwrites every line of dialogue, he has endless, moronic expository thought balloons… and his characters are completely terrible.

The only two sympathetic characters this issue are Flash’s girlfriend (Flash is a jerk) and Jean DeWolff (because she’s aware Black Cat is a dip too).

The rest of the issue is spent with Peter internally whining about Black Cat being a lousy girlfriend and bad person… just like every issue of Spectacular Spider-Man Milgrom writes.

Big yawn.

CREDITS

A Hot Time In the Old Morgue Tonight; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 92 (July 1984)

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Milgrom spends the majority of the issue on Spidey and the Black Cat fighting a new villain, the Answer, who’s one of Kingpin’s henchmen. It all ties into the Black Cat getting her powers from Kingpin and… and… and I’m bored already.

The first half of the issue isn’t terrible. I mean, the art’s weak. Milgrom does a Kirby homage on Peter’s landlady and I’m convinced he drew Robbie as a white guy and let the colorist “fill” him in.

But otherwise, I guess it’s not terrible. I mean, the writing’s bad–endless exposition–but the plotting isn’t. Flash having girlfriend troubles and coming home all beat up. Interesting. Peter deciding to go into credit card debt because of his money troubles… interesting.

It’s hilarious how wishy-washy Milgrom writes Peter though. He gripes about the Black Cat being a superficial twit, but can’t resist her. It makes him ridiculous.

CREDITS

And the Answer Is…; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man 91 (June 1984)

28395.jpgIt takes them a while–almost the entire issue–but Milgrom and Mooney eventually get a couple good panels in here. When I say good panels, I mean good close-ups.

I wasn’t really paying attention to the art (it’s marvelously mediocre) as there’s so much else to get the reader’s attention. Like Peter Parker thinking crappy thoughts about his girlfriend, the Black Cat. These thoughts are totally justified–she is a controlling moron–but they’re really mean-spirited thoughts. Why’s Peter dating her in the first place?

In this issue he discovers she’s compromised his secret identity, pissed off everyone he knows, and then she drags him into a fight against the Blob (they basically get their butts kicked) while he’s busy comforting friend Flash Thompson.

She’s loathsome.

Also–how did Marvel expect people to read this book? You’re supposed to stop half-way through to switch to Amazing.

CREDITS

If It Wasn’t For Bad Luck…; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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