Klaus Janson

Sacred Creatures 3 (September 2017)

Sacred Creatures #3Sacred Creatures is real long this issue. And nothing happens. Oh, wait, turns out the Seven Deadly Sins have somehow Rosemary’s Babied ne’er-do-well lead Josh’s baby. It’s all part of some ancient plan. Regardless, nothing happens. Lots of talking heads saying nothing and Raimondi and Janson don’t have the writing chops to make it pass. It’s generic, it’s formulaic, it’s boring. Raimondi’s art is still good, but Creatures is desperately low on steam.

CREDITS

Writers, Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson; artist, Raimondi; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editor, Sebastian Girner; publisher, Image Comics.

Sacred Creatures 2 (August 2017)

Sacred Creatures’s second issue is still a longer-than-normal comic, but still feels like a significant decrease from the giant first issue. Raimondi and Janson are careful with their pacing. They jump around a bit–present, flashback, present, then introduce another character–and Raimondi seems a little pressed on space. His panels are sometimes tiny, just so he can get in all the story. This issue has some reveals, some clarifications; previous issue protagonist Josh seems like more a bystander to the big events going on around him. It’s a fine enough shift. He’s appropriately second-fiddle. It’ll be interesting to see what Raimondi and Janson do next–they’re not grandoisely ambitious, just exceptionally, professionally competent. At least in the writing, Raimondi’s art is plain awesome, even hurried.

CREDITS

Writers, Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson; artist, Raimondi; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editor, Sebastian Girner; publisher, Image Comics.

Sacred Creatures 1 (July 2017)

Sacred Creatures #1Sacred Creatures seems like a vampire book, but it might end up being an angel book. Angels can be Machiavellianly evil too.

This oversized first issue starts with an introduction to the evil “siblings,” who don’t really resemble each other in a familial sense, which is the first clue to something supernatural. Then there’s the introduction of a regular NYPD detective. Then there’s the introduction to the dorky white guy lead. Then there’s a big flashback sequence explaining what’s going on with the dorky, covered-in-blood, white guy lead. And then there’s a hunky blond priest running around saving the day. And saving the dorky white guy lead from giant possessed cats.

It’s a lot.

And writers Klaus Janson and Pablo Raimondi go all out. They write the heck out of it; they’re really working with the script, covering all their bases. Raimondi draws even more heck out of it. It’s a creater-owned property so Raimondi does have to be cost effective–all of the exteriors are what appear to be computer enhanced (beautifully so) photographs of New York City. At least during the flashbacks. The action’s too exciting to concentrate on backdrops.

Sacred Creatures isn’t the most original or the deepest book, but it’s solidly written and plotted and, more importantly, it’s Raimondi kicking ass on the art.

CREDITS

Writers, Pablo Raimondi and Klaus Janson; artist, Raimondi; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editor, Sebastian Girner; publisher, Image Comics.

Howard the Duck 27 (September 1978)

Howard the Duck #27Howard is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. So what does he do? He stops the Circus of Crime. Why? See the first sentence. Is he mad at the Circus of Crime? Not so much. Is he worried about his friends being hospitalized? Not so much. Does Howard finally admit he’s got deep feelings for that hairless female ape Beverly? Sort of.

Did Marvel just not let Gerber get crazy with Howard’s affections for Beverly? There’s got to be an explanation. Because this issue isn’t just strange–it’s an action comic, one with good art and good dialogue, but an unambitious action comic. And Gerber is usually all about the ambition for what an issue can do.

So when this one doesn’t do much, the mind has time to wonder what else is going on with the comic. Hence my questions.

Though troubled, it’s solid.

CREDITS

Circus Maximus; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Phil Rachelson; letterer, Gaspar Saladino; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Howard the Duck 26 (July 1978)

Howard the Duck #26Well… last things first. Winda gets assaulted and Gerber shucks it off page. After her startling–and entirely unnecessary–attack, Gerber just mentions her in Howard’s summing up of the issue’s misadventures.

Most of the comic involves him running around with the Circus of Crime and how he gets away from them. Gerber, Colan and Janson do a rather good human drama subplot too, which one of the Circus’s victims drunkenly reacting.

But then Gerber ties it all together and there’s not enough room to do it in scale so Colan is left to rush through it. And if anyone is going to do reaction shots instead of action shots, Colan should be the one to do them; he gets a lot of energy in them. It still feels like an unsteady issue. Gerber has enough story for two issues or at least one and a half.

It’s mostly good.

CREDITS

Repercussions…!; writer, Steve Gerber; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, Irving Watanabe; editors, Jim Shooter and Gerber; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Howard the Duck 25 (June 1978)

Howard the Duck #25Well, Bev’s back this issue and… Gerber has her and her new husband getting it on. He plays it for laughs, starting with Bev complaining about being stuck in a square marriage like her mother’s and ending with the creatures of Bong’s island peeping on them.

So it’s kind of like if Sue married Doom to save Reed and then was happy about it. It’s weird.

Meanwhile, Howard’s other pals are back (after ten issues, which is way too long), and they’re hanging out in New York society.

The issue’s okay enough. Howard’s no longer the lead in his own book–not sure why Gerber thought Paul Same, failed artist, was better than Howard the Duck for a story protagonist; not much of Gerber’s moves this issue make sense.

With the Colan and Janson art, however it’s hard to get too upset. Like I said, it’s okay enough, just not special.

CREDITS

Getting Smooth!; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Howard the Duck 21 (February 1978)

Howard the Duck #21It’s a better issue than the recent norm, but Gerber still doesn’t have Howard on much of a path. At one point, Howard all of a sudden seemed like the perfect cultural relic from the Carter presidency, but it’s not.

Instead, it’s like Gerber is showing how much he can abuse the reader as far as the plot is concerned. Howard meets up with Beverly Switzler. Not Howard’s Beverly, but her uncle. What a joke. Gerber gave a fat dude Beverly’s name and ran him into Howard.

I’m not sure if the series has just gotten too tame (this issue has Howard battling the nicest, most likable murderous cult leader ever–one who even gets sympathy from the reader when Howard’s being sexist) or Gerber’s just lost interest.

But, it’s a better issue than usual. Carmine Infantino guest pencils. He and Janson are a neat team; contrasting while still complimenting.

CREDITS

If You Knew Soofi…!; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Howard the Duck 20 (January 1978)

Howard the Duck #20I’m seeing the problem with Howard. Gerber is refusing to get Howard into a comfortable situation at all. Bev is still out of the picture, but so is the new girl. Bong is even out of the picture. Howard just happens into an entirely new situation with a new supporting cast.

The problem isn’t the fluidity, it’s how little Howard cares about it all. He’s not worried about Bev being married to a Doctor Doom knock-off, he’s curious why said knock-off isn’t more enthusiastic about her. Gerber doesn’t acknowledge Howard isn’t enthusiastic enough about her. It’s weird.

The comic is nearing its two year mark and Gerber himself only seems enthusiastic about one thing–treading water as far as Howard’s character development goes. It’s stopped. But so has the plot development.

It’s too bad because Colan and Janson knock the art out of the park on this one.

CREDITS

Scrubba-dub Death!; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, John Costanza; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Howard the Duck 19 (December 1977)

Howard the Duck #19Howard’s adventures as a human continue, but Gerber sets him down a particular path. Howard ends up at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, which puts him in contact with a particular set of humans and maybe not the most interesting ones.

After a certain point–Howard is back in a hippy girl’s apartment–one has to wonder if Colan really just wanted to try out drawing someone doing yoga; the issue’s mostly talking heads, mostly Howard (the human) unable to understand the human condition while his fowl alter ego eggs him on to act more ducky. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

It’s really depressing stuff, actually. Gerber, Colan and Janson capture the misery in the bus terminal–Howard teams up with a homeless guy refused a seat in a coffee shop due to smell. The dysfunctional hippies are actually a mood booster in contrast.

The finale’s small joy is a big help.

CREDITS

Howard the Human!; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Phil Rachelson; letterer, Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Howard the Duck 18 (November 1977)

Howard the Duck #18Bong’s still a dumb villain, but the rest of the issue is strange enough to get it through.

While Bev is off getting married to Bong, Howard has been changed into a human and is escaping Bong’s castle in the company of a duck-girl, one of Bong’s other experiments.

The early highpoint of the issue is Gerber retelling the end of Bride of Frankenstein, only with Howard as the Bride and duck-girl as Boris Karloff. It’s a cute little homage and Colan and Janson do a good job of it.

They also do a good job of Bev’s stupid subplot with Bong (even though Gerber does occasionally give her good stuff to do). They also do a rather good job with Howard as a human. Colan doesn’t go for humor with it, he goes for how a human Howard would really appear.

It’s a good comic… just good.

CREDITS

Metamorphosis; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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