Terry Austin

Howard the Duck 16 (September 1977)

Howard the Duck #16I don’t want to call this comic book strange. Instead of a regular, strange issue of Howard the Duck, it turns out Gerber was just too busy to break out an actual plot for Gene Colan so instead he did an issue in prose.

Howard the Duck #16. It’s Gerber making fun of himself well, which makes one think about how the comic is the same thing. It’s Gerber making fun of a comic book called Howard the Duck well. And how does one accomplish that task well? By being sincere. By going through the artifice of the series to the point of sincerity.

“Howard” even co-narrates, Gerber telling the reader’s Howard’s a voice in his head. True or not, it’s a direct communication between Gerber and the reader without illusion. Gerber still spins a good yarn to go with it. Because it’s how Howard works. Through narrative disruption.

CREDITS

Zen and the Art of Comic Book Writing: A Communique from Colorado; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; pencillers, Gene Colan, Alan Weiss, Ed Hannigan, Marie Severin, Dave Cockrum, Tom Palmer, Al Milgrom, John Buscema, Dick Giordano and Michael Netzer; inkers, Klaus Janson, Weiss, Hannigan, Severin, Cockrum, Palmer, Milgrom, Buscema, Giordano and Terry Austin; colorists, Janson and Doc Martin; letterers, Austin and Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Batman 400 (October 1986)

830781I hate this comic. I hate how DC used it, I hate how Moench writes it, even if it was an editorial decision.

There are nods to Moench’s run, but only so far as he gets to give each of his characters a page to sort of say goodbye. There’s no closure on any of the story lines, not a single one.

There’s also a lot of crappy art. It’s an anniversary issue with a lot of big names drawing either poorly or against their style. Rick Leonardi and Arthur Adams are some of the worst offenders, but not even Brian Bolland does particularly well. Ken Steacy is the only decent one.

Moench’s writing for a different audience than usual, the casual Batman reader, not the regular. Apparently he thinks the casual readers like endless exposition and incredible stupidity. It’s a distressing, long read; a terrible capstone to Moench’s run.

D- 

CREDITS

Resurrection Night!; writer, Doug Moench; pencillers, John Byrne, Steve Lightle, George Perez, Paris Cullins, Bill Sienkiewicz, Art Adams, Tom Sutton, Steve Leialoha, Joe Kubert, Ken Steacy, Rick Leonardi and Brian Bolland; inkers, Byrne, Bruce Patterson, Perez, Larry Mahlstedt, Sienkiewicz, Terry Austin, Ricardo Villagran, Leialoha, Kubert, Steacy, Karl Kesel and Bolland; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterers, John Costanza and Andy Kubert; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 6 (June 1983)

22338Something goes very wrong when Terry Austin inks Howard Chaykin. Austin takes away all of Chaykin’s hard jaws, for example. I only caught one the entire issue. So while Chaykin does try some dynamic composition for the story, the art never clicks. Especially not on people. It’s a little better on the action.

The story concerns Indy and Marion opening a night club and dealing with a mobster who wants to take a controlling interest. It’s domestic activity Indiana Jones, running around New York City–Central Park and Long Island get the action set pieces–trying to protect Marion.

It’s slight, to be sure, but Michelinie writes the two characters well together. The first big such moment, with Marion casually stealing Indy’s drink, is fantastic. While Michelinie never tops it, the moment earns him a lot of goodwill.

Despite the predictable, underwhelming resolution, Jones is pretty okay for licensed stuff.

CREDITS

Club Nightmare!; writer, David Michelinie; pencillers, Howard Chaykin and Terry Austin; inker, Austin; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Detective Comics 464 (October 1976)

5569Really, really bad figures from Chan. Just awful. There’s one page recapping the previous issue in ten or so panels and Chan mangles the miniatures even.

It’s an ugly story.

There’s not much to the writing either. Conway hasn’t got any real subplots–the Commissioner Reeves thing goes nowhere. Batman having a hooker snitch is a little amusing, especially since she’s dressed like a chaste flasher.

And then the villain. Got to love seventies comics–the Black Spider is, you guessed it, black. I didn’t, as he has a mask so who’d know.

Conway doesn’t even seem to be trying. Some sensationalism would help.

The Rozakis Black Canary backup is terrible. Grell and Austin do okay enough on the art, but the writing’s awful. Both in the dialogue and thought balloons. There’s not a single well-written moment.

It’s a bad comic. One should avoid it if at all possible.

CREDITS

The Doomsday Express!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Ernie Chan; inker, Frank McLaughlin. A Hot Time in Star City Tonight; writers, Bob Rozakis and Laurie Rozakis; penciller, Mike Grell; inker, Terry Austin. Editors, E. Nelson Bridwell, Bob Rozakis and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.

Detective Comics 463 (September 1976)

5568Ernie Chan leaves a lot to be desired on the pencils. His figures are bad but his composition’s worse. He fills his panels with this terribly distended Batman. The legs move unnaturally and it looks like Chan puts in the feet last, wherever they’ll fit.

Gerry Conway’s story concerns the Black Spider killing drug dealers. Batman’s out making busts, but the collars keep getting murdered.

There’s some investigation, some brawls, a fight with the Black Spider. The most interesting aspects are Gordon quietly resenting mopping up after Batman and Bruce taking a timeout to get patched up before heading right back out.

With a different penciller, it’d probably be serviceable.

On the other hand, The Atom backup is awesome. Mike Grell and Terry Austin’s art isn’t perfect, but they handle action well. Bob Rozakis sets up the story in half a page, then just has great miniature-sized action throughout.

CREDITS

Death-Web; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Ernie Chan; inker, Frank McLaughlin. Crimes by Calculation; writer, Bob Rozakis; penciller, Mike Grell; inker, Terry Austin. Editors, E. Nelson Bridwell, Rozakis and Julius Schwartz; publisher, DC Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 2 (February 1983)

22334Denny O’Neil takes over scripting from Byrne, who sticks around to pencil, and adds xenophobia and misogyny. Not to mention Indy talking for the first half of the issue in expository paragraphs.

Ever wanted to see Indiana Jones gleefully kill members of a bronze age tribe? Here’s your comic. Or to see him buddy up with Nazi sailors? Again, this comic’s the one for you.

O’Neil seems entirely ignorant of archeology, so ignorant it’s as though he didn’t even see Raiders of the Lost Ark, which isn’t exactly real archeology but it’s better than what O’Neil writes about here.

He also seems disinterested in the time period. His writing read like a resentful employee’s contractual obligation.

Bryne’s panel compositions are interesting. He goes for cinematic. It doesn’t always work, but at least he’s trying.

Also interesting is Indy’s face. Everyone else has Byrne face; not Indy. Maybe Austin drew it.

CREDITS

22-Karat Doom!; writer, Denny O’Neil; pencillers, John Byrne and Terry Austin; inker, Austin; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Janice Chiang; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 1 (January 1983)

22333There are a lot of unexpected things in this first issue of The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones. For example, writer and penciller John Byrne doesn’t work at making Indiana Jones likable. He’s a bit of a jerk, really, and definitely irresponsible.

I also wasn’t expecting Indy to be mooning over the absent Marion; Byrne uses the lines for character, not to call back to Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s deft. Not deft is repeating the kidnapping sequence from that film. It’s not predicable either. One would think they would come up with something original.

The villain’s original (and cringeworthy). He’s a big fat black guy named Black. Maybe Byrne was trying to be funny.

The comic does work though. Byrne and Terry Austin’s art is fine, better than most licensed stuff, and the story moves.

Byrne also comes up with an excellent, serial-inspired cliffhanger.

It’s okay enough.

CREDITS

Writer, John Byrne; pencillers, Byrne and Terry Austin; inker, Austin; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Joe Rosen; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Cloak and Dagger 4 (January 1986)

cloak-and-dagger-4.jpg

I can’t believe Marvel didn’t relaunch Cloak and Dagger during the Bush years. It’s a neo-con wet dream (complete with discreet racism, with Cloak being the evil black, corrupting Dagger, and cops beating witnesses).

This issue is, I think, my first Cloak and Dagger ever. I wasn’t missing much. They’re both really annoying. She’s holier than thou and he’s, well, nuts too. The whole thing reads like a PSA on acid, which I kind of understand, but not really. I get the intent–superheroes versus drugs–but it’s so utterly simplistic, even when it tries to be complicated, it’s just annoying.

I mean, you want to tell me no comic book creators ever dabble in recreation drugs? Please. I’m sure some blog about it today. Cloak and Dagger lumps them all together because it’s propaganda; it’s not even well-written propaganda.

And Leonardi’s art is super bad at times.

CREDITS

Ultimatums; writer, Bill Mantlo; penciller, Rick Leonardi; inker, Terry Austin; colorist, Petra Scotese; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Carl Potts; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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