Vince Colletta

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 19 (July 1984)

22351Let me tell you a story about how this issue of Indiana Jones came to be. It’s not true, but it’s far more amusing than the comic book itself.

So, once upon a time, the LucasFilm licensing person–who probably had other duties in addition to overseeing Marvel Comics adaptations–quit… or went on leave… or vacation. Marvel took advantage of that absence to push out this filler issue, written and pencilled by Larry Lieber.

Now, maybe Lieber really liked Raiders or something, but he sure doesn’t know how to write the dang character. Larry Lieber writes Indiana Jones–not just from Indiana (see, the LucasFilm licensing person would have caught that one) but a racist. He’s racist. It’s amazing. Larry Lieber writes Indiana Jones as a racist who mocks indigenous peoples and cultures.

The Japanese villains–Lieber also ignored Japan’s war against China in the thirties–come off better.

CREDITS

Dragon by the Tail!!; writer and penciller, Larry Lieber; inkers, Jack Abel and Vince Colletta; colorist, Rob Carosella; letterer, Rick Parker; editor, Eliot Brown; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Batman Family 17 (April-May 1978)

3140This issue has a neat thread running through its three feature-length stories. The Huntress (from Earth-Two) comes to Earth-One for a visit. In the Batman story, she meets him and Robin. Then she teams up with Batgirl and Batwoman. For the finale, her going home sets off the events for Man-Bat and the Demon’s story.

Gerry Conway and Jim Aparo’s Batman story is okay. Conway pauses on some character stuff–Batman meeting his “daughter”–but ignores other obvious moments, like Robin’s girlfriend being a shallow mean girl. Dick’s upset most of the issue, so his Aparo brow fits. And the ending twist’s decent.

Bob Rozakis writes a lot better than Don Heck draws the three female superheroes teaming up. Lame villain characterizations, but great stuff with Batgirl.

The winner is the Man-Bat and Demon story. Rozakis’s script is fun and Michael Golden’s artwork is breathtaking.

CREDITS

Scars; writer, Gerry Conway; artist, Jim Aparo; colorist, Adrienne Roy. Horoscopes of Crime!; writer, Bob Rozakis; penciller, Don Heck; inkers, Bob Wiacek and Vince Colletta; colorist, Jerry Serpe; letterer, Clem Robins. There’s a Demon Born Every Minute; writer, Rozakis; artist, Michael Golden; colorist, Serpe; letterer, Jean Simek. Editor, Al Milgrom; publisher, DC Comics.

Thor: Tales of Asgard 6 (October 2009)

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So, for a forty year old comic, originally serialized in back-ups (and a double sized reprint), this issue is essentially a done in one. Thor and his sidekicks (are they called the Warriors Three?) hunt down this bad guy (called Mogul, no relation to the intergalactic Superman villain–this Mogul is from the Mystic Mountain, or Zanadu, or Xanadu or Zandu–lots of spellings) and set out to depose him from his throne.

And Mogul doesn’t appear very intergalactic here.

He’s Muslim.

He’s, in fact, a stand-in for Mohammed, which Lee’s readers probably wouldn’t have realized but I think Stan did. And Stan has Thor and his sidekicks fight for the American way.

In other words, it’s a very political comic book. More, I think, than any Silver Age Marvel book I’ve ever read.

Still good stuff. And, hey, with Bill Everett on inks, Kirby’s art is luscious.

CREDITS

The Tragedy of Hogun!; inker, Vince Colletta; letterer, Art Simek. The Quest for the Mystic Mountain!; inker, Colletta; letterer, Sam Rosen. The Secret of the Mystic Mountain; inker, Colletta; letterer, Simek. The Battle Begins!; inker, Colletta; letterer, Rosen. Alibar and the Forty Demons!; inker, Colletta; letterer, Simek. We, Who Are About to Die…!; inker, Colletta; letterer, Simek. To the Death!; innker, Bill Everett; letterer, Simek. The Beginning of the End!; inker, Colletta; letterer, Rosen. The End!; inker, Colletta; letterer, Simek. Writer, Stan Lee; penciller, Jack Kirby; colorist, Matt Milla; editors, Lee and Mark D. Beazley; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: Tales of Asgard 5 (September 2009)

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It’s Thor versus Fanfir for the (first?) time and Odin busts out his awesome “Star Trek” viewscreen to see everything going on.

The way Lee lays out the story… while it was originally serialized, plays well read in a sitting. Thor and his sidekicks have to go fight Ragnarök’s coming–by preventing an arms race it almost sounds like in the first section, but quickly it descends into a big battle.

Loki’s been banished for this stuff, so there’s none of his mischievous nonsense.

What’s interesting is how Lee sets up the subsequent story as a possible continuation, but not really… Odin’s still talking about sending Thor on a secret mission to gauge his abilities, but it’s not clear if it’s the battle, the fight against Fanfir or the stuff on the boat from the last issue. It makes everything seem very smooth and gradual, even if it’s really not.

CREDITS

The Hordes of Harokin!; letterer, Art Simek. The Fateful Change!; letterer, Simek. The Warlock’s Eye!; letterer, Simek. The Dark Horse of Death!; letterer, Sam Rosen. Valhalla; letterer, Rosen. When Speaks the Dragon!; letterer, Simek. The Fiery Breath of Fafnir!; letterer, Rosen. There Shall Come a Miracle!; letterer, Rosen. Writer, Stan Lee; penciller, Jack Kirby; inker, Vince Colletta; colorist, Matt Milla; editors, Lee and Mark D. Beazley; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: Tales of Asgard 4 (August 2009)

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How did Stan Lee–I mean, seriously–how did he okay Colletta’s inks? I mean, I’m not a salivating Kirby enthusiast, but Colletta just sucks the life out of his art here. I’m thinking the eighties Super Powers books from DC to tie in to the action figures had more merit.

And it’s really a darn shame, because Lee’s story–until it gets annoyingly convenient–is really cool. I’m not sure I’d have liked to read it as a back-up over six months, but he’s got a whole Thor on a quest thing going, with a cast of interesting characters (odd how many Asgardians are, it turns out, complete cowards).

And why does Loki get such benefit of doubt? His nickname’s “Prince of Evil” or something along those lines. You’d have to be a complete moron to not notice.

Oh, wait. Colletta’s inks did make the witch look creepy.

CREDITS

Maelstrom!; letterer, Art Simek. The Grim Specter of Mutiny!; letterer, Simek. The Jaws of the Dragon!; letterer, Simek. Closer Comes the Swarm!; letterer, Simek. The Queen Commands; letterer, Simek. The Summons!; letterer, Simek. The Meaning of… Ragnarok!; letterer, Simek. Aftermath!; letterer, Sam Rosen. Writer, Stan Lee; penciller, Jack Kirby; inker, Vince Colletta; colorist, Matt Milla; editors, Lee, Cory Levine and Mark D. Beazley; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: Tales of Asgard 3 (August 2009)

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Did Marvel get Matt Milla to recolor these stories to try to sell them to a broader audience (I mean, isn’t the trade just going to be a Thor product pre-movie release) or to try to make the Vince Colletta inks less horrific?

I want to talk about the stories, but… after reading this issue–the first with only Colletta inks throughout–a moment needs to be taken to talk about this subject. His inking reduces Tales of Asgard. There’s still Lee’s exuberance, still Kirby’s macro-enthusiasm, so it’s Colletta who makes it lesser.

There’s a story arc forming here, Thor and Loki on a quest, with Odin directing them (with a hidden motive). There’s also some “Loki as a Problem Child” stories and it’s hard to believe anyone would associate with him as an adult given the crap he’s pulled.

It’s nice stuff. Shame the art doesn’t hold.

CREDITS

The Boyhood of Loki!; letterer, Art Simek. The Golden Apples!; letterer, Simek. A Viper in Our Midst!; letterer, Simek. The Challenge!; letterer, Simek. The Sword In The Scabbard!; letterer, Simek. The Crimson Hand!; letterer, Sam Rosen. Gather, Warriors!; letterer, Simek. Set Sail!; letterer, Simek. Writer, Stan Lee; penciller, Jack Kirby; inker, Vince Colletta; colorist, Matt Milla; editors, Lee, Alex Starbuck, John Denning, Cory Levine and Mark D. Beazley; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: Tales of Asgard 2 (July 2009)

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Included in this issue (and the previous one) are some Marvel Universe entries relating to Thor and Asgard. It’s sort of amazing to see where everything stemmed from these stories (well, not just these stories, but in part these stories). Lee’s storytelling is somewhat reductive. It’s a big world he’s telling a story in, but he concentrates his attention on a single item. There aren’t subplots (there isn’t room for them).

So, on one hand, it appears he’s retelling old Norse myths, but on the other–maybe not clear to contemporary readers of the material–he was laying groundwork for something much bigger.

All the above noted, I’m still a little mind-boggled with the Asgard stuff. It’s just too much information to digest and it’s not clear how one can apply it.

Lots of good material in this issue… though I now understand why people dislike Vince Colletta’s inks.

CREDITS

When Heimdall Failed; inker, George Roussos. Balder “The Brave”; inker, Vince Colletta. Balder Must Die!; inker, Colletta. Trapped by the Trolls!; inker, Colletta. Banished From Asgard!; inker, Colletta. The Defeat of Odin; inker, Colletta. The Secret of Sigurd!; inker, Colletta. The Coming of Loki!; inker, Colletta. Writer, Stan Lee; penciller, Jack Kirby; colorist, Matt Milla; letterer, Art Simek; editors, Lee, Cory Levine and Mark D. Beazley; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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