Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Doctor Solar Man of the Atom Volume 1

When I was 8 or 9 years old, my best friend showed me an old comic he had. It was old to us anyway. It was an early issue of Doctor Solar. I don't know what issue it was, but it blew my socks off. I'd never seen anything like it. The cover was the first thing that grabbed my feverish kid brain. I'd never seen a painted cover before. And the insides. Whoa. This was not what I was used to reading in Marvel comics. It wasn't John Romita and it definitely wasn't Jack Kirby.

It was years before I saw another issue of Solar. I'd looked as a kid but never been able to find any. Now I hold in my hot little hands the first volume of Dark Horse Archives' Doctor Solar Man of the Atom and I couldn't be more pleased. It's better that I remember.

The covers are amazing, especially the first 2 by Richard Powers. Powers was a mainstay of the SF paperback market for years and his first two covers for Solar set the tone for the entire series. Likewise Bob Fujitani's interior work for the first 5 issues. Just plain great comics. George Wilson took over the covers and Frank Bolle did the insides and both did a great job in maintaining the quality established by their predecessors.

The real hero though, was Paul S. Newmanm, the writer. Newman was the most prolific comic writer in comics, having over 4100 stories published in the course of his career. He brought all of that talent and professionalism to bear on Solar. These stories are just plain cool. Especially the early issues before Solar got his costume. Those are pure science fiction adventure stories. When I was a kid I liked the costume. As an adult I prefer the early stuff. Both are fun to read. Highly recommended.


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