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CREEPING DEATH FROM NEPTUNE: THE LIFE AND COMICS OF BASIL WOLVERTON VOL. 1 Hardcover – Dec 30 2014


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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The DEFINITIVE "serious" Wolverton book Dec 31 2014
By Sean Burns - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This review is intended for those who may have gotten an unfavorable impression of this book from readers who were disappointed that it was not what it was originally advertised as - a compilation of Wolverton's science fiction & horror stories. However, it has been made clear in the listing for some time as to what it has become - the most complete, thorough book on Wolverton ever. The cover says what it is: "Volume 1: 1909 - 1941.” (Disclaimer: I am a friend and have followed the whole course of this project.)
What at first was going to be a relatively quick job, akin to FOUR COLOR FEAR - a collection of complete stories, with minimal but edifying notes - morphed into the DEFINITIVE book on Wolverton. As work progressed, Sadowski was given access by the artist's estate to over 30 years of BW's diaries and correspondence, and he also began discovering the impressive amount of unpublished art in the hands of the world’s foremost Wolverton collectors. The time spent on this first volume stretched to over two years, due to Greg's gathering of research, writing the biography and hunting down whatever unpublished art he could find. With much of the legwork now behind him, Greg tells me volume two should arrive in about a year’s time.
The reader will still get all of the SF and horror stories as originally planned, but now in two volumes with a full biography, plus abundant examples of the artist’s complete oeuvre. Volume one displays virtually every known piece of early serious art BW created, from illos for unsold pulp SF features, to early syndicated strip attempts, to preliminary pencil roughs, to wonderful unpublished Golden Age comic book covers. Much has never been presented before, with much of it shot from the original art, and it is great to have it all in one place. Aside from the voluminous art, the reader is told the peculiar story of this unconventional American master, and in this first volume is given a behind-the-scenes look into early years of the nascent comic book industry, thanks to never-before-seen correspondence from some of its original editors and publishers, such as Monte Bourjaily, Lloyd Jacquet, and Joe Simon.
There are 18 pages of early SF strips, 11 pages of Steve Grover, 12 of Spacehawks (plural- not SPACEHAWK), 8 of Milt Archer & Vultures of the Void, 12 of the Meteors Morgan & Murphy, 40 pages of Space Patrol, 16 pages of Rockman, and 19 of Meteor Martin. (Wolverton hit his stride quickly - most of these are a match for his greatest SPACEHAWK stuff, and some are even BETTER.) That's almost 140 pages of comic book stories. On top of that you get the best of Wolverton's humorous comics (much of which contain elements of horror & SF), including a fascinating 1937 Mickey Mouse tryout strip for the Disney studio, and a nearly complete run of his 1927-28 unsold daily strip, WOOZY WOOFER. With the arrival of POWERHOUSE PEPPER in volume two, it will become obvious what a major influence BW’s humorous work had on Robert Crumb and the underground artists.
The stories reprinted from comic books have been labored over for color-correction and to fix any printing problems. They are the most beautiful versions of these stories imaginable. The printing throughout is superb. While the easier task would have been to release a collection of reprints with minimal text, what Sadowski HAS delivered is the first volume of the most comprehensive and authoritative book on one of the medium's most unique artists. If people are still reading books 100 years from now, this is the one they will read on Basil Wolverton
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Best Early Wolverton Collection I've ever Seen! Dec 18 2014
By F.H.L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Minimal text and abundant artwork, this volume includes a goldmine of rare, early Wolverton Sci-Fi artwork with great color reproduction: The entire Space Patrol series from Amazing Mystery Funnies, His two Meteor Martin stories from Amazing Man Comics, and His two Rockman Stories from Timely's USA Comics, and several more obscure and forgotten space heroes, some in color others in B&W, it's all here, Unpublished covers and plenty of work that has never been reproduced since it's original publication. This appears to be the "Complete" works, as promised by Fantagraphics and this first volume includes just about everything I've heard about concerning BW's early comic book work but never seen before in previously published collections. Also rare photographs, unpublished comic strips, and all exhaustively referenced. Looking forward to the next Volume. Highly recommended!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Instead of a tight focus on Wolverton's strange and wonderful science fiction work Dec 25 2014
By bibliophage - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Not what I was expecting. Early solicits seemed to promise Wolverton's Sci Fi and horror, and I naively envisioned the lush format of Spacehawk. This is anything but that, this is more or less an illustrated biography. Instead of a tight focus on Wolverton's strange and wonderful science fiction work, this is a little bit of everything, presented in a visually disjointed format. Probably great for completists.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful book presenting Wolverton's intricate and bizarre art with love Dec 16 2014
By Sym - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Don't worry. There is much more art than yapping about Wolverton's life. Wolverton is so talented and amazing that even the early sketches are interesting. There are great full length stories too. The book is presented beatifully and with awareness of what is already in print so the pages are rich with novel and essential stuff. Of course this book only makes me want Volume 2 more. This is an amazing time to be a Wolverton fan. I just want a time machine forward a little bit to when Vol. 2 is available. Also, I'd love to see Powerhouse Pepper get another look--maybe in a book like the Fantagraphics Scacehawk book. Fantagraphics Books is very cool regarding how much Basil Wolverton they feed us and the love for his material that they always show with their beautiful presentation.
Basil Wolverton shines in this tremendous art bio! Jan. 7 2015
By Dr. Michael J. Vassallo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
At last the great Basil Wolverton gets the gold treatment he deserves. In what is a planned two volume art history of this pioneering cartoonist genius, comics historian Greg Sadowski (author of the incredible 2-volume history of artist Bernie Krigstein) has access to actual correspondence Wolverton received from editors of the earliest comic book companies and comic book packagers, including Lloyd Jacquet of Funnies Inc. and Joe Simon at Timely. This correspondence opens a heretofore completely unknown window into the history of the actual business aspect of a young artist trying to break in and find work long-distance from across the country. In addition to original correspondence are original photographs and family artifacts which bring the reader right into Wolverton's life at the time.

The book has extensive reprinting of Wolverton's earliest work for Centaur, Novelty Press, Lev Gleason, Fawcett and Timely, including correspondence showing exactly how his work got to Timely, his interactions with editor Joe Simon and some events which surprised even me! Powerhouse Pepper, Spacehawk, Disk-Eyes the Detective, they are all here!

I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the history of the medium, the history of popular culture and the history of one of the most unique cartoonists ever to put pen to paper. And there will be even more to come in volume 2!

Dr. Michael J. Vassallo


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