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Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Black Night/Yellow Claw - Volume 1 Hardcover – Sep 2 2009


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Hardcover, Sep 2 2009
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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Black Knight Review by Michael T. Gilbert Dec 28 2009
By Michael T. Gilbert - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of either cartoonist Joe Maneely or Jack Kirby, you definitely don't want to miss this volume! Joe drew the first three issues of the 1955 series in his extremely detailed style, and it's lovely indeed. The entire five-issue series is reprinted here, with the ads removed. Reproduction is quite nice (I believe they were shot from rare decades-old stats). Atlas era experts Michael Vassallo and Roy Thomas provide invaluable background on the two series.
But the real reason I picked up the book was for the four-issue Yellow Claw series, also included in the volume. The first issue was drawn by Maneely and scripted by EC writer/editor Al Feldstein, his only work for Atlas. But the final three were written and drawn by Jack Kirby, and features some of his most imaginative art. The stories, only four or five pages each, are quite silly as only Gold or Silver Age comics can be. But the art is stunning, and the final issue features some incredible inks by EC veteran John Severin. For my money, this is one of the best Atlas Era Masterworks yet, up there with the equally great Bill Everett Sub-Mariner volume.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Joe Maneely artistic showcase Oct. 1 2009
By Jim Davis - Published on Amazon.com
When the Atlas Era Marvel Masterworks were announced the Black Knight comics were high on most everyone's list of desired volumes. The reason was that it showcased the artistic talents of the prolific Joe Maneely. The Black Knight stories were reprinted in the late '60s so these were almost the only examples of Maneely's art that was familiar to most comic fans. Maneely died in the late '50s. The Yellow Claw book was another short run book begun by Maneely so combining these two books into one Masterwork seemed logical from an artistic viewpoint even though from very different genres.

The reproduction is superb. Maneely's art really shines in this volume. The Black Knight stories themselves are really too short for modern tastes, no more than 5 pages apiece. It's difficult to work up much plot sophistication in that amount of space. Still, it all seems to work as Merlin's agent, the Black Knight, the secret identity of the foppish Sir Percy, foils plots against Camelot. A strange twist to Arthurian legend is Morgana as Modred's wife, instead of his mother. There is also an undistinguished back up feature, the Crusader. The follow on artists in Black Knight #4 and #5 are also excellent.

Yellow Claw is a less satisfactory book. Maneely did only the first issue and the covers before turning the book over to Jack Kirby. Kirby did the scripting also and the stories are just all over the place with elements of cold war intrigue, horror, science fiction, fantasy, etc. The contrast between Maneely and Kirby art is interesting. Maneely always did his own inking whereas Kirby never did his.

The book is topped off with a 12 page Maneely biography by Dr. Michael J. Vassallo. This is a superb text piece and adds tremendously to what is in effect a Joe Maneely tribute book.

The stories don't age well like most Atlas stories from this period but the art is timeless.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Celebrating the work of Joe Maneely Oct. 11 2009
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
The Black Knight/Yellow Claw Masterworks showcases the work of two comics masters: Joe Maneely; the Timely-Atlas workhorse and right hand man to Stan Lee, whose versatility and attractive style was cut short when he died in an accident at an early age; and Jack Kirby, the legendary creator who returned to Marvel shortly after Maneely's death. Maneely's work is seen in both the Black Knight and the first issue of the Yellow Claw. Kirby took over the writing and art with the second issue, turning a spy/mystery thriller to a sci-fi extravaganza.

Comics historian Michael J. Vassallo tops it off with a detailed essay on the life and work of Joe Maneeely. The book is sharply reproduced and well worth seeking out for the comics afficianado.

Nick C.
A Great Atlas Era Collection March 4 2012
By newmand - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Marvel Masterworks: Atlas Era Black Night/Yellow Claw - Volume 1 collects all the issues from two short-lived series Martin Goodman published under his Atlas banner, which was the precursor to Marvel Comics: Black Knight #1 - 5 (May 1955 - April 1956) and Yellow Claw #1 - 4 (Oct. 1956 - April 1957). Both are highly entertaining and have an impact on later series published by Marvel Comics. The hero in the five-issue Black Knight series, Sir Percy of Scandia, is a 6th century knight who serves at the court of King Arthur Pendragon. Sir Percy plays a foppish coward in Arthur's court in order to foil the evil plans of Arthur's nephew Mordred and his wife Morgan le Fay. (Morgan le Fay's spirit would later become a major thorn in the side of the Avengers as well as Jessica Drew's Spider-Woman identity.) Wearing the armor of the Black Knight created by Arthur's trusted sorcerer Merlin, the Black Knight wields the Ebony Blade which Merlin forged from a meteorite. Centuries later, Dane Whitman, a direct descendent of Sir Percy, was introduced in "The Black Knight Reborn!" story from Marvel Super-Heroes (1966 - 1982 1st Series) #17 (Nov. 1968). Sir Percy's spirit also appeared to Dane in Black Knight #1 - 4 (June - Sept. 1990) to offer him guidance in handling the Ebony Blade. Dane Whitman was also a major player in the Marvel/Malibu crossovers of 1996, and was later seen in the Captain Britain and MI: 13 series that ran for fifteen issues from July 2008 to September 2009.

The Yellow Claw, his niece Suwan and F.B.I. agent Jimmy Woo introduced in the four-issue Yellow Claw series would later appear in the Nick Fury stories in Marvel's Strange Tales (1951 - 1976 1st Series) #161 - 162 (October - November 1967). Agent Woo would later join the counterespionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D. in Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 (July 1968), and also reappear in Agents of Atlas (2006) #1 - 6 (Oct. 2006 - March 2007) and Agents of Atlas (2009) #1 - 5 (April - November 2009).

These issues from the '50's were jam-packed with good stories and art, and each of the nine issues in this collection also had a two-page text story. The color-reproduction is top-notch as are all the Marvel Masterworks collections, and I highly enjoyed this book.
a asian hero in the fifties. Feb. 1 2012
By Michael Dobey - Published on Amazon.com
This book is post comic book code tales of the late 50's. And the artwork is just stunning in this one. With the greats Joe Maneely and Jack Kirby providing most of the artwork. Syd Shores is this one too and he's a good artist as well. The sotries remind me of many 50's tales , five to 8 pages each usually. The black knight is alot like a prince valiant type of story. However it does have a magic black blade. Blue oyster cult, the rock group would later do a song about a black blade (on cultasaurus erectus in 1980) , I wonder if they read this comic book?.
Anyways the stories are what you might read in many comics of the day. ANd the violence in not bloody either, however people do die in these comics, and the art is outstanding of course. Maneely is one of the greats for sure. Even Syd Shores pages like very good, They didn't do in depth characterization in the five Black Knight comics but they sure are fun anyways. The next four issues are of the "yellow claw' and Maneely does the first issue and Jack Kirby does the other three. And John Severin even inks one issue. He's the type of inker that makes others art look like his in many ways. I think what's the best part of this series is that the main hero is a Asian American Fbi agent who is out to stop the evil Yellow claw. Who is just a copy of Fu manchu in many ways. The stories are decent but the arts fine. In fact there is continuity between issues too, something many comics of the fifties didn't have. SO the stories do follow a overall story arc and that makes it a even better read. Although I loved many old marvels from this era. The apache Kid. and the many war and westerns etc are good reads these series do deliever on top notch art. They are of their time and remain fun to read even today. And I must stress that these comics look better than they ever have before. Unlike the hideous efforts at dc where they now just scan old comics , these are lovingly restored.


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