BB Chronological Pt. 14: End of the Golden Age!

bb-0Big Bang #0 marked the end of an era, in more ways than one. It was the third part of our Golden Age trilogy which introduced the 1930s and 40s versions of the characters. On the other hand, it was pretty much our farewell to Caliber Comics as we would soon be moving Big Bang to Image Comics.

Caliber had already published BB issues 1 through 4, Berzerker 1 through 6, Knight Watchman #s 1 and 2, the Dr. Weird Special and Dr. Weird #s 1 and 2. (More on those comics in the next BANG! or two).

bb0_ifcIt was an amicable parting of the ways, as I recall. We were, and still are deeply grateful to Gary Reed and company for getting us back into the comics business and for taking a chance on all of our books. Gary was a great guy, and it was a shock to hear that he passed away earlier this month at the much too young age of 60 years. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

I’ve mentioned on previous blogs that the Golden Age stories were originally planned to be presented in one 64 page book. Then it was going to be three regular issue with this one as #3. Neither happened. For more info, check the earlier blogs about issues 1 and 2, or simply read the inside front cover to BB #0 which I am posting here.

tgirl_robot_1Anyway, on first glance or hearing, it sounds as if Big Bang #0 was a hodgepodge of leftovers. Not true. It may be the strongest of the three Golden Age issues. It’s also possibly my own personal favorite BB issue ever. Top three anyway.

Why? Two words: Thunder Girl. She was our homage to that Big Red Cheese, the original Captain Marvel. I have never been prouder or more satisfied of my work than on any of the Thunder Girl projects. Part of that is my love for the brilliant artwork done by Bill Fugate. He captured the simple fun and style of C.C. Beck and made it his own.tgirl_robot_6

tgirl_robot_7Bill was also a very talented writer. When I received the inked and lettered pages from him (he was a true triple threat) I loved the story and pulled out my script to see how much he had changed to make it so wonderful. I was shocked to discover that it was exactly as I had written it. Thank you, Bill.

Tragically, Bill passed away in 2013 after a bout with cancer. I miss him all the time. Bill’s sister Connie has kept his Facebook page going to honor his memory and I go there every so often to visit and see his wonderful art. You should too.

By the way, did you notice that Big Bang #0 had a gorgeous painted cover by Alex Ross, the hottest talent in comics at that time (1995). Marvels had been published in 1994, he was doing covers for Astro City in ’95 and he was working on a little project for DC called Kingdom Come.

alexross_marymMy buddy Keith Anderson owned a beautiful Mary Marvel painting Alex had done at some point and I had the brass balls to ask Alex if we could maybe, sorta, kinda change the colors a little and pass it off as a Thunder Girl picture. Alex said something like “That sounds like a lot of work – why don’t I just paint you a new one?” And he did! Which is why the Thunder Girl story was delayed to go in the issue with that particular cover.

dw_cursemummyThis issue also featured a 40s era Dr. Weird tale, “The Curse of the Mummy.” Scripted by Edward DeGeorge, with pencils by Chris Woods and inks by Shawn Van Briesen, the story takes Howard Keltner’s Master of the Macabre to Hollywood as he investigates a new murder by an old mummy.

kw_clockOnly the two new stories were in color. The surrounding material was presented in glorious black & white to save money. The Knight Watchman appears in “The Time Crimes of Grandfather Clock” (by Chris Ecker) which was reprinted from Berzerker #1 for those who hadn’t been there at the very beginning a year or two earlier. badge-redhotcvr

The only changes made to the story were in altering KW’s chest logo from the original “eye” symbol to the black shield. The eye logo was originally a play on Batman’s Silver Age “New Look” chest logo with the yellow oval which we had decided didn’t really work. We later went with a simple yellow outline around the shield for our own “New Look”.

Finally, there was a fun four pager that traced the history of the Badge character from Mark Lewis’ wonderful 40’s Simon & Kirby styling through Joe Zierman’s (& Russ Sever?) 60’s Kirby version and up to Ben Torre’s channeling of Frank Miller for the third issue of Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift (which was about to be delayed due to our impending move to Image Comics).bb-0-alt

Oh yeah. And Alex’s cover painting forced us to move the the original cover by comics legend Shelly Moldoff (for the Golden Age 64 pager) all the way to the back cover of BB #0. Like I said, my favorite issue, great stuff from cover to cover.

Gary Carlson

10/20/2016

thunder-girl-digest

 

Big Bang Vol. 1 no. 0 is available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:

http://bigbangcomics.com/products-page/comic-books/caliber-press/

 

Thunder Girl Digest reprints all of the Thunder Girl stories by Bill Fugate and is available from Amazon.com at:

https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Girl-Digest-Comics-Collection/dp/1494803100/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476991678&sr=1-10&keywords=Thunder+girl

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