In May of 1995, Big Bang Comics said goodbye to Caliber Press with the publication of BB #0 (see the previous blog) and Dr. Weird #2. Caliber and publisher Gary Reed had been good to us, but we never second-guessed the decision to leave when their distributor demanded a third of our Big Bang copyrights (with another third going to to Caliber).
At Caliber we had published six issues of Berzerker (most with covers by Angel Medina), five issues of Big Bang Comics, the first two issues of Knight Watchman: Graveyard Shift, the Dr. Weird Special and Dr. Weird #s 1 and 2.
One of my earlier blogs covered the Dr. Weird Special and how we had acquired the rights to the long-time fandom hero from his creator Howard Keltner. Dr. Weird was one of the cornerstones of the Big Bang Universe and had already appeared in one of the Berzerker back-up try-outs, Big Bang #s 0, 3 and 4 and the Megaton Comics Holiday Special published by Entity Comics.
Dr. Weird #1 was published in October 1994 and was not a retro tale but the first in a series of modern (mid 1990s) tales starring the Master of the Macabre. The first issue featured a cover by the fabulous Frank Brunner, with inside art penciled by David Zimmermann and inked by Dave along with Shawn Van Briesen. Dave Zimmermann had been influential in shaping the Big Bang Universe since its inception as the back-up series in Berzerker. Shawn had drawn the Dr. Weird story in Berzerker #3.
The issue itself, like most stories featuring the Golden Ghost was written by Ed DeGeorge. “Where Monsters Dwell” pits the good Doctor against the demon Charnogg, who is sent back to Hell with his forked tail between his legs.
But Charnogg didn’t take his defeat lightly and returned in Dr. Weird #2. In the ensuing battle, the demon drags Dr. Weird to Hell, where the battle is interrupted by Lucifer himself. The Golden Ghost’s mission has always been to vanquish supernatural evil and now he eagerly faces the supreme lord of evil. But Lucifer merely dismisses DW with a wave of his hand, saying that neither Heaven nor Hell is open to the time-traveling Simon Ward who died before he was born.
DW #2 was written by Ed DeGeorge and features the powerful pencils of (then) newcomer Billy Hodge. Inking was again by Shawn Van Briesen (with his pal Chas DePaul). The issue sported a cover painting by Ken Meyer, Jr.
And that was it for Big Bang Comics at Caliber Press. A few of our heroes showed up in the Power Cardz game cards, but I really don’t know who or how many. If anyone does know, please let me know. We were headed for Image Comics, although the request there was for “retro only”.
While Dr. Weird came with us to appear in a a number of Golden and Silver Age stories, writer Ed DeGeorge created October Comics and published two more issues of Dr. Weird. Ken Meyer Jr. and Billy Hodge were there for “Wasteland” in Volume 2 Number 1.
Steve Kurth (pencils) and Jim Brozman (inks) were on board for Dr. Weird vol. 2 number 2’s “Descent” with a cover painting by Chas DePaul.
Next time: A New Image for Big Bang!