Big Bang Chronological Part 7: Berzerker #3 and the Dr. Weird Special

DW_Special_011993 was a good year for me.

Berzerker was selling well enough for Gauntlet Comics/Caliber Press, Vanguard was starting its run at Erik Larsen’s Highbrow Studios at Image Comics, the Megaton Christmas Special was set to be published (in color) by Don Chin’s Entity Comics later in the year, and Big Bang Comics was in the process of being promoted from the back-up slot in Berzerker to its own series and imprint at Caliber Press.

Berz_03_OFC1993 was also a good year for Dr. Weird. After a 20 year absence, the Master of the Macabre was back in the comics pages. He was set to appear in the afore mentioned Megaton Christmas Special and was slated to headline in his own ongoing series under the BB imprint at Caliber Press as well as the Dr. Weird Special reprinting a number of stories from 1970-1972 written by George R.R. Martin, penciled by Jim Starlin and inks/letters by Howard Keltner. (For more info on the Master of the Macabre and his long run in comics fandom, check back to BB Chronological Part 3 from last month in this blog).DW_Berz_#3_05

But before any of those were appeared, the Golden Ghost began his comeback in the back-up slot in Berzerker #3, following in the footsteps of his Big Bang buddies Knight Watchman and Ultiman. “Something Haunts Van Horn Manor” was written by Ed DeGeorge, with art by Shawn Van Briesen and letters by Grass Green. It was the first new story of the good Doctor since Ed and I had purchased the character from creator Howard Keltner earlier in 1993.

swordsI first met Ed DeGeorge in 1987. He was what my buddy Chris Ecker referred to as a “real writer,” his fantasy tales of cat-man Myrd Cherf having been published in Andrew J. Offutt’s Swords Against Darkness paperback series and elsewhere. Ed joined the inner circle at Megaton Comics as editor-in-chief for the expansion of the line, which unfortunately never happened.X-Mas_DrW_02a

Ed wrote Dr. Weird’s “It Came Upon A Midnight Fear” for the Christmas special and edited the Megaton Explosion Who’s Who. After Megaton’s demise, we worked together with Chris on Battle-Axe magazine and became good friends. When Big Bang Comics started taking shape, Dr. Weird seemed like a natural fit for the concept so we asked Howard Keltner to be involved. Howard countered by offering to sell the character to us outright, and we happily obliged.

HowardK_EdDeG_GaryEd and I got the opportunity to meet Howard face to face for the first time in 1997 at Bill Schelly’s Fandom Reunion in Chicagoland. Also present were Grass Green, Tony Isabella, Jerry Bails, Roy Thomas, Maggie Thompson and numerous other pioneers of comics fandom. For more information on this wonderful event, visit:

UmanUgirl_SVBMy association with Shawn Van Briesen also dates back to the latter days of Megaton. Presented here for the first time (I think) is an Ultragirl pin-up he did in 1987. Shawn was very prolific and did a number of Big Bang projects over the years, especially a number of faux covers for our History of Big Bang Comics issues in BB #’s 24 and 27. He later moved on up and inked some pages for Alan Moore’s Supreme run.

DrWeirdSpecialIt didn’t appear until early 1994, but Ed and I finally published the 64 page Dr. Weird Special under the Big Bang Comics banner through Caliber Press. In addition to the 55 or so pages of comics by Jim Starlin and George R.R. Martin from the early 70s, it featured a new cover by Starlin, Ed’s interviews with Howard Keltner and George R.R. Martin, and “The Dark Crown,” an unpublished Dr. Weird plot by Martin.DW_Spec_41

For more information, or if you’re looking for back issues not listed here on the website like Dr. Weird, leave a comment or drop me a line at

Gary Carlson




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