Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Reading Room EPIC ILLUSTRATED "Relic"

Is this never-reprinted tale from the 1980s...
...a subtle commentary by the "old guard" about the "young bucks" who were taking over the comics industry?
When this Archie Goodwin-scripted/Al Williamson-rendered story appeared in Marvel's Epic Illustrated #27 (1984), the comics industry was going through an upheaval.
Due to the introduction in the late 1970s of comic book stores and the Direct Market (which enabled publishers to "print to order"), numerous small publishers were popping up to compete with the major companies.
But, among the casualties in the changing marketplace were the "old pros", long-time creatives who were finding less and less work as the majors hired youngsters who were willing to work on their characters for lower rates.
The older writers and artists did find work, but mostly for upstarts, and usually at lower rates.
Some kept going by taking commissions from fans for new pieces.
Others moved on to advertising or newspaper syndicate work.
It's a sad turn of events that only started reversing itself after 2000.
BTW, note the story is dedicated to Williamson's fellow Fleagle Gang member Roy Krenkel who passed away around the time this tale was being created.
Krenkel was especially expert at rendering lush overgrown jungles and fantastical lost cities, so Al's dedicating this work to him was most appropriate.

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