Monday, February 18, 2008


The first 3 pages of Fantastic Comics #24 alone should give the book an Eisner nomination. Part of Image Comics' The Next Issue Project, Fantastic Comics presents the "next" adventures of a handful of public domain superheroes of yesteryear. However, unlike Dynamite Entertainment's Project Superpowers, which utilizes several of the same characters, The Next Issue Project doesn't play it straight, opting instead for an approach very reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino's "Grindhouse."

A different creative team takes a crack at each story in Fantastic Comics #24, aping the format of an actual Golden Age comic. Standouts this issue include:

* Erik Larsen's SAMSON
* Joe Casey & Bill Sienkiewicz's FLIP FALCON
* Tom Scioli's SPACE SMITH
* Fred Hembeck's PROFESSOR FIEND
* Joe Keatinge & Mike Allred's STARDUST THE SUPER WIZARD

The last story, based on Fletcher Hanks's classic underappreciated Golden Age superhero Stardust, is especially beautiful and haunting.

At the ridiculously low price of $5.99 for 64 oversized pages of original full-color comics on sturdy paper stock (printed in two tones - white and "old newsprint"), I would heartily recommend Fantastic Comics #24.

As a side note, I really am impressed with how far Image has come since the old school days. There was, I admit, a certain excitement when the first Image Comics launched so many years ago. But, there has definitely been evolutionary process afoot.


  1. For those unfamiliar with the original Stardust and the twisted work of Fletcher Hanks, I urge you to slide over to the BONUS page of my website to check out a Hanks tale that does NOT appear in my book, "I Shall Destroy All the Civilized planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks".

  2. This really was a terrific issue -- I'm looking forward to the next Next Issue Project issue. (Man, that sentence demands some tricky punctuation and capitalization!)

    I loved the entire issue... especially Stardust, Yank Wilson and Captain Kidd. I wonder if there's a translation of the German in Sub Saunders available online?

  3. Yeah definitely much love to Erik Larsen and all involved. Also I think that it is high time that Larsen recieved the recognition he so rightly deserves as one of the most active and creative voices in trying to help bring an awareness of classic super hero comics and the characters and styles of yesterday. Reprints are easy. And while taking old characters and updating them like Alex Ross and JMS are doing is great too, the Next Issue Project is so incredibly original and yet at the same time so blindingly obvious that you feel kind of dumb for not having thought of it yourself. As Rob S, said I am really looking forward to the next Next Issue Project issue. I know every time one comes out it's going to be the highlight of my week.