The universe-spanning, end of the universe epic is a mainstay of today's comic books.
Even now Marvel and
DC Comics (and few other smaller publishers) are in the midst of universe-altering
mega-events that promise to 'change everything' and 'shake things up'.
In truth it's just
a clever ploy to reinvent companies and draw in new readers while trying not to
alienate current readers and collectors.
After all, if things change too much current comic book readers and
collectors might bail because nothing of the old universes still exist. The result, fewer readers, a dwindling
collectors' market and no sense of history or continuity.
As I mentioned in a
past review Marvel Comics' Galactus Trilogy set the standard by which a comic
book 'epic' was created.
Both Marvel, DC and
countless other publishers have used that concept to good use...but.. there is
one individual who has honed it to perfection.
Jim Starlin began
his professional comic book artist and writer career at Marvel Comics in the
1970s. During the Bronze Age Jim
successfully established himself as the 'epic' creator.
His runs on Warlock
and Captain Marvel are still lauded today and for good reason.
Both series introduced
readers to powerful cosmic forces, evil empires and casts of characters that
are as popular today as they were when they were first created. Gamorra and Drak The Destroyer (amongst
others) ring any bells?
No one could
compete with Stalin's mastery of the mega-epic. In fact, each summer nearly all comic book companies create an
epic mega-series that ties in its various comic book titles.
Case in point: Marvel's current Secret War
epic and DC's Convergence and Divergence.
Creating epics for
comic book companies are one thing.
After all, creating characters while on a title makes that character(s)
property of the comic book publisher.
During the early
1980s artists/writers took notice of the direct sales market and the growing
phenomenon: creator rights.
While Jim Starlin
could be counted on to create stellar comic book tales for whatever company he
worked for at the time the itch was still there to own his own creations.
When Marvel Comics
introduced its Epic Comics line Jim was
first in line to come up with his own property: Dreadstar.
He created a true
epic, spectacular n its scope and if you were savvy enough to notice Jim
slipped in a few references to his previous galactic-spanning prose seen in
Warlock and Captain Marvel. Dreadstar
was fist introduced in a graphic novel and then its own series.
The story was a
simple one. Dreadstar, the sole
survivor of a destroyed solar system, wanted only to live in peace. Unfortunately powerful evil forces force him
to take a stand and so, he, and a band of misfits, take on the dark forces that
rule the universe.
and artistic creation shined-his work had never been better.
Unshackled by the
Comics Code or editorial dictates of a mother company Jim let his imagination,
art and prose explode.
Dreadstar, like Jim's
earlier work on Warlock and Captain Marvel, set the bar high for creative
Recently it was
announced Dreadstar is making its return.
Over the years Jim has continued to work for various companies (his Dreadstar
found a home at the now defunct First Comics with an impressive run).
His talent for turning
convention on its ear is legendary. Currently
he is best known to comic book readers as the father of Thanos and the various
Regardless the title he works on Jim Starlin
continues to pump out universe-altering epics.