My buddy Rickey is always passing me comics that, now that I don’t have full access to each month’s comics, I probably wouldn’t get around to reading. In this case it’s Silver Streak Comics #24, which is really the next issue in Image’s Next Issue Project series. This is a series of one-shots where Image publisher and Savage Dragon writer/artist Erik Larsen helps bring back some both classic and long forgotten Golden Age characters with help from a number of other characters (for more info on this issue check out this story by my buddy Josh Wiggler over on CBR). This Golden Age comic-sized book has a nice card stock-like cover and the art and layout are done in a way to recreate the feelings of flipping through one of those old books. There’s a kind of yellowed quality to the pages, full on real and fake Golden Age-era comic ads and even that great fake price sticker on the cover. Even knowing it was a printing effect, I still had to touch it just to make sure.
Anyway, there are five stories in this comic, all of which are kept pretty short to match the style of the books from back then. Larsen wrote and drew a story starring the original Daredevil (who also apparently appeared in Savage Dragon along with a different version over in Alex Ross’s Project Superpowers) that, according to the aforementioned interview, picks up from Silver Streak Comics #23. Then, Paul Grist, who writes and draws the fantastic Jack Staff comics, worked on the title speedster character. Joe Keatinge jumps in for a one page Kelly the Cop story, Michael T. Gilbert does a The Claw story and Steve Horton and Alan Weiss came together to work on a Captain Battle strip.
For me the draw for this comic wasn’t the characters, in fact Daredevil is the only one I had ever heard of before picking this comic up and maybe the Claw, but I couldn’t have told you what he looks like. What got me excited about this comic were the creators. I’m a big supporter of Savage Dragon. At one point I read through the first hundred or so issues, maybe more, but then I fell off the wagon and couldn’t keep up. Even so, I still like the book and appreciate Larsen’s style, so a one-off story starring one character that I recognize from this company? Sold. Flipping through, I then saw Grist doing Silver Streak, almost missed Keatinge’s one-page strip, didn’t really get too excited about the Claw story and liked the look of Weiss’s art on the Captain Battle story.
After reading through, my first impressions proved to be pretty right on. I really dug the Daredevil story. I read through it so quickly that by the time I got to the end I realized I hadn’t really absorbed what had happened and went back to make sure I got it. Not that the story is ultra complicated, it’s just whiz-bang fast. Basically Daredevil and his kid sidekicks fight a monster. I’ll leave it at that.
Grist’s Silver Streak yarn was a lot of fun with him using his super speed to figure out who was trying to kill one half of his favorite TV comedy duo. I think my favorite strip might be the Kelly the Cop one even though it’s the shortest. There’s a funny sadness to it that I think speaks volumes about a lot of those wacky cartoony characters who seem so one-note. It’s cool to see behind the curtain a little.
The Claw story didn’t really grab me much. It’s about a Golden Age villain who now runs a corporation and looks back on his past life with a bit of wistfulness. It’s not bad, but I’ve seen it before. Same goes for the Captain Battle story, but, unlike with the Claw, Captain Battle made me want to read more about his exploits. He’s a patriotic super hero with a son side kick, rockets to fly around on, guns and power gloves of some sort. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him in future comics.
Generally, I’m not a big fan of bringing back these kinds of GA characters. It seems so full of fake enthusiasm. That’s why I never got into the Project Superpowers books, even though I could have easily read them all. I just didn’t care. Alex Ross used to be a draw, but he doesn’t pencil or paint the books, so it’s not enough to draw me in. With this book, you know it’s not an overwhelming thing you’re getting yourself into. Twelve issues of characters I know nothing about with character designs and plotting by my favorite painter? Nope, no thanks. One issue of a book with at least 50% characters I recognize and creators I really like in a fun format that hails back to the feel of the GA books without being, let’s be honest, not very good like a lot of mass produced Golden Age books were. Larsen did a good job and this comic makes me want to go back and check out the previous issue Fantastic Comics #24. I also want to start writing comics based on a character called Captain Marvel who can shoot his feet and hands at people. Or something. It’s crazy.