Comic books 14 Jan 2010 06:49 pm

Dragon Lord



Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko is one of my favorite comics artists, and Marvel Spotlight #5, featuring a one-off character called Dragon Lord that Ditko illustrated, is a book I fondly remember from my childhood.

It probably isn’t one of Sturdy Steve’s most memorable jobs, but I discovered it at that magical prepubescent age that paints everything with rose-colored glasses. The story of a modern man of Japanese descent avenging his family’s honor by battling a gigantic dinosaur is little more than a light updating of Stan Lee’s old monster magazine stories, but writer Marv Wolfman plays it all straight, and who can go wrong, really, with page after page of monstrous destruction, especially with a dash of mysticism thrown in and with a great Frank Miller cover (above, inked by Bob Wiacek) to boot?

I dug out my copy of Marvel Spotlight #5 recently — and even bought a copy of the Marvel Milestones reprint from a few years back that adds a couple extra Ditko stories after the main feature — after reading in Brian Cronin’s Comic Book Legends feature (read it here) that the issue was first intended as a fill-in for Marvel’s Godzilla series. When Godzilla was cancelled without the need of Wolfman and Ditko’s story, it was retooled by ever-thrifty Marvel for use in Spotlight instead. That’s especially neat because Godzilla is another favorite from my formative years, 24 issues of a big green lizard stomping his way across the Marvel Universe’s North America.

No profound statements about either book, but just a chance to write about something I like, which is always nice.

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