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CSBG Archive

Almost Hidden – The Rise and Fall of Red Orion

Even with this large amount of comic books that have been collected in trade paperbacks, there are still a number of great comic books that have never been reprinted (I’d say roughly 60% of them are DC Comics from the 1980s through the mid-1990s). So every day this month I will spotlight a different cool comic book that is only available as a back issue. Here is an archive of the comic books featured so far.

I want you folks to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com with your suggestions for comics that I should feature this month. I’d like to see what you all would like to see get more attention.

Reader Tim G. wrote in to ask for, ” Walter Simonson’s Orion 7 and on.” Only the first six issues of Simonson’s run have been collected. This is a pain because #1-15 form one large storyline that I like to call “The Rise and Fall of Red Orion.”


What if I told you that there was a 15 part storyline that began with this…

had a major turning point with this…

saw things go so poorly that we saw scenes like this…

and the concluded with the following pairing up against Orion and a whole boatload of mind-controlled minions…

and the artwork and writing would be done by Walter Simonson. You would be into that, right?

As well you should be, as the first 15 issues of Simonson’s Orion sets up a brilliant look at what happens when Orion’s whole world is turned upside down and ends up succeeding where his father, Darkseid (IS he Orion’s father?), never could – but is success where Darkseid failed really something you would WANT?

I heard something once about absolute power – I hear that it might have some sort of corrupting effect. Orion would likely agree.

As I mentioned, only the first six of the fifteen issues is currently in a trade, but #7-15 shouldn’t set you back TOO much. And it’s well worth the money spent – Simonson is at the top of his game in this series.

Buying the issues also gives you access to all of the back-ups, including work from Frank Miller, Howard Chaykin and Jim Lee!). There are also two “fill-in” issues in the fifteen issues, but they are by John Byrne, so the quality is top notch all the way through!

This would really fit well in an over-sized trade (because you could cut out the back-ups).


The crazy thing is that DC has collected the backups from this series in the Tales of the New Gods TPB, but still hasn’t done anything with the remaining Simonson issues. They had two perfect opportunities to do it too, with the renewed focus on the New Gods around the time of Final Crisis and the attention Simonson’s work has gotten with the release of the Thor movie. I own all the issues but I’d love to have a nice collected edition.

Special bonus if you seek out the back issues: Walt Simonson writes the answers for the letters page himself.

The entire 25 issue series is well worth tracking down. After Orion’s fall from grace concludes in #15, Walter Simonson spends the next several issues having Orion strive for redemption. Issue #24 has a really interesting examination of just who and what the New Gods are (and are not). And the series, even though it was canceled, wraps up on a definite high note with #25.

i always like the concept of the New Gods, but never the execution. Tho’t that Kirby couldn’t write for himself, and never liked most other uses of the characters. However, i have grown to like Simonson even more in the last few years, so i would pick these up out of a .25-.50 bin for sure!
thanks Brian & Tim G.!

Wowowowowow. That battle sequence is beyond breathtaking.

Orion was an amazing book, second in Simonson’s career only to Thor.

Dang, I wish I’d picked this up at the time. I knew how awesome Simonson was from his Thor run and elsewhere, but somehow I skipped it because Orion was one of my least favorite New Gods.

This deserves OMNIBUS ABSOLUTE anything…

Simonson did an amazing job on the series. He’s the one of the few creators (besides Kirby) to do right by these characters. Other good New Gods comics include:

– Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers: Mr. Miracle 1-4 – the denizens of Apokalips come to Earth in human form, and only an entertainer named Shilo “Mr. Miracle” Norman can stop them… but can he escape the Life Trap? Truly, the most underrated of the 7 Soldiers comics.

– Mark Evanier and Steve Rude did a Mr. Miracle one-shot in the ’80s that is well worth picking up. I *think* post- Colletta New Gods inker Mike Royer inked it, as a bonus.

– I’ve heard decent things about the J.M. DeMatteis Mr. Miracle comic, but never read it. DeMatteis & plotter Kieth Giffen wrote Mr. M. & Big Barda endearingly in Justice League/ JLI.

– John Ostrander & Co. did an awesome New Gods story in Suicide Squad. Not to spoil anything, but one of the characters in the book had ties to the 4th World, and was one of my favorites on the team. I was disappointed to see that character leave, even if the Apokalips issues that served as a send-off were outstanding.

– The two post-Kirby Mr. Miracle creative teams, Steve Englehart & Marshall Rogers and Steve Gerber & Michael Golden, fashioned very entertaining comics. Mr. M. (vol. 1) 19-25 are worth tracking down, although the potentially great Gerber/ Golden story was cut short by cancellation.

I love the original Kirby 4th World comics. The art was spectacular. I understand why some readers don’t like the writing, but I find it strangely engrossing. Kirby sometimes wrote just to the left of the readers’ comprehension, a trait Morrison, Joe Casey, and a few others have been able to duplicate or learn from. “The Pact,” “The Glory Boat,” and the first dozen or so issues of Mr. Miracle rank among my favorite comics.

I just bought the first trade.on the strength of this post. The saga begins!

This series was about a million times more interesting than the entire run of Byrne’s “Jack Kirby’s Fourth World” series, which was mostly rehashes and “deleted scenes” from between earlier stories, and a lot of standing around and talking. I loved the concept of the book and there was some very nice art, but Mr. Byrne always draws Darkseid smiling too much.

I wonder if Simonson’s Green Lantern of Apokalips ever made any more appearances? I wonder what he used that last little bit of power in his ring for…


“I wonder if Simonson’s Green Lantern of Apokalips ever made any more appearances? I wonder what he used that last little bit of power in his ring for…”

Actually, Raker Qarrigat (the Green Lantern of Apokolips) was created by Scott Beatty and his first appearance was in the Green Lantern 80-Page Giant #3. Besides Orion’s title, he made some appearances in the Green Lantern comic book. He even fought in the the Sinestro Corps War and the War of the Green Lanterns.

Here’s the info on Raker’s first appearance…


I hadn’t realized Raker had made any appearances in the most recent Green Lantern series, but I haven’t been following it. I just hope that he survived those crossovers without getting killed, horribly maimed, or turned evil!

“What if I told you that there was a 15 part storyline that began with this…”

I’d say it was *25* issues long. And it breaks down neatly into 5 trades.

That fight between Orion and Darkseid is tremendous. Simonson was the man.

Been saying this for years Simonson’s run on Orion was THE (bar none) BEST RUN OF A NEW GODS CHARACTER since Kirby created and wrote them. As many have posted here, that these stories are not in a TPB form is akin to a criminal act.

More Simonson frowny faces. Yawn.

Reportedly there is an Omnibus reprinting the entire 25 issue series coming out in March 2015!

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