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CSBG Archive

Almost Hidden – Grant Morrison and JH Williams Pay Tribute to Julie Schwartz

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 Chris K. wanted me to spotlight the Julie Schwartz tribute books DC did in 2004. Sure thing, Chris! All of them were neat, but I’ll specifically spotlight the Mystery in Space one. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, after Julie Schwartz died, DC did a tribute to the legendary editor by putting out eight one-shots where two different creative teams would produce short stories based on famous Schwartz covers (Schwartz would often have the covers produced before the issue itself, challenging his writers to come up with stories based on the covers). In addition, the creative teams each consisted of one “classic” writer who had worked with Schwartz with art by a “modern” artist and then a “modern” writer with art by a “classic” artist.

The “classic” writer was Elliott S! Maggin working with JH Williams while the “modern” writer was Grant Morrison working with Jerry Ordway (which is funny, considering Ordway broke in only a couple of years ahead of Morrison).

So read on to see why this is a neat special!

In this issue, the cover being used is Mystery in Space #82, the classic dilemma posed by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson…

Alex Ross drew the homage cover of the book.

In the first story, Elliot S! Maggin is teamed up with the art team from the later issues of Promethea (J.H. Williams and colorist Jose Villarrubia) to show what happens when Adam Strange gets his backpack (with all of his Rannian stuff) stolen while on vacation with Ralph and Sue Dibny. Essentially, his stuff is traded to terrorists to use to make a bomb – Adam has to decide what to do with the bomb…is it a matter of Earth versus Rann?!!?

In the second story, Grant Morrison, Jerry Ordway and Mark McKenna show a rogue military black ops team who have kidnapped Adam Strange and are pumping him for information while also using his body to allow the whole squad of soldiers to be transported with Adam to Rann on the Zeta beam.

Morrison does a great job here of highlighting the various misconceptions people have of Adam Strange and why a heroic archaeologist is actually an awesome thing.

This was a great issue and a very nice tribute to Schwartz. All of the tribute issues were neat, though. It seems to be a no-brainer for DC to collect them all into one volume, but apparently not. Maybe in conjunction with a collection of the Retroactive specials?

3 Comments

Was ga-LAX-y used by Elongated Man or Adam Strange often? Because I imagine that’s a shout-out to Isaac Asimov (I’m pretty sure Elbing Mis from “Foundation and Empire” uses that exclamation constantly).

Thanks for posting this issue on your blog. This was one of the Julie Schwartz tribute issues produce during that time. This comic also contain the best tribute story in the form of Grant Morrison’s Adam Strange Story.

I have this in a box somewhere having picked it up at a sale. I didn’t even realize who the creative team was as I have yet to read it, I better dig that out!

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