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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 47: Dazzler #1

Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks, with each week devoted to a single artist. This week: John Romita Jr.! Today’s page is from Dazzler #1, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated March 1981. Enjoy!

Run, you beautiful disco darling, run!

Romita moved on from Iron Man and helped launch the most awesomest comic book series in the history of comic bookery, Dazzler. You know it’s true!!!! He still hadn’t developed the “Romita Jr. style,” and Alfredo Alcala wasn’t doing him any favors in the inking department, either (although the first page of issue #2, which is more boring so I didn’t show it, does show a lot of improvement from Alcala, as his details helped make Dazzler’s clothing look more “real” and less like a superhero costume – Alcala tends to be a good inker, so his bland inks on this page is odd, to say the least).

DeFalco throws us right in, as he explains that a limousine suddenly stopped, a bunch of thugs jumped out, and started pursuing our heroine. Dazzler, we learn, had just left the disco, which presumably explains her outfit. We also find out that she’s cornered, but in superhero speak, all that means is that she’ll get a chance to show off her powers, which she does (page 2 regrettably is the first instance of Dazzler’s forgettable catch-phrase, “go for it!”).

Romita isn’t really called upon to do too much – unlike yesterday’s entry, he doesn’t need to balance a lot of interesting characters in the scene – there’s Dazzler and a bunch of thugs. What we do get is Alison Blaire in all her glory, full of motion in a static environment – her hair is flowing to her left, her giant necklace swinging to her right, and legs bent in a runner’s pose. She gazes deep into the readers’ eyes, drawing us in, and she’s just slightly off-center, which lends the scene some verisimilitude. Romita, presumably, designed her outfit, and while it’s very dated, it does look like actual clothing, which is always a problem in superhero comics (Romita has never had this problem, which is nice). Romita is still finding his way, but you’ll notice that Dazzler’s face is beginning to look like a “Romita” face – pronounced cheekbones (which get more pronounced over the years), a bit wider than we see from other artists, and the hint of a more pointed chin, which is also a Romita trademark. He isn’t quite the Romita we recognize instantly, but he’s getting there.

Next: I think I’ve found the first time we can say “That’s John Romita Jr.” You may agree or disagree, but wait until you see the evidence! If you don’t like Romita, you can always look at the archives!


This page makes me miss the days when books had two editors in the credits box. If memory serves, the last Marvel book I read had an associate editor, an assistant editor, an editor, group editor, editor in chief, publisher and chief creative officer after the letterer

I had no idea Dazzler was a Romita Jr/Alcala joint. Now it must be mine.

Bill: Romita only drew it for the first three issues. I’m not sure how long Alcala inked it. It should still be yours, though, because it’s DAZZLER!!!!!

Man, I found this issue in great shape at a Half Price Books a couple years back. Hopefully either Tom Defalco or JRJ will be a guest at a future Emerald City ComicCon or Jet City Comic Show–I’d love to have them autograph it.

[…] Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 47: Dazzler #1Comic Book Resourcesby Greg Burgas Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks, with each week devoted to a single artist. This week: John Romita Jr.! Today's page is from Dazzler #1, … […]

From what I recall Dazzler was going to be played by Bo Derek. JRJR/Alcala produced a very Bo-like Daz in this splash.

I think JRJR started his signature look during his X-Men days with Dan Green, for what it’s worth.

Re: Dazzler’s face. You see, that’s funny. The style to me is very much the “Marvel post-Kirby late 60s/70s/early 80s model” that JRJR’s dad helped to solidify. Clean lines, easy on the eye. It could be a young woman straight out of Romita snr’s Spidey run.
It doesn’t smack of later, more idiosyncratic JRJR.

Pete: I agree. But I still think that the wide cheekbones and the hint of a more pointed chin are Romita moving away from the traditionalists.

Fine excuse to recount my favourite comic store story: I found Dazzler #1 in a back issue bin in the store, Strange Adventures, in Halifax. It was in a mylar bag, with a $20 price tag.

I said to the man behind the counter: “I have to ask, why is this priced at $20?” And he basically said, “Congratulations, you just won it.” And that’s how I got my free copy of Dazzler #1, still pristine in its mylar bag.

Gotta love a store with a sense of humour.

(by the way, I mentioned last time I wasn’t a fan of JRjr’s art, but I quite like that splash!)

Was it really a gag?

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