Friday, September 23, 2011

Just Plain Strange: Power Comics #1 (Power Comics Company, 1977)

Power Comics #1 came to fruition in Lansing, Michigan where writer T. Casey Brennan (of Creepy fame) brought together a group of writers and artists in the hopes of creating and publishing their own comic series.
Released in 1977, the first issue featured four stories, one of which featured Dave Sims' first aardvark. Sims had been working on Cerebus the Aardvark around the same time, which would be released later that year.

Here's a quick overlook of each story:

A Gift of Wonder - Written by Brennan and penciled by Vince Marchesano. A short story about how a man of the mystic arts is sensing the world of magic interloping with reality.

                             Page from "A Gift of Wonder":

The Belt of Americe - Story by Jerry Younkins with art by J.J. Friel. Tells the tale of Valkus the sea-dweller, whose curiosities of the land above leads him to leave the waterworld behind. There he finds a woman in distress and saves her from an onslaught of Beast Men. He is brought to the Queen Americe where it is learned that the Beast Men are preparing to take the city. Together with the power of the Queen's belt, Valkus uses his powers of the occult to destroy the Beast Men, but he loses the spell of transformation needed to stay on land and is banished to the sea.

                                  Pages from "The Belt of Americe":

Nightwitch Rising! - Written by Grant Stevens with artwork by Skip Williams, this story explains the origin of Nightwitch. It begins with the trial of Hemsut,  the last witch of Atlantis. She is persecuted for her powers by a hooded order called The Twelve. Hemsut believes in the power of Ka, which she unleashes on the unsuspecting order.

This event ends up becoming a dream for a woman named Onyx Moro(first day on the job at a mental institution), who happens to be dreaming while connected to a REM scanner that disconnects during the chaos. Fast forward to a mental patient (who is really the demon Azimuth), who escapes and starts killing everyone...including throwing Onyx out of the window, 32 stories to her death.

Hemsut appears to Onyx moments before her death and explains her true purpose, that she is a descendant of Atlantis and wields the power of Ka. Onyx can either die or be reborn with her true Ka powers, which she chooses, and Hemsut and Onyx merge into one being...the Nightwitch. The story ends as the Nightwitch fights and destroys Azimuth, then returns all of the hospital's employees to a point in time before the incident occurs, curing the mental patient in the process.

                               Pages from "Nightwitch Rising!"

                              Back cover of Power Comics #1 depicting Nightwitch:

A Boy and His Aardvark - Written by Brennan and penciled by Dave Sims, this is the story of a boy and his aardvark...and a dad and his penchant for guns. It's an odd one, but it's pretty cool to see a pre-Cerebus aardvark in the story. Check out the full five-page story here:

As you can see...the Aardvark has the best lines. Power Comics only lasted five issues before the group of collaborators moved on to other projects. The artwork is well done and although the stories are hit and miss, the Nightwish origin is nice to see and the Sims' aardvark would be key for collectors. Well worth a pickup.


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