I know there are a lot of you, here, who enjoy Bronze Age comics, so I thought you might want to check out Christopher Mills’s new books, Atomic Action Comics
. Mills has taken older, public domain characters, like Rex Dexter, the Black Owl, and Basil Wolverton’s Spacehawk, and put a 70s-era spin on them. Working with friends of his in the business, like Paul Pelletier, Rick Burchett, Peter Grau, Joe Staton, and others, he is planning a whole series of single issues featuring different characters in each issue. He has self-published 3 books so far – Space Crusaders 1 & 2 (with Rex Dexter & Spacehawk, respectively) and Sleuth Comics #1 (with the Black Owl). I’ve read the first two and ordered the third, and these are great comics – fun, well-paced, with clear artwork reminiscent of Perez or Byrne or Aparo. After reading that initial Space Crusaders issue, these have become some of my most anticipated comics.
Mills is a Maine native (which is how I am familiar with him) who is an alumnus of the Joe Kubert School and has been in comics for almost 30 years. With his classic sensibilities – including caption boxes, thought balloons, and a focus on fun and adventure rather than “reality” and angst – he found it difficult to gain a foothold in the business. Most notably, he worked for Tekno Comix and scripted Leonard Nimoy’s Primortals, wrote the Gravedigger mini-series, with artist Rick Burchett, for Action Lab’s Danger Zone, and has done some writing for pulp characters, most recently Moon Maid from American Mythology. With the Atomic Action comics, Mills is doing everything himself, outside of the artwork, and selling them through Indy Planet’s print on demand store. They get done when they get done, according, mainly, to his artists’ schedules, as they are doing this with, I assume, no money up front, because they are friends with Mills and want to be a part of what he’s creating here.
I’ve been waiting to share these on here, because they are expensive – each issue is $5, but they’re full issues, with letters pages and back up features, including some OHOTMU-style entries in Sleuth Comics, and then there’s the shipping charge, which isn’t as prohibitive if you have more than one book to order. I think they’re totally worth it, and I know I’ll be re-reading these books many times. I can’t recommend them enough, if you love digging into your longboxes for comics from when you were a kid (if you were a kid around the time I was – 19-something-something).
And if you want to learn more before taking the plunge, I would recommend checking out Mills’s facebook page
, where he shares previews of artwork, discusses his background in comics along with his approach to creating comics, as well as general comics talk, and if you enjoy classic model kits, you can check out some of the models he’s put together and painted. Also go to the website (which I linked above but will also link here: Atomic Action Comics
, where you can see more preview art, learn about some of the other characters Mills is working on, and see a full slate of the artists he has on board for this venture. Honestly, these are some fun comics and well worth your time! And now, some art, to try and whet your appetites, just a bit more: