Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Classic Comics: Scorpio Rose #1

This comic marked, in many ways, a turning point for the comics industry. I was captivated by Scorpio Rose when this comic first appeared in 1983 - but it was a three-issue mini-series that never quite ended - in the normal sense.

After a long and distinguished run at Marvel, Steve Englehart jumped ship and went over to DC Comics, where he enjoyed a brief but excellent run on comics like Justice League of America and Detective Comics.

He also wrote a couple of issues of Madame Xanadu - but when his relationship with that company fell apart, he took his work and walked.

Over at the newly-formed Eclipse Comics, they offered Englehart a chance to create his own character, so he fashioned a thinly-disguised (but considerably more adult) version of Madame Xanadu.

Rose is a gypsy with a dark, mysterious past - and the story of her long life is brutal and frightening, as she faces the unstoppable demon who changed her life when she was young.

It's a tale of love, betrayal and magic, wonderfully illustrated by the incredible Marshall Rogers.

The two - Englehart and Rogers - crafted some amazing comics over the course of their work together, including Batman, Coyote and Mister Miracle.

And that's the frustrating thing about this "series" - one more issue was published (nine months after the first issue), but the third never appeared! I looked and looked for it, but never found it - because it was never printed.

Apparently Rogers was busy with other work and by the time he got around to working on it, Englehart decided it was better to leave the issue unpublished, rather than printing it years after the fact.

It finally saw the light of day in an unfinished form - in the back of a Coyote collection, Englehart included the rough artwork and story for that final issue.

It was a shame - a terrific character, a heck of a story - but the readers were left hanging. Heck, it still makes me mad. If you start something, you should finish it - better late than never.

Still, a great issue, and one-third of a great series.

Grade: A



Glen Davis said...

I find that a lot of Englehart's work from the 80s hasn't aged well, and that the Coyote series seems hopelessly dated today. I think the Assassin back up in the Coyote series was pretty good though.

Dougie said...

I would love to see Ditko's work on The Djinn reprinted. I haven't read Coyote in years but I liked it at the time ( Cold War paranoia aside). I have those two issues of Scorpio Rose and need to revisit them one day too. You didn't mention the guest appearance of Mantis/Lorelei and her meeting with the "Jason Blood" character.

Chuck said...

Dougie, I agree about "Djinn" - great stuff. Was Lorelei in issue #2 or was she in the "Coyote" series? I did neglect to mention the (Kirby) "Demon" knockoff, good catch.