Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Classics - Strange Tales #171

   Every comics company has a few (or more than a few) characters that fall under the "what were they thinking" category.

   With that in mind, meet Brother Voodoo.

   Dreamed up in 1973, he was part of the rising tide of monster comics, along with Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf By Night and Ghost Rider.

   Jericho Drumm is a hero who fights to protect humanity from the dark side of sorcery - most specifically, those who would use zombies (the raised dead) to menace others.

   He works with the ghost of his murdered brother Daniel, who can possess the body of a zombie and then work for Jericho.

   So it's an odd concept. In fact, the character became something of a running joke for years, especially in the hands of the very funny Fred Hembeck.

   The character is being treated respectfully these days, as he's on par with Doctor Strange - and he's now an Avenger.

   But these early adventures are pretty rough, even with top talent working on the stories - writer Len Wein and artist Gene Colan, and a Gil Kane cover - they were trying to get a handle on the odd concept, with only limited success.

   In this issue BV runs into a new kind of zombie - ones he can't control or defeat, and the secret behind them brings the series more in line with mainstream Marvel.

   But the series never clicked, and after only five adventures, BV was relegated to supporting character status. But there is an endearing nature to the series, which has made it something of a cult classic - but not really a classic comic.

Grade: B-


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