Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Winner Is....(Mike Grell Poll Results)

It's kind of weird.  On Tuesday here in Columbus, Ohio, it was 50 degrees and rainy.  Then, on Wednesday, it was as if someone decided that since it was December and Christmas was just around the corner that it should be snowing, so they flipped a switch and suddenly there was snow.   
Yes, ladies and germs, the yuletide season has descended upon our heads with a thud, and next week I'll begin my celebration of "Christmas With The Caped Crusader" wherein I'll be looking back at some of the many seasonal tales of the Batman published over the years.
Right now, I'd thought I'd say a few words about the results of my Mike Grell poll which came to a close along with the month of November on Tuesday. 
As you can see, The Warlord, with more than half the votes cast, was the clear winner.  I'm sure this probably says more about the readers of this blog, of course, than it does about the quality of Grell's work on the series.  What that is I can only speculate, though I suspect it simply means that the people who are reading Gutter Talk are people who are interested in the same things, at least as far as comic books, that I am and that I want to write about. This really comes as no surprise.
I'm a little surprised that weren't more votes for Green Arrow.  Likewise, I'm sure many of you, given my previously stated love for the character, may have been surprised that my vote went to Warlord.  It's true that Ollie Queen is my favorite super hero and I do feel that Grell's version is  one of the best, but I guess I just prefer his work on more fantasy oriented concepts.
Thus, I suppose I'd probably like Starslayer, the preference of at least one of the respondents who voted "Other."  I have read, and  liked, a few issues, but not any of the ones Grell himself did.  Of course, there aren't that many.  He left after the eighth issue, presumably to focus on Jon Sable, Freelance.  This, I suppose, accounts for the "unrealized potential" this person saw in this series.  The brevity of Grell's tenure on the book is somewhat surprising given his lengthy run on Sable, as well  as Warlord and Green Arrow.  Counting the regular series, various mini-series, and an issue of Secret Origins, Grell wrote 94 issues of the Emerald Archers adventures. 
Jonathon Riddle remarked to me once that Starslayer is more noteworthy for its back up features than for the lead story.  It is true that both Groo the Wanderer and Grimjack debuted in the title's back pages.  It was also the first regular series written by John Ostrander.  
By the way, did you know that Starslayer was almost published by DC?  It was one of a handful of not yet released titles, which also included The Vixen, scrapped by DC in 1978 as part of the mass cancellation of titles that has come to be known as "The DC Implosion."  
Given the importance of the book, as I noted above, for the talent and concepts that it helped to introduce, its interesting to speculate just how the history of comics, and independent comics particularly, might have been different had the "DC Implosion" not occurred.


  1. Besides Groo and Grimjack, Starslayer #2 was the the debut appearance of Dave Stevens' The Rocketeer. Also of historical note: there was another artist who was writing and drawing a comic series titled Starslayer around the exact same time as Pacific Comics was printing Grell's work. Grell had to contact this artist to explain that the title Starslayer was already taken. Now, I have no proof to back this up, but I suspect this artist was Jim Starlin and that comic was Dreadstar.

  2. So if Starslayer had been published by DC, then when Grell moved over to Jon Sable, Freelace perhaps DC comics would have picked that one up as well. Could you imagine Sable interacting with the Question, Vigilante, or Green Arrow? Actually, I think he'd fit right in with that crowd...