The Silver Age of Comics holds a special place in Marvel fans hearts. Not only was it the birth of Marvel Comics as we know it, but the variety of heroes and comics on the newsstand were plentiful, with many flavors to choose from.
One staple of the early Marvel Comics that could be found on those stands were the “shared” titles such as Tales to Astonish, Strange Tales, and Tales of Suspense. Each comic (which were repossessed Sci-Fi titles taken over by the many new superheroes of Marvel) offered each reader two adventures for the price of one and allowed the new heroes to find new audiences before being launched into their own titles.
Writer John Luzar also has a deep love for the Silver Age comics produced by Marvel in the 1960s, and his latest comic (currently available to back on Kickstarter) is a homage, tribute, and parody of that influential era of comics. We got a chance to speak to Luzar about his new comic, Odd Yarns, in this exclusive interview.
What are the origins of Odd Yarns?
John Luzar: Honestly, I saw a tweet from Lane Lloyd saying they were available, and I asked my editor/partner, Jason Fleece, what he thought about maybe making a comic with Lane before they got snatched up? And we decided hell yes that’s something we should do.
So I paced around the apartment for an afternoon, thinking, “if you made a comic with this artist, what would it look like? What COULD it look like? I started thinking about those old Strange Tales double-feature books, with the Steranko Nick Fury and the Dr. Strange stuff with like, Eternity and the Living Tribunal, and it’s all just so out there, so thrillingly weird, which is what Lane’s art is. And then I just kind of said “yes” to every idea I tripped over, which was really exciting and fun for me, I usually second-guess everything to death.
What elements from Silver Age characters stand out among comic characters from different eras?
Luzar: They’re just so iconic, y’know? The good ones, anyway, and there’re a ton of good ones. It’s just one classic character after another, characters that are still resonating with audiences 60 years later.
I got into comics in the early 90’s, but I found my way to Silver Age Marvel pretty quickly, it just feels so fun and fresh, even now.
It’s all new, and almost all of it works right away, the first time. These artists are making this totally new thing, and it’s catching on, so they keep making more and more…everybody seems to be having a great time exercising their talent, y’know? And it’s awesome that comics grew up and Daredevil’s girlfriend became a junkie, and we got all the great, adult stories we got, it truly is, BUT, the Silver Age…it just feels so joyous and optimistic.
What interested you about the switch of roles for the soldier/spy and the wizard character?
Luzar: It seemed like a fun thing to play with, especially with Lane’s sense of humor and talent for the grotesque…the cigar-chomping, street-smart sergeant type, rescuing a bunch of insufferable fop wizards from a bunch of weird-ass demons…yeah, that’ll make a fun comic. And like, look at all the top-notch cartooning Lane did with those wizards! Those faces!
How does Lane Lloyd’s art style compliment the Silver Age style characters and action?
Luzar: So many ways! I first noticed Lane when they were promoting Hunt for the Solavore, which gives off such operatic Kirby space god vibes…you’re struck by their enormous imagination and their ability to manifest it on the page…for me, it has the same “holy crap, I’ve never seen anything like that” feel the best Silver Age comics have.
And then yeah, action. Not only is Lane’s stuff striking at first glance, but their sense of kinetic energy within the panel is fantastic, they have a really great instinct for the most exciting moment to capture the body in motion. Looking at it now, I really should’ve written more action for them to draw, actually.
And then beyond that, the ability to push that moment even further, into comedy/parody, it’s impressive as hell. We did a little homage to one of my favorite Steranko pages, a 9-panel action scene, it’s extremely violent, but also pretty funny, if you follow the body language of the goons our “hero” is tearing through.
Why did you decide to make the comic a flip book?
Luzar: It felt like an easy way to make the book stand out a bit, feel a bit more fun. Plus it gives us twice as many covers, and Lane’s so good at making that kind of enticing, “ooooo, what’s THIS comic about?” kind of image; and then it plays into the double-feature aspect, so why not?
It also gave us a fantastic opportunity to work with two of my favorite artists on the alternate cover version…Alex Cormack’s Road of Bones absolutely blew me away, and By the Horns is the prettiest damn book on the stands right now, so it was very cool to be able to reach out to Jason Muhr as well…getting to work with people who’re making the comics at the top of my stack, it’s tremendously exciting, I hope people check out their takes on Lane’s designs.
Any ideas for future Silver Age mash-ups?
Luzar: Not right now, but this was a ton of fun, I’d do it again.
Odd Yarns will be available to back on Kickstarter until Thursday, December 9.