Stephan Friedt’s (with Jon B. Cooke) exploration of the short-lived, but influential Pacific Comics chronicles the rise and fall of the independent publisher in a colorful and informational manner which is sure to bring back many memories for those that visited their local comic shop between 1981 and 1984.
Friedt starts with the story of Bill and Steve Schanes’ California-based imprint in TwoMorrow’s Pacific Comics Companion, beginning with their simple beginnings as fans, collectors, and comic shop owners and mail order mavens.
After a very successful mail order and retail launch (long-time fans probably remember the “Captain Terrific Pacific” adds in the back of comics in the late 1970s), the brothers built their own distribution company and then went into the exciting and head-ache inducing world of publishing.
Each page of the Pacific Comics Companion fully details the origins of the company and their story in full color with a copious amount of archival art work, covers, photos, and vintage ads.
And some of that art profiles the mind boggling talent that Pacific was able to lure to their fledgling company such as Jack Kirby, Sergio Aragonés, Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, Mike Grell, Bernie Wrightson, and Dave Stevens. With the benefit of years of material, one gets a full look at the series and creators that worked for Pacific Comics, no doubt sending modern collectors to ebay and their local comic shops in search of some of these forgotten gems.
To help with this task, the Companion also provides extensive information on publication history and easily identifiable “thumbnail” and full size covers of issues of comics such as The Rocketeer, Captain Victory, Ms. Mystic, Groo the Wanderer, Starslayer, Twisted Tales, Edge of Chaos, and many more.
The Pacific Comics Companion is the perfect follow-up to TwoMorrow’s recent The Charlton Companion and captures an era that comic fans who remember seeing their titles on the rack will appreciate and those who have entered the hobby since will be able to experience a by-gone time of excitement which paved the way for the variety and adult storytelling which is a hallmark of every Eisner Awards celebration.
The Pacific Comics Companion is currently available from the TwoMorrow’s website (in both digital and print format) and at finer comic book shops everywhere.