Thursday, May 10, 2007

ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN by Rick Veitch

ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN is a recent release from Rick Veitch's King Hell Press, collecting the eight part story that he did in the early 1980s, serialized in EPIC ILLUSTRATED #10 - #17. I'd read a couple of chapters of this a few years ago, and it was pretty strange stuff. Good to see it finally available in as a proper book.

The story starts off with echoes of MOBY DICK, but spins off from that in strange directions involving space whales, including the huge red whale of the title. If you're familiar with Veitch's work, you can see a lot of common themes that show up in works like HEARTBURST, THE ONE, RARE BIT FIENDS, and even Veitch's SWAMP THING work. Transformation, mysterious cosmic forces, the separation of body and spirit, the collective unconscious and archetypes, all stuff which figures into Veitch's work in a variety of ways.

The book is definitely a strange journey, with a lot of imaginative characters and weird situations. The ending is really strong, though like a lot of Veitch things it seems to bring everything up to another level which could stand more exploration, which we never get.

It's also pretty remarkable how bold Marvel sometimes found themselves under Archie Goodwin's editorship over at Epic in the 1980s, especially considering how often tame and limited in ambition they've mostly been since.

This is definitely a welcome book, and I look forward to getting the recent SHINY BEASTS collection of Veitch's shorter works for EPIC soon.

Veitch has the entire first chapter online as a free preview.

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