Sunday, May 30, 2010

Steve Perry, R.I.P.

Steve Bissette has confirmed that writer Steve Perry has passed away.  You can read a lot more about his life and the unfortunate circumstances of his last days in other posts from Bissette.

I wasn't reading comics for most of the time that Perry was active in the 1980s, but I did end up with a good percentage of his non-animation related comics (Thundercats and Silverhawks, for which he wrote both cartoons and comics, were after my time, and I don't ever recall watching the shows, though it seems they do have some dedicated fans).  Most recently I picked up an issue of his most significant work, TIMESPIRITS, a few years ago, mostly for the Al Williamson guest art, and liked that enough to get the rest of the series shortly after.  That series deserves a more detailed look, which I'll try to get around to when, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, co-creator Tom Yeates is able to arrange a reprint.  In the meantime, here's a good discussion of it.

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Outside of TIMESPIRITS my favourite Perry story is "The Saurian Remains", drawn by Steve Bissette and published in Marvel's AMAZING HIGH ADVENTURE #4 [1986].  A fictionalized fantasy story based on the "Bone Wars" rivalry among 19th century paleontologists, it's a cleverly done tale which provides a fanciful explanation for an old scientific error while also providing the opportunity for Bissette to draw both the dinosaurs and extreme violence that he excels in.
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Perry and Bissette also did the memorable stories "A Frog Is A Frog" and "The Blood Bequest" (with John Totleben) for Marvel's BIZARRE ADVENTURES black and white magazine, as well as some stories in HEAVY METAL and EPIC ILLUSTRATED that I haven't read.

With Rick Veitch, Perry did the short story "Ahhh... Christmas" for Marvel's one-shot AMAZING ADVENTURES #1 [1988]. Not your typical warm holiday story, as you might gather from the line:

And what about the elves? I've always wondered about them. An exploited minority if ever there was one. Picture these undemanding little fellows jailed year round in some Arctic factory enslaved to the eccentricities of one slightly larger than themselves...
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Perry wrote several stories for the brief revival of THUNDER AGENTS published by Deluxe Comics in the mid-1980s.  In the first issue, he wrote a story drawn by Keith Giffen featuring the new female Menthor, and then he did a 2-part story featuring the robotic NoMan in #3 and #4, with artwork by Steve Ditko and Greg Theakston.  This latter story was very entertaining as a modern take on a silver age concept (including a villain with the unlikely name Cyrano de Klopps), with several inventive uses of NoMan's powers.  Definitely one of the better non-Ditko-written Ditko stories of the era.

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I picked up VANGUARD ILLUSTRATED #7 [1984], one of the last comics published by early independent publisher Pacific Comics, quite a while back for the first Mr. Monster story.  The anthology leads off with an entertaining western/horror story "The Ballad of Hardcase Bradley" drawn by George Evans.  I didn't remember that it was written by Steve Perry, but I remembered the story right away when Steve Bissette mentioned the title a few days ago.

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One of Perry's other major comic book works was a jungle adventure comic called SALIMBA, with art by Paul Chadwick.  I remember reading that, but can't seem to find it right now.  I'll update this if I do.  It was recently announced that About Comics had bought the rights to it, along with a new prose short story of the character, so it might return to print sooner or later.

Perry was helped in his last few months by the Hero Initiative. Consider a donation to them if you can.

1 comments:

Nat Gertler said...

Yes, Salimba will be returning to print, and sooner rather than later. We've just announced the book, details are up at http://aboutcomicsnews.wordpress.com/

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