The Wednesday Run – April 27, 2011

Every Wednesday, JP makes the after-work run to his local downtown comic book shop. Comics arrive on Wednesdays you see and JP, fearful that the latest issue will sell out, rushes out to purchase his copy. This regular, weekly column will highlight a particularly interesting release, written in short order, of course, because JP has to get his – before someone else does!


DC Comics Presents: Night Force

Written by: Marv Wolfman
Illustrated by: Gene Colan and Bob Smith
Published by: DC Comics

Over the last year or so, yours truly has really (pardon the pun) sunk his teeth into Marvel’s famous 1970’s series, The Tomb of Dracula. Gene Colan is one of my all–time favourite comic book artists and his intensely cinematic drawings lend themselves perfectly to the atmospheric thriller that “Dracula” was. His art style is made even more impressive when enjoyed in Marvel’s three-volume hardcover omnibus line of books. It’ll set you back a pretty penny, but Colan’s work is as timeless as the lead character he drew, if not more alive. (Snicker!)

In 1982, Wolfman and Colan moved their imaginative outpourings to DC Comics and gave them the cult hit, Night Force, a monthly series that starred the mysterious sorcerer, Baron Winter and his ensemble team of occult heroes who battled evil in all it’s supernatural forms. Psychic Vanessa Van Helsing, granddaughter of the Van Helsing from Dracula lore, Jack Gold, her reporter husband, Donovan Caine, a professor of parapsychology and Zadoc Grimm, an ancient warrior from the court of King David made up the cast of characters. This was the series that would lay some of the important groundwork for DC’s Vertigo imprint years later – and all the titles that imprint has historically carried.

It’s no wonder that the series, which lasted only fourteen issues, has become such a classic.

Not only did Night Force have time on its side (some thirty years this August) to be recognized as the creative work it was, not only did it pertain to a subject matter that continuously seems to defy aging, but Colan’s oeuvre of artwork has become more and more in demand of late – just as his real-life health has deteriorated in recent months.

DC Comics Presents: Night Force is a 96-page trade paperback collection that reprints the first four issues of the series for a new time and a new audience. The only thing that would be better is if DC reprinted the entire fourteen-issue run of Wolfman and Colan’s work. In hardcover. All 352 pages. Around Halloween this year. You know, to really celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the series.

Oh wait. They are!

Make the Wednesday run and pick up Night Force, a supernatural classic waiting to be re-found and relished.

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