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Spacehawk Paperback – December 7, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Although Wolverton is best known for his eccentric, zany humor comics, early in his career, he wrote and drew some 30 stories featuring the deadly serious Spacehawk, a no-nonsense dispenser of intergalactic justice. Debuting in 1940, the science-fiction hero battled Martian space pirates, mercenaries from Mercury, and other grotesque aliens, occasionally finding the time to romance the queen of Neptune. But by 1942, in his final adventures, Spacehawk had turned, as had many of his superhero brethren, to fighting Nazis and Japs back on Earth. The harsh treatment Spacehawk metes out to evildoers and Wolverton’s blunt, blocky graphic style are reminiscent of the naive, loopy approach of his contemporary, Fletcher Hanks—if Hanks had known what he was doing. Spacehawk’s stories may be absurd concoctions of primitive space opera and already-established tropes of the nascent superhero genre, but Wolverton’s solid, elemental drawings—already evincing his distinctive use of stippling—combined with his intuitive design sense have a raw power that is rare among comic books of the era and impresses even today. --Gordon Flagg

About the Author

Basil Wolverton was born near Medford, Oregon in 1909 and died in 1978. His Fantagraphics-published books include Basil Wolverton's Culture Corner and The Wolverton Bible, and his work is featured in Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941.

Monte Wolverton is a syndicated editorial cartoonist (whose style is reminiscent of his father's) and managing editor of Plain Truth magazine—where many of the illustrations in The Wolverton Bible originally appeared.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics; 1 edition (December 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995501
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.9 x 13.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This book looks better than ever before.
Diego Cordoba
Big, beautifully reproduced and restored pages, nice heavy paper, saturated in vibrant color that complements Wolverton's feverish imagination perfectly.
Sean Burns
If so, then Fantagraphics' "Spacehawk" book truly has all comics-and-covers bases covered.
Trollbeard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jim Gray on November 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have waited a good 40 years to see this book! From the first articles on Basil Wolverton written by Bill Spicer, I've been dying to see the entire Spacehawk series made available. The issues of Target Comics have always been prohibitively expensive collectibles, so we've had to rely on anyone willing to reprint them.
The earlier space-bound stories are wonderfully grim and existential, with a hero who shows no mercy to the wicked. It's amazing to see how sophisticated and creative these stories were, at a time when Superman was still merely leaping tall buildings, and most Golden Age heroes had not yet even been dreamed of. And even the earth-bound later stories are all wonderful to behold, in terms of Wolverton's art style.
But until now, every attempt at a complete reprint has ended in failure.
When Dark Horse was doing it, I wrote them an impassioned letter complaining about them wasting valuable space on new Spacehawk stories (by current artists) that nobody needed or wanted in a Wolverton book, and the publisher wrote back and "assured" me that they would follow through with the entire series. I believe they made it to about 5 issues before giving up.
So allow me to gush with praise at this fantastic volume by Fantagraphics! It's large-size, all in color, beautifully reproduced, and includes an intro by his son Monte Wolverton, who is also an artist. And it's every single Wolverton Spacehawk story (even the strange one about stealing tires during wartime rationing!) in sequence, plus the one Target cover and even a rough for an unused cover by Wolverton.
A harcover would be nice, but it would be churlish to complain about that, considering how long it took this to come out.
If you're a Wolverton fan, this book is a dream come true.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Trollbeard on November 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This big, sprawling, beautiful "Spacehawk" book from Fantagraphics is food fit for the gods! It contains the complete, 2-year epic run of Spacehawk (a sort of Superman/Flash Gordon clone). I was surprised to find the "Spacehawk" comics to be much more fun and exciting to read than the Superman, Batman and Captain America comics created around this same time. And, in my opinion, "Spacehawk" is better-drawn as well. Wolverton is quite the visual story-teller. The setting is planet Earth a year or so before WW2, and of course some of the bad guys are parodies of certain contemptible Axis characters. Needless to say, the stories are refreshingly politically incorrect, and also needless to say, Spacehawk has no issues with capital punishment. Hitler becomes Moosler and/or Nitwitler, and some of themes of the pre-Dec. 7 1941 stories involve Spacehawk prophetically warning Moosler of disastrous consequences should Moosler succeed in bringing America into the war. All in all, this is one beautiful and fascinating book.
Fantagraphics has performed a miracle in restoring Wolverton's artwork. The finely-drawn and detailed pen and ink work on these pages looks as clear as if they were drawn yesterday. And the large size of the book reveals every beautiful line and crosshatch in Wolverton's work. I only hope and pray that Fantagraphics' upcoming Wolverton "Creeping Death From Neptune" book is in this same large format, and not smaller as Amazon says in the book's description...
I was intially disappointed because only one "Spacehawk" comic book cover appears in the book. My one gripe about Fantagraphics' "Blazing Combat" book was the lack of including full-size cover repros. However, a quick check online seems to indicate that Spacehawk only appeared on the cover of this single issue of "Target" comics. If so, then Fantagraphics' "Spacehawk" book truly has all comics-and-covers bases covered. Well done, and thank you Fantagraphics!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Trtek on December 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Working in a feverish bubble of creation, Basil Wolverton was perhaps the William Blake of comics, fashioning an intricate alternate reality where his imagination ran wild. This volume from Fantagraphics documents one portion of that personal vision: The exploits of Spacehawk as chronicled in Target Comics during 1940-41. In sixteen illustrated tales and one short short story, the "Lone Wolf of the Void" battles Earthbound menaces and interplanetary horrors with grim ruthlessness and existential vengeance. This is Wolverton as Golden Age Ditko and then some. At times I almost feel that the book itself is too large, but then I relent -- the size only magnifies the effect of the art, where almost every panel tells an expressive tale all on its own. Many have waiting for this volume to arrive. Now it's here, and it is a must-buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sean Burns on November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There sure weren't many like Basil Wolverton working in mainstream comics, way back when or now. Self-taught, he developed a meticulously rendered style unlike anyone else. The "science" in his strips consisted of whatever he could dream up- anything and everything was possible. Logic was non-existent or thrown out the window: there were alien life forms that all thought and behaved just like humans, a superhero who could pretty much do anything, a hundred different species speaking the same language, all happening in a universe where you could be out walking in the forests of Saturn and bump into an old pal from the other side of the galaxy- twice. None of that matters if you let yourself get swept into his world- the clunky spaceships, beautiful women, dream-like flora and landscapes, but mostly the weirdest, most bizarre aliens ever imagined.
"Spacehawk" is worth it for the first 9 stories alone, when he traveled throughout outer space, setting things right wherever he went. Once he was brought down to Earth to fight Nazis and bad guys (like so many other heroes of his day) something was lost. The art is still fine, but lacking those glorious interplanetary backgrounds and creatures it loses its greatest appeal. It's still nice to look at, but the villainy of Glak and Orak- reduced by Spacehawk to piles of bones by their own fiery gas- definitely has it over mere tire thieves and oil smugglers.
The book is BEAUTIFUL. Big, beautifully reproduced and restored pages, nice heavy paper, saturated in vibrant color that complements Wolverton's feverish imagination perfectly. The cover is nice enough- I would have preferred they did the title without that red field separating it from the art- but considering the mediocre covers on some Fantagraphics books, this one is acceptable.
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