New Reviews of Old Comics
Here is one I actually remember seeing on the spinner rack when it was first published in 1985. I saw it and quickly moved on to something else; something with a super-hero, something that didn’t look like it would suck. Now 25 years later I was almost giddy when I saw it among the pile of dollar books at the local comic shop; this the type of title I had in mind when I started writing this column. The oddball titles people would have sneered at when first published, and probably don’t give two thoughts about anymore. Sometimes there is treasure in the bargain bins, sometimes it’s just a waste of a buck, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.
Jonni Thunder was a four part mini-series written by Roy & Dann Thomas, with art by Dick Giordano. Gerry Conway is also given a co-creator/co-plotter credit. The story is written very much in the style of early to mid 20th century detective tales like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlow, or any number of film noir genre movies. Tough talking private detective, tenuous relationship with local law enforcement and an unusual case that has more twists and turns than the Pacific Coast Highway. Oh, and rain, lots of rain for mood effect. Of course this is a comic book so there needs to be some sort of fantastic super-hero element, which in this case is a powerful robotic looking bug that invades Jonni’s office, and Jonni can turn into a living lightning bolt. The cover says her AKA is “Thunderbolt,” but she looks a lot more like lightning than thunder, which makes sense since thunder is just a sound and not visible.
Science aside, Jonni Thunder was a fairly enjoyable read if you like detective stories. As I’ve said before I’m not a big fan of narration in comics, and there was a lot of it in this issue, but it worked well given the style the writers were aiming for; it wasn’t as extraneous as most comic narration typically is. Giordano’s art was decent, as usual, in this issue. I noticed one of the police detectives looked a lot like Carol O’Connor/Archie Bunker, which made me look for resemblances in other supporting characters, but I didn’t spot any. Over the past few months Roy Thomas has grown into one of my favorite comic writers; he was certainly prolific, wrote a good variety of titles and I really haven’t come across a bad Roy Thomas story yet. This one was good enough that I would pick up the next three issues if I found them.
Notable Ad: The best of the worst this time around is an ad for Warlord toys, based on the DC comic book. The full page ad shows six characters you can buy, collect and presumably play with as well. Since this was the mid 80s I would say this was the Remco toy company’s attempt to jump on the “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” bandwagon. Since I’ve recently read and enjoyed a couple issues of Warlord comics, I’ll go easy on it, but the ad doesn’t do much to show the toys in an appealing light. The drawings are very stiff and really highlight how limited the action figures were in the pose department. Kmart is prominently displayed as being the place for all of your Warlord toy needs, so that’s a plus (not). I’d actually be interested in getting my hands some of these toys to see how they compared with the He-Man toys, but I’m guessing they’re not easy to find anymore.