Friday, June 3, 2016


From Marvel Comics Tower of Shadows #1, explodes “At the Stroke of Midnight,” with a stunning script and breathtaking art by my all-time favorite comic book artist Jim Steranko (as if you couldn't tell.)

The published cover for Tower of Shadows #1 by John Romita.

Tower of Shadows was a horror/fantasy anthology comic book published by Marvel Comics. The stories were generally hosted by Digger, a gravedigger; Headstone P. Gravely, in undertaker garb. After the ninth issue, the title was changed to Creatures on the Loose, publishing a mixture of sword and sorcery features and horror/fantasy reprints.

Steranko showed off his shadowing effects magnificently in this story. I appreciate this story more and more, with every subsequent reading.

His use of paneling was superb, cinematic.

His artwork definitely set the tone in this story.

Loved the Creepy touch with Digger!
Tower of Shadows #1
Cover by John Romita.
“At the Stroke of Midnight"
Script & art by Jim Steranko.
Reprinted in Vampire Tales #2, Captain America Special Edition #1 & Marvel Visionaries: Jim Steranko TP. So there's no excuse not to have this fantastic story in your comic book library.


Notice there are two covers shown above. The first one, with the couple staring wide-eyed at you, the reader, as they recoil, screaming from an unseen horror, had been designed and illustrated by Steranko especially for the inaugural issue of Tower of Shadows but was (in)famously rejected by editor Stan Lee in favor of a far more tame cover by John Romita.

That wasn't all. Stan Lee and Jim Steranko clashed over panel design, dialog and the story title, initially "The Lurking Fear at Shadow House." Steranko has stated that Lee disliked, or did not understand the homage to horror author H. P. Lovecraft and devised his own title for the story. Stan originally wanted that story to be called "Let Them Eat Cake."

After issue #14, Amazing Adult Fantasy became more popularly known as Amazing Fantasy. And we all know where that went on to become.
Oddly enough, there is another Marvel Comics story by the same title. From Amazing Adult Fantasy #13, written by Stan "The Man" Lee with cover & interior story art by legendary Steve Ditko. In that one, giant undersea creatures attack New York.

My all-time favorite issue of Daredevil! Colan was the man, for the Man Without Fear!
Another instance using the same story title was from Daredevil Annual #1 by Stan Lee & Gene Colan, as they bat around their ideas in a grand story conference. My all-time favorite issue of Daredevil! Loved the annuals back then, the beefed up stories, amazing pin-ups and spectacular special features!

This series featured the magnificent talents of John Buscema (Conan), Neal Adams (Deadman), Gene Colan (Daredevil), Barry Windsor-Smith (as Barry Smith), Wally Wood (T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents), Steve Ditko (Captain Atom), Jack Kirby (Fantastic Four) with a couple of Bernie Wrightson (Swamp Thing) covers. And that's just to name a few!

Great period piece, Steranko pencils!
My favorite Mediascene cover, loved his G-8 & His Battle Aces paperback covers.
Used for the cover of FOOM #2. Picked up my copy second hand, but with his signature.
Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!
Steranko's illustrious sword & sorcery hero, Talon!
My favorite illustration of his, of the big man, Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.! Was used as the back cover for Marvelmania magazine #1. If I recall correctly, they used a penciled illustration!
Steranko's drawing for the cover of Eclipse Comics Valkyrie hardcover edition. Reprinted Airboy #1-#5.

1 comment:

  1. An update on the Steranko rejected cover can be found here.