Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Tribute To Russ Manning

One of the more underrated comic artists of the Silver Age was the great Russ Manning.  Perhaps best known for his run on the Tarzan newspaper strip and the Gold Key comics adaptation of the King Of The Jungle.  His simple, clean style was perfect for the jungle hero and he was much admired by fans who grew up reading Hal Foster's iconic take on the character and with good reason.
I first became aware of Manning's work via the Star Wars syndicated newspaper strip, which ran from 1979-1980.  Like Tarzan, his style was perfect for George Lucas' adventures in a galaxy far, far, away.
In my opinion though, his crowning achievement was the robot smashing hero he created for Gold Key Comics in 1962.  Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 AD was the jewel of Gold Key's line.  He drew the strip for its first 21 issues, from 1963-1968.  Needless to say, he was very good at conveying the futuristic world where robots needed to be taken down a peg.  And Magnus was just the man to do it.
Among everything else, Manning drew gorgeous girls, especially Magnus' girlfriend/aide Leeja Clane.  She always looked great, even after scuffles with deadly robots.
Magnus didn't just fight robots though.  In one adventure he had to take on a deadly troglodyte and Manning was definitely up to the task.
These images came from the great Magnus Robot Fighter Volume 1 archive edition put out by Dark Horse Comics, which reprinted the first seven issues plus this great concept art from 1962.
Russ passed away in 1981 but his legacy in the comics world will live on forever thanks to these great collections.  He was one of the best.

1 comment:

Todd Franklin said...

We need a Magnus movie and it needs to look and feel like a Russ Manning drawing. Nice post AF!