BACK COVER / ISSUE ONE / FIRST PRINT
FRONT COVER / ISSUE TWO / FIRST PRINT
BACK COVER / ISSUE TWO / FIRST PRINT
FRONT COVER / ISSUE ONE / SECOND PRINT (And no, that is not a distortion; the trim job was that bad. It’s a factory original.)
BACK COVER / ISSUE ONE / SECOND PRINT (They re-colored the original cover to #1 and put it on the back of the 2nd print.)
FRONT COVER / ISSUE TWO / SECOND PRINT
BACK COVER / ISSUE TWO / SECOND PRINT (Again they tweak the colors a bit on the original cover and put it on the back.)
INSIDE FRONT COVER / ISSUE TWO / FIRST PRINT (I like how “fandom” this looks.)
INSIDE FRONT COVER / ISSUE TWO / SECOND PRINT
Remember Samurai by Barry Blair? You don’t? OK, 1986. Black and White indy comic from Aircel. Before manga was widely available in the States, this is what we got: a filtered, domestic re-interpretation of some distant, mysterious craft. Kinda cool. I like to think about how language changes. How one adopts other forms of communication. Or how one language adopts another.
Anyhow, I stumbled across these gems of the era. I found the first and second printings of the first two issues. Four separate comics in all.
Scroll through the above and watch how the language of the comic changes with the reprints; how the “local dialect” of the images gets replaced with a more specific iconography.
The original back covers of issues one and two are the most “colloquial” of all the images. And they disappear first. Interesting. What am I trying to get at? I’m not sure. But it’s a trend that I notice when looking at the “black and white explosion” indy comics from ‘86 to ‘88. The stuff that holds up, to me, sometimes reads like some gang slang. Kinda cool. I’m not trying to convince anyone that these “throwaway” comics are actually any good. I just really like them for the airbrushed tones - real airbrush, none of this Photoshop airbrush crap. Over and out. Oh wait, one last thing. When Barry Blair died a couple years ago, I thought there would be some obit that would explain Aircel Comics and Blair’s career in detail. And then no real substantial obit appeared. Maybe I just missed it. All I know was that Blair died of a brain aneurysm. So I emailed my Canadian friends and asked around. No one really knew anything. It kinda seemed like no one wanted to talk about Blair. No one was saying they weren’t talking. But really, no one was talking. Meanwhile, I found practically all the Aircel comics ever published. They were all stashed in the ten for a dollar box at a warehouse in Pittsburgh, PA. I bought like over a hundred comics. All Aircel. The sheer volume of titles published by this small Canadian organization was astonishing. Anyone remember Guang Yap? He started out at Aircel and went on to draw at Marvel. Love me some Dragonring. There were so many titles - so much to look at. And cheap! I doubt any of it is future Art Out of Time material but it is interesting. Even if only for historical reasons. And airbrush coloring.