Rolled Spine Podcasts
Episode 5

The Under Guides Graphic Novel Podcast Vol V: The Metamorphosis Odyssey by James P. Starlin

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Diabolu Frank and Illegal Machine look at the early years of Epic Illustrated, Marvel Comics’ bid at a Heavy Metal style mainstream newsstand anthology magazine. Launched with a Spring 1980 cover date, the magazine featured an unwieldy mix of creator-owned “indie” work, Robert E. Howard/Michael Moorcock fantasy adaptations, and corporate super-hero stuff like Silver Surfer saddle-stitched with a mix of thin glossy and heavy matte paper stocks (like Playboy back in the day.) More to the point, the boys focus on “The Metamorphosis Odyssey,” Jim Starlin’s sci-fi/fantasy, serialized across fourteen chapters and nine issues. Space pharaoh Aknaton spends millennia setting up a doomsday gambit to halt the onslaught of the Zygoteans across the Milky Wat galaxy before gathering his players and seeking to blow the Infinity Horn. You can also read the story in Slave Labor Graphics’ (dismal) 2000 collection or Dynamite Entertainment’s supreme hardcover, the best presentation available in print. This story introduced Vanth Dreadstar, lethal protagonist of a long running ongoing series published by more houses than most any other character in comics. Afterwards, Frank has another longish “Swords of Cerebus” installment, looking at issues #18-21 of Dave Sims iconic indy. Finally, your mail on the Alterna Comics episode, featuring some of their talent.

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