Breaking comics news from 1978.

§ June 30th, 2023 § Filed under fanzines, marvel § 21 Comments

From The Comic Reader #163 (December 1978):

Not released: that specific Rolling Stones project and any Marvel-branded Amityville Horror book.

Definitely released: the Meteor adaptation in Marvel Comics Super Special:

Now Marvel did eventually release a Rolling Stone comic, Voodoo Lounge by Dave McKean(!) so there’s that. And the band also shows up in an issue of What If.

But Amityville Horror, best to my knowledge, went nowhere at Marvel, except maybe providing some inspiration for other horror stories. But honestly, if Gene Colan was going to draw any of these things, it should have been this one. His nice moody, spooky art could’ve made something out of that haunted house tale.

21 Responses to “Breaking comics news from 1978.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wow! I had never heard of a Rolling Stones Marvel Super Special project. I wonder if Gene Colan got around to drawing any pages of it? On the one hand, Colan might seem like an odd choice as the artist for this project, but on the other hand, his flowing, organic art style might have been cool for depicting Jagger leaping around the stage or, at the very least, for depicting the Stones psychedelic period around the Their Satanic Majesties Request album…but I would have gone with Steranko or Paul Gulacy as the artist for this; also with Steve Gerber or Steve Englehart or Don McGregor as the writer, instead of Jim Shooter.

    No Jones, No Stones!

  • ArghSims says:

    Didn’t Shooter wind up firing Colin, saying he could’t draw superhero comics?

    So he moved to DC and drew Detective Comics for several years.

  • Allen says:

    Apparently the Rolling Stones were created by David Cullen!

  • Chris V says:

    I had no idea there was ever talk on Marvel’s part of doing something with the Amityville Horror. That’s a shame nothing ever came of it. Yes, I would have enjoyed seeing Gene Colan’s art featured. I’m guessing they would have gone with Doug Moench as the writer, based on Marvel at the time.
    Moench did rip off a Richard Matheson haunted house story, Hell House, in the pages of Werewolf by Night (uncredited). That was the closest Marvel ever got to publishing anything close to being influenced by Amityville Horror.
    There’s no other mention of a Marvel Amityville Horror comic on the internet, outside this Comic Reader blurb. Considering they were wrong about the Rolling Stones special and the Comet adaptation, I think they might have fabricated this news.

  • Sean Mageean says:


    Yup, that’s the story! Pretty wild considering that Stan Lee always praised Gene Colan’s artwork, and right so. Colan was one of the most imaginative artists Marvel had, and did great panel layouts and compositions on Daredevil, Ironman, Dr. Strange, Captain America, etc. during the Silver Age…but I guess as the Bronze Age progressed, Shooter was unhappy with Colan’s work on Tomb of Dracula.

    Marvel’s loss was DC’s gain, as Colan drew Batman, Wonder Woman, Nathaniel Dusk, Jemm Son of Saturn, Silver Blade, Night Force, and other things for DC. I really liked his Secret Origin of The Crimson Avenger story with Roy Thomas. It would have been cool if Colan could have drawn some Swamp Thing stories, or Adam Strange, or Doom Patrol.

    And even if he never got to draw the Rolling Stones, he did draw KISS in Howard the Duck.

    As to Jim Shooter, it seems that he generally favored boring panel compositions–just look at any Valiant Comic he oversaw.

  • Mikester says:

    Chris V – I wouldn’t say outright “fabricated” — probably got info from someone who overheard something at the offices or a convention. You know, something like that.

  • ArghSims says:


    I’m not going to fight the Secret Sacred Wars again, but anybody who took work from Gene Colan and gave extra work to Vince “Eraserhead”
    Coletta isn’t a friend of mine.

  • Sean Mageean says:


    I hear you!

    Not that I’ve read all the Marvel’s, but I have noticed from what I have read that the sweet spot for me is late ’60s to late ’70s Marvel Comics…from when Stan was in full stride, and Kirby, Steranko, Smith, Colan, Buscema, Romita, Adams,vetc. were turning out amazing comics, through the Roy Thomas era when Conan and monster/supernatural comics and Steve Gerber and Jim Starlin comics were shaking up the industry, to the Arche Goodwin era…Claremont, Cockrum, Byrne, etc. (and,yes, I know Conway, Wolfman, and Wein were in there too). I guess this was the groovy age of Marvel Comics, basically.

    I get that when Shooter came in he had to course correct, as Marvel Comics were missing printing deadlines, and there was accountability to the stockholders, etc, but I kinda feel that Secret Wars was the start of Marvel losing its magic. I actually enjoyed Contest of Champions more.

    On the plus side, Shooter oversaw the growth of the X-Men, Frank Miller’s Daredevil, Moon Knight, Micronauts, ROM, Byrne’s Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight, Simonson’s Thor, etc., And he got Epic Comics up and running, and got some creator royalties rolling, and he always gave work to Steve Ditko…so Shooter had his positive aspects. But, then there was also the New Universe, U.S. 1, the Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel pregnancy debacle, the Hank Pym debacle, and other duds…and, again, forcing Gene Colan out of Marvel.

    Based on interviews I’ve seen with Shooter, it seems that he was between a rock and a hard place towards the end at Marvel.

    But again, to give him some credit, it is pretty amazing that he broke in at DC Comics writing Legion of Super-Heroes as a teenager, and helped to support his family at the same time.

  • ArghSims says:


    All true and inarguable

  • Patrick Joseph says:

    The Amityville Horror item definitely seems fake. There were no R rated horror adaptations from Marvel between 1970 and 1986. There were more musicals in Marvel Super Special than horror films. Kind of strange, really. Marvel’s first experiments with movie adaptations were concurrent with the more adult black and white horror magazines. An Exorcist Movie Special would have been amazing. .

  • Snark Shark says:

    “but I guess as the Bronze Age progressed, Shooter was unhappy with Colan’s work on Tomb of Dracula.”


    “I wouldn’t say outright “fabricated” — probably got info from someone who overheard something at the offices or a convention”

    Yes, a lot of those little news blurbs were just a rumour mill.

    “Shooter came in he had to course correct”

    Jim Shooter is the Hero AND the Villian of Marvel Comics!

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    In interviews I’ve read over the years, Gene Colan portrayed Jim Shooter as an overbearing bully. Jim Shooter has said he didn’t think Colan followed the plots/scripts closely enough and took shortcuts (e.g. making an explosion a big part of the page instead of a regular panel.

    I don’t think Shooter is 100% wrong in his criticisms, but I’m 100% sure that Colan was right in his assessment of Shooter’s treatment of him. Colan’s two main collaborators at Bronze Age Marvel, Marv Wolfman and Steve Gerber, had nothing but praise for man’s amazing artwork. Given that several other pros have been critical of Shooter’s treatment of them, I have a very negative opinion of the man (while still acknowledging the many achievements Sean listed above).

    That Meteor adaptation is another beautiful Gene Colan project, especially impressive given that the source material is reportedly not very good. I still need to track down the Jaws 2 special, I can’t find it in my area and it’s too expensive for me on eBay…

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @Snark Shark and Mike Loughlin

    Yeah, maybe Shooter can be considered both the hero and the villain…it makes me think of a Bertolucci film called “The Spider’s Strategeum,” which might have been based on an Italo Calvino novel, which examines the paradox of a man being both a hero and a traitor.

    Another thing to speculate on is that Shooter, according to an interview I saw on YouTube, got treated very poorly by Mort Weisinger–and apparently Weisinger was quite abusive to many of his writers.. so much so that Roy Thomas quit DC in his first week and went to work for Marvel…so it is possible that once Shooter was finally in a position of power he, likewise, threw his weight around, even if he wasn’t as directly destructive as Weisinger had been.

    I have no idea what the sales figures were fot Tomb of Dracula, but if one looks at that title and Howard the Duck from an aesthetic point of view, those were amazing comics with great (mostly) Gene Colan artwork and engaging plots and scripting by Wolfman, Gerber, and Mantlo.

    Another thing to consider is that it is pretty messed up when you have given your life and career to the industry, as Colan, Don Heck, Steve Ditko and legions of other artists did, only to find yourself being phased out of the industry because the latest crop of young comics nerds doesn’t like your style because you don’t draw like Neal Adams, George Perez, John Byrne, Frank Miller or whoever…the irony being that in our present day Frank Miller doesn’t draw like Frank Miller anymore…or at least not like the Frank Miller of yore…

    Anyway, on the one hand, I can see Jim Shooter’s point about clear storytelling, but in the other hand, his DC Comics/Mort Weisinger full-script approach was antithetical to the famous Stan Lee-created “Marvel Method,” which Gene Colan had been utilizing for at least a decade before Shooter became his boss…and even before that, Colan had done some work in the ’50s for EC Comics, and some Hopalong Cassidy stories for DC, so Colan was a seasoned pro.

    One other interesting aspect of the Comic Book Historians Jim Shooter interview on Youtube is Jim’s reference to Len Wein and Marv Wolfman as “Len-Marv” –as though they were a two-headed double threat. I think Shooter was correct in his position that a writer should not also be allowed to be their own editor…as by this time there were a handful of people who had that status: Len, Marv, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Jack Kirby, etc., where it was kind of like they had their own fiefdoms within Marvel. There were probably also some resentments and ego wars with Len, Marv, Roy, et al due to Shooter being younger than them…and also being the wunderkind who broke in to comics and had his first story published when he was younger than any of them. And another thing to consider is that, in a way, Shooter became a sign of the times, as Marvel went from it’s hip counterculture/bohemian intellectual status–which Stan Lee had actively cultivated while building his cult of personality in the late ’60s, and Thomas, Wein, Wolfman, and Goodwin had furthered –to being fairly Yuppie by the time Shooter was in power. Not that any of this excuses bad treatment of Colan or anybody else that Shooter might not have treated fairly.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    @Sean- good point about Shooter working under Weisinger, who was unquestionably abusive to many (possibly all) of the creative people working under him. Shooter didn’t sink to that level, as far as I know, but he sure drove a lot of Marvel mainstays to DC.

    I think Jim Shooter is a fascinating figure in comics history. I don’t care for the bulk of his writing (didn’t read Secret War until I was an adult, have no affection for it but understand why a younger reader would have loved it), but his life would make a good movie.

    Still, when he was on the scene he was mean to Gene the Dean, how obscene, makes me want to vent my spleen!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @Mike Loughlin

    Yeah, I agree that Secret Wars is overrated…but then I don’t really care about Spider-Man’s black costume or Venom or any of that stuff. The comic was designed to sell toys. But here’s something to think about as well…there are always interviews with Howard Chaykin or Roy Thomas about his Marvel was about to go under in the late ’70s until they licensed Star Wars…so without Star Wars and the other film, TV, and toy licensed comics would Marvel have survived? It also makes me wonder what was going on at Gold Key Comics that they weren’t trying to get all these licenses, as in the past Dell Comics and Gold Key Comics were always licensing films, TV series, cartoons, etc.

    I enjoyed your homage to Gene the Dean aka Gentleman Gene…I agree that Jim Shooter is a fascinating figure and I’m glad that the Comic Book Historians YouTube channel did an extensive interview with him.

    I think at some point Ken Burns or somebody should do a long documentary series on the history of the American comics industry, and the history of Silver and Bronze Age Marvel Comics would rate several episodes and Jim Shooter’s career arc could be explored there. If Burns were ever to do such a series, Jim Steranko would be excellent to have as a consultant and possible narrator for the Golden to Silver Ages. I wonder why he never went further than two volumes with The Steranko History of Comics? I also wonder why Fantagraphics or somebody doesn’t reprint The Steranko History of Comics in hardbound form with a slipcase and with the Golden Age comic book covers inside reproduced in color instead of black and white?

    As to Shooter’s writing, I enjoyed the Legion of Super-Heroes stories he wrote, and I think the Korvac Saga in The Avengers is pretty good, but I wouldn’t say that all of his writing appeals to me.

  • Steve Of The North UK says:

    Some pages from what I assume is the same abandoned Rolling Stones special showed up in the Simply Sienkiewicz FB group a few weeks ago, so I guess Colan left the project and was replaced by Bill Sienkiewicz at some point.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Interesting! I could see Bill Sienkiewicz doing a cool Rolling Stones biographical comic/graphic novel. He did do that Hendrix one.

  • Steve Of The North UK says:

    This was very early on in his career, so he was still in his Neal Adams phase. It’s still interesting, just not as interesting as it would have been if he’d drawn it five years later.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Sienkiewicz’s Neal Adamsesque Moon Knight is some of my favorite art that he’s done.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “the sales figures were for Tomb of Dracula”

    It went for 70 issues, so it couldn’t have been too bad!

    ” our present day Frank Miller doesn’t draw like Frank Miller anymore”

    He sure doesn’t! i took a look at that black-and-white HC book he did, it had some of the worst art I’ve ever seen. what the hell happened?

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Snark Shark:

    Yes, I guess it is inevitable that most artists’styles change, or age becomes a factor. That’s why it is all the more impressive when someone like Jerry Ordway still draws great decades later. I think Gil Kane’s art bears that “always great” distinction as well.