1981: The Price

The Price (1981) by Jim Starlin

Starlin worked for Marvel throughout the seventies, creating writing and drawing various stuff and creating a slew of characters. But he wasn’t quite the Marvel refugee the other people who created the earliest Eclipse books were (Don McGregor, Steve Gerber, etc): Marvel had already found a place for him at Epic Illustrated.

Where the first part of The Metamorphosis Odyssey was serialised.

This part of that Odyssey was published as a 48 page magazine on similar paper stock as the Eclipse magazine. So it’s a cheaper-feeling package than, say, the Sabre graphic novel that Eclipse published a few years earlier.

Why Starlin published this book with Eclipse instead of with Marvel/Epic is something I’ve been unable to google.

The artwork on some of these pages look quite like as if they’d been painted on canvas, but I guess that’s not the case, really. Instead it must be some kind of textured paper, I guess?

Starlin works from photo reference for his characters, I guess?

There’s isn’t all that much to this book storywise. You have the evil guy explaining to his henchman all his motivations for his actions…

… and our hero guesses those motivations (in the very next panel), so we get the reason for the eeevil guy’s actions once again. Then random stuff of not much importance happens, and our hero gains his super-powers. The end.

But I’ve gotta mention this demon. Yes, that’s a cat-headed demon. Isn’t he fearsome?

The drawing to the right there is a perfect rendering of a picture of a cat, but what is the monstrosity to the left? It’s a well-rendered torso of a guy, with a too-small puma head?

Starlin never finds the correct way to place a cat’s head on a man’s body, and the neck length and size ratio varies wildly.

After a few pages, the shifting head/body ratio derangement field starts to affect the other characters, too.

Oh, miaow.

Starlin went back to Marvel/Epic with his Odyssey and published a graphic novel and a standard-size comic book series that wrapped up the storyline. (I think I read it all as a teenager. It’s not that exciting, if I remember correctly.)

The entire Odyssey has been reprinted, but not in a single volume, for some reason or other.

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