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Mike Friedrich

Author of Marvel Masterworks: Warlock, Vol. 1

107+ Works 363 Members 4 Reviews

About the Author

Image credit: San Diego Comic-Con 1982, photo by Alan Light


Works by Mike Friedrich

Marvel Masterworks: Warlock, Vol. 1 (2007) — Illustrator — 31 copies
Showcase Presents: Batman, Vol. 5 (2011) 27 copies, 1 review
Essential Iron Man, Volume 5 (2013) 17 copies, 1 review
Detective Comics # 627 (1991) 9 copies
Star*Reach #7 (1977) 5 copies
Imagine #2 4 copies
Werewolf by Night [1972] #18 — Author — 4 copies
Star*Reach Classics #5, July 1984 (1984) — Editor — 3 copies
Star*Reach #6 3 copies
Star*Reach Classics # 3 (1984) 3 copies
Star*Reach Classics # 1 (1984) — Editor — 3 copies
Star*Reach #12 2 copies
Star*Reach #4 2 copies
Star*Reach #1 — Editor — 2 copies
Star*Reach #9 2 copies
Star*Reach #10 2 copies
Star*Reach #11 2 copies
Star*Reach #13 2 copies
Star*Reach #14 2 copies
Star*Reach #15 2 copies
Showcase (1956 series) #80 (1956) — Author — 2 copies
Star*Reach #2 2 copies
Star*Reach #8 2 copies
Wulf the Barbarian # 4 (1975) 2 copies
Star*Reach Classics # 2 (1984) — Editor — 2 copies
Star*Reach Classics # 4 (1984) — Editor — 2 copies
Star*Reach Classics # 6 (1996) — Editor — 2 copies
Justice League of America [1960] #95 (1971) — Author — 1 copy
Marvel Feature, Vol. 1 #10 (1973) — Author — 1 copy
Werewolf by Night [1972] #19 — Author — 1 copy
Werewolf by Night [1972] #17 — Author — 1 copy
Werewolf by Night [1972] #16 — Author — 1 copy
The Spectre #9 (DC) 1968 1 copy, 1 review
Marvel Premiere #12 (Dr. Strange) — Author — 1 copy
Within Our Reach (1991) 1 copy

Associated Works

Showcase Presents: House of Mystery, Vol. 1 (2006) — Contributor — 120 copies, 3 reviews
Crisis on Multiple Earths, Volume Three (2004) — Writer — 93 copies, 2 reviews
Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger, Vol. 1 (2006) — Contributor — 90 copies
Essential Werewolf By Night, Volume 1 (2005) — Contributor — 52 copies, 1 review
Showcase Presents: House of Secrets, Vol. 1 (2008) — Contributor — 48 copies, 2 reviews
Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups, Volume Two (2007) — Writer — 42 copies, 1 review
Showcase Presents: The Witching Hour Vol 1 (2011) — Contributor — 33 copies, 1 review
Essential Marvel Horror, Volume 2 (2008) — Contributor — 30 copies, 1 review
The Son of Satan Classic (2016) — Author — 16 copies
The Flash: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 3 (2018) — Contributor — 16 copies


Common Knowledge




Not really my thing.

Stories are well told and artwork is pretty good. I'm more of an EC horror fan. But, my 60 year old self got sucked into the story a time or two.
StephenSnead | Dec 26, 2020 |
In black and white on cheap paper, Essential Iron Man # 5 follows the usual pattern. It contains reprints of Iron Man # 62-75, # 77-87 and Iron-Man Annual # 3. Iron Man # 76 was probably a reprint and that’s why it’s not included. They have the cover which shows Iron Man fighting the Hulk. The issue may have been a victim of the ‘Dreaded Deadline Doom’ as they called it at Marvel in the 70s. I don’t think they ever suffered this under Stan Lee’s control but when the hippie generation of writers and editors took over it was a frequent occurrence.

Issues # 62-81, except # 78, are scripted by Mike Friedrich, formerly a writer at the Dastardly Competition. He does a pretty good job of mixing the combat with personal issues in the mighty Marvel manner. Iron Man has to fight Whiplash, Doctor Spectrum, the Melter, the Mandarin, Sunfire, the Unicorn and the Freak. Then in a grand epic called ‘The Super-Villain War’, he combats the Mandarin, Yellow Claw, Modok, the Mad Thinker and Firebrand. All this is engineered by the Black Lama, Dalai’s evil cousin. Finally, of course, the Black Lama’s secret is revealed, but I won’t spoil it for you. There was a fashion for long story arcs at this time, initiated by Jim Starlin, maybe with his Thanos thing, but it’s hard to avoid an anti-climax when you get to the end.

Friedrich’s scripts were usually enhanced by the attractive pencils of that old pro, George Tuska, who always turns in a competent set of pages and sometimes subtly beautiful ones. Much of ‘The Super-Villain War’ was pencilled by Arvell Jones, a new kid who came out of the Detroit fan scene, following in the footsteps of Rich Buckler. The small inset panels of that school don’t appeal to me but, given his beginner status, he does a reasonably good job.

Len Wein took over the scripting with issues # 82-85 and had a new art team of Herb Trimpe and Marie Severin. Trimpe is a sort of poor man’s Jack Kirby with a few tricks picked up from Steranko but I like his art and, with the right inker, it can be good. John Severin excellently inked some of his Hulk pencils and Marie Severin does similar work here when Iron Man battles the Red Ghost and the Freak. The final two issues are scripted by Bill Mantlo, drawn by George Tuska and feature a villain called Blizzard. He turns out to be someone from Tony Stark’s distant ‘Tales Of Suspense’ past. Many of the new generation of writers in the 70s went back to the old comics and dug out forgotten details to revive and I believe Bill Mantlo was particularly fond of this.

The book closes with a story from Iron Man Annual # 3 in which quirky Steve Gerber mixes up Molecule Man, Man-Thing and Iron Man in the Florida everglades. Quite caption heavy and Gerber strays into metafiction, drawing attention to the work’s status as an artefact when he tells us Molecule Man seems defeated that there are four pages to go so this can’t be the end. Marvel writers, starting with Stan Lee, have often spoken directly to the reader via the captions so it’s not really startling. The art is by our pals, Sal Buscema and Jack Abel, so it’s fine.

There’s no way to pretend this is the ‘Essential Iron Man’ but for fans who want a complete collection, it must be had. By this time, Iron Man was a second-rate title with able creators at the helm but nothing about it to arouse great enthusiasm. That said, it’s perfectly okay, a pleasant, undemanding read and George Tuska’s art is quite pleasing. For the money, it’s not a bad deal.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/
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bigfootmurf | May 13, 2020 |
At last, the DC Showcase volumes have reached the point where Batman is getting good. I recently looked up the old Alley Awards on-line and the ‘Batman’ titles twice won the same award: strip most in need of improvement, even in 1962 when regular penciller Carmine Infantino scooped the best artist award. ‘Showcase Batman Volumes 1-4’ are interesting historical documents but reading them does not give great pleasure, though looking at the art gives some.

It does here, too. This fifth volume features a few issues pencilled by Neal Adams and a lot of covers by him. As Adams aficionados abound, I will do you the favour of listing which issues he drew so you can decide if the quantity warrants purchasing this book. It does. Adams pencilled: Detective Comics # 395 (16 pages); Batman # 219 (8 pages); Detective Comics # 397 (15 pages); Detective Comics # 400 (16 pages); Detective Comics # 402 (16 pages); Detective Comics # 404 (15 pages); Detective Comics # 407 (15 pages). The Man-Bat features in three of these. All of them are inked by Dick Giordano and look great. Adams also did most of the covers shown in this volume.

In paying proper respect to that maestro, I do not wish to belittle the art contributions of his colleagues. Irv Novick turned in very clean, elegant pencils with interesting layouts and dynamic figures. His work was also graced with Giordano’s inks, the quality of which are especially visible in these black and white reprints. While the pencils of Bob Brown, inked by Joe Giella and Frank Giacoia, are not quite as pleasing to the eye as those of his fellows he still did a competent, professional job.

The stories are mostly by Frank Robbins with a few by Dennis O’Neil and Mike Friedrich. Robbins does fairly decent detective yarns. DC Comics improved in the seventies but did not follow Stan Lee down the soap opera route. Variety being the spice of life, this was a good thing. Frank Robbins writer is the same Frank Robbins artist who did some work for Marvel later on ‘Captain America’. I’m not a big fan of his art but as a writer, he’s pretty good and apparently played a key part making the character more serious and restoring the creature of the night scenario. I was always under the impression that Dennis O’Neil led the way in that.

There are still some hangovers from the more childish age of DC Comics so Batman will wear a rubber mask, pretending to be someone else and get away with it, as do some of his opponents. Rubber masks look like rubber masks in real life. Ridiculously, he carries a bat-dummy of himself under his cape in ‘This Murder Has Been Pre-Recorded’ in Batman # 220 so that the misleading cover can show him being blown up in a phone booth. Again, this is not realistic.

Alas, DC still had a bit of a thing for misleading covers. Robin going off to university is milked for two: Detective Comics # 393 shows a tearful Boy Wonders saying, ‘The case is over, the team-up is finished! This is goodbye for Batman and Robin!’ Batman # 393 shows Batman storming off saying, ‘Take a last look Alfred then seal up the Batcave forever!’ In fact, these events ushered in a solo Batman fighting crime without bat-gadgets and led to the Dark Knight image he still has today. It was a conscious decision by the editors to strip the strip back to its roots. The television series was finished by this time and to keep that image would have been…well, batty.

Some of the stories by Dennis O’Neill are quite sophisticated. ‘Ghost Of The Killer Skies’ (Detective Comics # 404) is a biplane battle classic while ‘The Secret Of The Waiting Graves’ (Detective Comics # 395) and ‘Paint A Picture Of Peril’ (Detective Comics # 397) have dark romantic themes unusual for comics of the period. These three were drawn by Adams. The team of O’Neill and Adams was the talk of the town at the time and also revolutionised ‘Green Lantern’.

Probably the most notable thing about this collection is that it gets better and better as you read your way through it. These stories mark the turnaround from strip most in need of improvement to strip destined to be taken up by Hollywood and turned into a series of blockbuster movies, albeit some years later. Great stuff and soon to be released – July 2015 – is ‘DC Showcase Presents Batman Volume 6’ which will be even better if Ra’s al Ghul has anything to do with it and I think he does.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/
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bigfootmurf | Aug 11, 2019 |
illustrationfan | Jan 3, 2009 |

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Associated Authors

Len Wein Contributor
Gil Kane Cover artist, Illustrator
Neal Adams Illustrator, Contributor
Bob Brown Illustrator
Don Perlin Contributor, Illustrator
Irv Novick Illustrator
Howard Chaykin Contributor
Wayne Boring Illustrator
Mike Ploog Contributor, Illustrator
Dick Giordano Illustrator
Herb Trimpe Illustrator
Sal Buscema Illustrator
Steve Leialoha Illustrator, Cover artist
P. Craig Russell Illustrator, Contributor
Tony Isabella Contributor
Doug Moench Contributor
Dave Sim Contributor
Gene Day Illustrator
Pat Broderick Contributor
Yong Montaño Contributor
Virgilio Redondo Contributor
Gerry Conway Contributor
Joe Staton Illustrator
Alex Niño Illustrator
Jim Starlin Cover artist, Contributor
Robert Gould Illustrator
Ron Wilson Cover artist
Frank Brunner Contributor
Steve Ditko Contributor
Mike Vosburg Contributor
Lee Marrs Contributor
Fabio Gasbarri Contributor
Frank Cirocco Illustrator
Paul Levitz Contributor
Howard Sherman Illustrator
Stan Aschmeier Illustrator
Dick Dillin Illustrator
Bernie Wrightson Illustrator
Jeff Jones Cover artist
Barry Windsor-Smith Cover artist


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½ 3.4

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