Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blast from the Past: Void Indigo

Happened to run across this, a link to plot for Void Indigo #3-6, Steve Gerber's much reviled, overlooked and, now infamous, work from the early '80's. Along with Val Mayerik, Void Indigo simply was too different to succeed back then; the sex combined with too many disturbing images, too much weirdness in the story about the coming of the Dark Gods, just pretty too much everything.

Of course today it would sell buckets.

But back then it was a total of one graphic novel, god knows how long it too Val to paint the entire thing but I hope he got a good page rate, and two issues of Marvel's Epic line.

And it was an odd failure. Steve, in his post-Howard the Duck and Man-Thing days, kept branching out and trying new stuff: not all of it was successful, but I give him major points for trying back then as a fan. As a professional now I appreciate the amount of work that he was putting out. In any case, you're bound to have some successes and some failures along the way.

Comics back in 1980 were a bizarre mixed bag. You certainly had a number of creators that had grown past superhero comics, Gerber, McGregor and Starlin for instance, that were trying to say different things, deeper stories and were looking for venues to do so, but the publishers needed reliable outlets for their magazines, and there needed to be an audience to buy this stuff.
And there wasn't yet any of these things. And yet still they tried, through Marvel's epic line, through the first Graphic Novels, to bravely determine if anyone would buy stories about love and revenge and aliens and death where the good guys didn't always win, and things weren't always so clean at the end. God bless the pioneers.

So yeah, Void Indigo. I always kinda wondered what would have happened next. Now I know. god bless the internet for keeping things like this around.


plok said...

Holy shit!

Wouldn't it be funny if I said that was all just me joking around? Sadly, not the case...

Those early days of the Eighties were pretty exciting, eh? I often wonder what the comics landscape would look like now, if Coyote, Void Indigo, etc. had all gone as far as I wanted them to. I think the name of the game in those days was synthesis, and a weirdly Kirbyesque echo of using the superheroic tropes to colour what were not really superhero stories, instead of the other way around. Well, I don't want to overstate my case, but what I mean is: back at (for example) Marvel, the 70's writers and artists were shoving a lot of extra, and extra-interesting, material into the standard superhero sleeves that they were required to make use of...and then, in this later period, they still used a lot of the superhero stuff, but just as spice or shading. And it would've been interesting to see how that use developed over time.

My two cents! Although I plan a somewhat overblown post about this in the very near future. Anyway, God bless Void Indigo, The Price, Coyote, read them is to read comic-book possibilities which are pretty much closed down now. Almost a return to pulpy stuff in a way, I think.

I don't know if I'll ever really understand why it didn't work.

inkdestroyedmybrush said...

My personal theory is that the use of superhero persona and visuals for what were essentially non superhero stories "ghetto-ized" them at a time when there was nothing else to show adults. Remember how strong the stigma was against comics being able to do anything besides superheroes back then. I think that the tactical mistake was to use the superhero iconography as a bridge to the material. Whether by convention or habit or design it took away from the work and consigned it to the ghetto that the creators were so desperately trying to get away from.