I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got three new comics plus a hard cover collection:

  • Usagi Yojimbo -130
  • Glamourpuss – 14
  • Fear Agent – 28
  • Black Panther Marvel Masterworks
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

  • “Eclipse Monthly” 1-10 and “The Masked Man” 1-12 by B.C. Boyer
  • “The Masked Man” is another long forgotten series. All of these issues were published by Eclipse Comics between 1983 and 1988. I haven’t read them since I originally bought them back then. Recently I bought issues 10 and 12 to fill out the series because I wanted to read the whole thing. It turns out I never bought those issues because the series was cancelled with issue 9 in 1986 but then brought back a year later. Issues 10 and 11 came out in 1987, months apart, and issue 12 in 1988. I had issue 11 but probably never even saw issues 10 and 12 when the were first published.

    I’ve always had a liking of comics that were different than the mainstream and have bought accordingly. What I remembered of “The Masked Man” was that it was a fairly well done odd little comic. It was never a favorite but was one I bought and liked.

    “The Masked Man” is an odd comic. It stars The Masked Man who is a man driven to put on a mask and fight crime. His side kick is a reporter who’s beat is covering “Remarkable Phenomenon”. Except there is no real remarkable phenomenon. He follows the Masked Man around all day. That’s it. No aliens, UFOs, psychic powers, or anything.

    The Masked Man has no super powers. He just finds criminals and fights them with his fists. Somehow he manages never to get shot. The real story is the Masked Man’s relationship with his sidekick and various other cast members. The stories also have quite a bit of humor in them. Especially the early “Eclipse Monthly” eight pagers. Some Spider-Man parody goes on as well as other slapstick comedy.

    In issue 9 when the book was cancelled for the first time they gave us a little bio of the Masked Man’s writer/artist B.C. Boyer. He was a guy who had a business running a janitorial service of some kind. He kind of fell into doing “The Masked Man” as a part time gig but it never sold well enough to quit his job and he had a wife and children so he went back to his regular job. I don’t think he’s ever done any cartooning work besides “The Masked Man”.

    B.C. Boyer’s artwork runs the gamut from amateurish to competent. It was never what anyone would call great but it has a charm to it. Some people claim that “The Masked Man” was a riff on The Spirit but Boyer says he never even knew about The Spirit. He made a Spirit tribute issue in the run since so many people pointed out the similarity in how the two characters looked but it’s clear to me that The Masked Man bears no relation to The Spirit. Boyer just doesn’t have much Eisner in him.

    “The Masked Man” stories have a bit of innocence and earnestness to them. I could tell that Boyer loves comics and telling stories with them and there is not a hint of irony or the self hating navel gazing “Realism” that is found in so many comics today. As a matter of fact the strength of these comics is the corny feel good moments he creates with the character interactions. Despite some rather feeble attempts at comedy and straight up action the emotional feel good moments hit home. Boyer really has a talent for them.

    So after buying two issues to complete my “Masked Man” collection it was an interesting read twenty something years later. It’s still not a favorite of mine but it’s still is an oddball little comic that is kinda well done. I liked it. And I’m still the only person I know who’s ever read it.