Wednesday, July 22, 2009

From the Dust Bin: Tower of Shadows #1 [Rejected Cover]

Legendary artist Jim Steranko had brief, but memorable runs on several Marvel Comics features back in the late 1960's and early 1970's. titles like Tales of Suspense, Nick Fury: Agent of Shield and Captain America blossomed under his art-deco, experimental pencils. Steranko also dabbled with romance and horror stories. His "At the Stroke of Midnight", published in Tower of Shadows #1 (Sept. 1969) precipitated a breakup with Marvel. Though that story would go on to win a 1969 Alley Award, editor Stan Lee clashed with Steranko over page design, dialog, and even the story title,which had initially been "The Lurking Fear at Shadow House". According to Steranko, Lee disliked or rather didn't understand his homage to horror author H. P. Lovecraft, and Lee ultimately devised his own title for the story. After their conflict, Steranko either quit or was fired (sources disagree). Stan Lee phoned him about a month later (after the two had cooled down) and Steranko returned as a cover artist for Marvel from 1972-73 and he also created a new fan club magazine, FOOM (Friends of old Marvel), which he produced in its first year. Steranko gradually withdrew from comics between 1969 and 1974.

One additional note" Stan Lee had also rejected the original cover that Steranko had produced for the first issue. That cover is reproduced on the right side of this post!

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