SPOILERS FOR A NEARLY 30-YEAR OLD KIDS COMIC FOLLOW
Script by Bill Mantlo, art by Butch Guice and Danny Bulandi
Look at this page. Just look at it. This is serious hidden-language level stuff. And this in a book based on kids toys that was regarded (but for the presence of Michael Golden on issues 1-12 or so) as throwaway trash. This is exactly why the creative team was able to get away with a lot of what happened between the covers of THE MICRONAUTS.
In this issue, Commander Rann (the Hestonesque incarnation) and Biotron (having been built as a true living robot with organs and such, roughly the size of the Titanic) are trying to escape a subspace limbo and return to the Microverse via the Spacewall. Only the Spacewall doesn’t want to let them in directly, so they have to find a more subtle approach.
This is imagination at work. Hell, there’s more thought (not to mention understanding of what comics do better than any other medium) on this page than in just about any Big Two comic I read in the last couple of years.
Now, what’s unusual about it? Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Okay, you got your answer? Right. The color splashes in the background. They’re not trapped by black. Now, this far from the first time this technique was used, even in THE MICRONAUTS, but it’s really effective here. You have to remember, this was before digital coloring, when everything had to be replicable on offset presses that could mass produce. And the team on this one pulled it off pretty magnificently.
The page itself is pretty cool, with Mantlo channelling the King at his most cosmic and Guice/Bulandi delivering.
I actually wonder what the original page looks like, if Guice separated out the individual elements on rubylith or what.