Current Comic of the Month | About the Club
Stan Lee is best known as the father of the Marvel Universe. The characters he created with Jack Kirby — most notably the X-Men, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four — pioneered modern comics storytelling techniques and presaged a renaissance for super-hero stories. Given that Lee's influence in nigh-immeasurable — people who've never read a comic book recognize his name immediately — it's amazing that so much of his early work is often ignored.
When Fantastic Four # 1 ushered in "the Marvel Age of Comics" in 1963, Lee was a well-established writer and editor, having worked in various comic book genres since the medium's halcyon Golden Age in the 1940s. Always ahead of the curve, Lee had been instrumental in adapting the popular Western genre to comic books with such titles as The Outlaw Kid and had worked on crime and horror comics as early at 1946 (a decade before such comics become popular). Lee was so far ahead of the curve that he even beat himself to punch when it came to reinventing the super-hero — with artist Artie Rosen, he created The Sentry in 1963, scant months before the fateful launch of Fantastic Four.
Whereas the FF would make bickering, flawed heroes a trademark of the Lee-Kirby style, Lee and Rosen's Sentry was rooted more firmly in the super-hero values of the 1940s. A "Golden Guardian of Good," the Sentry was anything but "flawed" — indeed, he was noble, austere, and near-perfect in a way that almost suggests Superman as a prototype. Maybe it was because of the Sentry's older sensibilities that the character disappeared overnight when those distinctive Lee-Kirby FFs began hitting the newsstands. Following a short run in Startling Stories, the Sentry disappeared from Marvel lore, never to heard from again.
Until 1999, when Marvel Comics uncovered several files of Artie Rosen drawings and a few scant notes from Stan Lee. Interested in the forgotten Marvel hero, the company commissioned a summer mini-series event to reintroduce him to the Marvel universe. With Paul Jenkins (Origin, Hellblazer, Spectacular Spider-Man) writing and Jae Lee (Hellshock, Inhumans) on art, The Sentry told the story of Bob Reynolds, a disabled, broken man with no memory of his secret past as — you guessed it — that Golden Guardian of Good, the Sentry!
In The Sentry, Jenkins details how a shining beacon of hope could become a wounded, deeply troubled ordinary man — and through that narrative explores how Lee and Artie Rosen's creation went from a historical near-miss to an unremembered footnote.
Or at least, that's the company line.
There are secrets within secrets inside Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee's mini-series The Sentry. With Bob Reynolds making a comeback in this fall's New Avengers event (and then in his own series!), you'll want to get in on the ground floor — by reading (or re-reading) the original mini-series and coming down to Comic Club to discuss it with us.
As usual, we'll meet at 7:30pm on the first Thursday of the month (Thursday, October 7) in the Heroes and Dragons Game Room. Members and non-members alike are invited to join us as we discuss The Sentry and his role in the Marvel Universe.
Rich Johnston caught onto "the trick" in June of 2000
Our own Chad talked to Paul Jenkins in preparation for this meeting — and while Paul won't be able to join us on Thursday, he did provide some insights that you'll want to hear!
The Sentry is available now with a retail price of $24.95. BUT — Comic Club members pay on $7.00!
Not a member? Join today — there's a $20 annual membership fee — and you'll get The Sentry FREE! It's just one of the rewards of Comic Club membership!
Comic Club members save 20% on all graphic novel purchases at H&D (not just Comic Club selections)!
Previous Comics of the Month:
|September 2004 |||League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II|
|August 2004 |||The Complete Peanuts, Volume One: 1950-1952|
|July 2004 |||The Filth|
|June 2004 |||Marvels|
|May 2004 |||Batman: The Dark Knight Returns|
|April 2004 |||Hellboy: Seed of Destruction
Hellboy: The Corpse
|March 2004 |||Superman Past and Present:
Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
Man of Steel
|February 2004 |||Torso|
|January 2004 |||Sgt. Rock: Between Hell and a Hard Place|
|December 2003 |||Kingdom Come|
November 2003 |
|Batman: Arkham Asylum|
|October 2003 |||Vault of Horror, Volumes 1 and 2|
|September 2003 |||Blankets|
|August 2003 |||Sin City, Volume 1|
|July 2003 |||Astro City: Life in the Big City|
|June 2003 |||The Golden Age|
|May 2003 |||League of Extraordinary Gentlemen|