Midnight 9: NIGHT FORCE #1-2

Picking up from the preview story covered in episode 4, Ryan Daly and Paul Hix review the first two issues of Night Force written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by Gene Colan. Plus, a sad announcement about the passing of legendary artist Bernie Wrightson.

You can read Bernie’s obituary at his website here: http://berniewrightson.com/a-message-from-liz-wrightson/

Midnight The Podcasting Hour Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thepodcastinghour/

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment or send an email to: RDalyPodcast@gmail.com.

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Music produced by Neil Daly.

Thanks for listening!

19 responses to “Midnight 9: NIGHT FORCE #1-2

  1. Paul’s silky-smooth voice works perfectly when covering NIGHT FORCE!

    I remember buying issue #4 of this series when I was on vacation with my family, partly because I needed more comics to read than usual plus the cover was so striking. I’ve tried to get into this series but have never been able to crack it, maybe listening to these commentaries will help if I try again. In any case, retro-props to DC for trying something other than superheroes in 1982.

    And I would pay to watch our President and the Australian PM trapped in a box in a fight to the death. Can we Indiegogo this or something?

  2. Grateful you guys are covering this series. As I have said, it has a moment near the end that haunts me to this day.

    It is a sort of delightful mash-up of Mission Impossible, the Exoricist, and All the Presidents Men to me – mixing journalism, demons, and political intrigue. Weird brew to be sure.

    Like you guys, I find the Colan art stunning. I like that the demonic presences and energies are done in the surprint style. Lacking the black outlines gives them a truly other worldly feel.

    And as a kid, this was akin to watching an r-rated movie while your parents were out. Satanic rituals, naked women, and violence? Check, check, check!

    Looking forward to hearing you both cover the rest of the issues.

  3. I passed on this book in the 80s because, a.) no super heroes, and b.) I really didn’t like Gene Colan’s work. I used to fuss when I got an issue of Batman or Detective that was drawn by him instead of Don Newton. Nowadays, I see his genius, and his unique style. Like Bernie Wrightson, no one drew comics like Gene Colan.

    I’ve since fallen in love with his and Wolfman’s Tomb of Dracula, so I’m looking forward to following you and Paul on this short journey. Sounds pretty bold for a DC book in the early 80s! This definitely seems to be in the same vein as the pre-Vertigo books that were soon to emerge.

    Back to Wrightson, I can’t think of a single greater horror artist in all of comics history. The EC guys were great, as was Colan, Mike Ploog, etc. But Wrightson was King of Horror in comics. I’m going to have to pick up that Creepshow one-shot now that it’s due back out soon. Love that movie, and to have Wrightson adapt it…perfect.



    1. I also passed on this one back in the 1980s for the same reasons Chris mentioned above. Thanks for highlighting some comics I neglected as a wayward youth.

      PS: I hope some of you caught the House of Mystery episode of Justice League Action this weekend. Lots of fun!

      1. A ton of people told me about the House of Mystery spot on the episode, but I hadn’t seen it yet. Thanks, Chuck. That was awesome!

  4. Thanks for another spooktastic episode. Unlike you chaps, I had no qualms with the cover of Night Force #1. Well, apart from Vanessa looking like she’s taking part in a magic act. I was 16 when this came out originally (QUIT DOING MATHS IN YOUR HEAD!) and just thought it a powerful, mysterious image, I never questioned what the relative positioning of the characters as defined by colour and linework was. I feel really thick now!

    The big question for me is, who is the builder of mystical houses in the DC Universe? Who first wondered about the House of Mystery? Who knew the Secrets of Haunted House? Who didn’t include light switches in the Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love?

    And why did Wintersgate Manor open up onto a parallel Earth where the Eiffel Tower went up about a century before anyone else’s erection?

    As you say, at least Jack felt back about taking advantage of Vanessa. Maybe Terry Long will show up and congratulate him.

    Donovan Caine is probably the worst character in here, using a disturbed person to harness the power of evil – what could possibly go wrong?

    Ryan, did you ever see Colan’s pair of Nathaniel Dusk mini-series with Don McGregir, in which his art was seen unlinked? Gorgeous stuff.

  5. PS As I’ve not got the the originals to hand I’ve been following these stories on a digital Night Force 100pp Super-Spectacular from a couple of years back. And I can EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL that the uncertain hair colour of Jack Gold has been standardised to murky purply brown.

    I like that DC also bothers to get another Tomb of Dracula alumnus, John Costanza, in to do the lettering, it gave the new series one more link to earlier glories. What a shame, though, that he’d ceased his original page 13 folio wink.

  6. Love you guys. Want to support the show. I am 100% exhausted of fucks to give for Night Force. By the time Tomb of Dracula wrapped up, I was done with the Wolfman/Colan team, and this book felt very much like Two of a Kind to ToD’s Grease. I read the Titans preview and I think one issue of the main series, which was a perennial in the quarter bins of my youth. It bored the shit out of me. Gene Colan was one of the first comic artists that I was exposed to extensively, and I enjoy him on the right project with a good inker, but he was never a favorite and I don’t get the warm and fuzzies over his work. It doesn’t help that I had a weird/negative experience during a SDCC panel with him and Don McGregor. I am incapable of bringing myself to care about these characters, and Baron Winter always felt like the lamest of DC’s many, many mystic characters. Only Baron Winter is capable of making me say “or… I could read Dan Spiegel on Mr. E” and that not be uttered like a curse. Alright fellows, take care. I’ll see you when Swamp Thing/Spectre/Deadman roll back into town…

    1. Okay Ryan, I’m calling it. At 12.52am on the 23rd March we lost Frank. We did our best, good job everyone, but it was his time to go. Excuse me, I have something in my eye.

  7. Loved the PJ Frightful intro story! I don’t have the soul of a writer, so I’m always amazed when someone I know personally can craft a tale that creates atmosphere such as this. Great job!

    Really enjoyed hearing Ryan and Paul chat! Life is always better with Paul around. Not a lot for me to say on the comics, but I am excited for the next episode. I picked up NIGHT FORCE #3 in a quarter bin over the summer. I’m going to read along! It’ll be the first issue of the series I’ve ever read.

  8. Wow. Georgetown University in the DCU must have the most lax research IRB (institutional review board) ever. Caine is conducting experiments that involve, as you guys said, naked ritual seances to summon the devil. Using fire no less. Pretty sure that wouldn’t pass the muster with the three research institutions I am affiliated with. Of course, he could be doing these experiments on the sly with government funding and the University not being aware (or turning a blind eye). After killing off a number of tuition paying graduate students, not to mention his wife, burning down a building, and opening the door to a multitude of law suits, I would think the University would revisit its stance on Caine’s work. Maybe we’ll find out in upcoming issues.

    And although Caine seems to have some interesting personal style, he has demonstrated that he is a terrible researcher. However crazy his research project is, he should have a plan. He is researching the mystical power of evil for Pete’s sake! But instead, in the middle of an ongoing project, he throws in Vanessa. An uncontrolled variable that he made no allowances for. Gosh, how could anything go wrong?

    All of this obviously moves the plot forward, but my ability to suspend disbelief here is severely shaken. I don’t have much trouble accepting far out things in a fictional story that I know to be fictional and that do not exist in the real world (houses with time portals and seemingly immortal people for instance). But I do expect writers to keep every day real world things a little more consistent with what I expect to find in the real world. All Wolfman had to do here was present Caine as an indpendent researcher using graduate students as interns and working out of a privately funded facility to make this far more acceptable to my sensibilities. Then all I am left with is Caine being a terrible researcher – which is not hard to believe as there are certainly plenty of those in the real world. I really think Wolfman is a great writer, but for me, he really missed the boat here. Others may not have the same issues that I do related to this story beat, but I guess I am influenced by my experiences. No, that doesn’t mean I have participated in any fire fueled, naked ritual seances to summon the devil. :)

    1. You SO have, admit it Scott, demonic smoke doodles are gathering in the corner…

      Speaking of which, I reckon they’re just atmospheric visuals for the reader, not there to be seen by Jack.

  9. Loved the opening story. Now to listen to the rest!
    (As much as I love the comic discussing part, the opening stories rock!)

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