Sea Ghost #1
(One Shot)
Written and Illustrated by Jay Piscopo

Back in December I mentioned the release of a new Commander X comic for free online, Commander X-Mas, in what has become something of a tradition from the folks at Nemo Publishing. I love the pulp style of Commander X, who is a spin-off character from the Undersea Adventures of Capt’n Eli. Today I’m looking at a new print comic from the Nemo Publishing group, titled Sea Ghost. The character of Sea Ghost is a spin-off character from Commander X, allowing all three characters to share and inhabit the same universe, while also having adventures on their own.

While the Commander X Christmas comic gave us a little bit of info on the past of the Sea Ghost, the one shot comic that’s scheduled for release this month is a self contained single story about one of the many adventures of the Ghost by himself. It’s sub-titled “The Sea Ghost in the Machine!” and features the Sea Ghost being teleported to a strange world right in the middle of an epic everlasting war between a Planet of the Apes-like culture known as the Simas and an Atlantian undersea race known as the Phlan.

As someone who loves reading old comics from publishers like Gold Key or Charlton, the style that Piscopo exudes is right in line with the classics. This comic could have easily been on the shelves in the Silver Age of comics and yet, never feels dated or contrived. Jay has a love for the simple but fun storytelling style that has an emphasis on adventure. Sea Ghost takes us to many fantastic worlds and shows off some incredible creatures and battles, but unlike many modern comics that overloads us with complicated story or complex art, everything here is kept simple but effective.

Simple by no means equals weak. The Sea Ghost story is simple in the way that a Jack Kirby story is simple. It’s no surprise that Piscopo mentions that the “King” was one of his major influences. Another influence is Alex Toth and if you loved those old Toth cartoons, you’ll be right at home with the Sea Ghost. Piscopo keeps the art interesting, but never bogs it down with so much that you can’t follow the story. Each page gives you just enough that you want to turn to see what happens next. It’s a staple of the Toth style of storytelling.

Every one of the characters feels as though they could be made into an action figure, as well. WIth any luck we’ll see some of these guys in the Mego inspired toy line that Commander X has pioneered. Sea Ghost himself is rumored to be on the way to being immortalized in plastic sooner rather than later. I could honestly imagine a whole toy line of these great characters.

This is also an all ages comic, which I’m excited about. The story features violence, but also keeps it at a level that nobody would be afraid to show this to their kids. That’s not to say it’s a kiddie comic. It’s not. It’s a classic comic, done in the same sort of excellent tradition that got so many of us into comic books in the first place. There’s plenty of neat creations here, including a big Cthulhu-type god who plays an important part of the story.

I think everybody can identify with Sea Ghost on some level. He’s an inspired creation that feels so natural. One part Space Ghost, one part Aquaman, yet he never feels like some sort of clone. That’s part of what makes all of Jay Piscopo’s creations work… They’re genuine. There are hundreds of comics on the shelf today, from some of the best artists and writers and the biggest publishers in the world, but few if any have the heart and soul that Sea Ghost does.

Can the Sea Ghost solve the mystery of the war between the Phlan and the Simas? Can he defeat the Vorrgoth? Will he ever make it home? You’ll have to buy the comic to get those answers. Trust me, it’s $4 well spent for kids, adults and anyone that loves a thrill. Diamond is carrying the comic, so you can preorder and request your local comic shop get some of these in under the code JAN111269. As well you can visit the Capt’n Eli Homepage where you can order the comic direct and learn more about the world of Capt’n Eli, Commander X and Sea Ghost.

Although this is listed and advertised as a one shot, we can only hope that more will come our way. What’s great about Jay Piscopo creating this whole universe of characters is that they continue to cross over and team up. Sea Ghost is set to return in The Undersea Adventures of Capt’n Eli Volume 3 coming in the spring of 2011, so the story doesn’t end here.

As an added bonus, the comic contains a second cover and several bonus pinups of the Sea Ghost character. This is a staple of Nemo Publishing and something classic comic enthusiasts are sure to enjoy. The Sea Ghost comic has pinups from Danny Kelly, Robert Caine Jeffcoat and legendary Aquaman illustrator Ramona Fradon! Truly a treat for collectors and casual readers alike.

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