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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 9
Promethean Enterprises #2
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Only Printing / May, 1970 / 56 pages / Promethean Enterprises
Promethean Enterprises #2 came out a year after the first issue and offers a broader range of artists and subject matter, including an illustrated Edgar Allan Poe story and articles on international erotic comic art and 1955-60 comic books. With 52 interior pages, the second issue has more room to satisfy editorial indulgences; and who can blame the editors when most of the indulgences are so rewarding?

The first major feature in the book is Poe's short story, "Masque of the Red Death," illustrated by Robert Inwood. The full text of the story is presented over eight pages (plus an illustrated title page), and Inwood's dark, heavily crosshatched inkwork enhances Poe's macabre melodrama with gothic style.

Portfolios of early Robert Crumb (1966) and Greg Irons (1967) sketches complement the meticulous illustrations of Kenneth Smith and Rob Brown. This is one of the joys of Promethean Enterprises; ingesting potent concoctions of diverse comic art styles from both ends of the comic book spectrum. In that same vein, we are treated to two pages of Hal Foster's groundbreaking work for "Tarzan" and a two-page centerspread of a kaleidoscopic panorama from Rick Griffin.

Near the end of the first half of the book, George Metzger begins an epic tale vaguely set in a major port city (Port Frisco) called "Panoply Mind," which barely sows the seed of its plot in three pages before being continued until the next issue. Despite volumes of baroque text, Metzger takes an unfocused approach to delineating the main characters and two of the major protagonists have virtually the same physical appearance. I fear we are engaging with another mysterious and hard-to-follow sci-fi opera from Mr. Metzger.

Promethean Enterprises #2 offers two articles towards the back of the book. The first is a text-heavy article by Jim Vadeboncoeur that declares 1955 to 1960 as "the dark ages" of comics (due to its occurrence between the virtual death of EC in 1955 and the rebirth of the super-hero in 1961). However, Vadeboncoeur contends there is a "neglected gold mine" of comic art to be found in this era and then proceeds to list over two dozen artists (Kirby, Buscema, Colan, Wood, Ditko, Severin, et al) and their creative output during that time. The article, typed out in four pages of Courier typewriter font, is obviously well researched and provides a rich resource for the curious.

The second article is "Erotic Fantasy In Comics" by Al Davoren, who states that "The comic strip was given birth and brought to adolesence [sic] in America, but comics, along with films, had to be brought to maturity by countries with a more sophisticated viewpoint in sexual matters than we Americans have had." After acknowledging that France had led this evolution into erotic comics, Davoren provides several pages of erotic comic art from Mexico, Italy and Japan, including a masterful page from Italy's Guido Crepax. Davoren does not accompany the samples with a lot of explanatory or insightful text, but the artwork is a joy to behold (especially the stuff from Japan).

The second issue of Promethean Enterprises is a significant improvement on the first (which was quite good itself), but Vadeboncoeur still waffles when it comes to publishing a third. "We are still not committing ourselves to a schedule, or a third issue..." he states in the editorial at the back of the book. Fortunately he adds, "but look for us in about a year."
It is currently unknown how many copies of this magazine were printed. It has not been reprinted. The covers are printed on a heavy blue-over-white cover stock and the interior pages are printed on white offset paper. The centerfold illustration by Rick Griffin was previously featured in a Family Dog rock poster (FD-79).
Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr. - coeditor, 4 (editorial), 35-38 (article), 54 (editorial)
Al Davoren - coeditor, art director, 3 (shared) 48 (text), 50 (text), 52 (text)
Bud Plant - coeditor
Rick Griffin - 1, 3 (shared), 28-29, 39 (shared), 54 (ad)
Rick Shubb - 2, 26
George Metzger - 4, 23-25, 55
Robert Inwood - 5-13 (art), 31
Edgar Allan Poe - 6-13 (story)
Ramon Jones - 14 (poem)
F. Reynolds - 14 (art)
Spain Rodriguez - 15
Greg Irons - 16
unknown artist - 17
John Fawcett - 18-19
Kenneth Smith - 20-21 (shared)
Rob Brown - 20-21 (shared), 22
Victor Moscoso - 27-30, 54 (ad)
Anne Vadeboncoeur - 32-33
Robert Jack Juanillo - 34
Kipy - 39 (shared)
Hal Foster - 40-41
Parley Holman - 42 (review)
Robert Crumb - 43-45
Frank Springer - 46, 47 (shared)
Guido Crepax - 47 (shared), 51
George Barr - 56