Review: Vanguard Illustrated #7

Vanguard Illustrated #7 cover
Cover by Michael W. Kaluta

Vanguard Illustrated #7
Published by Pacific and © Pacific and the respective creators below, July 1984

Title: “The Ballad of Hardcase Bradley”
Synopsis: A werewolf comes to town but soon runs afoul of a gunslinger who looks suspiciously like the Lone Ranger.

Writer: Stephen Perry
Artist: George Evans

Review: This short Western leads off a hodgepodge of not-quite-ready-for-prime-time tales. The script has a whiff of potential, but its use of verse doesn’t cover up the fact that it’s neither scary nor clever enough to be good. EC legend George Evans’ art has moments, but is largely past its prime.


Title: “Goldyn”
Synopsis: Things go terribly wrong for a group of “chronologists” who travel back in time to 218 B.C.

Writer: Walter Stuart
Penciler: Stuart
Inker: Mike Gustovich

Review: A standard sci-fi concept, but the story’s main concern seems to be gratuitous nudity. The art is of fanzine quality.


Title: “Mr. Monster: The Case of the Reluctant Werewolf”
Synopsis: A reluctant werewolf comes to Mr. Monster for help, but leads the Were-Devils Athletic Club to Stearn Mansion.

Writer: Michael T. Gilbert
Artist (layouts): Gilbert
Artist: William Messner-Loebs (as William F. Loebs)

Review: The best of this issue’s four short tales, introducing one of the iconic characters of the Copper Age indie scene.


Title: “The Singular Case of the Missed Universes”
Synopsis: Hump Hammersmith, buttkicker at large, lies splattered while his companion makes a deal with Miss Universe 2478.

Writer: Bill DuBay
Artist: Vince Argondezzi

Review: This one is undermined by racist stereotypes, casual sexism and rushed art. Not PC’s best offering.

Grade: C-

Cool factor: Mr. Monster is reliably good fun. And one can rarely go wrong with a Kaluta monster cover.
Not-so-cool factor: Hump Hammersmith, buttkicker at large, has not aged well.

Notable: First appearance of the modern Mr. Monster, Doc Stearn.

Character quotable: “I’m not used to entertaining were-things. … Generally, I kill them.” – Mr. Monster, questionable host

Editor’s note: This review was written Oct. 20, 2022.

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