Marvel Presents: Bloodstone #2 (1975)

Who is Ulysses Bloodstone and why should you care?

Well, he’s a nobody and you really shouldn’t care. And that’s why it’s such fun being a fan of Bronze Age Marvel Comics.

Marvel in the ’70s was full of all kinds of series dedicated to the theory that "if we throw enough things at the wall, maybe some of them will stick." So readers got Black Goliath and the Champions and the Red Wolf and Combat Kelly and the brilliant Omega the Unknown, short-lived and mainly forgotten series of their era. Some characters, like Tigra and Iron Fist and Howard the Duck would become relatively prominent members of the Marvel Universe; others, like Mordred the Mystic and the Scarecrow and this comic’s hero, Bloodstone, would become amazing obscurities.

Bloodstone and Mordred appeared for short two-issue stints in the sister titles Marvel Chillers and Marvel Presents before turning the comics over to their planned residents, Tigra and the Guardians of the Galaxy. It shows my true geekiness to say that I’ve wondered for years why in the hell Marvel didn’t just decide to wait till Tigra’s and the GOG’s series were ready before launcing the series, but apparently Marvel decided to launch these series as anthology before they had stories for the main characters lined up. I love Marvel of the ’70s: everything was seat of the pants in that era. It was a very weird and unpredictible time. According to the text page (remember text pages?), Bloodstone was a series that was intended to appear in the monster comic Where Monsters Dwell, but the stories were cancelled before Bloodstone ever appeared. WMD (funny double-meaning to that abbreviation now, huh?) was just a monster comic that reprinted crap late ’50s and early ’60s monster comics. At one time, they were going to do new stories in the monster anthologies, but the editors changed their mind, probably to save money. Thankfully, then, for Marvel, Bloodstone was ready and waiting when editor-in-chief Marv Wolfman realized that Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t ready.

Honestly, though, this comic is no diamond in the rough. Bloodstone’s origin is revealed in this issue and it’s not exactly memorable. 10,000 years ago a blonde caveman wanders into a cave in which an odd Lovecraftian monster lives. I love the monster’s name, Ullux’yl Kwan T’ae’sny. That’s maybe the most inspired thing about the comic. Ully grafts a giant red gem to Ulysses’s chest, a gem which gives him immortalty and some sort of connexion to magick in the universe. Umm, then the caveman lives to fhe 1970s and puts on a safari outfit and fights evil. That’s pretty much it.

Yeah, Bloodstone kinda sucked, but in the next issue another great Steve Gerber strip, the Guardians of the Galaxy premiered. Remind me to tell you sometime about Starhawk, who was both male and female at the same time. It’s great comics. Unlike this comic.

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