The Complete Pacific Comics Re-Reading Blog Series presents:
Pathways to Fantasy
edited by Bruce Jones
Pathways to Fantasy (1984) #1
The comics made or overseen by Bruce Jones Associates (which is him and April Campbell) are generally considered to be the best that Pacific published: Twisted Tales, Alien Worlds, Somerset Holmes, and finally Pathways to Fantasy.
As Bill Schanes says in an interview:
EC: Which projects or series were your favorites?
BS: Personally, I really enjoyed almost all of the books that April Campbell and Bruce Jones packaged for Pacific Comics. April and Bruce put together a series of fantastic titles, with all star talent involved. These included Twisted Tales, Alien Worlds, Pathways to Fantasy, Somerset Holmes to name a few. Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Berni Wrightson, Barry Winsor Smith, Tim Conrad, Art Adams, John Bolton, Joe Chiodo, Bo & Scott Hampton, Brent Anderson, and a host of others, plus April and Bruce wrote the majority of the stories, which lent to wonderful continuity along the whole line.
It’s the odd one out, because it was launched just as Pacific was going bankrupt. As the title suggests, it’s a fantasy anthology, making a perfect trio along with Twisted Tales (horror) and Alien Worlds (science fiction). The only odd thing is why they didn’t do this before.
The talent in this book is staggering: Probably the best of any individual anthology that Bruce Jones Associates did. To start us off, we’ve got a funny little tale about a barbarian and his dog^H^H^Hwolf.
Christina Rosetti/John Bolton does a very wordy piece about magical creatures and the power of true love. This was reprinted in a John Bolton collection in the early 90s.
Oh, oh, oh! I remember this one. Well, I remembered the wolf story to, but when I got to this one, my brain went yesyesyes. I bought this comic when it was published, so I had this as a teenager. I can’t recall reading it a gazillion times or not, but these four fully-painted pages by Jeffrey Jones are something I must have looked at for longer than most: They felt immediately familiar when I read them now.
And it’s a funny and kinda moving story, too.
April Campbell/Lela Dowling does a wistful, lovelorn little thing.
Bruce Jones returns in the final two-page story illustrated by Scott Hampton. In earlier issues of their anthologies, Jones used to write everything, but here he’s doing less than half. His two stories are also the most traditional, but they’re fun. And Hampton’s artwork is just perfect. Look at that panel of Medusa as a child. Just look at it!
All in all, it’s a supremely successful issue. The pieces go well together without being samey: They all have a distinct point of view, but they share a general sensibility… and they all have a longing, wistful quality to them.
Too bad it didn’t continue. Some of the stories meant for Pathways to Fantasy #2 ended up in Alien Worlds #9, published by Eclipse Comics.
Oh, Pacific ran this ad in many of their comics, but I never saw any ads for any actual graphic novels from the promised graphic novel line.
But here’s one: Seven Samuroid by Frank Brunner. It was released by Image instead (no not that Image Comics).
The usually-wrong R A Jones writes in Amazing Heroes #60, page 58 (was he the only one reviewing Pacific Comics at this time?):
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This review was
written before Pacific’s closing
down in late August.)
Riddle: What do you call a Pacific
comic that comes out on schedule?
Answer: Who cares—it’!! never
It’s a shame, really. Pacific was in
the vanguard of alternative comic
book publishers. They have
presented the work of some of the
finest creative people in the in-
dustry. But they have been simply
unadle to keep their titles on
schedule. Marvel and DC havea
periodic skip week to maintain
proper synch—Pacific was the only
company I knew that needed a skip
The best story in the book is
by Christina Rosetti.
It is a dark and haunting
tale of a young woman seduced
and nearly destroyed by forces
beyond her ken. Ultilmately, it is a
story of love and salvation. It is ar-
chaic in style, a bit overwritten for
comics, but touching nonetheless.
The art is supplied by John Bolton,
one of the many fine British artists
who are making their presence felt
in American comics. The•enchante
ed mood his visuals produce en-
hances the fairy-tale feel of the
Next comes “A Sight to Remem-
ber,” by Jeff Jones. Jones is an ex-
ceptional artist who• all too rarely
does graphic stories. VVhen he
does, they are often one-page
pieces appearing in some of the
lesser men’s magazines. They are
always delightful to look at, but the
story is usually meaningless, to all
but Jones himself. That is certainly
true here; additionally, the art is
not up to his usual high quality.
I think this is in reference to Pathways to Fantasy:
Magnificent art. Great writing. Thought provoking. Sexy. Gut churning. Dream/nightmare inducing.
But it may be all the Bruce Jones Associate anthologies…