Thursday, February 23, 2012


Perhaps the koolest (and least-preachy) anti-drug comic ever...
Produced in 1971 by Byron Preiss and Jim Steranko as an anti-drug mini-comic and distributed to public schools, this tale was reprinted in Steranko's magazine ComixScene in 1973.
It's a great example of effective cinematic storytelling that's remained unreprinted for almost 40 years.
As Steranko himself explained HERE, in this article about the passing of Byron Preiss...
One of our earliest projects involved an anti-drug comicbook that he conceived for near-illiterate grade school students (he was teaching at a Philadelphia elementary facility at the time).
On a zero budget, we produced THE BLOCK, the tale of two inner-city brothers who choose to walk different paths, which was distributed citywide and met with exceptional success with both educators and students (some classes colored the panels, others read it aloud, and one even transformed the story into a rock opera).
Preiss promoted it from New York City to Atlanta, achieving solid student acceptance and continual praise from all who saw and used it, right up to the majors at Sesame Street.
The comic premiered in the summer of 1970, a year before the much-heralded Spider-Man and Green Lantern-Green Arrow drug mags.
Sadly, on 4/29/18, Steranko's agent, J David Spurlock, instead of working out a way for us to present the story and link our faithful readers to buying a printed copy of it, chose to threaten us with a lawsuit unless we removed the tale, thereby depriving aficionados of reading this seminal work by one of the undisputed masters of the field!
(Though no version of The Block is currently in print, copies of ComixScene #4 are usually available via vendors like eBay and Amazon).
So, if you've come here looking for that lost classic, I suggest you continue Googling.
Further update. On 5/1/18, J. David Spurlock posted a link in the comments section listing a sale on the publisher's site for ComixScene #4, validating my point that the last time the story was actually published was in 1973, 45 years ago.
Today, 5/2/18, Spurlock complained the link wasn't posted.
Spurlock offered no compensation plan for linking to the site (the way Amazon, for example, does).
But we would consider giving him the freebie link if he didn't whine about our low-rez scans presenting the story, which would serve as free advertising for the publication!
As it stands...
Though no version of The Block is currently in print (as Spurlock has proven), copies of ComixScene #4 (1973) are usually available via reputable vendors like eBay, Heritage Auctions, Hakes, and Amazon.
I suggest those who want a copy of ComixScene #4 check them, or their local comic shop, out!
It'll be well worth your time and effort!

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  1. Official Notice: Cease & Desist the unauthorized distribution of the intellectual property of Jim Steranko & Supergraphics

    Agent of Wood,
    Agent of Steranko,
    Agent of Brunner,
    Official publisher of Frazetta

  2. Happy to comply if Spurlock can provide...
    Proof of copyright registration from Library of Congress dated 1971.
    As Spurlock knows, there are three criteria for pre-1978 copyrights to be considered valid.
    One of them is actually registering the work with the Library of Congress and having it listed in the Catalog of Copyright Entries.
    Note: one would think Spurlock would want to promote Steranko's work by suggesting a link to one of Spurlock's own books on Steranko since people are obviously finding this post and liking what they see about Steranko's amazing stuff even from almost 50 years ago...


    1. Interesting to note it's from the (at least) second publication of the story, since it was published (and reprinted) several times by Preiss before the reprinting in ComixScene #4!

  4. /Users/davidspurlock/Downloads/Steranko copyrights ComixScene.jpg

  5. Done (though there is no option for attachments).
    Also, you should know, since the passing of the 1976 Act, in keeping with the 1976 Act which does not require registration, the copyright office has grandfathered in ALL pre-1978 material that included a published copyright notice. Combine that with the effects of the Sonny Bono Act, the result is that basically, anything from 1963 on is still protected by copyright, if it included a published notice, as the Steranko material does.

  6. I don't see the link I shared to the publisher's website...

    1. Nor will you if you don't work out a deal.
      See above.

  7. You are both disrespectful to creators and the law

    1. Moochers like the poster are disrespectful to the law.

    2. Not my fault Steranko hasn't reprinted The Block for 45 years.
      There's obviously interest, so what's preventing him from doing so?

    3. I reccomended legitimate venues offering the 45-year old magazine for sale.
      Hardly "disrespectful", child.

    4. I'm not disrespectful to widows...