Orb Magazine

Orb #2 featuring Northern Light on the front cover.

In 1974, the honeymoon of the science fiction and comics marriage, James Waley published Orb Magazine from Toronto, Ontario. This is three years before Andromeda was published, and is very much Andromeda’s predecessor. Both lasted only six issues, featured many of the same artists and writers such as Don Marshall, John Allison, George Henderson, Gene Day, Peter Hsu and Jim Beveridge. They both focused on similar content, that is, science fiction genre common in the alternative comics scene of the 1970s with a touch of the adult themed including nudity and other mature content.

The comic has more to give in the way of just science fiction. This is the magazine that is known to produce one of the many Canadian national superheroes, Northern Light. Originally scripted by an American for an American audience, the character was adapted for the Canadian magazine. Later, James Waley resumed writing duties for the character, but, like his many brethren in red and white, the character was very short lived.

Norther Light wasn’t the only regular story line in the magazine. There was also the Electric Warrior, Kadaver and Dark Ninja. This magazine did also feature some coloured pages, mainly those given to Northern Light. Never fewer than 50 pages per issue, some contain more than 10 in colour. The series ran from July 1974 until April 1976.

Orb #1 Cover by John Allison

Orb 1 – 1974

  • The Ride: Stanley Berneche
  • The Astounding Origin of Kadaver: James Waley
  • Devil’s Triangle: John Allison
  • Belial: Paul McCusker
  • Meta-Morphosis: Alexander Emond
  • Whirls of a Numb-a; Matt Rust

Orb 2 – July 1974

  • Plague: Gene Day
  • Galactic Queen: Paul Savard and John Allison (Script) Paul Savard (Pencils) Gene Day (Inks)
  • Musical Roulette: Ronn Sutton
  • The Seeker: Matt Rust
  • The Guardian of Mars (Northern Light): T Casey Brennan (Script) John Allison (Art)
  • No-Man’s Land: Paul McCuscker
  • Salvation: James Waley
  • Reeve Perry: Bruce Bezaire
  • Small Talk:

Orb 3 – December 1974

  • Lepers: Paul McCuscker
  • Half-Life: John Allison
  • Cheezy-Nuggets: Alexander Emond
  • Super-Student: Ken Steacy
  • Northern Light: The Lone Guardian Strikes: T. Casey Brennan (Script) Jim Craig (Art) Matt Rust (Colours) and James Waley (Colours)
  • Escape the Truth: Richard Robertson
  • Karkass: Matt Rust
  • A Shroud of Tattered Grey!: Gene Day
  • The Rescue of Raniff The Fair: Ronn Sutton

Orb 4 – November December 1975

  • Electric Warrior: Ken Steacy (Art) Kerri Ellison (Script)
  • Encore: Matt Rust
  • Gothic Glitter: Peter Hsu (Art) George Henderson (Script)
  • Dark Ninja: Vincent Marchesano
  • The Horror of Harrow House: Gene Day
  • The Astounding Origin of Kadaver Continued: James Waley
  • Child Slayer-World Saver?: Art Cooper (Art) James Waley (Script) Matt Rust (Script)
  • The Origin of the Northern Light Part One: Jim Craig (Art) Jim Craig (Script) James Waley (Script) and George Henderson (Script)
  • Space Scouts: Matt Rust

Orb 5 – January February 1976

  • One Man’s Madness: Gene Day (Art) T. Casey Brennan (Script)
  • Dark Ninja: Harbinger of Doom: Vincent Marchesano (Pencils) Bill Payne (Embellishments) Russell Wallace (Script)
  • Retribution: Gene Day (Script and pencils) Peter Hsu (Inks and tones) Matt Rust (Tones)
  • Man O’ Dreams: Don Marshall (Art) George Henderson (Script)
  • The Origin of the Northern Light Part 2: Dénouement: Jim Craig (Art) James Waley (Script) Matt Rust (Script)
  • Kadaver: My Will Be Done!: Art Cooper (Layouts) Jim Craig (Finishing) Matt Rust (Tones) James Waley (Script) Matt Rust (Script)
  • Back Cover: Don Marshall

Orb 6 – March April 1976

  • Cosmic Dancer: Jim Craig (Art) Augustine Funnell (Script)
  • Woof! Woof!: Matt Rust (Art) George Henderson (Script)
  • Gyk the Barbarian in Escape: John Sech (Script) Paul McCuscker (Pencils) Jim Craig (inks) Gene Day (Colours);
  • Trojan Horse: Gene Day
  • Dark Ninja in Dawn of Darkness: John Sech (Script) Vincent Marchesano (Pencils) Gene Day (Inks);
  • Flame of El-Hamman: Bill Payne (Art and letters) George Henderson (Script)

Orb #6

You can check out more about these comics in either of the John Bell books, but also here and here for some basic information.

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4 thoughts on “Orb Magazine

  1. Both Andromeda and Orb had planned on publishing at least an issue #7. With Andromeda it was to be an issue of all Harlan Ellison stories. Orb #6 has a striking back cover advertising a next issue with Vincent Marchesano’s Bludd. It was years and years before we had the chance to actually see the story when it finally appeared in Charlton Bullseye #9.

    • Actually, the art on that “striking back cover” was not by my old buddy, VINCE MARCHESANO, but was, in fact, pencilled and inked by the late, great GENE DAY. The cover, however, of the BLUDD issue of CHARLTON BULLSEYE #9 was a wonderful illo pencilled by Vince and inked by Gene and the interior story (divided into 3 parts) was pencilled and inked by Gene for part #1 (though the initial splash page, however, was drawn by Vince who also generously did some art revisions and additional art for this chapter all inked by Gene — I believe Gene was off doing work for Marvel by this time which is why he wasn’t able to complete this unfinished ORB story for this issue at Charlton); part #2 was pencilled by PETER HSU (with inks by PETER IRO aka “VICTOR LASZLO”) and part #3 was fully pencilled by Vince with inks again by Iro’s artistic alias Mr. Laszlo. The needlessly wordy and overwrought script was an early effort by yours truly though the artwork by my stellar graphic collaborators definitely saved this book in the final analysis! Good times, for sure!

  2. Awesome. That gives me something to look out for. I love the sci fi anthologies, including Quadrant, Phantacea and Star Riders, but I have to say, Andromeda is probably my favourite, followed by Orb.

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