GRAPHIC NOVEL
The Steel Claw
The Vanishing Man (Hardback)

Author: Ken Bulmer
Artist: Jesus Blasco
Titan Books
RRP 14.99, US $19.95
ISBN 1 84576 156 1
Available 23 December 2005


Research assistant Louis Crandell could consider himself an unlucky man. Already left with a metal right hand following a laboratory accident, a second accident transforms him forever... as a thousand volts of electricity surge into him. Crandell is astonished to discover that his whole body - except for his steel hand - is becoming invisible, and that all he needs to remain so is more electricity.
But will he use this incredible new-found ability for good... or for personal gain?...

The Steel Claw first appeared in British weekly comic Valiant in October 1962, and continued to run until the publication's closure in 1973. The Vanishing Man sees the first volume of The Steel Claw reprints from IPC's vaults.

One of the most important things to note is how mature this collection is. Like a lot of the other reprints that Titan is currently releasing onto the market (Charley's War being the other outstanding example) it's hard to believe that stories of this level were produced for kids in the '60s and '70s.

The very fact that at any minute Louis Crandell (AKA the Steel Claw) could use his new-found ability to help society, or to enhance his own life through the act of immoral activities, keeps the reader's eyes glued to the page.

This collection also opens with a brief introduction and background article on the history of The Steel Claw, which helps to set the scene for those not familiar with the character.

Whether you remember this strip or not, it's well worth checking out. And at £15, this hardback collection is, if you'll excuse the pun, a steal.

Nick Smithson

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