Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reading Room: SPACEBUSTERS "Frog Men against Belzar"

You thought the SpaceBusters story ended with the book's cancellation after #2?
Art by Bernie Krigstein, adapted from page 1.
Though the publisher (Ziff-Davis) went out of business, the published (and unpublished) material ended up at several other companies, including St John Publishing.
This particular story features the uniform and weapon designs from SpaceBusters #1, before Murphy Anderson was brought on board for #2 and revamped everything to look more like his work on the Buck Rogers newspaper comic strip.
Bernie Krigstein illustrated this story, as he did all the tales in SpaceBusters #1.
Oddly enough, though the aliens invading Mars remained "Belzarians" and the Terrans were referred to as "Earthians", the heroes went through a name-change.
Blond and blue-eyed Captain Brett Crockett received a new name, becoming "Captain Andall", while his balding and mustached sergeant, Bolo, became "Sgt Bala".
And the nickname "SpaceBusters", used incessantly in the two issues of the series, is nowhere in sight...
The story saw publication three times in ten years, ironically making it the most-printed of all the SpaceBuster tales!
First in Daring Adventures #6 (1954) from St John (where it was not the cover feature).
Then, it was reprinted in Great Exploits #1 (1957) by Ajax/Farrell (who purchased some of St John's material when they left the comics business to concentrate on magazines), where it finally became the cover feature (as seen at the top of this post).
Finally, it was reprinted in 1964 by Super/IW Comics, with a new cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.
Side note; I really enjoy playing detective, piecing together clues to discover "lost" items like this, or to correct historical inaccuracies like who really was the first Black superheroine.

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