Saturday, December 28, 2013

Excelsior! Happy 91st Birthday to Stan Lee!

Co-Creator of the Marvel Comics universe...although "Catalyst" might be a better term to describe him.

Together with an astounding group of artists (some, like Jack Kirby, already legends in the field), he produced a memorable lineup of characters and stories which, to this day, form the backbone both of the comics line and various film and tv spinoffs.
Even the characters Lee didn't co-create (like Captain America and the Silver Surfer) were guided and shaped by Lee in his role as Editor into the versions we know and love today.

And credit where credit is due...Lee couldn't have done it without Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, Gene Colan, and the rest; while they, who had all done superb work without him, did their best work with him!
(C'mon, what post-Stan Lee Marvel characters have had any real success, outside of the 1975 revival of the X-Men, itself based on core characters created by Lee and Kirby?)

So, EXCELSIOR! to you, Stan the Man!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Reading Room UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION "Behold the Man" Conclusion

Art by Frank Brunner
Time traveler Karl Glogauer journeys to Palestine almost 2,000 years in the past to confirm the existence of Jesus Christ.
With his time machine damaged beyond repair and discovering he's gone a decade too far back, the now-stranded Glogauer encounters John the Baptist...
Published in the magazine New Worlds (which Moorcock himself edited) in 1966, the non-linear story running two parallel plot/timelines won the Nebula Award for "best novella".
Moorcock expanded it to novel length...
Art by Robert Foster
...and it is that version which is best-known to American audiences and served as the basis of this never-reprinted adaptation in Marvel's Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #6 (1975) by writer Doug Moench and artist Alex Nino.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reading Room UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION "Behold the Man" Part 1

With Christmas behind us, we're going to present a controversial (albeit award-winning) tale...
...about the guy whose birthday we just celebrated!
To Be Concluded...
In the 1960s, science fiction experienced an influx of a "New Wave" of writers who wanted to go beyond "hard" sf and experiment, both in form and in content, with a more literary/artistic sensibility.
New Wave writers often saw themselves as part of the modernist tradition, writing "soft" or metaphysical stories instead of the technology-oriented or "hard" sf of Asimov, Heinlein, et al.
The leading proponent of the movement was Michael Moorcock, editor of the British magazine New Worlds as well as an established and successful "hard" sf writer.
...to be continued

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Santa Claus' first attempt at updating his transportation...
...doesn't quite go as planned in this wraparound cover from Dell's Santa Claus Funnies #1 (1942).
Unfortunately, the artist didn't sign it, and the experts at various comic indexing sites have been unable to offer possible illustrators.
Personally, I'm thinking Walt Kelly.
(The snarky reindeer are an obvious giveaway)
Any suggestions?
Merry Christmas to All!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Reading Room SANTA CLAUS FUNNIES "Santa Claus in Trouble"

Ever hear "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"?
...well, when that woman is the Ice Queen, even ol' Kris Kringle better watch out!
Some observations...
Boy, the Ice Queen is a real...#itch, ain't she?
Santa has "magic snowshoes"?
Wonder what other kool gimmicks he has lying around the toyshop...
Illustrated by Lea Bing, this never-reprinted story from Dell's Santa Claus Funnies #1 (1942) was the first in a series of annual books featuring not only Kris Kringle, but other Christmas-related characters and stories that ran from '42 to '62.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Spend Christmas Protecting America in the Far Future with...SPACE CADET!

You've come to Atomic Kommie Comics™ because you want something different (and reasonably-priced) for your kitch-loving Special Someone this Christmas!
What would we suggest?
Within our The Future WAS Fantastic!™ section are some of the niftiest sci-fi collectibles for the pop-culture fan, including Space Cadet!

In the 1950s, the Space Cadet series was to kids what Power Rangers are now; an incredibly-popular saga of teenagers banded together, using advanced technology to protect humanity from evil!
The 24th Century-set series followed heroic stalwart Tom Corbett, logical Venusian exchange student Astro, and cranky Roger Manning, during their tenure at the Space Academy, before graduating to join the Solar Guard. (Is it just me or does that sound a helluva lot like Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the recent Star Trek prequel film detailing their StarFleet Academy days?)
Despite the fact they were students, the trio (and assorted hangers-on) constantly found themselves in the thick of danger, usually due to the classic "we're the only ship in the area" plot device. (Geez this DOES sound like Star Trek!)
The show was done live as 15-minute episodes, three days a week. Storylines ran from a week (3-episodes) to a month (18-21 episodes).

Kids flocked home after school to watch Space Cadet, wore Space Cadet pajamas and costumes, and played with Space Cadet toys! (Now that sounds like Power Rangers, doesn't it?)

Trivia:
Some of the concepts are similar to the 1948 Space Cadet novel by Robert Heinlein, but the Joseph Lawrence-created series concept predates the book by several years, with an unsold radio show pilot and newspaper strip entitled "Tom Ranger and the Space Cadets" circulated for sale to licensors in the mid-1940s. Though Heinlein never officially contributed to the tv series, a number of concepts from his novel found their way to the final aired version in 1950. (Think of the way Star Wars-like elements [like cute robots and space fightercraft] were added to Buck Rogers when it was revived for tv in 1979!)
The show ran on all four tv networks during it's original run! In order: CBS (1950), ABC (51-52), NBC (52-53), DuMont (the home of Captain Video, 53-54) and back to NBC (54-55)!
The show's science advisor was Willy Ley, noted rocket scientist and author of the non-fiction book Conquest of Space (basis of a classic George Pal movie)
Space Cadet produced a dramatic radio spin-off, using the tv show actors, and adapting existing tv show scripts. (Usually, it was the other way around, with a radio show producing a tv show spin-off.)
There were also novels, comic books, a newspaper comic strip, and a couple of lp record albums featuring the show's cast in new stories! And, they were one of the first live-action tv shows to have their own View-Master 3-D reel sets!

We've brought back the teen hero and his buddies in our own Space Cadet line of mugs, messenger bags, shirts and other goodies, all of which would make kool stocking stuffers or presents under the tree!
Plus: we've also done some toddler-level Space Cadet stuff like bibs, onesies/creepers, infant t-shirts, and diaper bags!
Why should adults have all the fun?

This Christmas, let your loved ones enjoy a gift of the best of the future, produced in the past, and available now! (Wha???)
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