Thursday, April 10, 2014

Reading Room: Flying Saucers x Four #2 "I Discovered the Secret of the Flying Saucers!"

Yesterday, we looked at the first of four stories involving sentient flying saucers...
Art by Jack Kirby and either Christopher Rule or George Klein
...all written by Stan Lee.
Today, we'll look at the second one, with art by the most famous collaborator of all...Jack Kirby!
At this point, Lee was editing the entire Atlas (soon to be Marvel) comics line as well as scripting most of it!
But, this story shows indications of being done using the "Marvel Method" of having the writer and artist discuss the story, the artist then co-plotting and drawing it, then the scripter writing dialogue and captions to fit.
With distinctive art by Jack Kirby and Christopher Rule, the cover-featured tale from the first issue of Atlas' short-lived 1958-59 anthology Strange Worlds, feels more like something from Kirby's previous anthology series, Race for the Moon, rather than Lee's previous horror-oriented take on the concept of "alien IS flying saucer"!
The "epic space adventure" feel was something a lot of Kirby's previous work had, while most of Atlas' sci-fi stories (edited or written by Lee) favored a more "personal"approach with a minimum of spectacle, and certainly no half-page or full-page shots of alien cities or space battles!
Stan Lee has acknowledged that he was using the "Marvel Method" in 1961 when the first appearances of Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four were created, so it's obvious the time-saving technique, that gave more control to the artist, was already in use.
So I'm going with:
Plot by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Layout/Pencils by Kirby
Script by Lee 
Inks by Christopher Rule
Trivia: This was Kirby's first sci-fi story on his return to Atlas/Marvel!
Tomorrow, see how Atlas/Marvel's most idiosyncratic artist handled the same plotline two years later!

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