Saturday, August 9, 2014

Before Rocket Raccoon, there was ROCKET REX!

Long before Rocket Raccoon, there was...
Take a handsome hero, a helpless heroine, a sinister villain, add spaceships and ray guns and, you've got classic 1940s-50s sci-fi action!
Except everyone's an anthropomorphic animal!
This never-reprinted story from Vic Verity Magazine #7 (1946) was obviously the first episode of a projected series.
Unfortunately, it appeared in the last magazine the short-lived Don Fortune Publishing ever produced!
Both the writer and artist are, at this point, unknown.
But the other stories in the comic were the work of CC Beck, Otto Binder, and others who worked on the Fawcett Comics line, so the odds are that the writer and artist for Rocket Rex are also from that ensenble.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Reading Room MYSTICAL TALES "Lair of the Thunder Lizard"

I don't usually run unrelated stories from the same anthology two days in a row...
...but this piece just begged to be unearthed for the first time in almost 60 years...
Scripted by Carl Wessler and rendered by Bernie Krigstein, this never-reprinted piece from Atlas' Mystical Tales #8 (1957) is a low-key character study enhanced by Krigstein's naturalistic art.
Bernie was already phasing out of comics and into mainstream commercial art (including book and magazine illustration).
This tale was one of his last stories before leaving the comics field altogether.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reading Room MYSTICAL TALES "Endless Search"

It's said that artists see things not as they are, but as they should be..
...a concept Cedric Chalmers indavertantly discovers in this never-reprinted story from Atlas' Mystical Tales #1 (1956)!
Despite its' title, the short-lived Mystical Tales was actually a sci-fi/science-fantasy anthology.
To this day, almost none of the tales have been reprinted, despite being rendered by a number of well-known artists like Joe Orlando (who did this story), Bob Powell, Reed Crandall, Bill Everett, and Bernie Krigstein!
The writers for almost all of the stories, however, are unknown.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reading Room WORLD OF FANTASY "I Was Stranded in Space!"

In 1959, one of the hot shows on TV was a new anthology series called Twilight Zone...
...which specialized in surprise endings, turning everything topsy-turvy at the climax, much like this never-reprinted short story from Atlas' World of Fantasy #19 (1959)
Probably written by either Stan Lee or his brother Larry Lieber and illustrated by Joe Sinnott, the tale's not bad, but the over-written explanations in the last few panels make the city's residents seem like a bunch of sadistic, smug SOBs...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Reading Room: LARS OF MARS "EarthShaker"

It's time for another adventure with the Martian posing as an actor playing a Martian on TV... a story of world-shaking (literally) menace!
Lars was co-created by writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Murphy Anderson, as shown HERE.
This terrifying tale of tectonic turnabout from Ziff-Davis' Lars of Mars #11 (1951) was, sadly, the character's final appearance in new stories.
But, we still have a couple of tales as yet un-presented, so watch out for them over the next few weeks!
featuring the covers of both issues of Lars of Mars!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Reading Room MARVEL PREVIEW "Sword in the Star: Stave Two: WitchWorld"

He, along with Groot, is the breakout star of the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie...
...but Rocket Raccoon had a far more inauspicous debut than most of his co-stars.
It began in Marvel Preview #7 (1976), in the second part of a space opera about a somewhat thick-headed space prince called Sword in the Star, as the lead character looked around on a new world for something to eat...
That's not Rocket in Panel 3...
And, that's not Groot in Panel 3 of this page...
It was, in fact, the final installment of Sword in the Star.
The "sticky wicket" created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Keith Giffen was never resolved.
Mantlo explained the problem in a text feature at the end of the issue (which you can click on to enlarge and read)...
When next we saw Rocket Raccoon, it was several years later in the pages of Incredible Hulk (also written by Mantlo)...minus his British accent and without an explanation as to how he survived.
(BTW, Wayfinder also the pages of the Mantlo-scripted Micronauts, where he travelled into the distant past to become the founder of the Microverse!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Reading Room: PLANET COMICS "Fero: Interplanetary Detective and the Kidnapped Councilman's Daughter"

When we first met him, Fero battled scientific menaces on present-day (1940s) Earth.
As of his next appearance, without explanation, he's set in the far future!
This never-reprinted tale from Fiction House's Planet Comics #6 (1940) was written and illustrated by Al Bryant under the pen-name "Allison Brant".
The change in venue from present to future without any in-story explanation (not even a caption like "returing from the past to the 21st Century..." or some-such) seems odd considering the same writer/artist is doing this follow-up tale.
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