Saturday, November 8, 2014

Under the X-Mas Tree: Behold...the Blue Bolt!

In the 1940s, comic books were the equivalent of videogames today. Everybody started publishing them, even the staid Saturday Evening Post! Their comics line was Novelty Press, and to create the lead character, they commissioned young up-and-coming writer/artist Joe Simon.
Simon came up with the concept, plot, and character designs and produced the first issue of Blue Bolt. But, by the second issue, his workload between this and other projects was so overwhelming, that to stay on deadline (Yes, there was a time when comics artists actually MET deadlines!), he partnered with another young up-and-comer, Jacob Kurtzburg.
You know him as...Jack Kirby!
(In the '60s he would, with Stan Lee, co-create The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor...basically 95% of Marvel Comics' Silver Age line-up, almost all of whom are still going strong today! Yeah, THAT Jack Kirby!)
Thus, with The Blue Bolt, the legendary Golden Age team of Simon & Kirby born!
As to the character himself...he was a football star who was struck by lightning (twice), recovered, flew his private plane to get help, crashed it so hard that it fell thru to the center of the Earth where the inhabitants of an advanced civilization used radiation to save and improve him, was given a costume and weapon, and sent to battle the local super-villain, The Green Sorceress.
And that was just the origin story!
Then things really got busy!
It took a year for Blue to both fall in love with, and finally defeat, Greenie. Then realizing World War II was under way, he went to the surface to battle the Axis.
Simon & Kirby moved on to create other, even higher-profile, projects (Captain America, Newsboy Legion, Young Romance, etc.) but Blue Bolt chugged on, surviving until the early 50s, when, after changing from a superhero to horror title, it was laid to rest as a result of a public outcry against comics led by Dr. Wertham.
We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ have resurrected the valiant hero as part of our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ line, including his first appearance, his (in our opinion) BEST cover, and his final Golden Age cover appearance!
For a fan of the Golden Age of Comics, Jack Kirby, or the Blue Bolt himself, any of our shirts, mugs, mousepads or other goodies would make great Christmas gifts!
Show the fanboy (or fangirl) in your life you know what they like!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Reading Room "The World You WILL Live In" Part 1

In 1950, what amazing advances did we think the 21st Century would bring?
As shown in this uncredited (and never-reprinted) feature from Harvey's Flash Gordon #1 (1950), four of the five predictions have come to pass, albeit in modified form.
This was one of three different new one-page features that appeared in all four issues of the series which reprinted the Flash Gordon Sunday newspaper strip by Alex Raymond, reformatted for the comic book page, and new covers (not by Alex Raymond).
The others were "Stories Behind the Stars" (about the myths behind constellation names) and "know Your Planets" (about the other worlds in the solar system).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reading Room JET POWERS "Fleets of Fear"

...oh, heck, I'll let writer Gardner Fox and artist Bob Powell explain what happened in the previous story...
He stops alien invasions and solves matters of the heart!
Jet Powers is truly a Renaissance Man!
Sadly, this was his final appearance in sci-fi...but not in comics.
When next he appeared, several months later, it was as "Army Air Ace" Jet Powers in the revival of Magazine Enterprises' title American Air Forces!
Though he looked and sounded like the space-adventure hero, there was no reference to his being a scientist, nor any use of sci-fi elements in the new Korean War-set stories!
This particular tale from Magazine Enterprises' Jet Powers #4 (1951) was one of two sequels to seperate cliffhangers featuring the hero in the previous issue.
It's unusual that a series would have two, unrelated, cliffhangers for one character in the same issue, but that's what writer Gardner Fox and artist Bob Powell did!
Considering the previous issues had inter-related stories in the same book, I wonder if this was a case of the first parts of a pair of two-part stories being completed, but the second parts weren't ready when the deadline crept up on them.
(In those days, comics had to come out on schedule since they were dependent on their status as periodicals to qualify for lower postage/shipping rates.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Reading Room JET POWERS "Rain of Terror"

(No, True Believers, you didn't miss a post!
The previous part of the tale appeared in April.
Click HERE to read it.)
See, real Amerians can solve even the End of the World in only 8 pages!
This tale from Magazine Enterprises' Jet Powers #4 (1951) was one of two sequels to seperate cliffhangers featuring the hero in the previous issue.
It's unusual that a series would have two, unrelated, cliffhangers for one character in the same issue, but that's what writer Gardner Fox and artist Bob Powell did!
Considering the previous issues had inter-related stories in the same book, I wonder if this was a case of the first parts of a pair of two-part stories being completed, but the second parts weren't ready when the deadline crept up on them.
(In those days, comics had to come out on schedule since they were dependent on their status as periodicals to qualify for lower postage/shipping rates.)
Be here tomorrow when we present the other cliffhanger resolution!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Best of Reading Room SPACEHAWK "Martian Election Mayhem"

If you think elections on Earth are hotly-contested...
...wait'll you see how things are handled on the red planet, Mars (which is now, strangely, colored green!)
This action-packed tale of electoral mayhem from Novelty's Target Comics #9 (1940) was written, illustrated, and lettered by the one-and-only Basil Wolverton.
The sheer unfettered imagination of the man was astounding, creating vistas and aliens far beyond anything the technology of moviemaking at the time (except for animation) could match.
With the current fascination for high adventure and fantasy, SpaceHawk would be an ideal project for either theatrical or direct-to-home video, and I'm surprised no one is doing it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's Almost Thanksgiving! Bring on the Turkeys!

This November, some of the RetroBlogs are presenting what could charitably be called...turkeys.
(Actually, this story may well qualify for one of the entries, but right now it's a kool graphic...)
We're talking the worst of the worst.
Stories and/or art that are so awful, so inane, they're not even shown on the 'Net, just talked-about in whispers!
In fact they're so bad they've never been reprinted, and probably never will be!
Confirmed so far are...
 The comic adaptation of the awful movie Conan the Destroyer in Secret Sanctum of Captain Video!
(We were gonna run the comic book adaptation of Howard the Duck, but even we have our limits!)
In Hero Histories you'll see the three-part tale that introduced the Blackhawks as super-heroes working for a spy organization!
BTW, they're from the same era as the Dracula and Frankenstein superhero incarnations we just ran!
And, Marvel's disco-themed follow-up to the success of Dazzler written by Stan (the Man) Lee himself...Night Cat, in Heroines!
Bring the sweet potatoes and biscuits 'cause, beginning this week, we have the turkeys!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Flash Gordon: the Greatest Adventure of All...HQ!

For years, the only version of this available anywhere has been a poor dub from VHS...

Not anymore.
Here it is dubbed from a foreign laserdisc (remember those?), and in stereo!
Enjoy!
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