Saturday, January 24, 2015

Reading Room REALITY "Endless Chain"

Long before the internet and DeviantArt, up-and-coming artists were published in fanzines... get their work in front of an audience, receive feedback, and make a few bucks!
Originally-drawn for Web of Horror, this early tale by Frank Brunner ended up in the first issue of Reality, a fanzine published in 1970 by 15-year old Robert Gerson.
When Web died after only three issues, a number of writers and artists had no market for their material without losing all the rights to it, so, in order to get it published to make a few bucks for their labor (and retain the copyrights), they let a young entepreneur use the stories in his fanzine, which was sold at conventions and in used book stores and head shops alongside underground comics.
(There were no comic book shops back then.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Reading Room CAPTAIN QUICK & THE SPACE SCOUTS "Martian Canal Frog and the Jewel Flowers"

Let's strap on our rocket packs for another adventure with...
...who are still on Mars, as we saw last time!
Though the art for this never-reprinted tale from Prize Comics' Tom Corbett: Space Cadet V2#2 (1955) is credited solely to Marvin Stein at the Grand Comics Database, the layout appears to be by Jack Kirby, which would make sense since Simon & Kirby's studio was packaging the book for Prize.
Beyond being set in the near future, there was no connection to Tom Corbett.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Reading Room SENSATION MYSTERY "Vengeance of the Invisible Men"

Here's a kool, never-reprinted, 1950s sci-fi tale...
...using a combination of different genre cliches!
Illustrated by the legendary Murphy Anderson, this story from DC's Sensation Mystery #110 (1952) combines the following cliches:
Glasses that enable somone to see things nobody else can see!
Creatures from the center of the Earth rising up to attack up!
A heroic human in alien/creature form stopping the enemy from destroying/enslaving humanity!
All of which leads me to believe the unknown writer of this tale is Gardner Fox, who was also working for DC as well as being well-versed in such concepts because he was both an established pulp and paperback novelist and an avid sci-fi fan!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Reading Room ROCKET SHIP X "Our Atomic Future"

Remember when we thought the day after tomorrow would be...
...and all the world's woes could be solved with nuclear power?
If you're an older Baby Boomer, or one of the Greatest Generation, you might remember this tale from Fox's one-shot Rocket Ship X (1951) or something similar to it, since the unhindered (but safe) use of atomic power was being promoted as the ultimate solution to the world's oil/gasoline problems!
Oddly, when it was reprinted in Charlton's Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds #5 (1956), only the first page was shown!
Sadly, no records exist to identify the writer and artist (or writer/artist) of this unfulfilled prophecy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Reading Room BUCCANEERS "Black Roger: Who He Is and How He Came to Be"

While most movie/comic/pulp pirates battled along the Spanish Main...
...this freebooter set sail for the Barbary Coast!
When superheroes' popularity waned at the end of World War II, comics looked for other genres to fill the gap.
Taking their cue from movie box office sales, several publishers either premiered new books featuring swashbuckling scoundrels or converted ongoing titles from superheroes to pirates.
(In fact, Black Roger's premiere tale is from Quality's Buccaneers #19 (1950), which was the first issue under that title.
It had previously been Kid Eternity!)
While most of the strips were pretty blatant copies of various Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power pirate characters, this strip recombined elements of Captain Blood (Educated professional wrongly-convicted) and Zorro (masked avenger) along with our hero concentrating on a particular class of pirate...Moslem Arabs along the Barbary Coast of Africa!
Oddly, the particular group he battles this time out seem more Asian than Arab, a matter that's corrected in future stories.
Regrettably, both writer and artist(s) are unknown.
Black Roger appeared in every issue of Buccaneers during its'  9-issue run, never once making the cover (That was resereved for an Errol Flynn/Sea Hawk clone named "Captain Daring".
But you'll be seeing them all on this blog over the next few months.
Watch for them!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr--the Comic Book

On the day we honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr, the gang at Atomic Kommie Comics™ thought it only appropriate to present this item, the first comic book dramatizing his historic efforts.
From the website's intro to the comic...
Most sane thinkers consider MLK to be an important and historic larger-than-life icon, but how did that happen?
Especially given the marginalized press coverage of blacks in the 50s, how was his message galvanized among southern minorities and then spread as a single statement beyond the black community -- and how was it focused so specifically to such seemingly ignorable or boring local incidents as one black woman's refusal to give up a bus seat and a following small-town bus boycott, as well as the concept of Passive Resistance?
Without any need for hyperbole, this comic book is one of the reasons.

Produced by the Fellowship of the Reconciliation and sent very surreptitiously throughout the South (it was dangerous for many to own a copy), then translated, re-drawn, and distributed once again throughout the entire SOUTHERN CONTINENT through Mexico, into Central and then South America, this comic tells the story that established the myth of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks at the time that it mattered, mere months after news events occurred.
Intended for adults, but shown in comic book format for the largest possible distribution and audience and instruction.
It was also produced as a comic because more adult seeming publications and newspapers were often destroyed by white businessmen and other violent types bent on continuing segregation's grip on the South.
But that does not mean people found distributing copies of this comic were not given their fair share of beatings and harassment, nor does it mean thousands of copies were not often destroyed.
Why? This comic is and was dangerously honest.
Featuring the Klan (lynching, bombs, burning crosses), Jim Crow laws, and the entire concept of Nonviolent Protest.
This pamphlet offered advice and instructions on how to use passive resistance and massive non-violent resistance against segregation, just as these ideas were fresh --and it also established a clear connection of MLK to Gandhi, a public connection that continues on to today.

A copy of this comic is held in the Smithsonian and many Civil Rights leaders recognize this as one of the most important AND PERSUASIVE items of the 50s in establishing or explaining their cause to the world, as well as giving many black youths the courage and direction to hold their own political protests.
Many notable sit-ins and demonstrations link to this comic book getting into the right hands - and it did get around, literally devoured by black college students at the time.
We're DELIGHTED to offer you not just the American version of this comic but also the SPANISH edition, of which maybe two or three copies are known to exist.
After extensive effort and search, we were able to find a copy in Uruguay.
Not joking. Completely redrawn and translated, click back and forth to compare art, some of the differences between the two are great.

Ever wonder how much influence and power a small press or self-produced item can have?
This is one of the best examples you'll ever see.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

All 12-Month Calendars are NOW 25% Off!

From now until January 31, 2015, all calendars are discounted from $19.99 to $14.99!
And they now have customizable"start dates", so you can give them as birthday presents with the recepient's 2015 birthday month as the first month on the calendar, then running 12 months to their birthday in 2016!
(Can't do that with a store-bought calendar!)
NOT available in stores, only on-line! Order now...before time runs out! ;-)
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