Saturday, July 25, 2015

Before PIXELS...there was ATARI FORCE!

The new flick Pixels plays nostalgia of the first generation of video games for laughs...
...but for those of us who were there, it was an exciting time as a new entertainment medium was born.
Much like the Golden Age of Comics in the 1940s, it was a period of experimentation.
Atari tried to tie the various unrelated games together by incorporating the concepts for the games into a digest-sized comic book series available included in the cartridge packages...
DC Comics produced five issues of Atari Force in this format, with each one using themes from the game they were packaged with as the basis for their plots.
Creators for these never-reprinted issues included Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Ross Andru, Dick Giordano, and Gil Kane.
Apparently, they were successful enough that DC then published a regular comic-sized sequel series that featured a "next generation" Force made up of children of the original crew plus new, alien, team members.
That version ran almost three years before being cancelled under murky circumstances, despite being one of DC's better-selling titles.
(Many believe it was due to Atari's being broken up and sold off by DC's parent company, Time-Warner after a major collapse in the video game industry in the mid-1980s.)
Recently, Dynamite Publishing announced they'd be doing licensed reprints of the original comics as well as new stories based on them.
We re-presented the first issue on our "brother" RetroBlog, Secret Sanctum of Captain Video, a while ago.
While we won't run any further tales since they'll soon be available in print again, you can see the complete first issue by clicking HERE.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Reading Room CAPTAIN SCIENCE COMICS "Monster God of Rogor"

Heroic Archeologists in torn shirts!
Scantly-clad Princesses!
Terrifying Monsters!
And, it's illustrated by Wally Wood!
I really should charge for entertainment this good...
Yeah, I know every blogger and his brother has run this tale.
But it's so damn kool, I just had to get it into the Atomic Kommie Comics™ archives.
The art for this tale from Youthful Publications' Captain Science #1 (1950) is signed by Wally Wood, and the inking is pure Woody.
But, it looks like he had assistance on pencils, perhaps by Joe Kubert.
The writer is unknown.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Reading Room CAPTAIN SCIENCE COMICS "Ghosts From the Underworld"

In the scientific world of the future, there's no place for unexplainable things like ghosts...
...or is there?
So there was a plausible (albeit far-fetched) explanation for the "ghosts"!
This one-shot tale from Youthful's Captain Science #3 (1951) was illustrated by Don Perlin at the beginning of his long (45+ years) comics career.
In fact, it was his first published work!
Don continued working steadily (writing/penciling/inking/editing/art directing) until the mid-1990s, when he went into semi-retirement.
He still does an occasional cover or spot illustration as well as private commissions.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Before Ant-Man...There Was FLY-MAN!

Actualy, there were two of them!
who only appeared twice!
...who was co-created by Jack Kirby, Ant-Man's co-creator!
Read about them at our "brother" RetroBlog; Hero Histories!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Reading Room MYSTERY IN SPACE "With His Head in the Stars"

DC's last attempt at an ongoing sci-fi anthology (except for an occasional one-shot)...
...was this revival of a classic title that, unfortunately, ended after only seven issues.
Writer Arnold Drake and artist Steve Ditko were both Silver Age pros who knew how to make a short story's surprise ending work, as this never-reprinted tale from DC's Mystery in Space #116 (1981) demonstrates.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Reading Room KIDNAPPED BY A SPACE SHIP "Part 6 - Laughing Death"

In the year 1970, two 'tweens and two adults ended up on an alien world...
...where both scientifically-advanced inhabitants and savages co-exist!
Out of the frying pan and into the fire...but science will provide an answer!
This tale from Treasure Chest V14N16 (1959) feels like a chapter from an old movie serial, moving from one peril to the next.
Note that the comic was a bi-weekly, so the readers had to wait two weeks, unlike movie audiences who only had a week between serial chapters at their local theatre!
Writer Frances Crandall followed the accepted concepts of space travel postulated by scientist Werner Von Braun and, illustrated by Chesley Bonestell in various books and magazines like Conquest of Space, and popularized in numerous 1950s movies like Destination Moon and Angry Red Planet!
Artist Fran Matera was also the art director/art editor for Treasure Chest, but is best known for his long run on the Steve Roper and Mike Nomad newspaper strip.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Design of the Week "DIARY SECRETS: OH, JIM, IF ONLY WE COULD!"

Each week, we post a limited-edition design, to be sold for exactly 7 days, then replaced with another.
This week, put a "beach read" retro romance comic book cover on your beach blanket, t-shirt, canvas bag, e-reader, and other stuff!
Enjoy...and make sure you have plenty of drinks.
Gotta keep hydrated in this heat!
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