Saturday, August 8, 2015

Reading Room BLACK TERROR COMICS "Space Speedsters"

Combine When Worlds Collide, Damon Runyon's Broadway tales, Flash Gordon, and Front Page...
...and you get this really weird one-shot tale!
So, we got...Armageddon, gangsters, intrepid spacemen (and women) and spaceships, newspaper reporters, and some comedy relief.
Did I miss anything?
This never-reprinted tale from Nedor/Standard's Black Terror #23 (1948) seems like part of an ongoing series, but I can't find any other stories featuring the lead characters!
Illustrator (and possible writer) Stan Asch was one of the steadily-working artists who were the backbone of the comics industry in the Golden Age.
With over 300 stories and covers to his credit, he co-created Johnny Thunder and Dr Mid-Nite for DC Comics, and assisted both Milton Caniff (on Terry and the Pirates) and Al Capp (on Lil' Abner) during his long career.
Was this a try-out for an onoging series that didn't sell?
We'll never know...

Friday, August 7, 2015

The REAL Fantastic Four!

Word is the new Fantastic Four flick is crap...
...so let's look at one of the more successful media adaptations...
Adapted from Marvel's Fantastic Four #126 (1972), this Roy Thomas-written, John Buscema/Joe Sinnott-illustrated tale beautifully-expanded on the original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby story!
The voices are a fascinating group.
Johnny Storm/Human Torch (and Narrator) was Peter Fernandez (Speed Racer himself).
Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic sounds like Les Tremayne (Mentor on the SHAZAM! TV series) who started out on dramatic radio in the late 1940s!
Enjoy the REAL Fantastic Four!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Reading Room TALES TO ASTONISH "Voice of Fate"

Our final tale is a re-working of the previous one...
...but with some interesting variations!
This story by plotter Stan Lee, writer Larry Lieber, and artist Don Heck is from Atlas' Tales to Astonish #33 (1962) and is a retelling of "Mister Black", which appeared only a couple of months earlier in Atlas' Strange Tales #93 (1962).
You'll note the protaganist is now American, but still a draft dodger.
Of course, the story omits why the Japanese would even take him in (since he had nothing of value to the government), or how he even got to Japan in the middle of World War II...

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Reading Room STRANGE TALES "Mister Black"

...with a tale featuring a Japanese protagonist!
Was this story from Atlas' Strange Tales #93 (1962) an inventory tale from the 1950s?
Artist Bob Forgione lost his ongoing freelance work at Atlas when the company cut back in late 1956-early 1957 after losing their newsstand distributor.
When this story was finally published, Forgione was working steadily for Dell, ACG, and DC.
It also appears to have been the last original tale by Bob that Atlas/Marvel published.
(All subsequent stories were reprints of earlier material.)
Also, could it have been reworked from an unpublished Witness tale?
Every comic company had a cloaked mysteryman narrating stories about "everyday" people (and occasionally influencing them, as well).
Timely/Atlas' entrant in the Mysterious Traveler/Whistler/Phantom Stranger/Man in Black Called Fate competition was The Witness, who had his own one-shot comic and a number of stories scattered in other titles.
At any rate, an extremely-similar tale appeared only a couple of months later...by one of the now-revived and thriving Atlas/Marvel's hottest artists!
You'll see that tale on the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima...tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Reading Room STRANGE TALES "Eyes that Never Close"

With the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima coming up...
...we're presenting several tales from the 1950s-60s relating to it.
This never-reprinted story from Atlas' Strange Tales #61 (1958) treats the bombing as just another disaster, but one the criminal won't escape from.
Illustrated effectively by Bernie Krigstein, who tells a story in only four pages that most artists today would need twenty pages for.
BTW, the writer is unknown.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Reading Room CAPTAIN SCIENCE COMICS "Spawn of Saturn"

Welcome to the cover feature of Captain Science #1 (1950)...
...except it's not about Captain Science!
In fact, the story's title isn't mentioned on the cover at all!
(You can find the actual Captain Science tales from #1 HERE and HERE.)
It's interesting to see a sci-fi tale where a handsome starship captain doesn't go on a landing party to a potentially-dangerous locale!
The writer is unknown, but the art is by Walter Johnson, who not only penciled and inked his own work, but ran a studio that supplied material to a number of comics companies, so some of his "signed" jobs (like this one) show elements of several artists' styles.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

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