Saturday, January 2, 2016

Coming Monday: SILVER SURFER by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Unseen by the public since 1980...
...this final Lee/Kirby co-production is considered Marvel's first original graphic novel.
It starts as a retelling of the "Coming of Galactus" storyline from Fantastic Four #48-50, but set in a reality without any of the myriad characters that inhabit Earth and the solar system of the Marvel Universe.
No Fantastic Four.
No Watcher.
No Alicia Masters.
However, there is Norrin Radd, who becomes the Silver Surfer, as well as Shalla Bal, his true love, and their home world, Zenn-La.
After stranding the Surfer on Earth, the story goes off on a totally-new tangent and introduces new characters, the golden Ardina (whom Galactus uses to emotionally-manipulate the Surfer), and Master of Guile, a manifestation of Galactus' "Dark Side" who advises the planet-eating alien!
It's a unique take on the character, and, as we said, the last joint project by the two guys who co-created most of the Marvel Universe!

As to why, unlike most of Marvel's Silver and Bronze Age output, it's never been reprinted...
According to Bill Bagnall at T'aint the Meat... It's the Humanity, the basis of the graphic novel was a never-used story for a Silver Surfer movie rock musical that would've featured Olivia Newton John as Ardina!
In addition, the copyright to the graphic novel is not Marvel's, but jointly-held by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby!
Between those two factors, there's probably enough legal red tape to keep the book from ever seeing print again.
As of January, 2016, it's only available as a HTF hardcover or paperback.
But, in the interest of historical research, we're going to re-present it in serial format on this blog starting Monday.
Don't miss it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

RAUMPATROUILLE "Angriff aus dem All" (Attack from Outer Space)

Let's kick the tires and light the fires...
...as we present the first episode of Space Patrol!
(BTW, it's the third tv series to use the name, after the 1950s American broadcast-live show and the early 1960s British puppet series.)
Meet Commander McLane and his rowdy "gang" (as their commanding officer refers to them), learn why they're being disciplined (again), and see why, despite various infractions against both civilian and military authorities, they're not doing life sentences in an interplanetary brig.
Also witness the introduction of the series' main villains, "Frogs", sentient energy beings who want to conquer the universe.
There's a lot to cover, so click on the screen and dive in...
(Note: It's German with English subtitles.
I've tried to set them up before creating the link, but you may have to click on the "gear" icon to implement them manually.)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reading Room OUT OF THIS WORLD "What Happened?"

It's a question I've groggily-asked on more than one New Year's Day...
...but here it's the title of an example of classic Ditko storytelling!
Most likely scripted by Joe Gill, this taut tale from Charlton's Out of This World #3 (1957) is one of those fun "gotcha" shorts in the vein of both EC Comics' sci-fi line and, later, TV's The Twilight Zone.
Have a safe and fun New Year's Eve, and be here tomorrow for the 50th Anniversary debut of Europe's Star Trek, Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion (or Space Patrol: the Fantastic Adventures of the Starship Orion)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Reading Room WEIRD ADVENTURES "Man Who Lived Backwards"

What if someone tried to prevent you from reaching tomorrow...
...and the only way you could move forward was to kill him in the past?
Check out this never-reprinted tale from Ziff-Davis' one-shot Weird Adventures #10 (1951) for the answer!
So, even though Paul had a change of heart, and tried to save David, his rival for Peggy died anyway, and Paul ended up with the woman they both loved!
What's the moral?
You can change history, even if you don't intend to?
Being good, even if it may be to your personal detriment, will be rewarded in the end?
Ah, well, I guess there are some things we're not meant to understand...
It may be just as well that both the writer and artist are unknown.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best of Reading Room UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION "Behold the Man" Conclusion

Art by Frank Brunner
Time traveler Karl Glogauer journeys to Palestine almost 2,000 years in the past to confirm the existence of Jesus Christ.
With his time machine damaged beyond repair and discovering he's gone a decade too far back, the now-stranded Glogauer encounters John the Baptist...
Published in the British sci-fi magazine New Worlds (which Moorcock himself edited) in 1966, the non-linear story running two parallel plot/timelines won the Nebula Award for "best novella".
Moorcock expanded it to novel length...
Art by Robert Foster
...and it is that currently OOP version which is best-known to American audiences and served as the basis of this never-reprinted adaptation in Marvel's Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #6 (1975) by writer Doug Moench and artist Alex Nino.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Best of Reading Room UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION "Behold the Man" Part 1

With Christmas behind us and New Year's Day just ahead...
...we're going to re-present a controversial (albeit award-winning) time-travel tale about the guy whose birthday we just celebrated!
In the 1960s, science fiction experienced an influx of a "New Wave" of writers who wanted to go beyond "hard" sf and experiment, both in form and in content, with a more literary/artistic sensibility.
New Wave writers often saw themselves as part of the modernist tradition, writing "soft" or metaphysical stories instead of the technology-oriented or "hard" sf of Asimov, Heinlein, et al.
The leading proponent of the movement was Michael Moorcock, editor of the British magazine New Worlds as well as an established and successful "hard" sf writer.
...to be continued

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Coming January 1st...Raumpatrouille!

What if Captain Kirk and his crew were a bunch of rule-breaking, hard-partying jerks...
...who still managed to save the universe on a weekly basis?
Meet Major Cliff Alistair McLaine and his international crew on this blog every Friday from January 1st onward!
Here's a trailer from a theatrical feature film compiled from several episodes to give you a taste...
And here's the title sequence with its variation of the "Space: the final frontier.." narration...

The 1966 seven-episode series was never broadcast in the US, but matches its' contemporary, Star Trek, for high adventure, drama, and innovative special effects, plus a really kool jazz soundtrack!
NOTE: It's in German with English subtitles.
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