Thursday, April 14, 2016

Reading Room STRANGE TALES "Earth is Off-Limits!"

Once more we open the squeeky vault door...
...(Why are they always squeeky?) and present another long-unseen, never-reprinted tale from a pair of Silver Age legends!
If you're thinking "why don't they just keep transmitting audio and video signals and someone else will hear them and relay the info to everyone on Earth?", remember this was written in 1963.
No Internet.
No personal computers.
No home video (VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray) recording devices.
Few people had ham/short wave radios, and even if they picked up the astronauts' signals, they had no way to tell (or show) the world what they saw and heard.
So, in that context, the story works!
Of course, today it would be another matter...
The Human Torch had taken over the cover and front of Strange Tales as of #101, but the back half of the book still had the sci-fi/fantasy short stories that served as the core of the anthology from its' beginning.
Though the Torch stories have been reprinted, most of the shorts, like this one, haven't been seen by readers since their initial publication.
It's a pity, since they're classic examples of some of the Marvel Bullpen's better non-superhero stuff.
This particular story, from Strange Tales #109 (1963), is by the guys who would co-create Dr Strange in the very next issue...Stan Lee and Steve Ditko!
That would mark the end of the shorts in the back of Strange Tales.
Though The Torch (despite being joined by The Thing) would be displaced by Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. , Doctor Strange would not only survive, but take over Strange Tales as of #169.
(Nick Fury got his own book beginning with #1)

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