Saturday, January 16, 2016

Reading Room OUT OF THIS WORLD "From All Our Darkrooms..."

Here's a tale we couldn't tell in today's world of digital photography...
...but until a couple of years ago, it was quite plausable!
Though set in 1972, this tale from Charlton's Out of This World #4 was published in 1957!
Wonderfully-rendered by Steve Ditko at his moodiest, the story was most-likely scripted by Charlton workhorse Joe Gill.
The "negative" effect was achieved by simply making negative photostats of parts of the original art and pasting them onto the art boards before photographing them for color separations.
To demonstrate, here's the printed cover...
...and here's the b/w original art with the caption and negative photostat removed...
You didn't think Ditko inked the right side as "negative space", did you?

Friday, January 15, 2016

RAUMPATROUILLE "Hüter des Gesetzes" (Guardians of the Law)

After twice defeating energy-based aliens known as "Frogs"...
...the crew of the Orion 7 encounter rebellious robots on an Earth colony!
(Note the story makes use of Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics!
OK, let the comparisons to how Kirk and Spock would've handled it begin...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reading Room PLANET OF VAMPIRES "Blood Plague" Conclusion

This scene...sorta...appears in this issue
Astronauts Chris and Craig invade the vampires' stronghold only to discover Craig's wife (and fellow astronaut) Brenda drained dry, as shown on the cover above.
(Except for the fact that Craig has a moustache and both Craig and Brenda are African-American, as shown HERE.)
Leaving Craig to mourn, Chris blasts his way into the Proctor's office...
What was "the Secret Project"?
We never found out, since the book was cancelled!
But it was already going though the transition that almost all the Atlas books that lasted more than two issues went through.
Radical changes in creative staffs, plotlines, even characters themselves were the norm as mercurial publisher Martin Goodman began shaking things up.
It's a sordid tale best told by one who was there, so click HERE for the details!
As for Planet of Vampires, the word was to make it more like Planet of the Apes and/or Kamandi.
This two-page spread by Larry Lieber and Al Milgrom gives an idea of what was to come...
Perhaps it's just as well there was no #4...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Reading Room PLANET OF VAMPIRES "Blood Plague" Part 1

...keep reading and the characters will explain what's going on right after the big explosion.
"What big explosion?" you may ask...
The battle continues...tomorrow!
Written by John Albano and illustrated by Russ Heath, Atlas' Planet of Vampires #3 winds up some plotlines and, unfortunately, kills off several major characters in the process.
Be here tomorrow, when we'll show how far afield the book was about to go as it suffered the "Third Issue Curse" that befell most of the Atlas books.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Reading Room SPACE WAR "Strange World"

A never-reprinted short story that could've been produced as an episode of the original Twilight Zone...
...from Charlton's Space War #22 (1963).
Was this a longer tale edited down to only three pages?
It certainly feels like it, since there are many unanswered questions like...
If these people are Tibetan, why are they dressed like the Flintstones...and why do they speak English?
How would they know anything about the Earth-Uranus War?
And why is it we have no idea how only Heffner survived?
Pencils by Dick Giordano, inks by Vince Colletta.
The writer is unknown, but the Grand Comics Database postulates Joe Gill as the most likely candidate.

Monday, January 11, 2016


The Silver Surfer directs the ever-hungry god-like being called Galactus to a world filled with well as teeming with sentient life!
The world is...Earth!
The sentient life...human beings!
But, after observing humans close-up (instead of from orbit), the Herald of Galactus comes to the conclusion that allowing the Planet Devourer to wipe them out to sustain himself is wrong, and attempts to convince his master to let him find an alternate world to ingest and leave Earth and its' inhabitants intact.
Galactus refuses...
As our tale goes in an entirely-new direction from the saga of the Silver Surfer in the Marvel Universe, we bid you adieu, dear reader, until next Monday...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Reading Room OUT OF THIS WORLD "My Secret"

You may ask "Why is a simple crime story being published in a sci-fi comic?"
The answer will surprise you...
Y'know, Donald Trump and his ilk could take a lesson from this Steve Ditko-rendered tale...illegal alien makes good and government rewards him with a free pass!
Originally-published in Charlton's Out of This World #3 (1957), this oft-reprinted story's author is unknown, but suspected to be Charlton mainstay Joe Gill.