Saturday, March 12, 2016

Reading Room STRANGE WORLDS "A Nation is Born"

As we mentioned yesterday, here's the Golden Age version...
..of a Bronze Age b/w magazine story we already ran HERE!
Illustrated by Golden Age journeyman Rafael Astarita, this tale appeared in Avon's Strange Worlds #4 (1951) and was reprinted in IW's Strange Planets #9 (1959).
It was then re-illustrated, with only minor changes to the script (including a re-titling), in Eerie Publications' Strange Galaxy V1N8 (1971) as shown HERE.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Reading Room STRANGE GALAXY "Moon is Red"

In the late 1960s-early 1970s, numerous b/w comic magazines popped up...
...to publish risque material the Comics Code Authority banned from color comic books!
This tale from Eerie Publications' Strange Galaxy #V1N8 (1971) has the "feel" of a 1950s comic, which makes sense, since the script is lifted almost verbatim from a story in Avon's Strange Planets #4 (1951) called "A Nation is Born", but redrawn!
That's odd, since the publisher had been taking color comic material from Avon and other defunct publishers and simply reprinting it with grey tones added!
You'll see the original version tomorrow!

BTW, this issue, despite being #8, was actually the first issue under that title.
What it was before then is unknown, since the publisher did numerous titles in various categories including astrology, romance, true crime, etc.

"Oswal" was the pen-name of Osvaldo Walter Viola, an Argentinean writer/artist who began his career in the early 1960s creating Argentine's first super-hero, Sónoman.
His only American comics work was for Eerie Publications' titles.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Reading Room BLACK CAT MYSTIC "Great Stone Face"

Despite the title, Black Cat Mystic was actually a sci-fi anthology...
...featuring the final work of the Simon & Kirby Studio!
NOTE: May be NSFW due to racial stereotypes common to the era.
Penciled, inked, and probably scripted by Jack Kirby, this tale from Harvey's Black Cat Mystic #59 (1957) is Jack's first look at what would become known as the "ancient astronauts" theory in the 1970s due to the interest generated by Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods.
At the same time, Kirby himself would expand the concept into The Eternals, (originally-titled Return of the Gods), which is now one of the lynchpins of the Marvel Universe.
Kirby would present a variation of the theme a couple of years after "Great Stone Face" in Race for the Moon's "Face on Mars" as shown HERE.
Note: Kirby and Stan Lee did a variation of the concept at Marvel in the 1960s with The Inhumans, who were created by Kree scientists visiting Earth in prehistoric times and genetically-manipulating humans to draw out dormant abilities.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Holiday Reading Room: EASTER WITH MOTHER GOOSE

Here's a short story featuring a plethora of fairy tale characters...
...as presented by a (then) future superstar of the comic strip or, (if you want to be pretentious) graphic novel form!
The title story from Dell's Four Color Comics #103: Easter with Mother Goose (1946) was written and illustrated by Walt Kelly, whose signature series Pogo wouldn't debut for another three years.
Trivia:
While Pogo as a stand-alone series began in 1949, various characters including Pogo himself and Albert the Alligator had appeared as supporting characters in other Walt Kelly-written and drawn strips since 1941.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Does North Korea Realize World War III Already Happened?

Nuclear Armageddon came in 1960...
...not once, but twice!
At least, that was the basis for two different series from the same publisher running simultanously in 1952, Atomic War! and World War III!
Oddly, the premiere issue of World War III presented a similar series of events to the first issue of Atomic War, but in a slightly-different time-frame, and a different order!
There were no cross-overs and certain events and available technology were very different in the two titles, indicating the two series were alternate universe versions of each other!
BTW, Atomic War! came first, in November, 1952, following in December, then going bi-monthly in February and April, 1953.
World War III ran in March and May of 1953, the months Atomic War! wasn't published, giving kids of the era a monthly fix of future fun!
Noted comics, pulp, and paperback author Robert Turner wrote both issues of World War III, but the writer(s) of Atomic War! are unknown.
With North Korea threatening us with nuclear annihilation (again), we thought we'd call your attention to our re-presentation of these kool examples of Cold War paranoia at our "brother" RetroBlog ™, War: Past, Present & Future™.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Reading Room UNKNOWN WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION "Kick the Can"

It's said that space opera = "horse opera" with rayguns instead of six-guns...
...and just like the revisionist westerns of the '60s and '70s, this is a more sophisticated version of that concept.
Written and illustrated by Bruce Jones, this never-reprinted tale from Marvel's Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #4 (1975) takes the cliches of both horse opera and film noir, puts them in a sci-fi setting and makes them work in a way the Comics Code would not have allowed in a color book.
(Helping a wife escape her husband through extra-legal means and deliberately allowing someone to die were both no-nos to the Code.)
Plus, Jones' classical illustration style gives the tale an emotional resonance a more-stylized artist wouldn't have achieved.
BTW, Jones is still active in the field, as his LinkedIn and Blog sites show...
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