Saturday, March 19, 2016

Reading Room WEIRD WORLDS "Creature"

What happens when you take a 1950s comic story, and redo the art 20 years later...
...but re-use the original dialogue and captions?
With a script taken almost verbatim from the (then) 20 year-old tale "Lost Kingdom of Althala", this story from Eerie Publications' Weird Worlds V1N10 (1970) had a complete redo on the art by Argentine illustrator Oscar Fraga, whose work in the American comics market was exclusively for Eerie Publications and consisted solely of re-dos of 1950s stories!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Reading Room STRANGE WORLDS "Lost Kingdom of Athala"

It's Friday, time for a story that'd make a great "popcorn" movie!
It's hokey, doesn't make much sense, but boy, it's loaded with action and it looks great!
Written by Gardner Fox, penciled by Joe Orlando & Wally Wood, and inked by Wood, this fast-paced story from Avon's Strange Worlds #4 (1951), would make a great Saturday afternoon flick, thanks to current state-of-the-art special effects!
EXTRA: Here's the b/w inside cover for this issue, which featured an illustrated preview of the stories by Wally Wood.
Note the heavy use of "craftint" texturing which Wood used to create a distinctive "look" for his art...
The script was re-used, almost verbatim, in 1970 by Eerie Publications, but the artwork for the retelling was nowhere near as good.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Holiday Reading Room MARVEL TALES "Louie's Leprechaun"

A never-reprinted tale about a leprechaun on St Patrick's Day?
Talk about yer pot o' gold, eh?
Written by Carl Wessler, and illustrated either by Vic Carabotta or the team of Arthur Peddy and Bernie Sachs (experts disagree on who did it), this story from Atlas' Marvel Tales #143 (1956) hasn't seen print in 60 years!
Considering the numerous illogical aspects to this tale (not the least of which was how the leprechaun mailed a letter minutes after he was sealed back in the ground, but before Louie got home only minutes later), it's not a bad story...if you don't think too hard about it.
And after a couple of pints of Guinness to celebrate the day, most of us won't...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Reading Room LOST WORLDS "Man Who Didn't Know Venus"

Nedor/Better/Standard Comics produced several sci-fi anthologies...
...none of which lasted more than three issues.
But it certainly wasn't due to lack of quality.
With a contributor list that included Alex Toth, Ross Andru, Mike Sekowsky, Nick Cardy, and Jack Katz, you're talking some of the great and soon-to-be-great storytellers of comics history!
But, there was one other sci-fi creator who did a story for Lost Worlds, one of only four tales he did for comic books.
Jerome Bixby, novelist and short-story writer, as well as screenwriter whose credits include...
IT! the Terror from Beyond Space!
Fantastic Voyage
Star Trek "Mirror, Mirror" and "Day of the Dove"
and the short story "It's a Good Life" which was adapted on both the original Twilight Zone tv series (by Rod Serling) and the 1983 feature film (adapted by Richard Matheson).
BTW, around the time he wrote this, Bixby had just left his position as editor of the Planet Stories pulp magazine at Fiction House, where he also contributed a couple of text pieces to Planet Comics and Indians (his only non-genre text story)!
BTW, let me know if this size is readable or not

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Reading Room UNLIKELY TALES "Expedition"

Exploring jungles in "deepest, darkest Africa" was a common sci-fi/fantasy trope...
...even into 1968, when this never-reprinted story appeared in Charlton Premiere #4 under the anthology banner "Unlikely Tales".
All the stories in the issue were written by up-and-comer Steve Skeates with a different artist on each tale.
This particular one was rendered by another up-and-comer Pat Boyette with the rest of the tales illustrated by vets Steve Ditko, Rocke Mastroserio, and another newcomer, Jim Aparo.
Trivia note: all the artists in this issue inked their own pencils, a rather uncommon occurence in the deadline-driven comics business where the need for speed and high-volume output tended to preclude allowing artists to do both.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Reading Room TALES CALCULATED TO DRIVE YOU BATS "Ghost Town"

Every few years, Archie Comics attempts to expand their audience...
...by taking stabs at other genres besides teen humor.
In the case of the 1961-62 title, Tales Calculated to Drive You Bats, it was doing comedy versions of monsters and aliens.
But after six issues, the sales indicated that wasn't what the audience wanted.
So, #7 (1962) took a different approach, presenting four tales like the sci-fi/fantasy stories currently running in comic competitors' anthologies like Tales to Astonish and Strange Adventures...but using the same "house style" art as the rest of the Archie Comics line!
Did it work?
Well, there was no issue #8 of Tales Calculated to Drive You Bats...
(Note: there was a one-shot giant-sized reprint issue published during the "camp" craze in 1966.
It didn't sell any better...)
Archie tried the idea of serious stories with Archie-style art one more time with Chilling Adventures in Sorcery as Told by Sabrina in 1972.
After two issues, the title dropped Sabrina as narrator-host and became Chilling Adventures in Sorcery, then Sorcery and switched over to using artists like Gray Morrow and Alex Toth for the remainder of its' 11-issue run.
BTW, the artist of this tale, Joe Edwards, was one of the most prolific of all the Archie Comics illustrators, with several thousand (yes, you read that right, thousand) covers, single/two-page strips, and stories to his credit, including almost all the ones featuring his creation, L'il Jinx!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Holiday Reading Room: EASTER WITH MOTHER GOOSE "Buddy Bunny's Problem"

Here's a kool short story by Walt (Pogo) Kelly...
...about the Easter Bunny bringing his son into the family business!
This 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.
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