Saturday, April 16, 2016

Reading Room: WEIRD TALES OF THE FUTURE "Escape to Death"

Yeah, you read that correctly.
"To", not "From".
Don't worry, this s-o-b deserves what he gets in the end...
It's a kool story with superb Basil Wolverton story and art.
But, there's one problem...the coloring.
Basil went to the trouble of doing a number of different alien races, but they're all colored the same shade of green!
(There is one panel with the various aliens colored differently, but even there, the coloring is not consistent.
Members of the same species are colored several different ways!)
I hope that, when this tale from Key's Weird Tales of the Future #2 was reprinted in Eclipse's Mr Monster's Super-Duper Special #8 in 1987, it was recolored to play up the various species' differences.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Reading Room TALOS OF THE WILDERNESS SEA "...to the Wilderness Sea!" Part 1

Welcome to the future...
...which looks a lot like the past, as shown in heroic fantasy fiction!
Riding high on the success of the Sword of the Atom mini-series and follow-up annuals which re-imagined the hard sci-fi character in a barbarian adventure setting, Gil Kane (along with collaborator Jan Strnad) was given the go-ahead for another high-adventure series, this time based on a new character.
Planned as a 12-issue mini-series, cutbacks at DC dictated that the already-penciled and scripted first two issues be combined into a one-shot whose sales would determine if the project would continue.
Unfortunately, the unfamiliar character didn't attract a large enough audience (as The Atom had), and only the single, open-ended issue came about.
BTW, if you're thinking the plotline seems familiar, It's because Kane based it on the Biblical tale of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt, transposed into a barbaric future!

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)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reading Room TALES OF THE WATCHER "Why Won't They Believe Me?"

...now let's look at the expanded and enhanced rendition!
Scripted by Stan (the Man) Lee, penciled by Gene (the Dean) Colan, and inked by Paul (no nickname) Reinman, this double-length version of the story from the back of Marvel's Silver Surfer V1 N3 (1969) has a lot more humor and a bigger build-up to the switch-ending than the original.
BTW, almost all the "Tales of the Watcher" that appeared during the Silver Surfer book's 48-page incarnation (which lasted for the first seven issues before becoming a "regular" 32-page magazine) were expanded re-dos of shorter Atlas-era stories!
The exception was the first tale which was a re-do of the origin of the Watcher's race from the original run of Tales of the Watcher when it backed-up Iron Man in Tales of Suspense until a brand-new Captain America strip took over the second slot.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Reading Room AMAZING ADULT FANTASY "Why Won't They Believe Me?"

Stan (the Man) Lee felt a good story...
...such as this one from Atlas' Amazing Adult Fantasy #7 (1961), was worth repeating...
Scripted by Lee and illustrated by his Spider-Man and Dr Strange co-creator Steve Ditko, the tale was typical of the "gotcha" snap-ending stories made popular in mass culture by Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone, but done, in comics, a decade earlier in the EC Comics horror and sci-fi/fantasy books (though usually with more gore).
Lee re-used (and expanded) the plot almost a decade later when he re-did it with another Silver Age legend, as you'll see tomorrow...

Monday, April 11, 2016

JACKIE ROBINSON Classic Comic Book Covers

Fawcett Comics produced six issues of a comic about Jackie Robinson between 1949-1952.
Digitally-restored and remastered from the actual original covers!
Collect all six for a kool wall display!
Trivia note: While there were many comics dedicated to specific baseball players and teams, only Babe Ruth Sports Comics had more issues than Jackie Robinson's book, and it ran stories about other sports like football and basketball!
And watch
by Ken Burns
on your local PBS station!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reading Room REAL FACT COMICS "Rookie of the Year" & PICTURE NEWS "California Flash"

...today, it's the "real deal"!
The story from DC's Real Fact Comics #14 (1948) presents the story in a straightforward, if slightly patronizing, manner.
The following tale from Parents Magazine's Picture News #4 (1946) by writer/artist Charles Wessel, predates his being called up to the majors.
Note it does contain a couple of racial stereotypes common to the era, and may be NSFW.
There was also an official Jackie Robinson comic book from major publisher Fawcett that lasted six issues (longer than most other comics based on real-life baseball players) from 1949-52.
We'll show you their covers tomorrow...
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