Saturday, July 21, 2018

Reading Room STRANGE ADVENTURES "Science-Fiction Convention on Mars!"

You gotta ask: how can three of the best creatives of the Silver Age of Comics...
...make such an exciting concept so dull?
Writer Gardner Fox, penciler Gil Kane, and inker Joe Giella (together and seperately) produced some of the koolest tales of the Silver Age!
Yet, this story from DC's Strange Adventures #73 (1956) almost put me to sleep!
The premise is great, the concepts are well-thought out, but the rendering of it is...well...drab!
Why aren't the Martians more visually-interesting?
They're just bald guys!
Couldn't they be using disguises (either masks or holograms) while on Earth and then reveal themselves to be Martians when the convention-goers arrive on Mars?
It's not like penciler Gil Kane has any problem with rendering kool-looking humanoid aliens, as shown HERE!
And would it have killed them to give the creatives an extra page?
Jamming in all that exposition into the last page really limited Gil into what he could present.
(Remember, DC worked "full script", so Kane knew how much room the captions and dialogue balloons needed to take!)
Using two pages for that last sequence would've helped enormously!
And what about the weird rays that destroy any spaceships?
Natural?
Artificial?
We'll never know...
In comparison, this tale from Dell's Four Color #1288: Twilight Zone has a less-epic, but much more "fun" feel to it!
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(which reprints this tale...but in black and white)

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Fun REX DEXTER OF MARS "Exodus from Tarsus"

Rex and Cynde still haven't returned to Mars...
...and they're about to hit another detour...
This never-reprinted eight-page tale from Fox's Mystery Men Comics #13 (1940), is a classic example of "condensed" storytelling!
Things like the reveal of the fleet (not just a single vessel, but a fleet) of "mile-long spaceships" on page 2, or the destruction of planet Tarsus on page 5 takes less than half a page in each case!
In today's books they'd each be a double-page spread!
But in those days, it was "plot point covered, keep the story rolling"!
Wow!
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Reading Room ANYTHING GOES "Comic Book Convention"

Though I do a couple of East Coast and MidWest conventions each year...
...I've never done the nigh-legendary San Diego Comic-Con which begins today!
This never-reprinted tale from Fantagraphics' Anything Goes #6 (1987) by highly-underrated writer/artist George Metzger gives you a feel of how comic conventions used to be, before the onslaught of media promotion made them less "comic book" and more "movie/tv/video game" oriented!
It's an experience sadly lost to today's fans.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR "Planet-Hopper"

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Writer Marv Wolfman and artist Dan Green continue their adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' only "hard sci-fi" story (as compared to the "scientific romances" of John Carter and Carson of Venus)
 with this fast-paced installment from DC's Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle #215 (1972).
BTW, This chapter's slightly-weird title was taken from the "next issue" blurb on the final page of the previous installment.
So don't blame me.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Steve Ditko on RetroBlogs!

It's no secret we at RetroBlogs are major Steve Ditko fans as you can see from our posts at...
...Secret Sanctum of Captain Video, where we covered some of his work on Get Smart, Gorgo, and Mysterious Traveler!
...Seduction of the Innocent, which showed a Ditko tale that was later re-drawn!
(Who would have the chutzpah to think they could do a better job than Sturdy Steve???)
...Hero Histories, which features one of his greatest co-creations, Captain Atom, one of his greatest creations, Mr A, as well as his only story co-starring The Batman!
...a never-reprinted Civil War tale in War: Past Present and Future...
...even a Western Comics Adventures entry...
...and a Crime and Punishment post!
Was there anything Ditko couldn't do?
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Madness FANTASTIC COMICS "Space Smith vs Skull Charter"

The fad of wearing "retro" 1940s clothing has spread to the mass populace...
...in the future of Space Smith!
The current unknown writer and artist of this never-reprinted story from Fox's Fantastic Comics #14 (1941) seem to think either the series is set "present day" with added super-science goodies (like Flash Gordon), or a future where we still have 1940s-style clothing and furniture!
Weird, eh?
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Science Fiction Comics
Taylor History of Comics
Vol 3

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Reading Room SPACE ACTION "Silicon Monsters from Galaxy X"

If you're a cheesy sci-fi fan like me, you'll go for a story with a title like...
...'cause with a title like that, you're in for a fun (if not totally rational or even coherent) time!
While the writer is unknown, the art for this tale from Ace's Space Action #2 (1952) is attributed to "Jim McLaughlin", who had a short-lived comics career doing work primarily for Ace!
After that publisher dropped comics in 1955 to concentrate on paperbacks, he did a couple of stories for Atlas/Marvel, then a run of Dell's adaptation of the TV series Gunsmoke.
Then "Jim McLaughlin" disappeared.
Totally.
Unlike most comic book artists who went on to do commercial art or newspaper strips, there's no trace of "Jim McLaughlin" after his brief foray into four-color publishing...and no background about his pre-comics career!
Here's another interesting point...his art style altered considerably during his career.
In this story, the inking looks a lot like the work of long-time artist Jim Mooney!
In fact, a number of panels resemble Mooney's work on the DC strip Tommy Tomorrow, which Jim Mooney was both penciling and inking during the same period as "Jim McLaughlin's" work for Ace!
In McLaughlin's later work (particularly his Gunsmoke art), while the layouts look similar, the inking style is totally-different!
Was "Jim McLaughlin" a pen-name for a penciler working with at least two (if not more) different inkers?
Please Support Atomic Kommie Comics!
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Science Fiction Comics
Taylor History of Comics
Vol 3
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