Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Comics Trade Paperback You Should have Bought...but Didn't!

Remember this spectacular wraparound cover?
This superb, never-reprinted Murphy Anderson illustration encapsulates what made DC's science fiction line in the 1950s and 60s so entertaining!
Adam Strange and Alanna! (DC's premiere space-going heroes!)
Winged Apes! (DC was famous for using apes almost anywhere you could think of!)
A ridiculous, physically-impossible image (giant arrow thrown by aforementioned winged [but normal-sized] ape through the Earth) that you just must know the story behind! (Though, sadly, in this case, there's no story behind this particular piece!)
Fireside's Mysteries in Space (1980), a $7.95 trade paperback reprint compiled from Strange AdventuresMystery in SpaceTales of the Unexpected, and From Beyond the Unknown came and went quickly through bookstores.
Sadly, it didn't sell well, and many copies were returned to the publisher and pulped!
It's not available in e-book form, and a different 1999 tpb, Mystery in Space, doesn't reprint any of the stories featured in this compilation!
Now, when you can find a copy, it runs from $30 to $100, depending on condition!
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Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday Fun SPACE MOUSE "Genius at Work" & "Great Hero"

Besides the four-color stories in the book, the b/w inside covers were used for one-page features...
...although this first one, with its' vaudeville-level humor could've been used for any character...and probably previously had by writer-artist Frank Carin!
The second one shows something unusual in that Space Mouse apparently runs an interplanetary gas station in his spare time!
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Both these never-reprinted one-pagers are from Avon's Space Mouse #1 (1953), which cover-features a different space beauty pageant story!
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Reading Room LARS OF MARS "Crucial Game"

Even a Martian pretending to be a TV actor playing a Martian reveres the Great American Pastime...
...and won't allow anybody to sully or demean the sport's image...even if it means cheating to do so!
The ends justify the means even if it involves alien manipulation of peoples' minds, eh?
Great lesson for kids!
Written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, illustrated by noted DC Comics artist Murphy Anderson, this tale appeared in Ziff-Davis' Lars of Mars #11 (1951), the second (and last issue) of the series!
Considering the moral lessons the series apparently taught, perhaps it was for the best...
featuring the covers of both issues of Lars of Mars!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9/11 Report: the Graphic Adaptation

You'd think two of the guys who worked for decades on Casper and Richie Rich...
...couldn't produce something as...violent and this!
Well, you'd be wrong!
Writer/editor Sid Jacobson and the late, great illustrator Ernie Colon took the 9/11 Commission's Report and made it into a must-read graphic novel!
BTW, a lot of the purple prose in the adaptation is taken verbatim from the original Report!
You can read the entire GN as an interactive presentation HERE.
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(both by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon)

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder SEEKER 3000 "A New Beginning..." Part 2 has been 25 years since Seeker 3000 left Earth, seeking a new home for the human race!
Captain Jordan Shaw and his son Jericho, along with telepath Martika are on a reconnaissance mission when the planet begins to collapse!
Jericho manages to carry the wounded Martika to their scout ship and escape...but the Captain, apparently, didn't make it...
Which brother will be elected?
Next Wednesday
The New Captain!
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(the first appearance of the series)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Reading Room TIME WARP "Return to the Stars"

...let us take a look back to when we weren't trying to act like total idiots outside of our planet's atmosphere and the threats to peace weren't from our own species.
Using both established pros and talented newcomers, this oversized anthology (68 pages for $1 when the standard comic was 36 pages for 40¢) presented all-new material, almost all of which (including this story) has never been reprinted!
While Howard Chaykin certainly is an "established pro", writer Wyatt Gwyon, who might qualify as a newcomer, is a mystery.
With less than two dozen stories to his credit, Gwyon came onto the comics scene in 1977 scripting horror and sci-fi stories for various DC anthology titles until he disappeared in 1983.
There was no sign of him in comics...or anywhere else...until he popped-up again...with a one-page Wolverine story in Marvel's What If...? #34 (1992)!
Was "Wyatt Gwyon" a pseudonym?
Wyatt Gwyon was the protagonist of William Gaddis' acclaimed novel The Recognitions.
He's a frustrated fine artist with a gift for imitating the styles of Old Masters.
Unscrupulous art dealers and critics use him to create phony "undiscovered Old Masters" they sell for huge prices!
Was Wyatt a novelist/poet/movie-TV scripter who decided to try his hand at comics?
Or was he a DC or Marvel staffer who wanted to make some extra cash?
We'll probably never know...
...or will we?
According to Martin O'Hern, comics creator detective, the Who's Who created by mega-fan Jerry Bails (aka the Father of Comic Book Fandom) identifies "Gwyon" as long-time DC scripter Martin Pasko...but with a "?" by his name, probably because it's never been fully-confirmed.
Mike Kaluta, definitive artist for the comic version of The Shadow, provided pulp-style covers for the entire run.
While they had no relation to any of the stories in the book, they were spectacular!
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Monday, September 9, 2019

Monday Madness FAIRY TALES "Gingerbread Boy"

We skipped our usual Monday Madness entry due to Labor Day... lets's make up for it with the cover-featured (and never-reprinted) tale from Ziff-Davis' Fairy Tales #11 (1951)!
This is not so much a fairy tale as a folk tale or fable.
In most versions it's a fox who carries the Gingerbread Boy across the river and devours him!
The comic strip's art is by Leon Winik, who probably also did the cover, which matches the third panel on the final page above perfectly!
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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Design of the Week Redux SPACE ACE!

Each week, we post a limited-edition design, to be sold for exactly 7 days...

...unless it sells really well, then we continue it for a second week!
This Week...
Before Don Bluth appropriated the name for his video game, there were a couple of totally different Space Aces in the Golden Age of Comics!
This particular one was a Flash Gordon-type set in the then-distant future year of 2000, complete with one-man spacecraft, moving sidewalks, flying cars, mile-high skyscrapers, human colonies on other worlds, etc.! (You remember all that stuff, don't you?)
And, of course, aliens!
LOTS of aliens!

One of the interesting things about this image is that it doesn't feature a scantily-clad woman being held captive by the tentacled alien, making it particularly age-appropriate (but still retro-kool) for under-10 year-old kids' (pre-K / 4th Grade) back-to-school stuff!