Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Reading Room ALIEN WORLDS "...and Miles to Go Before I Sleep"

Sometimes it takes a couple of old pros to give you a new perspective...

...on a matter that will affect us all...eventually!

Some say it's an ironic story.
I prefer to think of it as a tale of love between parents and their child taken to the nth degree...even beyond death itself!
Adapted from his own short story by noted sci-fi author Willlam F Nolan, and illustrated by Al Williamson, this never-reprinted piece from Eclipse's Alien Worlds #8 (1984) is a gentle tale that would have made a helluva episode of the classic Twilight Zone!
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which reprints the original prose short story "...and Miles to Go Before I Sleep"

Monday, April 19, 2021

Monday Mars Madness: a Twice-Told Tale INVASION!

One of the best-known Mars invasion tales is Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio show...
Edited version
...which this twice-told tale "updates" to the television era!
But, it's radically-altered from it's first appearance, and that the original version had never been reprinted!
First the toned-down version, then the original, scarier version...
Original version
 Note in the original version, both the wife and singer on tv show a lot more cleavage!
Edited version
Original version
Again, more cleavage in the original version...
Edited version
Original version
Oddly enough, the wife's cleavage is unchanged, but the look of terror in the last panel is toned down!
Edited version
Original version

Panel four in the original version is much more gruesome than the edited version.  Note the dialogue balloon is unchanged, even though there's no actual weapons fire in the edited version!

Edited version
 This last page is radically-different! Prepare yourself!
Proceed...but remember, I warned you...
Original version
The edited pages were from Race for the Moon #1 (1958), which was reprinted in Shocking Tales Digest #1 (1981)
The original story was from Witches' Tales #21 (1953)
As you can see, the Comics Code Authority insisted on some major redos, including most of the last page!

What do you think, fans!
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Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Soda Pop That Never Was...KOOBA COLA!

In 1940, Victor Fox, publisher of WonderWorld ComicsMystery Men ComicsWeird Comics, and other titles featuring The Blue BeetleSamsonThe Flame, among others, conceived an audacious marketing scheme.
Inspired by the success of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, he decided to promote Kooba Cola, "The World's Newest and Best-Tasting Soft Drink!" in ads in his entire line of comic books.
It was also "Delightfully Refreshing and Contained 35 USP units of Vitamin B-1 for the Sake of Health and Nutrition!"
When Fox's The Blue Beetle starred in a short-lived radio show that summer, he was sponsored by Kooba Cola!

Wait a second...
What's that?
You've never even heard of Kooba Cola?
That's because it didn't exist, except as a logo, a couple of mocked-up bottles used as props in ads and some art reference for illustrators.
(You'll note they couldn't even figure out what the color scheme for the label was!
It changed from ad to ad!)
Fox thought he could create a demand for Kooba, then license the name to one of the big soft drink companies, let them do the work of actually creating, bottling, and shipping the stuff, then he'd rake in royalties on the name!
It didn't work.
The "buzz" never developed.
The soda pop was never actually produced.
Even Kooba's "sponsorship" of The Blue Beetle radio show was just part of the show's script, not paid ads! (One of the reasons the show only lasted four months!)

But, such visionary hucksterness should not be forgotten!
(Besides, the ads were rather kool.)
So we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ decided to re-present the Soda That Would Not Die on collectibles ranging from Beachwear to mugs, messenger bags (and the irony of doing bags with "Kooba" on them hasn't escaped us!) and hoodies at KoobaCola 1 and KoobaCola 2!

So celebrate what could have been one of the bubbliest success stories of soft drink entepreneurship, but instead fizzled out and fell flat!
(You just knew we were gonna do a pun like that, didn't you?)  ;-)

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Space Force Saturdays SPACE SQUADRON "Menace of the Martians"

What happens when a strip ignores it's own backstory...
...and changes an alien race's entire history...for no reason at all?
This never-reprinted story from Atlas' Space Squadron #4 (1951) contradicted the Space Squadron #1 tale that introduced Max in several ways!
Notably, that Martians, who were as scientifically and intellectually-advanced as Earthers (though with extremely-short tempers), are now simply savage beings who wish to slay anything living that's not them!
There's no reason I can think of, except that it's likely the anonymous writer of this particular tale was new and unfamiliar with the series!
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Friday, April 16, 2021

Friday Fun CRAZY "Robert the Robot!"

Here's a long-lost tale from the era when MAD comic clones filled America's newsstands!
(Which bring up the question...does anybody under 30 even know what a "newsstand" is?)
While the story's not a classic, it's not bad, either!
The amazingly versatile Joe Maneely handled the art for this never-reprinted tale from this never-reprinted tale from Atlas' Crazy V1N7 (1954), but the script is not nu Stan Lee...who would've had his name on it if he had penned the story!
Maneely could do anything; sci-fi, horror, war, romance, western, even humor, as this story demonstrates!
If not for his tragic death falling from a New York suburban commuter train, he would have been one of the major talents of Marvel Comics in the 1960s.
Atlas had no less than three MAD clones going at once; CrazyWild, and Riot!
MAD themselves commented on the proliferation of clones, not only from Atlas, but virtually every other publisher with this opener for their spoof of the 1950s movie Julius Ceasar by Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood...
When MAD converted to a b/w magazine, Atlas dropped the three color comics and launched the b/w Snafu,which only lasted three issues!
Atlas/Marvel would revive Crazy twice more!
First, in early 1973 as a reprint book of Not Brand Echh stories.
Then, in late 1973 as a b/w magazine going head-to-head with MAD, and surviving until 1983 for 96 issues!
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