Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reading Room: TARA: QUEEN OF THE SPACE PIRATES in "Eight Hands of Tenslith"

We continue the space-spanning saga of Tara, Queen of the Space Pirates with this tale from Wonder Comics #17.
There was no origin story, but the splash pages usually gave a brief set-up for new readers.
Art was, again, by Gene Fawcette, one of the better illustrators of the period, who usually penciled and inked his sci-fi, horror, and good-girl material (or strips that combined them like Tara) for Fiction House, Avon, and Better.
BTW, the cover for this issue features characters from the premiere Tara story that appeared in Wonder Comics #15.  You can see the cover, along with Tara's first appearance HERE.

And check out the

Friday, April 22, 2011

Our Newest RetroBlog--Secret Sanctum of Captain Video

We're proud to announce a new addition to the Atomic Kommie Comics™ family of RetroBlogs™.
Secret Sanctum of Captain Video™ will run weekly (or better) entries on classic sci-fi/fantasy movies, tv shows, and radio shows.
Besides offering background on the tv series or movies, we'll often present the comic adaptations of those presentations, many never reprinted since their initial release!
After the initial Captain Video tv show video and comic presentation we're running over the next couple of days, the Secret Sanctum will unspool the comic adaptation of George Pal's The Time Machine by Alex Toth as well as several related vids and a gallery of posters, including HTF foreign versions.
And, of course, links to books, dvds and other goodies related to the particular movie/tv show being presented.

NOTE: Comic book versions of movie or tv adaptations of already-existing comic or pulp properties will be shown at Hero and Heroine Histories™.
For example, the Doc Savage: the Man of Bronze 1975 movie tie-in (which is not included in the current trade paperback reprint from DC) is our main feature at H&HH next week, with The Shadow movie adaptation to follow early in June.

Bookmark Secret Sanctum of Captain Video™ or use the rss feed.
It's gonna be a fun ride and you don't want to miss it!

Check out the
and the kool Captain Video stuff from Amazon, available below!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reading Room: Alien Invasions: SpaceBusters' Secrets & "BatMen of Luna"

Before we present the last SpaceBusters tale, we're going to show you some of the secrets of the SpaceBusters' Universe.
And now, the final tale from the SpaceBusters book, featuring the All-Earth Air Force...
There were no future issues, but one inventory story remained and was printed (and reprinted) three times in ten years, becoming the only SpaceBusters tale to be reprinted!

Don't forget to check out our
which also features SpaceMan Jet!
plus these kool space-war items from Amazon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

YouTube Wednesday: DR WHO & THE DALEKS

The British have a long tradition of taking successful tv series in every genre from sitcom to sci-fi, and remaking them into feature films.
So, it seemed only logical that, with "Dalekmania" reaching a frenzied peak in 1965,  a feature film adapting the first tv appearance of the lethal pepperpots, would be a box office smash.
It didn't quite turn out that way.
Amicus Productions, basically a lower-budget Hammer Studios, acquired the rights, and produced Dr Who & the Daleks, starring Peter Cushing as Doctor Who.

Note: I said "Doctor Who" and not "The Doctor".
That's because the movie's Doctor is an eccentric human inventor named "Who", not an alien Time Lord using the title "Doctor"!
The TARDIS, while still a space-time travelling device bigger on the inside than the outside, is now the product of one man's expertise, not the culmination of the technology of an advanced civilization.

Beyond that basic change to the concept, the movie was a fairly straightforward condensation of the  seven-episode serial, utilizing the original story's major plot points.
With the benefits of
  • being the first color version of Dr Who (the tv show was shot in black and white until 1970)
  • a bigger budget than the tv series and
  • a music score by Thunderbirds composer Barry Gray
the movie did very good box office in Europe and Asia, though only moderately-well in the US, where the tv show had not yet aired.
Encouraged by the ticket sales, Amicus adapted the second Dalek story into an even more-expensive feature film, Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 AD.
But that's a story for another time...

The British Trailer

The American Trailer

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Who Knows...The Silver Age Shadow!

Currently running at our brother RetroBlog™, Hero & Heroine Histories™, is an introduction to the never-reprinted Silver Age version of The Shadow.
Believe me, the cover of the first issue, shown above, doesn't do it justice.  ;-)
It's based on a series of new novels from Belmont Books that ran from 1964-67.
The first was by the pulp Shadow's creator, Walter Gibson. The rest were by Dennis Lynds.
None of these have ever been reprinted, either!
Here's the covers for the complete run of the paperbacks, in chronological order...
The ONLY time Gibson DOESN'T use the MAXWELL GRANT pen-name!
(It ain't what you think!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spurs Jackson & His Space Vigilantes

Isn't it amazing how these guys take the whole idea of outer-space aliens in stride?
Long before Cowboys and Aliens (either the movie or graphic novel), the concept of buckaroos going hand-to-hand with invaders from the stars was a part of sci-fi and comics history.
Almost 60 years ago, Charlton introduced Space Western Comics in October, 1952 starting at #40.  Though the numbering was a continuation of "parent" title Cowboy Western Comics, none of the previous strips were carried over or revamped, as often happened when comic titles were altered.
Instead, a new series, set in the present (1952), was launched starring Spurs Jackson who was both a cowboy and electronics expert!

He was also a Federal government contactor, so when he needed backup, the military tended to come a-running (and a-shooting).
Good thing, since his ranch became a magnet for alien invaders during the series' run.

The so-called "Space Vigilantes" consisted of Spurs' ranch hands including Hank Roper and Strong Bow, both of whom had backup strips in the book where they also showed their solo alien-buttkicking talents.
An infrequent supporting cast member was Queen Thula of Mars, whom Spurs met in the story above.
Whenever a tale took place on Mars, or Spurs needed some really advanced tech, she appeared and livened up the usually all-male ensemble considerably.

BTW, if you think that this short story covers a helluva lot of ground in just eight pages, you'd be right.
Today this tale alone would be a six-issue miniseries (with a couple of tie-ins to other titles)
It shouldn't surprise you to learn the writer who penned it was Walter Gibson, aka Maxwell Grant, biographer of the pulp hero The Shadow.
If there was anyone who knew how to cram a narrative with both plot and action, it was him!

Besides aliens from a number of worlds, Spurs and friends battled Commie spies (Hey, it was 1952! "Reds" were EVERYWHERE!), ancient Aztecs, and space-going Nazis!
It was weird!
It was wild!
Sometimes it was dumb!
But it was never dull!
And it only lasted six issues.
After #45, the title reverted to Cowboy Western Comics, and Spurs put in a final appearance in a one-page filler. After that, he was only seen in the occasional reprint.
Until now.
We'll be re-presenting Spurs' never-reprinted battle against Those Who Threaten the American Way of Life here in the Reading Room.
And we're offering a new line of Space Western collectibles, perfect for summer wear at the beach or the movie theatre when you go see Cowboys & Aliens. (C'mon, you know you're going!)
Check out the
and have a look below at some Cowboys and Aliens movie tie-ins from Amazon!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Design of the Week--They Call Me the Space Cowboy...

Each week, we post a limited-edition design, to be sold for exactly 7 days, then replaced with another!
This week...instead of the politically-incorrect cowboys and indians,  let's play cowboys and ALIENS!
Yeah, it's the name of a new summer blockbuster starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde as little green men replace big red men as the antagonists harassing a small Old West town.
But it's also a concept that goes back at least to the 1950s, when Charlton Comics published a year's worth of a title called...Space Western Comics!
It's a slight misnomer, since the book was set in the then-present, and most tales also included interaction with US armed forces, as seen on the cover above.
But in the 1950s, when Westerns were the dominant genre in American fiction in every media, it was an innovative idea to incorporate elements of the flying saucer fad that was briefly sweeping the nation.
And it gave us some kool graphics, like the cover above, that we're emblazoning on items from mugs to iPod shells to kidswear for one week!
Check 'em out, pardner!

Tune in Tomorrow, when we'll be presenting a Hero(ine) History for the lead character, Spurs Jackson (along with his first appearance, which was written by The Shadow's pulp creator, Walter Gibson!)