Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reading Room TALES TO ASTONISH "I Found the Abominable SnowMan" Part 1

Continuing our series of frozen-themed posts...'s one of the coolest (literally) giant monster tales from the final days of Atlas Comics' pre-Marvel Universe Tales to Astonish! told by the master himself, Jack Kirby, assisted by inker Dick Ayers!
Be Here Tomorrow...
...when things get even hairier for Victor Cartwright!
(Sorry, couldn't resist!)
Unfortunately, there's no available record (or even consensus among experts) as to who wrote this snow-bound story from Tales to Astonish #24 (1961).
But, if you haven't read this tale previously, the conclusion does have a couple of suprising developments!

BTW, when we said this was from the "final days" of the pre-Marvel Universe Atlas Comics, we weren't kidding!
The very next month saw the debut of Fantastic Four #1, launching the Marvel Age of Comics!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Reading Room UNUSUAL TALES "Night of Red Snow"

As near-record cold grips the northern USA...
Art by Steve Ditko
...we present another chilly comics tale, illustrated by the co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko!
Unfortunately, due to Charlton Comics' legendarily-bad printing, the "red" effect on the canvas is muted almost to uselessness, diminishing the ending's effectiveness!
BTW, did you note the sneaky "red herring" on the sides of the moving van on page 3?
Beautifully-rendered by Steve Ditko, this tale from Charlton's Unusual Tales #9 (1957) has no credited writer, but many researchers/historians believe the scripter is the prolific (and underrated) Joe Gill.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reading Room STRANGE TALES "When a Planet Dies!"

The current "deep freeze" reminded me of the splash panel from this story...
...from Marvel's Weird Wonder Tales #22 (1973), which was actually a reworking of this (literally) cool story from Strange Tales #97 (1962)!
While the art is clearly-credited to Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers, who wrote it is not entirely clear.
A number of people, myself included, think it's scripted by Kirby himself.
Bonus: Here's the cover from a previous issue of Weird Wonder Tales that supplied the Dr Druid figure on the reworked splash page...
Art by Jack Kirby, John Romita (Dr Druid's face) and Joe Sinnott
 ...and here's the original art for the splash page!
The production artist "flipped" a stat of the Druid figure and fit it where the bearded aliens are on the original.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The ComicCraft New Year's Day Font Sale!

If you're into comics, one of the coolest things you can do today is go to ComicCraft's website and participate in their annual New Years' Day font discount sale!
These guys provide fonts to DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, IDW, etc, so you're getting state-of-the-art  software used by the pros at an amazingly-low price for your website, blog, or print project!
(We use them for most of our logos)
"Comicraft fonts are created BY Comic Book Letterers FOR Comic Book Lettering, and every New Year we give our faithful customers -- and even casual browsers who stumbled into our store because it's throwing down outside -- a one-day-only opportunity to rummage through Comicraft's remainder bin and snap up Comicrazy for a mere twenty dollars and fourteen cents rather than $395! And, yes, yes, yes, and thrice YES, EACH of our fonts will be on sale for $20.14, even the ones that usually cost $19! We're Cray Cray Crazy, we know!"
Note: the sale ends at Midnight in your time zone, not at Midnight in California, where ComicCraft is based, so place your orders accordingly!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Reading Room SPACE ADVENTURES "Mummers from Mercury"

60 years ago, on New Years Day, the world almost ended...
...but it was saved by the participants of the annual Mummers Parade!
This never-reprinted story from Charlton's Space Adventures #1 (1953) was illustrated by Albert Tyler and Dick Giordano.
The writer (who was probably from Philadelphia) is unknown.

The Mummers Parade is held every New Years Day in Philadelphia.
Mummers tradition dates back to 400 BC and the Roman Festival of Saturnalias where Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day of satire and gift exchange.
This included Celtic variations of “trick-or-treat” and Druidic noise-making to drive away demons for the new year.

Reports of rowdy groups “parading” on New Years day in Philadelphia date back before the revolution.
Prizes were offered by merchants in the late 1800s.
January 1, 1901 was the first “official” parade offered about $1,725 in prize money from the city.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Reading Room JETTA OF THE 21st CENTURY "My Cosmic Hero"

With 2013 about to end...
...let's look at a typical evening at the drive-in, supposedly set in the early 21st Century (aka NOW) presented in 1952!
(I'm still waiting for my flying car!)
If the art style looks familiar, it's the work of Dan DeCarlo, who helped establish the iconic "look" of Archie Comics!
Dan actually started at Atlas Comics (the 1940s-50s predecessor to Marvel Comics) doing a variety of humor strips before beginning a long-term run on various Archie titles in 1951.
Even then, he continued to work for a number of other publishers, including Standard Comics, who asked him to create, write, and illustrate a teen-humor series.
(Every publisher had at least one of them!)
Exactly whose idea it was to set it in the "far future" of the early 21st Century is unknown, but the resultant strip, though extremely derivative of Archie, was unique in the teen-humor genre for it's Jetsons-style setting and "futuristic" slang.

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