Saturday, March 21, 2015

Reading Room BLAST-OFF "Little Earth"

A classic example of an unheralded gem by two graphic-story masters...
...that has been reprinted only once, and in a limited-edition trade paperback, so most of you have never seen it!
Oddly, the GCD lists it as penciled by Reed Crandall and inked by Al Williamson, but Teddy I at pencilink.blogspot reverses the credits!
The writer is unknown.
According to the Kirby Museum, it was intended for the never-published Race for the Moon #5 in 1958, but remained unused until 1965, when it was published in the one-shot Blast-Off!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Reading Room DO YOU BELIEVE IN NIGHTMARES? "Man Who Crashed into Another Era"

Let's wind up the week with a rarely-seen short story...
...featuring dinosaurs, and illustrated by Steve Ditko before his stint on Gorgo!
Ok, so it was the old "It's only a dream" scenario.
You got to admit, it's well-done!
From St John's Do You Believe in Nightmares? #1 (1957), a short-lived anthology produced just before St John went out of business.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Reading Room BUCCANEERS "Black Roger: Power of Lightning!"

Let's return to one of the first Muslim (or Moslem, as they were known then) fighters...
...with a story featuring the least-Muslim pirate you'll ever see!
This tale from Quality's Buccaneers #21 (1950) explains this particular group of pirates, including the scantly-clad Kahena, are from the Eastern city of Khob, so their Asian, rather than Arabic, appearance is, for a change, explained.
When superheroes' popularity waned at the end of World War II, comics looked for other genres to fill the gap.
Taking their cue from movie box office sales, several publishers either premiered new books featuring swashbuckling scoundrels or converted ongoing titles from superheroes to pirates.
While most of the strips were pretty blatant copies of various Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power pirate characters, this strip recombined elements of Captain Blood (Educated professional wrongly-convicted) and Zorro (masked avenger) along with our hero concentrating on a particular class of pirate...Moslems along the Barbary Coast of Africa!
Regrettably, both writer and artist(s) are unknown.
Black Roger appeared in every issue of Buccaneers during its' 9-issue run, never once making the cover (That was reserved for an Errol Flynn/Sea Hawk clone named "Captain Daring".
But you'll be seeing them all on this blog over the next few months.
Watch for them!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Reading Room TALES OF SUSPENSE "Last Rocket"

Marvel's Tales of Suspense #39 (1963) is famous for it's cover story...
...but that oft-retold tale is not what we're looking at today!
Instead, we're presenting one of the backup stories...the third and final version of the "Adam & Eve on past/future Earth" trope plotted and/or scripted by Stan Lee.
You can read the previous two tales HERE and HERE.
Ok, I'm willing to believe that, with 1960s-level technology, all of Mankind could pull off a When Worlds Collide-style evacuation of the planet, though how they'd survive to reach another solar system is questionable.
I'm even willing to accept a couple of ecology-oriented sorts being stubborn (and let's face it, sucicidal) enough to remain on their homeworld to the bitter end.
But an "exploding star" close enough to warm and light the planet, yet totally-unknown to anyone before that?
And one more thing...why couldn't the space fleet just turn around and return when they noticed the "exploding star" behind them?
In this retelling, it's believed that Lee plotted the story, his brother, Larry Lieber, scripted it.
But it's a fact that the legendary Gene Colan penciled and inked the absolutely beautiful art!
It makes the rather silly story bearable.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reading Room STRANGE TALES "A Thousand Years Later..." we give you the second version, by the legendary team of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko!
Written by Stan Lee and illistrated by Steve Ditko, this story from Marvel's Strange Tales #90 (1961) is the second time in two years that Lee produced a story based on the "Adam and Eve on past/future Earth" cliche, this time adding the plot element of an immortal man who didn't fit in with society.
He would reuse the concept one more time two years we shall see tomorrow!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reading Room STRANGE WORLDS "I Am the Last Man on Earth!"

One thing Stan Lee was really good at was recycling plots (with minor variations)... demonstrated in this first of three tales based on the same premise!
Plotted (and probably scripted) by Stan Lee, this never-reprinted story from Atlas' Strange Worlds #1 (1958) was illustrated by Silver Age mainstay Don Heck.
Yes, it's the "Adam & Eve begin a new Earth in the future/past" tale, which has become something of a cliche in sci-fi/fantasy.
But, it's some of the details that carry-over from one story to another that make this particular variation's multiple versions interesting.
Be here tomorrow to see what I mean...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Design of the Week Redux: BUNNY? DADDY?

Each week, we post a limited-edition design, to be sold for exactly 7 days, then replaced with another...unless it's really popular, in which case we keep it up one more week!

Since Easter is coming, we thought we'd present an absolutely adorable piece by the legendary Walt (Pogo) Kelly featuring a bunny with a surprised look on his faces a the egg in his basket hatches, producing yet another cute animal...a baby duck!

You just don't see stuff like this anymore!
So, why not order some kidswear, or even holiday greeting cards with this one-week-only graphic?
Everyone who sees it will go "Awwww."