Saturday, April 9, 2016

Reading Room BASEBALL COMICS "Rube Rooky Climbs Up from the Pit"

The saga of how a baseball superstar is created continues... Rube leaves his family and girlfriend to pursue his dream...
Big-screen TV in 1949?
Who knew?
That aside, anybody here see a parallel between Rube and a real-life ballplayer who faced similiar problems being accepted by his teammates because he was "different" just a year before writer/penciler Will Eisner and inker Tex Blaisdell created this tale?
Be here tomorrow and Monday to see whom I'm talking about...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Reading Room JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY "Orogo!! The Nightmare from Outer Space!!"

Behind this Jack Kirby-penciled/Don Heck-inked splash...
...lurks a mystery. which we'll delve into after you read the story!
When this Stan Lee-scripted, Don Heck-illustrated (except for the splash) tale was reprinted in Marvel's Fantasy Masterpieces #2 (1967), the cover played-up Heck's Cyclopean robot (and Dashin' Don himself)...
...but when it was first published in Atlas' Journey into Mystery #57 (1960)...
...and reprinted a second time in Marvel's Where Monsters Dwell #12 (1971)... used the original Kirby cover that seems to be a reverse-angle of the splash page above and shows a radically-different Orogo with two eyes!
Did editor/art director Stan the Man have The King do the cover and splash and then pass the rest of the story to Heck to finish,...but, for whatever reason, didn't give Dashing Don the cover as reference for Orogo, so Heck came up with his own version of the robot?
There are several Atlas-era monster stories where Kirby would do splashes, then another artist would complete the tale.
We'll be taking a look at them over the next few months.
Bookmark us and keep an eye out as we attempt to solve the half century-old mystery....

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Reading Room FLICK FALCON IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION "Return to Mars", unarmed, and with Adele by his side, Flick prepares for another journey through space.
Writer-penciler Don Rico's wild imagination goes full-speed, combining science fiction and fantasy elements with equal aplomb in this never-reprinted tale from Fox's Fantastic Comics #2 (1940).
It's interesting to note the three-armed slavers introduced last time aren't native to Mars, as Flick thought, though no mention is made about whether the giants they control are Martians or not. 
Also rather odd for a kids' story is the fact that sexual attraction can be used to break the alien slavers' control!
Inker Claire Moe (who usually scripted, penciled and inked her own material for Fox, Centaur, and Novelty), helped out probably due to a tight deadline.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reading Room VENUS COMICS "Storm"

The rather-unnaturally intense storms we've been experiencing lately made me think of...
...the aquaphobic character in this never-reprinted story from Atlas' Venus Comics #17 (1951).
Illustrated by Allen Bellman, this tale presents a typical example of a "karmic payback" for evil actions so often presented in stories of the era.
Usually, though, they're a bit more gruesomely-graphic than shown here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Will This Be Our Future?

With North Korea threatening us with nuclear weapons (again)...
...maybe we should look at how it was during the Cold War by looking at what they thought (in the 1950s) would happen in the near-future (the 1960s onward)!
Turns out it wasn't so great, as you'll see when you click on the links to our "brother" RetroBlog War: Past, Present & Future...and read about...
...which were two different series with two different plotlines and histories taking place at the same time in the near future...from the same publisher!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Reading Room HOME RUN "LIttle Leagues"

With the return of the National Pastime (despite the cold weather)...
...we thought we'd look at the origin of how many of us (myself included) first experienced organized baseball!
As we mentioned yeterday, there was a short-lived surge in sports-themed comics from 1949 to 1952.
This particular one-shot from Magazine Enterprises, produced in '52 (but publshed in '53), was the last gasp of that cycle.
Produced/packaged by writer/artist Bob Powell's studio, this historical piece was typical of the high-quality material he supplied to numerous publishers including ME, Street & Smith, and Harvey Comics, from the mid-1940s to the early 1960s.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Reading Room BASEBALL COMICS "Rube Rooky"

Is there anything Will Eisner hadn't done during his long career?
He took chances with experiments like this baseball-themed 1949 comic book...
...which predated a rush of sports-themed comics from various publishers the next year.
Unfortunately, the big problem with being first is that, often, the world isn't quite ready for you, and Baseball Comics lasted only one issue.
But it certainly wasn't for lack of quality, as this Eisner-written and penciled tale, inked by Tex Blaisdell, proves.
There's more to Rube Rooky's one shot at stardom, and we'll be running it each weekend for the next few weeks, so don't miss it!