Saturday, November 25, 2017

Reading Room TRAGG AND THE SKY GODS "Spawn of Yargon" Conclusion

...we learned that the women who would eventually be the mothers of Tragg and his mate-to-be Lorn had been genetically-altered by advanced aliens from Yargon, creating the next step in human evolution beyond Neanderthals!
After witnessing the birth and the first year of Tragg and Lorn's development, the aliens (whom the Neanderthals considered to be "gods") departed, planning to return a couple of decades later to see how the experiment worked out!
But, in the interim, many of the Neanderthals came to blame the departure of the "gods" on the births of Tragg and Lorn, and felt the way to compel the return of those they worshipped was to slay the "strange ones"!
The endangered pair evade their would-be killers and hide in the nearby mountains.
But events far across the universe were about to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into everybody's plans...
And thus the saga truly begins...after a couple of false starts as shown HERE and HERE!
Be here next Friday, as we present another chapter!
Bonus: When this tale was reprinted in the series' final issue, six years later, the cover was recomposed and recolored...
Though the flat color design definitely creates a better feeling of depth and separation between the foreground figures of Tragg and Lorn and the background where the Yargonians lurk, the wonderful textures of the original hand-colored version have been lost!
BTW, notice how, from 1976 to 1982, in only six years comics more than doubled in price, from 25¢ to 60¢ for a standard 36-page book!
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Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Fun TRAGG AND THE SKY GODS "Spawn of Yargon" Part 1

After two tryouts (HERE and HERE) with different versions of the mileu...
...Gold Key leaped whole-heartedly into the world of Tragg with this premiere issue in 1976!
Co-creators Don Glut (writer) and Jesse Santos (illustrator) tweaked the concept a bit, and the publishers finally gave the go-ahead for an ongoing series.
Note Tragg is no longer using a silver-bladed ax as shown HERE!
Nor are there any magicians/voodoo practitioners as shown HERE!
Now, a previously-unmentioned brother, Jarn has been added.
Plus, a semi-legit explanation for how dinosaurs exist at this point in history is presented!
(Hey, it worked for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World!)
In addition, all the other people are now Neanderthals, while the previous tales presented a mix of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons!
And, we meet a race of busybody Chariots of the Gods-type aliens (who appear to be different from the aliens seen HERE) who are presented as the new ongoing antagonists.
Bonus: Here's the original art for page 4...
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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Holiday Reading Room EVERY DAY IS A HOLLY DAY "Thanksgiving Day" & HUMBUG "Like How to Carve Turkey"

A look at Thanksgiving...including before it was Thanksgiving!
Note there is a historically-inaccurate aspect below...
Interestingly, this page from Brevity Inc's one-shot giveaway Every Day is a Holly Day (1956) plays up the fallacy that turkeys were served at the first Thanksgiving, when, in fact, the primary dish was eel!
In fact, Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be America's official bird and you don't eat your official bird!
Why is this comic entitled "Every Day is a Holly Day" instead of "Every Day is a Holiday"?
Because it was given away to kids by grocers who sold Holly Sugar!
Illustrated by John Rosenberger, it's a unique pamphlet covering a number of American holidays, including both Lincoln and Washington's Birthdays (before they were combined into "Presidents' Day"), Mothers' Day (though not Fathers' Day), Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and a couple of holidays we've largely abandoned...Pan-American Day and American Indian Day!
We'll be presenting the other chapters on the dates they fall upon.
Watch for them!
Now, let's switch from reverence to sarcasm, with a never-reprinted one-pager by Arnold Roth from Humbug Publications' Humbug #5 (1957) covering a major culinary conundrum...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Best of Reading Room WEIRD WORLDS "Space Vampires"

How did the cover-featured tale from Avon's Strange Worlds #4 (1951)...
...end up being used (almost verbatim) in Eerie Publications' Weird Worlds #V1N10 (1970)?
Eerie Publications had been using photostats and negatives from defunct comics companies as the source material for their b/w magazine line.
About a year in, they started using South American artists eager to break into the comics market and American artists like Dick Ayers and Chic Stone who were losing work as the Silver Age ended and comics companies cut back their lines, to re-do old stories with a more contemporary style.
Some illustrators totally-redid the art, using new "camera angles" and clothing/technology designs reflecting contemporary tastes.
In this particular case, artist Cirilo Munoz just lightboxed and re-inked the existing Wally Wood/Joe Orlando artwork!
Editor Carl (Golden Age Human Torch) Burgos rewrote the opening captions and changed the hero's name, but otherwise left Gardner Fox's original script intact.
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Best of Reading Room STRANGE GALAXY "Space Monsters"

Yesterday, we posted the final adventure of Kenton of the Star Patrol...
Art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito
...except, it both was and wasn't the final tale!
The script was used, almost verbatim (but with a renamed lead character), for a new story in the first issue of the short-lived 1970s b/w magazine Strange Galaxies!
All the other names, including the female lead, Maeve, and various locations, remained the same...
In fact, all the stories in Eerie Publications' Strange Galaxy V1N8 (which was the first issue), were re-dos of earlier stories from various defunct comic companies!
I guess they figured that no one would remember the original 1950s tales in 1971...
The rewriter/adaptor is unknown, but could be editor Carl Burgos, who created, among others, the Golden Age Human Torch and the first Silver Age Captain Marvel (the android who said "Split"!).
The stories don't have individual art credits, but according to the Weird World of Eerie Publications by Mike Howlett, the illustrator is one of the artists who were regular contiburors to the Eerie Publications line, Oscar Fraga.
BTW, this isn't the only Kenton tale that Eerie Publications reworked!
Be here tomorrow for another one!
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