Saturday, February 17, 2018

Reading Room WORLDS UNKNOWN "Day After the Day the Martians Came!"

What does this cover have to do with Black History Month?
Art by Ross Andru & John Romita
Quite a lot, as you'll see when you read the tale that hid behind it...
The short story this comic tale is based upon first appeared in the ground-breaking 1960s anthology Dangerous Visions, a collection of original novelettes and novellas conceived and edited by Harlan Ellison, which should be on any science fiction fan's bookshelf or eReader.
Several of the stories in the anthology, in particular this one and "Riders of the Purple Wage" by Phillip Jose Farmer, explored the subject of racial prejudice.
The comic adaptation from the first issue of Marvel's short-lived anthology Worlds Unknown, is scripted by Gerry Conway and illustrated by Ralph Reese, who began in 1966 as an assistant to Wally Wood and went solo within a couple of years, first as an inker, and later as a penciler/inker.
He's done work for all the major comics companies (usually on their anthology titles), as well as stints on the Flash Gordon newspaper strip and licensing art for Childrens' Television Workshop!
BTW, the Grand Comics Database lists John Romita as sole artist of the cover, but, IMHO, the figure poses are clearly Ross Andru, not Romita.
(And the GCD originally listed Marie Severin and Sal Buscema as the artists!)
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(where the prose version of this tale first appeared!) 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Fun JETTA OF THE 21st CENTURY "Atom and Evil"

Dan DeCarlo defined the look of teen humor comics for half a century...
...which is an appropriate point to make as we re-present a series from the 1950s that looks at teen life in the early 2000s!
Written and penciled by Dan DeCarlo and inked by Fred Eng, this story from Standard's Jetta of the 21st Century #7 (1953) has the "feel", both in writing and art, of an Archie tale!
At this point, Dan was freelancing, working for Standard, Atlas (later Marvel) and Archie!
Archie co-creator Bob Montana's version still set the visual standard for the company's flagship character, but DeCarlo was given leeway to adapt the characters to his art style, which would become the defining "look" for the entire line by the late 1950s, and remain so until the mid-1990s!
Ironically, Archie Comics published a series about Archie and his gang set in the far future...
...from 1989 to 1991, which combined then-current fashions with the same retro-tech look as Jetta!
Though based on DeCarlo's design concepts, Dan didn't do any covers or art for the 16-issue series!
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Dan DeCarlo's Jetta

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Reading Room NORGE BENSON "Mad Scientist and His Metal Man"

Poor Norge got bounced from Monday by Lincoln's Birthday...
...but, knowing his legions of fans missed him, we just bounced him to today!
1) What are "the outskirts of Pluto"?
Pluto's a planet, not a town or city!
2) Why did Lomar claim he fled from Pluto?
He was in a cave on Pluto!
3) If the "robot" actually walked and talked, where were the mechanisms Norge would have to remove to fit in the metal shell?
This sad little tale from Fiction House's Planet Comics #24 (1943) is a far cry from the earlier Norge Benson adventures.
But this time, it's the story that disappoints, not the improving Fran Deitrick/Hopper art!
The script's not cute or whimsical.
It's just bad!
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Planet Comics

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How the Black Panther Became the Black LEOPARD...then Went Back to Being the Black PANTHER! Conclusion

...The Black Panther changed his name to "Black Leopard" in Fantastic Four #119 (February 1972)...
...then, several months later, changed it back to "Black Panther" in Daredevil #92 (October 1972)...
When he appeared a month later in Avengers #105 (November 1972)...
...with the first cover caption since 1969 to use his super-hero name...
...even Hawkeye was confused...and the other Avengers were curious as well...
This was Steve Englehart's first Avengers story, and while most of it is Englehart's material, this particular aspect is clearly editor/departing writer Roy Thomas' doing.
Roy is an incredible continuity fan, and has never left a plotline unresolved if he could do something about it!
With this issue, the Panther became a full-time Avenger again until #126...
...when, after kicking a disguised Klaw's ass yet again, he departed for Wakanda to begin his own series in Jungle Action #6 (1973)!
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(reprinting the complete stories we excerpted here...but in black and white!)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How the Black Panther Became the Black LEOPARD...then Went Back to Being the Black PANTHER!

Many stories providing background for the new Black Panther movie mention how, in Fantastic Four #119 (February 1972), T'Challa changes his super-hero name...
But none of them mention when or why Marvel reversed the name change!
As we pointed out HERE, Marvel had been using the Panther's civilian name on covers, which was a little silly since he was in costume...
...even on the book where he changed his name from Black Panther to Black LEOPARD...
...thus, T'Challa's name change was firmly established!
Or was it?
T'Challa's next appearance was in Daredevil #92 (October 1972)
...where this symbolic cover shows Daredevil, the Black Widow, and the Black Panther!
Nope, I'm not kidding!
A villain kidnaps the Black Widow and figures out Matt Murdock is Daredevil!
He sends a martial arts-trained assassin to kill Murdock...
Note something a 'ol Hornhead?
Figure out what's going on?
Clue: Daredevil doesn't use his billy club...his primary weapon!
T'Challa's calling himself "Black Panther" again!
Did writer Gerry Conway forget the name change in FF #119?
Guess what, True Believer?
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(which reprints the complete story we excerpted...but in black and white)

Monday, February 12, 2018

Reading Room EVERY DAY IS A HOLLY DAY "Lincoln's Birthday"

Before they combined Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays into a "floating" holiday...
...Lincoln's Birthday was celebrated each year on this date!
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!
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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Retro-Cool Comic Book-Themed Valentines Day Gifts

Comics aren't just about spandex-clad heroes and heroines in battles of cosmic import!
They also tell intimate tales of heartbreak and true love, betrayal and redemption, and misery and sheer joy!
With than in mind, Valentine's Day is coming!
And what says "True Love" better than a kool, kitchy gift from TRUE LOVE COMICS TALES™? (Plus, it's both longer-lasting AND cheaper than a dozen roses!)

Choose from over 50 heart-rending designs in eleven categories including...
(The ORIGINAL LonelyHearts Columnist)
Lovers Lane
Mod Love
(from the 1960s)
(or is that Love in School?)
Tender Love Stories
(from the 1970s)
...on greeting cards, teddy bears, calendars, shirts/tops/intimate wear, diaries, and many other kool kollectibles!

A public service announcement for all lovers and would-be lovers from your BFFs at Atomic Kommie Comics™