Saturday, October 10, 2020

Space Force Saturdays SPACE SQUADRON & SPEED CARTER: SPACEMAN "Future History Chronicles" Part 1

Much as Star Trek fills in the gaps between the "past" (our present) and their future-set series..
...Atlas' two 1950s 21st Century series also did so with different strips that carried the same title, as seen, first, in this never-reprinted tale from Space Squadron #1 (1951) about the first manned space flight in 1953 (yes, 1953)!
The Famous Explorers of Space feature ran in all five issues of Space Squadron and the single issue of Space Worlds that used up material left homeless when Space Squadron was cancelled.
Sol Brodsky penciled and Chris Rule inked this premiere chapter, whose writer is lost to the mists of time!
When Speed Carter: SpaceMan came along a couple of years later, writer Hank Chapman ignored everything done in Space Squadron, producing stories that often contradicted "history" established in the earlier series.
(Having one of the first space pioneers in Space Squadron named "Carter" could've provided a perfect "hook" to link the two, but Chapman made the wise choice to not do so!)
Speaking of Chapman and his version of "Future History"...'s his version, set in the "distant past" of 2004!
The concept of Venusians all being beautiful women was a cliche even then.
The art on this story from Speed Carter: SpaceMan #1 (1953) is by a young up-and-comer named John Romita, who had a real knack for drawing gorgeous females.
I wonder whatever became of him?
One interesting note: the astronauts in this story, which takes place three generations in the "past" of Speed Carter: SpaceMan, have different uniforms and lower-end technology than what's shown in the "present-day" Speed Carter tales.
BTW, Space Squadron actually ran two "Future History" strips in each issue, one about Famous Explorers of Space, plus a series about the adventures of young Blast Revere, who in the Jet Dixon strip was the elderly commander of the Space Squadron!
...1960 (which was still "the future" in 1951)!
While the writer for Blast's never-reprinted debut (also in Space Squadron #1) is unknown, the artist should be familiar to Speed Carter: SpaceMan fans...Joe ManeelySpeed's designer/co-creator and primary illustrator for the first half of his run!
Blast Revere ran in all six issues of Space Squadron. and it's one-issue "sequel", Space Worlds.
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Friday, October 9, 2020

Friday Fun / Humor in a Jugular Vein CRAZY "Drag-ula!"

 With Halloween almost upon us, let's look in on the original "bat man"... this...unusual...tale from Atlas' CRAZY #2 (1954)
As was usual with the lead tale in the 1950s version of CRAZY, it's lovingly-rendered by the amazingly-talented Bill Everett!
Heck, Bill might even have written it, since he had a number of scripting credits already!
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Thursday, October 8, 2020

Trump Reading Room SAVAGE DRAGON

Don't see any comics characters (and their creators) endorsing Don da Con...

...but I do see them endorsing Biden and Harris!
Wonder why?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder LOST WORLD "History Lesson" & ALL IN COLOR FOR A DIME "Me to Your Leader Take!"

When Last We Left Our Protagonist...

...kidnapped human Hunt Bowman and alien princess Lyssa have returned to Earth and are about to experience an extremely short-but action-packed adventure!
What the hell is going on?
When this issue of Fiction House's Planet Comics #25 (1943) was published, the entire comics line lowered it's page count from 68 pages to 60, due to new wartime paper rationing restrictions.
For whatever reason, Lost World was the only strip whose length was affected.
In addition, a promo for War Bonds and Stamps was tacked on to the end of the story!
With a couple of editorial adjustments, story length was back to normal by the next issue!
But the shorter length gives me an excuse to present a bit of comic book history!
Back in the 1970's, before the internet (and kool sites like Comic Book Resources and the Grand Comics Database) info on pre-Silver Age comics was extremely-limited!
Several reference books written by fans and fans-turned-pros filled that gap as best they could.
One of the best was All in Color for a Dime, edited by Don Thompson and Richard Lupoff, utilizing articles written in the 1960s by Harlan Ellison, Roy Thomas, Ron Goulart, Ted White, Chris Steinbrunner, Bill Blackbeard, and both editors for the Hugo Award-winning fanzine Xero.
(Thompson became the editor of the weekly Comics Buyers Guide.
Lupoff became a novelist, including books based on the Buck Rogers TV series!)
BTW, I still have my dog-eared hardcover first edition of All in Color...!
"Me to Your Leader Take!", a chapter by Richard Ellington about Fiction House's Planet Comics, really hit home for the then-12 year old redhead who writes and edits this blog, driving my desire to read the impossible-to-find series.
Here's an excerpt about Hunt Bowman and the Lost World that really stirred my imagination and gives you a taste of what's coming up...

You've already seen the introduction of the VoltaMen's German-type uniforms.
The VoltaMen's modified speech pattern (also spoken by Star Wars' Yoda and his race) will debut in a couple of issues!
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All in Color for a Dime
One of the koolest, best-written comics histories of all time!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Reading Room TWILIGHT ZONE "Joiner"

Submitted for your approval, we present a cover-featured comic story...
...that would've been too expensive to produce during the show's initial run, and featuring a protagonist all this blog's readers can identify with!
The first few issues of a Twilight Zone title were produced by Dell Comics, featuring ex-EC Comics artists!
(All the tales in this issue were illustrated by George Evans and Reed Crandall!)
Beneath a nicely-rendered George Wilson-painted cover lurks...
In Dell's Four Color #1288 (1962), writer Leo Dorfman and artists George Evans & Reed Crandall deliver a "revenge of the nerd" tale any sci-fi fan from the 1990s (or earlier) would appreciate.
Today, thankfully, nerds are the mainstream!
Fraternal organizations with funky garb like the "lodges" shown in this story were popular until the late 1980s-early 1990s.
To give you an idea of how they were portrayed in pop culture, go HERE.
Note: this was the second of four Twilight Zone issues produced by Dell Comics before they split into two companies, Dell and Gold Key, with almost all the ongoing movie-TV tie-in licenses moving to Gold Key.
There were 92 issues of the second Twilight Zone series from 1963 until 1982, with no stories adapted from the show itself...though some share similar plot elements!
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Adapting episodes from the TV series along with several original tales!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Monday Madness / Halloween Horror THE SPECTRE "Abraca-Doom!"

As we pointed out HERE...

...One of Earth Two's mightiest characters had been reduced to a near-powerless horror-host/narrator in his own comic!
Written by Denny O'Neil and illustrated by Berni Wrightson, this rarely-reprinted story from DC's The Spectre #9 (1969) is an excellent example of simple, but effective, short story telling!

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The Spectre
(which reprints this tale...but in black-and-white!)

Sunday, October 4, 2020

All-Hallows Eve-Themed PPE Masks!

  Want to be safe and look scarily seasonally-appropriate?

Go for one of our 13 terrifying PPE masks!
Each double-layer mask is reusable, washable, and built for comfort.

The one-size-fits-all mask features a pocket for optional filter use...
Plus: Each order includes a free 2-pack of carbon filter inserts.

Note: these are exclusive designs, not available anywhere else!
To See Them All!
Order now, so you'll have a treat, not a trick for All Hallows Day!