Saturday, November 28, 2020

Space Force Saturday SPACE SQUADRON "Planet of Madness!"

Let's blast-off for excitement (if not scientific accuracy) in the year 2000...
...which was actually twenty years ago!
You can move the Sun away from Mercury?
(Wouldn't moving the tiny planet Mercury be easier than moving the Sun, the largest body in the Solar System?) 
Mercurians have the element Mercury in their veins?
And they possess both a "good" head and a "bad" head?
(Why not just remove the "bad" head at birth?)
The writer for this lead story from Atlas/Marvel's Space Squadron #3 (1951) is unknown, though the illustrator tasked with this unenviable task was future X-Men artist Werner Roth.

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Friday Fun / Holiday Reading Room: RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER "Rudolph's Swelled Head" Part 2

As preparations for Christmas proceed, two children, Jack and Judy, make their way to Santa's Workshop.
But their innocent visit will have unintended consequences...
To be continued...
Next Friday!
Written by Sy Reit and illustrated by Rube Grossman, this 1950 annual was the first of a series that ran until 1963.
The concept was revived in the tabloid-sized "Treasury" (10" x 14") format in 1972 and was published annually (except in '75 and '77) until 1978.
(Both DC and Marvel experimented in the 1970s with the over-sized format.
They were much bigger than normal comics with cardstock covers, though the interior pages were printed on the usual comic book paper stock.)
The series was a more-or-less sequel to the original story (which we presented HERE.) and song.
(The animated TV special that tells a totally-different version of the tale didn't appear until 1964.)
One thing you'll note is the unique idea of including activity pages as part of the story, giving us perfect chapter enders and openers in our serial presentation format.
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(of the stop-motion animated TV special)

Thanksgiving Turkey SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS

He's the Jolly Old Elf in a red suit!
They are BIG Green Men from Mars with an even BIGGER robot!
Before Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, they were the ingredients for the weirdest Christmas movie ever!
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was filmed in 1964 in that bastion of cinema, Long Island New York (in an unused airplane hanger!

Starring a host of tv and b-movie actors including handsome-but-wooden Leonard Hicks as the good Martian leader Kimar, 60s villain/voiceover artist Vincent Beck (who did lots of work for Irwin Allen's sci-fi shows) as the film's mustache-twirling Martian villain, Voldar, and John Call as a pretty damn convincing Santa Claus, the flick is touted these days as the debut of future talentless chantuse Pia Zadora as Martian Kid Girmar. (Thankfully, she has rather limited screen time.)

The plot's pretty simple.
The children of Mars are in a funk.
The adult Martians deduce it's due to the children's strict and sterile upbringing, and that to "normalize" them, the kids must have fun!
And what could be more fun than celebrating Christmas?
But, to do a proper Christmas, you need a Santa Claus!
Thus, the Martians journey to Earth to kidnap Santa Claus and force him to create a Christmas celebration on Mars!
Then, as they say in TV Guide, hilarity ensues! (well, sorta)

As an example of low-budget filmmaking, it's amazingly-effective.
Every penny (what few of them they had) is up on the screen.
The costuming and Santa's Workshop and Mars sets are as good as those of tv shows of the period.
(The Martian robot is probably the weakest element from a design and execution standpoint, but nobody's perfect!)
There's extensive use of stock footage (from Dr. Strangelove, no less).
And, the idea to utilize the Wham-O Air Blaster toy guns as Martian weapons was either a stroke of marketing genius or clever use of limited funds.
Either way, sales of the guns shot thru the roof after the film hit the kiddie matinee circuit!

If you're between 3-9 years old, the flick's a lot of fun.
If you're between 10 and whatever the local drinking age is, it'll drive you nuts, especially the theme song!
If you're over the local drinking age, do so before watching! It's available on a host of public domain DVDs and BluRays as well as one of the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 snarkfests.

And you just knew we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ were going to include Santa Claus Conquers the Martians in our Cool Christmas collection on stuff including kid and adult sweatshirts, hoodies, mugs and coasters, tree ornaments, throw blankets and snugglies, and greeting cards!
BTW: The image is from the comic book tie-in. There was also a 45rpm single of the theme, a spoken-word LP album of the movie's dialogue, and a novelization, all of which are HTF and expensive when you do find them!
Now I can't get that damn theme out of my head..."Hoo-ray for Santy Claus..." AARRRGGGHHH!

FREE: a couple of early Yuletide gifts from us to you:
LINK 
to the surprisingly well-done comics adaptation of the movie!
LINK
to a download the film itself in various formats!
Now it can drive YOU nuts, too!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

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 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 present 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 25, 2020

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder LOST WORLD "Secret Weapon Cache"

Still on the wrong side of the Atlantic Ocean...
...Hunt Bowman and alien princess Lyssa seek a way to return to America to continue the fight against the VoltaMen...invading aliens from a distant world!
Wait!
They're not taking any of the tech with them?
Though Graham Ingels does retouch work on some of the faces, the art chores as of Fiction House's Planet Comics #3 (1944) fall to up-and-comer Lily Renee, perhaps the most successful of the various women who took over the creative end of comics while the guys were off to war.
Amazingly-versatile, she handled everything from sci-fi to spies to horror to romance with equal finesse!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Holiday Reading Room JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY "Monsters on Mercury!"

Though it doesn't look like it...
...this is a Yuletide story, and thus, an appropriate entry into the Holiday Reading Room!
This long-forgotten Stan Lee/Steve Ditko tale from Atlas' Journey into Mystery #78 (1962) has appeared only once since, and not quite in this form.
You'll find out what we mean...soon!
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Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday Madness / Holiday Reading Room SANTA CLAUS FUNNIES "Toy Trouble"

We'll begin the week with a never-reprinted, silent one-pager...
...by Walt (Pogo) Kelly from Dell's Four Color Comics: Santa Claus Funnies #91 (1945).
Simple.
Effective.
Cute.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Cornucopia of Christmas Collectibles!

Ho, Ho, Ho!
Need a stocking stuffer with style?
PPE FaceMasks, Christmas Cards, Mugs, Magnets, Shopping Bags and other unique items are here
Over a dozen designs in categories that will bring back nostalgic memories of your childhood!
Along with St. Nick, our frosty friend is one of the most recognizable symbols of Winter and the Christmas Season!
The classic tale of Scrooge's redemption brought alive with 9 digitally-remastered and restored images from the very FIRST edition EVER, plus the 1951 movie!
How do comic characters celebrate Christmas?
Check it out! 
He's the jolly ol' elf in a red suit.
They are big green men from Mars with an even bigger robot!
Who will win?
Before "The Nightmare Before Christmas" this was the funky Christmas flick!
Order from
Cool Christmas
now, or take the chance they won't arrive in time to go under the tree or in a stocking!