Saturday, March 6, 2021

Space Force Saturdays SPEED CARTER "Jet-Men of Zurko" he battles self-propelled aliens from an unnamed star in this tale from Speed Carter: SpaceMan #4 (1954).
According to Marvel's writers, aliens are idiots who can be tricked by everything from photos of ancient ruins to comic book panels showing monsters or high-tech weaponry that doesn't really exist!
Remember the end of Fantastic Four #2 (1961) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby?
Reed Richards showed cut-out comic book panels from Journey into Mystery and Strange Tales to the Skrull fleet commander stating the creatures and super-science weapons shown were real and ready to use against alien invaders!
(Of course, the idea that Jack Kirby could draw stuff that could scare the pants off hostile aliens does have a real appeal...)
And, I remember at least a couple of other pre-Silver Age Marvel stories with a similar concept, including one where movie special effects techs frightened aliens with fake robots from a sci-fi film they were shooting on location...
Written (as are all the Speed Carter stories) by Hank Chapman and illustrated by new artists Mike Sekowsky, Don Heck, and Jack Abel.
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(under the pen-name "Paul French")
Omnibus of ALL Six Space-Opera Sagas!
David Starr: Space Ranger, Pirates of the Asteroids, Oceans of Venus, Big Sun of Mercury, Moons of Jupiter, Rings of Saturn

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Reading Room WORLD OF FANTASY "Guardian of the Stars!"

What's kooler than a Jack (King) Kirby cover?
How about the never-reprinted Steve Ditko story it leads into?
Did the cover or the story come first?
The total redesign of the robot indicates whichever was done first wasn't provided to the other artist as reference!
Also, shouldn't the title be "Guardian of the Earth"?
Of course, that would be a "spoiler", ruining the drama shown on the cover...
Illustrated by Steve Ditko, this tale from Atlas' World of Fantasy #17 (1959) was probably plotted by Stan Lee, though the scripting doesn't read like his work.
Keep an eye on this blog as we re-present more never-reprinted Steve Ditko stories and covers!
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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder LOST WORLD "Sinister Stalkers of the Subway"

...Hunt Bowman and his Scooby Gang exposed a traitorous human brainwashed by the VoltaMen before he could lead them into a trap...
Both artist Lily Renee and whoever the writer was behind the "Thorncliffe Herrick" pen-name lived in NYC.
So, they were aware of the 9th Avenue elevated train (which had recently-closed and was in the process of being dismantled), when this story from Fiction House's Planet Comics #40 (1946) was created and published.
In addition, this was the last appearance of the "Scooby Gang", as new assistants come and go for the remainder of the series!

Discover MORE Amazing Factoids...
Next Wednesday!
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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Reading Room DANGER IS OUR BUSINESS "Captain Comet: Space Pilot vs Vicious Space Pirates"

A space-going hero named "Captain Comet" who saves the Earth?
Plus, he's drawn by Al Williamson and Frank Frazetta?
Sign me up!
But, he's not DC Comics' mutant mental marvel...
 ...but a character who only appeared once, in 1953, two years after DC's space hero debuted in Strange Adventures #9, and would continue as an ongoing strip through 1955 (usually getting the cover slot)!
The Captain Comet we've just shown you was more a Flash Gordon / Buck Rogers-type hero, set in the future, battling interplanetary threats with fists and ray guns.
Appearing in the first issue of Toby Press' anthology title Danger is Our Business, he obviously was meant to be an ongoing character, but there was never another appearance, except for a reprint in 1958.
Did DC issue a "cease and desist" due to trademark infringement?
We'll never know...

Monday, March 1, 2021

Monday Madness RIOT "Pascal the Rascal by Yank Kitchen (or: a Comic Strip is Born!)"

65 years ago, one of the many MAD clones did a spoof of the then incredibly-hot new comic strip...
...Dennis the Menace illustrated by an artist whose identity you probably won't guess!
Was I right?
Did you guess who it was?
Atlas' MAD rip-off RIOT #6 (1956) ended the book's run with some spectacular (and never-reprinted) artwork by Bill Everett, John Severin, Dan DeCarlo and this piece by an unrecognizable Joe Maneely!
Joe, whose art normally looked like this...
...totally-suppressing his own style to match Hank Ketcham's style down to the thickness of the linework while making the character look just different enough to avoid copyright and trademark infringement!
It was a beautiful job, and an example of this sadly-ignored artist!
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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Reading Room UNUSUAL TALES "Night of the Red Snow"

As near-record cold finally leaves America...
Art by Steve Ditko
...we present a chilly comics tale, illustrated by the creator of Dr Strange and co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko!
Unfortunately, due to Charlton Comics' legendarily-bad printing, the "red" effect on the canvas is muted almost to uselessness, diminishing the ending's effectiveness!
BTW, did you note the sneaky "red herring" (or was it) on the sides of the moving van on page 3?
Beautifully-rendered by Steve Ditko, this tale from Charlton's Unusual Tales #9 (1957) has no credited writer, but many researchers/historians believe the scripter is the prolific (and underrated) Joe Gill.
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