Saturday, March 13, 2021

Space Force Saturdays SPACE SQUADRON "Destination: Oblivion!"

The Psychedelic '60s are either a little early or a little late...
...for this never-reprinted 1951 story that took place in the then far-flung future of 2000!

Letting Edgar go unpunished despite risking numerous lives was, unfortunately, a typical plot point both in this series, and in later juvenile space-based comics and tv shows like Lost in Space, where, if anyone had any sense, they would've tossed Dr Smith out an airlock without a space suit after his first attempt to kill them...

This "trip through the mind's eye" from Atlas' Space Squadron #5 (1952) was illustrated by Allen Bellman, one of Timely/Atlas' in-house staff for over a decade.
The writer is unknown.
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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

Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday Fun ATOM-AGE COMBAT "Three Rocketeers"

No, not this Jack Kirby-created team...
...but another trio with a slightly-different take on living "la vida stellar"!
(St John's Atom-Age Combat V1N2 [1952])
(St John's Atom-Age Combat V1N3 [1952])
Illustrated (and probably written) by Vic Martin, these never-reprinted strips featuring Dr GastroRhonda, and Torpo appeared in the otherwise deadly-serious title Atom-Age Combat, one of several comics of the early 1950s that featured a near-future USA involved in atomic warfare with this case, Asian (presumably Chinese) Communists!
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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Reading Room SOJURN "Kingdom of the Maggot"

In the late 1970s, during the birth of the Direct Market and comic book stores...
...several publishers experimented with formats for Direct Sales Only periodicals.
One of them was Joe Kubert's White Cliffs Publishing, which produced Sojourn, a tabloid-sized anthology of two and three-page ongoing features by established pros like Kubert himself, Doug Wildey, Dick Giordano, Sergio Aragonés and John Severin along with newbies like Steve Bissette, who devoted his two pages per issue to a single-panel spread called Kingdom of the Maggot.
The first one included this descriptive paragraph...
The spread in #2, "Bagged Prey" didn't have a description!
Sadly, there wasn't a third issue.
Trivia: The co-publisher of the project was Ivan Snyder, who created/operated the mail-order business and comic distributor Superhero Enterprises/Heroes World, whose ads and catalogs were produced by Kubert and his school's students!
None of the strips or features in Sojourn (including Kubert's new Tor stories have ever been reprinted...except John Severin's Western strip The Eagle (in Warren's The Rook) which also ran the strips planned for the never-published Sojourn #3 and #4!
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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder LOST WORLD "Horrors of the Ancient Past!"

Did You Really Think a Series Called The Lost World...

...wouldn't produce at least one chapter featuring...well, read on and find out...
Note: this is not a diplodocus, which looked more like a brontosaurus!
It's clearly a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
At this point in history, The Lost World referred to a novel by Arthur Conan Doyle about his other famous character (besides Sherlock Holmes), Professor Challenger, discovering an isolated South American plateau where dinosaurs still existed!
It had already been adapted into a box office-smash hit silent film featuring stop-motion animation by Willis (King Kong) O'Brien, as well as a dramatic radio mini-series!
I'd be willing to bet that when new readers saw a blurb mentioning "Lost World" on the cover of Planet Comics, they thought the strip was an adaptation of the book (or movie)!
So the appearance of dinosaurs in this chapter from Fiction House's Planet Comics #41 (1946) was probably a tribute to those earlier works!

Discover MORE Amazing Factoids...
Next Wednesday!
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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Reading Room MYSTICAL TALES "On a Lonely Planet"

Can a sport unite alien cultures?
This never-reprinted story from Atlas' Mystical Tales #1 (1956) suggests an answer...
OK, it's an ethnocentric conceit that the aliens were playing something even remotely like baseball, but illustrator Bill Everett and the unknown writer still manage to "sell" it for four pages.
BTW, despite the title, Mystical Tales was an almost-totally "hard sci-fi" anthology!
Only a handful of stories from the anthology's 8-issue run have been reprinted, all in the 1970s, which makes even the reprints 40 years old!
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Monday, March 8, 2021

Monday Mars Madness MAN O' MARS

Monday Madness is being replaced by Monday Mars Madness... interest in Mars once more reaches a peak with NASA's Perseverance lander.
Here's a kool klassic from the 1950s...the lead story from a 1953 one-shot that combined all the great cliches of space opera (spaceships, ray guns, aliens, half-naked space babes) in one tight ten-page tale set only fifteen years from now...

These days, this story would be a six-issue mini-series with tie-ins to several other titles.
The rest of Fiction House's Man O' Mars one-shot from 1953 was made up of unrelated reprints from earlier issues of Planet Comics.
The interior artist is Maurice Gutwirth, but the writer is unknown.
The original cover was done by Maurice Whitman, one of the Golden Age's more prolific artists with credits at almost every company of the era!
When the book was reprinted by IW Comics in 1958 from the original printing plates, the covers weren't included, so publisher Israel Waldman commissioned Angelo Torres...
...who created a superb Frank Frazetta-style cover, doing his fellow Fleagle Gang member proud!
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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Reading Room BLAST-OFF "Little Earth"

This is a classic example of an unheralded gem by two graphic-story masters...
...that has been reprinted only once, and in a limited-edition trade paperback, so most of you have never seen it!
Oddly, the GCD lists it as penciled by Reed Crandall and inked by Al Williamson, but Teddy I at reverses the credits!
Personally, I think both artists, in typical Fleagle Gang-style worked at both tasks in various panels.
The writer is Larry Ivie, who scripted several dozen stories for Marvel, DC, Tower, King, and Warren in the 1960s, and also published Monsters and Heroes, a competitor to Famous Monsters of Filmland!
According to the Kirby Museum, this story was intended for Harvey's never-published Race for the Moon #5 in 1958, but remained unused until 1965, when it ran in the Harvey one-shot anthology Blast-Off!