Saturday, May 8, 2021

Space Force Saturdays SPEED CARTER "Slaughter in Space!"

We meet a new alien race, the Vegans...
...who, it turns out, are no more trustworthy than most other alien species.
(We humans are scrupulously honest, of course!)

Don't ya just love a happy ending?
What I want to know is why Speed is suddenly wearing shorts?
Thankfully, it's the only story in the series where he does so.
This story from Speed Carter: SpaceMan #5 (1954) was scripted (as were all Speed Carter tales) by Hank Chapman!
Illustrator George Tuska later became the final artist on the original Buck Rogers comic strip (1959-67) and then assumed the art duties for almost a decade on Marvel's Invincible Iron Man!
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Friday, May 7, 2021

Friday Fun RIOT "Mother Goosepimple's Nursery Rhymes" 2

The second, final , never-reprinted installment in this series features...
,,,an artist who already had a rep doing humor, John Severin, best known for his serious Western and War comics work at Harvey and EC!
He was also brother of EC Comics colorist Marie Severin, who later became Marvel's resident caricaturist (among her many other talents)!
I suspect this was going to be an ongoing series featuring rotating illustrators, but since Atlas' MAD-clone Riot was cancelled as of this issue (6) in 1956, we'll never know!
BTW, if the writing style feels "familiar", that's because it was by Stan (the Man) Lee!
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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Reading Room AMAZING ADVENTURES "Cosmic Brain"

Here's a cool, never-reprinted tale about a nuclear energy-created mutant...
...linked to the bombing of Hirsohima in 1945.
Look carefully at the artwork, because someone you might not realize apparently contributed to it...
The Grand Comics Database lists Leonard Starr as the artist for this story from Ziff-Davis' Amazing Adventures #3 (1951).
But many of the "camera angles" and figures don't look like his work from the period. as seen HERE and HERE!
IMHO, some of the layouts were done by none other than Jack Kirby!
Everything fits Kirby's layout and figure-posing style and Starr was doing occasional work for the Simon & Kirby studio at the time.
Starr might have been unfamiliar with the genre and asked Kirby to do layouts to help him, paying Kirby in cash from his own pocket (If Kirby even took money for the work. I've heard he helped other artists out without renumeration on a number of occasions.)
Either way, I believe this is a "lost" Kirby Klassic!
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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Wednesday Worlds of Wonder LOST WORLD "Power of Panduro"

...and here's the first one...a new illustrator takes over for the remainder of the run!
Though this story is set in the NYC area, the United Nations didn't begin construction of their East Side headquarters until 1948...a year after this tale was created and published in Fiction House's Planet Comics #50 (1947)!
From 1947 until the Manhattan complex was finished in 1952, their meetings were held in London!
George Evans assumes the artistic reins for the strip in this issue and will remain until the final chapter in Planet Comics #64..
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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

May the Fourth Be With You! 40 Years Ago...Star Wars Met Disney...sort of...

Long before Disney bought LucasFilm...
...they took a shot at doing a Star Wars-style property!
Before the Disney Channel and Radio Disney, the marketers at The House of Mouse would occasionally try to tie-in with popular trends.
Halyx, a pop-rock band that performed at TomorrowLand in the early 1980s was one such attempt.
And, being Disney, it was no half-baked, quickie tie-in, but an example of the Imagineering crew at its' best.
You can read about the creation and implementation of the project (by one of the participants no less) HERE and HERE.
Here's the band performing (audio with still photos)...

Too bad they don't even make a cameo in TomorrowLand...

Monday, May 3, 2021

Monday Mars Madness: Before Ray Bradbury...Before Robert Heinlein...There Was Stanley G Weinbaum!

...the only graphic adaptation of any of forgotten 1930s science fiction writer Stanley G Weinbaum's stories!
Considering no less a sci-fi giant than Issac (Foundation) Asimov said (in a new intro written for this 1970s reprint)...
..."'A Martian Odyssey' had the effect on the field of an exploding grenade.
With this single story, Weinbaum was instantly recognized as the world’s best living science fiction writer, and at once almost every writer in the field tried to imitate him.”
Weinbaum was quite a prolific writer, and produced an enormous amount of work in his lifetime.
So why doesn't anyone remember him today?
Less than two years after "A Martian Odyssey", he died of lung cancer.
Sadly, his novels and short story compilations aren't currently in print, but are well-worth tracking down!
In one of the first examples of "universe-building" all of Weinbaum's "Interplanetary" stories were set in a consistent Solar System that was scientifically-accurate by 1930s standards.
The avian/botanical Martians of "A Martian Odyssey" and "Valley of Dreams", for instance, are mentioned in "Redemption Cairn" and "The Red Peri".
The tripedal Venusian trioptes of "Parasite Planet" and "The Lotus Eaters" are mentioned in "The Mad Moon." The vicious, pseudomammalian pests of that story appear in "Valley of Dreams" as minor antagonists.
The rock-eating, silicon-based Pyramid-Makers of Mars are mentioned in "Tidal Moon".
In Weinbaum's Solar System, in accordance with the then-current science, the gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) radiate heat, enough to warm their satellites to Earthlike temperatures, allowing for Earthlike environments on Io, Europa, Titan, and others.
Mars is also sufficiently Earthlike to allow humans to walk its surface (with training in thin-air chambers) unprotected.
In 1970, when the Science Fiction Writers of America voted on the best science fiction short stories ever written, "A Martian Odyssey" came in second to Asimov's "Nightfall", and was the oldest story to make the list.
The chosen stories were published in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.
Please seek out his work.
You won't be disappointed!
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Sunday, May 2, 2021

Asians and Asian-Americans in Comics

How have American comics treated Asians and Asian-Americans?
We're presenting a RetroBlog-wide look, starting with a comic based on the 1960s Dr Kildare TV series in Medical Comics and Stories!
(Note: that doesn't include partners/sidekicks like the The Green Hornet's Kato or Crimson Avenger's Wing who didn't have their own strips. But Hero Histories will get to them!)
There's more coming, as every RetroBlog presents a post you won't want to miss!