Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Joe Kubert Draws the Happiest Space Monster Ever for the Cover of... Strange Adventures #232

Okay, so this comic is from 1971. Hardly within the scope of the Silver Age, you say. And he just covered a comic from 1983 yesterday. Has this become a Bronze Age blog??? Fear not, True Believers! The contents of this little gem are all solidly Silver!

First up, reprinted from Mystery In Space #14, from back in 1953 we have a little number called "Hollywood in Space". It was written by John Broome and gorgeously drawn by Mort Drucker. I'll give you the teaser:

"Webb Weldon's fate as a movie director hung on the success of a multi-million dollar picture -- A spectacular space-adventure that he had made on actual location ... on unknown and ultra-distant worlds! And fame seemed within his grasp until that moment, back on Earth, when he ran part of the footage he had shot on the strange and very friendly planet of Xunis..."

"A multi-million dollar picture"? I'm guessing that 27th century dollars are worth more.

Next up, the Star Rovers hunt the aptly named but biologically improbable Loborilla in the sci-fi adventure yarn "Who Caught the Loborilla?" from Mystery In Space #66, 1961. Written by the immortal Gardner Fox and enthusiastically rendered by Sid Greene.

The Loborilla looks like something B'wanna Beast left lying around after a fight. The joke's on the Star Rovers, though. The Loborilla is actually a super-intelligent being on vacation.

Next up, we have a big-fat feature-length Adam Strange story, "The Multiple Menace Weapon" from Mystery In Space #72,1961, written, again by Gardner Fox and drawn by Carmine Infantino with inks by Murphy Anderson.

Adam Strange travels once more via Zeta Beam to his adopted planet, Rann. But this time, 100,000 years into the distant future, where people have predictably large heads and are unfamiliar with fire. I wonder if this is what happened to the Mars of Martian Manhunter? Anyway, as always Rann is menaced by an alien invasion only Adam Strange can stop. The action centers on the capital city of Rann, Ranagar City. I always love how the capital of Rann is Ranagar which rhymes with Hawkman's home world of Thanagar. It's like they asked Scooby-Doo to say "Thanagar".

The final tale in this issue is "The Magnetic Duel" from- you guessed it- Mystery In Space #17, 1954 (Maybe they shouldn't have cancelled Mystery In Space?). Written by John Broome and drawn by Murphy Anderson. I don't know about you, but I love a good space Western. Especially an old-school one where the space explorers wear cowboy hats and ray guns. Classic!

I'm old enough to remember comics costing a quarter, but not a big, fat 48-pager like this baby. Still, in 1971 the cost must have been scandalous, because Carmine Infantino himself wrote a memo to the readers, justifying the extravagant cost:

I love how Infantino asks you to "rap" for a moment and that he understands that you expect a lot for your hard-earned "bread". "But the fact that you bought it is what turns us on. " -Shades of SNAPPER CARR! That's some hip talk! Carmine sounds like he just got busted on Dragnet.

Even funnier, though, is the idea that this comic contains "Specially selected stories that we were planning for a long time... and that time is now!" This is ALL reprints. I'm pretty sure that kept the overhead down and allowed DC to get more for their "bread".


  1. My first comics were 12 cents apiece; within two years they went up to 15 cents, and then in two more years it was 25 cents. So it wasn't so much scandalous as it was "what, again?" I'm pretty sure at that point I had to go to my parents and ask them for a raise on my allowance because, after all, my weekly expenses were going up.

    The format wasn't entirely unprecedented, however, because even when a regular issue was 12 cents both DC and Marvel also published oversized 25 cent reprint editions, and I always considered those a great value. So if all comic books were going to be like that all the time from now on, that was fine with me! Didn't quite work out that way in practice, of course...

  2. I also wanted to say this particular issue was a special favorite of mine...and the nine year olds of 1971 appreciated that a heavy cat like Carmine would let it all hang out and not lay a downer trip on us, because it was a stone cold groove to know where his head was really at, you dig?

  3. I can dig it. Carmine just wants everybody to know what his bag is and cut down on all the static from the little people who spend their dough on his mag. If it was up to him he'd give the ish away, but the Man would never allow it.