Watch out, here come more monsters! Yes, another post for the holiday, that revolves around some of the monsters from the pre-Marvel days. Believe me when I say that this one is solid! A giant alien monster that is the first to come to Earth to scout out the planet…or is he? Another tale that involves a sea monster terrorizing a ship at sea! The third installment is one that presents an alien that disguises himself as a human to study them. He finds out that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Finally, we get a joker that likes to play pranks on people, and sometimes hurting more than just their feelings. He himself finds out in the end that karma comes back at you in a hard way!
These stories have an edge over others, in that they have such powerhouse art talent behind them that even if the story is mundane, the artwork carries them through. The work of Jack “King” Kirby (cover and interior pencils to story one- Dick Ayers inked the cover) has been documented by many, and I could go on all day about how great it is, but if you don’t own much of his work, you need to remedy that now. “Joltin'” Joe Sinnott is mostly known for being an outstanding inker, but in this book, you get to see him flex his muscles with pencils and inks on one story! The man named Bill Walton isn’t one that’s familiar to me, but he does do a great job on the story in this particular issue. Last but certainly not least, is Steve Ditko. His weird and creepy work is one of legend, and elevates him to a pretty high status in the sci-fi/horror category. Of course, everyone knows him from Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, but dig deeper, and enjoy the treasures that you will find!
After those dreadful government hearings in the 1950’s about the comic book industry, the publishers decided to create an organization (The Comics Code Authority) that would oversee and approve of everything published. This stranglehold lasted until Lee, Kane, and Romita gave us “Green Goblin Reborn”, in 1971. This fantastic arc showed us the Osborn family, and their decent into madness. It also was a request from the government to show readers the dangers of drug use that prompted this story to be published. This helped relax the Comics Code Authority’s grip on what could and could not be shown in comics (from 1954 until that point- no Vampires, Werewolves, axe-wielding maniacs, drug use, etc., were allowed in comics, but Lee and Marvel decided to print the issues without the seal of approval).
People’s opinions vary, but it seems as if the Authority was created to more or less put EC Comics out of business. Why? Because they were the dominating force in horror/sci-fi comics, and nobody else could come close to doing what they were accomplishing. I haven’t personally read much of their content, simply because it’s very expensive, but from what I have seen (and heard from many people more knowledgeable than I), they were the best.
Marvel had given up doing horror books but did do a ton of stories that revolved around giant monsters and otherworldly beings from outer-space. These stories were created by giants like Jack ‘King’ Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck. Some of them were reprinted in books like Chamber of Chills, Monsters on the Prowl, and Where Monsters Dwell, just to name a few. There was the arrival of other titles that contained some new material as well (Chamber of Darkness), and were not hardcore horror, but “sophisticated suspense”, as DC Comics would call such material.
So, without further delay, let me present some of the reprint work, along with some new material from Marvel Comics, from the late 1960’s and the 1970’s! Enjoy!
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Robert E. Howard. And my favorite creations of his is Kull! Not only does Kull predate Conan, but he’s more of a thinker, a better leader, and he has a cool dude named Brule, that has his back in a scrap! In this issue, Kull must face the serpent cult, and their leader, Thulsa Doom! You see, this wizard is a man now, but later on, he would become more of a demon of sorts, defying death for centuries! He would live long enough to plague Conan a few times as well.
In this, his first appearance (Thulsa Doom), we see him befriend Kull, and even after Brule’s warning, Kull says that they will allow Doom to go with them to their destination. Of course, we the reader can see the devil in Doom’s eyes, but Kull seemingly cannot. A bout with a giant Plesiosaur, the serpent cult gone wild, and a betrayal on the horizon! An action packed issue from the awesome mind of the best fantasy writer of his time or any other! All hail Robert E. Howard!
The artwork by Marie & John Severin shows off what a great team they were indeed. The pencils, inks, and colors are all perfect for this genre. You really get a sense that they enjoyed working on a book like this, and I’m glad they did it! See you in three days for more comic book goodness, and don’t forget to check out my movie review (Cinema Sunday), too!