Thursday, January 3, 2013


The bloggy thing has picked up a lot of new readers over the past
couple months, but those of you who have been with me for a while
already known of my fascination with comic books that appeared on
the newsstands in my birth month of December 1951.  Which makes me
61 years old, so show me some respect, you darn whippersnappers.

Mystery in Space #6 [DC; February-March 1952] was edited by Julius
Schwartz, who was a science fiction fan and agent before he started
working in comic books.  This title reflects that background with
“house names” for some writers and, save for the cover feature, non-
series short stories.

Carmine Infantino (pencils) and Joe Giella (inks) drew the cover of
this issue, which is taken from the Knights of the Galaxy feature.
Of the Knights, Wikipedia says:

“Knights of the Galaxy was a short-lived science fiction series
published by DC Comics. They first appear in Mystery in Space #1,
(April-May 1951), and starred in the first eight issues of the
series. They were created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino.
The Knights were a peace-keeping force in the 30th Century (some
sources say 25th), based on the Gala space station. The only named
Knight was Lyle (no last name), Space Commando. The Knights' chief
scientist was Ora (again, no last name), girl friend of Lyle and
daughter of Arthro, their commander.”

Kanigher, writing as Dion Anthony, wrote “The Day the World Melted”
(7.67 pages).  The art was by Infantino and Giella.  According to
the Grand Comics Database synopsis, “The Master of Doom timeports
Lyle back to the 20th century.  While I know I read this story when
it was reprinted in Justice League of America #91 [August 1971], I
have no memory of it or any of the other Knights adventures which
DC has reprinted.  It would be a few more years before Schwartz and
his team would make Mystery in Space and Strange Adventures two of
the best and most unforgettable science fiction titles in comics history.

The issue’s other stories (all non-series) were:

“The Boy Who Saved the Earth” (5.67 pages) by John Broome (writing
as John Osgood) with art by Bob Oksner and Bernard Sachs;

“The Man Who Hated Science” (4 pages) by Jack Miller with art by
John Giunta, reprinted in Justice League of America #78 [February
1970]; and

“Cowboy On Mars” (7.67 pages) by Mann Rubin with art by Jim Mooney.
With the popularity of western comics in the early 1950s, I wonder
why this wasn’t the cover feature.

Keep reading the bloggy thing. You’ll see more vintage comic-book
covers from the month of my birth.


Classic Popeye [IDW; $3.99 per issue] reprints the late 1940s comic
books written and drawn by Bud Sagendorf for the Dell series which
ran from February-April 1948 to July-September 1962.  Having read
the first four issues, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a
better bargain in today’s comics marketplace.  Each issue presents
52 pages of cover-to-cover Popeye adventures and gags.

The issues are filled with classic Popeye bits.  Furious fisticuffs
and foreign intrigue.  Three generations of two-fisted roughnecks:
Pappy, Popeye, and Sweetpea.  The ever-flighty Olive Oyl with her
frequent attempts to get Popeye to swear off fighting.  The easily-
tempted Wimpy.  Criminals of all kinds.  Strange creatures.  Big on
action, big on laughs, big on human foibles.  These are some of the
best comics around and I recommend them for discerning readers of
all ages. 


IDW also has two great Godzilla series going.  The ongoing Godzilla
is written by Duane Swierczynski and drawn by Simon Gane with one
fill-in job by Dave Wachter.  We’ve got a team of Godzilla hunters
with personal grudges against the Great Scaly One, a Godzilla who
is fully into punishing man’s folly (or maybe he’s just pissed off
that this comic doesn’t get the attention it deserves) and hints of
a dark mystery involving all of Earth’s monsters.  I read all seven
issues at one sitting because I just couldn’t stop reading as long
as there was another issue to read.  If I don’t get the next issue
soon, I might do some folly punishing myself.

Godzilla: The Half-Century War is a five-issue series by writer and
artist James Stokoe.  This one follows the life of a soldier whose
military service pretty much started with the arrival of Godzilla
five decades ago.  As the series and the years progress, he becomes
part of a squad whose job is to test anti-Godzilla weapons.  This
one is even better the ongoing Godzilla book.  Stokoe is a terrific
writer and his art blew me away, very serious manga-like and, when
it comes to Godzilla and his carnage, incredibly detailed.  These
are two of my favorite current comics and I recommend them to all
Godzilla devotees.

Published by Dark Horse Comics, Forbidden Worlds Archives Volume 1
[$49.95] reprints issues #1-4 of the classic American Comics Group
horror and science fiction title from 1951-1952. Editor and chief
writer Richard Hughes courted some of the most enthusiastic readers
of the era with his breathless descriptions of the wonders awaiting
those readers and by publishing their comments in a letters page.
But Forbidden Worlds and its big sister companion Adventures into
the Unknown
had more than hype going for them.

Their stories of werewolves, vampires, ghosts and more were never
as gory as many other comic-book horror tales, but they were told
with drama and passion.  The art was worthy of these efforts.  In
this volume, you’ll see early work by Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta
and Wally Wood alongside stories drawn by solid veterans like Paul
Reinman, Emil Gershwin, George Klein, Charles Sultan, Ogden Whitney
and others.

As my regular readers know, PS Publishing is also reprinting these
comics.  Each volume from the British publisher has five issues to
Dark Horse’s four issues.  However, I think Dark Horse has better
reproduction of these vintage gems.  It’s a toss-up as to which I
prefer.  Both are worthy of your attention.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. I totally agree with you about Classic Popeye and both of the Godzilla series. I also recommend the new Popeye stories in the ongoing series. Roger Landridge knows how to write Popeye, I says he does. Sometimes the backup stories are better than the main stories!

    Hoy Murphy

  2. Glad you got a chance to read the Godzilla books IDW is publishing. I agree with you whole-heartedly about both of them. The Half-Century War plot is really engaging, and the art is some of the best Big G at I've seen in a comic this century. Keep reading Tony!

  3. Tony:

    I too recommend the current Popeye. My local shop tried to add the reprints to my subscription, but, my budget just won't allow it, so I had to decline.

    Have to wait for the Godzillas to be collected in trade paperback before sampling.

    I strongly recommend Dynamite's new Sherlock Holmes miniseries. Looks great.

  4. "What are you wearing under that space suit, Lyle?"
    "Nothing, Ora -- I'm going... space commando!!!"