New Reviews of Old Comics
Another one of the three I picked up at the local pug parade where our 9 year old pug won 2nd place for most creative costume. Yes, our dog wears a costume to this annual event. Actually, he’s been to this thing three times and won something each time. Between his win and my acquisition of some old comics this was a good day.
This well loved copy (i.e. thoroughly destroyed) copy of Strange Adventures has four stories among its 52 big pages (only 25 cents!) under the Joe Kubert cover. The first is “The Human Icicle” story by Otto Binder, art by Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs, originally published in Strange Adventures #53 (Feb 1955). The main character is walking around freezing things and scaring people away with his deep freezing touch. After some investigation it turns out he’s from Pluto (yes, the former planet) and he switched places with a scientist from Earth, who is now freezing; they think he’s a human heat wave since Pluto’s scientist’s have never seen anything so warm. They eventually right the wrong and find out interesting facts about their true homes.
Next up: “Where is the Paradise of Space?” story by Gardner Fox, art by Sid Greene which originally appeared in Mystery In Space #74 (March 1962). Wasn’t Sid Greene a character from The Godfather? Oh, maybe that was Mo Green. Never mind. This little 11 page gem is about the Space Rovers (who?) trapped on a floating island in space. Turns out the “island” is alive and intelligent, but doesn’t want them to leave. Fortunately their spaceship is a rental and Karel neglected to put another coin in the ship so their time ran out and the spaceship took off with the Space Rovers aboard. Seriously. No joke. Who could make that up? Oh, Gardner Fox did and he wrote a lot more comics than I have. Moving on.
“The World That Vanished” story by John Broome, art by Sy Barry. This story is new to anyone who didn’t read it in Strange Adventures # 59 back in August 1955. Our hero buys a statue left behind from some aliens who called Earth the FOURTH planet from the sun. I guess there was one named Apollo that was closer to the sun than Mercury in 1955. Said aliens come back and our hero scares them away with a faux vial of cosmic rays. Who knew aliens could be so gullible? Everyone knows you can’t hold cosmic rays in a mere vial. You need something made of unstable molecules.
We wrap up with an Adam Strange story called “The Spaceman Who Fought Himself,” also from Mystery In Space #74 (March 1962), which must have been a banner issue. My whole reason for buying this issue was the Adam Strange story. Despite the slow start it was a decent story (worth $1.66) where Adam is lured into fighting a look-alike, but it’s only a ruse so another race can take over Adam’s adopted planet of Rann. With a little help from a local scientist Adam saves the day with a giant contact lens. Yeah, Gardner Fox wrote this one too, why do you ask? Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson provided the art, and they do make a great team here. A little known follow up story has Adam Strange selling the contact lens to Fin Fang Foom who had a nasty stigmatism.
Best Ad: “Collect Coins…The Hobby Road to Riches.” If, 40 years ago, you sent $1 to the Hobby Coin Co. of Sherman Oaks, Cal they would have sent you collectible coins worth at least $1 in “grab bag” style. You might have found coins worth a lot more (or, more likely, you may not have, but they don’t explicitly say that). You could also have received $6 in coins for $5 or $12 for $10. I’m sure the Hobby Coin Co. is all on the up-and-up, but somehow I have a feeling the contents of those grab bags haven’t increased in value very much since 1972. I just know I would have sent for the coins based on the sheer excitement in the faces of the boy and girl in the ad. Who could fake that?