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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween! - ALL HALLOWS


From 1982 comes the greatest halloween story ever produced by comics.
"ALL HALLOWS" was written by Bruce Jones and had beautiful artwork by Tim Conrad, and was one of 4 stories featured in Pacific Comics' first enjoyable endeavor into the horror anthology market, TWISTED TALES #1 (ala the old EC horror comics).
The story starts out innocently enough, evoking childhood memories of trick or treating in the autumn moonlight, and slowly developes into something much more sinister and dark.
Enjoy.

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(click to enlarge)









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Yes, Skeeter, get some rest...finally.


Here's the cover of the issue,
featuring artwork by the masterful Richard Corben.

Richard Corben cover art from TWISTED TALES #1, detail





Saturday, April 23, 2011

THE DAY BEFORE DOOMSDAY! and DOOMSDAY!



As a young boy, I can recall playing ouside in my yard when suddenly the still of the day was shattered by the thunderous resonance of a massive sonic boom, the tremendous clap of which would rattle the windows of all the houses in the neighborhood. I would look up to see the supersonic jets flying high overhead, contrails and exhaust streaming behind as they would make their way to a nearby military airfield. I can also recall my friends and I riding our bikes to the nearby Nike missile base, where we would often go and play army, using some of the then-abandoned concrete bunkers as our makeshift headquarters and shelter from fantasy 'enemy' gunfire.

As children, my friends and I had no real concept of the actual dangers posed by the threat of nuclear devastation, as we had been born into this 'cold war', but as yet had felt no effects from it, aside from being trained to "duck and cover"in school, and the weekly air-raid siren tests. Still, to this very day, for all of us who live on the face of the earth, the threat of imminent worldwide nuclear destruction is a constant reality, as it ever has been since the last days at the end of World War II.

Today our enemies are perhaps not so clearly defined as in the 50's and 60's, when the watchword of the day was 'communism', and the enemy that we in the USA most feared was Russia. For younger readers, it may be difficult to relate, but your parents and grandparents had to contend daily with the dark cloud looming omnipresently overhead with the threat of likely nuclear extermination. The Super-Powers were poised in a stalemate stare-down, watching and waiting for the other to flinch as their fingers teased shakily on the big red button. Youngsters were given a whole new vocabulary as words and terms once reserved for the scientific community became more common in daily usage, words such as radiation, strontium 90, fallout, half-life, roentgens, neutrons, gamma and beta rays. Tenets like situational ethics became more predominate in direct correlation to the increasing concerns where human life may be put at risk, especially in consideration of life and death motivations as caused by the imminent fear of death by atomic or nuclear bomb. Fallout shelters were constructed in inestimable numbers throughout the United Staes, Russia, and every other nation with the capabilities to do so. The world was preparing for the apparent inevitable destruction to come, and humanity was grasping at straws in an effort to find ways to somehow survive intact in the face of global obliteration.

That is the era from whence these comic stories were born, the era of the realization of the possibility of actual and complete worldwide destruction. 

This therefore is that day,
THE DAY BEFORE DOOMSDAY!






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Art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers
Originally published in STRANGE TALES # 99, 1962 
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Quick question...
What is the day after "the day before Doomsday"?
What do you call it?...Oh yeah, I know...
DOOMSDAY! 






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Art by Paul Reinman
Originally published in STRANGE TALES # 75, 1960

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Whether by inter-continental ballistic nuclear missiles, or by poisonous gas, or by a plethora of other man-made instruments of mass death, the people of the earth continue to exist in a limbo of impending destruction. The sense of doom is perhaps not so acute as it existed decades ago, and most of humanity dwells in a numb and impervious state of denial when it comes to such dark possibilities. We mostly live with a sense of apathetic ignorance, wrapped in an ever-growing cocoon of complacent and casual continuity of existance, possessing a "so far, so good" attitude. Like Lynn and Walter, the two scientists in the second tale, some find hope in a supernatural Divine Power beyond our human purview, whereas some cling to only what can be seen and heard and felt by natural means alone. If such a Doomsday is in fact coming to us soon, as the banshee of constant media around us wails in it's dire warnings, we can choose to be like scientist Walter and cry "There is no greater power!", and gnash our teeth as we relegate our doomed and useless lives to oblivion. My hope is we would be more like Walter's comrade Lynn, trusting in a greater Wisdom to lead us.

The next time you stand beneath a star-filled sky and look up, or watch the glorious colors of a majestic sunrise or sunset, or witness the birth of a baby, or hold your child in your arms, or look into the eyes of one you love, and feel the beating of your own heart, I hope you will know, just as Lynn, that there exists a supernatural power beyond our full comprehension, greater than we can know in and of ourselves alone. 

Even if these are just corny comic book stories.



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to find out what happens
THE DAY AFTER DOOMSDAY!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

GREAT OLD COMICS FOR SALE CHEAP! - ATLAS, MARVEL, and More!




I've been meaning to post a link here to my ebay store, where I've already begun a massive comic book sale!
Comic books of all sorts, Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze, Copper, Modern, Underground, (even a few adult "art" books!)...all the various genres will be there eventually! I hate to get rid of them, but I need the space to rebuild my time machine, so help a blogger out and stop by and snag a few bargains. I want them to find good homes!

Right now, among other things,
there are quite a few old Silver Age Marvel superhero comics starting at .99¢,
and many more being added each day! I'm just getting started!
So if you are interested in picking up some real cool bargain comics, check it out here!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

"CHECK, PLEASE!" - FIRST IMPULSE! and SECOND CHANCE?



Little is known about artist Sid Check, aside from the fact that he was a contemporary of fellow artists Wallace Wood, Joe Orlando, and Harry Harrison, among others, in the 50's. When Wood and Orlando began their early art collaborations, Sid Check as well as Harrison were also fellow members of the same art studio. It isn't surprising that all four of them would soon be working for the same publisher, EC Comics, doing work with remarkably similar styles.

To the untrained eye, Check's work can often be mistaken for Wood's. Check's art is generally engaging and attractive, if not entirely as well constructed as Wood's art was. Less prolific than Wood certainly, Check's work in comic books was short-lived, from December 1951 through 1958 mostly, with a smattering of work done sporadically in the early 70's. If anyone has more information regarding Sid Check, please tell us. He remains a veritable mystery to even the most hardcore comic fans to this very day, as precious little has ever been documented concerning him.

Today's post comes from EC's CRIME SUSPENSTORIES #13, from 1952, and was written by Al Feldstein. It was one of those occasions when EC did a double approach to a storyline, and gave it their patented twist ending, in this case telling the story first one way, and then altering it slightly for a second version. Here then I present to you the aptly named

FIRST IMPULSE!

and

SECOND CHANCE?

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Origination Of CROP CIRCLES - "THE HIDDEN HEX!"




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Cerealogy, the study or creation of the phenomenon widely known as 'CROP CIRCLES' was not heretofore known before it's widespread emergence during the late 1970's.

While the origins of Crop Circles can be traced back with some degree of dubious relativety to at least 1678 by linking the phenomenon to the publication of "The Mowing Devil", a pamphlet featuring a short story describing a dispute over crops and an invocation of the devil, the link is tenuous at best. While crops are shown to be cut down in an ostensibly circular pattern, the intricate geometric designs that are predominantly associated with the modern practice of crop circles are nowhere to be found in that volume.

It wan't until approximately 300 years later, in 1978 when these unusual and mysterious crop circle formations began appearing in the fields and the countrysides of England and surrounding locales.The causes and the creators of these crop circles are still widely debated to this day, but is a safe statement to affirm that prior to 1978 the anomalous spectacle of geometric crop circles was virtually non-existant.

That is what makes this particular comic book story so intriguing. Today's story comes from Atlas comics' WORLD OF FANTASY #7, published by Stan Lee and company in May, 1957, a full 20 years before the bizarre circumstances of crop circles would catch the attention of the entire world.

In "THE HIDDEN HEX", written by Carl Wessler and illustrated by Sam Kweskin, the implication is presented that there may be a correlation between crop circles and 'Hex Signs' which were prevalent among Pennsylvanian Dutch farmers of the mid 19th century, and can still be found in rural areas throughout the United States today. At the time when Wessler wrote the story we must remind ourselves that the curiousity of geometric circular crop patterns did not yet exist, insofar as historians can tell. That creates in the reader's mind the question, "If in fact crop circles are indeed man-made occurences, did the original creators of the first crop circle hoaxes read this particular comic book with this particular story, and did this story therefore influence them either consciously or subconciously?"

This is a question that needs to be addressed, and asked of the two men who claim to have started the practice of hoaxing crop circles in 1978, self-claimed originators Doug Bower and Dave Chorley. If there is any connection between them reading the comic book (and who is to say that if they in fact did see the story from 1957 whether they would even recall, if it possibly was in fact a subconscious influence), then we can ascribe ultimate creation of the modern crop circle phenomenon to Carl Wessler and Sam Kweskin.

In any regard, one certainly must admit an uncanny similarity between Kweskin and Wessler's 1957 vision of the crop circle and the post-1978 modern geometric crop circles that exist up until this very day.

Strange and perplexing.
Puzzling and fascinating, at the very least.
Wouldn't you agree? 



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Scanned from my own comic
(and cleaned up extensively by me in order to present to you)
for your enjoyment.
PS -
(Still to come, ROBOT WEEK...)