Friday, May 20, 2022

BOOK REVIEW! SUSPENSE AND SPACE WORLDS (Gwandanaland Comics)

The late fifties weren't exactly the tippy toppiest times for what would eventually become Marvel Comics, but even a curmudgeonly fanabla such as I's gotta admit that it was an interesting period in comicdom for any funnies historian to study. Well, it is if only to see the teeny tiniest of roots that would blossom into a doggone comic book phenom only a few short years later. An' it sure is a good thing that the minds at Marvel failed to renew the copyright on these early issues of TALES OF SUSPENSE so's we penny conscious peons can give an eye to PD reprints of these pre-hero sagas, especially without having to line the coffers of those megawoke moguls any more'n we have to (same goes for DC and especially Archie!).

But to be downright honest 'n up front about it these stories ain't that hot next to what the early-sixties post Atlas/pre-Marvel monsters 'n heroes titles had in store. In fact a whole slew of 'em just seem leaden and just plain douse with nothing around to flicker my pilot light. Sure Jack Kirby was back in the bullpen after bolstering DC with the likes of Challengers of the Unknown, but stories like "Invasion From Outer Space" really don't cut the comic book mustard the way those Fin Fang Fooms and Groons sure did with the likes of me reading those early-seventies reprints. Besides, Christopher Rule just ain't the kinda inker for The King the way Dick Ayers would eventually be and hey, the stories do get kinda over-read-y with so much dialogue you think that the characters were gonna get squeezed in their panels just like Narda was in the "Manduck the Magician" spoof way back during the comic book days of MAD.

Still there is that nascent proto-Marvel spirit raging through these sagas even if you (like me) never really did cozy up to some of the early Marvel staff (never really did go for Don Heck but wha' th' hey...). The Steve Ditko stories are (natch!) pleasing enough to look at despite the heavy duty dialogue, and a tale like "Prisoner of the Satellites" foreshadows alla them outer-worldly Doc Strange dimensional efforts what with the hapless hero being an unwilling nucleus in an oversized atom.

Again, there is much here that just ain't flibbin' my jib, what with the artwork from such Marvel second-stringers as Joe Sinnott coming off so downright snoozeville and even a worthy like Al Williamson not putting his best efforts into it without the folk at EC looking over his shoulder.  But eh, even these flubs make for great Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids reading and like, every molecule on these pages beats anything any of the major comic book conglomerations have sloshed out at us these past fortysome years.

As a "bonus" Gwandanaland slapped on a pre-code one ish effort from the Atlas days entitled SPACE WORLD, a title which proves that even without the Comics Code in effect there coulda been some rather stodgy reads being churned out for the comic book reading class. These imitation Flash 'n Buck efforts aren't anything to cock-a-doodle-do about and when placed side by side with a lotta the competition well...you can just see the depths that comic book cheapness (sans the redeeming trash value) easily coulda slipped into. But so what...I mean hey, ya gotta admit that some of these doofus adlos didn't know shit from PATSY WALKER inna first place!

1 comment:

jimbo jeeves said...

hay grate stuff stiglano you rock .