Saturday, October 19, 2013
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Another science fiction effort that lasted three issues with Atlas Comics was Planet of Vampires, under the creative team of writer Larry Hama, artist Pat Broderick, and inker Frank McLaughlin. A manned mission to Mars return to Earth after its five-year journey only to find they can't reach Mission Control so they land outside a devastated New York City. The team is instantly attacked by a savage gang of bikers who kill one of their crew before being rescued by one of the "dome" people on his floating aircraft. Taken back to meet the Protector at their dome headquarters, the astronauts soon learn that a nuclear war has destroyed the planet and society is now split in two factions, the technological "domies" and the savage hordes who now live outside. Grateful for the offer of protection from the barbarians, Captain Galland and his crew let down their guard, only to find out something is terribly wrong. The savages outside have developed an immunity to a plague that ravaged the land, and the only way for the dome people to survive is to extract a serum from drinking the blood of these outsiders. Fortunately, before our team is processed for the mutated "vampires", a captured biker helps them escape to lead the war against these advanced ghouls. As Russ Heath's superior art was added to help with the series, Neal Adams also did a fantastic cover to the second issue. However, over the next three tales the astronauts and their wives are killed off until only Captain Galland is left to fight alone on this planet of vampires.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Who knows why this action-packed Don Heck cover was not used for The Avengers #37 for February of 1967, since he did a colossal job on the interiors for this fan favorite Marvel title. Heck's professional career began in 1949 when he started working in the production department of Harvey Comics and studying art by mail order correspondence courses and junior college classes. Soon he graduated to penciling, and after a stint freelancing with Quality Comics, Hillman Comics and Toby Press. Heck then started at Atlas (Marvel) Comics on the recommendation of fellow artist Pete Morisi, becoming a mainstay, illustrating superhero, mystery, western, romance science fiction, fantasy, and war stories. When the House of Ideas began its Silver Age revolution, the artist's first major success was the legendary Iron Man origin story in Tales of Suspense #39 for March of 1963. He then drew a handful of early stories featuring the Mighty Thor, Giant Man and other heroes, but for most comic fans, it's Don's long run on The Avengers for which he is most fondly remembered. For some reason Gil Kane's exciting cover was chosen instead to grace this colossal issue, but it doesn't really matter, its just as terrific as the unpublished version in my opinion.