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Cover Stories by Jon B. Knutson
Jon Knutson presents comic book covers with a common theme
and relates any information and comments about them.

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COVER STORIES for 10/16/2005
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #23

Welcome to this 23rd edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!

This week, on "Cover Stories," I'm offering a bit of a departure from the norm. As I've mentioned previously, this entire column spun out of posts I've made on the DC History Yahoo group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dchistory). These days, on DCH, instead of doing themed covers, each weekday, I post the first 10 issues of a different title. Now, I'm not going to do the first 10 of anything here, mind you... just the first four, and given that Halloween is next week, I figured why not show you the first four issues of Adventures Into Weird Worlds, a Marvel/Atlas comic book from the 1950s?

Thanks to the wonderful Atlas Tales website (http://www.atlastales.com/) for their invaluable assistance in providing credits for these first four issues! I couldn't have done this column without them, and to give them even more "props," let me tell you that they have credits the Grand Comics Database doesn't have!

So, without further ado...

Adventures into Weird Worlds 1

Joe Maneely is credited with the cover for this issue, and if you've never cast eyes on his work before, you should seek out some of his artwork. Most comics fans are familiar with his work on the original Black Knight at Marvel, but he did lots of other stuff as well. Unfortunately, Maneely wasn't around when the Marvel Age of Comics started, and Roy Thomas' Alter Ego had an article about a year or so back speculating on what might have been different if not for his unfortunate demise.

Now, me, I just love this cover... it gets your attention without spoiling anything inside the book... all you know is that some purple lizard-like creature that eats people called "The Walking Death" is threatening a guy and a gal. Plus, you get little promos for the other stories, as well!

These are very different stories than the pre-Marvel Age stories you might have seen, populated by Godzilla clones and their ilk... these comics owed much more to the EC horror books!

Within this book, "The Walking Death" was penciled by Russ Heath, while Sol Brodsky did the honors on "The Mad Man." The book also had a text feature, "Die the Doll Death," plus "The Terrible Tree" with art by John Tartaglione, and "The World That Vanished" by George Tuska. No word on whether or not any of these stories were reprinted!

Adventures into Weird Worlds 2

Now, check this one out... it's a twist on the "genie in the bottle", and no, that's not the Tornado Tyrant from a few Adam Strange stories! Nope, this is "The Thing in the Bottle," and believe me, he really sucks (or should I say he blows? Sorry, both bad puns).

Sol Brodsky is believed to have done the art on this cover. Within the book, "The Iron Door" is by Maneely, Werner Roth did "The Eyes!", George Klein did "The Thing in the Bottle," Al Hartley did "When a World Goes Mad!", and there's also the obligatory text feature, "The Murdering Ghost."

Adventures into Weird Worlds 3

Now, as if you haven't been freaked out enough by the first two covers... check this one out... is it just me, or does it look like this murderous, possibly alien octopus has a head shaped like a Nazi soldier's helmet? Of course, it might not have been an alien, but just some kind of creature from another realm. But it was a space octopus.

This is another classic cover by Maneely, although it looks almost like the creature could've been designed by Basil Wolverton, eh? Within the pages, we have "A Shriek in the Night!" by Roth, "The Thing That Waited" by Maneely (credited with writing it as well as drawing it), "Nothing Can Stop Me" by Bill Walton, "The Quiet Men" by Harry Lazarus, and "The Empty City" by Bob Fujitani. And of course, the text feature, "The War of the Worlds."

Adventures into Weird Worlds 4

Finally, here's issue #4... with a very cool Carl Burgos cover (Burgos, for those not up on their comics history, was the creator of the original Human Torch!). Don't you just love the expression on that ghost? Only complaint I have is that they shouldn't have covered up that guy's hat with the logo (then again, that is a very large logo, isn't it?).

Lurking inside this issue were the stories "The Village Graveyard" by Heath, "The Man Who Lost His Head" by Ogden Whitney, "The Passenger" by Rose, "The Miser" by Brodsky, and "The Face of Death," by Bill Everett, creator of the Sub-Mariner! "Doom from the Undead" is the obligatory text feature.

Join me next time for my next installment of "Cover Stories," a special Halloween column, and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !

Jon B. Knutson

<< 10/09/2005 | 10/16/2005 | 10/23/2005 >>

Discuss this column with me in World Famous Comics' General Forum.

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