Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Adventures Into The Unknown #27: "The Lost Lives of Laura Hastings" (Al Williamson art)

Download Adventures into the Unknown #27

Introduced in the fall of 1948, the American Comics Group's Adventures into the Unknown was the first regularly issued horror comic book. Despite the setbacks and collapses most of the later rivals suffered in the early 1950s, it thrived until the summer of 1967. This was chiefly due to the fact that the magazine served up a relatively restrained and polite type of supernatural material. Unknown was especially fond of witches, werewolves, sorcerers, and all sorts and conditions of ghosts.

While the editor Richard Hughes was a prolific writer, many of the early yarns were written by an assistant editor named Norman Fruman. "Richard rarely wrote the supernaturals," Fruman says in Michael Vance's history of ACG. "They, by all odds, were the most difficult ones to write. I wrote the supernaturals and the science fictions." Ogden Whitney drew a great many of the horror tales and provided numerous covers throughout the magazine's lifetime. Among the many other regular artists were Al Williamson, Paul Reinman, Charles Sultan, and the exceptional and virtually unsung Emil Gershwin.

By the time Unknown was well into its second decade, superheroes were back in favor and selling again. Somewhat reluctantly, Richard Hughes added a superhero to the lineup. Nemesis, written by Hughes under his pen name of Shane O'Shea and drawn by Pete Costanza, was introduced in #154 (August 1967). Rather a silly-looking fellow, he wore black-and-blue striped shorts, a red tunic with an hourglass insignia, a blue hood, and several other pieces of non-matching haberdashery. His origin, pretty much borrowed from that of DC's Spectre, explained that he was a dead law officer who came back to Earth to fight crime. The sand ran out of Nemesis's hourglass sixteen issues later. Four issues after that Adventures into the Unknown followed him into the unknown.

Script: Not credited and unknown
Pencils: Al Williamson
Inks: Roy Krenkel

Note: Inks: Krenkel added by Greg Theakston, 2002-05-29 (Per Sandell ed.) Pencils CORRECTED by Mark Gordon, 2007-02-10 (Per 36th Edition Overstreet Pricing Guide).

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