Thursday, June 16, 2011

Monsters Unleashed #7: "The Monster In the Mist!" (Al Williamson art)

Download Monsters Unleashed #7

Back in the old days, before the comics industry felt the need to censor its own product, EC Comics produced some of the finest science fiction comics ever published. One of the reasons why Weird Science, Weird Fantasy (and later, Weird Science-Fantasy) were so good was the work of a lanky young man named Al Williamson. At 21, Williamson was the youngest of the EC family, but everyone was in awe of his draftsmanship. Williamson could draw bravura science fiction adventure like no one else, though it didn't hurt that he had the likes of Frank Frazetta, Roy Krenkel, and Angelo Torres assisting him with backgrounds and inking.

After the collapse of the EC line of comics. Williamson worked for such companies as ACG, Atlas, and Harvey, to name just a few, bringing to the stories what he did for their SF and mystery titles the same superb rendering and palpable sense of atmosphere that made his EC work so memorable. In addition to the comic books he did, Williamson also made significant contributions to the art of the comic strip, ghosting several weeks of Flash Gordon for Dan Barry, and assisting John Prentice on Rip Kirby. These last two assignments are particularly ironic when you consider that it was Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon that inspired Williamson to become a comics artist in the first place. Indeed, Williamson had been the primary proponent of heroic realism in comics, and is the rightful heir to the Flash Gordon mantle of Alex Raymond, something Williamson proved with his superb work on the King Flash Gordon title of the mid '60s, and on the Flash Gordon movie album adapted from the (otherwise wretched) DeLaurentiiss film.


Cover painting: Richard Hescox
Script: Unknown
Pencils: Al Williamson
Inks: Ralph Mayo

  • From ASTONISHING #60 (April 1957).
  • In Monsters Unleashed (Marvel, 1973 series) #7 (August 1974).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

House of Mystery #185: "The Beautiful Beast" (Al Williamson art)

Download House of Mystery #185

House of Mystery started out as a horror anthology, featuring tales of the supernatural as well as supernatural-themed mystery stories. However, with the growing backlash against horror comics in the mid-1950s, as well as the advent of the Comics Code Authority and its restrictions on horror-themed storylines (banning stories dealing with such supernatural fare as werewolves, vampires, and such), the series quietly was revamped into dealing with science-fiction type monsters and other mystery-suspense type tales that were permitted by the comic code.

With issue #174, EC Comics veteran Joe Orlando was hired by DC to take over as editor of House of Mystery. As the Comics Code Authority was now being challenged by both DC and Marvel over content restrictions, the series returned to its overt horror themes. The first issue under Orlando would be a reprint issue of old horror/suspense stories, as the new direction would truly begin with #175 (July/August 1968). The issue would introduce a new figure to the series, Cain, the "able care taker" of the House of Mystery who would introduce nearly all stories that would run in the series before its cancellation.


Cover: Neal Adams
Script: Joe Gill
Pencils: Al Williamson
Inks: Al Williamson

  • in Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery (DC, 2006 series) #1.

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