Strange Worlds

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For the 1953 collection of science-fiction stories by Ralph Milne Farley, see Strange Worlds (collection).

Strange Worlds was the name of two American, science-fiction anthology comic book series of the 1950s, the first published by Avon Comics, the second by a Marvel Comics predecessor, Atlas Comics. Each featured work by such major comics artists as Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, and Wally Wood.

Avon[edit]

Strange Worlds
Avon's Strange Worlds #4 (Jan. 1952). Cover art by penciler Wally Wood and unknown inker.
Publication information
Publisher Avon Comics
Schedule Bimonthly
Format anthology
Genre
Publication date Nov. 1950 – Sept./Oct. 1955
Number of issues 15
Creative team
Artist(s) Wally Wood, Joe Kubert, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Charles Sultan, Alvin Hollingsworth

The first comic-book series to be titled Strange Worlds ran 15 issues published in two sequences by Avon Comics. Issues #1-10 ran cover-dated November 1950 to November 1952. No issues #11-17 were released, and the series began publication again with #18, having taken over the numbering of the defunct Avon comic Eerie. This second sequence ran through issue #22 (Oct./Nov. 1954 - Sept./Oct. 1955). One ongoing feature in the otherwise anthological title was "Kenton of the Star Patrol".

While Avon was a minor comics publisher in relation to such contemporaneous industry leaders as Atlas Comics, DC Comics, and EC Comics, the series featured artwork by such top talents as Wally Wood, who would soon go on to become an industry star at EC; Joe Kubert, later a signature artist of DC's Hawkman and Sgt. Rock; portrait painter Everett Raymond Kinstler and Western-art painter Charles Sultan, early in their careers; and seminal African-American comics artist Alvin C. Hollingsworth a.k.a. Alvin Holly.

Reprinted stories include:

  • #3: "The Alien Raiders" (Kenton of the Star Patrol), by artist Wally Wood
reprinted Golden-Age Greats Volume 12 (Paragon Publications / AC Comics, 1998)
  • #8: "Death on the Earth-Mars Run", by artist Everett Raymond Kinstler
reprinted The Heap #1 (Skywald Publications, Sept. 1971)
  • #8: "The Thing on the Broken Balcony", by artist Alvin C. Hollingsworth
reprinted The Heap #1 (Skywald Publications, Sept. 1971; retitled "Curse of the Broken Balcony")

Atlas Comics[edit]

Strange Worlds
Strange Worlds #1 (Dec. 1958). Cover art by Jack Kirby (pencils) & Christopher Rule (inks).
Publication information
Publisher Atlas Comics
Schedule Bimonthly
Format anthology
Genre
Publication date Dec. 1958 – Aug. 1959
Number of issues 5
Creative team
Artist(s) Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Joe Orlando, Al Williamson, Dick Ayers, John Buscema, Don Heck, Joe Sinnott, Carl Burgos, Bob Powell

The second Strange Worlds was a short-lived series from Marvel Comics' 1950s predecessor company, Atlas Comics. Running five issues (Dec. 1958 - Aug. 1959), the title nonetheless showcased artwork by industry legend Jack Kirby, who penciled all but one cover and supplied a story each in issues #1 and #3, and future Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, who drew the cover of #2 and a story in each issue.

The premiere issue's cover and its seven-page story "I Discovered the Secret of the Flying Saucers" marked Kirby's return to Marvel, for which he had not worked since 1941 except for 20 scattered stories from 1956 to 1957.[1] Three years later, he and writer-editor Stan Lee would create the industry-changing superhero series The Fantastic Four.

Other well-known comics artists who drew for the Atlas anthology included EC Comics greats Joe Orlando and Al Williamson; and future Marvel mainstays Dick Ayers, John Buscema, Don Heck and Joe Sinnott; and Human Torch creator Carl Burgos and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle artist Bob Powell, both veterans of the 1930s-1940s period historians and fans call the Golden Age of Comic Books.

Reprinted stories include:

  • #1: "I Captured the Abominable Snowman", by writer Stan Lee, artist Steve Ditko
reprinted Strange Tales Annual #2 (1963); Chamber of Darkness #7 (Oct. 1970); Journey into Mystery vol. 2, #13 (Oct. 1974); and Thrilling Science Fiction #2 (AC Comics, 1998)
  • #1: "I Am Robot", by artist Joe Sinnott
reprinted Strange Tales Annual #2 (1963)
  • #2: "I Was a Prisoner on the Planet of Plunder", by artist Don Heck
reprinted Strange Tales Annual #2 (1963)
  • #2: "I Am the Scourge of Atlantis", by artist Dick Ayers
reprinted Strange Tales Annual #2 (1963)
  • #3: "I Was the Man Who Lived Twice", by artist John Buscema
reprinted Strange Tales Annual #2 (1963)
  • #3: "I Fly to the Stars", by writer Stan Lee, penciler Jack Kirby, inker Dick Ayers
reprinted Strange Tales Annual #2 (1963)
reprinted Sinister Tales (UK) #223

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Per "Another Pre-Implosion Atlas Kirby", Jack Kirby Museum, November 3, 2007 (WebCitation archive), Kirby's 1956-57 Atlas work appeared in nine issues, plus three more published later after being held in inventory. They were Battleground #14 (Nov. 1956; 5 pp.), Astonishing #56 (Dec. 1956; 4 pp.), Strange Tales of the Unusual #7 (Dec. 1956; 4 pp.), Quick-Trigger Western #16 (Feb. 1957; 5 pp.), and Yellow Claw #2-4 (Dec. 1956 - April 1957; 19 pp. each), Black Rider Rides Again #1, a.k.a. Black Rider vol. 2, #1 (Sept. 1957; 19 pp.), and Two Gun Western #12 (Sept. 1957; 5 pp.), plus the inventoried Gunsmoke Western #47 (July 1958; 4 pp.) and #51 (March 1959; 5 pp. plus cover) and Kid Colt Outlaw #86 (Sept. 1959; 5 pp.)

References[edit]