Two vintage Kirby stories, plus other neat stuff, in the first issue of this reprint series from a decade ago.
The first Kirby story is “What Lurks on Channel X?” from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #73 (1961), inked by Dick Ayers, previously covered in another reprint from FEAR #5.
Next up is “I Fought the Molten Man-Thing”, 5 pages inked by Steve Ditko, from TALES OF SUSPENSE #7 (1960). It features a pilot, Frank Harper, who loses his nerve after an emergency landing. Taking a tropic vacation to recharge, he witnesses a volcano eruption out of which a creature of lava emerges.
He leads the creature to an airfield, where he puts it straight in the path of a wind-tunnel, where the intense cold forces it back and it retreats to the volcano. Apparently he reasoned that there must have been a creature under the lava that needed extreme heat to survive, and would retreat from the cold. This also restores his self-confidence so he can fly again.
It’s a bit of a quickie, so nothing is really fleshed out, but the Kirby/Ditko combination always looks nice. I especially like the third panel of the page above, with Harper leading the Man-Thing away from the village to the air field. Unfortunately this reprint isn’t from the best source material, so a lot of the finer line-work vanishes. Reportedly Marvel is planning a reprint of the early TALES TO ASTONISH, which would have a lot of nice Kirby and Ditko work, hopefully they’ll be able to reconstruct them better than this (I know some of the original art from that era still exists, I’ve seen a lot of them in auctions, but I don’t know about those specific stories).
Also in this issue, two Ditko solo reprints from the same era, a weird brand-new Ditko pin-up page and a Kyle Baker monster cover.