Three Kirby reprints in this issue. “Grottu, King Of The Insects” leads off the book, 6-pager by Kirby/Everett reprinted from STRANGE TALES #73 (1960), part of the giant-insect series. This time the beast is an African army ant, exposed to atomic radiation from a Russian test and quickly growing and gaining intelligence.
Rumours of the creature spread to America, where one of those generic Kirby adventurers hears about it and goes to check it out, just in time for Grottu to make his move on a port city where he’ll lead his ant army on a cruise of world conquest. He ends up getting one of the most embarrassing deaths of his species, as he’s buried in sugar and crushed by his own army.
I think this is the only giant monster story Everett inked over Kirby, although he also did a few westerns and later worked over some Kirby layouts for the Hulk and had a very impressive run as inker on Thor. Looks really good on this short story.
STRANGE TALES #72 (1959) is the source for the 5-page “I Fought The Colossus” by Kirby/Ditko. Posted about it from another reprint here, I’ll just add that I really like the futuristic architecture.
Finally from STRANGE TALES #78 (1960) is “A Martian Walks Among Us”, a Kirby/Ayers 7-page story. Great splash page (and remember you can always find out more about these stories, including the splash pages, over at the MonsterBlog), one of the creepiest of Kirby’s splash pages for the monster stories. The story is about a man who is attacked by a Martian invader who steals his form, and then pursues the alien for the rest of the story, somehow knowing how to make an infra-red detector to see through the disguise abilities. He’s able to stop the impending invasion, and it turns out the “human” was actually a Venusian, sworn to protect the Earth from invasion.
The cover can just barely be called a reprint of the ST #73 cover, with the original Kirby/Everett Grottu figure preserved but the entire background redrawn by Marie Severin and Bill Everett.