Category Archives: Science Fiction

Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth! #25 [1975]


While there’s a lot of worthwhile stuff in them, I don’t think most people would argue that the second half of Kirby’s 40-issue run on KAMANDI is weaker than the first half, as he had used most of the more exciting ideas and was just going through the motions for a while.  The 20-page “Freak Show” in this issue is a case in point.  Shipwrecked on an island with the recently befriended Flim-Flam and his human “animals”, Kamandi is pleased to reunite once again with Ben Boxer and the other atomic mutant companions of his (Earth A.D. seems to be kind of small, they keep running into each other after a few issues apart).  They encounter various odd and dangerous mutations of sea-life, leading up to the flying sharks featured on the cover, until they finally approach a giant wall that even those monsters won’t go near.

So not one of the more notable issues, mostly moving the pieces around to the next adventure, but some of the creatures are pretty cool.

D. Bruce Berry inks the story and the cover.


Where Creatures Roam #3 [1970]


Reprint from TALES TO ASTONISH #16 [1961] in this issue. The story was originally titled “Here Comes Thorr, the Unbelievable”, but for some mysterious reason was renamed “Thorg” (okay, not so mysterious). A 7-page Kirby/Ayers effort.

This is one of many examples of Kirby using large stone creatures (including, oddly , the first Thor story soon after this), specifically Easter Island types, in stories. I think there was an article in TJKC about it. Anyway, in this one Linus, an archaeologist, and his wife Helen go to a recently discovered remote volcanic island in the Pacific to examine some giant stone heads. He finds a hidden room and trips an electric eye, which brings one of the heads to life, digging itself out to reveal a giant figure. Turns out Thorg is part of an advance team for an alien invasion. Linus convinces Thorg that he can conquer Earth solo, without activating the other heads, and calling his people to the island. Naturally everyone else assumes that he’s betraying humanity.


But after the other aliens arrive, Linus sneaks away and uses dynamite to trigger the volcano, destroying the island, knowing that the aliens rocky bodies would sink in the sea. Everyone else flees, but they return for Linus when they realize what his plan was. The natives don’t seem too upset by him blowing up their island, but he did save humanity.

Lots of common plot points from several other stories, like man pretending to sign with the invaders and the advance force to the invading army, but as usual put together in a clever way, and great looking artwork (though not really done justice in this reprint).

The cover is a modified version of the Kirby/Ditko TTA #16 cover, with various figures added, as well as some boats and water across the bottom.

Where Monsters Dwell #2 [1970]


A trio of Kirby/Ayers 7-pagers reprinted in this issue, giving a nice sample of the range of monsters that rampaged through the pre-hero Marvel line.

Opening up is “I Created Sporr, The Thing That Could Not Die” from TALES OF SUSPENSE #11 [1960], which also provides the Kirby/Ayers cover for this issue. A scientist buys the castle supposedly owned by Doctor Frankenstein in Transylvania (I think someone was mixing their movie monsters there), planning some experiments on growth rays to cure world hunger. Unfortunately, just as he tries his first experiment on an amoeba, the superstitious villagers burst in and take him away, leading the amoeba to grow uncontrollably. Oddly, this was foretold in a local legend about Sporr. Our hero manages to break out of prison, rescue a young boy on crutches and then use his scientific know-how to lure Sporr into some quicksand. Everybody learns their lesson.

These 7-pagers are sometimes a bit unsatisfying in story terms, too quick to really get more than a sketch of events. Still gorgeous, though, and the cover and title page of this story are particular favourites among the Kirby/Ayers stuff, and Sporr’s a great little creature causing havoc on the eastern European landscape.

Next up is “I Am Dragoom! The Flaming Invader” from STRANGE TALES #76 [1960], and from an organic monster we now move to flames. Despite the title, this story is told by sci-fi/horror movie maker Victor Cartwright, who gets no respect, but a great deal of money, for his craft. That all changes when Dragoom, a flaming invader escaped from prison on the planet Vulcan comes to Earth to conquer. Mankind quickly falls to the threat of a ring of flames around the planet, until suddenly Dragoom gets word of some of his fellow creatures, police from Vulcan, arriving on Earth, and flees in fear. All special effects wizardry from Victor, of course.

This one works pretty well. Dragoom’s not that noteworthy, although the panel of him using a city block as a throne is really cool.

And finally, from STRANGE TALES #75 [1960] comes “Taboo! The Thing From the Murky Swamp”. An adventure writer heads down to the Amazon for some new ideas, and ignores local legends about a monster in a forbidden swamp. Never a good idea:

I love that last panel. Silent panels like that aren’t too common in these monster stories, making them all the more striking when they are used.

The creature reveals that it crashed in the swamp while journeying from a distant galaxy, and needed access to all human scientific knowledge to build a new spaceship. The United Nations agrees to this, foolishly as it turns out, since this was all a ruse by Taboo to gather intelligence for an invasion. Joke’s on him, as they planted an H-bomb on the device with the information. Just in case.

I do like that ending. Taboo’s okay, but the real highlight here is the amazon scenery.

Showcase Presents The House of Mystery #2 [2007]


As mentioned recently, this thick new book from DC reprints HOUSE OF MYSTERY #195 – #211, including the version of the Kirby story “I Doomed the World” from MY GREATEST ADVENTURE #17 [1957] that was reprinted in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #199 [1972], retitled “He Doomed the World” to go with the Cain introduction added to the first page.

The story has a rich inventor with a thing for ham radio getting a mysterious transmission which puts him in a hypnotic state, where he creates four metal rods to exact specifications and hires various experts to place them at the hottest, coldest, highest and lowest points on the Earth.


You know, if he’d tried to hire the Challengers of the Unknown they’d probably have picked up on the whole glassy eyed hypnotized trance thing.

Coming out of the trance days later, he’s mystified by what he’s done, until he gets another transmission explaining that this is part of a plan by alien invaders to destroy life on Earth. But fortunately, turns out the so called “expert diver” they hired went nowhere near the lowest point on Earth, as the photo of him shows. He claims he was “dazed down in the depths”, but I suspect he was just lazy.

Kind of a goofy story, especially there at the end, but with some great artwork that looks really snappy in this printing.

Published 2007

Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth! #23 [1974] – Kamandi and Goliath


Kamandi’s adventure among the dolphins concludes this issue. Following one battle with the “Red Baron” of the other side, Kamandi recovers in the underwater base, where several other humans die in an attack, much to the sorrow of their dolphin overlords.


Ben and his mutant pals go on the offensive, and Kamandi insists on going along. They take out the Baron, but Kamandi’s ship is rammed by the killer whale master of the Baron, angry about losing his prized pet. Kamandi’s impassioned rant about the futility and waste of war saves his life but leaves him floating on debris in the open sea.

One of the weaker Kamandi storylines, I thought, but there were a few interesting things in Kirby’s continued explorations of all sorts of variations on intelligent animal life (but why couldn’t Kam have headed into the Pacific to meet the Orangutan Surfing Civilization, or Australia and the Kangarat Murder Society?).

D. Bruce Berry inks the cover and 20-page story.

Published 1974

Devil Dinosaur #6 [1978] – Eev


Kirby continues to improve on the Bible’s Garden of Eden story by exploring how the real story that inspired it had giant ants, space aliens and a giant red Dinosaur named Devil all in the Valley of Flame. This time around Devil continues to fight the ants with the allies he made in his quest to free Moon-Boy from the aliens.


The swarm of ants overwhelms the aliens just as their analysis of Moon-Boy indicates that he carries the “seeds of potential greatness”, and his kind has to be eliminated as a threat to the alien domination of the world. Moon-Boy is able to escape in the confusion, but ends the issue still far from his giant brother, while the others encounter the alien computer, which has planted itself as the “Demon Tree”.

Mike Royer inks the 17-page story and Joe Sinnott inks the cover.

Published 1978

Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth! #11 [1973] – The Devil


Leaving Tracking Site, Kamandi and his friends crash in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Florida. Kamandi gets picked up by a ship of leopards who go out and gather pre-Great Disaster goods and slaves for the Sacker Department Store. They’re sure a talking animal like Kamandi will fetch a good price in the market, as will another captive from the north, called “The Devil”.


After they get to shore Kamandi is able to escape again, and decides that freeing the Devil will give him the distraction he needs to get away. He finds out that the Devil is in fact a gigantic mutated insect.

Strong start to one of the best of the extended Kamandi stories. The Sacker ship shows a lot of Kirby’s talent for background business.

Mike Royer inks the cover and 20-page story.

Published 1973

Where Monsters Dwell #23 [1973]


A retitled 7-page Kirby/Ayers reprint from STRANGE TALES #92 [1962] leads off this issue, so “The Thing Hunts For Me” becomes “The Monster Hunts For Me”. No doubt because calling a creature “The Thing” in 1973 at Marvel had a different effect than it did a decade earlier. In this short tale a young woman gets a cheap room in New York City, where one of the other tenants is a reclusive old man. He approaches her that night and tells her his story about seeing an alien ship land three years earlier and being pursued by a creature from the ship.


Only managing to get aways thanks to the creature’s aversion to water. He’s been on the run ever since, and is now dying of a weak heart and wants to tell someone his story. A sudden knock on the door frightens him, giving him a fatal heart attack, never realizing that the girl he trusted was in fact the alien.

This is a pretty good, moody story with a few great bits of art, including the design of the alien, especially on the splash page (although in this case I think it was actually improved in the reprint colouring). On the other hand, there seems to be a bit of a disconnect with the script, as it’s kind of hard to reconcile some of the early narration from the young woman with the surprise revelation.

The cover is also from STRANGE TALES #92, one of a handful of experiments from the era with using panel art on the covers, but not the most effective examples.

Comics Revue #191 [2002]


The cover to this issue has the final Sunday page for the Sky Masters comic strip, from February 14, 1960, concluding the “Yoga Spaceman” storyline with Sky and Falcone being rescued by the Luna 2 in a trance-like state, thanks to Sky’s yoga training, saving their lives with the minimal air they had on their unexpected adventure.


The art on this page was made up almost entirely from artwork clipped from previous strips, so I guess finishing up the Sunday pages was either rushed or wasn’t that much of a priority. The daily strip must have still been doing well as it continued for another year beyond this. The panels are pretty well chosen, so they still tell the story, abrupt as it is, and I especially like that tube bringing in the “space taxi”.

Find out more about COMICS REVUE here. The Sky Masters daily strips ran in #124 – #142, #144 – #153 and CR SPECIAL #1. Sunday strips ran on the covers (usually front and back, with the front missing the “Scrap Book” footer and sometimes the cut panel) of the odd numbered issues from #145 – #191.

Published 2002

Comics Revue #189 [2001]



Two pages of the final Sunday storyline for Sky Masters on the covers of this issue, from January 31 and February 7, 1960. It should be noted that the January 31 strip (shown here) was for some reason missing from the COMPLETE SKY MASTERS book, so I think this is the only place it’s ever been reprinted. Also note that as the COMPLETE book shows much of the art on the February 7 strip was made of images taken from earlier strips, and I’m not sure if that’s the case with the January 31 strip. Quite a few of those are generic enough headshots that they could be, while the meteor scenes at least are probably original.

In any case, in these two weeks the situation goes from bad to worse for our astronauts, as their stranded capsule with only hours of air and no plan for rescue finds itself in the path of a meteor. They abandon ship and are left floating in space, with a slim hope that a ship returning from the moon can intercept them, and Sky trying to teach Falcone the yoga lessons he learned to keep them alive long enough.