Strange Tales of the Unusual #7 (December 1956) “Poker Face” page 1 pencils by Jack Kirby
A giant alien arrives in an odd cylindrical spaceship. Without any attempt to hide, he makes visits all over the world. People’s responses vary, the Russians fire with all their available weapons, most citizens of Indian hide in the bushes but a few approach closely, New Yorkers gawk but quickly get bored and return home. But it seems that no matter how the people of earth react, the alien completely ignores them and just goes about his business. Only nobody can figure out what he is doing. He just seems to go everywhere with his weird gadgets. The answer to the riddle is provided at the end and of course it is an unexpected explanation.
When I was young I remember reading some DC comics, Superman, Batman, the Flash and so on. What I remember most about them was how boring they were. My DC phase did not last long and was never very intense. I then progressed to Marvel pre-hero fantasy, which was still filled with stories very much like “Poker Face”. I remember enjoying them very much for a while. Eventually I got tired of the formula. It may sound strange but I found the use of a surprise ending repetitious after a while. So I drifted out of comics. But later I somehow stumbled on an early Fantastic Four (probably FF #4) and I was hooked, a confirmed Marvel junkie.
This is another of those pre-Implosion Atlas where Kirby inked his own pencils. As described in Chapter 6 of “Jack Kirby’s Austere Inking” the spotting was a pared down version of the formerly used Studio style. Jettisoned from that older style were brush techniques like drop strings and picket fences. New to the inking was the use of a pen, often in parallel lines to provide grays.