Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Alex Toth Reprint Stocktake

It’s a truism that you never quite know what you’ll find in the odd K.G. Murray reprint title. And one of the things that has me purchasing various odd issues is the ‘lucky-dip’ prospect of an Alex Toth reprint - especially the horror titles.

And so it was today when I lucked onto a copy of Terror Tales Album #14. Amongst the standard 1970's DC horror fare was an unexpected Toth gem which originally appeared in Weird Western Tales #14, October-November 1972 - “Anachronism”, reprinted in glorious sidelong ‘landscape format’.

So I got to thinking: Just how many such Toth gems are hidden in various K.G. Murray comics? In other words, time for a Toth stocktake!

I note below original appearances, and some subsequent reprints in the US editions, but it is not an exhaustive list. There have been quite a few DC Toth reprints over the years, but for this exercise I have only listed the reprints used as sources forthe Australian reprints.

Some of the House of Mystery stories have been reprinted in the recent Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 1, 2006.

I have not set them out in any particular order, other than broadly grouping them according to character or genre.

The Toth reprints:

Danny Dreams…
Tor #3, December 1953
Climax Adventure Comic #3, June 1964

Track of the Invisible Beast
House of Mystery #109, April 1961
House of Secrets #94, October-November 1971
The Hundred Plus Comic #58, August 1961
Doomsday Album #12, 1979

I Battled for the Doom-Stone
My Greatest Adventure #61, November 1961
The Phantom Stranger #15, September-October 1971
All Star Adventure Comic #15, April 1962

The Secret Hero of Center City
House of Mystery #120, March 1962
House of Secrets #98, June-July 1972
All Star Adventure Comic #16, May 1962
Weird Mysteries #44, 1980

Listen, World... I'm the Missing Link
My Greatest Adventure #81, August 1963
All Star Adventure Comic #24, November 1963

The Town That Buried Me - Alive!
House of Mystery #149, March 1965
The Unexpected #126, August 1971
All Star Adventure Comic #33, June 1965

Double Edge
The Witching Hour #12, December-January 1970
Weird Mystery Tales #37, 1979

Eclipso: The Man Who Destroyed Eclipso
House of Secrets #65, March-April 1964
Action Comics #413, June 1972
Mighty Comic #41, June 1964
All Star Adventure Comic #83, October 1973

Eclipso: The Two Faces of Doom!
House of Mystery #66, May-June 1964
Detective Comics #441, June-July 1974
All Star Adventure Comic #91, February 1975

Eclipso: Hideout On Fear Island
House of Secrets #64, January-February 1964
World’s Finest Comics #226, November-December 1974
Mighty Comic #42, August 1964
All Star Adventure Comic #95, October 1975

Eclipso: Eclipso's Amazing Ally!
House of Secrets #63, November-December 1963
World's Finest Comics #226, November-December 1974
All Favourites Comic #43, July 1964
All Star Adventure Comic #96, December 1975

The Curse of the Cat's Cradle
My Greatest Adventure #85, February 1964
House of Secrets #93, August-September 1971
All Favourites Comic #42, April 1964

The Alien Within Me
My Greatest Adventure #60, October 1961
House of Mystery #196, November 1971
All Favourites Comic #48, May 1965
All Star Adventure Comic #84, December 1973

The Haunted Diamond
Sensation Mystery #114, March-April 1953
All Star Adventure Comic #53, October 1968

The Devil's Doorway
House of Mystery #182, September-October 1969
Wonder Comic Monthly 58, February 1970

Mask of the Red Fox
House of Mystery #187, July 1970
House of Mystery #229, February-March 1975
World's Finest Comic Monthly #66, September 1970
Haunted Tales #30, 1978

House of Mystery #190, January-February 1971
All Favourites Comic #84, May 1971

Turner's Treasure
House of Mystery #184, January-February 1970
Mighty Comic #76, April 1970

The World Where Dreams Come True!
Mystery in Space #7, April-May 1952
DC Special #13, July-August 1971
All Star Adventure Comic #77, October 1972

Sierra Smith: Case of the Teetering Tower!
Dale Evans Comics #7, September-October 1949
Detective Comics #424, June 1972
Batman Album #50, February 1981

Rex the Wonder Dog: Four-Legged Sheriff!
Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #2, March-April 1952
Century Comic #50, August 1960

Hopalong Cassidy: Vengeance of the Silver Bullet!
All-American Western #108, June-July 1949
Century Comic #99, September 1964

Hopalong Cassidy: The Ballad of Boulder Bluff!
Jimmy Wakely #15, January 1952
Mighty Comic #37, September 1963
All Star Adventure Comic #37, February 1966

Weird Western Tales #14, October-November 1972
Jonah Hex and Other Western Tales #2, November-December 1979
Terror Tales Album #14, 1980

[The Prisoner] and [This Is It!] – framing sequence
Weird War Tales #5, May-June 1972
Weird Mystery Tales #28, 1977

The Challenge of the Expanding World
The Brave and the Bold #53, April-May 1964
Action Comics #406, November 1971 (Part 1)
Action Comics #407, December 1971(Part 2)
All Favourites Comic 43, July 1964
World's Finest Comic Monthly #109 May 1974 (Part 1)
World's Finest Comic Monthly #110 June 1974 (Part 2)

Green Lantern: Too Many Suspects!
Green Lantern #37, March-April 1949
Detective Comics #440, May 1974
Flash #128, January 1976

Justice Society of America: The Injustice Society of the World (Chapter 5)
All-Star Comics #37, October-November 1947
100 Page Super Spectacular #DC-17, June 1973
Giant Superman Album #30, July 1977

Justice Society of America: The Plight of a Nation Chapter 3
All Star Comics #40, April-May 1948
Justice League of America #110, May 1974
Super Adventure Album #1, August 1976

30 reprints to start off with – not too bad!

Needless to say, this list is not a complete list. It simply reflects the Toth stories I’ve noted over the last 18 months or so. There are definitely more in various K.G. Murray titles, and I’ll duly note them in future as I come across them.

Many of the reprints are found in their proper place, so to speak. It may be impossible to tell which issue of Weird Mystery Tales carries a Toth and which doesn’t, but it’s no surprise to find many of Toth’s DC horror stories in this title. Similarly, it’s no great surprise to find the Eclipso reprints in consecutive issues of All Star Adventure Comic.

Others however are quite surprising - for example, finding ”The Haunted Diamond” from Sensation Mystery #114, March-April 1953 being reprinted in 1968, as I’m unaware of it being reprinted in the US around that time (indeed, I’m sure I’ve seen other vintage Sensation Mystery stories reprinted in All Star and other K.G. Murray titles…). Others just turn up in unexpected places, such as the “Case of the Teetering Tower!” in a Batman comic in 1981, 9 years after it is reprinted as a back-up in a US Batman comic.

I’ll do my usual thing here and ask for corrections, and a heads-up from anyone on any stories not listed above so I may pursue my lucky-dips with a bit more direction. For example, I believe there is an Australian reprint of “Dirty Job” from Our Army at War #241, February 1972, but I do not know where it appears.

Since Toth’s passing last year I’ve been hoping for announcements of collections of his work. There have been a few tributes here and there, and an issue of America’s Best Comics reprinted a few stories, but I’d like to see a substantial hardcover set along the lines of the Bernard Krigstein volumes from Fantagraphics Books (Krigstein is another artist who renders me a desperate reprint lucky dipper!)

Until then the Australian reprints will tide me over - and of course the annotated pages on the official Alex Toth website are a must for any Toth fan.

Oh, and the scan above is from the framing sequence in Weird War Tales #5, scanned from Weird Mystery Tales #28 - my thanks to Shane Foley!

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