Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sinister Tales # 62: I'm too Class-y for Al Williamson!

A few months ago I was given a heads-up on this issue by one of the junkyard’s international operatives (“Who knows what comics lurk…?”) and I’m glad I heeded his advice.

The Steve Ditko cover feature is one attraction of course. This is from Ditko’s second stint on the character and it’s a great little black and white companion to the Australian Captain Atom issue which covers the bulk of Ditko’s first stint as discussed previously.

But the other attraction is the number of Marvel Atlas era reprints as detailed below.

I mentioned some minor qualms I have with the Alan Class reprints in my previous post on Sinister Tales #20, but conceded on balance they provide good value as cheap sources of Ditko and Kirby reprints – indeed, of any of the Atlas-era material.

But I’ll make an exception when it comes to Al Williamson’s art. At least based on the evidence of this copy. The reduced scale doesn’t do it any justice to begin with, but one is prepared for that.

The major problem is the generally coarse reproduction. For most of the stories it’s an acceptable compromise. After all, this stuff was intended for pulp paper. Bleaching into the paper grain, fading with time and exposure to light contributes to the authentic vintage feel.

But Williamson's art really demands the upmarket book treatment. It needs to sit slickly on heavier smoother stock, to reflect light with just the right degree of gloss. But when faced with fadeouts and ink dropouts... well, one can hardly be said to be reading so much as ‘spotting’ a Williamson facsimile.

The contents:

Captain Atom: Captain Atom vs The Ghost
David A. Kaler/Steve Ditko/Rocke Mastroserio
(Captain Atom #82, September 1966)

The Iron Giant!
Paul Reinman
(Journey Into Mystery #69, June 1961)

Lost in the Labyrinth
George Roussos
(Mystery Tales #44, August 1956)

The Stranger's Suitcase!
Bill Walton
(Marvel Tales #154, January 1957)

Menace From The Stars!
Al Williamson
(Mystery Tales #44, August 1956)

Something in the Sea!
Paul Reinman
(Marvel Tales #154, January 1957)

The Hidden Man!
Dave Berg
(Marvel Tales #154, January 1957)

Dynamo: S.P.I.D.E.R. Strikes at Sea!
Dan Adkins/Wally Wood
(Dynamo #2, October 1966)

Syd Shores
(Journey Into Unknown Worlds #57, May 1957)

I Dare You To Move!
Ross Andru/Mike Esposito
(Journey Into Unknown Worlds #58, June 1957)

When Vernon Vanished
Ed Winiarski
(Journey Into Unknown Worlds #57, May 1957)

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