Monday, March 19, 2007

Space Adventures Planet Series 3 No. 1

The more I examine the various Planet Series of one-shots the more they seem like related issues. That is, there is quite a bit of crossover, or repetition in the contents between issues.

I mentioned yesterday that Weirdworld Planet Series 3 No. 3 contained a number of Space Adventures stories, in particular from Space Adventures #1, July 1952, and added that the balance of the major features of the Charlton issue, “Mad-Man of Mars” and “Mummers from Mercury”, could be found in Australian editions Captain Atom Planet Series 1 No. 7 and Mysterious Suspense Planet Series 2 No. 1 respectively.

So maybe it’s no surprise to find that the Planet Series 3 No. 3 issue titled Space Adventures is dedicated to reprinting comics from the Charlton title of the same name (with one story yet to be identified).

And no surprise that "Mad-Man", "City of Brass" and "Invasion from the Moon" turn up in the one issue!

Space Adventures, Planet Series 3 No. 11, $0.90 cover price, November 1980
Space Report
Stan Campbell
(Space Adventures #5, March 1953)

The Monsters of Kalypso
Frank Frollo
(Space Adventures #4, January 1953)

The Space Rangers: The Mad-Man of Mars
Lou Morales
(Space Adventures 1, July 1952)

Time Skipper: Time Skipper Visits the City of Brass
(Space Adventures 1, July 1952)

The Hollow World
Art Capello
(Space Adventures #3, November 1952)

Vincent Alascia
(Original unidentified, Job Number A-934, 13 pages)

Stella Dawn: The Space Bandits
Lou Morales
(Space Adventures #4, January 1953)

Terror Dynasty
Rocke Mastroserio
(Original unidentified, Job Number A-2379, 6 pages)

Rex Clive: The War Between the Worlds
Dick Giordano
(Space Adventures #5, March 1953)

The Sleep Rain
Bill Molno
(Space Adventures #55, January 1964)

The Eye in Space
(Space Adventures #58, August 1964)

Victory of the Ditros
(Space Adventures #57, June 1964)

The Space Rangers: Invasion from the Moon
(Space Adventures #1, July 1952)

There are not many creator credits listed for the Space Adventures series, however Alfred Fago is credited as Editor in the GCD. A google search tells me that Fago was a freelance editor/packager supplying material to Charlton until being brought in fulltime in 1951, and eventually succeeded by Pat Masulli in the mid-1950’s.

Walter Gibson, creator of the Shadow, is a more well-known name, and is also credited as an Assistant Editor on some of the Space Adventures issues.

It’s interesting to note that the last story, “Invasion from the Moon”, includes a large two-page spread of a single image. I think this is the first time I’ve encountered such a large panel in a 1950’s comic. It’s expected in modern comics, of course, but is quite a shock to the eyes when accustomed to expect variations of the 6- or 9-grid page!

At first I thought it may have been blown up by the K.G Murray editors to fill up the pages. This is possible, I guess, as I have not yet confirmed whether it is a double-page spread in Space Adventures #1. However, my best guess is that it is a genuine two-page spread, partly because the lettering in the accompanying text box has not been enlarged, and partly because it has been reproduced in the same size in the Weirdworld issue.

It prompted me to wonder just when the first double-page spread occurred in a regular newsstand comic, apart from feature pages and pinups, so I asked the question on the GCD list, and received a few replies with possible candidates. Based on the replies to my query the earliest confirmed double-page spread is in Captain America Comics #6, September 1941 in the story titled “The Hangman” - but note there may be earlier ones yet to be confirmed.

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