Saturday, 30 April 2016


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

ASTONISHING TALES was a great little comic, lasting for
36 issues from 1970 to '76.  JACK KIRBY had some of his last
work for MARVEL published in the first couple of issues (before
departing for DC - 'though he would return), and WALLY WOOD's
last regular strip for The House Of Ideas featured in #s 1-4.  Let's
face it, with artists like Kirby and Wood, as well as BARRY SMITH
and GEORGE TUSKA, the mag got off to a flying start.  Here are
the covers and splash pages from the first five issues for your
consideration and enjoyment.

Incidentally, when Wally Wood heard that Jack had defected
to DC, he contacted them to offer his services as inker of Jack's
new mags - only to be told that VINCE COLLETTA had already
been given the gig.  Now, I actually like Colletta's inks over Kirby's
pencils, but can you imagine how great the FOURTH WORLD
mags would've looked had they been inked by Woody?

Thoughts, theories, and observations can be recorded in
our captivating comments section, o cavorting Criv-ites.  So
what are you all waiting for, frantic ones?  Get typing!


Colin Jones said...

I remember those Ka-Zar stories from the early issues of Planet Of The Apes.

Kid said...

So do I ('though I'd originally forgotten it was POTA until a couple or so years ago). I think the fifth one appeared in The Super-Heroes - not sure if it had previously appeared in POTA.

Graham said...

Wow! Didn't know that Wood had offered to ink Kirby. That would have been incredible. Colletta's inks didn't always work with Kirby, but they were okay with Thor and Fourth World stories to me. Still, would love to have seen the Kirby/Wood combination.

Kid said...

Wood inked some of Kirby's 'Challengers of the Unknown', G, which can be seen on my blog somewhere. (Just in case you haven't already seen them.) I think the post is called 'Kirby's Wooden Art', or something like that.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, the fifth Ka-Zar story was definitely in POTA - I remember the splash page.

Phil said...

That is awesome stuff! Except for Barry Smith's Kirby imitation, but you can see glimpses of the real Smith poking through. Doom looks good though doesn't he? Kraven is in the Squirrel Girl/Howard the Duck two issue crossover this month and is quite hilarious in it.

Kid said...

It was also in another mag I think 'though, CJ, which, off the top of my head (I was tired), I thought was The Super-Heroes. However, I think it may have been Savage Sword Of Conan Weekly.


I think Smith had already drifted away from imitating Kirby, Phil, as he was drawing Conan by this time, so his own style was already at the forefront. I'll keep an eye out for that crossover.

baab said...

Barry Smith is brilliant with Ka-Zar.
I read this in Planet of the apes and remember rereading this and being obsessed with the Sun God.
Wally Wood is just timeless and of its time at the same time-makes sense to me.
Nice to see it in colour.

Kid said...

You're right, Baab - Barry Smith was certainly coming into his own as an artist. Wally Wood's art is always good to behold - shame he only did four issues.

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

I'm trying to get a full set of those early "Astonishing Tales" "split" story titles with Ka-Zar etc some great artists on that book and so far I have managed to pick them up for a good price (all under £6 some for £1.50 albeit with minor ripped covers which does not bother me at all) - Strange how art styles evolve - on this title you see Barry Smith imitating (OR being overly influenced BY) Kirby and only a few issues later you see Herb Trimpe taking over the Ka-Zar strip doing a fantastic take on Smith style.

Kid said...

I think the first Ka-Zar splash page has a hint of Kirby, but it's not really obvious in the rest of the strip, McS. I wouldn't mind acquiring a full set of this series myself - it's certainly do-able as there are only 36 issues (and I already have the first five).

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

I have about 25 of the set so far the latter issues are of less interest to me its these early issues that are wee gems. Ditto Amazing Tales (although I have far fewer of these)

Kid said...

I only have #1 of Amazing Adventures (Tales? You're making up your own comics, McS), but I have reprints of the Kirby Inhumans tales in one of the Jack Kirby Marvel Visionaries volumes. I'll definitely get #s 6-8 of Astonishing Tales for the Doctor Doom stories, maybe get the rest later. (No hurry.)

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