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Amazing Adult Fantasy No. 9
Monday, April 09 2007 @ 01:57 AM PDT|
Contributed by: MacQuarrie
Title: Amazing Adult Fantasy
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April, 9, 2007
Issue #1151 of 1156
Issue: Vol. 1, No. 9
Date: February, 1962
Publisher: Atlas Magazines, Inc. (Marvel Comics Group)
Cover Artist(s): Steve Ditko (signed)
Here’s an Oddball issue of mighty Marvel’s AMAZING ADULT FANTASY, one that cover-features “The Terror Of Tim Boo Ba”! No wonder they call it “The Magazine That Respects Your Intelligence”! Plus, this funnybook anthology includes the twist-ending stories “The Man Who Captured Death”, “I Come From The Black Void”, “The Genie Lives” and “The Spirit Of Swami River” (!) – all cleverly written by Smilin’ Stan Lee and impressively drawn by Sturdy Steve Ditko! (But who th’ heck is Neel Nats?)
Nowadays, a title like AMAZING ADULT FANTASY immediately conjures up notions of X-rated entertainment. But back in 1962, Marvel writer/editor Stan Lee was merely trying to court a slightly different readership than regularly read “funnybooks”. The literary forefathers of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s run of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY undoubtedly includes short story author “O. Henry” (William Sydney Porter) and LIGHTS OUT radio show producer/writer Arch Obler, both masters of the twist ending. But this anthology comic owed a particular debt to Rod Serling, the brilliant creator, writer and on-camera host of the classic television series, THE TWILIGHT ZONE (CBS, 1959 – 1964). It’s certainly no coincidence that Lee and Ditko’s issues of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY – which editor/writer Lee billed as “The Magazine That Respects Your Intelligence” (notice that the dreaded words “comic book” are never invoked) -- were published smack in the middle of THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s network run. But while Rod Serling’s TV series offered up sophisticated, allegorical science fiction and fantasy stories with ironic “surprise endings” (over half of which were actually written by Serling himself), AMAZING ADULT FANTASY’s specialty were short, nine-panel-grid, five-page (or less) science fiction and fantasy comic book stories with ironic “surprise endings” by Lee and Ditko. But with tales bearing titles like “The Terror Of Tim Boo Ba” -- just how intelligent did Lee and Ditko assume their readers really were?
Stan Lee, AKA Stanley Martin Lieber, was born on December 28, 1922 in his parents’ New York City apartment at the corner of West 98th Street and West End Avenue in Manhattan. His parents, Jack and Celia, were both poor Romanian-Jewish immigrants. Stanley’s father was a dress cutter, but in the years following “The Great Depression”, he was unable to secure full-time work. This forced the Lieber family to move further uptown to the more affordable neighborhood of Manhattan Heights. It was there, when Stanley was nine years old, that his younger brother (and future collaborator) Larry was born. When Stanley’s family moved to the Bronx, he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. Thanks to his mother’s encouragement, Stanley was a voracious reader. This led to his enjoyment of writing, working part-time writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center while still a high school student. And when young Stanley wasn’t reading or writing, he could usually be found in one of the many movie theatres near his home. Other early jobs included delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rochester Center, working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer, ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway and selling newspaper subscriptions to THE NEW YORK HERALD-TRIBUNE. (This was the same newspaper that, when Stanley was 15, sponsored “The Biggest News Of the Week Contest”. When Stanley entered the contest, he received a letter from one of the newspaper’s editors, encouraging him to become a professional writer.) In 1939, Stanley Lieber graduated early from high school at the age of 16 and 1/2. Following that, he joined the WPA Theatre Project. Then, with the aid of his uncle, Robbie Solomon – who happened to be the brother-in-law of pulp magazine and comic book publisher Martin Goodman – arranged for Stanley to be hired by Joe Simon (co-creator of “Captain America” with Jack Kirby) as his assistant – and “general gofer” -- at the newly-formed Timely Comics’ new offices in the Empire State Building. (Stanley’s cousin Jean was also Goodman’s wife.) In CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS No. 3 (May, 1941), a text-piece titled “Captain America Foils The Traitor’s Revenge” appeared, signed “Stan Lee”. It was Stanley Lieber’s first-ever-published professional writing. (Years later, Stan claimed that he was “saving” his real name for more “legitimate” writing gigs, such as penning “The Great American Novel”.) By the comic’s third issue, Stanley had graduated to writing the book’s back-up feature, “Headline Hunter, Foreign Correspondent”. Later that year, in the wake of a dispute with publisher Goodman, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby left Timely to work for DC Comics. Their unexpected exit created an opening for a temporary editor at Timely, and 19-year-old Stanley’s uncle-in-law assigned him the position, but Stanley proved so adept with editing that he was made Goodman’s comic book division’s Editor-In-Chief and primary art director. This was interrupted by World War II; in 1942, Stanley enlisted in the U.S. Army in early 1942, serving stateside in the Signal Corps. He wrote manuals, training films and poster copy and occasionally even drew cartoons. (Stan now claims that his official military classification was “playwright” and that only eight other Army men in history were ever given that title!) While Stanley was serving his country, 4-F cartoonist Vincent Fago ran Timely, but relinquished the position when Stan returned from the Army in 1945. Post-war Timely published comics in every genre, and Stan not only edited them, he continued to write them as well. Martin Goodman’s rule-of-thumb was to imitate whatever concept was selling for Timely’s competitors, then saturate the market with so many variations on the genre that it would quickly exhaust itself. Therefore, Stan found himself writing romance, teenage, westerns, humor, science fiction, funny animals, medieval adventure, horror, kiddie and suspense stories, often, all in the same month. On the other hand, sales of superhero comics slumped after the war, causing all the major publishers, including Timely, to cut back on funnybooks starring the “long underwear crowd”. (Stanley was so prolific that he began to use a variety of pen names. These included, “S. T. Anley”, “Stan Martin”, “Neel Nats” and of course, the one to which he eventually legally changed his name, “Stan Lee”.) This kept Stan busy, even through the comic-book “witch hunts” of the early 1950s led by Dr. Frederic Wertham and Senator Estes Kefauver, but Stan was getting bored with the material he was churning out But by this time, Stan and his family were living in Hewlett Harbor on New York’s Long Island, and he had mouths to feed and a mortgage to pay. Even worse, his publisher (now known as “Marvel” – was merely limping along. Fortunately, Marvel had two freelancers working for it who would prove pivotal to Stan’s future: Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Although both of them were doing a great job plotting and drawing monster and suspense comics – scripted by Stan and his brother Larry – Marvel was rapidly becoming a marginal entity in the comic book field. But when Stan received orders from Martin Goodman to come up with a team of superheroes (supposedly to take advantage of the success of editor Julius Schwartz’s JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA for DC), Stan worked with Jack Kirby to create a team of superheroes the likes of which had never been seen before. Marvel’s other, more traditional comic books weren’t selling particularly well, the duo of Lee and Kirby tried to make THE FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) a superhero team that shattered the genres’ previous stereotypes – or at least turned ‘em on their collective ear -- and it worked and for many, even lived up to its hype as “The World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!” Stan says that his lovely British wife Joan encouraged him to experiment with this new project by applying his own approach to the subject matter; Stan’s ear for writing clever, realistic dialog was particularly groundbreaking. It didn’t hurt, either, that Stan was working with two of the most imaginative cartoonists in comics, men who could write as well as they drew. This led to working so-called “Marvel Method”, a process with Stan writing his dialog after seeing the sequential images cooked up by Kirby and Ditko, and to a lesser degree of success, to other cartoonists hired by Marvel. It worked so well, in fact, that the upstart company (with decidedly inferior production values such as brittle cover-stock and easily-smeared ink) finally began to get noticed. Once again with Kirby, Stan turned Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” into the misunderstood super-monster, THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1962). Then, teaming with Steve Ditko, Stan co-created a unique approach to the teenage superhero in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (also 1962), arguably Marvel’s most famous and successful character. These were followed by “The Mighty Thor”, “Iron Man”, “Dr. Strange”, “Daredevil” and “The Uncanny X-Men”, as well as revived, modern incarnations of Timely’s “Captain America” and “The Human Torch”. Stan not only edited and scripted all of these, but also became a hip and humorous front-man for what would become known as “The Marvel Age Of Comics”. In the long run, this astounding ability -- to attract and secure a readership so loyal that they’d feel genuinely indebted to Marvel for publishing such comics – may be Stan Lee’s greatest talent of all -- he practically invented the concepts of “marketing” and “branding” single-handedly! Of course, Stan “The Man” Lee was the biggest Marvel fan of all, so his ballyhoo rang absolutely true. Within a few years, Marvel had grown from a small company to the comic book industry’s giant, with the other publishers attempting to create and sell their own comics, directly emulating Marvel’s style, bluster and “goofy grandeur”. Stan was convinced that the target audience for Marvel Comics was the college crowd, and made many personal appearances as a speaker at many of the nation’s colleges and universities, although research seemed to indicate that Marvel wasn’t as ever-present in the institutes of higher learning than Stan had assumed. He even, very briefly, cover-labeled each of Marvel’s books as “A Marvel Pop-Art Production”, as if they weren’t mere comic books but fine art. With Marvel’s rising star, and a change in distribution, the company added more titles to its roster, and with them, more creators. Eventually Stan wasn’t writing nearly as many books as he once had, but he still set the standards for which all Marvel product was expected to meet. Then there came the day that publisher Martin Goodman decided to sell Marvel to Cadence Industries. Whatever it was that Stan was doing, the new buyer was convinced that he was doing it right, and made him an essential element of the deal. When the transaction was finalized, Stan emerged with something he hadn’t had since starting with Marvel three decades earlier: a contract. After a false start (the samples were discovered, untouched, in the files of Goodman’s son, who briefly worked for Marvel, Stan and John Romita, Sr. launched a daily AMAZING SPIDER-MAN syndicated newspaper comic strip; in 1977; eventually, Larry Lieber, Stan’s talented kid brother, took over drawing the feature, which continues to this day. In 1981, With Marvel Comics running relatively smoothly and extremely profitably, Stan and his family moved to Los Angeles, California, where he helped to oversee Marvel Productions, an animation studio (a new incarnation of Depatie-Freleng Productions.) Stan also headed up Marvel Films, a new enterprise dedicated to developing and placing Marvel properties in high-profile television and film projects. Stan’s name and reputation guaranteed that he had no problem scheduling meetings with any of Hollywood’s big-shots, but it took years for any of Stan’s energetic pitches to reach fruition. THE INCREDIBLE HULK TV series (1978 - 1982) was a hit, but other early Marvel/Hollywood projects such as THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TV series (1978) and PUNISHER (1989) and CAPTAIN AMERICA (1990) films were quite poorly-received. Marvel’s licensed properties really began to deliver the goods with the theatrical release of X-MEN (2000), in which Stan had a cameo part, as well as being an Executive Producer of the film. He also appeared in the Marvel adaptations SPIDER-MAN (2002), THE HULK (2003), DAREDEVIL (2003), SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004), FANTASTIC FOUR (2005) and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006). Stan also appeared in the TV movies THE TRIAL OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1989), GENERATION X (1996) and NICK FURY, AGENT OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (1998). Stan has also provided voiceovers for various animated cartoons adapting Marvel characters; he’s even provided narration for various “Spider-Man” video games. In non-Marvel-related films, Stan has appeared in Larry Cohen’s THE AMBULANCE (1990) and Kevin Smith’s MALLRATS (2002), as well as in Mark Hamill’s direct-to-DVD COMIC BOOK: THE MOVIE (2004). In the April 28, 2002 episode of Matt Groening’s THE SIMPSONS, “I Am Furious Yellow”, an animated Stan Lee made a nuisance of himself to the Comic Book Guy at “The Android’s Dungeon” comic book shop. Stan has also appeared on the TV game shows TO TELL THE TRUTH and IDENTITY, as well as producing and hosting an Oddball “reality” TV show, WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO?, which premiered on the Sci Fi Channel on July 27, 2006; the series has reportedly been renewed for a second season. And very recently, Stan has made a cameo appearance on the NBC series HEROES. Stan has received several awards for his work, including being formally inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall Of Fame in 1995. In the late 1990s, Stan became associated with a former lawyer named Peter Paul. Together, in 1998, they formed Stan Lee Media, a studio focusing on the creation of entertainment for the Internet. The company’s projects included THE 7TH PORTAL, THE DRIFTER, THE ACCUSER and a concert-sold comic book starring the popular “boy band”, The Backstreet Boys. Unfortunately, in 2000, it was eventually discovered that Paul and corporate officer Stephan Gordon were involved in illegal stock manipulation. Although Stan Lee Media filed for bankruptcy in February, 2001, Stan Lee himself has never been implicated in their scheme. In the early 2000s, for the first time in his career, Stan finally worked for Marvel’s primary competitor, DC Comics, writing a series of “re-imagined” new superhero concepts based on their Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash. With co-writer George Mair, Stan wrote his autobiography, EXCELSIOR! THE AMAZING LIFE OF STAN LEE, published in 2002 by Simon & Schuster’s Fireside Press. In 2003, Stan created the animated superhero series STRIPPERELLA for Spike TV, featuring the voice of Pamela Anderson. In 2004, he announced plans to collaborate with pajama-wearing publisher Hugh Hefner on a similar superhero cartoon featuring animated PLAYBOY Playmates, as well as a superhero project that would star former Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr. In 2005, Stan Lee, Gill Champion and Arthur Lieberman formed POW! (“Purveyors of Wonder!”) Entertainment to develop film, television and video game properties. The first film produced by POW! was the live-action TV-movie STAN LEE’S LIGHTSPEED (2006) which aired on the Sci Fi Channel. POW! Entertainment Inc. reportedly has some forty different projects in various stages of development. Two of the company’s “Stan Lee Presents” animated direct-to-DVD productions have been MOSAIC (2006) and THE CONDOR (2007). In 2005, Stan filed a lawsuit against Marvel for his unpaid share of profits from Marvel movies, reportedly winning a settlement of more than $10 million. Apparently, Marvel held no grudge against him, though, because in 2006, to celebrate his 65th year with Marvel, the company published a series of five one-shot comics co-starring Stan Lee with Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, the Thing, the Silver Surfer (a character created solely by Jack Kirby) and Dr. Doom. Stan Lee’s impressive career with Marvel Comics has existed for over six decades. During that time, he has held the titles of Marvel’s “Head Writer”, “Art Director”, “Editor-In-Chief”, “Publisher”, “President” and “Chairman”, and is currently “Chairman Emeritus” of Marvel and an “Executive Producer” of their theatrical films. At the age of 84, Stan “The Man” Lee has never been busier!
The co-creator of Marvel’s amazing Spider-Man, cartoonist Steve Ditko, was born Stephen Ditko on November 2, 1927 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the son of Slavic immigrants. As a kid, Ditko showed promise as a cartoonist; his primary influences included Will (THE SPIRIT) Eisner and the early “Batman” comic book artists. Ditko did military service in post-war Germany after graduating from Johnstown High School in 1945. Following this, he attended New York City’s Cartoonists And Illustrators School (later re-named the School Of Visual Arts); with “Batman” cartoonist (and creator of the Joker) Jerry Robinson as one of his instructors. In 1953, Ditko broke into the comic book business, working for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s BLACK MAGIC (Crestwood/Prize) and Kirby’s CAPTAIN 3-D (Harvey) and Charlton’s THE THING. The next year, he appeared in Farrell’s FANTASTIC FEARS and did a lot more work for Charlton, including drawing his first covers. In 1956, Steve began freelancing for Atlas/Marvel, primarily working in the genres of horror, mystery and science fiction, while continuing to freelance for Charlton. At Marvel, working with editor/writer Stan Lee, Steve Ditko’s work appeared in such comics as STRANGE ADVENTURES, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, STRANGE WORLDS, TALES OF SUSPENSE and TALES TO ASTONISH. His ability to craft unsettling stories with a unique “look” eventually led to AMAZING ADULT FANTASY (formerly AMAZING ADVENTURES), a TWILIGHT ZONE-esque anthology series (“The Comic Magazine That Respects Your Intelligence!”) tailored to feature nothing but his short, Stan-Lee-written tales. With its fifteenth and final issue (August, 1962), the comic changed its name once again, this time to AMAZING FANTASY. It cover-featured a new superhero, “Spider-Man”, drawn by Jack Kirby and inked by Steve Ditko. (Steve had previously drawn the cover, but Stan rejected it for being drawn from a different, less dynamic angle.) Inside, in a historical collaboration between Stan Lee and Ditko, it introduced Peter Parker, a geeky high school student who is bitten by a radioactive spider, thereby gaining creepy superpowers – and eventually becoming one of the best-known superhero characters of all time .THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN soon received his own title, but a second Ditko character, “Dr. Strange” – who Stan Lee once admitted in a fanzine interview that was entirely Ditko’s concept – first appeared as a back-up series in STRANGE TALES No. 110 (July, 1963). Unfortunately, Dr. Strange was too brilliantly weird to catch on in a big way with the fans, although the character and Ditko’s mind-blowing depictions of sorcery and other dimensions was eventually embraced by the counterculture. (What’s ironic is that Ditko has always been conservative in his viewpoint, the polar opposite of a hippie!) During this stint at Marvel, Steve also worked on such characters as “The Incredible Hulk” in THE INCREDIBLE HULK No. 6 (an Oddball story in which the green monster finds himself stuck with Dr. Bruce Banner’s head!) and TALES TO ASTONISH and “Iron Man” (being the first to design a red-and-yellow motif for Tony Stark’s armor) in TALES OF SUSPENSE. Although Ditko was eventually given the assignment of plotting his Spider-Man and Dr. Strange stories, and despite the fact that he was the ideal talent for both series and that he had already co-created the majority of Spider-Man’s arch-villains to this day, he abruptly quit working for Stan Lee and Marvel in 1966 (his last stories for them were both cover-dated July); Steve Ditko has never revealed the specific reason for his decision, but it certainly was the end of an era at Marvel, where his artistic presence nicely complimented those of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Instead, Ditko concentrated on working for Charlton, for whom he’d never really stopped freelancing for and for whom he had already co-created (with Joe Gill) a Cold War superhero, “Captain Atom”, in SPACE ADVENTURES No. 33 (March,1960). Although the Derby, Connecticut publisher paid a much lower page rate, it was run without nearly as much editorial control, and this greatly appealed to Steve, who would eventually have a major part in the creation of such memorable Charlton characters as the “new Blue Beetle” and “The Question.” (both 1967) as well as dozens of science-fiction, horror, mystery, monster and even war comics. During this period, Ditko also did work for Dell (NUKLA, GET SMART, etc., often inked by Sal Trapani) and ACG, By the late 1960s, Steve Ditko’s interest in the writing and philosophy of Ayn Rand -- termed “Objectivism” -- began to manifest itself in his mainstream funnybook stories. This led to Ditko’s creation of what is perhaps his most personal (and Oddball) character, “Mr. A”, first appearing in the third issue of Wallace Wood’s legendary prozine, WITZEND (1967). The embodiment of Objectivism, Mr. A (logically, the next step beyond the Question) practices his belief that there is no grey area of morality, only black (evil) and white (good), with his calling cards designed accordingly. Meanwhile, he had been drawing some of the best work of his career for writer/editor Archie Goodwin in the pages of Jim Warren’s CREEPY and EERIE black-and-white horror magazines. The prolific Ditko was also doing excellent work for Tower’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS and, due to former Charlton editor Dick Giordano’s relocation, DC Comics. There, with writer Don (KONA, MONARCH OF MONSTER ISLE) Segall, he co-created “The Creeper” in SHOWCASE No. 73 (March-April, 1968) and with Steve Skeates, “The Hawk And The Dove” in SHOWCASE No. 75 (June, 1968). Both were memorable concepts that went on to short-lived series and continue to be re-visited in DC’s current continuity. For the next few years, Ditko concentrated on a combination of Charlton assignments (THE MANY GHOSTS OF DOCTOR GRAVES, GHOSTLY HAUNTS, GHOSTLY TALES, STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES, etc.) and self-expressing material for the alternative marked. Finally returned to DC in 1975, where Ditko created co-created STALKER (1975, with Paul Levitz and Wallace Wood) and SHADE THE CHANGING MAN (1977). He also worked on new stories featuring the Creeper, Jack Kirby’s Demon and the Legion Of Super-Heroes, as well as a new incarnation of Starman and a few illustrations for WHO’S WHO. After passing on the opportunity to draw Captain Atom (DC had recently acquired the rights to most of Charlton’s “action heroes”), Ditko returned to Marvel in 1979, but refused to draw anything featuring Spider-Man or Dr. Strange. Instead, he worked on just about every other classic Marvel character or series (including taking over Jack Kirby’s MACHINE MAN) plus creating SPEEDBALL (1988) and drawing a long run of ROM, SPACEKNIGHT, with a diverse and interesting parade of talented inkers. Ditko also worked on all four issues of Marvel/Star Comics’ CHUCK NORRIS AND THE KARATE KOMMANDOS, a four-issue miniseries based upon a Ruby-Spears cartoon show. After brief creative stopovers at Dark Horse, Defiant and Hamilton Comics (on MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS, of all things!), Steve Ditko concentrated his efforts on new projects for the independent market. An extremely private man, Ditko was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall Of Fame in 1990, and still lives in New York City..
This comic began publication as AMAZING ADVENTURES with No. 1 (June, 1961) through No. 6 November, 1961), introducing “Dr. Droom”, Marvel’s first superhero, a bald-headed monster-hunter. Then it became AMAZING ADULT FANTASY with No. 7 (December, 1961) through No. 14 (July, 1962), “The Magazine That Respects Your Intelligence!” And it became AMAZING FANTASY with its final issue, No. 15 (August, 1962), which introduced “The Amazing Spider-Man” before the revolutionary new superhero went on to star in his own series. Marvel Comics published two other unrelated comic book series with the same title as AMAZING ADVENTURES: 39 issues of AMAZINGADVENTURES – featuring original stories of “The Inhumans”, “The Black Widow”, “The Beast” and “The War Of The Worlds”, starring “Killraven” -- from August, 1970 to November, 1976 and a 14-issue AMAZING ADVENTURES series reprinting early Silver Age X-MEN stories.
This issue’s 5-page cover-story is “The Terror Of Tim Boo Ba”, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. Just imagine this splash-page introduction being delivered by a chain-smoking, black-suit-wearing Stan Lee, doing his best imitation of THE TWILIGHT ZONE’s creator/host/writer Rod Serling:
INTRODUCTORY NARRATIVE CAPTION:
Many are the wonders of the vast universe. But none so fantastic as…Tim Boo Ba!
All but the final panel of this story is told with nine-panel pages and short, one-sentence-long narrative captions -- but no dialog:
Behold the domain of Tim Boo Ba…On this strange world. He is all-supreme! For his hordes strike with the fury of a thousand thunders! None is so powerful as Tim Boo Ba! None is as feared as Tim Boo Ba! And none is as triumphant as Tim Boo Ba! His enemies fall before him like the wind! And his wrath is awesome to behold! For mercy is unknown to Tim Boo Ba! His appetite for conquest can never be appeased! Always his conquering hordes are on the march! Always he seeks new lands to plunder…New cities to pillage! Gaze then upon the face of Tim Boo Ba…--Mightiest war lord of them all!! Gaze upon the mouth of Tim Boo Ba… The mouth which cries “Attack!! Attack!”
For this is Tim Boo Ba! Behold him and tremble! All who dwell upon his planet will pay him homage! The arm of his tyranny reaches everywhere! While his enemies are never heard of again! His every word is absolute law!! And no other dares speak in the presence of Tim Boo Ba! Statues to his glory dot the landscape! For his power is beyond all comprehension… While his subjects exist in poverty, living only to serve him…Him…the master of the world! Yes, this is Tim Boo Ba! And this is his final hour! This is the end of Tim Boo Ba, the end of his tyranny, all washed away in a few fleeting seconds! One single flood…One avalanche of water from a power greater than his…and he terror of Tim Boo Ba is no more! Thus do despots perish! In the wink of an eye, in the snap of a finger, without warning, without pity, they can be snuffed out like human candles! May all tyrants heed this lesson well…No matter what their might, somewhere in this vast universe, there is always someone…MIGHTIER!
And as we pull back from Tim Boo Ba’s water-drenched planet, the story cuts to a scene in a young schoolboy’s bedroom, one that contains a “space map” and a toy rocket ship:
Watch it, Tom! You’re dripping water on my scale model planet!
(This story was reprinted in Marvel’s MONSTER MENACE No. 1, December 1993)
Also included in this issue of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY are these stories, features and advertisements:
- Two black-and-white, inside-front-cover ads: “Insect Collecting Kit – Only $1.00”, an ad for equipment for collecting bugs, available through mail-order from the “Honor House Prod. Corp.”; and “Amazing Wrist Radio”, one that allows kids to “play detectives like the ones in the famous cartoons”, available via mail-order from the “Honor House Prod. Corp.”
- A “Contents Page” for this issue, written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Steve Ditko.
- “Training For Big Pay Made Simple! A Quick New Way To Get Into Auto Mechanics”, an ad for mail-order courses in car repair, available from the “Commercial Trades Institute”.
- “The Man Who Captured Death!”, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. – “In a lonely old laboratory, in a lonely old house, sits a lonely old man with his lonely old thoughts…” The old fellow, a scientist and inventor, realizes his time is almost nigh, but he’s determined to somehow “triumph over death”. After building a strange machine – “the like of which has never been seen on Earth” – the weary old man slumps in a chair, exhausted. As his life ebbs away, a creepy, blue-skinned creature approaches him – it’s Death incarnate! But with his last ounce of strength, the old man presses a button, one that activates his machine, which traps Death in “an electronic ray”. Death begs to be released, but the elderly scientist refuses to release the eerie specter, claiming, “The world need never fear Death again!” But instead of improving the quality of life, Death’s capture has the opposite effect. Pesticide is futile against insects allowing bugs to consume the world’s crops. Beasts of prey multiply, as do rats and other vermin. Drugs have no effect on deadly germs and hospitals fill to overflowing. The old and infirm suffer terribly, unable to “find no such blissful answer to their longing” for death. Watching a telecast, the old scientist finally realizes that he’s to blame for plunging the world into shambles. Shutting off his machine’s electronic ray, he releases Death, then joins the black specter, ready to finally die. Death welcomes him, saying, “Then come to me, mortal…I shall bring you – peace! As if have brought so many others before you – thus has it ever been…thus must it ever be…”
- A page of two ads: “Special Offer To Readers Of This Magazine – New Accordions – Save Up To 1/2”, an ad for “sensational values” on accordions, available through mail-order from the “Accordion Corporation Of America”; and “Reward -- $2,000.00”, an ad for a collectible coin-pricing catalog, available via mail-order from the “Best Values Co.”
- “I Come from the Black Void”, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. – “He was the first visitor in history from outer space! And yet, Earth didn’t care! Perhaps, this is the reason why…” An alien “xeman” pilots his “faster-than-light rocket ship” from the planet “Xenia”, “somewhere in the vast reaches of space” toward Earth. Landing his craft in a desolate area, he doffs his space suit to reveal that the xeman is, for all purposes, identical to a Caucasian human! After determining that our atmosphere is breathable, the smiling alien dresses himself in contemporary Earth fashion as he states his mission: “For months I have studied the languages of Earth from afar! And now – now I shall use my knowledge as I help to join two might planets in a bond of friendship!” Upon entering a nearby city, he shouts out a public announcement – “Greeting, people of Earth! Greetings from Xenia! I have come from the Black Void as an ambassador from space!” But although the alien visitor is surrounded by human pedestrians, they either completely ignore him or make a snide comment such as, “My, my! Every day there’s some new kinda nut in this neighborhood!” Confused and frustrated, the alien returns to his interstellar craft and blasts off for home, never understanding why he got such a tepid reception. Unfortunately, the xeman failed to consult a calendar to learn that – it’s April 1st – April Fool’s Day! “Why, indeed? What a pity the visitor from the black void will never know the reason…He will never know that history’s greatest moment was lost forever, because…he arrived on the wrong day! A day when nobody believes anything!” (This story was reprinted: in Marvel’s CREATURES ON THE LOOSE (1971 series) No. 27 (January 1974).
- A page of two ads: “Boys – 12 Or Older – Here’s A Swell Way To Make $1 To $5 Weekly And Win Dandy Free Prizes Too!”, an ad soliciting for young door-to-door salespeople for GRIT, “America’s Greatest Family Newspaper”, for the “Grit Publishing Co.”; and “Will You Work Saturday Mornings For $5 To $20 Extra?”, an ad soliciting for door-to-door shoes salespeople for “Mr. Ned Mason”.
- “The Spirit of Swami River”, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. – “Naturally, the swami was a fake! Naturally, he dealt in phony spirits! Or…did he?” Doris Parks, a meek young widow, sits at a table holding a crystal ball in a musty room. Finally, the man she’s been waiting for – a turban-wearing mystic calling himself “ Swami River” – makes his entrance and launches into his routine. As the swami gestures around his crystal ball, a strange cloud forms above the glowing orb: it’s Jonathan Parks, Doris’ “husband, who has crossed the Great Divide”. Then her dead mate speaks, giving his widow some very specific instructions: “Swami…River…is…our…friend…Trust…him…Obey…him…Give…him…money…I…left…you…He…will…invest…it…wisely…farewell…Farewell…” As the séance ends, Mrs. Parks thanks Swami River (obviously, she doesn’t get the pun on “Way down upon the Swanee River”, the first line of composer Stephen Foster’s song “The Old Folks At Home”) and assures him that she’ll send him her money tomorrow, just as Jonathan instructed. Swami River repeats the same routine with his next client, another wealthy and trusting widow who hands over a big wad of cash to the mystic. Later, when he’s alone, Swami River reveals that he is, indeed, a swindling swami: “Ha! It’s amazing what can be done with a tape recorder and a phony smoke device!” Then, one day, a decrepit old widow named Sarah, who seems to be the perfect target for Swami River’s scam, visits him. The fake fakir thinks, “It is said that this old woman has a fortune in cash hidden in her dingy apartment! After I get my hands on the old miser’s dough, I’ll skip town and live like a king!” Going into his act, Swami River “conjures” up the spirit of her dead husband, Stefen, who tells Sarah to bring all of her money to Swami River. But after she leaves her dead husband’s cash with Swami River, the gloating of the bogus mystic is interrupted by the eerie voice of the real Stefan, de-materializing Swami River and the valise full of currency, collecting on the con-man’s promise. “And that is the last that anyone ever saw of Swami River! Anyone alive, that is! But, gentle reader, he will not be too lonely where he is! For we suspect that he has a very warm reception awaiting him!” (This story was reprinted: in Marvel’s X-MEN (1963 series) No. 86 (February 1974).
- A page of two ads: “Now! Own And Operate Your Own Scale Model…Electric Monorail”, available through mail-order from “Medford Products”; and “Not 3, Not 6, Not 9, Not 12, But…14 New Sensational Tricks – A Million Laughs.”, an ad for magic tricks available via mail-order from “Medford Products”.
- “Coming Attractions”, a “teaser” page, written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Steve Ditko. (This was also re-used as the “Contents Page” in the next issue of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY.)
- A page of various teensy-tiny classified ads, for everything from collectible stamps to “I Can Paralyze A 200-Lb. Attacker With Just One Finger! Yet I Weigh Only 93 Lbs.! You Too Can Protect Yourself, With My Secret Oriental System Of Yubiwaza.”
- “The Genie Lives”, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. – “Ever read a story without an ending? Well, this one might be a tale like that! The only thing is, we can’t be sure!” Despite the jibes of his pals, teenage Davey loves to collect “junky old books of magic”. But when he finds a one of them at “a little old bookshop” and recites the words, “Abbra kaddabra, spirits of night…bring forth a genie, into my sight!”, Davey accidentally summons a real genie! The boys’ first wishes are simple requests for the genie to grant – money, the ability to fly – so Davey challenges the genie to “make the whole world vanish”. Then he asks to be taken around he world and through outer space, and the genie happily complies. Then Davey commands the genie to make him a giant, “the strongest creature on Earth”. Again, the genie fulfills his wish. Davey’s next request is a whopper: to eliminate the rest of the universe, leaving only the Earth. But when the genie makes this happen, our planet starts to spin out of control; without other planets’ presence, our gravity is changed and the Earth begins to tear itself apart. Even worse, Davey continues to grow, until he’s a living colossus who’s much larger than the Earth, which can no longer hold his massive weight. As he topples into the empty void, Davey desperately makes one last, pleading wish: “Stop it!! Genie – stop it! Bring everything back to normal! Make the world as it was before I ever saw you!! Hurry!” And with that, the genie grants Davey’s final wish; a split-second later, Davey and his friends find themselves back at the bookshop, examining the old book of magic that got then into this trouble in the first place…and Davey’s about to read the spell that summons the genie! “Well, it looks as though this is where we come in! As for Davey, who knows? Didn’t a famous scientist once say that time is a circle with no beginning, and no ending? Perhaps…he was right!”
- “Test Your Talent!”, an illustrated ad for mail-order drawing courses from “Art Instruction, Inc.”
- “Boys! Girls! Men! Women! Get Valuable Gifts Without 1¢ Cost…”, an ad soliciting for door-to-door “cosmetics, flavoring, etc.” salespeople for “Blair Quality Products”.
- “Learn Radio-Television Electronics By Practicing At Home In Your Spare Time”, a black-and-white, inside-back-cover ad for mail-order electronics courses from the “National Radio Institute”.
- “Announcing The All-New Daisy B-B Gun”, a back-cover ad for the “’Spittin’ Image’ Of The Great Model 94 Winchester…Rifle That Won The Golden West!” from the “Daisy Manufacturing Company”.
ODDBALL Factoid – Stan Lee's favorite authors include H. G. Wells, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Harlan Ellison!
Bonus ODDBALL Factoid – Running across the bottom of one of the pages in this issue of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY is the ad-line, “You’ve never read a comic like ‘THE FANTASTIC FOUR’! Get your spine-tingling copy today!” To put this mention in a historical perspective, based on the cover-date of AMAZING ADULT FANTASY Vol. 1, No. 9, the ad refers to either FANTASTIC FOUR No. 2 (January, 1962) or No. 3 (March, 1962)!
Next Week – ODDBALL COMIC #1,169: MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2007 – From Rankin-Bass Productions -- the folks who brought you all of those classic holiday specials – comes MAD MONSTER PARTY?, starring none other than Phyllis Diller! This ODDBALL COMIC is an adaptation of a feature film that was co-written by MAD creator Harvey Kurtzman and designed by the great Jack Davis – but this Dell MOVIE CLASSIC was written and drawn by neither of ‘em! Why, that would make any monster mad!
For more from Scott Shaw!, visit his Web site at http://www.shawcartoons.com/.
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