Thursday, September 16, 2010
Amazing Adult Fantasy #7
No, not that kind of fantasy. As you can see, Stan was already attempting to shed the image of comic books as trash entertainment for kids; it was an attempt that would fail for most of the rest of the 1960s, but would prove successful years later.
As you can see, the cover advertises five stories, and therefore the tales are quite compact. The opener is a pretty standard sci-fi plot about the man who discovers an alien ship has landed and that the alien is loose among us. As is typical in such stories, the man has trouble convincing people:
But when he shows a professor the alien log book, the academic is convinced:
But that's not the case, as the final page reveals:
Comments: A superb twist ending.
The second story concerns a wealthy man who's worried that Earth will end in a nuclear war, so he builds an underground bomb shelter. Sure enough, his sensitive instruments detect heavy blasts above ground. Eventually, he ventures out to
Comments: I don't know how popular these bomb shelters actually were in the late 1950s and early 1960s; I grew up during that era and I've never seen one. They certainly were commonly encountered in popular fiction and on TV, and one thing was very constant. The people who owned them were invariably portrayed as narrow and small-minded idiots.
The third story concerns a young woman in Salem during the witch trials. She is suspected of practicing the dark arts. But her boyfriend Ben believes in her innocence and manages to convince the judges that she is not guilty. As they ride to be married, their horse is startled and the girl is injured. If she does not get treatment quickly she will be crippled for life. Fortunately Ben can get help:
Comments: Short (three pages), and now that we are expecting the twist ending, a bit predictable.
Story four is a time travel paradox tale. A crook kills a security guard while fleeing from a robbery and finds himself on the front page of the newspaper. But he notices a story about a professor inventing a time travel device. As in the DC stories of the time, the machine is encased in a glass bubble. He goes back in time. It's the perfect escape. But a man back there seems to recognize him, so he kills the man, and suddenly finds himself back in 1961. It turns out he killed the professor, back before the time machine was invented:
Comments: Cute story, although it really makes no sense that the professor would recognize him.
In the finale, a spaceship lands on Earth. Are the aliens friendly or evil? Men try communicating with them, but are unable to make sense of their customs or language, and it looks like things will end badly. But a boy in the crowd wants to exchange toys:
Comments: Popular fiction regarding aliens seemed to vary between the horrible alien invaders, and the horrible humans who suspected our alien friends-to-be; compare and contrast the first story in this issue and the last one.
Overall the comic is quite entertaining and of course the Steve Ditko art is scrumptious. Incidentally, this comic would have appeared on the newsstands at about the same time as Fantastic Four #1, and of course a later issue of Amazing Adult Fantasy (rechristened Amazing Fantasy) would be the launching pad for Spiderman.