Thursday, August 28, 2008

If You Blinked You Missed...Thrilling Adventure Stories

Thrilling Adventure Stories was quite possibly the best black and white comic mag ever published. Published in 1975 by Atlas/Seaboard, the mag was probably created as a Savage Tales knockoff, but it turned out to be something original. Rather than ripping off Conan (as they did with Iron Jaw in the color comics), they ripped off Ka-Zar with Kromag the Killer (a caveman strip drawn by Jack Sparling); in the second issue they had a straight-out sword and sorcery strip by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson, but of course those talented titans can't rip things off, so their s&s strip starred a samurai. That's as close as any real similarities to Savage Tales got.

Rather than a rip-off, editor Jeff Rovin actually created a comicbook version of Argosy! We got science fiction/crime ("A Job Well Done"), war ("Lawrence of Arabia", "Escape from Nine by One", and "Town Tamer", crime ("Tough Cop"), and straight-out adventure ("The Sting of Death"). The only strip that seemed to be out of place was the super-hero strip, "Tiger-Man and the Flesh Peddlers", but a super-hero taking down a fat-cat pimp fit into Thrilling Adventure Stories much more snugly than it would have in a color comic, if you catch my drift.

And the talent assembled in these two mags! I already mentioned Jack Sparling, Archie Goodwin, and Walt Simonson (still hot from their Manhunter strip in Detective Comics), but lemme lay a few more on ya: Ernie Colon, John Albano, Leo Summers, Gabe Levy, Frank Thorne, Russ Heath, Neal Adams, John Severin, and Alex Toth! Can you dig it! That's like a "who's who" of pure grooviness, baby!

It's a shame that Thrilling Adventure Stories only lasted two issues (thanks to the short life of publisher Atlas/Seaboard--oh, yeah, Ol' Groove and friends will be fillin' ya in on that outfit, never fear!). Too bad Marvel or Warren didn't rip it off , 'cause if there was ever something worth ripping off, Thrilling Adventure Stories was it!

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