Friday, October 19, 2012

Sci-Friday/Addicted to Alex Nino: "The Time Machine" by Wells, Binder, and Nino

Part of Marvel Comics' ever-growing expansion of the Groovy Age was Marvel Classics Comics which ran for two years (1976-78) and 36 issues. The majority of the stories published in that series were new, but several, like today's The Time Machine,  presented in Marvel Classics Comics #2 (1976), was reprinted from Pendulum Press' Now Age Books imprint (circa 1973), which was a series of "miniature graphic novels"; upscale black and white comicbooks with color cardstock covers. (I've seen a few of them still floating around in various schools in my area as part of a remedial reading program for high schoolers.)

Today's is a particular fave. H.G. Wells deserves to be called a master, as he created and/or innovated so many sci fi concepts we take for granted these days. The adaptation was written by the great Otto Binder, one of comics' greatest writers, best known for his work on the Golden Age Captain Marvel and Superman, as well as for creating such concepts as DC's "Imaginary Stories", Brainiac, the Phantom Zone, Krypto, and so much more. But best of all is the incredible art of our main man, Alex Nino. Who but Alex Nino could make a so-called "educational comic" look so trippy and cool? Wordy as Binder's adaptation was (and had to be), Nino provided some breathtaking flourishes that special-effects artists of the day would have loved to have been able to replicate. Enough talk! Enjoy!!


  1. I've always loved Alex Nino's work, and that book really is a thing of beauty.

  2. What disturbs me more is the fact that Marvel blatantly slapped on the "Stan Lee Presents" blurb on the front page. It wasn't a Marvel original, and the least they could've done is acknowledge it was a 3rd party acquisition.

  3. Whoa, I never thought I'd get to see this again! I had a copy in the mid-70s, I got it at my school's annual book fair when I was in the 2nd grade. Would've been 1976. Not sure why I remember that specifically, but I do. In my memories, only the cover was in color and the pages were all just black ink on white paper. But these are definitely the same illustations. Was never aware of the name Alex Nino before, but I love his stuff.

  4. Do you have other comics in this Classic Illustrated Comics? Please upload them too...

    1. Great request. I am now on a mission to obtain and own the entire set including even the ones he didn't draw. They were all really great from my recollections.

  5. I have the Pendulum Press version which was in black and white along with Moby Dick and War of the Worlds which were also both illustrated by Alex Nino. No 'Stan Lee' stamped on mine :) The Three Musketeers was by AN too but I can't find my copy :(

    If anyone wants me to scan them I can.

  6. OMG. Done in color (!!!!!!!) and I am torn as to which version I like better since up to this point I was only aware of and only read the black and white paperback version pictured at the start of this post. I am still dumbstruck as to the high level of quality the master put on display here which at the time I read it I was enthralled but still did not know of how great his art really was, until I later compared it to other contemporary comic artists of his time. His artwork is on a level that only certain artists such as Neal Adams and Al Williamson to name a couple that ARE on his level were able to achieve.

  7. The original Pendulum black and white was graphically striking. I've always "Marveled" at the fact that really cheap, smeary interior printing – a few cuts below the standard comic color printing of just a few years earlier – is all Marvel and the other majors seemed capable of producing at the time. I think it may be because their printers had gone to plastic plates, but the printing is a mess. I remember that during this time, it was hard to commit to local comic shops' relatively new practice of holding a select group of comics for you (whereby, in effect, you could subscribe without subscribing), because you knew you HAD to go looking through a stack of the same book to find the one least smeared, with the least pasty gray blacks, and the least off register color. Sometimes, you had to move on to a second shop to find a keeper from a different part of the print run. Ah, the late '70s.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!