Thursday, September 27, 2018

Groovy Age Gold: "Terror Rides the Rails!" by Kanigher, Infantino, and Giacoia

What it is, Groove-ophiles! Hidden in the back of JLA #99 (April 1972) is a reprint of the Golden Age Atom story that introduced Al Pratt's more "modern" costume as designed by artists Carmine Infantino and Frank Giacoia. Written by Robert Kanigher, "Terror Rides the Rails" was originally published in Flash Comics #98 (cover dated August 1948). Young Groove dug it a lot. Hope you dig it, too!





6 comments:

  1. This was a treat. I've read about this story years ago in AllStar Squadron. Roy Thomas wrote about how they introduced Atom's new costume and his super strength out of the lube with no explanation. So Thomas used that as an excuse to introduce a whole story arch on how Atom got his powers and new costume. I think it spanned several issues if I remember correctly.

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    1. Yes! That was an amazing storyline that ended in the (I think) second All-Star Squadron Annual. We got a new Tarantula costume and a new Amazing Man along the way if I recall correctly. Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway were on fire!

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  2. Wow, that ended in a HURRY. This makes so little sense that if I were The Atom I would begin to suspect the universe were no more than a solipsistic illusion. Golden Age stories tended to be flimsy but this one contrasts unfavorably with the better sort of knock-knock joke.
    I mean, it's not like I expect comics to show that you don't simply prop a wrecked train back up on the tracks so it can arrive on time. That'd just be gratuitous story-killing realism. But when the main plot dynamic is "a guy got coshed in the head", AND ONE OF THE GUYS IS A RAILYARD DICK WHOSE JOB DESCRIPTION INCLUDES "BEWARE OF TRAMPS ATTACKING YOU FROM BEHIND", well it just gets tired fast.
    Plus why is that woman there at all? How does an inheritance add to the story except to needlessly complicate a five-pager? And secret oil for some reason? What, running a railroad isn't obscenely profitable enough for The Boss? Why would he tell his front-line thugs about secret oil anyway?
    There's also a ton of baffling details, like who blew the whistle on the super-limited if the crew were out cold, or who was shouting HELP on the second page and probably subsequently died because The Atom ain't about helping folks who aren't out cold from a coshing.
    But this tale is indeed historic as an early example of the cherished DC tradition of "stories introducing new costumes shall be an embarrassment to everyone involved", which survived well into the 30th Century....

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    1. Golden age they were writing for children and many of them were children.

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  3. It's amazing how different Infantino's art looked in the Golden Age. Much like Jack Kirby, he refined his talent and became a premier Silver Age artist. I always found Kanigher's stories to be silly and infantile. Saw him at a convention once. He was a bitter, nasty man.

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