Tuesday, February 3, 2009

If You Blinked You Missed: Phoenix

Billed as "the greatest story ever told", Atlas/Seaboard's Phoenix set itself up as, not only the company's answer to Superman (Phoenix was referred to as "the man of tomorrow") and/or Green Lantern (space jockey working for alien, godlike beings) but a sort of a re-telling of the Bible, as well. Probably one of the best of the Atlas/Seaboard books, Phoenix, by writer/editor Jeff Rovin and artist Sal Amendola, still only lasted four issues (October, 1974-July, 1975), with the fourth and final ish forcing a total re-vamp on the character, re-christening him the Protector, with a much more Marvel-esque writing and art style (by Gary Friedrich, Ric Estrada, and Frank Giacoia).

While the concept was quite interesting (a super-powered astronaut out to save mankind from aliens intent on wiping them out, combining the then-popular Chariots of the Gods fad with the reality of Skylab), the character of Phoenix, aka Ed Tyler, seemed like too much of a hot-head to be likable. A new scripter, Gabe Levy, took over with ish #2 and toned his personality down a bit, but like every other Atlas/Seaboard comic, Phoenix was doomed to failure by publisher Martin Goodman's mandate that all A/S comics mimic Marvel Comics.

But, like most all the A/S comics, they were a blast while they lasted! Check out the origin of Phoenix from ish #1's "From the Ashes"!


  1. Wait, wait, wait! How are you able to post these pages/comic? Cuz I've been dying to post Morlock on my site, but was always afraid cuz it wasn't in public domain?

  2. Actually, I'm taking my chances that the copyright owners understand that I'm promoting their work in an historical context (fair use), giving them total credit, and am willing to remove the pages at their request.

    I try to find works that haven't been reprinted (at least in the U.S.) so I don't think I'm stepping on anyone's toes. It's a chance I take to share my love of the creators and their creations.

    And I'm a bit crazy. ;D

  3. Phoenix got four issues, which was as many as any of the Atlas-Seaboard comics. I liked Scorpion (Howard Chaykin), Iron Jaw (Pablo Marcos in the later issues) and Planet of the Vampires.

    I suspect that what killed Atlas was the lousy economy in 1974-75. In my years as a teen and a college student 1975 was the only summer I could not get a job.

  4. What killed Atlas was the suicidal move of putting out 22 titles at once, at the same time as Marvel and DC were already flooding the market with reprints. But... wacky as it is, you gotta love the Atlas stuff. No, really.

    An even more extreme revamp that Phoenix was the third issue of The Scorpion, which turned a 30's adventurer into a modern-day rip off of Spider-Man!

    And then there was Morlock, which had Steve Ditko inked by Bernie Wrightson!!



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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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