Saturday, October 16, 2010

UPDATED! Countdown to Halloween 2010! Science Fiction Theater: A Twilight Zone Double Feature by Walt Simonson

Welcome to my nightmare, Groove-ophiles! It's time for another Science Fiction Theater, this time we're focusing on some early (I'm talkin' eeeaaaaaarrrrrrrlllllllyyyy) Walt Simonson from, of all places, Gold Key's Twilight Zone series. I'm pretty sure these twin tales (along with ish 55's "Musk's Daughter", which I've already posted here) are all of the stories Wondrous Walt did for Twilight Zone (if I'm wrong, I'm sure somebody'll come to Ol' Groove's rescue), so I figured we'd put 'em all in one place for posterity. They're short, sweet, and spooky, and they're here for you! From TZ #50 (April 1973) here's "Nature's Way"!

And finally, it's "The Prisoner" from TZ #54 (October 1973)!

AWESOME UPDATE! The astounding Mr. Simonson has linked to and been discussing today's post on his official Facebook page and has kindly shared more information about his three (I was right!) Twilight Zone stories for Gold Key. Ready? Let's go!

The TZ trilogy was, indeed, some of his earliest work, done over a span of 8 or 9 months--the first 8 or 9 months of Simonson's career. Walter feels his work wasn't exactly what Gold Key was into at the time, and says his good fortune to be published in TZ is due to efforts of young GK editor Frank Tedeschi (sp?). "Nature's Way" was Walter's second published work and was probably written by Gerry Boudreau.

"The Prisoner" and "Musk's Daughter" were most likely written by John (Bloodstone) Warner.

Since "Nature's Way" and "The Prisoner" were so short, Walter wasn't allowed to draw Rod Serling narrating them.

His favorite piece of the trilogy, "Musk's Daughter", (Mr. Simonson calls it " of the best jobs of (his) early career.") was primarily inked with technical pens as Walter was trying to emulate the inking style ("textures and period feel") of the great Howard Pyle. He was also thrilled to actually get to draw Serling in this story--complete in "fairy tale" costume.

Oh, and Gold Key was actually returning original art at that time, so Walter got the original pages for these classics back after they were printed. Now that's cool!

Thanks again to Mr. Simonson for his interest and generosity in sharing all of the above tid-bits. And a special thanks to Stephen ('Mazing Man) DeStefano for bringing this post to Mr. Simonson's attention. What an awesome day this has been, Groove-ophiles!


  1. Groove:

    Very cool post, with nice insights from Simonson. I'll make sure to point this one out to my readers!

    I knew Frank Miller did early work for Twilight Zone, but I didn't know about Simonson's "trilogy." I've added them to my want list; thanks for pointing them out!


  2. Awesome story!


  3. Of Simonson's three TWILIGHT ZONE stories, I like this one the best. Although all are nicely illustrated and good stories. Especially nice considering this is among Simonson's earliest work, going into his instant stardom with the Manhunter series in DETECTIVE 437-443 (Nov 1973- Nov 1974). I also love a lesser-known Simonson story in DETECTIVE 450 (Aug 1975).

    Some other early Simonson work you might not be aware of:

    WEIRD WAR TALES 10 (Jan 1973) "Cyrano's Army" 6p (to my knowledge, Simonson's first published work)

    170 "UFM" (part 1) 7p, June 1973
    172 "Decision" (The Alamo) 3p, Aug 1973
    174 Battle Album: "Nazi Destroyer Terpitz" 2p illustration, Oct 1973
    180 "Return" (UFM part 2) 6p, + "Phantom II" fighter jet, 1p, June 1974

    4 "Young Fafhrd" backup story, 6p, Sept 1973
    5 "The Sunken Land" Simonson/Milgrom 14p Dec 1973

    1 "A Tale of Sword and Sorcery" 12p, April 1974

    THRILLING ADVENTURE STORIES (Seaboard Atlas B & W magazine)
    2 "Temple of the Spider" 10p Goodwin/Simonson, Aug 1975

    9 Dr Fate, 18p, Pasko/Simonson, 18p, Dec 1975

    SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN (The Hyborian Age series)
    7 part 1, 6p, Aug 1975
    8 part 2, 6p, Oct 1975
    12 part 3, 6p, June 1976
    15 part 4, 6p, Oct 1976
    16 part 5, 6p, Dec 1976
    17 part 6 (last), 7p, Feb 1977

    7-12 Nov 1976- Sept 1977

    300 "The Last Batman Story"34p Reed/Simonson/Giordano June 1978

    CREEPY (haven't seen these, but on my list to check out)
    102 "Killer Claw" 10p Oct 1978
    107 8p
    112 8p, Oct 1979

    29 Stephen King's "The Lawnmower Man" 21p, Oct 1981

    Many of these would be welcome additions here, if you're listening Groov!

    --Dave B.

  4. I'm listening, Dave! Great job of tracking all of those tales down--now you can enjoy tracking a whole lot of 'em down here on the Diversions (just click on Walt Simonson down there in the "Stream of Comicbook Consciousness")! We have a couple of the 'Tec Manhunter strips here, his debut in Weird War, both Sword of Sorcery pieces, "Temple of the Spider", the Dr. Fate story, the Hyborian Age series, Batman #300, "Killer Claw", "Relic", plus some Battlestar Galactica, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 'Tec #450, some DC mystery mag strips, lots of covers, splashes, pin-ups, and ads, plus some other surprises for ya! Oh, and "A Tale of Sword and Sorcery" from Star*Reach #1 is scheduled for this coming Wednesday! Who loves ya, baby?



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