How I Spent September 2018

DorisOctober18September was a month I spent wrapped up in work. I’ve got a couple of big projects underway that, alas, took a lot of time out of my blogging schedule. I’m hoping to come right back for some spooky-doopy goodness for the month of Halloween, however.

Autumn is steadily creeping in, and the coming of the chill months always makes me feel a little melancholy. When I haven’t been staring at my screen grinding out the next batch of words, I’ve been trying to focus on the good things in my life. And I have to say, 2018 has given me some very good things. I just wish I was in a position to talk about some of the more recent ones!

Article topics for October and beyond:

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The House of Eddas: Journey Into Mystery #84

Journey_into_Mystery_Vol_1_84Time to delve once more into the earliest adventures of Marvel’s Thor! Having looked at the character’s alien-thrashing debut in Journey into Mystery #83, let’s take a peek at his follow-up adventure…

The second Thor story, “The Mighty Thor vs. the Executioner”, starts by introducing a favourite ingredient of the superhero formula: the love interest. Don Blake is given a nurse named Jane (her surname is not yet established) and we are told that the two love each other. However, neither can bring themselves to admit this. Don is afraid that she will reject him (“a girl so lovely would never marry a—a lame man!”) while Jane believes that Don is simply not the loving type (“he’s too darn stuffy to ever be a romantic!”)

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Space Opera Archaeology: E. E. “Doc” Smith and Triplanetary

“In our hands, vice will become a potent weapon indeed. Vice … drugs … greed … gambling … extortion … blackmail … lust … abduction … assassination … ah-h-h!”

—Gharlene of Eddore

TriplanetarybookTime for the final post in my off-and-on series about the space opera genre as it existed before the 1950s. In previous posts, I’ve covered Edmond Hamilton, E. E. “Doc” Smith, Philip Francis Nowlan, Ray Cummings, various short stories and John W. Campbell, Jack Williamson and Edmond Hamilton again. Now it’s time to take another look at E. E. “Doc” Smith by covering Triplanetary, the first book in what, to many, is the quintessential vintage space opera series: Lensman.

Triplanetary was originally serialised in Amazing Stories in 1934, and later revised and expanded by Smith in 1948 after he had written much of the series’ remainder.

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Mummies of 1950s Horror Comics

MummiesYoeI very much dig Yoe Books’ line of 1950s horror comic reprints, and I’ve just finished Mummies, which is the first in a new series of monster-themed compilations. These comics date from a pretty dry spell for mummy films – to put things in context, come 1955 mummies were reduced to acting as foils for Abbott and Costello – so it’s interesting to see comic creators try to zap new life into the dried-up genre.

One of the first things that struck me is just how talkative these mummies are. Movie mummies aren’t noted for their conversational skills; even Ardath Bey was something of a strong silent type. Comic book mummies, on the other hand, show a tendency to waffle on at length:

“My friends, our tomb has been defiled by intruders! They have left a decaying corpse on our sacrificial alter! They must be destroyed before we can return to the beyond!!”

“I am Ra, the one who had been condemned to death for my practice of magic! But once again I triumph!”

“When you’re dying, Ordney, with my choke cloth tied around your neck, perhaps you’ll see how wrong you were to deny that supernatural power exists!”

“Feel the terrible strength of Ramxu XI. I who have slain scores in battle, do not fear such as you. And you cannot keep me from accomplishing my mission. How easily they die! And how I envy them. But soon I will be able to die, and once again be with Oaana, my love!”

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