Friday, May 22, 2009

"When are you gonna get a REAL toy, like us?"

Back in the dim and distant days of the early 1970's, Marvel put out a number of reprint comics that featured its pre-Fantastic Four era giant monster, horror and science fiction tales, drawn by such luminaries as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, and others with scripts by Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber, among others. I certainly bought my share of them (or had them bought for me, actually, but hey- they were only a quarter!), and it seems one of my favorites was the double-sized Fear, notable now for being the place where the Man-Thing, and eventually Howard the Duck, premiered when the middle of the decade rolled around and Adventures in... was added to the title. I hadn't realized what a regular buyer I was until I looked at the GCDb page for this title. One issue I remember particularly well was #3, cover dated March of 1971, which kicked off with the cover story, a rip-roaring yarn pencilled by Kirby and inked by Ditko, about a comic book artist who received the gift of paints that caused the painted subject to come to life. Anyway, nestled among the nine- count 'em, nine- short stories was one which made a strong impression on me, a heartwarming (and I say that without one iota of sarcasm) little tale about a young boy who wanted nothing more in the world than a toy soldier he saw in a shop window, and how hard he worked to get it, as well as the ridicule he endured from his so-called friends for his trouble. Written by Larry Lieber (uncredited, so it may be someone else) and drawn by Steve Ditko. Whilst trawling the Net a while back, I came upon a site which offered this issue for download, and decided to share it with you (somehow, I doubt it will be reprinted anytime soon). So check it out, and of course click to embiggen. "The Lifeless Man".

Now, if I could only run across the Ditko-illustrated tale about a fellow who likes practical jokes, until one day one backfires on him...but that will be for another day. More coming, including some neat old stuff from the pages of Castle of Frankenstein magazine...

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