Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tales From The Quarter Bin--Worlds Unknown

While taking a look at the extensive number of horror titles Marvel was publishing in 1974, I neglected to mention the science fiction side of that equation.

During the early 70s, Marvel had a bi-monthly series called Worlds Unknown...which maybe wasn't a 100% accurate title, because many of these worlds were already known to readers of science fiction. Each issue featured an adaptation of a classic sci-fi story: Frederick Brown's Arena, Frederic Pohl's The Day After The Day After The Martians Came, A.E. Van Vogt's The Black Destroyer, and more by L. Sprague deCamp, Keith Laumer, Theodore Sturgeon, and others. Occasionally there were two stories per issue, sometimes another new adaptation, sometimes a reprint from the Atlas sci-fi/horror days.

Sadly, the series died after 8 issues. But I wonder if there might be a better market for it today. Marvel seems to be doing fine with adaptations/extensions of the works of Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, and Laurell K. Hamilton. Maybe there's room today for a sci-fi anthology adaptation series...then again, maybe you've got to be dedicated to an established brand-name to move copies of comics. But it would be worth an experiment, right?

Plus, you know how the Big Two are always salivating like Jonas Brothers fans whenever they can attract a TV writer to write one of their books? How about a real sci-fi writer, doing their own adaptations??

A couple of other Worlds Unknown notes:

**Many of you have wondered about the answer to this question: What if Hank McCoy became even more catlike AND grew tentacles?? It might go a little something like this:

**Great moments in covers. First, the cover of Astounding Science Fiction (November 1944) by William Timmins, pimping Sturgeon's story Killdozer!:

Next, the cover to Worlds Unknown #6 (1974) by Gil Kane and Ernie Chan with "retouches on Killdozer figure" by John Romita:

Chris Sims called this The Lyingest Cover In Marvel Comic History. Which may be true, but the Kane/Chan/Romita cover is clearly 1000% cooler...

And note: in 1944, editors thought a cover image Killdozer would move copies. Our forefathers were much more like us than we thought...

**A response to a letter in #6 from Don Lain of San Diego, asking them to do longer, multi-issue adaptations:

The only problems with this answer? A) In the very next issue they started a 2-issue adaptation of the screenplay of the Golden Voyage Of Sinbad. So, so much for "we'll think about it, but probably not." B) Those were the last two issues, so that hokum about "a year's worth of such issues might the put series in dire straits" either brilliantly prophetic, or balderdash because they had to have known the series was already in "dire straits."

**Man, that crappy The Day The Earth Stood Still remake from last year would have been one billion percent better if it had been anything like this:

I'm just sayin'.

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