AMAZING ADVENTURES #18 - It's All in a Name!

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Chuck Gower

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AMAZING ADVENTURES #18 - It's All in a Name!

I was a pretty well-read 10-year-old kid, and I think comics may have had an opposite effect on me than it does most people. MOST collectors learned to read from comics. They didn't teach me to read, they made me lazy to read. Who needs books when you have pictures to spell it all out?
I didn't STOP reading books of course, but when movies like War of the Worlds (1953) was shown on regular TV, how could I not be glued to the screen? Back in the early '70s, that was pretty believable special effects. We didn't have much to compare it to.
And that's what probably attracted me to this Amazing Adventures #18 - maybe one of the earliest comic books I remember having. 

AmzAdv18a.jpeg

(AMAZING ADVENTURES #18 cover-dated May 1973, on newsstands February 20, 1973, with cover art by John Romita with inks by Frank Giacoia)


But how is a comic book going to compare to a movie?

It didn't of course. For one thing, it was a story BASED upon concepts from the novel/movie, something I found annoying. And the art...

 Looking back at it now, there ARE moments when his art does look very Neal Adams like (as it SHOULD since he's Neal Adams drawing it), but in particular, the colors look terrible to me and even when it's not they seem to clash in their drab tones. I'm not at all familiar with Petra Goldberg, who is no relation to Stan Goldberg, but this is an early job of hers coloring. She'd do more, a LOT more over the years, but looking at Fantastic Four #142 which I just recently reviewed, everything looks fine there...

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 (AMAZING ADVENTURES #18 cover-dated May 1973, on newsstands February 20, 1973, with art by Neal Adams and Howard Chaykin)

 

Who knows? Maybe they were going for a darker tone, but here on the splash, a few pages in, the colors just seem to clutter with the lettering and... ah, what the hell do I know? Between the art, which looks phoned in by Adams and finished by a young Howard Chaykin on one of his earliest assignments, and the ugly colors... I mean, this story just SCREAMS to be in a Black and White Curtis Magazine.

NOW, reading it, I kinda like the story. It's not bad. Killraven, in his ridiculous outfit, tracks down his nemesis, the Keeper and impales him. But as he's dying he tells Killraven of how things got to be how they are, in this post-apocalyptic world.

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 (AMAZING ADVENTURES #18 cover-dated May 1973, on newsstands February 20, 1973, with art by Neal Adams and Howard Chaykin)

 

So according to him, the events in War of the Worlds happened in 1901, but then the aliens came back in 2001, better prepared for the bacteria that killed them the first time. They took over the earth and the earthlings tried using an advanced virus to kill them, but it ended up wiping out most of humanity! 

The Keeper, a traitor to humanity for the aliens, killed Killraven's mom, who was trying to be free, but they kept Killraven as a boy, to train as a warrior, he escaped, and now he's seeing the messed-up world for the first time. That's why Killraven kills him - to get revenge, and keeping him as a slave.

Another thing about this comic is... and I said it should be in a Black and White Curtis Magazine, is when they try and deal with mature subjects, like below. It comes off heavy-handed and the art is just not up to par for what you'd expect in a Marvel Comic.  Of course, by this point in the comic, a younger, much less experienced Howard Chaykin was doing the art...

I didn't know that THEN. I just knew I didn't think much of it at the time. 

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 (AMAZING ADVENTURES #18 cover-dated May 1973, on newsstands February 20, 1973, with art by Neal Adams and Howard Chaykin)

 

Not to knock Chaykin, who'd go on to be an exceptional artist and storyteller, but here, you can certainly see when Neal Adams WASN'T drawing and Chaykin was. I didn't like it as a kid, I'm more accepting of it as an adult (it's not HORRIBLE), and I certainly like the story better than I remember as a kid.

Now I just have to get through a couple of more issues of it to see if I should read it all...

AmzAdv18e.jpeg

 (AMAZING ADVENTURES #18 cover-dated May 1973, on newsstands February 20, 1973, with art by Neal Adams and Howard Chaykin)

 

If you're curious as to how they all came up with this, well... Roy Thomas will tell you why:

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 (AMAZING ADVENTURES #18 cover-dated May 1973, on newsstands February 20, 1973)

 

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