Friday, September 30, 2005
All Aboard Atlas-Seaboard
Thrilling Adventure Stories #2
Not many comic book companies get slagged as much as Atlas-Seaboard. Born from Martin Goodman’s spiteful loins (isn’t that a nice image?), the company was an attempt to take a chunk of market share away from those backstabbing bastards at Marvel. The main strategy for accomplishing this goal was to create as many pseudo-Marvel titles as possible. The Atlas-Seaboard tale is a long one, and better told elsewhere. Their comic books were permanent residents of the 10 cent rack at my local shop circa 1980. That being said, there is some quality reading hidden in the Atlas-Seaboard titles – Ditko rehashing Peter Parker for the Destructor, Chaykin’s Scorpion and Ernie Colon’s stylish Grim Ghost.
Let me take a step back and ask this question. Would you buy a comic with a Neal Adams cover, interior artwork by Alex Toth, Russ Heath and John Severin? What if it also had story by Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson, the team that brought you Manhunter? You’d probably snap it up in a second, wouldn’t you? Thrilling Adventure Stories #2 is probably the greatest comic ever published by Atlas-Seaboard. OK – that’s not saying much, but it’s also one of the finest examples of what made the Bronze Age so great. It’s far from perfect, but there is so much promise here that it’s sad that Atlas-Seaboard folded so soon. I owned this mag years ago, but it was lost somewhere along the way. I recently picked up a nice copy up in a used bookstore for $5 CDN. Not a bad price for such an all-star roster.
The Goodwin/Simonson tale of fortune seeking Samurai is nice and moody, I would have liked to see another chapter. The Severin drawn WW2 story harkens back to EC’s Two-Fisted Tales. The Russ Heath story about the cop killers looks great, but is a bit generic. The same can be said for the Toth drawn story – a nice little morality play, but not great. Even the Jack Sparling drawn caveman story looks great. The shortcoming of this book is the writing – but every single 70s b&w magazine suffered from a real range in quality when it came to writing. As an overall package – this is a good one and certainly worth tracking down.