Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: Astonishing Tales Nos. 21, 22, 23 and 24

Astonishing Tales No. 21-24 (cover dates December, 1973- June, 1974)
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artist: Dick Ayers
Time changes your perspective on things. I've had issue 22 since the early months of 1983 (refer to some of my earliest blog postings for that story), and I recently sat down to re-read these issues for no good reason other than to revisit my old friend It! The Living Colossus. I haven't read these issues since the '80s, and since then I've read countless comic books, from the '30s to the present. At that time, the oldest comics that I had read were from the early '60s. I had never read any of those Atlas monster comics which are being compiled in Masterworks these days. 
I really enjoyed these issues as a kid because they felt much different from my typical superhero fare. I now realize that Tony Isabella was channeling Stan Lee's cheesy dialogue, with this coming off as an Atlas love letter. And you know what? He did a damn fine job of it. If someone presented these to you and said “Stan Lee wrote this in 1959 or 1960”, I'd have almost believed it. Dick Ayers has inked many a classic Jack Kirby story, and he does a fine job on his own here. Some artists really have an area where they shine, and for Ayers it's monster stuff like this. 

I have always wanted to see Marvel collect these issues, along with the character's first two appearances in Tales of Suspense, in a Premiere Classic Hardcover. Either that, or bundle it together with one of the many other short-lived monster/Horror characters of the early '70s in an anthology Marvel Masterwork or Omnibus. 
Who WOULDN'T want to own this in glorious hardcover??


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