Avon Comics

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US Comics publisher, a division of Avon Books which published several sf and Horror titles between 1945 and 1955, when the imprint was discontinued. One title of some note was the anthology comic Strange Worlds, which saw eighteen issues on an irregular schedule from 1950 to 1952. This printed work by Alvin C Hollingsworth (1928-2000) – one of the first African-American comics artists – Joe Kubert (1926-2012), Joe Orlando (1927-1998) and Wally Wood. Strange Worlds stories were mostly original rather than adaptations of published sf. Also of interest is Eerie Comics, which helped establish Horror as a viable comics genre. After an initial one-off in 1947, Eerie was revived in 1950 for seventeen further issues. Its material was relatively tame compared to that of such contemporary rivals as EC Comics.

The Avon Comics line also included such short-lived titles as Flying Saucers (1950), Space Detective (1952-1954) and Space Thrillers, a reprint title whose three issues were rebound copies of unsold Avon titles. Of particular sf interest are three one-offs, all in 1951, which adapted sf novels into comics form. An Earthman on Venus adapted The Radio Man (28 June-19 July 1924 Argosy All-Story Weekly; 1948; vt An Earthman on Venus 1950) by Ralph Milne Farley; it was drawn by Wally Wood, with a cover by comics and pulp artist Gene Fawcett. Attack on Planet Mars adapted Tarrano the Conqueror (July 1925-August 1926 Science and Invention; 1930) by Ray Cummings, with artwork by Carmine Infantino (1926-2013), Kubert and Wood. Rocket to the Moon adapted Maza of the Moon (1930) by Otis Adelbert Kline, with artwork by Joe Orlando and Wally Wood.

In the 1960s, when comics saw a resurgence of popularity ascribable in large measure to the success of Marvel Comics, the small reprint house IW/Super Comics produced several short-lived titles reprinting various Avon stories. Avon Comics itself may be best remembered in sf circles for the bound-in comics included in the Pulp magazine Out of This World Adventures (1951), again consisting of unsold copies of various Avon productions. [GFi/DRL]

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