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Amazing Adventures [comic]

Entry updated 26 June 2023. Tagged: Comics, Publication.

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US Comic (1950-1952). Six issues. Ziff-Davis. Artists include Allen Anderson, Murphy Anderson and Wally Wood. Writers include Jerry Siegel. 3-5 (usually 4) strips per issue, all but one with a 2-page text story, plus some one-page prediction or non-fiction pieces ("It Actually Happened! Weird events which no-one has been able to disprove").

Issue #1 opens with "The Asteroid Witch": when space pilot Vince Darrow dumps his girlfriend Kit-E, she commits Suicide by leaping from a building, but he feels no remorse. Later at a bar he is enthralled by the tale of the Asteroid Witch, a siren flying through space whose allure causes pilots to crash. He seeks and finds her: despite her warning him his "soul will be lost ... for all eternity" he leans forward to kiss her ... but then a voice cries out, "Let him go you ... creature!" The witch turns and exclaims, "Kit-E, Vince's simple little Martian sweetheart!" But Kit-E is not so simple; noting formerly gentle Vince's change in character, she faked her death (using an Antigravity belt) and followed him, and now dispatches the witch to another Dimension (having brought a "dimension gun" with her). The "Winged Death from Venus" has beachcomber Chet Fields grudgingly employed as a guide to millionaire big game hunter Wagner Duprey and his salty niece Magda in the jungles of Venus; however, it is revealed that Wagner has lost his money and has returned to steal the second jewelled eye from a winged race's idol, having become rich by stealing the first decades ago. He ends up dead, with Chet and Magda – despite sparks flying early on – in each other's arms. "Trespasser in Time" has two Scientists visiting the fourth dimension (see Time); they are attacked by a Monster whose touch fatally ages one scientist, but another monster now attacks the first, giving the survivor time to return to our dimension – to find eight years have passed here (see Time Distortion) and the monster has accompanied him, but is now a beautiful woman. She fades away, but her touch has aged one side of his face.

#2's "Exhibit One!" has a present-day man and woman abducted by an Alien collector; he amiably makes them virtually Immortal and they assist him in collecting specimens on other planets: homesick, they eventually escape and return to Earth; but it is now 9783 and, ironically, they are put in a Zoo by big-brained humanity (see Evolution). The issue's final story, "The Steel Monster" has a Mad Scientist installing a mechanical brain (see AI) into a bulldozer (which becomes evil) – he sets it on his fiancee and his assistant when he overhears them admit their love for each other; the assistant manages to electrocute the bulldozer and the scientist. The story was presumably inspired by Theodore Sturgeon's "Killdozer" (November 1944 Astounding). Issue #3's "The Evil Men Do" has another scientist graceless in love: the woman he desires marries Chet – so he uses his newly invented shrinking gas on him (see Miniaturization); shortly after Chet's wife and the scientist are shrunk too. The scientist is killed by a Cat, who is then chased off by Chet's loyal dog, enabling the couple to wait for the gas to wear off. "The Cosmic Brain" has a comparative physiology class in 1945 Hiroshima studying the brain of Japan's worst criminal when the atomic bomb explodes (see World War Two): the radiation brings the brain to life and turns it into a huge spectral cloud. Some time later it attacks New York: the hero tries to kill it with a heat Ray, but it has no effect – so he "reverses the polarity" of the ray, which now freezes and disintegrates the brain.

#4 opens with "Adonis 2 PX-89" where diminutive Shlep and Blep, "two of Blyntzyn's ace war scouts", decide the best way to conquer Earth (see Invasion) is by using "love robots": hot mechanical men and women piloted by them perched invisibly on their backs (see Invisibility; Mecha). A test run proves an overwhelming success until the two Robots – suddenly autonomous – fall in love, push Shlep and Blep off a cliff, then depart in their Spaceship to seek a moisture-free world where they will not rust, to build a race of super-robots "and live happily forever". This is the last of the memorable stories: the rest of #4, along with those of the final two issues, are good but routine, lacking the variety and liveliness that marked many earlier tales. The most interesting of the later stories is "The City of Light" (#6) where "beautiful lab technician" Wanda Carter discovers the distant planetoid Danar gives off only white light: she accompanies a space patrol to examine the phenomenon, discovering a city of pure white light, which – along with its inhabitants, the photon men – are sustained by the Nucleon, a fission energy device (see Nuclear Energy). The photon men are hostile and one of the humans treacherous, but all ends well when the traitor falls into the Nucleon, causing the photon men to dissolve. An example of the slighter, later stories is "The Man Who Killed a World" (#6), where warring Mars and Earth have rendered the other's planet uninhabitable: Venus is hospitable but they refuse to share, so a champion from each planet will fight, the winner pulling one of two levers – red for Mars, blue for Earth – that destroys the loser's planet. The Martian wins (sneakily, of course) ... but is colour-blind!

Amazing Adventures' early issues are impressive, often having lively storytelling combined with strong and varied artwork; by the last two issues, the tales are more formulaic, though still solid. [SP]

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