Where was I? Yes, Alan Class Bill Molno reissues. We (hopefully) know who Bill was, but who was Alan? Alan Class, of course, was the keyboardist for the Animals. No, wait. This Alan Class was the British publisher who, from 1959 to 1989, printed cheap black and white newsstand digests of reprinted material from Charlton, Marvel, Atlas, Fawcett, and other American comic outfits. While stationed in Scotland in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I would buy these things to read on the train to Edinburgh--and promptly pitch them afterwards. They were the sort of things you read and pitch. They practically had "Read and pitch" stamped on them.
Getting back in touch with these things (on GCD--where else?) was an exciting moment of nerdstlgia. "Hey, these are things I read on the train!" And, lest I think I made up "nerdstalgia," a Google search of the phrase yields 7,000+ matches. Darn.
Here are two recent Class-digest buys, and both of them sport reprinted Charlton covers (Out of This World, No. 2, Dec., 1956; and Unusual Tales, No. 17, July, 1959). And the first one is actually called Out of This World, and it contains Out of This World reprints, and I'm wondering why I didn't pick a less confusing hobby like astrophysics:
The first cover is Molno on pencils--the second is Molno on the right. Both digests are packed with plenty of Bill. It all starts with the 1956 Molno/Alascia (Molno/Mastroserio?) entry,"The Man with a Screw Loose." Word of explanation: the E.T.s of the first panel are wearing hoods so Earthlings will take them for "members of a religious order." (The Church of DC Comics?):
The story comes complete with an alien abduction, an alien operating room, and a paralyzed Earth man on a table wondering what the heck is going on. Normally, this would be set aboard a flying saucer, but here, it's somewhere in the city of Pnobiti, on the (former) planet Pluto. A city which isn't even mentioned on NASA's New Horizons website. What gives? I smell a conspiracy:
More views of the classic "Stopover" spaceship. Molno's unpretentious design couldn't be cooler:
Two stories later, we have the finished-in-five-pages Molno/Alascia? entry, "Dredge from the Unknown" (Space Adventures, No. 25, Sep., 1958), which closes with a great, old-fashioned space battle, depicted in the best Molno manner--i.e., from weird angles in a series of scrunched compositions:
Next up is Juggernaut of Doom, featuring Molno pencils and Mastroserio inks. The Moon-like meteorite and the gigantic spaceship interior are, to this writer, the art highlights, and the blow-'em-up finale is classic Charlton weirdness, with the deflected meteorite going "VVROOOMMM, VVROOOMM." ("Vvrooommm, Vvrooommm"??) I thought deflected meteorites made a sound more like "SWOOOOSH," but of course I don't actually know this:
Do Molno's E.T.s all rent their cape suits from the same supplier?
In the second panel, a common feature of Molno's comic art: a character or object moving stiffly through the air like a two-dimensional cardboard cutout:
If I had to describe Molno's art in two words, those two words might be, "stylistically unpredictable."
More to come!