Planet Comics was a science fiction comic book title published by Fiction House from January 1940 to Winter 1953. It was the first comic book dedicated wholly to science fiction. Like most of Fiction House's early comics titles, Planet Comics was a spinoff of a pulp magazine, in this case Planet Stories. Like the magazine before it, Planet Comics featured space operatic tales of muscular, heroic space adventurers who were quick with their "ray pistols" and always running into gorgeous females who needed rescuing from bug-eyed space aliens or fiendish interstellar bad guys.
Cover to Planet Comics #53 (March 1948). Art by Joe Doolin.
|Publication date||January 1940 – Winter 1953|
|No. of issues||73|
|Main character(s)||Flint Baker and the Space Rangers|
Mysta of the Moon
Planet Comics #1 was released with a cover-date of January 1940, and ran for 73 issues until Winter 1953. Initially produced on a monthly schedule, issue #8 (September 1940) saw it slip to a bimonthly title, which it held until the end of 1949. From issue #26 (September 1943), "Planet Comics was cut to 60 pages," resulting in the merging of two strips: Flint Baker and Reef Ryan. Issue #63 (Winter 1949) began a quarterly release schedule, but #64, #65, and #66 were ultimately released annually, dated Spring 1950, 1951, and 1952, respectively. Issue #67 (Summer 1952) got the comic back on its quarterly release schedule, but the title only lasted a further seven issues, with its last (#73) again delayed for over a year, following issue #72 (Fall 1953).
Planet Comics was the foremost purveyor of good girl art in comic books of the period, and is considered highly collectible by modern fans of comics' Golden Age. It specialized in colorful and lurid stories of interstellar action, ingenuous and attractive heroes and heroines, breezy dialogue, and the “barest smattering of sense and substance” (Benton 1992, p. 27). Its covers usually featured a beautiful, scantily-attired spacewoman with long bare legs being menaced by a frightful alien monster, while a sleek, heroic spaceman comes to her rescue.
Sometimes, though, Planet Comics reversed this formula: both covers and stories occasionally provided heroines who handily defeated the space aliens and interplanetary villains with little or no assistance from males (the comic was also seen as a fantasy title). Cynics might have noted that this sex-equality strategy in effect simply multiplied the number of lovely girls shown per panel, and insured that each and every panel featured at least one smashing spacegirl.
The Flint Baker/Space Ranger stories, according to Raymond Miller, "featured such writers as Al Schmidt and Huxley Haldane." Jerry Bails and Hames Ware's Who's Who of American Comic Books mentions Herman Bolstein and Dick Briefer.
The strong female heroines of Planet Comics were complemented by Fiction House's employing several female artists to work on such tales, particularly Lily Renée, Marcia Snyder, Ruth Atkinson, and Fran(ces) Hopper (née Dietrick), whose art for "Mysta of the Moon" was often stunning. In addition, many artists who would become well-known names worked on Planet Comics stories over its 13-year history. These included the likes of Murphy Anderson, Matt Baker, Nick Cardy, Joe Doolin, Graham Ingels, George Evans, Ruben Moreira, John Cullen Murphy, George Tuska, and Maurice Whitman.
The early covers were drawn by industry legend Will Eisner. Later covers were predominantly the work of two men — Dan Zolnerowich (later Dan Zolne) and Joe Doolin. Zolne is believed to have produced covers for issues #10-25 (January 1941 – July 1943), and Doolin is thought to have illustrated all-bar-three of #26-65 (September 1943 – Spring 1951).
While young male readers were no doubt attracted to the pin-up quality of Planet Comics's artwork, letters from readers printed in the comic demonstrate that its readership also included girls, who were perhaps drawn to the array of competent and capable space heroines (Benton 1991, p. 31). Planet Comics was considered by noted fan Raymond Miller to be "perhaps the best of the Fiction House group," as well as "most collected and most valued." In Miller's opinion, it "wasn't really featuring good art or stories... in the first dozen or so issues," not gaining most of "its better known characters" until "about the 10th issue." "Only 3 of [its] long running strips started with the first issue... Flint Baker, Auro - Lord of Jupiter, and the Red Comet."
The comics historian John Benton offers this summary: “Planet Comics was the epitome of breezy, sexy, mindless, action-filled science fiction. In many respects [it was] a throwback to the earlier science fiction magazines and simpler times.”.
Other extra features included "Spurt Hammond", human defender of the Planet Venus, who appeared c. issues #1-12 (or #8-13), created and drawn by Henry Kiefer. "Captain Nelson Cole", later an officer in the Space Patrol, appeared in solo adventures c. issues #1-14 (or #8-14) and was originated by Alex Blum. "Crash Barker" (also "P"arker) was one of several space heroes, drawn — and possibly written — by Charles Quinlan for issue #6 (or #8), running until #16 by other artists. Another space hero, "Buzz Crandall", also had adventures around this time, drawn by artists including Gene Fawcette. "Cosmo Corrigan" and "Don Granval" also appeared in three to four issues around #8/9-11.
Other less notable short-lived strips included "Quorak, Super Pirate", "Amazona the Mighty Woman", "Tiger Hart" (whose one adventure was drawn by Fletcher Hanks using the pseudonym "Carlson Merrick"), "Space Admiral Curry", and "Planet Payson".
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu (Kaduna, 7 July 1977) is a Nigerian journalist, cartoonist, comicbook artist and retailer, painter, writer, poet and culture critic.
Baba Aminu is a commentator on culture. He was one of four judges for KORA Music Awards.Born in Kaduna, Nigeria, on the 7 July 1977, Baba Aminu soon began to scribble and doodle as a child, eventually going on to write an op-ed column for Classique Magazine at age 12, a first in his country till today.
Later, while in secondary school, he created 2 weekly cartoon strips for the Saturday and Sunday editions of The Democrat, a national daily. The characters, Bala and Kareema, became popular and were used by Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria to endorse their then-new 306 model.
Baba Aminu went to the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, for a degree in Business Administration, while pursuing a career as a studio painter. He has exhibited in several group shows and one solo. Twelve of his paintings are included in the National Assembly Art Collection in Abuja, Nigeria.
During his final year in university, he was employed by Weekly Trust, a major Nigerian newspaper. After a stint as a reporter, he became the Entertainment Editor and eventually the editor of the magazine section of the paper. During that time, he scored many exclusive interviews with both Nigerian and international stars like 2Face Idibia, D'Banj, Bimbo Akintola, Idris Elba, Wesley Snipes and many others.
On his approach to work, Baba Aminu told a Nigerian newspaper in an interview:
“I have a healthy interest in stories and investigations into issues that seem to slip through the cracks and are forgotten by mainstream media. Even when it comes to entertainment stories, which some people believe are fluff, I look for previously-unseen angles. Oftentimes, I take weeks and even months researching a story before writing it for publication.”
For two years – with the help of the internet and long-distance phone calls - Baba Aminu was also the Special Features Editor of Komikwerks.com, a leading U.S-based publisher of both webcomics and regular books.Baba Aminu was part of a Federal Government Monitoring Team in Togo, during that country’s controversial 2005 elections, where he “faced death many times trying to escape back to Nigeria after the elections turned violent.” The resulting travelogue, called ‘Escape from Togo’ was published May 2005.
For his investigative journalism work, Baba Aminu was nominated for ‘Journalist of the Year’ at the 2006 edition of the Future Awards Nigeria. The following year, he was nominated again and he won.Baba Aminu was Acting Editor of the Abuja, Nigeria-based influential Weekly Trust newspaper for over two years, from late 2008 and was made substantive Editor in July 2010, until recently being promoted to Creative Editor overseeing all Media Trust publications.
Baba Aminu was a writer on the BBC-produced ‘Wetin Dey,’ the number one TV show in Nigeria while it ran for two seasons. The production saw him team up with notable young Nigerian movie directors like Mak 'Kusare, Kenneth Gyang and Seke Somolu. As a result of a very good professional and personal relationship, 'Kusare was tapped by Y!Magazine to write about Baba Aminu in the publication's annual 'Freedom Issue' in 2010 in which the director likened the writer to "a younger, more hip and Nigerian version of Aaron Sorkin." The magazine also added Baba Aminu to its annual list of '50 Young People Who Will Change Nigeria.'
Notable TV appearances by Baba Aminu include a November 2012 episode of Close-Up, a movie industry variety TV show running on M-NET's Africa Magic channel where he was interviewed by host Keppy Ekpenyong Bassey.
Baba Aminu's blog, titled Abdulkareem's Shelf-Top (shelf-top.blogspot.com) runs movie reviews as well as pop culture-related news. He was also the co-owner of Planet Comics, Nigeria’s first comic book store. The store, however, has been closed due to both owners' busy schedules.Carnal Comics
Carnal Comics is an adults-only comic book imprint created in 1992 which has so far been published by three companies: Revolutionary Comics, Re-Visionary Press, and Opus Graphics. Carnal Comics' flagship title is Carnal Comics: True Stories Of Adult Film Stars, which features autobiographies co-created with porn stars.
Since the line’s inception, over 100 Carnal Comics have been published, including several crossovers with other adult comic publishers (Rip Off Press, Mu Press, Eros Comics and others). Carnal claims to have sold over a million comic books, and their late-90s series Triple-X Cinema: A Cartoon History was reported to be the best-selling adult comic ever carried by Diamond Comic Distributors, the leading (and essentially only) full-service United States comic book distributor. Carnal’s comics were the first monthly comics widely carried in adult novelty boutiques and their inclusion in large-scale mail order catalogs like Adam & Eve’s enabled the line to sell in numbers previously unheard of for standard 32-page adult comics.
At its peak, Carnal also had a color section in each issue of Oui on newsstands, and its stars were doing regular TV and radio promotions on shows with Howard Stern, Jenny Jones, and others. Ads for the comics even infiltrated mainstream magazines, earning the company some notoriety and, in at least one case, inclusion in a stack of comic contraband taken during a police raid of a retail comic shop.Eric Kostiuk Williams
Eric Kostiuk Williams is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been nominated twice for the Doug Wright Spotlight Award: in 2013 for Hungry Bottom Comics, and in 2018 for Condo Heartbreak Disco, which was also nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. In 2017, Williams was nominated for an Eisner Award in Best Single Issue/One-Shot category for Babybel Wax Bodysuit. He is the recipient of the 2018 Queer Press Grant for his graphic novella Our Wretched Town Hall.Fiction House
Fiction House was an American publisher of pulp magazines and comic books that existed from the 1920s to the 1950s. It was founded by John B. "Jack" Kelly and John W. Glenister. By the late 1930s, the publisher was Thurman T. Scott. Its comics division was best known for its pinup-style good girl art, as epitomized by the company's most popular character, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.Fletcher Hanks
Fletcher Hanks, Sr. (December 1, 1889 – January 22, 1976) was a cartoonist from the Golden Age of Comic Books, who wrote and drew stories detailing the adventures of all-powerful, supernatural heroes and their elaborate punishments of transgressors. In addition to his birth name, Hanks worked under a number of pen names, including "Hank Christy," "Charles Netcher," "C. C. Starr," and "Barclay Flagg." Hanks was active in comic books from 1939 to 1941.Fran Hopper
Fran Hopper (July 13, 1922 – November 29, 2017), née Frances R. Deitrick, was an American comic-book artist active during the 1930s–1940s period known ss the Golden Age of Comic Books. One of the earliest women in the field, she drew primarily for the publisher Fiction House on features, including "Jane Martin", "Glory Forbes", "Camilla", "Mysta of the Moon", and "Gale Allen and Her All Girl Squadron".Graham Ingels
Graham J. Ingels (; June 7, 1915 – April 4, 1991) was a comic book and magazine illustrator best known for his work in EC Comics during the 1950s, notably on The Haunt of Fear and Tales from the Crypt, horror titles written and edited by Al Feldstein, and The Vault of Horror, written and edited by Feldstein and Johnny Craig. Ingels' flair for horror led EC to promote him as Ghastly Graham Ingels, and he began signing his work "Ghastly" in 1952.Howard Larsen
Howard Larsen was an American comic book illustrator for EC Comics and other publishers during the 1940s and 1950s.Hunt Bowman
Hunt Bowman is a fictional character who appeared in Fiction House Publication's Planet Comics series in issues #21-69. His series was called "The Lost World."I. W. Publications
I.W. Publications (also known as Super Comics) was a short-lived comic book publisher in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The company was part of I.W. Enterprises, and named for the company's owner, Israel Waldman. I.W. Publications was notable for publishing unauthorized reprints of other publishers' properties. Usually these companies were already out of business — but not always.
I.W. Publications published comics in a wide variety of genres, including crime, science fiction, Western, horror, war and romance comics, as well as funny animal and superhero titles. The company was known for its low-budget products: most of I.W.'s comics were sold in grocery and discount stores, often in "three comics for a quarter" plastic bags. The numbering of most of the company's titles is misleading, often not starting at issue #1 and skipping issue numbers. Incredibly, the company produced 118 separate titles, but only 332 individual issues — many titles only published a single issue.
The company published one comic book with original material: Marty Mouse #1 (1958), featuring funny animal stories by Vincent Fago, among others.Some I.W./Super Comics titles used original cover art: illustrators included Jack Abel, Ross Andru, Sol Brodsky, Carl Burgos, Mike Esposito, and John Severin, with lettering by Ben Oda.Indian comics
Indian comics (known as Chitrakatha) are comic books and graphic novels associated with the culture of India published a number of Indian languages and English.
India has a long tradition of comic readership and themes associated with extensive mythologies and folk-tales have appeared as children's comic books for decades. Indian comics often have large publication. The comic industry was at its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s and during this period popular comics were easily sold more than 500,000 copies over the course of its shelf life of several weeks. Currently, it only sell around 50,000 copies over a similar period. India's once-flourishing comic industry is in sharp decline because of increasing competition from satellite television (children's television channels) and the gaming industry.Over the last three decades Diamond Comics, Raj Comics, Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha have established vast distribution networks countrywide and are read by hundreds of thousands of children in a wide range of languages. Famous comic creators from India include Aabid Surti, Uncle Pai and cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma and famous characters are Chacha Chaudhary, Bahadur, Detective Moochhwala, Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruva, Doga, Ved, Varun, Karma, Suppandi and Shikari Shambhu. Anant Pai, affectionately known as "Uncle Pai," is credited with helping to launch India's comic book industry in the 1960s with his "Amar Chitra Katha" series chronicling the ancient Hindu mythologies.Indira Neville
Indira Neville (born 1973) is a New Zealand comics artist, community organiser, musician and educationalist. She is notable for her work in the Hamilton-based comics collective Oats Comics, her own long running serial comic Nice Gravy and in recent times taking a prominent role in the promotion and recognition of New Zealand women's comics through her association with the Three Words anthology. Indira Neville is also notable for her work as an educationalist. She was a CORE Education eFellow, a winner of a Microsoft Innovative Teacher Award for her teaching, and a former principal of a primary school. She is also an active performer, and is currently fronting the Auckland band The Biscuits.Marcia Snyder
Marcia Louise Snyder (sometimes spelled "Snider") was a comic book artist and newspaper cartoonist who worked for the Binder Studio, Timely Comics, Fawcett Comics, and Fiction House during the Golden Age of Comic Books.Mike Manley (artist)
Michael Manley (born October 19, 1961) is an American artist, most notable as a comic strip cartoonist and comic book inker and penciller. Manley currently draws two syndicated comic strips, Judge Parker and The Phantom. He is also known for co-creating the Marvel Comics character Darkhawk.Murphy Anderson
Murphy C. Anderson, Jr. (July 9, 1926 – October 22, 2015) was an American comics artist, known as one of the premier inkers of his era, who worked for companies such as DC Comics for over fifty years, starting in the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s. He worked on such characters as Hawkman, Batgirl, Zatanna, the Spectre, and Superman, as well as on the Buck Rogers daily syndicated newspaper comic strip. Anderson also contributed for many years to PS, the preventive maintenance comics magazine of the U.S. Army.Planet Stories
Planet Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published by Fiction House between 1939 and 1955. It featured interplanetary adventures, both in space and on some other planets, and was initially focused on a young readership. Malcolm Reiss was editor or editor-in-chief for all of its 71 issues. Planet Stories was launched at the same time as Planet Comics, the success of which probably helped to fund the early issues of Planet Stories. Planet Stories did not pay well enough to regularly attract the leading science fiction writers of the day, but occasionally obtained work from well-known authors, including Isaac Asimov and Clifford D. Simak. In 1952 Planet Stories published Philip K. Dick's first sale, and printed four more of his stories over the next three years.
The two writers most identified with Planet Stories are Leigh Brackett and Ray Bradbury, both of whom set many of their stories on a romanticized version of Mars that owed much to the depiction of Barsoom in the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Bradbury's work for Planet included an early story in his Martian Chronicles sequence. Brackett's best-known work for the magazine was a series of adventures featuring Eric John Stark, which began in the summer of 1949. Brackett and Bradbury collaborated on one story, "Lorelei of the Red Mist", which appeared in 1946; it was generally well-received, although one letter to the magazine complained that the story's treatment of sex, though mild by modern standards, was too explicit. The artwork also emphasized attractive women, with a scantily clad damsel in distress or alien princess on almost every cover.Richard Fairgray
Richard Fairgray is a New Zealand born, award winning (Storylines Notable Book Award), author and illustrator, working primarily in comics and children's books. He draws and colors and animates his work, in spite of being legally blind, with 3% vision in one eye and none in the other.Science fiction comics
Publication of comic strips and comic books focusing on science fiction became increasingly common during the early 1930s in newspapers published in the United States. They have since spread to many countries around the world.Wings Comics
Wings Comics was an aviation-themed anthology comic book published by Fiction House from 1940–1954. Wings Comics was one of Fiction House's "Big 6" comics titles (which also included Jumbo Comics, Jungle Comics, Planet Comics, Fight Comics, and Rangers Comics).