Monday, 27 June 2016

Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #4 (Marvel Magazine/1975)

One of the short lived titles published by Marvel during its attempt to break into the more adult black & white magazine market was Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction.  Sadly despite turning short stories by famous sci-fi writers into comics the magazine failed to reach an audience and lasted just 6 bi-monthly issues.

The fourth issue is the first I've picked up and like most anthology books the content is of varied interest and quality depending on one's individual tastes but does make a good read.

Framed between a story of an alien going to a curiosity shop to buy "slow glass" there are 5 stories including one "sword and sorcery" stip which seemed a wee bit out of place here even if it was written by Larry Niven and adapted for comic book presentation.

Not Long before the end tells the tale of a treacherous barbarian and his mystical sword in battle with a mage. Scripted by Doug Monech and pencilled by Vicente Alcazar this is an entertaining little adventure in which one does not particularly feel any empathy for either combatant.

Preceding this was Occupation Force a kind of Invaders story where a David Vincent type tries unsuccessfully to warn the world of an impending alien invasion. Nobody believes him...until it's far too late!

Gestation by a young Bruce Jones who both scripts and draws this tale is not very original, made worse by the font used to imitate the handwriting in a journal.

Nor was I impressed with Repent harlequin! Said the Tick Tock Man, adapted from a story by Harlan Ellison. Scripted by Roy Thomas with art from Alex Nimo I decided to call it a day and skip to the final sequence of the framing story.

Also included is an interview with Frank Herbert, author of Dune, a novel I actually did read around the time this magazine came out.

Not a priority for collecting but I would pick up another given a reasonable price.

One final note Marvel did attempt to revive this title with an Annual using material that had already been prepared for publication following its cancellation. I guess they had hoped to revive interest but that was not be.


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