Friday, September 5, 2008

World War III with the Ants

This incredibly inspired back-up story from the October 1953 issue of Captain Science #6 is one of the finest examples of 50’s pre-code sci-fi horror that I’ve ever posted here at THOIA. It’s a century spanning tale of epic proportions, well written and smart, nicely illustrated and even scary in a creepy Phase IV sort of scientific way.

Hope you enjoy this one, and thanks again to Brian Hirsch for the great scans!









FYI: I have more sci-fi horror lined up for later this month, (heavy on the horror of course.) What's your favorite killer bug movie?

29 comments:

silvano said...

My favourite bug movie ( I'm not trying to be original,or course ) is THEM , but this comic is really , really , GREAT !
a well-told story and great artwork !
Thanks for sharing !

Mr. Cavin said...

Yeah, this was fantastic. I've gotten so used to the tried and true six square panels per page formula that the open and freewheeling style of the storytelling here really turned my head. And the colors were beautiful. All those yellows were certainly an adventurous choice.

I love the giant splash-like war vista panel at the bottom of page two, and the jokey "picnic" panel at the bottom of number one. I love all the scientists lined-up in their underwear getting plasticed. Most of all, I love the old trope where the invaders immediately attack the dog ("That's not a lab, doctor. It's a Mastiff!" Rimshot).

The creepiest killer bug movie I can think of right now is probably the cockroach segment of Creepshow, though that's not all that sci-fi, and those roaches weren't giant. I know it's not horror, or even any good, but I also always liked the giant spider in Krull. What can I say? I was twelve or something.

AndyDecker said...

This had enough plot for a novel. Marvelous story.

The credits seem to be shaky on comics.org, but I can imagine that it was written by SF writer Harry Harrison as they say.

And the artwork was fine too. Great example of what you can do with the limited format.

Absinthe said...

Love that one! I've always had a soft spot for post-apocalyptic stories and the art is just beautiful. Just a quickie though - why at the end does she start sporting a cape??

Steven Stwalley said...

Anyone know who drew this? The layouts are great! Thanks for all the great comics, Karswell!

wolfkahn said...

Great story! Favorite killer bug movie? Has to be Them!, though I remember liking The Black Scorpion when I was very, very young.

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT STORY. NEVER HEARD OF THE CAPTAIN SCIENCE SERIES THOUGH. WAS HE LIKE A SUPER HERO OR SOMETHING?

ONE OF MY FAVORITE GIANT BUG MOVIES IS TARANTULA FROM THE 1950S......... VERY SPOOKY.

Anonymous said...

The Deadly Mantis (1957) gets my vote.

Karswell said...

>The Deadly Mantis (1957) gets my vote.

Yeah, that's the one I remember most fondly from my childhood too. And Beginning of the End with the giant grasshoppers. I'm also a fan of 70's deadly bee movies.

Don't mean to change the subject here but everyone take a minute to check out the new FOLLOWERS gadget I've added to the sidebar (it's right above the E for Excellent banner.) When you have a chance please add yourself to it today. Thanks!

And now, back to the bugs...

Jeffos said...

Great artwork on this one, and an enjoyable sci-fi tale. Where did the ants ever come from, anyway?

I don't understand the necessity of freeze-drying the scientists. Wouldn't they more likely vote to procreate and raise more scientists? Let's see ... I can go into suspended animation from which I may never awaken, or I can get it on with Doris...

And can ants really kill a charging elephant and strip his bones? That makes them sound like land-based piranhas. Now those would be great movie monsters!

Kitty LeClaw said...

What's your favorite killer bug movie?

I <3 Brundlefly. Goldblum's brand of awkward comedy totally laid a bunch of larvae in my heart.

Please write back to this comment, sos that I can lookit that HOT new userpic you've got.

Thank you. The Management.

The Fortress Keeper said...

Great ant story! There was a pretty good Superman story from the Silver Age where the Man of Steel had to fight off a similar ant-attack and of course a great Blondie song off their first album that could well be the soundtrack for the tale you posted!

As an aside, I was planning on posting one of Captain Science's actual adventures Saturday or Monday. If that conflicts with any post you have planned, let me know and I'll hold it off for a future date ...

Karswell said...

How could we ever forget The Fly?!

Kitty LeClaw said...

Sweet vindication.

How could we ever forget The Fly?!

No way, no how. I'm planning a real barn burnin' review of this bad boy in the near future. If I can ever get over The Sickness, that is.

Good thing I play with the Game Genie. I ran outta lives a long time ago!

The Vicar of VHS said...

Wow, what amazing art in this one! I would LOVE to see a big screen adaptation of this. I'm a sucker for "far flung future stories from the past," and the giant flying ants just add another layer of awesome. The ant apocalypse panels are amazing, and I love the "inside the hill" shot on pg. 6.

Text-heavy stories like this can often drag, but here it's like an awesome sci-fi documentary. The movie adaptation should keep that--do it like a documentary from, oh, 2108? :)

I hope my dying words are as cool as "Use more carnotite! AHHHHH!"

So I guess at the end Doris is the only woman left on earth. She's going to be busy. But how about the self-confidence of her boyfriend scientist? "I hoped you'd choose to either live or die with me. No pressure." :)

As to favorite big bug movies, I'm with anonymous--TARANTULA is where it's at. Not only do you have the great giant spider effects and the horribly-mutating scientist subplot, but you've got a young Clint Eastwood putting the bombs to the bug! It's wonderful.

BTW, wore my THOIA shirt to work today, and have received MANY compliments. I don't know how I feel about being a FOLLOWER of Karswell, but I guess since he gives so much, it's the least I can do... ;)

prof. grewbeard said...

Tarantula is also one of my favorites, but no bug movie ever made could outdo this particular comic story, jeez!

btw, wouldn't the ants all just die off after they ate everybody and everything and each other? why do i ask such a silly question?

i am also fond of Earth Vs. The Spider. i can say that here, can't i?

lead on...

The Vicar of VHS said...

>>btw, wouldn't the ants all just die off after they ate everybody and everything and each other?

I thought this too--or else there would just be one big ant who'd eaten everything else, easily the size of Jupiter if he doubled size every time he had a snack...

"You would go insane if you even thought about it!" Sage advice, that. Stop thinkin' so much. :P

Mr. Cavin said...

"Use more carnotite! AHHHHH!"

Which either means "meat rock" or they are actually distilling the followers of Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot, the father of the second law of thermodynamics. Either way, pretty savvy.

"And can ants really kill a charging elephant and strip his bones?"

Sure, Jeffos. You need to read this news article.

prof. grewbeard said...

<"You would go insane if you even thought about it!" Sage advice, that. Stop thinkin' so much. :P>

no problem! but i did say it was a silly question!

M.I.K. said...

Coincidentally a giant spider was wandering around in Liverpool today...

Click here

...which is odd 'cos I would have expected beetles...

Horror pariah said...

THEM & TARANTULA are my favorites,with MOTHRA being a close third.i really liked the documentary-like set-up too,the only thing that bugs(haha)me is the crazy dialogue("are we being bombed by totalitarian forces?")but i love that kind of stuff,it's to be expected.and being the internet,i think we are all lucky no one has chimed in with that SIMPSONS line about insect overlords,if they do,i'll shoot 'em.

Anonymous said...

Favorite bug movie is THEM. Also liked the ending of Kingdom of the Spiders

Favorite bug episode for TV is the Earwig episode of Night Gallery

Dave

Karswell said...

I thought Arachnaphobia had some decent moments. Does Tremors or Dune count with the giant worms? Prolly not. But ok, lots of great comments today, maybe next month I'll open up the bug gates and do an Insect Week theme?

Tomorrow I have the start of a two-part horror classic which runs Saturday and Sunday, a truly great vampire tale AND SEQUEL, it's something very different from Atlas. Don't miss it just cuz it's the weekend!

Also: thanks to everyone who added themselves to the FOLLOWERS gadget. Taking a cue from Vicar's comment I went in and changed the ill conceived blogspot name instead to "100% PRE-CODERS" which should make all of you feel less like sheepy tag-alongs. Keep 'em coming, if you haven't added yourself yet then please do! And just to repeat: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A BLOG TO JOIN.

Does anyone know how to make all the userpics viewable instead of just the most current 18? I love when someone adds themself but it's a bummer that someone has to fall off. I mean, you're still there, it's just we can't see your perdy faces.

ming said...

Great story!
--------------------------------------
The Deadly Mantis (1957) gets my vote.

ming said...

I thought this too--or else there would just be one big ant who'd eaten everything else,
--------------------------------------
easily the size of Jupiter if he doubled size every time he had a snack

ming said...

Love that one! I've always had a soft spot for post-apocalyptic stories and the art is just beautiful.
--------------------------------------
Just a quickie though - why at the end does she start sporting a cape??

yi said...

Failure to agree with them is 'heresy'. Failure to behave properly is a 'sin'.
have lost or abandoned religion in the traditional sense by now, or have retained only a tenuous, formulaic connection, or have veered off into various unsatisfying concoctions of "spirituality"....................................

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