Yeesh. Dark and horrible, even with the pseudo-physics of it all.
How did the Zanti misfits get into this one? Happy all hollows Mr. K..
When this comic was published the movie The Naked Jungle was still being filmed and would premiere on March of the next year, 1954. It starred Charlton Heston as the owner of a cocoa (not coffee) plantation who is threatened by marabunta ants. The movie was produced by George Pal, better known for science fiction movies like War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. It was based in the story Leiningens Kampf mit den Ameisen (literally "Leiningen's fight with the ants") written by German author Carl Stephenson and published in Germany in 1937. In the story Leiningen also uses moats and fire to try to stop the ants. They change Leiningen's nationality from German to American for the movie.Anybody remembers the documentary The Hellstrom Chronicle? I say documentary but it's a science fiction, apocalyptic prophecy, documentary, horror hybrid. Supposedly insects would eventually become the dominant species because of their rapid reproduction, great adaptability and because of humanity's excessive individualism. It actually won the Oscar for best documentary in 1972 (it was the 70s, in 1971 Chariots of the Gods was nominated for an Oscar, something that today seems inconceivable). Well, The Hellstrom Chronicle inspired another very strange ant invasion movie, Phase IV. In the movie a mysterious cosmic event causes ants to develop a superior hive mind, build strange towers and geometrical designs in the desert, immunize themselves against human chemicals and evolve into the dominant species. In the original surreal ending, which was edited out, it seems to be implied that humans and ants fuse into a new species.
OK, so far, all these Atlas tales have been winners, but this one ... this is one I have a problem with. It works, it's a fun read, and even early Colan is good (he would certainly get a lot better in the coming decades, especially his super hero & horror work for Marvel, he was the Dracula and Daredevil artist for me.)It's that there's one too many elements. The driving of his workers into the ants is terrifying as is their fate, but the whole face on the ants and the dropped manacle are kind of unnecessary. He was trapped, the ants would have gotten him anyway and the little heads (I assume the people he threw to the ants) what one wacky element too much.So B+ on this one, it's the first one I can't give an A this month!
The Hellstrom Chronicles is a really strange hybrid of a movie, just as Mestiere says. I'd like to see it again.The funny thing about "Ancient Astronaut" books is that they get a lot of flak not only from UFO debunkers, but from a lot of BELIEVERS. But I've always liked them, so I'm glad to hear that CHARIOTS OF THE GODS actually got an Oscar nomination.
I'm a big fan of PHASE IV, might even add that to my halloween film fest line up this year as it's been awhile since I've watched it. I'm also a big fan of one too many wacky elements in my pre code horror stories, in fact, the more wacky elements the better, I always say. Anyway, Bill Everett's up next. Thanks for the comments
I would have never detected Gene Colan in this art, so it's a good thing he signed it. I guess it's pretty early work, and maybe a little mangled by the inker? The first few pages aren't very good at all. I thought it got much better by page four, though. Being eaten alive by ants, ugh. I'm not surprised the DDT didn't work. It's so safe children can frolic in clouds of the stuff. Atari centipedes barely take notice.
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