When I reached the age of awareness, I began making trips to the Rexall drugstore a few blocks from my grandparent’s house. It was there that I found the comic books that would spin my head around. I discovered that there was a party going on and those books were my invitation to the party. On one particular weekend, I found Strange Adventures #120 waiting for me there. It was a Julie Schwartz edited book so I knew that it was going to be right in my wheelhouse. I’d already discovered Julie edited comics such as the Flash and Mystery in Space there and I’d begun to seek out other books edited by him. It was in this particular comic that I came upon the Atomic Knights, a story set in a post World War Three scenario. Julie was a science fiction fan and an intelligent one which showed in the skillful blending of the SF and superhero genres. Despite being a post apocalyptic setting, the Atomic Knights stories always pictured a positive and more hopeful road for humanity. It was much different from the dystopian comics of today which are written for a much different and more sophisticated audience.
It didn’t hurt one bit that the Knight’s stories were drawn by one of my favorite artists of all time, Murphey Anderson. Murphy’s sleek, mannered and polished drawings were the kind of work I aspired to in those halcyon days. Having at one point received some original art from Julie Schwartz, I knew the dimensions at which the work was created, and I spent one frozen Ohio winter copying one of Murphey’s Atomic Knights stories. Pouring over his work in such a detailed way was an inspiration. A little while back, DC Comics brought out a trade collection of all of Murphey’s Atomic Knights work. More about the Knights can also be found in Mike Barr’s Silver Age Sci-Fi Companion published by TwoMorrows publishing. And just when I thought there was no more Murphey Anderson work to be enjoyed, Hermes Press is reprinting his daily and Sunday run on the Buck Rodgers newspaper strip. We’re truly living in a golden age as far as the reprinting of classic comics is concerned.
I’ll have more on the comic book covers I use in Funky in future blogs, but, for now, that’s about the size of it.