Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weird Fantasy #21

Cover dated September/October 1953
Cover by Al Williamson and Frank Frazetta

"My Home..." - Art by Joe Orlando/Story by Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines
"Saved" - Art by Al Williamson/Story by Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines
"Planely Possible" - Art by Jack Kamen/Story by Al Feldstein and Bill Gaines
"The Million Year Picnic" - Art by John Severin & Bill Elder/Ray Bradbury adaption by Al Feldstein

A rare cover collaboration between Williamson and Frazetta starts off this issue of Weird Fantasy.

"My Home..." - A being made up of pure energy is the sole inhabitant of a planet that four astronauts, Steve, Harold, Ken and his wife Helen arrive at. The astronauts plan to mine the planet for uranium, but the alien has different ideas. He inhabits the body of Harold, being able to control him. He then attacks one of the other astronauts until being shot. He then inhabits Ken's body. When Steve brings Harold's body outside to bury it, the alien has the rocket ship take off, stranding him. As the days pass, Helen and Ken grow further apart due to Ken's body decomposing. They stay apart from each other, but the alien/Ken desires to see her one last time. Now a rotting corpse, Helen dies of fright from seeing him and the alien departs his body. It remains in the rocket, which is now its home., This story seems inspired by "Who Goes There?" by John Campbell, which was eventually made into 3 movie versions called "The Thing".

"Saved" - A man named Jargot proclaims that his ship, the Mercury, can transport goods faster than any other ship, guaranteeing that he will break all speed records. While he is successful in doing so, all of his crew dies during the journey except for him. When this happens multiple times, a man named Keston, who works for the Galaxy Bureau of Investigation is assigned to go on the ship and find out what is going on. Because no one will go on the ship, he and Jargot have to knock out several men and bring them onboard while unconscious. Once they are in space, Jargot locks everyone up including Keston. He then takes them away 2 at a time and Keston hear only screams from elsewhere in the ship. When Jargot comes for Keston and the other last remaining man, Sangor, he brings them to the engine room and reveals that the engine uses a catalyst, human blood, to go so quickly. Sangor reveals he is a vampire however and kills Jargot. He tells Keston he saved him, but what he means is he's saving him for another meal later on. A good story for the most part, combining both sci-fi and horror elements, although the pun at the end leaves for a rather lame ending.

"Planely Possible" - A man, Mr. Thurmond and his wife are in a car accident. Thurmond wakes up in a hospital and his wife dies soon afterwards. A technician at the hospital, Warburton, tells Thurmond that he believes that there were 4 divergent possibilities that came from the car accident and that it is possible to send Thurmond to the plane where his wife survived and he died, so he can take his place there as if he hadn't died. Warburton is able to transfer him to another plane, but mistakenly sends him to one where both Thurmond and his wife survived. Thurmond throws his duplicate in the furnace, killing him, and takes his place. He soon wakes up however to find that all of this was a dream, and his wife never died after all. But that night, the version of him from another plane arrives and throws him in the furnace. A new interesting take on the multiple dimensions plot.

"The Million Year Picnic" - A father and mother bring their 3 sons on a boating trip on Mars. While traveling they see a rocket depart to Earth, the last rocket to depart to Earth, as nuclear war ends up destroying the rest of human civilization. The family travels to various abandoned martian cities and eventually decides on one to live in. They expect more people to join them soon and they'll restart human civilization in their own way. The boys are anxious to see Martians, and the father shows them the Martians by having them look in the water at their own reflections. An adaption of a Ray Bradbury story from the end of the Martian Chronicles. Its one of the less interesting ones.

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