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Basil Wolverton, best known for his goofy grotesqueries in the pages of MAD and other humor comics, was also responsible for some of the wildest and most eye-popping science fiction and horror comics of the Golden Age, but his non-humorous comics work has never had the comprehensive archival collection it deserves — until now.
Creeping Death from Neptune presents an overview of Wolverton’s entire career, focused primarily on his 1938-1952 science fiction and horror comics. Apart from Spacehawk, which is collected in a separate Fantagraphics volume, every known story from this period, both published and unpublished, is compiled here in its entirety, painstakingly restored from their original printed source — the comic books themselves.
The narrative begins at Wolverton's childhood and traces the events leading up to his first serious comics work, the rejected 1929 syndicated strip, Marco of Mars, then proceeds through Steve Grover of the Stratosphere Patrol, Vultures of the Void, Meteor Murphy, Space Patrol and Rockman. His final group of 1950-1952 stories for Marvel and publisher Stanley Morse includes some of the most intense horror and science-fiction stories of the pre-code era, such as the classics "Brain Bats of Venus," "Nightmare World," and "The Eye of Doom," all included here. The book ends with a summation of Wolverton’s career after leaving — and occasionally returning to — comics, though never again as a non-humorous artist. Ephemera and artifacts shedding intimate insight into the artist’s career are examined in depth.
As with editor Greg Sadowski's previous collections of vintage comics (such as the best-selling Supermen! and Four Color Fear), the digital restoration of the printed art has been performed with subtlety and restraint, mainly to correct registration and printing errors, with every effort made to retain the flavor of the original comic books. Sadowski has also gone to great lengths to uncover as much unpublished art as possible, including preliminary drawings, syndicated strips, pulp illustrations, and lost comic book treasures such as four fully realized 1940 rejected covers for Amazing Mystery Funnies and Amazing Man Comics.