Worlds Unknown

Worlds Unknown

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title = Worlds Unknown

caption = "Worlds Unknown" #4 (Nov. 1973), with cover art by former DC Comics editor Dick Giordano in a rare work for Marvel.
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publisher = Marvel Comics
date = May 1973 and August 1974
issues = 8
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"Worlds Unknown" was a science fiction comic book published by Marvel Comics in the 1970s that adapted classic short stories of that genre, including works by Frederick Pohl and Theodore Sturgeon.

Publication history

"Worlds Unknown" ran for eight issues, between May 1973 and August 1974. The title was one of four launched by Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Roy Thomas to form a line of science fiction and horror anthologies with more thematic cohesiveness than the company's earlier attempts that decade, [ "Comic Book Artist" #13 (May 2001): "Shadows and The Darkness", by David A. Roach] ] which included such series as "Chamber of Darkness" and "Tower of Shadows". Whereas those titles generally presented original stories, these new books would instead adapt genre classics and other stories.

With the four titles' debuts set to be staggered over the course of four months, Marvel premiered "Journey into Mystery" vol. 2 (Oct. 1972), "Chamber of Chills" (Nov. 1972), "Supernatural Thrillers" (Dec. 1972), and, with a late start, "Worlds Unknown" (May 1973). The first issue featured Frederik Pohl's "The Day after the Day the Martians Came", adapted by writer Gerry Conway and artist Ralph Reese, and "He that Hath Wings", adapted by writer-penciler Gil Kane from a 1934 story published in the pulp magazine "Popular Fiction". It also included a story from Marvel's 1950 predecessor, Atlas Comics: the three-page "Nightmare at Noon" with art by Angelo Torres, from "Astonishing" #54 (Oct. 1956).

Subsequent issues included such adaptations as L. Sprague deCamp's 1956 "A Gun for Dinosaur", by writer Roy Thomas and penciler Val Mayerik (#2); Harry Bates' 1940 "Farewell to the Master", with Thomas and penciler Ross Andru adapting the source material of the movie classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (#3); Fredric Brown's 1944 "Arena", with Conway and penciler John Buscema on a short story previously adapted for an episode of the TV series "Star Trek" (#4); [ [ 'Star Trek" Comics Checklist] ] A. E. van Vogt's first published SF story, "Black Destroyer" (1939), by Thomas and penciler Dan Adkins (#5); and Ted Sturgeon's 1944 "Killdozer", by Conway and penciler Dick Ayers (#6).

The final two issues changed direction and featured an adaptation of the contemporaneous film "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" (1974), based on the screenplay by Brian Clemens and the story by Clemens and Ray Harryhausen. Titled "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad: Land Of The Lost", it was by writer Len Wein and penciler George Tuska.

Five months after the title's cancellation, Marvel would revisit the idea of science-fiction story adaptations with the black-and-white comics magazine "Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction", which ran for six issues in 1975.

Critical assessment

Critic David A. Roach wrote of the series: " [T] he best issues are those featuring Gil Kane or Ralph Reese.... The first "Worlds Unknown" manages this with stunning Reese art on Fred Pohl's "The Day After the Day the Martians Came!" (adapted by Gerry Conway) and lyrical Kane drawings for Ed Hamilton's "He That Hath Wings," which the artist also scripted".



* [ Grand Comics Database]
* [ The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators]

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