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Scott’s Classic Comics Corner: Affordable Al Williamson Atlas Art

by  in Comic News Comment
Scott’s Classic Comics Corner: Affordable Al Williamson Atlas Art

News of Al Williamson’s death came as a shock to me. He always seemed so youthful and vital. Many terrific tributes have been written over the last 24 hours, and there’s really not much that I can add at this point, except to state that he was a uniquely talented artist. Much of his best work was done for Atlas during the post-EC 50s. Those books can be difficult and pricey to track down. We’re lucky that many of them were reprinted by Marvel in the 70s, and with some dedicated dollar bin diving, you should be able to track some of these down.

Many people think of Williamson, first and foremost, as a sci-fi artist. I can’t argue with that, but he was also a tremendous western artist. The good news is that plenty of these were reprinted in various western titles during the 70s. A number of latter day Kid Colt Outlaw issues (#147, #170, #172 and #216) feature Williamson drawn stories. More Williamson stories can be found in the following books: Rawhide Kid (#86, #95) Ringo Kid (#1, #20), Outlaw Kid (#3, #9), Two Gun Kid #110, Western Kid #3, Western Gunfighters #18, Wyatt Earp #30, Mighty Marvel Western #37 and Tex Dawson #1. All of these are out there for relative peanuts – you just need a bit of patience.

Williamson also did some horror and sci-fi work for Atlas during the 50s, and I know of at least two that have been reprinted. The Monster in the Mist, which originally appeared in Astonishing #60 (April, 1957) can be found the black and white magazine Monsters Unleashed #7. The Green Man from World of Suspsense #3 (August, 1956) was reprinted in Where Monsters Dwell #38 (October, 1975). That was the final issue of that particular series, so it might be a bit tough to track down.

Al Williamson contributed artwork to many of Atlas’ war titles but, as far as I can tell, next to nothing has been reprinted. War is Hell #1 features the story Helpless, which was originally published in Battle #55 (November, 1957). It’s a shame that more of these war stories haven’t been reprinted, as many of the top artists of the era work on those titles.

I think the jungle genre was a great fit for Williamson (check out his rendition of Dagobah in the ESB adaptation), and he drew several stories for Jann of the Jungle during the 50s. As you may recall, a full reprint of Jann of the Jungle was very high on the list of reprints I want to see from Marvel. Until then, we’ve got to make do with the two Jann stories reprinted in Savage Tales (#6 and #8).

Someone please correct me if I am wrong but, as far as I can tell, Williamson did a grand total of one romance story for Atlas – And Then I Found You, which appeared in My Own Romance #71 (September, 1959). Luckily, this has been reprinted twice, in My Love (#10 and #26).

Along with many others, I’ve raved enough about Williamson’s Flash Gordon, EC and early 80s Marvel work elsewhere, but this should give you a good, and affordable starting point for some of his lesser known 50s work. For more comic book chatter, stop by my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent

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