Archive | Beyond Mars

Mile Markers on the Road to 200: Reaching the Sesquicentennial

Continuing our review of the first two hundred LOAC books, which began here and continued right here, what follows is a look at our one hundred first to one hundred fiftieth releases …

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Out of This World in July with The LOAC Wheel of Fortune

In keeping with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 — and in celebration of Star Wars Volume 3 winning the 2019 Eisner Award in its category of “Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips” (grateful thanks are extended to all who voted for it) — the theme of our July spin of the LOAC Wheel of Fortune is space opera. Here are our sixteen books that belong in that subgenre, in the order they were released:

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The LOAC Road to 200: Goin’ TALL in June!

At the halfway point of the year 2019 (what? already? how can that be possible?), we continue to celebrate the LOAC Road to 200 with our June spin of the LOAC Wheel of Fortune.

Our line of books feature a variety of sizes, shapes, and page counts — sometimes that’s determined by our own aesthetic senses, but often it is dictated by the format of the strips that are available for reprinting. “Tab” Sundays — so-called because they ran in “portrait-oriented” tabloid newspapers — require a different layout than do “halves,” which are structured in landscape mode.

Why is size on our minds? Because for our June spin we opted to load the LOAC Wheel of Fortune with most of our tallest books. Of course, this includes our Champagne Edition titles — Polly and Her Pals Sundays and Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim. Our Superman line of Sunday pages, the Alex Toth Genius series, and Alex’s Bravo for Adventure releases all qualify, as do Miss Fury, Beyond Mars, and King of the Comics. The roster of Big & Tall LOAC volumes looks like this: Continue Reading →

Back to the Shelves

Several years ago we took some time in this space to show you what my LOAC bookshelf looked like. I shelve my books in alphabetical order by author, or by publisher where that makes more sense — for instance, while my William Saroyans are under “S”, my Fantastic Fours are under “M”, with the rest of my Marvel Comics collections. My Library of American Comics titles are therefore under “L,” and then shelved alphabetically in a logical way (well, logical to me, anyway), as you can see:

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Is There Life Beyond Mars?

That’s not exactly how David Bowie phrased it on his classic 1971 album Hunky Dory—but fracturing Bowie’s lyric seemed the perfect way to create the title for this announcement that in the second half of 2015, The Library of American Comics will be releasing the classic 1950s science fiction Sunday strip, Beyond Mars.


The product of artist Lee Elias and science fiction author Jack Williamson, Beyond Mars is fondly remembered by historians of science fiction and comics in general, and science fiction comics in particular. Launched (no pun intended) a full seventeen years before the Apollo 11 mission put men on the moon, in the days when most Americans had never flown in an airplane and science fiction was “ghettoized” in magazines and sporadic hardcover reprints by small publishers such as Gnome Press, Beyond Mars has more of a “hard SF” feel than the science fantasy of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. That’s only fitting, since the Sunday series shares concepts with Williamson’s “seetee” prose fiction that began appearing in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction with its July, 1942 issue. What does “seetee” mean? If you haven’t previously readBeyond Mars or its prose-fiction cousins, I’ll let you check out the strip to discover the answer for yourselves.

Lee Elias was the artist on Beyond Mars, and the series benefits from his previous time spent drawing comic books for publishers like National/DC, Timely, and Fiction House, as well as his study of Milton Caniff’s work. (Elias worked on the Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon comic books, which allowed him to bring his Caniff-influenced art style to bear on the Rembrandt of the Comic Strip’s signature characters.)



Personally, I came to both Williamson and Elias in the 1970s: at that time the artist had returned to comic books and I was introduced to him through his output for Marvel, while the writer continued to publish well-reviewed new science fiction and would continue to do so into the early years of the 21st Century. But in the late ’70s I read and enjoyed his cycle of stories from Analogthat was later released as the novel Brother to Demons, Brother to Gods. Afterward I went back to several of his earlier works. To support our Beyond Mars release I’ve researched both these men and hope to offer you a few surprises when you read my introductory text.

Finally, our Beyond Mars project marks a renewed commitment from LOAC to reprint science fiction comic strips. Keep watching this space for further announcements as we blast off for sectors of space that have charted by some of the best-loved and most-respected names in popular culture!


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