Saturday, April 7, 2012

Forgotten Comics: Dell Comics' Drift Marlo

Dell Publications is perhaps best remembered for the many, many licensed properties it adapted into comic book form; from Walt Disney to Woody Woodpecker, from The Rebel to Dinosaurus!. It was very successful at doing that for at least twenty-five years. However, when it came to original material, Dell was usually way out of its depth.

Drift Marlo was one of Dell's attempts at a regular, new material comic book. While it was unsuccessful, lasting two issues, I've always thought that it was a well-written series. It was a combination of science fact and detective thriller. The splash page of the first comic book read "Drift Marlo, Space Detective". Those first two issues reminded me of the movie Gog or The Satan Bug a little in plot and theme, since both were technology (and ideology) driven films. Drift was responsible for security on various US aerospace projects, the first being a space-borne anti-missile missile, and the second being to protect and prevent the kidnapping of an important chimpanzee test pilot ... in space. Naturally, the specter of the Cold War is in the background of the tales.

The stories were both interesting, a lot of care and time was given to getting all the technological aspects of the tales correct. Drift does come off as a likeable, dependable investigator, his girlfriend Claire not quite a harpy, and most of the supporting cast are not simple cardboard cut-outs.

The artwork is also good, for the era and for Dell. Tom Cooke handles it ably and does a fine job in his draftsmanship of the various then-high tech spacecraft, including cut-away pin-ups of space stations and rockets, both currently in use and prototypes. His art reminds me a lot of Mike Sekowsky's non-super-hero work: Good detail and good story flow.

Drift Marlo was originally published in 1962, but the stories could easily have been used a decade later, too. There is a certain style to them that I find appealing. If you want to try reading one, you'll probably shell out between $5 and $25 for each one, but you can find them both on-line as well, at The Comic Reading Library.

APRIL 6th and 7th, 2012 
by Rich Meyer

Love watching giant monsters stomp Tokyo flat? Like seeing the mad scientist put the finishing touches on his unearthly creation that will allow him to rule the world? Amazed that it's taken this long for the zombies to whittle it down to only two people? Then you're bound to enjoy The Monster Quiz Book!

This quiz book e-book has 301 easy-to-navigate trivia questions about all kinds of monsters: Giant man-in-suit-a-sauruses, lizards with paper fins duct-taped to their backs, mystical undead beasts of the night, and even a few monsters you might encounter in real-life. If you like monster movies, myths and legends, or even the occasional (proper, non-sparkly) vampire book, you will enjoy answering the arcane queries in The Monster Quiz Book!

No comments:

Post a Comment