Silver Age Tales to Astonish/Strange Tales/Tales of Suspense

I note that the final volume of Marvel masterworks reprints of Tales to Astonish #31-51,54 is about to be released.  I started to wonder how many more issues of TTA were necessary before they caught up to the appearance of the Sub-mariner in #70...Tales to Astonish #70 ....and then caught myself. In TTA #59 with the Hulk Hulk started with #59...and stars in #60...in TTA #60 the Hulk series starts, and then I caught myself again...

Antman must have started in the mid 30s issues... #35 if memory serves correctly. TTA #35 First Antman in costume

So I read the fine print, and discovered that the last full issues (31-34) must have material from the back-up Tales of the Wasp (later, tales of the Watcher) that were being used to round out the volume. (or as we know now, because Lee had built up unused inventory that needed to be used up...)

 

That's when the question occured to me...was there any real difference between the stories that appeared (pre-super hero) in Tales to Astonish, vs. Tales of Suspense vs. Strange Tales  vs. Journey into Mystery  (and for that matter, Amazing Fantasy)?

 

I have never heard if each title had a unique flavor, or if they were all just cranking out monstery, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi stories.

Can anyone help answer this?  Mr. Silver Age?

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Amazing Fantasy, if I remember correctly, was all-Ditko, and the type of spooky/weird short stories he specialized in. The others were more of the Kirby monster variety, with Kirby frequently getting the cover slot, and other artists tackling the rest of the tales (Heck, Ayers, etc.) 
So, until after about 3 years past and prototype superheroes enter the book, all three split books were populated by interchangable anthology stories?  That is, until Iron Man shows up in Tales of suspense #39, Ant-Man in Tales to Astonish #36, and Human Torch in Strange Tales #101, and Thor in Journey in to Mystery #83, that all the books and stories were pretty much exactly the same?

I've only read a handful of the stories, but while working on the SA Marvel site, I cleaned up a TON of those covers. You could put them in a dictionary next to the word "repetitive".  No wonder Jack Kirby said at some point he was sick of doing those giant monsters!

 

It's a shame they didn't start the F.F. sooner, because I kinda like the idea of a group of heroes battling giant monsters.  (If it had been up to me, the 1st FF movie would have spotlighted The Mole Man!  Hey, I love most of FF #1!) You also had an illusionary giant monster in #3, and an actual undersea giant monster in #4.  But then they moved on to other things...  I'd have to check, but weren't there a lot of giant monsters in CHALLENGERS ?)

Not that I recall...no monsters to think of in Challs...but outerspace alien race, yes....flying giant birds, yes...mean wizards, death traps, booby traps, plane crashes, living on borrow time, heroics,.... yes indeed...
PS: Is ANYONE buying those Strange Tales Marvel Masterworks?  How about the Tales to Astonish volumes?  Anyone?  Tales of Suspense?

The Journey Into Mystery and Strange Tales volumes are pre-Code and just-post-Code stories reprinted so far.

Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense started well post-Code and just before the beginning of the Marvel Age (1961).

 

I have nearly all the Marvel Masterworks Atlas Era volumes. Do you have specific questions I might answer?

 

Hoy

I have all of the "Atlas Era" MMW, too, and in my opinion they're all pretty much interchangable (with the caveat that pre-code stories differ from CCA approved stories). The one exception might be Amazing Adult Fantasy (reissued by Marvel as an Omnibus rather than a Masterwork), but it isn't all Ditko. Ditko is represented in every issue, but Kirby and Ayers were in #1-6, Don Heck in #5, and Paul Reinman in #6.

I'm curious what types of changes do you observe, pre-code vs. post-code in both Strange Tales and Journey into Mystery.

 

I have always suspected that Marvel/Timely was not one of the worst "offenders", but I have absolutely no evidence to base that upon.  I'd appreciate someone who HAS some of those volumes or issue to comment upon the observable differences.

And do you feel the series/issues/stories are as good...using any criteria that you care to explain.  Thanks!

Depends on what you mean by "good." Ditko's post-code spooky stories (just about all them written by Stan Lee) are probably the cream of the crop in terms of Atlas/Marvel's mystery comics. If you like Kirby's monster comics, I think pretty much all of them are post-code. There are a few pre-code anthologies available that will give you a taste of what Atlas was like pre-code, as well as quite a few websites, and you're right, Atlas was pretty much middle-of-the-pack when it came to horror comics. They didn't have the writing or the art of the EC classics, nor were they as polished and non-threatening as DC, nor were they as ghastly and gorey as some of the more notorious EC wanna-be's. They were just sorta there.

Is there any collection of the Ditko-Lee post-code stories?  I mean something other than the Marvel Masterworks that have been put out so far?   I'm not certain that I care to shell out for a lot of four volumes, just to get all the Ditko stories, if you recommend them over the others. 

But if there was one of the volumes already issued (Marvel Masterworks variant covers, I mean) I might consider picking it up, if it had a representative sample or was particularly heavy on these Ditko stories.  I'm looking for a nudge to the right volume here...)

 

 I DO recall a Ditko story reprinted in Fantasy Masterpieces #1 or #2 titled "Those Who Change" which is a thinly diguised version of the Butterfly effect ("A Sound of Distant Thunder by Ray Bradbury, I think).

 

I read it as a child, and it has stayed with me to this day.

Is that very representative of the Ditko type stories?

The book looks good but it's reeeeally expensive. Also be aware that Amazing Adult Fantasy only begins with #7 of the 15 issues included, ADF having picked up the numbering from a previous title, Amazing Adventures. It's all included in the omnibus edition, the first 6 issues being the usual Lee/Kirby monster stories.

Andy

On the more affordable side, here's a link to a website that purportedly includes post-code Ditko tales that are in the public domain (mostly Charlton stuff, from what I can tell):

http://ditko.blogspot.com/1990/01/series-of-ditkos-work-from-1957-t...

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