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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fantasy Masterpieces #11

Two Kirby stories in this final issue of the reprint series. "Mister Morgan's Monster", a 7-page Kirby/Ayers story from STRANGE TALES #99 (1962) I previously discussed from another reprint. Again, it's one of my favourite of the monster stories. The scenes of the aliens crawling all over the robot trying to stop him are great.

"Hotel of Death" is a re-titled version of the 13-page "Hotel of Horror" from CAPTAIN AMERICA #10 (1942), the final S&K issue of the golden age. There are a lot of other minor changes, from adding space between the panels to adjust for the 1960s aspect ratio, change the name of the city from Gotham to Beacon for some reason and change a kind of stereotypical depiction of a pair of black train porters.

In this story, Cap is invited to help sell Defense Bonds in "Beacon City". He and Bucky are taken to a hotel by a man claiming to be the Mayor's secretary, but as soon as Bucky leaves the room strange things begin to happen, with the desk clerk denying ever seeing him before and having him arrested. Meanwhile, Cap finds himself prisoner of a nazi agent named the Netman, who throws nets on people. Clearly S&K weren't going to waste a decent villain on their final issue...

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Bucky manages to escape from jail with the help of a gorgeously drawn horse and returns to the hotel, infiltrating it as a bellhop. He falls down a trapdoor and is taken prisoner, but Cap has already freed himself and is disguised as one of the robed henchmen, so he and Bucky clean house, burning down the hotel in the process.

Pretty horribly printed in this version, especially the colouring, which is often way off-register, but it is a fun story, with some really well drawn scenes (as I said, the horse is really well rendered).

The Kirby Checklist has this as Reed Crandall inks, which seems right. Certainly it has the finer line style typical of Crandall's solo work.

Published 1967

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