art by Al Williamson, story by Al Feldstein
Weird Science-Fantasy #23[#1] (1954)
Ah, Al Williamson. He was one of the least prolific of the major EC artists, with only about three dozen stories (many done with an assist from other artists of the "Fleagle Gang", like Torres, Frazetta, Krenkel), but what he did was choice, and of course he's had an amazing career in comic books and strips since. Strongly influenced by the classic comic strips like Flash Gordon, he really polished and perfected that style, and of course did some of the best space-ships, tech and dinosaurs ever seen in comics. It's insanely detailed work, and when I'm occasionally tempted to get the big black-and-white hardcover EC Library volumes, it's often a desire to see Williamson's work in all its glory.
In this story, an alien world of fish-like folk on a water-covered world are worried as their sun is on the verge of going nova. Suddenly a ship from Earth arrives, and they blow a hole in it to drown the crew and take over the ship, sending a crew to Earth just as their own sun starts to blow. The land in the middle of the ocean, planning to settle, build up their species and take over the world. Meanwhile, the humans assume that the ship crashed with its original crew and send a rescue team. They give up the crew for dead, and wonder at the presence of the strange fresh-water fish that floated to the surface around the crash site.
I love this story. In addition to the gorgeous Williamson artwork, with great underwater scenes of the alien world, it's a clever story with a nice twist.