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Thursday, March 24, 2005

EC - The Secret of Saturn's Ring (Wood)

The Secret of Saturn's Ring
art by Wallace Wood, story by Al Feldstein
Weird Fantasy #10 (1951)

Wallace Wood had a bit of an up-and-down career, which of course ended sadly. He's definitely did some nice work throughout his run at EC, working in all the genres. I find the humour and war stuff the most interesting, but he's most closely associated with the sci-fi work, including some of the best known EC covers.

In this story we follow an expedition to Saturn, where the crew gives the useful exposition that despite the long trip, they're better off than the moon expedition, where ten people just vanished. At Saturn they find that the rings are made of billions of small moonlets, a few hundred hards across. They leave a two man team to get samples while the ship goes off to do other research, and returns to find the two men gone. They drag the moonlet back to Earth, where it eventually expels the sucked-dry husks of the missing men and proves to be a giant bacteria-like spore. They try various ways to defeat it, eventually boiling it in a lake, where it forms another protective shell. They plan to drag it back to Saturn, just when they get news that the bodies of the missing men on the moon were found as dried husks, meaning the moon is a giant version of the spore as well, and maybe the Earth is as well.

Lots of classic Wood art in this one, including great shots of the space-ships, space-suits and of course killer bacteria. A very smooth and detailed inking line which makes the most fanciful things look real.

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