Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Number 1206: Captain Science and the Flower of Death!

I showed “The Flower of Death,” a few years ago. I’m re-presenting it with new scans. What I said about it then was that it was a story I chased for years without knowing what it was. I’d seen it when I was very young, maybe six-years-old, at a friend’s house. Despite being surrounded by two very cool Wood and Orlando Captain Science stories, what I remembered about the comic book was the transition of flower to ape. People write me sometimes and ask if I can help them identify a story they remember, and without fail I can't. I can't even help myself. This was a story stuck in my memory for many years that I couldn't find, and then one day opened up Captain Science #5 and there it was. Eureka!'s not much of a story. Artwork is serviceable, credited by the Grand Comics Database in their question mark fashion as being by Bill Fraccio? and Vince Napoli? So they're not sure. I wondered about the clumsy transition panels (which look like photostats), flower to ape and ape to flower, and then I found the origin of it in a gasoline ad from a 1950 issue of Life. This is another of my discoveries in Life that later turned up in comic books.

I've also included a Captain Science story from the issue because I love this Joe Orlando-Wally Wood science fiction and so do you. These are my scans from the original comic, but the story is also included in the book Wally Wood: Strange Worlds of Science Fiction, edited by J. David Spurlock. It's a trade paperback available from, among other bookselling sites, and if you're fortunate, at your favorite local comic book shop.

From Captain Science #5, 1951:


Brian Barnes said...

I suspect there's a different version of the Flower of Death story that has some other goofy monster in place of the saber-toothed apes.

It was either re-purposed or the editor didn't like the original monster. Each ape is either an overlay or some bizarre pitch black inking over the original panel. I wonder why? Was the original monster way to silly? Guy saw the ad and decided on the change?

Pappy said...

Brian, interesting observation. It does look like panels were pasted over, and clumsily so. As to who, what, why, when, where and how, I dunno. One of those little mysteries, and an oddball story.

Jeff Overturf said...

Wow... those Life gas ad drawings being lifted sooooo shamelessly...eep. That Captain Science/Wood stuff though....lovely!

Pappy said...

Jeffy, I read on your blog that you just had a birthday, so happy birthday, buddy!