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Tales to Astonish

Unearthed: Tales to Astonish #1

WAY-HO! Travel with us back to 1959, when horror comics were all the rage!

This series was primarily written by Marvel’s Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber, and mostly follows the twist ending story type. We’re going to skip the opening story, which is pretty much what you see on the cover. And really, that’s all: a giant turtle is found, THE END. NEXT.

Now, there’s no attribution whatsoever in this comic but LOOK at this dude. That’s the work of Steve Ditko, y’all. It’s unmistakable.

So! We’ve seen this kind of story many, many times before. Hapless couple buys a new house, and LOOK OUT it’s purple! CREEPY.

Nutty things begin to happen. Could it be spirits? By the way, in case you doubted this was Steve Ditko artwork, come the hell ON. Look at that guy’s pose! Put a Spider-Man costume on him!

This expert appears to solve all their problems! But from the look of him, I don’t think he wants coffee. He wants… YOUR WIFE!

… well, no, he doesn’t. But that would’ve made this story a lot cooler.

Oh, the BROODING! Vintage Ditko!

CITATION NEEDED

Hey, the investigator guy wants to buy the scary place! Win-win! But what’s that smell? *sniff sniff* I think it’s a TWIST approaching!

Oh boy, this’s gonna be GREAT

… what?

Wait, so… poltergeists inhabit this house that… keeps getting sold, I guess? So the poltergeists drive people out by doing their thing? So they can keep the house to themselves? But then why hasn’t this poltergeist-in-disguise just buy the place outright sooner? Was this whole thing really necessary?

See, this is the kind of story you’re going to get from Tales to Astonish. To wit:

Here’s how you know this comic is old: they’ve spelled ‘mmmmm’ as ‘ummm’. Or did they really pronounce it that way in 1959? I guess we’ll never know.

Behold! A weird billboard! Now, these days, such a thing wouldn’t even draw a raised eyebrow, but back then, holy CRAP! Something is WRONG

But story aside, here’s a cool thing: this was drawn by none other than Mad Magazine’s Mort Drucker! How do I know? LOOK AT BOWTIE GUY’S LEFT HAND

Who IS this Briton guy, and how does he get access to movie sets like this? *gasp* IS IT PEREZ HILTON?

Is Perez Hilton still a thing?

Okay, keep track of this storyline, sure, but also, in what world is THAT outfit any kind of menacing?

Dude, yes. “Tenuous” totally sums up the premise of this comic. Holy cats, it’s SO META

Again, who is this guy that everyone just listens to?

So they take down all the billboards across the coast, and…

HERE COMES THE TWIST

The billboard guys were real!

Okay, WHAT? How is this ANY kind of plan? Just, just give me a second here. These invaders are just dudes with guns, yes? They spend what must have been a ton of time and money to… to erect BILLBOARDS ADVERTISING THEIR PRESENCE all across the coast. And on top of that they STAND IN THOSE BILLBOARDS. They’re FLAT GUYS somehow.

They call THEMSELVES “tenuous”. What the FROG. What was the plan? At some point, they all jump off the billboards and strike? What, you couldn’t have done that WHILE YOU WERE PUTTING THE BILLBOARDS UP? Because nobody saw you do THAT.

Seriously, Stan Lee, this was stupid. Just stupid.

So hey! Join us again on Monday for a brand new comic!

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