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Adam Strange, The - Archives, VOL 01 [Hardcover]

Gardner Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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The latest vintage comic-book character reprinted in the lavish, hardcover DC Archives series was born when the 1950s "sci-fi" craze was grafted onto the superhero genre. Adam Strange, a scientist from Earth, was transported by a "Zeta Beam" to the distant planet Rann. Acquiring a colorful spacesuit and a jetpack, he became his adopted world's champion, saving it from space invaders, when he wasn't romancing his beautiful Rannian sweetheart, Alanna. His comic-book hit its stride with the fourth issue, when Carmine Infantino came aboard as illustrator; his sleek, modern designs and streamlined figures were perfect for the futuristic milieu. Adam's approach to conflict generally saw him overcome foes scientifically rather than physically, like his super-powered peers. His adventures were aimed at a somewhat older comics readership, presumably the adolescents who keep the sf magazines in business, and they hold up well today, despite their naivete. Adam never achieved major success but is fondly remembered by many longtime comics fans, who will welcome this handsome volume. Gordon Flagg
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Finest Archives so far... April 9 2004
Format:Hardcover
Wow.
i was waiting and hoping that someday DC would do right for this character and these stories and they have.
i first ran into Infantino stories from reprints in late 60s/early seventies Strange Adventures.
i used to buy beat up copies at the local flea market on the cheap purely for reading material and became hooked by Infantino's slick, fine lined, modernistic style- which for once perfectly complements the characters and milieu, as well as for the tight, fast paced, and very creative scripting.
i quickly realized that Adam Strange stories were just plain fun to read with oodles of wit and a refreshing lack of the usual cheese found in DCs pre-Denny O'Neil/"relevant" work.
While a good chunk of the book (the first 87 pages) features the first stories illustrated by Mike Sekowsky, the Sekowsky on display here looks a little more refined than the Sekowsky that i know from Justice League.
he seems to be operating in a Ross Andru/Al Toth mode, and his page breakdowns look a tad more sophisticated, and his anatomy less clunky.
not bad, but once the Infantino work kicks in the book really soars.
i've purchased about 10 of the archives so far- there is a ton of great work reprinted in these from Jack Cole to Joe Kubert, CC Beck to Gil Kane, Reed Crandell, Jack Burnley, etc but the work here- both story and art, puts this book at the top of the heap for me.
i agree- Vol 2 can't come soon enough!!!!!
just one request, if anyone from DC is listening- how about collecting the Gil Kane Batgirl back-ups form the late 60s/early 70s Detective Comics?
great work in there, would be a shame to let them gather dust in the vaults.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Archives so far! March 29 2004
Format:Hardcover
Of all the characters in the DC Mythos, Adam Strange is one of the most endearing. He has no super powers, yet he is a super hero. He has a combination of Jet Rocket flying (like Commando Cody); teleportation to his work site via Zeta Beam (like John Carter to Barsoom); and lots of cleverness and brains to work through those everyday drab problems that menace his planet (smarts like Batman). He has a REAL girlfriend (dare I say 'lover'?) as an equal in every adventure, so there is a romantic twist in every story.
What more could you want?
Well, there is a LOT more. The stories, for the most part, are fantasticly scripted by that master Gardner Fox. And the artwork-- ah yes, the artwork! As the series evolved so did the art! It started with covers by Gil Kane and interior pencils and inks by Sachs and Sekowsky, (later of Justice League of America fame). Then in came Carmine Infantino. While this improved the artwork immensely while his pencils were being inked by Joe Giella and sometime Bernie Sachs, it was when the brilliant Murphy Anderson stepped in to embellish the flamboyish Infantino that comic book art hit it's zenith. Once those two also started doing the covers, Adam Strange adventures became something to treasure whenever they hit the comic book racks. It was, and is to this day, inspirational.
This first archive of Adam Strange starts with his appearances in Showcase, and then his evolution as the recurring and starring character in Mystery in Space. For the most part in this archive, all of the stories are about nine pages in length, so there are a LOT of stories here.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Out of this World Archive Edition March 7 2004
Format:Hardcover
One of the best Archive Editions of DC's secondary characters. Rereading these wonderful stories starting in 1958 Showcase and moving into a long run in Mystery in Space brings a real appreciaton for the creative team of Julie Schwartz, Gardner Fox, and Carmine Infantino. Adam had no superpowers other than a cool jetpack and raygun. He generally overcame the threats to his adopted home of Rann by outhinking his opponents in clever and unusual scripts by Fox. The relationship with Alanna is unique because she is an equal partner with him in his battles-way ahead of the 1960s womens lib movement.Their relationship is integral to the stories and always bittersweet because Adam inevitably returns to earth when the Zeta-beam wears off. Infatino's artwork is elegant and lyrical with beautiful futuristic cities and alien landscapes. This book shows the effect of different inking styles on Infantino's pencils with Murphey Anderson stealing the show. Even though Adam owes his heritage to Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon, there is a unique cold war post-sputnik tinge to these stories that is interesting to ponder from the vantage of 2004. Quirky, wonderful scripts, art by Infantino at his best, and one of the best Silver Age love stories ever-Please get volume 2 out fast!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fox/Infantino Classic Interstellar Adventures! Sept. 1 2004
By Benjamin J Burgraff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If, as I was, you were born when everyone "liked Ike", and Captain Kangaroo was the nation's babysitter, if you read comic books, you knew Adam Strange! An adventurous archeologist long before Indiana Jones made the profession fashionable, he would experience a kid's ultimate fantasy, at the dawn of the Space Age...transporting to a distant planet, fighting incredible enemies armed with only a 'ray gun', a rocket pack, and a keen intellect, and winning the heart of an exotically beautiful alien girl. It was Edgar Rice Burroughs, updated, and it was IRRESISTABLE!

While his uniform was straight out of pulp SF magazines of the '30s and '40s (sort of 'Flash Gordon Meets the Rocketeer'), he never looked ridiculous, particularly when illustrated by the legendary Carmine Infantino (who, with his pioneering work on the Flash, proved that superheroes didn't have to look like overweight wrestlers). While Mike Sekowsky's earlier work lacks the simplistic grace of Infantino, there is no doubt that Adam Strange was cut from a different cloth than Superman and Batman. He was a thinking man's hero, lean and graceful, and willing to rely on his wits rather than on unbelievable powers, or an overstocked utility belt. That his intellectual exploits would earn him the title of the planet Rann's 'Champion' became an inspiration to me to study harder, and to understand that nearly any problem could be solved if you simply "used your head".

And oh, the bittersweet irony, when, after saving Rann, Strange would always be returned to Earth, before he could get more than a kiss from his beloved Alanna! Hokey, maybe, but what a hook for the next issue of "Strange Adventures"!

I never forgave DC Comics for yanking Gardner Fox and Infantino away from Adam Strange and using their talents to 'juice up' the "new" Batman of the mid-sixties. Perhaps the 'Adam Strange Formula' was a limited one, but even the lesser efforts of the creative 'dynamic duo' were a cut above anything else of the period. Certainly, under new hands, the Strange stories quickly lost their magic, and the series died. Subsequent 'limited' reappearances have only served to reduce Adam Strange's stature even further, as if DC, in turning the hero into a tragic figure, hoped to justify earlier abandoning him. Certainly, the 'Adam Strange' of recent years is NOT the hero I grew up admiring!

So treasure this first volume, when Adam Strange was pure of heart, and a whole planet believed in him...You have a treat in store for you!
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of this World Archive Edition March 7 2004
By F. Scott Valeri - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the best Archive Editions of DC's secondary characters. Rereading these wonderful stories starting in 1958 Showcase and moving into a long run in Mystery in Space brings a real appreciaton for the creative team of Julie Schwartz, Gardner Fox, and Carmine Infantino. Adam had no superpowers other than a cool jetpack and raygun. He generally overcame the threats to his adopted home of Rann by outhinking his opponents in clever and unusual scripts by Fox. The relationship with Alanna is unique because she is an equal partner with him in his battles-way ahead of the 1960s womens lib movement.Their relationship is integral to the stories and always bittersweet because Adam inevitably returns to earth when the Zeta-beam wears off. Infatino's artwork is elegant and lyrical with beautiful futuristic cities and alien landscapes. This book shows the effect of different inking styles on Infantino's pencils with Murphey Anderson stealing the show. Even though Adam owes his heritage to Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon, there is a unique cold war post-sputnik tinge to these stories that is interesting to ponder from the vantage of 2004. Quirky, wonderful scripts, art by Infantino at his best, and one of the best Silver Age love stories ever-Please get volume 2 out fast!
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adam Strange, a tormented and unusual comic book hero Sept. 18 2004
By Carlos A - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Amazing! D.C., thanks for for bringing back an authentic comic book hero and a sentimental favorite. Gardner Fox, Adam Strange's creator, was an icon for those of us who came of age in the late 50's and early 60's.

Other reviewers feel the same way about the Fox-Infantino collaboration that I do: A first rate comic with incredible and tantalizing covers, imaginative drawing, and entertaining stories.

Indiana Jones meets Buck Rogers meets Casablanca. Adam Strange, an earthman and archeologist, used no superweapons to defeat his superior foes. All he used were his brains (Wow! This guy rivaled, or surpassed, Batman in the sheer use of brainpower without the benefit of a utility belt!), a rocket pack, and an semi-useless ray-gun (considering the impregnable quality of the aliens.). His alien girlfriend and equal, Alanna, seldom left his side. At the very least she inspired Adam Strange to persevere in the face of hopeless odds, so she shares the glory.

On an aside, I agree that this was formula-writing; so was the original "Star Trek" for the matter(which in my opinion cribbed the Adam Strange "endings" quite a bit), but I also second the reviewer who said that Adam Strange was an inspiration and role model for the rest of us. Brains counted! Gardner Fox, an attorney and prolific writer, projected a lot of his ideals and values unto Strange. This character made a difference in my life. Too bad Fox is no longer around to receive my praise and gratitude.

Adam Strange managed, issue after issue, to save an entire civilization/planet using his powers of observation and quick wits. Sadly, Strange--after risking his life--then remained on Rann just long enough to reap a grateful half-kiss from the excellently drawn Alanna before the teleportation zeta-beam effects wore off and sent him back to earth. Why and how writer Fox and his formula tormented Adam Strange (and us) with heartache remains a mystery to this day. But we couldn't wait for the next issue...hoping Strange would remain with Alanna for good (which he finally did).

In this respect, Gardner Fox anticipated the pain of Marvel's superheroes, especially Spiderman.

By the way, before there was "Playboy" my friends and I would gab and speculate hours on end about Strange's female equal, side-kick, and lady-love. What a babe!

The melancholy, if not heart-wrenching, endings certainly prepared a generation emotionally for Sophoclean tragedy, or so it seemed to me when I was in junior high. If you recall the haunting, Adam Strange-like ending from "Shakespeare in Love," you know what I mean. But don't kid yourself, these were love stories in an "acceptable" format for pre-teen and young teen males.

And yes, Adam Strange patented the, "I'll be back" trope long before Arnie ever did...and gave it a tender significance. I am glad Adam Strange is back.

If you enjoyed the Silver Age, Adam Strange is an Archive to treasure. I can't wait for Archive #2.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Finest Archives so far... April 9 2004
By C. Denham - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Wow.
i was waiting and hoping that someday DC would do right for this character and these stories and they have.
i first ran into Infantino stories from reprints in late 60s/early seventies Strange Adventures.
i used to buy beat up copies at the local flea market on the cheap purely for reading material and became hooked by Infantino's slick, fine lined, modernistic style- which for once perfectly complements the characters and milieu, as well as for the tight, fast paced, and very creative scripting.
i quickly realized that Adam Strange stories were just plain fun to read with oodles of wit and a refreshing lack of the usual cheese found in DCs pre-Denny O'Neil/"relevant" work.
While a good chunk of the book (the first 87 pages) features the first stories illustrated by Mike Sekowsky, the Sekowsky on display here looks a little more refined than the Sekowsky that i know from Justice League.
he seems to be operating in a Ross Andru/Al Toth mode, and his page breakdowns look a tad more sophisticated, and his anatomy less clunky.
not bad, but once the Infantino work kicks in the book really soars.
i've purchased about 10 of the archives so far- there is a ton of great work reprinted in these from Jack Cole to Joe Kubert, CC Beck to Gil Kane, Reed Crandell, Jack Burnley, etc but the work here- both story and art, puts this book at the top of the heap for me.
i agree- Vol 2 can't come soon enough!!!!!
just one request, if anyone from DC is listening- how about collecting the Gil Kane Batgirl back-ups form the late 60s/early 70s Detective Comics?
great work in there, would be a shame to let them gather dust in the vaults.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Archives so far! March 29 2004
By Patrick K. Birkmeyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Of all the characters in the DC Mythos, Adam Strange is one of the most endearing. He has no super powers, yet he is a super hero. He has a combination of Jet Rocket flying (like Commando Cody); teleportation to his work site via Zeta Beam (like John Carter to Barsoom); and lots of cleverness and brains to work through those everyday drab problems that menace his planet (smarts like Batman). He has a REAL girlfriend (dare I say 'lover'?) as an equal in every adventure, so there is a romantic twist in every story.
What more could you want?
Well, there is a LOT more. The stories, for the most part, are fantasticly scripted by that master Gardner Fox. And the artwork-- ah yes, the artwork! As the series evolved so did the art! It started with covers by Gil Kane and interior pencils and inks by Sachs and Sekowsky, (later of Justice League of America fame). Then in came Carmine Infantino. While this improved the artwork immensely while his pencils were being inked by Joe Giella and sometime Bernie Sachs, it was when the brilliant Murphy Anderson stepped in to embellish the flamboyish Infantino that comic book art hit it's zenith. Once those two also started doing the covers, Adam Strange adventures became something to treasure whenever they hit the comic book racks. It was, and is to this day, inspirational.
This first archive of Adam Strange starts with his appearances in Showcase, and then his evolution as the recurring and starring character in Mystery in Space. For the most part in this archive, all of the stories are about nine pages in length, so there are a LOT of stories here. Gardner Fox practically drove many youngsters to desire previous issues they may have missed, because it would seem that each story had at least ONE back reference to a previously published story; and if you missed it, you were not getting the entire idea of what was going on! This only made us youngsters collect every Adam Strange story they could, and may have been the start of the comic-collecting days in our society!! So to have these first stories collected in one place is like finishing a puzzle you put down 40 years ago because you lost a few pieces. Very satisfying.
Towards the end of the archive you will see Adam Strange as what he will be remembered as; heroic, brave, smart, well-drawn, and always under control. Not one of those 'retcon' figures.
Here's hoping that the DC Archives publishes volume two soon! Many of us have been waiting YEARS just for this one; don't make us wait too much longer for the next one!!!
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