Book of the Day - 5/25/04

Starstream #3 1976

- Overstreet 2006 (9.2) NM- Price: $16 -



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One of the great aspects about comics collecting is no matter how much you think you know about the hobby, something always shows up to surprise you.  I don't want to sound like I'm boasting but over the years I've become pretty confident that I've either seen or know of all the Bronze Age comics released by the major publishers of the day.  I've learned though that no matter how confident you think you are there's always another issue or title that shows up to humble you.  Starstream is one of those issues....

The Book of the Day today is Starstream #3 released in 1976 by Western Publishing.  Costing 79 cents for 68 pages and cardstock covers, I'd never heard of Starstream before finding a copy on eBay.  The title featured original comic adaptations of short stories by noted science fiction authors; some originally collected in the Sci-Fi pulps that were popular from the 1930s to the 1960s.  Issue #3 featured stories by Theodore Sturgeon, A. E. Van Vogt, Jack Williamson, Harry Dawes, and Anne McCaffrey.  The stories adapted in this issue are:

"Born of the Sun" by Jack Williamson.  Adapted by Ed Summer with art by Don Heck, best known for his 1960s Marvel work particularly on the Avengers.  Story originally appeared in Astounding Stories in 1934.

"A Day in the Life of the Moon" by Harry Dawes.  Story by Harry Dawes with art by long time Gold Key artist Frank Bolle.  This was an original story.

The classic "Microcosmic God" by Theodore Sturgeon.  Adapted by Arnold Drake, co-creator of DC's Doom Patrol, with gorgeous art by Adolfo Buylla.  Copyright originally owned by Street & Smith Publications but renewed by Sturgeon in 1967. 

"Last Voyage of the Albatross" by A. E. Van Vogt.  Adapted by George Kashdan, former DC and Western Publications editor and writer, with art by A. Williams.  Story originally appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1942.

"The Crystal Singer" by Anne McCaffrey.  Adapted by Dan Weiss with art, again, by Frank Bolle.  Story originally appeared as Milekey Mountain from the Crystal Singer trilogy.

The fact this title eluded me for years is still puzzling but one explanation may be that it likely never made it to normal comic racks.  The format is identical to Western's Enterprise Logs that were also released in 1976 and contained reprints from the Gold Key Star Trek series.  I do remember these as only being found racked with paperback books at drug and book stores.  Also, Starstream is listed as running 4 issues and all four covers are advertised on the back cover of #3 as being available for sale, suggesting that all 4 were on the shelves at the same time.  More typical of book stores than comic racks.

I can't recommend this issue highly enough.  Back issues collectors are very aware of the lack of true science fiction comics during the Bronze Age.  Starstream delivers this genre quite well and is a welcome surprise.

Also of note, after acquiring issues #3 and #4, I bought #1 from an internet dealer.  After arriving, I noticed that the issue has #3's cover but #1's interior.  The title doesn't have issue markings on the cover so be aware that at least some of the covers and interiors may not match.  The first issue though has a great adaptation of John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There", the story that was the basis for the 1951 movie "The Thing (From Another World)" and, more faithfully, John Carpenter's 1982 remake.  Great stuff....