A Tribute to the of






Much ink, or electrons, perhaps, has been expended lately in the comic fan press about the Jack Kirby estate case that has been appealed to the Supreme Court. Apparently, if the Supremes decide to hear the case, it could have seismic effects on all entertainment based on copyright issues, who gets them, who doesn’t, etc., etc. I’ve read enough of it to have sort of a grasp and there are legion out there who are armchair attorneys, but it could certainly prove to be interesting, provided it gets that far. I give the Kirby heirs full marks for tenacity, despite being repeatedly shot down and there are so many complicating factors, such as if the case is tried in New York it may not mean the same thing in California and if this circuit made an error and gets overturned, then this could mean… It gets a little complex.

I don’t have a dog in the fight and don’t count myself among the rabid (and I do mean rabid) supporters of the King, meaning I like to think that while I hope justice is served, some of these folks are squarely on the lunatic fringe. Just bring up “Kirby” and they go into passionate paroxysms. I’ve never dared to tread there, but I understand some huge dust-ups have been known to happen on the Yahoo Kirby discussion board.

Me? I’d rather enjoy the work of The King and while I’m true blue loyal to DC, so the offerings are fewer and further between, you can often find an overlooked gem, which is what I believe I have with this particular edition of the Silver Age Sage.

Before it became strictly a horror anthology, the House of Mystery, while still an anthology book, often contained just strange adventure type stories, heavy on the science fiction angle. One of those was the cover feature of House of Mystery #85 from April of 1959. Edited by not only Jack Schiff, but with associate editing by Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan, we enjoy a Jack Kirby cover for “The Sentinels of Giant Island!” Jack also handles interiors and unfortunately our scripter’s identity is currently lost to the ages.

Things begin innocently enough (don’t they always?) when a seafaring vessel, on a scientific mission in the Pacific spot an uncharted island with three stone heads that look remarkably like those on Easter Island. The ship drops anchor to investigate and the first odd thing they notice is the pooled saltwater and marine vegetation, leading them to the conclusion that the reason it’s not been charted is that it has only recently emerged from the ocean.

Soon they notice a huge stone tablet with strange engraving on it. Professor Spears sets to work to decipher it while the other crewmembers go to get a closer look at the carved heads. (You know where this is going, right?) Then, to their great surprise, one of the heads begins to move and it then emerges from the ground with a full body, though not in scale to its double-sized head. Naturally, it begins to chase the crewmen, who find refuge in a handy crevice.

Spears, meanwhile, found an alternate entrance and reveals to his shipmates that according to the inscription, these are giant stone sentinels, left behind by an alien race from outer space. “This island was once part of the mainland! Centuries ago, a space ship landed, and the party built a dome-covered base here! They left the inscription, for any who might see it, then departed…and never returned for some reason! The purpose of the great sentinels was to protect the party from prehistoric beasts!

The scientist further explains that they’re powered by starlight and are designed to pursue any living creature. Then, in the next moment, they see their pursuer head to the shore, where it lifts a stranded Great Blue Whale from the shallows and flings it out to sea.

While it is preoccupied, the men decide they must reach the base below the surface or they’re never going to get off this island. They head for the top of a nearby mountain in an effort to ward off their antagonist. Using a hastily procured lever, they set up an avalanche, but it has no effect on the amazing stone creature.

Using classic tactics, they split up into two groups, one as a decoy and the other to bolt below the surface to get at the base and the controls that may help them. So as Professor Spears and Harry reach the alien base below the surface, poor Morgan and Drew are growing weary from running and then, naturally, the other two sentinels claw their way out to make things even more treacherous.

Before doom ensues, however, Spears and Harry find the control panel they’re searching for and manage to activate something that releases clouds of smoke that block the light from reaching the sentinels, freezing them in place. Hastily, they board their vessel just as they feel some tremors as the island begins to sink again below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. They are safe and the fantastic alien creations are submerged forever, ending this 7 page adventure.

This story, while predating some of Jack Kirby’s most notable work, contained some of his signature techniques, to include Kirby machinery, imaginative angles to heighten the action and some big, stone creatures that could have easily been a nice warm-up for The Thing later on.

Pretty good stuff and apparently good enough that the story has seen reprints twice, once in DC Special #11 [March-April, 1971] and also in the Jack Kirby Omnibus. I’ll give this short story a solid 7 on the 10-point rating scale and I’m sure any fan of Jack will enjoy it. Long Live the King!

As always a new review will be here on the 15th of July, so be sure to swing by then. The webmaster and I have an unabated passion for silver mining and enjoy hosting our readers. If you’ve got feedback of any kind, fire off a message. You know the address, but just in case: professor_the@hotmail.com is the place.

See you next time and...

Long live the Silver Age!



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