Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Time for the story everybody remembers from Roy Thomas' brilliant but much-too short lived anthology book Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction ie. War Toy!
This absolute classic started basically as a way for Roy Thomas to give Mike Kaluta some work at Marvel. Here's The Rascally One: "Michael walked into office one day and told me he'd like to do a robot painting for the cover of UWOSF....I'd had this idea floating around in the back of my head for a long while-a view of the Iwo Jima scene, only taking place on the moon instead of Earth, and with a robot in place of John Wayne. Couldn't shake the image-so I gave Mike the go-ahead. And having a cover scene now, we figured we might as well have a story to go with it."
The job, of course, went to Tony ( The Tiger ) Isabella who, by the magic of ripping off quotes from back issue's of, er, Back Issue, now gives his reminiscence of War Toy: "It all started with a Roy Thomas idea for a cover...and Roy's great line about not being able to pin a medal on a tank. I had three goals in mind for War Toy. I wanted to draw a parallel to the way societies often turn their backs on the men and women who fight for them. I wanted to do a homage of sorts to the war stories Robert Kanigher had written for Our Army At War during that DC title's heyday. And I wanted to kick off a series of 'robots at war' stories for UWOSF. Unfortunately, War Toy was the only story that made it out of my typewriter."
Still, this is an absolute masterpiece all by itself, with a great early job from George Perez, with beautifully sympathetic inking courtesy of Rico Rival. Plus very few characters ever get as great a death scene or final line as our metallic hero FM-1 gets here.
Trivia buffs take note, Betty Curtis, the ballsy reporter in the story is named after Maggie (Comics Buyer's Guide) Thompson's mum, and FM-1's "dad" General Arkay is Robert Kanigher.