Monday, April 09, 2007

More Newtons: Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction

Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction would, like Deadly Hands Of Kung-Fu, outlast the Newton imprint and continue on with other Australian companies, at times reprinting the same material. Only three issues of Unknown worlds were produced, and if you look it might appear as only two as the first issue only bore the title 'Science Fiction'. However it is accepted that this book is the first issue.

The first issue was also the source of one of Newtons exercises in contra. The comic was distributed around the first ever AussieCon in exchange for (I expect) free advertising in the Sunday Observer newspaper. If anyone can verify this (the Melbourne State Library don't answer my emails) then it'd be greatly appreciated. As several thousand of the first issue were produced it remains a common Newton to find.


Date: August 1975

Savage World by Wally Wood & Al Williamson (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #1)
Hey Buddy, Can You Lend Me A… by Mike Kaluta (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #1)
Specimen by Bruce Jones (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #2)
Encounter At War by Jan Strand & Rich Corben (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #4)

The cover for this book is a variation on the standard Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction (USA) #1.

The first issue of this book was released to co-incide with the first ever AussieCon. As I was about eight at the time and having a very traumatic year (believe it or not - I still carry the physical scars from a car accident so serious it near killed me - at the age of 8!), I didn't go to the AussieCon. Recently Kevin Patrick wrote about the convention, both on a forum an in email; "Aussiecon was a science-fiction convention held in Melbourne probably around 1975," says Kevin. "It was the first time the World Science Fiction Convention (as I think it was called) ever came to Australia, and one of the few occasions it wasn't hosted in the USA. A second 'Aussiecon' event was also held in Melbourne, probably around 1985/86. I remember being old enough (and interested enough!) to go to that event myself, as I was writing a comics review column for a West Australian sci-fi/role-playing game fanzine at the time, and I caught up the editor there.

"The first comic convention held in Australia was ComiCon, staged in Melbourne around mid-1979. It was organised by the present-day owner of Alternate Worlds comic shop, Joe Italiano.

"The Newton Comic edition of Unknown Worlds of Science-Fiction was actually published to coincide with AussieCon 1975, which was the 1st time the World Science Fiction Convention was held outside of the USA - and I doubt there was very little, if any, comics coverage in the AussieCon programme (I went to the 2nd AussieCon convention in 1985, again held in Melbourne, but I don't recall a significant comics presence there, either.)" You can read more about the AussieCon here.


Date: February 1976

The Day Of The Triffids by Gerry Conway, Gene Colan, Ross Andru & Ernie Chau (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #1)
Smash Gordon by Frank Brunner (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #1)
The Hunter And The Hunted by Mike Kaluta (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #2)

By the time the second issue of the comic came out things had changed. This book uses the entire Triffids story and appears to have been another way Newton could dump the rest of the stock that they had on hand. The entire line had been canceled and this issue appears to be one of those 'rush it together and get the existing stock out there as fast as possible' types of Newton. The front cover suffers from probably the poorest reproduction values on a Newton and the contents come from only two issues of the USA version of the magazine.


Date: mid to late 1976

Old Soldier by Bruce Jones (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #3)
The Star-Magi by Tony Isabella, Gene Colan & Frank Chiarmonte (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #3)
Not Long Before The End by Doug Moench & Vicente Alcazar (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #3)
"Repent, Harlequin!” Said The Ticktockman by Roy Thomas & Alex Nino (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #3)
The Snow Glass Prologue/Epilogue by Tony Isabella, Gene Colan & Frank Chiarmonte (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #3)
Behold The Man by Doug Moench & Alex Nino (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #6)
Mind Games by John Allison (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #6)
Visitation by Don Glut & Ruben Yandoc (Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction #6)

Again, this is yet another cover that appears to be exclusive to the Newton line (although I'll happily stand corrected) as I've not seen it before on any USA magazine. For the most part it appears to be a montage of several images.

And with this entry we have now covered the entire output of the 1970s Australian comic book company, Newton Comics. It won't stop here though as I'll be going through each and every entry over the coming weeks, adding what needs to be added and making sure it's all in the right order. There's also a hell of a lot of information out there that's begging to be uncovered, plus more people to be interviewed. Keep watching this blog for more as it arrives. Mind you if anyone out there ever worked for Newton and wants to share their memories or experiences then by all means get in touch and we'll go from there. Remain anonymous, it's all the same to me, but get that stuff out there.


robert thomas said...

Daniel, just noting that you have the contents description for Sci -Fi 2# and 3# in the reverse order.

Also would note the poster for #2 is a black and white Flash Gordon(?)drawing. I'm not sure who the artist is but at a guess I would say Mike Kaluta or Bruce Jones.

What strikes me about these reprints is how adult the strips are compared to the usual Marvel Super-hero kiddie stuff.

The "Specimen" story in #1 depicts a voluptuous female prisoner in skimpy see-thru nipple-revealing under-garments, trying to seduce her jailer.

Issue #2 depicts a naked Dale bathing in a pool of blood!

These issues would have been quite the eye-opener for the kids (and parents) - wonder if they ever ended up in showbags?!

Danny said...

Yep, fixed it. That'd be my copy of Excell playing silly buggers.

I think the poster, which I missed, is by Al Williamson.