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C) New Atlas Era Masterworks

After a bit of a slow start in 2006 and 2007, with only two volumes coming out in each year, the Atlas Era Masterworks line has really taken flight in 2008! The Atlas Era is full of all sorts of genres, including Monsters, Horror, Crime, War, Teen Comics, Models, Romance, and even a few super-heroes! But it's clearly most famous for it's monsters and it's short super-hero run. This has been proven not only by fan voting and comments, but also by the releases themselves. Of the first seven AE volumes, five are from the monster/horror genre, and the other two are from more familiar super hero territory. The most significant development (besides the ramped up schedule) over the past year was the release of Strange Tales Vol. 1. Some people wondered if it might start with the more familiar Kirby monster era, but the first volume collected issues #1-10, in all of their pre-comics code glory. Obviously, we can expect Journey Into Mystery to also start at the beginning too. Now that the AE line has been firmly established, will fans continue to vote for the familiar horror titles and superhero volumes, or will they venture into stranger ground? Scroll down for this year's Atlas Era results:

PLEASE NOTE: Some Masterworks mockups and content maps may be in need of updating, but they're in the ballpark, so to speak.

#1) Atlas Era Heroes Vol. 3: Sub-Mariner

60% ballot representation

1318 total power points

144 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If?" pop-up page.)

WOW! What a stunning result for the Sub-Mariner! Last time, the Atlas Era Sub-Mariner volume finished in a lowly eighth place. This time, it's all the way up to #1! It not only got the most votes, but it also handily won the race for first-place votes and picked up more power points than any other title too. Obviously, part of the reason for that is that the second AE Heroes volume came out earlier this year, and now people are ready and raring to go for the third volume, which would feature Sub-Mariner's entire run from the 1950's, encompassing issues #33-42. This volume would feature almost entirely Bill Everett art. There's a higher percentage of Bill Everett in this volume than in any of the Golden Age Sub-Mariner volumes. Even better, this was Bill Everett at his absolute best on Sub-Mariner. Namor was his character, and Everett put his permanent stamp on the character with these issues.

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#2) Journey Into Mystery Vol. 1

60% ballot representation

1115 total power points

75 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If" pop-up page.)

Journey Into Mystery moved up one position since last time, but it picked up far more votes along the way. The first horror/monster book in this year's survey is the last of the big four Atlas Era/Marvel Age crossover books waiting to be Masterworked. Journey Into Mystery Vol. 1 is a title that takes us back to the early 1950s Marvel horror. Far different in tone than the later Monster Comics, these anthologies had short stories devoted to the bloody horror and strange suspense that had folks like Wertham in a tizzy! Creators like Russ Heath, Bob Brown, Joe Maneely, Jerry Robinson and John Forte crafted stories about zombies, witches, the walking undead and all kinds of spectral mischief. These incredibly rare issues would be a godsend for hardcore comics fans, and the first such volume should reprint the first ten issues of Journey Into Mystery. Now that we've gotten the first ten issues of Strange Tales, can JIM be far behind?

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#3) Atlas Era Heroes: Black Knight/Yellow Claw

58% ballot representation

1124 total power points

49 first place votes.

Jumping up two spots from the last survey, we see the expected fourth volume of the Atlas Heroes line. This volume combining the Black Knight and the Cold War anti-hero Yellow Claw has moved ahead of the more famous monster titles.

The Black Knight in Masterworks would be a tour de force for Joe Maneely, as he did the vast majority of the art for Black Knight (John Romita and Syd Shores filled in with the rest.) The super-heroics of the Black Knight take place amidst the glory of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and would be a nice genre addition for archival comics collectors.

And the four issues of Yellow Claw would feature more Maneely, but also a heavy dose of Jack Kirby artwork! With Marvel's recent Agents of Atlas series - featuring Yellow Claw - still getting positive buzz, perhaps now is the time for the Asian villain to hit Masterworks!

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#4) Tales to Astonish Vol. 3

50% ballot representation

728 total power points

20 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If" pop-up page.)

Tales To Astonish fell down from the #1 position last time, but that's likely due to the fact that the second TTA volume was due to be released while this survey was actually taking place. TTA was the first Atlas Era Masterworks that we ever got, and now that we've reached the halfway point of the title, I'm sure a lot of people would like to see it quickly move towards it's conclusion.

This third and penultimate volume of Tales To Astonish would reprint issues #21-30, and give us our usual healthy dose of Kirby and Ditko, with a little Heck thrown in on the side for good measure. Monsters such as Moomba, Trull, and the Abominable Snowman should fulfill your recommended minimum daily allowance of giant monsters, but something unusual happened in TTA #27. In the story The Man In The Ant Hill, we see Marvel take a big step on the path that led them out of the Atlas Era and into the Marvel Age of comics!

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#5) Tales of Suspense Vol. 3

50% ballot representation

811 total power points

20 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If" pop-up page.)

Not surprisingly, Tales of Suspense Vol. 3 follows close on the heels of it s sister title. The second volume of TOS was recently solicited for June, and the preview page for said volume can be seen here. Despite that recent news, enough Atlas Era fans still voted for this volume to guarantee it's appearance in the top 6. Very similar in tone to Tales to Astonish, ToS Vol. 3 would reprint issues #21-30, featuring more monster stories by Kirby, Ditko, Heck, and Reinman, with titanic terrors like Klagg, Bruttu, Monstrollo, and Oog! Not to mention the earth-shattering tale of The Martian Who Stole a City!

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#6) Strange Tales Vol. 2

47% ballot representation

713 total power points

15 first place votes.

(Click on image for "What If" pop-up page.)

Rounding out the top 6 is Strange Tales Vol. 2, the last of the four Atlas Era horror/Marvel Age superhero crossover titles. Strange Tales Vol. 1 was one of the most welcome additions to the Masterworks program last year, as it signaled Marvel's intent to reprint this title and Journey Into Mystery in it's entirety, without just skipping ahead to the Kirby issues. This second volume of Strange Tales would feature more of the same from the first, reprinting issues #11-20, with more over-the-top, pre-code shocks and chills. This volume would feature more scares from the likes of Joe Maneely, Gene Colan, Bill Everett, Bernie Krigstein, Werner Roth, and many more!

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Not surprisingly, this year's top 6 was dominated by horror titles and superheroes, just like we've seen on this survey in years past. Perhaps the only surprise was that the Kirby-era monster stuff, which had dominated the very top previously with TTA, TOS and AAF, dropped down just a tiny bit this year, supplanted by material from earlier in the 50's with Sub-Mariner and Journey Into Mystery. AAF, of course, got a massive Omnibus volume last year, which accounts for its drop out of the top 6 in this year's survey. It still got quite a large number of votes though, which suggests that there's a significant size of the Masterworks population out there who won't be satisfied by an Omnibus, but yearn for a Masterwork they can put on their shelves with the rest of their collection.

As you can see, there's a fairly substantial gap between the top 6 books and those from 7th and on down. On with the rest of the Atlas Era Masterworks voting:

07: 33%....Venus Vol. 1 (547 points, 26 first place votes)
08: 30%....Marvel Tales Vol. 1 (426 points, 14 first place votes)
09: 23%....Amazing Adventures/Amazing Adult Fantasy Vol. 1 (444 points, 36 first place votes)
10: 18%....Atlas Era Rawhide Kid Vol. 1 (291 points, 16 first place votes)
11: 18%....Lorna the Jungle Girl Vol. 1 (276 points, 10 first place votes)
12: 15%....Spaceman/Space Squadron Vol. 1 (214 points, 6 first place votes)
13: 15%....Patsy Walker Vol. 1 (218 points, 6 first place votes
14: 12%....Menace Vol. 1 (159 points, 7 first place votes)
15: 11%....Battle Vol. 1 (148 points, 3 first place votes)
16: 07%....Complete Mystery Vol. 1 (85 points, 2 first place votes)
16: 07%....Bible Tales Vol. 1 (110 points, 6 first place votes)
16: 06%....Justice Vol. 1 (75 points, 3 first place votes)

Venus leads up the rest of the pack. Perhaps appropriate considering that she's rumored to lead up the rest of the Atlas Era Heroes line and Sub-Mariner, Black Knight, and Yellow Claw are done. Marvel Tales made a pretty noticable jump from 20% last time up to 30% this time. That's a big jump. Perhaps it can best be explained by the theory that there's a whole lot of Atlas Era horror fans out there, and once the AAF Omnibus came out last year, they found themselves with an extra vote they could use this year, and they used it on the next most likely AE horror candidate, Marvel Tales. It is worth noting, though, that most of the denizens of the bottom part of this survey, like AE Rawhide Kid, Lorna, Spaceman, and Battle, all moved up about 3 or 4 percent from last year. Perhaps now that we've gotten healthier doses of both AE horror and superheroes, a few more people are looking to expand their horizons into newer genres.

Also, Patsy Walker shifted over from the Golden Age into the Atlas Era with this survey. Ironically, she finished with the exact same 15% she got last time in the GA section. Last time, though, she was the first genre title after an onslaught of superheroes. This time, she actually finds herself behind other genre titles, like Lorna and the Rawhide Kid.

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