Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Alex Toth's Land Unknown

THE LAND UNKNOWN, a comic book adaptation of a science fiction lost world movie of the '50s, is another of my favorite silver age comic books. The movie may be "B", but the comic book is "A", based on artwork by Alex Toth.

Dell's Movie Comics were produced well ahead of a movie's release, so writers usually worked from an early version of the script. I don't remember the movie so I can't tell you any differences in the story. The most noticeable is that Toth didn't attempt to draw the actors' faces.

The 15¢ price on the cover was a marketing test by Dell to see if they could raise the price of their comics. They would put the higher price on copies sold in certain areas of the country, then compare sales figures. There was much resistance from comic buyers to a price hike. Western Publishing, which produced the comics for Dell, didn't officially raise their price to 15¢ until other publishers raised their prices over a decade later.

THE LAND UNKNOWN, Dell Four Color #845. Copyright © 1957 Universal Pictures Corporation, Inc.


  1. I've never had much of desire to watch this movie but man do I want own this comic. Toth's work in beautiful as usual!

  2. Wow. What can you say about that? Masterful storytelling on every level.

  3. Toth was a master storyteller. I've not seen this story before now. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Thanks for the comments. When I look at this comic I know that I'm looking at an artist in total control of the medium.

  5. Actually I think Toth references the characters from the film quite well, even if he does not attempt a photographic likeness. And while he vastly improves on the 'man in a suit' dinosaurs, details like the design of Hunter's boat are true to the movie.


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