Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ray Cummings Writes Captain America

Ray Cummings, once a secretary/assistant to Thomas Edison, wrote science fiction and horror for the pulp magazines, beginning with The Girl in the Golden Atom in 1919 and on to around 1950. One novel, The Exile of Time, was reprinted by Ace Books in 1965 with a new cover painting by 1940s Captain America cover artist Alex Schomburg—appropriately enough, since Cummings had scripts in some of those Cap issues.

Cummings is credited with "The Princess of the Atom" in Captain America Comics, but without his actual name mentioned—the coming attraction in issue 24 just calls him the author of Girl in the Golden Atom. "The Princess of the Atom" two-parter uses the basic situation of "Girl in the Golden Atom"—miniaturizing into an atom world by means of a drug—but otherwise is a new plot.

The noticeable style characteristic on "Princess" that led me to the first of the other stories is "Oh migosh."

Cap 25 Princess--'Oh migosh'

He's known to have written Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch too, but so far, concentrating on Cap, I have yet to run across any stories of those characters by him. Another pass through the Caps may well find more Cummings stories.

Ray Cummings scripts on Captain America

Apr/43 25  The Princess of the Atom
May/     26  The Princess of the Atom Part II
June/     27  North of the Border
Aug/     29  The King of the Dinosaurs
The Case of the Phantom Engineer
The Case of the Headless Monster
Sep/     30  The House of the Laughing Death

on Captain America in All Winners

Win/43-44 11  The Case of the Yellow Fire Monster

on Captain America in U.S.A. Comics

Sep/43 10  The Cylinder of Death


  1. In the "for what it's worth" department: rumor mill has it that his daughter Elizabeth (Betty) Star Cummings Hill ghosted a lot of his comic work for him. There are lots of text pages credited to her in the late 40s to early 50s, but as far as I know no actual credited comic stories. Apparently she did go with him to his meetings with editors.

  2. If she ghosted "Princess of the Atom" for him, then she wrote all these stories. Is she supposed to have ghosted his prose in the Forties too?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Blogspot obviously doesn't like me. They didn't post what I wrote a week ago, and cut off another post today - My source was an interview with a Timely staffer who was around at the time. However I asked somewhat was exchanged letters with Hill. he (MA) says she didn't say anything about her ghosting, and apparently no one around in SF fandom at the time (1940s) recalls hearing anything about it. So it's just comics' office gossip, without any other sort of proof. Hey, I did say that info was from the rumor mill.

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