Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Jack Oleck Stories in Three Atlas Titles

Writer Jack Oleck came to Atlas right around the time the Comics Code was instituted, in 1955. His output there was steady but not prolific; his average on the fantasy titles wasn't much more than a story an issue.

Here are a couple of the titles that started up at the beginning of the Code era, and one that started later. Around the beginning of 1959 the writing was being turned over to pretty much Larry Lieber (with Stan Lee), leading into the monster era. Oleck had no stories in the newest titles, Strange Worlds or Tale to Astonish, and only this one in Tales of Suspense. World of Suspense ended with #8; World of Fantasy continued to #19 in 1959 with no more from Oleck.

Tales of Suspense 1

Jack Oleck scripts
in World of Fantasy

Jul/56 #2  One Night
Nov/      #4  The Only Clue
Jan/57  #5  Back to the Lost City
May/      #7  Someone in the Flames
Feb/58  #10  The Secret Men
Jun/      #12  The Next World
Oct/      #14  Lost in the City That Didn't Exist
The Mole Mystery
Dec/      #15  Mystery of the Mountain
Strange Doings in Cell 4-B

in World of Suspense

Aug/56 #3  The Man Who Couldn't Be Touched
Oct/      #4  Something Is in This House
Dec/      #5  Menace Below
Feb/57  #6  Come into My Parlor
Foster's Fear
Apr/     #7  The World's Strangest Crime
The Lost Island
Jul/      #8  Prisoner of the Ghost Ship

in Tales of Suspense

Jan/59 #1  The Day I Left My Body


  1. Has anyone ever compiled a list of Oleck's "twice-told" tales? I seem to recall he recycled quite a few stories during his career.

  2. I'd love to see a list like that myself. When I was reading the DC horror books in the 70s Oleck's TV-"inspired" stories jumped out at me, but aside from the Old Man story at EC/Atlas/Prize/Harvey/Harvey Thrillers reprint/DC, I haven't recognized all that many of his reworkings of 50s comic book stories.

  3. Martin, the stories in 1958 were inventoried, completely drawn stories. The 1959 story was an orphaned script drawn con temporarily in 1959. Given that there were well over 20 orphaned Carl Wessler scripts at the time of the Atlas implosion in the spring of 1957, it stands to reason there would be similar from other writers who were contributing to these titles.

  4. Doc, it's interesting to compare that situation of the anthology titles with the hero titles (i.e., the Westerns) that survived the implosion. Joe Gill's final stories had to be printed right away to fill Kid Colt and Two-Gun Kid, and give Stan a two-issue breather before writing them himself (credited, of course). I haven't yet found any inventory Gill stories at Atlas as late as those Oleck ones, probably because the number of titles Gill was writing for wasn't slashed like the ones for which Oleck and Wessler were unknowingly creating an inventory pile-up.