There were over 130 issues published between 1959 and 1962 by Atlas Comics involving big monsters of some sort.
After the death of Joe Maneeley – when Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko returned to Atlas – the company published supernatural and science fiction stories in titles like World of Fantasy, Tales to Astonish, Tales of Suspense, Strange Worlds, Strange Tales and Amazing Adventures. Issues had 4 or 5 short stories. Typically, they involved alien invasions, time travel, futuristic space travel, occasional weird supernatural tales and, of course, big monsters!
The craze for big monsters had bubbled away through the 1950s generated by movies like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956), From Hell It Came (1957) and The Giant Behemoth (1959) as well as the alien invasion movies of the same period like The Thing from Another World (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
So many of the Atlas Comics monster stories of this period are a delight to read. They’re usually short: mostly 5 pages or so. Later on we see longer, three-part tales. Most – but not all – are drawn by Kirby. Monsters tend to be either alien invaders, creatures created by atomic testing or artificial intelligences controlling giant robots. They clearly respond to post-war anxieties about technological progress and the Soviet threat.
Reading all the monster comics of this period is a challenge (they can be found in various Marvel Masterworks and Ominbus editions). Here are 16 issues that give a flavour of this type of comic:
- Strange Worlds #3 (April 1959): The Creature from Planet X (drawn by Sinnott, cover by Kirby)
- World of Fantasy #18 (June 1959): Xom! The Menace from Outer Space!
- Strange Tales #70 (August 1959): The Spinx
- Tales of Suspense #8 (March 1960): Monstroso
- Tales to Astonish #8 (March 1960): Mummex
- Strange Tales #75 (June 1960): Taboo, the Thing from the Murky Swamp
- Tales to Astonish #11 (September 1960): Monstrom, the Dweller in the Black Swamp
- Tales of Suspense #13 (January 1961): Elektro
- Tales of Suspense #15 (March 1961): Goom, the Thing from Planet X
- Tales to Astonish #17 (March 1961): Vandoom, He Who Made a Creature
- Amazing Adventures #1 (June 1961): Torr
- Tales to Astonish #20 (June 1961): X, the Thing That Lived
- Strange Tales #88 (September 1961): Zzutak, the Worst Menace the Workd Has Ever Known
- Strange Tales #89 (October 1961): Fin Fang Foom
- Tales to Astonish #25 (November 1961): The Creature from Krogarr