Every now and then I stumble across an old gem of a comic book series (like Cowboy Sahib) that just thrills me. One of those series was the old American Comic Group anthology title Space Adventures. The series had some pretty bizarre stories in it that from the script and art made me think these were actually reprints or unpublished tales from the 1940s. Very quickly though, the stories evolved from goofy pulp adventure Flash Gordon space operas to tales more in line with the house style seen in the science fiction genre EC Comics of the era.
One of those tales was Transformation, published in Space Adventures #7 (July 1953), a story about an ill-fated rocket trip to the planet Mars. While the author is uncredited, Transformation was drawn by Dick Giordano, a name that may be familiar to comic book fans. Dick Giordano is most remembered as working for decades for DC Comics variously as editor, penciller and inker (most notable on the work of Neal Adams, for which he was well-suited). But Dick Giordano had a comics career long before his tenure with DC with companies like Charlton and was a prolific illustrator.
It is in the story Transformation that you first see Giordano’s art evolving past the somewhat economical efforts of the previous issues he contributed to. The layouts are good for early Giordano though as to be expected because of the market, they are reminiscent here and there of the art style of many EC publications. You can find out more about the career of Dick Giordano at Wikipedia. The climax of Transformation is pretty well telegraphed and could be guessed by anyone above the age of 12 years old or anyone who has ever seen an episode of the Twilight Zone television show, but it is still a classic read.