Thursday, June 4, 2015

Free OSR Post Apocalyptic Comic Book Resource As Alternative Old School Campaigns

With the release of the trailer for
 Fallout four  video in the last couple of days there's been post apocalyptic fever in the air.  Couple this with the film Mad Max Fury Road's success at the box office and it a perfect storm of OSR  post apocalyptic madness. Trey over at the Sorcerer's Skull blog has been plugging into this vibe already with a host of comic book and graphic novel resources. But I can hear you saying its at least another week till payday and I need a fix for this retro future weirdness right now. No worries I've got you covered with a boat load of public domain pre and post apocalyptic resources courtesy of the Internet archive. 
Grab It For Free Right Over

This is a rather tasty download with all eight issues of Atomic Attack in the mix plus a couple of extras like Captain Marvel Adventures Issue 66, Charlton Premier #2 Children of Doom (and the most phallic rocket ship in comic book history),If an a bomb fell (makes a great player hand out that the PC's find letting them know right away what their in for), Planet of the Apes Power record (more inspirational reading & listening), The H bomb and You ( always a good one to stick into that bunker or fallout shelter with skeletons).
For years I've been pulling from these comic books for Metamorphosis Alpha 1st edition, Gamma World 1st & 2nd edition, and most recently the Mutant Future or my own DYI Advanced D&D 1st edition home brew. And there are a wide variety of uses and reasons for this. Number one is the easy of use with things like the original Planet of the Apes films that have the 'BOMB' as the center point for their backdrop. Couple this with all of the alternative WW III Earth's from Star Trek and you can see that this is an easy campaign  side slip. These are not very politically correct and its easy to see that players that are history buffs are going to be in for a shock when they realize just how twisted some of these retro future alternative Earth's and time lines are. 

A bit of background on the company that put out Atomic Attack, Youthful comics were an interesting company according to Wiki:
  "Youthful (also known as Youthful Magazines) was an American comic book publisher that operated from 1949–1954. The company was owned by attorney Bill Friedman[1] and his wife Sophie, with Bill holding the title of Publisher. Comics editor Sol Cohen (possibly with help from financier Harry Donenfeld) helped launch Youthful.The company specialized in non-superhero titles, instead focusing on horror, Western, humor, and romance comics. Notable titles published by Youthful included the Western titles Gunsmoke, Indian Fighter, and Redskin (later known as Famous Western Badmen); the science fiction/horror series Captain Science (later known as Fantastic, Beware, and Chilling Tales), and the humor title Jackpot. Altogether, the company only published ten distinct titles, with many series changing their name and continuing the numbering of the previous title.

Doug Wildey (yes of Johhny Quest fame!) was the company's lead cartoonist, with work published in virtually all their titles. Other notable creators associated with Youthful included Bill FraccioHarry HarrisonPat MasulliDon PerlinWally WoodGraham Ingels, Ed Goldfarb, Henry Kiefer, and Manny Stallman.
Youthful's first title was Gunsmoke, which debuted Apr./May 1949 and ran until 1952. Youthful acquired the Pix-Paradetitle Youthful Hearts in 1952, continuing its numbering under the new title Daring Confessions until 1953. The Youthful titles Attack and Beware were acquired by Trojan Magazines in 1952, which continued their numbering. Youthful, in turn, renamed the titles Atomic Attack and Chilling Tales, respectively, also continuing the numbering. The company was mostly finished by 1953, with only Jackpot continuing until 1954 (its final issue cover-dated May)." 

When we are reading these comic books we are not talking about our world at all here. These places offer a myriad of atomic wastelands where a DM can stick any number of weird mutant horrors or strange life forms. They also offer a ton of ideas for weird weapon systems, artifacts, relics, etc.  and are a perfect place to stick your old school retro tech sci fi devices.  They also offer a nice change up for a science fantasy or fantasy party of adventurers to visit. They make excellent worlds to park your space craft from Star Ships and Spacemen second edition in orbit as well. Alien enough to have the weirdness factor or as living museums to really bring home the strangeness of the event. 

Now with all of that Children of Doom from Charlton comics  takes a very special note  for this download.  It has a special place in my heart, and this issue was one of my favorites, Dick Giordano the editor must have seen something very special in this dark fable of the post apocalytpic wasted future. Denny O'Neil (writing as Sergius O'Shaugnessy) and Pat Boyette's Children of Doom is a tale of alternative history, post apocalyptic time travel, and cautionary tale all rolled into one..
It also has some very compelling characters that make excellent NPC's. My most recent excursion into this darkly interesting tale had some of the denizens from Lamentations of the Flame Princess's 
The Lusus Naturae. Some of the oozing implied dimensional jumping hi jinks inferred from the writing of Raphel Chandler  & the weirdly twisted artwork of Genifer Bone for the characters  in this book make this a marriage made in hell. The world and time line of Children of Doom is just the sort of place that these horrors would be interested in. 
Given the incredibly weird yet tragic Outer Limits vibe of the story PC's who got involved were immediately compelled to try and save this world as one of the vile villains of Lusus Naturae is busy twisting the timelines and histories to their black heart's content. I let the players read this tale and its instant righteous anger and quick involvement on the player's part. Now given the great black and white artwork, science fictional elements of the tale and the characterizations of cast of characters this is really a no brainer to get the PC's involved. One thing that Lusus Naturae got right is the interweaving of its monster's into each other's lives and their weird as well as twisted dysfunctional interactions. A bit that I've played with while using Children of Doom from Charlton's story line for this.
You can read more of Children of Doom over at the  Diversions of the Groovy Kind blog  if you don't want to wait for the free download. I don't want to get into too much of the on going story line of what's happening with the cast of The Lusus Naturae book. Because I've got to DM this game tomorrow night and my players read this blog! 

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