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Comic books (Comics)/Irony taught by a comic book


Sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s, I read a comic book that really taught me the lesson of irony. I was only about 10 years old, and I don't recall the name of the comic. The story involved a man who stole the secret of a gas that could make him shrink, while another gas could restore him to normal. The setting may have been a monastery and his plan was conquest, but I'm not sure. The gases were contained in stoppered flasks. After dispatching his adversary the monk  (or whatever he was) inhaled the shrinking gas to see if it worked. Ironically, he waited too long and shrank so much he was unable to unstopper the antidote. The story ends with him shrinking to nothingness. I would love to know the name of the comic,story title, year of publication, and if this comic book is for sale. Thank you for your help. Sincerely, Max Raymond

Hi Max,

I apologize for the lateness of this response. I have tried hard to find this comic book by asking people in relevant Facebook groups, but it is an almost impossible task. The fifties and sixties had literally thousands of anthology suspense comics (several stories in each issue) containing this type of stories, and with the success of a movie like The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), rip-off stories about shrinking men in the comic books were legion. Just consider Ant-Man, who had his own long-running title, Tales to Astonish, in the early sixties.

The story you're looking for doesn't sound like an Ant-Man story, though, and the closest I've been able to narrow it down to is the story in Weird Science #1 from EC Comics. This is a story in which a man who is shrinking down through different world after different world (atoms being solar systems) is relaying his story to a pshychologist while he is slowly shrinking through our world. By the end, he has shrinked to nothingness on the way to the next sub-atomic world. This story, however, does not contain a monastery or stoppered flasks, so if you remember it correctly, this is probably not the story you're thinking of. But again, this type of stories were a dime a dozen back then. It's a real needle in a haystack kind of thing. Do keep in mind, however, that memory is a tricky thing, and some of the details you think you remember could have been erroneously constructed over the years! So, finding that particular story is a difficult task indeed.

- Tue Sorensen

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Tue Sørensen


I can answer questions about the *contents* of most superhero and sci-fi comics (and also fantasy/sword'n'sorcery like Elfquest and Conan the Barbarian) and also about the writers and artists, but not about the *condition* of your comics (i.e. I will not grade your comics or evaluate their value). I am very knowledgable about American comics in general, esp. Marvel, but also DC and indies. I cannot answer questions about Japanese manga comics, which I know very little about. The majority of my expertise spans from comics published between 1960 and 2000, but if you have questions about before or after those dates, I probably know enough to find the info you need.


I was an avid comic book collector from the early 1980s to around 2000 (and have still been buying little bits and pieces thereafter), and I still have my collection of 18,000+ comics, incl. some European ones (I hail from Denmark). I have been an active participant in comics fandom; I have written about comics in fanzines, APAzines, magazines and letter columns, and worked briefly in a comic shop (would love to have done that as a career, but here in Denmark we only have a couple of shops, so that opportunity is hard to come by). I have also attempted to write scripts for comics based on my own ideas - projects which I'm still working on.

I have studied Biology, English and history at university level.

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