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The Thrilling Adventure Hour by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker
Edited by Joe LeFavi; Sam Kusek and Dax LaFleur
Cover Artist: Tom Fowler
Review by Gayle Surrette
Archaia Entertainment, LLC Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781936393961
Date: 20 August 2013 List Price $19.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: The Thrilling Adventure Hour / Show Official Info /

Table of Contents

Sparks Nevada Marshal on Mars
   Illustrated by Randy Bishop
Phillip Fathom
   Illustrated by Jeff Stokely
   Colored by André May
The Cross-Time Adventures of Colonel Tick-Tock
   Illustrated by Chris Moreno
   Colored by Heidi Arnhold
Captain Laserbeam
   Illustrated by Lar deSouza
Cactoid Jim, King of the Martian Frontier
   Illustrated by Evan "Doc" Shaner
Jefferson Reid: Ace American
   Illustrated by Evan Larson
Tales of the USSA - United Solar System Alliance
   Illustrated by Natalie Nourigat
Down in Moonshine Holler
   Illustrated by Joanna Estep
Amelia Earhart, fearless flyer
   Illustrated by Joel Priddy
   Colored by Casey Crowe
Beyond Belief
   Illustrated by Tom Fowler
   Colored by Jordie Bellaire
Also included:
Introductions by Patton Oswalt & Ed Brubaker
WorkJuice Intro and Outro
About the Creators
A Special Thank You From Acker & Blacker
The THrilling Adventure Hour was a delight to read. There are pages of ads for things like Coffinwood Whiskey, Patriot Brand Cigarettes, and other over the top brand products. The stories are also wonderfully presented and told tall tales. If you've listen to any of The Thrilling Adventure Hour radio shows or YouTube videos, you'll have an idea of what I'm writing about. This graphic novel of short thrilling tales of adventure and mayhem give the same feeling of old time adventures.

The Stories:

"Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars" -+- Sparks Nevada rescues his native Martian companion just in time for a new adventure of weird gravity anomalies, escaped convicts, possible love interests, and surprising twists and turns. Low on true science but very high on entertainment.

"Phillip Fathom, the Deep Sea Detective" -+- Fathom is a traditional noir detective, contacted about a case only he can solve. He's convinced it is a trap. It is, but not the type of trap a reader would expect. There's a double twist and an exciting puzzle to solve. Some nice snappy dialogue that really sets the tone for the story and the artwork.

"Colonel Tick-Tock" -+- He's an officer of the Chrono Patrol helping to keep events on track. But, someone is toying with the time stream and it's up to Colonel Tick-Tock to save the day, or is it all of history.

"Captain Laserbeam" -+- Captain Laserbeam and his crew of young fans band together to fight crime and some pretty inept, but none the less, supervillains. A nice retro feel to this story and artwork to match.

"Cactoid Jim, King of the Martian Frontier" -+- Jim fights crime on Mars as he wanders across the surface on his robot horse with only his honesty, determination, strong sense of justice, and a memory for facts to help him defeat the enemies of the various groups he comes across in his travels. Very much a wild west feel among the desolate landscape of Mars.

"Jefferson Reid, Ace American" -+- Reid has lost his boy sidekick and he's being asked to replace him with a girl this time. When the dead return to attack the living, Reid and his new girl sidekick have to save the country. There's some interesting twists to this shakedown adventure before good triumphs over evil.

"Tales of the USSA" -+- This story has the tag line, "We fill the empty void of space with our humanity." The captain of the ship has to negotiate with a new civilization to see if they are ready to join the United Solar System Alliance because, to join, they must give up their slaves. There is also a side plot involving the captain's daughter and her boyfriend who is another member of the crew. The captain gets a few surprises when there are some interesting kinks about the species he's dealing with that were left out of the briefing.

"Moonshine Holler" -+- This a stone soup story crossed with "The Lottery" which makes for a very Twain-ish adventure tale that is an interruption in a quest tale.

"Amelia Earhart, Fearless Flier" -+- A fabulous adventure of time warps, piracy, gender roles, and good vs. evil.

"Beyond Belief" -+- Frank and Sadie Doyle are an interesting couple that reminded me of Nick and Nora Charles, only exaggerated and turned up several notches. It's got the feel early 1900's Boston and is a rollicking story of gang warfare, ghosts, vampires, and mummies. Who could ask for more? There's also a plot with twists and turns aplenty.

Great art and tall tales that will brighten your day or night.

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