Sunday, November 8, 2009

Episode #96: Happy Birthday, Edmond Hamilton!

Edmond Hamilton was born on October 21, 1904 and died on February 1, 1977. He was a science fiction and comic book writer who was born in Youngstown, Ohio. He grew up there and in nearby New Castle, Pennsylvania. He graduated high school at the age of 14, and attended Westminster Colleg in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania until he was 17 but did not graduate.

His science fiction career began in 1926 when his story The Monster God Of Mamurth was published in the August 1926 issue of Weird Tales magazine. The first hardcover compilation of his stories was published a decade later, titled The Horror On The Asteroid And Other Tales Of Planetary Horror. Hamilton was a prolific writer. He wrote around eighty stories for Weird Tales, as well as for every other science fiction magazine in publication. It was not uncommon for four or five stories to be published per month among various magazines, and sometimes more than one story would appear in a title. In those cases he used a pseudonym for one of the stories.

Hamilton was well known for writing in the space opera sub-genre of science fiction. His story The Island Of Unreason (originally published in the May 1933 issue of Wonder Stories) won the first Jules Verne Prize as the best science fiction story of the year. the Verne Prize was voted on by fans and was the precursor of the Hugo Awards.

During the Depression Hamilton also wrote detective/crime stories.

In the 1940's he wrote many stories for the Captain Future character, originally published in the Ned Pine stable of publications. Captain Future was designed for younger characters and created by Mort Weisinger, an editor for the Ned Pine titles who would later be Hamilton's editor at DC Comics.

When science fiction moved away from its space opera roots, some science fiction readers seemed to find Hamilton's stories, and other similar writers, outdated. Since I have never read any of Edmond Hamilton's stories I cannot comment for myself.

Edmond Hamilton married fellow science fiction author and screenwriter Leigh Brackett, who had a script credit for the film The Empire Strikes Back after her death in 1978.

He began writing for DC Comics in 1942 and retired from writing comic book stories a little over twenty years later in 1966, writing a total of 282 stories. His first published story was Bandits In Toyland in Batman #11 June/July1942. He also wrote for a variety of DC titles, including the Superman family of titles and The Legion Of Super-Heroes. Hamilton also wrote for Julius Schwartz's science fiction comic book titles Strange Adventures and Mystery In Space for which he created the character Chris KL-99, who first appeared in Strange Adventures #1 and was similar to the Captain Future character. He also wrote for the Tommy Tommorow science fiction character in Action Comics. His last DC Comics story was The Cape & Cowl Crooks in World's Finest Comics #159, August 1966 (mentioned in episode #64 about Perry White).

In the late 1970's Edmond Hamilton worked on anime adaptions of his Captain Future stories and a live action Japanese TV adaption of his story Star Wolf. He died on February 1, 1977 after complications from kidney surgery. On July 18, 2009 Kinsman, Ohio celebrated Edmond Hamilton Day.

The Edmond Hamilton Superman story featured in this episode was The Last Days Of Superman, originally published in Superman #156, October 1962, originally published on August 2, 1962. It has been reprinted in the editions Superman In The Sixties, Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told and Showcase Presents: Superman vol. III.

For more information about Edmond Hamilton:

Edmond Hamilton Day:

Edmond Hamilton's science fiction bibliography:

Edmond Hamilton's comic book work:,http://www.comics.org

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