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Strange Adventures 72
"The Skyscraper That Came To Life!"


Story By: John Broome Art By: Sid Greene & Joe Giella

One after the other, twelve secret operatives from the war-like world of Kalar-Wi had landed on Earth -- only to mysteriously disappear, never to be heard from! The task remained for the Kalar-Wi warlord to personally journey to our world, and find his missing operatives with the aid of "The Skyscraper That Came To Life!" On the splash page, the Kalar-Wi warlord uses a photograph of an Earthling as a guide, and applies some living plastic makeup to change his appearance into that of an Earth man!

In the Andromeda Nebula, there exists the world of Kalar-Wi, where the high regent turns on a robot recorder... and those gathered have come to listen to the plans for the upcoming invasion of Earth! The aliens listen as the plan to have an operative visit Earth in order to see if they could survive the world's atmospheric conditions, but he did not return... A second operative was sent to contact the first, but neither was heard from! In all, twelve operatives had been "lost!" Twelve of their best military officers have been lost, and their invasion of the small planet have been stalled! General Zo is asked what he proposes to do about this situation. He tells the ruler that he will personally travel to Earth -- and learn what has happened to the missing operatives. If he does not return, the planned attack on Earth will be cancelled! In a short time, a small personal craft reaches its destination... Somewhere on the small planet are twelve of the other Kalarians! They must be found!

Arriving in an isolated area of America... General Zo takes a three-dimensional picture of an Earthling... Back in his ship... General Zo applies living plastic to his face, and makes himself resemble the Earth man, so that he will be free to search without being interrupted. Now wearing his disguise, General Zo takes a walk to a nearby large city... He intends to broadcast news of his arrival to all parts of the world -- without alerting his alien presence to the Earthling inhabitants. He has just the scheme... An independent producer by the name of G. Zough presents a science-fiction film to a hollywood studio, and agrees to share the profits with them. The head of the studio agrees to have the film run, and in the private projection booth, they watch on the screen, as a building begins to come alive, to the horror of the startled citizens!

The studio head is impressed by the film and asks Zough how he managed to create the special effects of the buildings which are running amok! He tells him that it's a special technique which he has perfected -- and won't say more! An understanding is reached about Zough's professional secrets... and once the contracts have been signed... only he knows that the Kalar-Wi have perfected special techniques of film-making for centuries, but naturally, he couldn't tell the studio about that! What the studio is also unaware of is that this was no mere fictional movie story, but a preview of the actual Kalar-Wi invasion plans for Earth! The film will gain world-wide acclaim,and come to the attention of the missing operatives, who wll know that someone from their homeworld has come! No matter where they are in the world, they will contact the film's producer -- Zough! All he must do is wait! Weeks pass, and billboards for "Invasion of the Skyscrapers" are on display, where a man who is far more than he appears to be realizes the significance of the movie billboard, and must go to alert the others!

The disguised aliens from Kalar-Wi gather at the home of one of their own... They know that Zough, the movie producer, must be none other than General Zo! They know that he's come for them, and must decide what to tell him -- the truth! At the Hollywood Hotel, "Mr. Zough is in his hotel suite, and is reporting his progress to the homeworld when there's a knock at the door! Once he has hidden his crystal communicator, Mr. Zough opens the door, and sees a group of men in the hall. Even though their appearance is no different from that of any other Earthling, "Zough" senses a kinship with them, nonetheless. They have told their stories about living on Earth... and he learns that none of them was lost, or apprehended by the authorities! Each operative decided to stay on Earth and not return! Even "Zough" is unable to understand their reasoning! In adopting the guise of Earthmen, they found that they grew to love and admire the new world! They decided not to do anything to endanger the lives of these good people from their homeworld -- even if it meant never returning to Kalar-Wi -- forever! Seeing them as traitors -- "Zough" draws a disintegrator...

He is swiftly seized and disarmed. Now that they are Earthmen, they can't destroy "Zough," for killing is no longer their way, but they do know what they can do... Producing a bottle of amnesia pills, one operative suggests that they all take one -- and erase the memory of being from Kalar-Wi! He also proposes that Zo be given one, too! The General is the first to take one... or they would be forced to eliminate him! He has no choice... Each of them has taken an amnesia pill... and in another moment, it would take effect! All would forget being from another world, and truly begin their new lives on Earth! From the hotel, they each go their separate way... including G. Zough, a man who has produced his first movie, while another returns to his work on the peaceful use of atomic energy... On the war-like world of Kalar-Wi... General Zo's time limit has elapsed, and since it is assumed that he has met the same fate as the other operatives on Earth, the same thing must not happen to them, and the invasion of Earth has been cancelled!

It's the Silver Age and the year is 1956, where a certain Scarlet Speedster would make his first appearance, as well as a Manhunter From Mars, who would adopt the occupation of police detective. It is during this time that aliens walk among man, and who knows what other secrets may be staring at us from the other side of a mirror?

The inhabitants of Kalar-Wi have emerald skin, and have a militaristic society.

Their technology is advanced, especially in the invention of three-dimensional photographs... and motion pictures!

What actor couldn't make do with some of the living plastic at his disposal?

An independent producer of a science fiction film is really an emissary from outer space. This would explain the likes of George Lucas, Robert Wise, Stephen Spielberg...

The crystal communicator resembles a glass space helmet, or "fishbowl."

Each of the operatives are similar in appearance, with different colored suits, ties, hair, etc.

Seen from the front, General Zo's disintegrator resembles a nutcracker or medival mace.

Steve Chung
"The Skyscraper That Came To Review!"