This odd fill-in issue sees Iron Man, along with Carrie and Keith, a couple he rescues from a car crash become the prisoners of mad scientist Dr. Kurakill, who intends to use them as the latest subjects for her insane experiments. Iron Man is, fortunately, able to break free due to more than a little help from Zero, the stray cat that Carrie and Keith recently adopted. It’s implied that Zero is actually Kurakill’s former assistant who was transformed into a cat when she objected to the Doctor’s unethical experiments, and at last, she is now gaining revenge on her tormentor.
George Tuska is another of those artists whose work is often underrated. His career stretched from the early 1940s until the late 1980s, although he continued to draw commissions and the occasional pin-ups and covers up until his death in 2009 at the age of 93.
Tuska was, perhaps, one of those artists who may not have been especially well-suited to superheroes, but who excelled at other genres. He drew numerous issues of Crime Does Not Pay for Lev Gleason Publications between 1942 and 1954. Following that, he drew newspaper adventure strip, Scorchy Smith, from 1954 to 1959 and then the Buck Rogers sci-fi strip from 1959 to 1967.
Although his work on superhero stories was sometimes not well-regarded, Tuska’s speed and his strength as a storyteller meant he was often in demand at Marvel during the 1960s and 70s, and then at DC during the 1970s and 80s. He was once referred to as “the King of the Fill-In Issue,” meaning that he was one of those artists who editors could rely on during a deadline crunch. Tuska was one of those artists who was essential in an era when comic books absolutely had to go to the printers on schedule.
The Art of George Tuska by Dewey Cassell from TwoMorrows Publishing is a good resource on Tuska’s work.