Sunday, July 7, 2024

The Thing in Outer Space

Time to blast-off into the horror-filled void of scary outer space with an action packed creature feature from the July 1954 issue of Spaceman #6, (the actual final issue of this very short-lived Atlas series, in fact!) Bob Forgione amps up the atmospherics, and that's Joe Maneely on creepy cover duty! So prepare now for one heckuva rockin' rocket ride with Speed Carter and the Space Sentinels as they face:


BTX said...

“Sufferin Atoms!” “Holy Meteors,” Apparently there is air in space as our heroes bail out in parachutes and later have to deal with a broken windshield. This along with “Space Hoboes” bumming for a cigarette, Space Gangsters and as a capper Space Dinosaurs, the pulp is really thick here. Hugely enjoyable, but in only another 10 years, Star Trek and Kubrick’s 2001 would eliminate much of this nonsense.

JMR777 said...

Seeing this space squid makes me think the artist was channeling Lovecraft's Cthulhu.

On page five top panels, it was nice to see the different aliens were not the ones who were the bad guys, as is often the case in any space operas. The bird people stating they were members of the United Planets Peace Organization, an interstellar UN, was a pleasant surprise.

Space tales, much like nautical tales, share a common thread of mystery and unknown dangers waiting to claim the unwary. If mankind can colonize the moon and Mars someday, I wonder what scary space stories will be told to the youngsters before bedtime.

Mr. Cavin said...

Every Wallywood-esque panel of this thing is great. It's exactly the kind of comics story I would have been buying these books for in the first place. I can't imagine how stoked I'd have been as a twelve-year-old reading this story. I want every twist finale to be just like this-- "then: Monster Hole! Everybody gets eaten! THE END(?)."

I'm really impressed with the dark poetry of space as glimpsed through the prose here, too: The dark back alleys of space, the dark soil of space, the red-hot wounded dark flesh of space. I like to sense the fun people had making pop culture back in the day. It's here in the words and art. It seems as far from ponderous self-serious myth-making of modern genre storytelling as you can get.

Brian Barnes said...

Here, boys and girls (and scoob, with that reveal) is what you call "economic" story telling. They are already fighting the monster on page 1; and the craziness never stops. Even, when there's only 2 panels remaining, they spring ancient underground space dinosaurs.

The artist is really channeling EC here -- and a lot of Wood as Mr. Cavin was saying -- last page panel 5 is very much as Wood sci-fi as it gets. And it's great! There's so much good stuff here -- the slick space craft, the monster/robot(s), guns, missile, explosions, crashes.

Honestly, it's silly, it's pulpy, but it's also a fun read with some great art. I guess nobody back then could make a sci-fi mag work (EC famously paid for the sci-fi mags with profits from the horror comics.)

バーンズ エリック said...

Looking at this with a little less modern eye, I'd say this was more Jules Verne '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' (Disney movie or no Disney movie) than it was Lovecraft's 'The Call Of Cthulhu'. Squid attack? Check. Mechanical animal? Check. Checkmate? No, but still....

As to Wally Wood's influence, I guess that's possible, but I get more of a Bob Powell vibe from this. Perhaps it's instead a lingering influence from series originator Joe Maneely? I could see that, too.