Friday, November 21, 2008
Weekly Dose Of Weird!
Space Western Comics #42 -- Oh my, the thoughts that run through my head when I think about the fact that not only was there a Space Western Comics, but that it was still being published at #42. (In the interest of fairness, this was a six issue stint in the middle of the numbering of Cowboy Western Comics.)
I. "Spurs Jackson And His Space Vigilantes Meet The Sun Masters" -- Above Spurs Jackson's Arizona ranch suddenly appear multi-colored discs which explode as they approach the suface of the Earth. So Jackson does what any good cowpuncher would do -- he checks out a rocketship and blasts off to investigate. They find a giant flying saucer and meet Aku, chief of the Sun People, who sent the discs to get Earth's attention. The Sun People want to land on Earth, and offer their secrets for harnessing the power of the sun as a sign of good will. The Sun People land in the desert and set up camp, and begin performing mysterious experiments which Jackson is not allowed to see, including creating the solar energy by-product called solarine, which is a concentrated energy source. Spurs grows suspicious, and a distant supernova is his clue: seems the Sun People fled from the solar system with the going-nova sun, and now plan to harvest our solar energy to increase the temperature of Earth to make it suitable for them to live on! Spurs rescues the humans off their compound using his six guns, then drops a 1000 pounder bomb on their saucer, blowing it sky high.
II. "The Return Of The Aztecs" -- Strong Bow attends a ceremony in the desert with his tribe to rituallistically prevent the Aztecs who visited his ancestors from returning. During the big arrow shoot in the ceremony, the tribesmen manage to hit a descending space ship containing, that's right, the descendants of the Aztecs, returned from the fabled planet Vulcan, closest to the sun! Spurs Jackson contacts the Army, who supplies him with flame-throwing tanks for his troubles. Unfortunately, the Aztecs are now immune to fire thanks to their Vulcan home, as well as making them extremely warm-blooded. Some quick thinking by Strong Bow lures the Aztecs into an ice cave where they are frozen stiff -- as well as giving his tribe a tourist attraction.
III. "The Space Bronco" -- (Text Story) A mix up between a planetarium and the Planet Arium leads to all sorts of confusion.
IV. "The Outlaws of Mars" -- Spurs Jackson and his Vigilantes investigate why Mars begins glowing brighter and brighter. There they run into Queen Thula, whom they have met on the Martian surface before. Mars is losing it's atmosphere, and that is causing the red hills to appear more vibrant in color. Jackson figures that the chief scientist is lying when he discovers that the Martian surface has no iron in it, ans is just red clay, and finds that the air is being drawn from the surface to the moon Phobos. Rocketing to the moon, they discover that the scientist is in league with the warlord Zakol, and plan to blow up the capital and take control of the planet. Jackson and his men trick the outlaws into restoring Mars' atmosphere and then blow up their ship.
V. "An Amazing Space Journey" -- A Londoner ends up in Canada after getting abducted by some easily distracted aliens.
VI. "Hank Roper and The Riddle of Skull Valley" -- Hank is driving through Skull Valley while on manuevers with the Sheriff and spots a giant black UFO. The UFO pulls them out into space and deposits them on a mysterious black planet. They meet pale-skinned Anzo, Master of the Black World Nix, who claims them as Earth specimens. Hank tricks Anzo into grabbing more specimens -- miltary ones! The armor makes quick work of the Nixian ships, while the muzzle-blasts and weak gravity conspire, knocking Nix off it's orbit, leading it to crashland back in Skull Valley.
Overall Weird Factor: 5 (out of 5).
Oooooh... kay. This bizarre Charlton from 1952 is a true relic to weirdness. It's really trying to push Spurs Jackson and his strangely non-plussed team of Vigilantes, complete with bizarre science and typical atom-age style sci-fi. It's not a bad concept as such, but it seems as if cowpokes and cattlemen -- even modern ones -- might be a little surprised to find themselves rocketing off to Mars or dfighting interterrestial Aztec warriors. The stories all jump around a lot, as if they were pared down from full-length features instead of written as shorts. Strange all around, which is why I must find more of this short-lived run.
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Space Western's got nothing on the Ashley Porter, though! From Ashley Porter, Girl Cavalry Scout to the 1933 serial Ashley Porter and the Queen of Saturn and beyond!
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