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Captain Rocket

Entry updated 30 January 2023. Tagged: Comics, Publication.

US Comic (1951). One issue. P L Publishing Co, Inc. Artists unknown.

Captain Rocket "with his vast storehouse of scientific and technical knowledge, is the last hope of Earth's governing councils when things go wrong." In "The Graveyard of the Rocketeers" a paralysed navigator is the only survivor of the latest stolen space-cruiser, but Captain Rocket's mind reading device and thought projection screen enables the navigator to show his winning a jewel from the glamorous Zondra at a gambling den. Later it hypnotizes him to directing his ship into the Sargasso, a "whirlpool of comets and meteors", where it is taken by Zondra's mandrill-headed subordinates. The Captain visits the gambling den wearing a false beard and a shirt proclaiming "Navigator, Freighter, Luna Glow" and wins a jewel from Zondra: but his "anti-hypno band" means he is able to keep a clear head and defeat Zondra when he enters the Sargasso. In "Monsteroids of the Underworld" clouds of black bubbles burst over a city's populace, covering them in an oily substance that turns them into rampaging monsteroids. Responsibility is claimed by Gorgo: the name rings a bell, so Captain Rocket uses his "Vizo reference machine", which transmits stored data into his mind (see Education in SF), enabling him to recall Gorgo's history and likely location (he leads an Underground race who dropped an atomic bomb on New York 200,000 years ago). Using his subterrene the Captain reaches Gorgo's headquarters, defeating him with the help of his Invisibility belt (the wearer becomes invisible, but not the belt itself). There is also a two-page Captain Rocket text story.

Captain Rocket is assisted by the beautiful Dr Argo; the Space Falcon – who steals from space crooks – has his friend Tubby. In "Pirate of the Stratosphere" they foil Cassandra, who abducts men to work in the "deep space" mines where robots cannot survive. The comic's other strip featured the bikini-clad, caped Aurora of Jupiter, a "lovely scientist" with a repository of "strange lore" and knowledge thought lost in the "great atomic upheaval of 1980". In "The Man Who Wanted a World!" Earth is terrorized by Tal Jar of Krypton's giant monsters which paralyse humanity with fear – so much so, the leader of Earth quickly surrenders to him. However, Aurora deduces the monsters are only projections and manages to break them up. An enjoyable comic, where Captain Rocket and Aurora of Jupiter's focus on scientific solutions rather than fisticuffs or ray guns is atypical of the era. The Aurora story is also of interest through having fear as the main threat, rather than physical danger. [SP]


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