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Flying Saucers [comic]

Entry updated 2 January 2023. Tagged: Comics, Publication.

US Comic (1950). One issue. Avon Periodicals, Inc (see Avon Comics). The comic is dominated by a three-part serial, "The Flying Saucers", drawn by Wally Wood. Explorer Ross Lanning is thrown into a pit of cold flame by outraged locals when he unwittingly trespasses upon sacred ground in the South American jungle. He survives and wanders through a cave system to discover a cavern filled with advanced Technology and transparent caskets containing green humanoid beings. He feels compelled to press the lever that awakens them: they promptly rush to their flying saucers (see UFOs) and depart, to be briefly seen throughout the world. However, by the time Ross returns to America the sightings are considered old news and his story is disbelieved, though not by foreign agents who kidnap and begin to Torture him; fortunately the humanoids arrive, kill the spies and take Ross. Using a translation helmet (see Universal Translator) one of them, Enau, explains they were an ancient Earth civilization who, millions of years ago, developed and planned to test an atomic bomb (see Weapons, Nuclear Energy), intending to conquer the world. Scientist Enau, suspecting it would destroy it instead, built a Keep under the Earth and invited like-minded friends to join him. His prediction proved correct and all life, save those in the cavern, was wiped out (see Holocaust): they entered Suspended Animation to await the planet's recovery.

Now awoken, they see the Earth once again on the brink of nuclear annihilation, so ask Ross to plant dampening technology throughout the world which will prevent nuclear explosions, allowing atomic energy to only be used for peaceful purposes. He agrees. When this is done, Enau and his people gift the technology in their cavern to the United States, then depart to find "life akin to ours" in another galaxy.

Wood's artwork is very good and, though concern about nuclear destruction was a common theme of the era (see Clichés), the story manages to get to its point by an unfamiliar route. That the apparent Aliens are not only Earthlings, but will presumably be the UFOs of some alien race is also nicely ironic. There are two other strips in the comic, both unexceptional reprints. One concerns a ghost (see Supernatural Creatures) scared by a haunted house, the other a horror story about a man with a weak heart who keeps a domesticated tiger as a pet. [SP]


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