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Space Action

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

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US Comic (1952). Three issues. Ace Magazines (Junior Books, Inc.). Artists include Lou Cameron, Bill Molno, Rocco Mastroserio and Jim McLaughlin. Four comic strips and one (author uncredited) short story per issue.

The comic delivers on its title, the stories being action-dominated Space Operas and are enjoyable as such. The shortness of the strips (7-8 pages) means characters and narratives are formulaic (see Clichés) – human villains are dark haired with beards and/or moustaches (but are usually less cranially blessed) – with little time for tension and any interesting ideas stifled by the need for a quick resolution.

Issue one's first story has a good king's evil brother trying to take the throne; the hero, with the help of the king's daughter. stops him. The planet's culture is largely medieval, but is part of Earth's Galactic Empire, with the king and hero away fighting Aliens in space when the usurpation begins. In another, a new metal is discovered on one of Saturn's moons – so Earth's World Council decide to award the mining contract to the company that can get a sample from the moon first. There are two competing companies whose owners are respectively young and good, and older and crooked; the daughter of the latter is the girlfriend of the former. However, evil aliens want the metal for themselves, so the older boss redeems himself by crashing his Spaceship into their flying saucer (see UFOs).

Another story features a hollow Asteroid, its core inhabited by intelligent plants whose society is compared to that of bees. It sends deadly spores to Earth, which can only be destroyed by humanity wiping out all our planet's vegetation (which grows back afterwards). The asteroid now sets metal-eating spores onto Earth's approaching Spaceships, which kill them with cosmic rays, then use their jets to push the asteroid into the Sun. Elsewhere, when our solar system's Sun begins to fail an artificial one is built, but a brigand reduces its power, to blackmail the now freezing planets: the hero saves the day, helped by a young woman who reveals she and the brigand are siblings, descendants of the artificial sun's creator (and thus know how to control it): in the end the artificial sun crashes into the old one, revitalizing it.

Though "by 2170 Earth had pushed its manifest destiny to the stars", it is confronted by the arrival of a strange new planet, inhabited by the Graeki: warriors with the power of Invisibility, intent on conquering Earth. They are defeated, firstly by a chemist (a rare example of a professional woman in these tales) devising a way to make them luminous, then by a meteorite conveniently destroying their planet. The survivors, having learnt their lesson, are allowed to stay on Earth. Another story is set in 2035: an elderly Scientist invents a Time Machine, sending a colleague to 2535 to learn its science. But he is not believed and is called a spy: it is pointed out that were his story true, they would have time machines, which they do not. This is explained when he escapes back to 2035, where the time machine explodes and the scientist then dies through overwork without having written anything down. [SP]

further reading

  • Space Action (Hornsea, East Yorkshire: PS Publishing, 2019) [graph: collects issues #1-#3 of Space Action, plus issues #1-2 of World War III from 1952-1953; see Atomic War!: illus/various: hb/Lou Cameron]


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