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Space Comics

Entry updated 13 February 2023. Tagged: Comics, Publication.

UK Comic (1953-1954); vt Captain Valiant. 32 issues, numbered #50-#81. #50 titled Captain Valiant; #51-#52 titled Space Comics presents Captain Valiant, #53-#81 Space Comics Captain Valiant. Arnold Book Company. Art and scripts by Mick Anglo (see Marvelman) and Denis Gifford. 2-3 strips per issue. Cover in colour, strips in black and white.

"Tough veteran of space travel and hero of campaigns on Mars, Lurgo and Reus", Captain Vic Valiant is the "ace of the Interplanetary Space Patrol", the body that maintains order following the recent interplanetary War with the inhabitants of Reus. Though defeated, the cruel Reussis still make trouble, sending raiders to attack other planets. Valiant's remit covers other policing activities, including pursuing three criminals (see Crime and Punishment) who escape from Moon jail and land on a jungle planet: one is killed by a "man trap plant", another is rescued from quicksand and the third, when confronted, complains he is unarmed; so naturally Valiant throws away his gun and they settle it man-to-man. Other problems include space pirates; a Martian oil cartel that sabotages the Moon's oilfields; and surveying newly discovered planets, one having Dinosaurs and apemen (see Apes as Human). When rising sea levels flood the planet Atlanta, Valiant helps the inhabitants find a new world to settle – candidates are rejected for various reasons, including already inhabited, or having water is dense as mercury. They eventually find one whose population was wiped out by nuclear war, save for six people who say they have forfeited any right to the planet so gift it to the Atlantans, in exchange for being allowed to preach the folly of war at the United Planets council. When the leading Scientists of Ramu mass produce Robots and declare, "We scientists alone are fit to rule the universe and that is exactly what we plan to do," Valiant responds, "You screwballs are all alike, thinking you can control men with a few gimmicks," and blows them up. Ironically, each issue has a page with Valiant wearing his gimmicks – such as auto-Flying belt, contra-Gravity boots, anti-radioactivity shield, oxygen pellets and a paralysing stiletto (see Weapons).

There are some non-Valiant strips, including Rafe Marlow "space ace of the United Planets space forces and leader of the dreaded demon squadron": which is essentially the RAF in space – aside from the Reussis they also battle the Axis Planet (see World War Two). Space Comic's stories were poor, Clichéd adventure tales which often only qualified as genre by being dressed up with a few sf elements: the artwork is usually unremarkable or worse. [SP]


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