Thursday, July 19, 2007

Number 162

The First Man In History Who Could Not Die!

Oboy, here's another story from Jet #4. Except that Jet only appears as a vignette in the splash panel. He doesn't star in this story, but says if we write in he'll show us more of this type of story. He calls us "boys and girls," too. Apparently no boys and girls wrote him back then in 1951, because there were no more issues of Jet. I'm not sure why a comic with the potential Jet had in issues #1 and 2 would flame out so quickly, but sadly, it did.

It could have been editorial problems, maybe not knowing exactly what direction to send the book. I thought it had a strong premise at its beginning: a two-fisted scientific genius with a bunch of futuristic gadgets and a beautiful Asian girlfriend fighting off evil using his own wits and gizmos. Mix together some concepts cobbled from newspaper comic strip stars Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, then a dash of real-life Einstein and Thomas Edison. For some reason Jet never got back to its initial level. It's a pity, really, but there's no accounting for the marketplace. In 1951 science fiction was popular, but not as popular as other genres. Horror was raising its ugly head, thanks to EC and its line-up of titles, and science fiction was represented amongst the titles on the market, even from EC, but they didn't sell well compared to other genres. Even romance comics outsold science fiction. Believe it or not, romance outsold almost everything! That seems almost science fiction-y to me, but it's true.

This story is a standalone, and is similar to what writer Gardner Fox would do for editor Julius Schwartz in titles like Mystery In Space and Strange Adventures.*

The story of Gar San, Myrza, and the surprise ending using a heretofore unseen character, Tanda Set, is lightweight. There's really no explanation for why the female character is in disguise as a newspaper writer, or why she's in the same place pilot "Johnny Wilson" is brought to hospital. The whole story is contrived, for lack of a better word. Still, with artwork by Bob Powell it can't be all bad. Myrza is a hottie, 1951-style. The story might be lacking in the logic department, but it's fast moving and maybe some boys and girls of that era liked it, even if they didn't write in asking for more.

*Unlike most other science fiction comic books, science fiction sold well enough for DC to publish for many years. It likely had something to do with Schwartz's genius for gimmicky covers and plot hooks.

No comments: