Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Number 164

Space Ace Gets Woody!

This is the last Space Ace story from Jet Comics #4, the final issue.

Not only the last Space Ace, but because of the artwork it's the best of the series. Wally Wood inked over Al Williamson's pencils. What a combination they made. I wish they'd done a lot more work together. Wood's bold inking replacing Williamson's tentative inking of this period really makes a difference in how dynamic the story looks.

As for the story itself, well, it's Space Ace, after all…ace criminal of the spaceways, blah blah blah…gets into a jam over a woman, then gets himself out, blah blah…meantime getting lots of reward money or some jewelry or something good, blah blah…and then gets a full pardon for all his crimes, et cetera, et cetera...nice life!

As usual, some of the most entertaining bits of business are the little things that scripter Gardner Fox was good at: his pseudoscientific-sounding creations, like Ace's electric space pants (!!!) Wouldn't they give you a shock if you had to — you know — go to the bathroom? Not only that, he has the ability to turn them into a key to unlock a cell door. Or how about the paralysi-ray? Or Space Ace finding big tanks of nitrous oxide — laughing gas— so conveniently? Or how about describing Ace's fighting ability as being like a "Plutonian tigercat"?

I'm not an expert on all Golden Age comics (duh), so I just found out that ME published a Space Ace comic in 1952. I was also surprised to find out that Space Ace appeared in ME's Manhunt as far back as 1947. Well, hit me with a paralysi-ray! There's always something new to learn in this crazy comic book business.

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