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Monday, January 21, 2008



Number 250


Some people call him the Space Cowboy…



It's Pappy's #250, and to mark the occasion I'm bringing you an entire issue of one of the most screwball science-fiction comics ever. Charlton's Space Western Comics was a hybrid from the '50s — combining cowboys and rocket ships — that has to be seen to be believed. The cover of this 1953 issue, #44, has been reprinted several times, but I don't know if the contents have ever been posted online or printed in a book. Probably not, because as you can see by looking, the artwork is amateurish and the stories are, even though entertaining, to put it plainly, stupid.

When you have a story about hydrogen bombs from Mars landing on earth, demolishing "most" of Paris, as well as London, New York, Moscow and the other world capitol, Honolulu, you find yourself in awe of the audacious writing. Two-fisted, Stetson-wearin' cowboy/astronaut Spurs Jackson, with his Space Vigilantes, tracks the radioactive vapor trails of the missiles to Mars, only to encounter Nazis who escaped the Americans at the end of the war. The story was continued in the next issue, which was the last. Space Western was a continuation of a title, Cowboy Western, and after six issues went back to its original title.

In another story starring Spurs Jackson's pal, the Indian Strong Bow, stone creatures from outer space, resting on earth for 10,000 years, decide it's time to make their move. Strong Bow calls the army base and tells 'em to send an atom bomb, which Spurs delivers, dropping it on the aliens.

On the first page, in the first caption, we're told the year is 1953, so I assume the whole thing takes place in an alternate reality, where a hydrogen bomb will only demolish most of Paris, or one can make a radio call to an army base and order an atom bomb to go.

































4 comments:

Karswell said...

Mixing the western with sci-fi seems more ludicrous than mixing western with horror, although if done right (like the film Valley of the Gwangi) it can work at times. I think we talked about this before when you did a Ghost Rider post. I felt inspired to dig up some good pre-code horror westerns to post (as a theme) and unfortunantly came up very short of worthy material. I do have some decent silver age horror western stories though, mostly from DC's Weird Western Tales. There's a really cool story from Vol. 3 #15 called The Ballad of Doc Satan with great artwork from Bill Draut.

Pappy said...

I remember the Weird Western Tales from DC, but have never collected cowboys and western stories. Still, I have a few Westerns from the late 1940s and will be posting some good ones in the future. They're straight hoss operas, though, nothing as oddball as Space Western.

As a side note, the Stone Creatures story reminded me of some later Jack Kirby stories for the late '50s pre-Marvel titles.

Matt said...

Has anyone noticed that Spurs has color TV, in 1953? He must have gotten it from the same Defense Department that calls on these three Village People refugees (well, in Hank's case maybe a Pet Shop Boys refugee) when hydrogen bombs start falling. Part of what makes it such a hoot is that while the concept and content are completely over the top, the presentation is so bland and matter-of-fact.

Paul Brigg said...

Two words: Firefly/Serenity...