Monday, January 21, 2008
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.