Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Space Rover, Space Rover, send Flash Gordon right over...
The Space Rovers feature was short-lived in Exciting Comics, lasting a mere seven issues, from #2 to #9, in 1940. In #9 Black Terror was added to the Exciting line-up, and his popularity apparently pushed Space Rovers out of the book. Or, it could be that someone at King Features called up publisher Ned Pines and said, "Your Space Rovers feature looks a lot like our Flash Gordon feature."
And it did. Drawn by Max Plaisted, it was another in the comic book tradition of swiping a popular newspaper comic strip. Flash Gordon, with its popularity and elegant artwork by Alex Raymond, was just too tempting to steal.
Flash and Dale became Ted and Jane in Space Rovers. Imitation or not, it's fun. Any strip with giant robots and kings on other planets lusting after the heroine is OK in my book. Other Flash Gordon imitators featured here have been in Pappy's #584 and Pappy's #673.
I couldn't find much online information about Max Plaisted, other than he worked in comics from the mid-'30s to mid-'50s, and worked around the industry, sometimes under pen-names. In "Space Rovers" he showed, swipes or not, he was a fairly good artist.
From Exciting Comics #'s 3 and 4, 1940: