Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Number 1057

Invoking the law of the robots!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, when I present my annual Turkey Award for the most oddball or outrageous story I've read all year. For a while "The Mars Mystery," from Rocket Kelly #2, 1945, was my top choice. At the last minute another story took over the top spot. Sorry, Rocket, but your jets sputtered there right at the end of the race.

Rocket Kelly was a rocket pilot/adventurer/interplanetary policeman from the mid-1940s, when rocket jockeys looked more like airplane jockeys, the stuff kids were used to seeing during the war years. Rocket has two companions, a mechanic and a girlfriend, a rocket that looks bigger on the inside than it does on the outside (holy TARDIS!), and a clumsy art style that renders the stories bizarre or absurd rather than exciting. The artist's name is signed Ted Small, but it's a Fox Features comic, so it's a pen-name.

I like that the conquering robots have goofy heads just like their creator, Professor Mogul, and I like that they have a law. It isn't one of Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, but a law that says if challenged to the "test of ice" they've gotta do it. I also like that Rocket's dad looks like Robert E. Lee. When the artist went for reference it was apparently to a book of Civil War generals.

No, Rocket Kelly didn't earn the big award, but he's a runner-up. Come back tomorrow for the annual award.

This is a holiday weekend and I'm joining the millions who are traveling. I'll be across the country with family. I may not get many chances to check in on this blog, so if you write a comment and it is delayed in being posted you will know why. I want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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