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Monday, July 20, 2015

Number 1763: “Another successful mission for the Perimeter Patrol!”

Henry Sharp, credited with drawing “The City of Light” for Ziff-Davis’ Amazing Adventures #6 (1952), went into television, and in the 1960s became the story editor for the hit show, The Wild, Wild West.* He was the only writer to have episodes in all four seasons of the series. There is an online, abridged article from Cinefantastique, where Sharp tells the story of his contribution to the hit show: “Story Editor Henry Sharp” by Craig Reid.

Henry was also a fine comic book artist, as evidenced by his work on this story, and a pair of stories for Strange Adventures I showed last year. See the link below.







*The Wild, Wild West owed a lot to the success of the James Bond movies, but I always thought of The Wild, Wild West as being a comic book on film. Like comics, it took fantastic concepts, action-filled science fiction plots, and incredible villains, just as comic books did. I thought it closer in tone to comic books than the spoof Batman TV series.

Henry Sharp drew these two stories for Julius Schwartz, which I showed last December.


12 comments:

Ryan Anthony said...

"Another successful mission for the Perimeter Patrol! Say, on that report, let's fudge over the part where the not-really-transparent creatures actually destroyed themselves with the help of our traitor. Oh, and we can leave out the fact that I can't pronounce disinter...disinter...aw, screw it!"

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Honestly, I don’t know if the scientific or technological premises are actually believable, but we have at least the correct attitude of a good sci fi writer. One theoretical basis (there has to be a spectrum) starts the adventure; one device based on top notch technology of that time saves the day (the “color tv” shield trick).
What bothers me is when they say in the end “Another successful mission for the Patrol”. Yes, they succeeded in destroying everything! Couldn’t they just flee, or simply try to communicate with the aliens before landing? As often happens, the guys just wanted to be left alone, so for heaven’s sake, Earthmen: ASK BEFORE LANDING! (doesn’t this remind you of a consistent trend in American diplomacy of the last century?):-)
The art is beautiful: I love the aliens. Sentimental subplot I don’t care. When the big tough guy Groll (a sergeant?) yelled: “Great Eros!” I laughed: it is true that we reveal our hidden self in times of distress and peril!

Brian Barnes said...

Was Wanda's coloring a mistake, or deliberate? The artist drew her with a plunging open shirt, but across the story, it's colored in to look like her shirt.

Sharp does a great job with architecture in this one, and his character work isn't bad, though marred a bit by the muddy printing and coloring. Page 1/Panel 3 where Wanda's is supposed to be seen as happy makes her look more crazy. And, frankly, I know it's of the time, but I can't take space hero's in little shorts seriously.

BTW, "another successful mission" = "cultural genocide!" (Yes, I know they were evil and whatnot, but, still, have a little more remorse!)

I absolutely adore The Wild, Wild West. Granted, from episode to episode, it would wildly swing from awesome to terrible, but it was almost always fun. I agree with you completely here, Pappy, it was really a comic book brought to life.

Daniel [oeconomist.com] said...

This story tries to have it both ways when it comes to the nature of white light. The light from Danar is supposedly a pure white that cannot be divided into component colors, except that the shield do just that. (Of course, in reality, “pure white” makes no sense in reference to light, thought it makes sense in reference to pigment.)

Otherwise, this story is nice enough as sci-fi in the mold of Captain Midnight &alii. One could understand its appeal to young readers, who in those days might have hoped one day to be part of an extraterrestrial patrol force.

Pappy said...

Well, you know how it is, guys...if a life form ain't with us, they are against us, and so we blow them into atoms. Us Earthmen show no mercy. And besides, they're ONLY aliens...

Brian, my late mother's name is Wanda, so I perked up when I saw the character. She is shown dressing more provocatively than my mother (who never wore a skirt above her knees after she was six-years-old), so I averted my eyes. I will take your word about the plunging neckline, but thank goodness they preserved her modesty by coloring it in.

Oh, J D, I read your comments about Americans invading other countries over the last century. I put my two index fingers together in the form of a cross to ward off evil, and waved it over your note. Then I thought about it. Sometimes we Americans do go in to other countries uninvited and start kicking ass (I am thinking of Iraq in 2003). We allow ourselves to think we are correct in each instance, also (Once again, Iraq). So, ignore the warning from me.

But here is my snarky comment: in my house we eat Italian food at least once a week, and...and...sometimes I get heartburn. So there!

Daniel, as far as hoping to be part of an extraterrestrial patrol force, I used to be proud when I was called a "space cadet." Then I found out what people calling me that meant.

Ryan, I wonder if that "disintergrate" misspelling was a mistake by the writer or the letterer, Ben Oda? Either way, the editor should have caught it.

7f7f3e2a-4856-11e4-900a-bb8e57f8828f said...

No sadness wasted on those ornery photon aliens nor that dadgum betraying, would-be-paramour, Brill. What I remember of the comics of my youth in the sixties, if a guy fell into a big nucleon photon-molecularinator or the like, he'd come out 210% improved! He'd have superhuman abilities out the wazoo and would be immediate material for either a new superior hero likely to have his own comic or a new villain to give the abundant comic book superior heroes someone to whomp on. That's just the way it was, Pappy; you know it's true.

Pappy said...

Yes, 7f7, I know it's true, because, like you, I was there to buy and read those comics of the sixties, where things that would kill ordinary folks, turned other folks super.

And back in the forties, it was even more magical...a crook is doused by a vat of acid and becomes elastic (Plastic Man), or a guy jumps into a vat of bubbling, molten steel and comes out superhuman (Steel Sterling). The list goes on.

You know the best thing about comics? They promote resurrection. No hero or villain ever dies if the next writer wants to bring him back!

7f7f3e2a-4856-11e4-900a-bb8e57f8828f said...

By gumbo, you've got it! Resurrection! Comics fortify a belief in resurrection. Always there, underneath the fanciful sound-effect words but I never articulated it. You just did! Dog my cats!

One more thing about this particular story: when the nucleon thingy goes kablooey and the photon fellows evaporate it presents the question: which came first, the nucleon or the photon people? Actually, it argues without saying that the nucleon thingy came first. Wonderful if a subsequent story explained all that but I reckon it never did. The doom-averting Perimeter Patrol had to keep moving on, saving the good part of the universe by destroying the bad. That's just the way it was. =sigh=

Mike Britt said...

Thanks for another Henry Sharp entry. Can't get enough of him...a shame that he didn't contribute more to comics, but obviously made good in televison. Just checked him out on Who's Who in American Comic Books and see that he was also a writer on the Man from UNCLE. The Man from UNCLE was a show that I never missed when it was on the air in the sixties, now I find I cannot sit through any more than fifteen minutes of an episode. Jaded, I guess.

Pappy said...

Mike, I haven't seen a Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode in so long I don't know if I could watch it or not. But I somehow doubt it. I found a set of VHS tapes with black and white episodes of The Avengers, featuring Diana Rigg, and despite her I found watching them a tough slog. I even have the episode where Rigg disguises herself as a dominatrix. The story is that Rigg designed the costume herself, and it is worth a look. According to the info on the tape box, it got the episode banned from American television. But the episode itself is still hard to get through just to see a few minutes of Diana Rigg in knee-high boots and a bustier. Come to think of it, maybe I'll just go check it out again, now that I know how far to advance the tape...

Where were we? Well, after watching television series born of cable, like the Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Ray Donovan, etc., the sixties series seem very old fashioned. I find with all that has come between those series and today it is hard to just put myself back and watch them as I would have watched them in their day. Jaded, yes. You picked the right word for my own feelings.

Pappy said...

7f7, if there are aliens who have been observing our species for thousands of years, as those cable-tv shows about UFOs suggest, then they would know about our propensity for violence. I would think they would steer clear of us. The fantasy story just reflects our real-life thinking. "If it's alien, it's other. If it's other, let's kill it!"

Any alien observers might have laughed at the plaque Armstrong and Aldrin left on the moon, "We came in peace for all mankind." But what about non-mankind, eh? It doesn't say anything about them.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

"Comics fortify a belief in Resurrection"...
You're not talking about Jack Chick, right? :-D
He does awful comics...