Friday, December 18, 2015

Number 1829: Power to the primates people!

Now where have we seen this story before? Man arrives on planet in spaceship, and on that planet is taken prisoner by gorillas, the intelligent species, while humans are beasts.

Power Nelson, Futureman, returns to us in this story. I have shown a couple of Power Nelson stories before, including the story after this story. So this is the first story featuring Zora, the Interplanetary Nurse, who you will also see if you click on the thumbnail below the story. The entry on Power Nelson in the website Public Domain Superheroes says that the character did not last long, just from Power Comics #1 through #23. And even so by the latter days of the strip all of the future settings disappeared and he became just an everyday superhero, contemporary to the time of publication.

Zora teaches Power a code, which she uses to confuse the enemy. I worked out a couple of the coded messages Zora sends. For page 6 panel 2 she is saying “CALLING! POWER! NELSON!” and in the next panel she says, “COME! PLANET! ATO! TROUBLE! ZORA!” Well, that was about 10 minutes of my life lost forever, but I did it for you, dear readers. The other code at the bottom of the last page you’ll have to figure out yourselves.

From Prize Comics #5 (1940). Grand Comics Database guesses the artwork is by Dick Sprang.

As promised, more Power Nelson, Futureman. Just click on the thumbnail.


Daniel [] said...

If one is using a *Nix (including MacOS) and has a perl interpretter, then one can save the shell script

    foreach $argnum (0 .. $#ARGV)
    { printf("%c",91-$ARGV[$argnum]) ; }
    printf("\n") ;;

for interpretting communications from Nurse Zora Doone. Just enter the numbers on a command-line, omitting the dashes. For example, if the script file is named “doone”, and the code is “26-25-8-6-9-23” enter

    doone 26 25 8 6 9 23

(There's a way of running perl on Windows, but I don't remember its specifics.)

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

"Ask your newsstand..."
Ok, this is definitely one the greatest 20th century comic stories. Even better than Kamandi, maybe. Each panel deserves a comment.
The script is crazy as a coot, and darn proud of it.
So many questions. For instance: "Why the heroic guy leaves Earth if he has to fight a desperate liberation war against the merciless mongols Untermenschen?" (OK, he wants to have his way with the girl nurse).
And the Gorilla police? The Treaty? Priceless. I'm not joking or satirizing it, I think it's great fun for kids, and for those who feel like kids every now and then.

-"I work for humanity, but I also love Gorillas"
-"Oh yeah? And I work for civilization. You see, I smash Mongol's heads. Say, why don't we just... er... work together..."

Pappy said...

Daniel, fascinating. But can a computer scratch my back? While working out the code using pencil on paper I had an itchy spot and used the pencil to scratch it.

Pappy said...

J D, entertaining story, yes, one of the greatest 20th century comic stories...I think that is a very generous assessment of a hastily written and amateurishly drawn story. But that wasn't rare in the times in which it was produced, so it does have its charms (and gorillas).

Something I didn't discuss in my story comments is the art credit for Dick Sprang. In 1941 Sprang went to work for DC drawing Batman. His stories were stockpiled for a couples of years and then released, interspersed with stories he had drawn more recently. People may disagree, but Dick Sprang is my favorite Batman artist of the 1940s and '50s.

Brian Barnes said...

Where did they find some of these writers? It's like they learned sentence and flow construction last week! Half the panels seem to have disconnected dialog, and there isn't a conversation that isn't strangely stilted.

The art -- if it's Sprang it's way early -- strives to make Zora sexy but ends up making her alien-like. Those eyebrows! And, lucky for us, intergalactic nurses haven't to evolve the exact same uniform as Earth nurses.

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Yes, my definition was greatly (and deliberately) exaggerated.
I also think that Sprang's Batman is an icon of its time, like the Adams version is an icon for the kids of the 70's.