Monday, May 08, 2017

Number 2046: Rex Dexter: "Inhabitants of the Bald Spot"

You get a clue about some 1940 American attitudes toward other people living on Earth when you read this caption on page two: “The bare spot remains a mystery. As long as the Western civilization is unharmed, scientists pay little attention to the strange event.” The strange event is a meteor strike “grazing the surface of the Earth,” wiping out everything in its path. As a scientist opines, the Earth is “. . . just as well off without those barbaric people!” It is only when it looks like it might affect them that Western scientists think the problem needs solving. Rex Dexter is called on when some strange creatures, the Protoplasmen, appear on the flat spot.

Even though this was drawn (and probably written) by Dick Briefer, it reminds me of the type of story Basil Wolverton, or more likely, Fletcher Hanks, would have created. Rex flies 50 million miles to rescue the Earth. All in a day’s work for that hero.

Originally published in Fox’s Mystery Men #6. My scans are from the reprint in Rex Dexter of Mars #1 (1940).


Morbid said...

This is from 1940, huh? I see a metaphor for America's disinterest in entering WW2 in the story. The monsters are the Nazis, reshaping the world in their image. All it needs is its own version of a Peal Harbor event to cause them to come to their senses. But Dick Briefer didn't see that one coming.

Pappy said...

Morbid, if we are to believe stories that Dick Briefer did a comic strip for the Communist Party USA newspaper, The Daily Worker, then we could see the casual comments about annihilation of some "barbarians" might have been a savage comment about racism in Americans.

Or, depending on whether he did the writing, perhaps it represents the American attitude of staying out of other countries' business, and to hell with those who get killed. Not our problem!

Or, I could just be reading too much into it. Even for America at the time, the attitude does seem mighty cold to me.

Daniel [] said...

Actually, the virulent racism that people now associate with Naziism had its origins in left-wing thought, and was very much present in the writings of Marx and Engels. While some on the left were quite appalled by racism well before the Nazis came to power, the real turn-around came as the world recoiled in horror at seeing what theory could mean in practice. There was probably no irony in Briefer's dismissal of the Asian people killed in this story.