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  1. #1
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    Default Out Of This World

    Reach for the stars!

    "Atomic Avenue#1" by Glen Orbik

    This thread will be a taking a look at those great works of sci-fi, futuristic and space art which have been produced over the years such as the above which was inspired by the golden age of sci-fi art. From comic covers such as 2000AD, Eagle, Star Wars and many others, to the pulp magazines of the 1930s, to technical and science magazines, to the largely forgotten British sci-fi magazines and books of the 1950s as well as from the likes of Russian and Japanese magazines...vintage posters and book illustrations of a future which hasn't happened...Retro-futuristic forms of transport which never happened, aliens and robots both (supposedly) scary and at times (unintentionally) ridiculous and funny, and of course, damsels in distress. Not to mention lashings of rocket ships, spacemen, daleks and other tv/movie types which have graced the printed page over the years...

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    Ooo - how lovely.
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    Where to start, though...that's the thing. There's just so much to choose from...I think the great fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta, will do for starters...

    Back in the 1940s and 50s, many movie stars had their own comics named after them. John Wayne had his own comic in which he had many western and war adventures (as himself, not one of his film characters such as Rooster Cogburn) as did other actors from the time. Such as...


    Here we have Buster (as himself, not Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers) in his own Western comic from 1952 mysteriously fighting Martians...Cowboys And Aliens wasn't a new concept by any means. This features an early cover by the legendary Frank Frazetta, long before he would become better known for his fantasy paintings. Interior artwork was by comic legend Al Williamson...


    Back to Frazetta though for a moment. For the benefit of anyone not familiar with his later style, here's a promotional piece he did for the original Battlestar Galactica back in the late 70s...very different in look from what appeared on screen...


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    Wobblies In The Moon...Thrilling Wonder Stories from June 1943, with a cover by Earle Bergey...


    Space Busters #1 by Norman Saunders from 1953...


    A rare 2000AD cover by the mysterious Evi from 1977...


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    2000AD looks the most interesting, as ever! And on all of those covers it looks like the humans don't stand a chance. Ha.
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    It's astounding what Boris will do to get you to use public transport! Either that or this is a job for Underground Duncan...

    I happened to do a little research into Buster Crabbe last year after a couple of his westerns turned up on telly. Seems westerns make up for the majority of his films, so while the Americans remember him as much for them and his gold-medal-winning Olympic efforts, because of his Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials, over here you'd be forgiven for thinking he'd done little else.

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    Evil Robots...damsels in distress...jet packs...things are not quite as they seem here though, in Lars Of Mars...an unsurprisingly short-lived series from the early 50s featuring a Martian called Lars who is sent to Earth as an Ambassador, but becomes stranded when his rocket ship crashes. Nobody would believe that he really was a man from Mars, so what options does he have available? It's pretty obvious when you think about it...he lands the lead role in a new tv series about a man from Mars and splits his time between starring in a tv series and fighting evil...

    Despite the cover numbering stating #10, this 'classic' only actually lasted two issues before quickly disappearing...


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    Dan Dare in the 1970s...

    Original stories featuring the character stopped several years before Eagle stopped publication in 1969, the last few years of publication just featuring reprints. So the early-mid 70s saw an unsuccessful effort to revive both the character, and the comic...




    Featuring art by Joe Colquhoun, this would have seen Dare in charge of Eagle Force. Not much more is known about this aborted attempt at the revival, though...of course Dare would soon reappear in a very different form in 2000AD and Eagle would itself successfully reappear several years later.


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    Dan Dare never really clicked with me. I was probably too young for his golden era and I never found him particularly interesting. But the Mekon looked dead cool.
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    When Eagle was relaunched in the '80s, I thought it wasn't a patch on the 2000AD strips, mand disappointingly didn't carry on with their continuity. Having said that, I wasn't aware at the time of the original Eagle strips, or that the 2000AD stories hadn't carried on from then. Hey-ho. You don't half think you know better when you're younger...

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    The 2000AD version of Dan Dare was the one I grew up with too. I always remember my dad talking to me about the original Dan Dare and Eagle and how good the Frank Hampson artwork was...how it was much better quality than what was on offer at the time in the British Marvel reprints which were my staple at the time...so I remember proudly showing him the first ever issue of 2000AD with it's brilliant full-colour DD centre-spread by Massimo Bellardinelli, only for him to pass it off with a derisive snort "That's not the real Dan Dare...not the character I read about when I was a boy!" Not that it mattered...I loved it and the artwork was fantastic...to me, those early 2000AD Dan Dare's are the genuine article. Too bad they're basically only a footnote in history, nowadays.

    While we're on the subject, here's one of Bellardinelli's Dare covers for 2000AD...


    I'll be looking more at all versions of Dare (or rather, the works of artists connected with the character such as Hampson, Bellardinelli and Dave Gibbons) in due course in this thread...
    Last edited by MacNimon; 9th Jan 2016 at 1:16 PM.

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    Dan Dare was still in 2000AD when I started getting it - he had a Treen companion and a metal glove (bizarrely, a bit like Rassilon's in The End of Time) and I have a vague memory of Dad saying it was very different from Dan Dare as he remembered. Certainly he was a lot more impressed with the new Eagle version a couple of years later.

    To be fair, I guess that stripped of Digby and Spacefleet and the distinctive Eagle artwork and that sort of Englishness of the 1950s, the 2000AD version was probably only Dan Dare in name, eyebrows, and chief villain!!

    Great artwork though!!

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    You're totally right, Andrew. The 2000AD version probably is Dan Dare in name only, and it would possibbly be more fondly remembered if the character was called Buck Gordon, or some other silly derivative of space heroes of decades gone by. The thing is, it was a great strip in its own right regardless of the character's name.

    Most importantly, from a personal point of view, I was exactly the right age to get into this at the time...12 years old...too young to remember the original, and the later Eagle version...well, no matter whether it was actually better or more faithful or not, it came round when I wasn't at quite as an impressionable age and it didn't have the same impact on me personally.

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    I certainly enjoyed it, although I didn't get into 2000AD until... something like Prog 118? Anyway, it was the one before the one with the James Bond Moonraker cover, and I don't think Dan Dare lasted more than three or four months after that. There was a great cover of one issue he was in though, 125 or something like that - don't know who drew it, but (unless the memory cheats) it was Dan in the foreground with his metal gauntlet shooting at some kind of spaceship chasing him.

    What was with that Gauntlet anyway?

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    The Cosmic Claw...an alien 'living' glove which had the ability to cause huge destruction in the wrong hands...something along those lines iirc

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    And this will be the cover you remember...?


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    While we're at it, here are the other two you mentioned...and it looks like your first issue was the final one with the original logo!



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    Crikey Mac, that really is dedication to duty! Thanks!

    I remember those all very well, they really take me back - and the drawing of Deadlock and the mention of Hammer-Stein remind me that my favourite strip in those early days was the brand new ABC Warriors. Really exciting stuff, and Deadlock riding up the side of the building in Mars was what sprang to mind when Matt's Doctor rode up the side of the shard in Doctor Who!!!

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    A bit of 'Futurism' today rather than sci-fi...here we look at some concept art from the past of the future of transport...

    From Ford Design Studios in 1954, the car of the future...




    From Modern Mechanix magazine, November 1932...an endless belt-train of the future






    And this next car was due to enter production in 1942, apparently...


    More futuristic forms of transport including cars, trains and planes (even buses!) coming in due course...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacNimon View Post
    Batmobile!

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    I came across this on Facebook the other day, a wee tribute to Bowie...


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    Anyone remember those small digest-sized Starblazer comic books of the 1980s, a sort of science fiction companion series to DC Thomson's Commando? Here's a small selection of covers along with a few others from TitBits Sci-Fi, 1950s/60s German magazines Utopia and Terra, and the US Pulp era...














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    I never got any, but I do remember seeing Starblazer. I take it we're otherwise in the realms of the pulp SF mag era.

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    I'd buy Starblazer if it were going today!
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    Pulp era indeed, Stuart! Some of thoe old pulp stories are great...others maybe not so...

    I've just bought Ice City Of The Gorgon for my Kindle from Amazon, it's been a while since I sampled anything 'new' from that era and the cover appealed to me...hopefully it's not 4 down the drain!

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