Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Strange Planets #1 (1958)

Strange Planets #1 (IW Enterprises)

Various (w) & (a)

This comic and the company that printed it are new to me, but then I'm sure there's lots of stuff in back issue bins like this that generally get passed over and ignored. I only came across it by chance when one of the guys in my local comic shop was sorting some stuff out. At £3.25 for a comic of this age (and in a quite reasonable condition) what was there to lose?

In fact I rather enjoyed this comic which is itself a reprint of old sci-fi stories from earlier in the fifties which I might never have had the chance to read.

The first story Clean Start is illustrated (and credited to) Wally Wood and is one of those morality tales which were so common in this and other formats back in the day. The alien races of the universe considered us too savage to mix with them and feared our imminent expansion into wider space.

So two protoplasmic creatures or scientists I should say are sent to try and make us more peaceful. They do not succeed and make a choice that leaves mankind wiped out much to their ever lasting horror.

Up next comes Marbles with art by Bernard Krigstein which shows how easy it is for man to lose his marbles or sanity when sent into deep space.

The remaining two features Conditioned Reflex and Barrier contain the same theme as the lead story. Mankind is a threat. However the aliens who try to prepare for conquest in Conditioned Reflex are beaten by a case of simple nicotine addiction. Moral? Do not strike a light in a mainly methane atmosphere.

Barrier is as it seems. There's a force field around Earth that prevents mankind from getting off planet. Only when the two warring sides of man get together can they get through, only to be beaten back by an alien warship which promptly seals the barrier.

I'll be looking out for other issues, and keeping my eye on the stars..... cracking stuff from a different era.


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