Friday, 25 November 2016
Space 1999 #4 (Charlton/1976)
Space 1999 (Charlton Comics)
John Byrne (a)
One of the programmes I used to look forward to on a Saturday morning back in the seventies was Gerry Anderson's live action show Space 1999. The story of a colony on the moon who get rocketed out of the solar system at a colossal speed following an explosion of nuclear waste on the far side of the Moon. The adventures begin...
Meeting all sorts of aliens as they traverse the cosmos the show lasted two seasons with a total of 48 shows. In the UK the series spawned a weekly comic strip in ITV's Look-In magazine. In the USA the licence was picked by Charlton Comics.
I have been on the lookout for copies of the Charlton Comics version for some time. There were in fact two different series. This one was a "four color" comic which lasted 7 issues between 1976 and aimed at the younger market. The other (which I have yet to find) was a black & white magazine sized comic aimed at older readers which also lasted just 7 issues.
The comic contains art by none other than John Byrne who had previously created Doomsday +1 for Charlton. Byrne of course would later become famous for his stellar work on the New X-Men and the Fantastic Four. As a result this comic is of a much higher standard than much of Charlton's other varied output. You have to remember they produced comics more to keep their presses rolling than anything else, paid their creators poorly, even Steve Ditko (who it is said did get more than the others) and had comparatively low production standards using poor quality paper.
Nonetheless I remain a fan of Charlton's output mainly because it was not just varied but had less editorial interference than other publishers.
Finally for those too young or others like myself who are getting longer in the tooth here's the very first episode. Pity they didn't do more, both TV programmes and comics.