Thursday, February 4, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: The Man From Outer Space

Today's entry is from Outer Space #17 (available at Golden Age Comic Downloads, assuming the site is up).

It should be noted that Outer Space was a rather odd comic. Unlike many space/sci-fi oriented comics, it focused most of the time on exploration stories with little action or violence. In fact, the first issue was actually primarily composed of a continuous story about space exploration from an R&D standpoint-no joke. This is the one section that is not part of that story.

(Also note that, as far as I know, this is not a Ditko story, unlike many from Outer Space [though the art isn't bad; it could be Ditko, though I can't seem to find information on it]. Booooo.)

It opens on some guys getting ready to launch a rocket.

The one thing they can't account for scientifically, according to this Dr. Mangan, is the "human equation." (Actually, for a more correct metaphor, that ought to be the "human factor" in your "rocket equation." Just sayin'.)

In a fairly long, boring sequence, we are shown all the training and testing they've put their astronaut through. Eventually, they tell him to give it a rest, because he's headin' out soon.

Dourly, Dr. Mangan wonders if there will be anything left to test when he gets back.

As a "geneticist," Dr. Mangan actually understands evolution to some degree, surprising for a comic book.

Unfortunately for him, he lives in a comic book, so his understanding doesn't matter. Sorry, Dr. Mangan:

The astronaut magically evolved into a higher being while he was in space. Daaaang.

Of course, this is all well and good... but it creeps me out like nothing else.

"He's different now! He's smarter and better! Aw yeah!"

Claiming incredible mental superiority in fiction always drives me nuts, especially if the author doesn't back it up well. Here, we don't even get any indications beyond the transhuman's claims of "seeing clearly."

Even if that wasn't the case, I know I'd be jittery at the idea of space making people into supermen magically. You know, Transhuman Treachery and all that.

-Signing off.


Doc Mars said...

Hi Invid,
According to GCD it's a nice story drawn by Al Williamson et inked perhaps by Wally Wood.

Invid said...

Ah, thanks.