Saturday, November 19, 2016

Planet Earth Is Blue and There's Nothing I Can Do

Moments of romantic poignancy aren’t necessarily what you’d expect from DC science fiction and superhero comics of the late 1950s. But nevertheless, that’s what you sometimes got.
Take a look at the opening and closing panels from this Adam Strange story by writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino in Mystery in Space 57 (Feb. 1960). In the first, a young woman alone in a broad field looks anxiously at the sky, awaiting the arrival of the man she loves. In the last, a young man on a beach stares wistfully at the sky, thinking of his lover a teleport jump long light years away.
That scene, with its echoes of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ star-crossed Martian lovers from 50 years previously, was one of the familiar pleasures in the adventures of Adam Strange, the thinking man’s superhero of the jet age.
His jazzy ray guns and rocket belts might never have been of much help against giants, monsters and alien invaders, but his scientifically trained brains and calm rationalist attitudes always were.
Americans generally prefer brawn to brains, however, and a house ad in that very issue — for Brave and the Bold 28 (Feb.-March 1960) — foreshadowed the renewed popularity of the powerhouse DC and Marvel superheroes who would change the face of comic books and popular entertainment forever.

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