Apr 2, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 37: Alien Worlds #8, November 1984

Taking a suggestion from reader , today's comic will be reviewing a comic that was reviewed here by Aaron Kashtan at The Ogre's Feathers. Because my Web-Fu is not strong, I have no idea how to link directly to the place on the page where the review is. It's about a third of the way down the page.


The comic grabbed me from the moment I opened the cover solely because the title of the lead story is a line from one of my all-time favourite pieces of poetry, Robert Frost's "Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening." The story offers a couple of other interesting things to think about. First, it's set in 2022. Yep. Captain Murdock is diagnosed with a terminal alien disease on some incredible alien planet and (spoiler spoiler spoiler) a mere 7 years from now. Even when the comic was published, which I'm assuming was well after Nolan originally penned the story, 2022 was only 38 years. Ah, the optimism of the speculative fictionist. The other interesting notion is whether or not Nolan himself adapted the story from his short story. The credits list Nolan as the writer, but, from a glance at the original story, it's hard to tell if he adapted it, or if artist Al Williamson handled that chore.

Moving on, I would agree whole-heartedly with Aaron's review that praises the artwork in the stories, though I'd add Ken Steacy's work to the list, because I really like his work, and it captures a particular aesthetic from the 60s and 70s of which I'm particularly fond. I've got a bunch of his stuff spread throughout the collection, much of it from indie comics like this one, and the "ground level" comics represented by titles like Star*Reach and Quack!. Shall I move on to a week of Steacy? Perhaps...

As Aaron's review notes, the stories here are all "shock-ending" stories (and I agree, in 1984, the declaration of love between two men probably was considered shocking), and they get me thinking, as I did before, of the sometimes needed gap of a month or so between issues of a comic. I had mentioned yesterday that Louapre's stories, at least the early ones, read very similarly, so the publication space gives one a bit of breathing room. I imagine, with a title like this, that reading them one after the other would have a wearying effect, always expecting that twist ending.

One last thing is a parallel that might make an interesting comparison: these stories are, in their execution and subject matter, very similar to the "Future Shocks" and "Time Twisters" short stories from 2000 A.D. A comparison of the two would be neat, if only to see it there are intrinsically national qualities to these tiny science fiction stories.

Thanks again to Martin for the suggestion. That was fun. See you tomorrow.


Martin said...

Aaron does in fact provide anchors for deep links in his posts, you just need to look them up in the source code. The direct link to his Alien Worlds review would be https://ogresfeathers.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/more-comics/#aw8.

Tom Miller said...

Groovy. I consider my Web Fu updated!