- Posted by Johanna on March 6, 2009 at 7:20 am
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics; $16.99 US
Showcase Presents Strange Adventures reprints science fiction stories from the 1950s Strange Adventures comic. The book begins with issue #54, the first under the Comics Code Authority regulatory group, and continues through #73, with each issue containing four stories. Reportedly, there are issues with film availability on earlier issues, making it more difficult to reprint the comics affordably. Regardless, it’s wonderful that the black-and-white “phonebook”-style format allows for reasonably priced reprints of unusual comic material like this, over 500 pages of a glimpse from another era to another era.
Back then, in the middle of the 20th century, the future was something to be optimistic about. Men set out to find new power sources or keep aliens from invading or prevent accelerated global warming or explore the universe. Alien artifacts were things of wonder and anything could be invented or discovered, including such staples of pulp science fiction as killer robots and super-intelligent gorillas. There were plenty of aliens doing wacky things, like making movies with Earth as a set or competing in outer space track-and-field matches. The stories are jam-packed with imagination, with lots happening quickly (sometimes regardless of logic), and emphasis on the individual hero saving the day with brainpower and gumption.
Some of the attitudes are inadvertently revealing, as when one group of spacemen aim to create a “planet of peace” by building better weapons to defeat their enemies. Of course, the technology doesn’t keep up with what we know today about science and invention, so some of the stories are even more entertaining, in an unexpected way, than they set out to be. And all of them have a strong moral lesson, an instructive purpose to telling their tale. Many times, it’s “be careful messing around” when it comes to scientists pushing the boundaries of what man is meant to know. Elsewhere, it’s as simple as the virtue of self-sacrifice for a greater good (usually Earth’s continued survival).
This is a terrific volume to dip into or browse through for an idea of what our grandparents thought the future could be.