Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2020 July 10 • Friday

As of this writing, the Wikipedia entry for Men Into Space does not mention the Men Into Space comic book!

It checks Murray Leinster's novelization and a toy space helmet, but no comic book!

How do these things happen? If we can't count on Wikipedia, then….

I could add it to the Wikipedia entry myself, That's the point, I guess.

Okay, I started to do it and then my son told me I was doing it wrong, so forget it. Somebody else can do it.

We have exactly one (1) issue of the Dell Men Into Space comic book here.

It calls itself No. 1083, March–May, 1960, which is a little bit odd. Was it a quarterly? And no way were there over a thousand numbers of these, so what does 1083 mean?

Oh, it seems that it's actually No. 1083 of Dell Four Color comics, a series that started in 1942 and ran for twenty years. According to this neat site, they stopped putting "Four Color Comics" on the cover after No. 101.

And so it also seems that this is the only Men Into Space comic that ever was!

It's pretty good. I had seen a bit of the show a long time ago but don't remember it. The comic strives for a believable and accurate scientific approach to, in this example, the problems of humans going to the moon, landing, exploring and returning.

Since it's an action and drama vehicle as well as science fiction, there are several things that go wrong for our astronauts.

While no writers or artists are credited, the people responsible for this particular comic book were quite talented.

The stories are perfectly paced and compelling, the characters distinct and consistent, though perhaps somewhat unrealistically noble and honorable as viewed from today's perspective. It's probably more like how we wish we'd all behave than how we most often do.

But comics live or die by the artwork and visually, this was really interesting and impressive.

The first thing to catch my eye was the use of color, particularly lots of bright solid colors that enliven various panels.

And then these three panels in a row, each one with a different and powerfully vivid perspective and composition.

This next panel was like nothing I could remember seeing in a comic book before and had me wondering if the artist had been admiring Australian Aboriginal art.

And then finally, this dramatic image of Colonel McCauley approaching the emergency "lifeboat".

I've seen that shot in episodes of Star Trek, which is still several years off in the future. And the rocket he's in isn't pointing nose up, it's mostly on its side and slightly angled away from the surface, so this is a perspective the artist really wanted you to have. It isn't just a direct result of what's happening in the story.

So this was a really cool find! From my favorite bookstore, Oceans of Books by the Sea in Wellfleet, MA. Picked it up last summer, I believe. I hope I can get back there soon!