01/11/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Spaceship Away. Rod Barzilay, 8 Marley Close, Preston, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 6DH, UK. 44 page A4 glossy stock magazines. Price: £ 6.99 (UK), 9.00 euro, £10.00 (overseas). On subscription or wanting to get back issues, buy 6 and the 7th is for free!!!.
check out website: http://spaceshipaway.org.uk
The second offering of 'Spaceship Away' for this year displays a denizen of last century's newspaper strips, 'Garth', who gets quite a spread here. Not only is there an informative article on the subject and artist Frank Bellamy, but four pages of 'The Bubble Man' skilfully coloured by John Ridgway really bringing it to life. As much as I like Bellamy's work, I'd love to see similar attention to his predecessor, Steve Dowling, as well mostly cos I was brought up on his 'Garth' work and they are as strong in Science Fiction as any of the later material. A panel from his work shows Garth with the robot bird Doppo from the mid-60s should show how things get stuck in the memory and how unappreciative Dowling's work became when you're compared to Bellamy. Even so, this is a good move by editor Rod Barzilay to widen the material and yet still stay within the era that surrounded Dan Dare.
Speaking of whom, Dan Dare still has two continuing strips here. 'Green Nemesis' has got the Dare's team back together even if they haven't figured out which Venusian is watching in on their actions. 'The Gates Of Eden' has also done a similar thing on an asteroid which appears to have gateways on to other worlds. Although I doubt if there's any parallel plotting going on here, I can't help feel it might be worth considering doing different length stories in future just to cover backs over the time it takes to produce these fine strips.
Charles Tilton and Tacconi's 'Journey Into Space' Jet and Lemmy escaping from their alien captors with a little mountain climbing and giant spiders. Definitely a trope from the past although the modern me does wonder if there are giant flies on such worlds?
'Nick Hazard: Interstellar Agent' and his team are also on the run from aliens on an alien world that has flying blue dragons inadvertently flying in for some free food. Looking at which I'm writing here, there's beginning to be an obvious trend. What I should point out is that each artist/writer team has a different take on this that makes them singularly unique. There is also an article about Ron Turner, Nick Hazard's creator the problems of getting his story to see the light of day back in the 80s.
To top all this off, there is an article by Nick Spender and how he was a member of Frank Hampson's art class back in the mid-70s and I bet, after reading this, that you wish you had such a teacher.
For British artist connoisseurs, there are also two pictures by John Burns. It would be interesting to see if the rights to his 70s comicstrip 'Countdown' from the same comic were available to give it a spin again, mostly because I haven't seen much of his work for some time.
You might have noticed that I also enjoyed this issue. The diversity of 'Spaceship Away' is enough to keep any of you interested in a nostalgic wallow happy for a few hours. With no adverts, you're also getting good value for money.
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