Monday, April 18, 2011

Spurs Jackson & His Space Vigilantes

Isn't it amazing how these guys take the whole idea of outer-space aliens in stride?
Long before Cowboys and Aliens (either the movie or graphic novel), the concept of buckaroos going hand-to-hand with invaders from the stars was a part of sci-fi and comics history.
Almost 60 years ago, Charlton introduced Space Western Comics in October, 1952 starting at #40.  Though the numbering was a continuation of "parent" title Cowboy Western Comics, none of the previous strips were carried over or revamped, as often happened when comic titles were altered.
Instead, a new series, set in the present (1952), was launched starring Spurs Jackson who was both a cowboy and electronics expert!

He was also a Federal government contactor, so when he needed backup, the military tended to come a-running (and a-shooting).
Good thing, since his ranch became a magnet for alien invaders during the series' run.

The so-called "Space Vigilantes" consisted of Spurs' ranch hands including Hank Roper and Strong Bow, both of whom had backup strips in the book where they also showed their solo alien-buttkicking talents.
An infrequent supporting cast member was Queen Thula of Mars, whom Spurs met in the story above.
Whenever a tale took place on Mars, or Spurs needed some really advanced tech, she appeared and livened up the usually all-male ensemble considerably.

BTW, if you think that this short story covers a helluva lot of ground in just eight pages, you'd be right.
Today this tale alone would be a six-issue miniseries (with a couple of tie-ins to other titles)
It shouldn't surprise you to learn the writer who penned it was Walter Gibson, aka Maxwell Grant, biographer of the pulp hero The Shadow.
If there was anyone who knew how to cram a narrative with both plot and action, it was him!

Besides aliens from a number of worlds, Spurs and friends battled Commie spies (Hey, it was 1952! "Reds" were EVERYWHERE!), ancient Aztecs, and space-going Nazis!
It was weird!
It was wild!
Sometimes it was dumb!
But it was never dull!
And it only lasted six issues.
After #45, the title reverted to Cowboy Western Comics, and Spurs put in a final appearance in a one-page filler. After that, he was only seen in the occasional reprint.
Until now.
We'll be re-presenting Spurs' never-reprinted battle against Those Who Threaten the American Way of Life here in the Reading Room.
And we're offering a new line of Space Western collectibles, perfect for summer wear at the beach or the movie theatre when you go see Cowboys & Aliens. (C'mon, you know you're going!)
Check out the
and have a look below at some Cowboys and Aliens movie tie-ins from Amazon!

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