Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fighting Crime in a Future Time! The Coming of...Space Detective!

Art by Joe Orlando and Wally Wood
Blending the hard-boiled gumshoe, sci-fi and superhero genres, Avon's Space Detective burst onto the comics scene in 1951.

Future-era wealthy philanthropist Rod Hathway and his secretary Dot Kenny fought interplanetary evil and helped the innocent as Avenger and Teena, using the methods of 1940s gumshoes combined with the technology of the far future!
Blasters instead of revolvers!
Personal jetpacks instaed of taxis!
Stories, whose titles included "Opium Smugglers of Venus" and "SpaceShip of the Dead", delivered fast-paced action illustrated by, among others, comics legends Wally Wood and Joe Orlando, who would go on to greater graphic story glory as mainstays of EC Comics' Weird Fantasy and Weird Science titles.
One interesting aspect is that all the Space Detective stories in a given issue have an underlying plotline (usually a villainous mastermind) who's caught or killed in the final story!
Here's the inside-cover contents pages from the four-issue run, to give you a taste of what's to come..
Art by Joe Orlando and Wally Wood
Art by Wally Wood and Joe Orlando
Art by Gene Fawcette
So, since it's both space opera and crime fiction, we're going to run it on both this blog and our "brother" blog Crime & Punishment™!
The first chapter will appear here tomorrow, the second at Crime & Punishment™ on Friday, then the conclusion back here on Saturday!
Weird Trivia:
1) Despite the fact that neither character wore a mask, nobody ever commented "hey, ain't you that famous Hathway guy?" or somesuch.
(Maybe they were too busy looking at Teena's cleavage?)
2) Nobody ever calls Rod "Space Detective"! He's always called "Avenger".
3) The original user of the name "Avenger", a Doc Savage-style pulp/comic character, hadn't been published since 1944. The trademark had lapsed, so it was used on this unrelated character from a different company.
(This sort of thing is far more common in comics/pulps than you might think.
For example, three different companies have had a "Captain Marvel", none of whom were related to the other companies' versions!  
Marvel Comics itself has had several Captains Marvel including a father and son and two women [one of whom was romantically-involved with the first Marvel Captain Marvel!)

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