Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Lion Annual 1957

Words cannot do justice. Really. It's just splendid. (Look at the front cover! Click for an enlarged picture! Look! At the Space-Mini! Its puff-puff rocket exhaust in the vacuum of space! The robot sitting uncomfortably in the passenger seat as if he can't think of any conversational gambit! Look at the fondue-bowl spacestation!)

It's the SF bits of this annual that catch my eye mostly, but there's a jawdropping range of alternate modes of derring do, only slightly tarnished by some horrid unreconstructed racism. Pages 49-56 are taken up with 'Captain Condor and the Menace on Space-Station J9', in full colour. Here's the last image in that strip (the 'menace' is an escaped convict; he steals a space-boat but Captain C. sends a robot to apprehend him):
'The game's up, Vargal Skurn. I shouldn't struggle if I were you. The robot can be very rough if its upset.' Upset! Then again there's the following double spread of the wonders that await lunar explorers:
My favourites: 2nd caption down, left hand column of p.62:
Danger may lurk in the creater Erasthones, for it may be the home of swarms of man-sized insects!
Or it may not.
How do we know? Because Earth's astronomers have seen black patches moving mysteriously about this 38-mile-wide "bowl".
1957's astonomers saw swarms of space insects on the moon? After smoking ... what? And p.63 bottom right:
What will the moon's caves contain?
Nothing much.
Weird, bat-like creatures that cling to vegetation covered walls?
Skeletons of awesome animals that roamed millions of years ago?
No. Ah well, never mind.
It'll never catch on!
'As Fred went to join Phido on the bus platform, the burly bank-robber sent him staggering backwards. The electronic bloodhound was now controlled by the very crooks it had been trailing!' Look me in the eye and tell me you don't want to read the story to which that picture, and especially that caption, is attached. I double-dare you.


Al R said...

I'd like to know why that dog's head is floating in mid air, definitely.

marco said...

You know the dog is a robot because its name is spelt with a ph. Clever.