Mission Stardust

September 25, 11

Insect head tenticular vehicle design.
Glass mounted eyeballs.
The proto-pre-Darryl Hannah.
Surface roving ambulance with radar.
Head bucket mounted weapons.
The overt threat of the miraculous.

The arm twist that expresses conformity of will.

North American Aviation Space Scooter, 1963

September 25, 11

Flying Space Scooter — Powered by a jet of air, this one-man scooter is testing the principle of rocket powered flying platforms in a company funded project at North American’s Space and Information Systems Division, Downey, CA.

The vehicle can hover, rotate, accelerate forward, backward or horizontally and accomplish an accelerated climb or controlled descent and soft touchdown.  Safety devices attached to a crane prevent the space platform from rising above roof top heights.

And here’s the real thing, being tested in 1963. From rendering to execution, the image gives us something tangible and immediate to reflect on.

I think it’s especially meaningful and important given the insanity of the current political climate. These images displayed tangible examples of the once entirely impossible on a daily basis.

All of it, too soon forgotten.

Space Scooter Image, 1963

September 23, 11

A 1963 artist rendering from a press image for a Space  Scooter created by North American Aviation.

“Crater Hopping — Propelled by liquid storable propellants, this rocket powered Space Scooter would traverse rough lunar terrain and hop craters in this concept by North American’s Space Division, Downey, CA.

The Space Scooter is a proposed advanced model of the jet-propelled, one-man space platform tested successfully in a company funded research project.

The Space Scooter also might be used to scale steep cliffs, descend into fissures or crevasses, or act as a shuttle bus between orbinting space vehicles.

Diamond shaped figures represent thrusts vector pattern developed by faster-than-sound propulsion.  Spheres on craft contain storable liquid propellants.”

Innovation. Optimism.  The suit that inspired Major Matt Mason.

More MARS Patrol Frogmen at work

September 03, 11

MARS Patrol Comic Here’s the whole MARS Patrol team suited up for an underwater strike attack on the position held by the bald purple costumed aliens.

Check out the football shaped re-breathers popular in the 1960’s! I always especially admired the accuracy of the technical illustration for the MARS Patrol covers and the precise rendering of their suits and equipment.

I love the way the tanks and supply trucks are roving on the sand berms trying to get into position to defend.  Explosive bolts are fired by the MARS Patrol’s nuclear powered spearguns with a scattering of enemies consumed in the blast front and center.

The ever popular ascending pancake stack architecture, popular with aliens,  forms the only thing outside of the blast radius that we are allowed to see.

The frogmen of MARS Patrol are in command.

Sgt. Ken Hiro – MARS Patrol Frogman Badass

September 01, 11

Mars Patrol FrogmanSgt. Ken Hiro is a MARS Patrol frogman badass.  He’s the one in green leaping over a trench with the Thompson sub-machine gun in the two o’clock position.

Mask mounted on his head, regulator at the ready —  the rocket in the background is primed and ready to launch in a time when space exploration actually mattered to most.

Bald aliens or “baldies” have built a series of undersea colonies and Sgt. Ken Hiro isn’t about to take any lip from a bald genetic non-terrestrial oddity.  He needs to get through the bald purple foot soldiers and wire up some holiday salutes to turn a few colonies into fish sticks.

Who can resist the fashion choices of baldy leaders with names like Technicon Kargin that dress like period Venetian Renaissance actors?

When bald and theatrical were simple shorthands for evil.

MARS patrol baldies

Magnus and the Water Robots

August 31, 11

Robot Fighter Pacifica is a steel domed city built on the Ocean.  A city run by robots with an agenda that doesn’t leave much room for humans.  Magnus usually crushes robots, but here he’s caught in the pronged clutches of a robot built with fan blade feet for propulsion.

Serpents and sharks figure here too. Danger is everywhere.  If you manage to beat the machines, can you beat the upper end of  natural predators?

Can anyone really beat the next predator?

The predator that consumes your ability to wonder.  The predator that eats away the only inner voice that will ever be gifted to you.

The painterly covers of the Gold Keys were true descendents of the best early pulp styles.

How did these covers start to change your worldview as a kid?  Maybe you started to meditate on the fantastic — but this is soon lost.

Break the grip of the robot, serpent and shark wherever you find them.

The Golden Age of the Frogmen

August 30, 11

FrogmanThe 1960’s were probably the golden age for Frogmen.  Movies, TV and comics were saturated with tales of sunken treasure, enemy submarines, and clandestine strike teams featuring at least a Frogman or two.

The Frogman was sometimes portrayed as the “cool head” on the team, capable of viewing a situation with calm intelligence and restrained warrior passion.

No one could afford to act from emotion alone in the deeps.

The Frogman as underwater punisher capable of great acts of stealth, intuitive timing, bomb wiring and underwater knife/spearfun fighting was a frequent romantic image on reruns by the 1970’s.  By the 1980’s the romance had definitely started to fade.

Growing up next to the ocean, I was always excited by the idea of undersea combat and exploration. Frogmen always seemed to have the coolest devices, and I liked the Hollywood sound of underwater radio chatter.

I’ve been going through some of my old comics lately and thinking about how some of these images were funny, dynamic, and a great and playful mix of genres that you simply don’t see much of anymore.  It wasn’t perceived as confusing or “off topic” to take real chances with stories and mix robots with aliens with intelligent fish with frogmen in  research vehicles — and put them all underwater to boil in the imagination.

The Sea Devils are Trapped

August 20, 11

Sea Devils Comics

The Sea Devils are trapped!

Bolts fly from the rooftops, fish in a barrel formation, trapped in an underwater ghost town.

Some of the most deeply satisfying moments in life are directly related to play.

They occur during play.

But who really stops to think much about play at all?

  • It’s silly
  • It’s only for kids
  • It’s a time waster
  • It’s expensive
  • It isn’t productive
  • It’s pointless
  • It can’t be done if you’re older

We have bills to pay and hungry pets.  Like millions of years of biological development and social programming should arrive at THIS as the apex of our experience. A play-less, bitter, bad dinner of collapsing economies and flagrant selfishness.

Trapped just like the Sea Devils!

We are too busy, and if we aren’t careful, we miss out on too much. Try and junk what makes you miserable one small step at a time. Slowly,  or quickly :^) ,  add in a layer of play to your life. Let it help you find a new way. It will probably involve more sacrifice than most of us have been willing to make before.

Try and have only what’s worth having, and play will help show you the difference. Leave the rest behind. If you can, try and bring some friends along with you. Play always finds power in numbers.

The junk we strive for will still remain junk.

Play like there’s no tomorrow. Help us free the Sea Devils.

The Humanoid

August 08, 11

The hipless woman in the glow of creation is offered up by metallic arms from the mechanical ovum encasement complete with a form guidance rebar system.

An outline of daggers.

Two shaded observers watch the moment of transaction with The Humanoid arching the spine in combat tested confidence.  Era required feathered hair flows forward in the celestial aura of frozen static cling.

A wrist bracelet attached to a subwoofer binds tomorrow’s Eve, while feet glow so brightly that all physiology is lost.  Guards protect piled pancake housing units.  The robo-bulldog waits.