Wowser Crate Dig in Newspaper Comics — “Beyond Mars”

The story behind this strip reads like sci-fi itself — a newspaper comic was going to counter inroads from TV on print readership. Innately touching, I say. Matched by the pulpy ease and optimism of the strip itself (I’ve read about half). What really dates it is the obvious absence of Kirby influence, but Williamson makes it a lot hipper science fiction than the competition. Lee Elias is in there pitching and offers worthy Milton Caniff echoes. Reminds me oddly enough of a Square Age version of “Phoebe Zeit-Geist”: progressive writer working with a slightly retro artist. But this was supposed to enchant a nationwide mainstream audience. So it’s more like a Western in Space than I would like. Still cool and way too unknown.


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