Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tom Corbett in Color (2)

Space Jokes for Space Jocks
Here are three more of my Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Sundays. All precede the examples in my last post. The first, from 15 February 1953, begins a story documenting Tom's adventures as chairman of the Prom Committee. Now there's action! Wait a minute--check out whom Tom will be escorting to the Prom. None other than The Dragon Lady, striking one of her most famous poses (minus the gun)! Maybe there will be some action beyond Tom losing his wallet down a very 20th-century drain.

Space Dust was Bailey's answer to the "drop panel" dilemma. Since many papers by this time ran Sundays in one-third page size, the art had to be prepared so a row of panels could be omitted without confusing the story. Some creators padded the first row with irrelevant story material. The episode began in earnest in the second row. Others, like Bailey, filled most of the space with a "side feature" that wouldn't be missed. In the strip above, more cutting still had to be done to save the final "pay-off" panel. My guess is they'd cut panel 3. They might also trim panel 1 to half-size and lose the logo.

Man, I love the way Bailey draws mountains!

As the next page shows, in 1951 the Sundays were one-shot "jokes" rather than continuities. I put "jokes" in quotes because I find them really lame. Take this one from Sunday, 11 November 1951:

I notice the space station dispatchers are all sexy women. Wonder if any of them bought purple wigs and went to work for S.H.A.D.O.'s Moon Base.

My last offering comes from 20 January 1952. It's another joke strip. Nice pose and black/white balance in panel 5. Bailey used the baseball-cap-and-green-sunglasses outfit from panel 1 many times in later years, notably his comic book adaptations of Steve Canyon and the TV show Whirlybirds. In the drop section, Space Dust tackles global warming half a century early!

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