Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tom Corbett in Color

Ray Bailey, Space Cadet
Today I offer four of the handful of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Sundays I found in a thrift shop. They come from the San Francisco Chronicle. Three seem to be from the same story. All show off Ray Bailey's great artwork.First comes the 20 April 1952 episode, featuring Ray's take on the Dragon Lady. "Sultra" even sports Madame DL's cape, not to mention the official Sophisticated Bad Babe Cigarette Holder. Note that while everyone else comes from Caniff Land, the fellow in green leaning on Venger's seat definitely hails from Mongo. Was Bailey just having some fun?In the next strip, from 28 June 1953, The Polaris crew have entered a space race. Almost everyone smokes in Tom Corbett except the cadets themselves, and as we see here the top brass is partial to stogies. This seems more like Civil War generals than futuristic Academy faculty members. Come to think of it, the officers even look like Civil War generals, sporting moustaches and full beards which weren't common in 1953's U.S. military.We learn in the 12 July 1953 Sunday that Roger believes the ship has visited an alternate earth. Tom and Astro figure he's space crazy. They may be right, considering that Roger is glassy-eyed and he wanders off in search of the "one person" who will believe him.My final offering is from 26 July 1953. From the reference to "Manning and his charts" I think this is from the same storyline, and that Lorelei in panel 3 is the "only one" Roger was looking for. Sydney Greenstreet makes a guest appearance in the first panel, smoking one of Commander Arkwright's cigars and enjoying a great rendering job. Meanwhile, in panel 4 we see some of those great Ray Bailey mountains. Then there's Lorelei herself, a classic Caniff Girl if ever there was one.
If from the above you gather I'm a Bailey fan, give yourself a 25th-century cigar. I plan to run some more Corbett Sundays next time (I have maybe eight more), and when I can scan it, I'll post my beloved Undersea Agent original which proves that Bailey still had that spark in the late 60s.

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