Sci Fi comics, flicks, serials

I read a lot of silver age comics, usually in collected editions. Lately I’ve been slowly going through DOCTOR SOLAR and the Charlton Steve Ditko  CAPTAIN ATOM. I really like the “Atom Age” stuff in comics and movies.  I like the confident and capable military, the egghead scientists, the hot babes, the cars, the monsters, even the furniture.  As a kid, the Dell comics really stood out because of their sophisticated painted covers by George Wilson. The first two Solars had covers by Richard Powers which were quite cool as well. The Ditko Atom’s have been short and more fantastical than Solar but often have flying saucers and vaguely Red Curtain villains such as Gustav Borlin. Captain Atom seems to foil a lot of missile plots. As I read a couple of these stories I found myself wanting to see a movie set in the same time, which is what let me to my double feature of Fungoid scifi excitement-SPACE MASTER X-7 and MUTINY IN OUTER SPACE.





Doctor Solar Man of the Atom 7 03-1964







I also have accumulated a decent amount of shorts, cartoons and serials that I usually try to work in before the features. I t takes a while to work through a serial as I watch a couple of chapters from two or three different ones a week. I try to mix it up between a scifi, jungle, super hero, western and so on. Right now, I just finished THE REURN OF CHANDU and am working on THE PHANTOM, RAIDERS OF THE LOST CITY and now BRICK BRADFORD. Kids love the Brick Bradford! Oh man. Kane Richmond stars as manly man Brick, who is wrapped up trying to thwart spies from stealing Dr. Tymak’s interceptor ray. Dr. Tymak has traveled to the moon via his “crystal door”. Fortunately the moon has an atmosphere and looks a lot like Californy. On the less fortunate side, it is ruled by a tyrannical moon bitch named Khana. Chapter one was entitled “Atomic Defense”. The serial is based on the comic strip, duh.



I decided on some Stooges and went with “Ants in the Pantry” from the first re-mastered Stooges collection 1934-1936. 





I started on CARTOONS THAT TIME FORGOT from Netflix. The first two starred Flip the Frog. Nothing special but okay enough. 





So for years now I’ve been tortured by a vague childhood memory of a movie where a plant attacks a space station. All I remembered was a shot of the station with the plant wrapped around it. I would think of it from time to time but for whatever reason never got a copy. At one point I was sure it was either SPACE MASTER X-7 or MUTINY IN SPACE. Recently I got the Fox Movie Channel because I saw they were showing SPACE MASTER X-7 and I recorded it. I also got a copy of MUTINY off ebay. Turns out, the movie from my childhood was MUTINY but both were interesting in their own way.

SPACE MASTER X-7  takes a documentary/police procedural approach to the problem of space fungus spreading on earth. A satellite  gets an unknown fungus and brings it to earth where the super busy scientist Dr. Pommer ( played by the awesome Paul Frees) studies it. He’s busy because some broad he knocked up years ago keeps bugging him about the custody of a child they had while he attempts the extraordinarily difficult task of studying the “blood rust” space fungus. She essentially causes him to infect himself by being a pain in the ass. The rest of the movie has two agents tracking her as she pulls a “typhoid Mary” by unwittingly spreading the Blood Rust about the country. It’s a fun flick that doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense but it’s never boring. Frees is great and it’s cool to see him in an acting role. Moe Howard plays a cab driver and has several scenes. The satellite is the X-7 which is really not that big of a part in the flick.  BLOOD RUST would’ve been a better title.




I thought I remembered MUTINY IN SPACE as being in color but apparently not. While made in 1965 it plays more like a fifties scifi flick,. A couple of space pilots bring a sample from the lunar ice caves that contains a deadly fungus which spreads through Satellite x-7. Maybe the similarity in satellite names is what made me confuse the two flicks. That and the fact that I haven’t seen the flick since 1972 or so. There’s a couple of hot big haired babes on the satellite as well as a commander suffering from what’s called “Space Rapture”(think Ren’s Space Madness). This is where the mutiny comes in as the delusional commander has to be overthrown so the fungus can be fought. The fungus eats a guy before growing into a big killer plant-like menace, eventually growing on the outside of the satellite. Again, it doesn’t make a lot of sense but is a fun flick. It had an EC Comics WEIRD SCIENCE feel to it.