Thursday, March 29, 2018


The Diary of Ty Locke
(w/a: Warren Tufts)

While being yet another space exploration strip (I mean, it was the mid-60s, I don't know what other kind of content you might expect except espionage and misogyny), The Diary of Ty Locke feels like it might almost be the most entertaining strip in the book, if not merely placing in the top five. I should mention specifically that this has a lot to do with the quality of the art, the flippancy of the writing, and the pleasantry of the palette, but not how the bit at the end where they haul the sole survivor of a demolished space station around like a sack of fuckable flour on account of how she's a woman.

Ty may be in charge, but most of the episode centers around the mustachioed hotshot Polanski. Apparently some sort of hothead given to wandering away from the rest of the group -- just like me on museum field trips, to be honest -- Polanski and the rest of the crew are summoned to answer an SOS from a "planetary oxygen station" on a distant world. We call those "forests."

The emergency call is more than welcome, because the caption's description of the 17 days' spent in space for these men sounds ghastly. Watching old TV shows, playing poker, and just generally farting up the place with gut-musk, is my guess. It's like Ready Player One for a world with no nostalgia.

Landing on the world, the astronauts are promptly observed by a pair of small blue lizardmen who are apparently in control of a wild monster native to the harsh alien world. Using their telepathic powers, they sic the beastie on Locke's crew, leading to a series of otherwise wordless panels filled with action and sound effects. I kid you not, there are a dozen or more panels in the measly two-and-a-half pages of this book where it's just "PEW PEW" and "RARRR" and I love it. Comics are a wonderful medium.

With the creature's defeat imminent, the aliens blast off from the surface of the world, leaving one behind -- the pilot's brother! Oooh, is he pissed! He, in fact, spills the beans -- the monster isn't theirs, but they can control it with their minds. The monsters probably destroyed the oxygen station. The blue lizard boys wanted to capture a couple of humans for observation because they're just so darn big! They thought it was neat! And now the little blue guy might be a member of the group because he sits on Locke's shoulder like a parrot...

Before wrapping it up (after healing the monster's wounds, which I thought was a nice touch), the heroes see a distress flare from over a ridge. It's the sole survivor of the oxygen station, menaced by another monster, and Polanski almost kills himself trying to get to her. Like, literally. He's the Pete Hogwallop of this group. Damn near got turned into a toad.

The final shot involves the sole survivor being hauled back to the fart can for the remaining 13 days worth of farts, poker hands and old movies on TV, plus I assume a lot of increasingly aggressive groping. Sorry, this got dark at the end. Just like life.

Tufts, by the way, was another one of these Dell/Gold Key regulars, although his cowboy strip "Casey Ruggles" is well worth checking out. A genuine shame that he never lucked into a high-profile strip or comic that would have celebrated his skills. Also, I have read that he apparently died while test-flying an airplane of his own design, which I feel should be the end of any sentence involving "an airplane of the pilot's own design." Like, I'm not saying that I can tell how you're going to die in general, but it you tell me that you'll soon be test-flying an airplane of your own design, then, yes, I do know how you're going to die actually. (PS it'll be in an airplane of your own design)

No comments:

Popular Posts