Thursday, January 11, 2018


He's a growing boy!
w/a Lou Fine

Some beautiful artwork on this piece from the great Lou Fine, as though that were some sort of surprise. It’s almost frustrating how lovely the rendering and storytelling is in this two-page tale, knowing how much gas Fine still had in the tank, with a heart attack only four years in his future. Then again, that’s sort of true of everybody, so … I guess we should all get back to work instead of wasting time doing whatever it is we’re all doing right now?

Back to Tor, however. Despite having his name in the masthead, Tor doesn’t show up almost til the end, has no appreciable dialogue, and fulfills the role of genie more or less.

AEONS is The Atomic Expeditionary Overseer for Nuclear Services, and the Man From it is Commander Briggs. The lantern-jawed Briggs pilots the Cobalt, a multipurpose craft capable of descending into the ocean, traveling on land, or flying, just like any car can presuming you don’t want it to be drivable in two out of three of those circumstances.

Answering to Briggs are Hawkins, a first mate or something, and Explorers Scout Sandy Powers! Briggs explains patiently that the Pentagon – his bosses – wouldn’t have allowed them to take an underage Explorer Scout on this mission if it were in any way dangerous. And while it didn’t start out as a dangerous mission, it takes that turn by panel ten. Briggs, very responsibly, accounts for the safety of his juvenile charge by going ahead and putting the ship in danger, and then warning Sandy that he “may never be able to mention this part of the voyage to [his] own parents.” Mr and Mrs Powers, please come collect Sandy.

He'd say you shouldn't tell your parents.
Deep in an uncharted cave, to which I would not personally have brought a child, the crew of the Cobalt meet the world-conquering General Hong. For a Yellow Menace/Red Menace (perhaps I should shorten that to Orange Menace, insert your Donald Trump gag here), Hong isn’t portrayed in anything like an egregious manner, which is an insanely low bar to meet but here we were in 2018.

Before being captured by Hong and sentenced to death by Gamma Ray Gun – you may never be able to tell your parents about this one, Sandy – the Explorer Scout had discovered a tiny “stone doll” depicting a caveman-type character. In fact, it looks like Fred Flintstone crossed with the Venus of Willendorf. Quite a find! We’ve finally proven that mankind descended from Barney Rubble. I suspected all along.

The radiation from the Gamma-Ray Gun has the effect on Tor of turning him into a highly destructive giant. He basically single-handedly destroys Hong’s entire base, although Briggs really takes the fucking credit for it in no small way. Once Hong’s headquarters are destroyed, Tor politely returns to the size of one of those cheap toys you get out of a machine for a quarter at the supermarket, only he probably has enormous B.O.

Possible future adventures are left open when a relatively incurious Briggs posits “I was wondering … if the gamma-ray gun made Tor grow, would the smaller laser pistol, the small nuclear gun, have the same effect on him?” Well heck man, you’re the one with a small nuclear gun I assume from that sentence, let’s find out!

I, too, am too huge and unpredictable to be allowed on a submarine.

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