Friday, July 17, 2009

The Header Bar on the Blog

Should give you an indication of what I'm working on this weekend... Okay, one of the many things I'm working on this weekend.

In case that's not enough of a clue- look at the pics.


Andrew Bellware said...

Marooned on Asteroid X looks awesome!

Cunningham said...

ARROW is an aerospace adventure magazine published in the early sixties after Kennedy's famous "New Frontier"

It is a spectacular example of the blend of space adventure with espionage to form "spy fi."

The main character in every issue of Arrow was Rip Rocket (real name unknown. Rip is his "call sign") who uses his aerospace engineering firm (think Boeing's skunkworks) as a front for an aerospace defense force against the Communist and other threats.

Erratically published and distributed to military bases and store chains outside them around the world, Arrow was more than a pulp magazine in that it featured articles and photography on real aerospace marvels of the time. It also had an interior color section featuring pin up girls posing with high tech bombers, fighters and weaponry. Sort of bomber nose art brought to life. The magazine was a tamer version of the 'men's sweats' of the period. No nudity just tasteful cheesecake.

"Warren Rogers' was a house name for an unknown author who is now presumably dead.

"Marooned on Asteroid X" is a very scientifically based idea and story reflecting the politics and tech of the time. The Russians have launched a manned weapons platform between the earth and moon. However a rouge KGB General has taken it over with the intention of raining bombs on the western populace.

If the platform establishes a stable orbit it will be impossible to approach and destroy. Rip and his team are tasked with destroying it, but making sure the Russians think it was an accident of some sort, and not betraying the fact America is actually winning the space race (with Rip Rocket's help), and has agents within the Kremlin who understand the good works of Rip and his men.

Specs - the "Brains" of the group spots an asteroid on a path through the system which takes it within strike range of the platform.

Rip and his team land on the asteroid and set up the missiles, but must get their rocket ship out before it's spotted by the Russian General and his "space army"when the asteroid changes course due to the moon's gravity.

Of course, things don't go right and the rocket ship is captured by the General's men.

Rip is left to fend for himself, set up the missiles and destroy the platform (while being hunted by the General's troops across the barren rock of the asteroid), but if he succeeds and the missiles hit, he also sacrifices his team.

It's a great story that again captures the flavor of the era. To my knowledge there were only about 18-20 issues of Arrow featuring Rip and his crew of "secret astronauts." It's often harsh in its 'space war' imagery, but at the end of each volume there is an undeniable optimism that the future of mankind is in space. There's also the 'top secret' spy component which was undeniably a product of the James Bond mystique of the time. Rip is a s much a spy on the ground as he is an 'adventurer into the unknown.'

If you can track down a copy at a garage sale then by all means pick it up.

Cunningham said...

And before someone thinks they caught me pulling a fast one (The issue shown is #25) the first 6-7 issues (I'm not sure how many exactly) don't feature RIP ROCKET "OUTERSPACE AGENT." They are filled with stories of real life aeronautical adventure, but it was decided to go the character route in an effort to bring in comic book fans.

Not sure how they came to this conclusion since the magazine had spotty distribution and wasn't in mainstream drug stores or newsstands unless they were in a town with a military component.

joel wyatt said...

"Arrow" does indeed look pretty cool. Your description of the mag made me think of Cap Kennedy- a Trek / Bond era character pulp I got turned onto last year. You should check it out (on the off chance you're not already way ahead of me on it...)