Monday, August 04, 2008

Futura - Chapter 6

Some newsstand silliness graces the cover of Planet Comics #48 (May 1947). For a comic book that featured scantily-clad men and women in every story the cover features a giant sexless robot with the crotch area obscured by a cloud. The theory being that parents may not pay attention to the interior art if the exterior image is deemed harmless enough at first glance.

This kind of bait-and-switch was a specialty of comic books of the era as they tried to gain a market share wracked by the decline of the pulps. Decades before comic books were attacked by the public and politicians as being unwholesome the pulp magazines suffered a similar trial. Declared obscene, many pulp titles were forced to be hidden behind the newsstand counters. Public pressure was mounting to shut down the publishers of the racy and violent magazines, even though it was primarily the adult audience of working joes and soldiers that purchased the books and not children.

Eventually the campaign for decency, poor products and a saturated and changing market forced most of the pulp magazines to fold or evolve into mainstream magazines. In some ways the pulps were sabotaged from within. Like in the modern era of comic books, publishers desperate for a dwindling market share resorted to gimmicks to increase or stabilize plummeting sales. For the pulps, titillation and cheesecake, if not outright pornography, were utilized to interest readers and boost. Something similar could be observed in the comic books of the 1990s. Both eras enjoyed a brief surge in sales followed by a devastating collapse, if for different reasons.

Sabotage is the theme for Chapter 6 of the Futura saga. But where the pulp and comic book markets sabotaged themselves, Futura projects her struggle outwards and engages in attacks on the infrastructure of the Brain-Men!

This is also the second chapter where disguise and transformation plays a major role in the fight against the tyrants. Hiding a powerful bomb in a log, Futura gambles that she can enter the stronghold of the tyrants unobserved, destroying their power station and laboratories in one massive strike. While evenst do not go all according to plan Futura does eventually succeed after a fashion. Adopting another identity also saves the day as Futura enters the fortress of the Brain Men, setting the scene for adventures to come.


1 comment:

  1. Ha! Thank you for sharing this. Page 4 was particularly awesome. On the last page there is an error, though - it says "hair-breath" when I am sure that they mean "hair's-breadth" as in "hair's breadth escape." Even in the sentence used, "hair's breadth thrill" would seem to be sort of a clumsy phrase. :o)


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