Sunday, August 29, 2010

Space Conquerors: Kurt and Primo

Here is a fondly remembered chapter from the nearly forgotten and criminally-uncollected Space Conquerors from Boy's Life (March 1971). This was a long-running strip that changed in sophistication from Space Race Atom-Age exploration of Manifest Destiny to Space Opera over the decades as reader tastes and expectations changed. Space Conquerors was usually credited to Al Stenzel with art duties being typically uncredited. The artists varied over the years and it would take someone with greater familiarity with the illustrators of the era than I to identify them.

I read with fascination this strip in the 1970s and I had a subscription to Boy's Life just for this version of the Space Conquerors. For some reason this chapter really stuck in my memory. It doesn't have much action but I think the willingness of Primo to eat the local fare first to test it for safety and Kurt's refusal to have his friend take the risk alone stuck with me.

Then there is this chapter from June 1971. Yikes.

All this in a magazine aimed at young boys? Then again the market was for Boy Scouts, who were presumably more mature and able-bodied than the precious little snowflakes of today.

6 comments:

  1. Yea, someone else who remembers SPACE CONQUERORS!

    This was really before my time (I wasn't old enough for Boy Scouts until 1977) but my older brother had these in 1971, and I would read them again and again.

    In those days, BOYS' LIFE magazine was huge (I don't mean number of pages, but height and width of the magazine), the way LIFE magazine used to be. Later, sometime before 1977, it shrunk to the smaller size it is today. Saving paper, no doubt.

    Also from this era of BOYS' LIFE, I remember the Time Machine stories by Donald Keith. About the Boy Scout patrol who finds a time machine from the future hidden in a rockpile near their Scout camp, and then they hide it from adults for years, while they explore various eras and have all sorts of dangerous adventures. Again not something you would see in a modern short story in BOYS' LIFE!

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  2. I made an index of all the SPACE CONQUERORS! comic strip serials in BOYS' LIFE from 1957-1972 here:

    planettom.livejournal.com/294248.html

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  3. Having just posted a Space Conquerors story on my own blog (smurfswacker.blogspot.com) I googled for more and came upon this post. I was a big Space Conquerors fan, too. The artists included Lou Fine (who drew these two), George Evans, Alden McWilliams, Gray Morrow and at least two others I can't identify.

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  4. Aha! I think it was Alden McWilliams that I was readng about in ALTER EGO magazine some years back. That was the first time I ever ran across any reference to SPACE CONQUERORS!, by a mile my favorite part of BOY'S LIFE magazine for the one year we had a subscription to it.

    Totally by dumb luck, I found the BOY'S LIFE site last night, and knew what I had to do.

    http://professorhswaybackmachine.blogspot.com/2012/04/space-conquerors-1956.html

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  5. It's been awhile, and I really should have posted before this. (The above link doesn't work anymore.) Last year, I managed to download, clean up and re-post the entire run of SPACE CONQUERORS!-- all 20 years' worth-- at my "Wayback Machine" blog! Starting here...

    http://professorhswaybackmachine.blogspot.com/2012/04/space-conquerors-1952.html

    Since then, I spent 5 months doing the same thing with the STORIES FROM THE BIBLE series from the same magazine. That features art by Creig Flessel, Irv Novick, Curt Swan (I think), Frank Bolle, Don Punchatz, Anthony Castrillo, Graeme Hewitson, and, most recently, Tim Salamunic. There are also several other artists I have not been able to identify, running from the mid-60's to the late 70's. Any help in that area would be appreciated!

    The BIBLE strips start here...

    http://professorhswaybackmachine.blogspot.com/2013/02/tales-from-bible-1952.html

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