[identity profile] dr_hermes.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
The Adam Strange strip ran in MYSTERY IN SPACE beginning in 1958. It was a riff on Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series in a way. Earthman Adam Strange found a way to get to the planet Rann of the star Alpha Centauri, although he could only stay there a short time each trip. This being a Silver Age comic, naturally he found some wildly implausible alien invasion or other menace to fight each time. But that was not the real reason he counted the minutes until the next Zeta-Beam would appear to take him to his heart's desire.

Alanna was the daughter of eminent scientist Sardath (still another widowed scientist with a beautiful daughter,what was UP with that?). She seemed to be about college age, we see her doing archaeological research on her own. As drawn by Carmino Infantino and Murphy Anderson, she had to be one of the prettiest women even to hit the comics page. Her romance with Adam was entirely believable and unforced. Whenever they had a chance, the two would go off camping to see the natural wonders of Rann, and Adam would often help Alanna with her research. Despite the Comics Code preventing any mention of outright sex going on, here were two young people in love vacationing together whenever they could. They were interesting people who had fun together. It was a lot healthier than most Silver Age relationships, that's for sure.

The deal with Adam Strange was that he was a thinking hero, like MacGuyver or Columbo; like them, his adventures followed a pretty rigid formula. Although he was capable of punching a bad guy or just using his ray gun, mostly he relied on deduction and ingenuity to defeat the menaces threatening Rann (well, a knowledge of obscure scientific facts as well). Alanna was frequently the damsel in distress, although she often helped with suggestions and vital information and she insisted on going into danger herself. She was after all not a two-fisted Navy Seal or anything, just a normal person trying to help protect her home. She was actually braver than the average civilian would be (let's face it, most people would spin around and run like rabbits when faced with some of these monsters), she just didn't have any fighting skills. I sometimes wonder if Adam had served in Korea or something, the way he kept his cool in stressful situations.

I gather the original stories have been tampered with and revised, so that the Rannians actually were contemptuous of Adam Strange and just used him to try to get Alanna pregnant (the men of Rann being sterile or something). And Alanna was killed and came back to life, and they had a baby whom terrible things happened to. Whatever. I don't care. The original stories still exist, safely beyond being dragged in the dirt. People can read whichever series they prefer, it's a free country.(But, looking at the art, wouldn't you love to see comics try an experiment. For one year, try all the stories having the characters drawn like normal, attractive men and women. Sales might drop, or they might perk up again. But I would be interested to see.)

Date: 2009-09-30 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yaseen101.insanejournal.com
I love these scans and thanks for posting them. I'm surprised that DC is not doing anything with this character now.

Date: 2009-09-30 02:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] volksjager.insanejournal.com
Yes but all that is out of continuity. Rann got into a war with Thanagar and....(I'm not even gonna tell you)

Date: 2009-09-30 03:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yaseen101.insanejournal.com
You can tell me. What happened?

Date: 2009-09-30 03:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] volksjager.insanejournal.com
Superboy prime bumped Thanagar towards it's sun. yadda-yadda Rann gets destroyed (or is it the other way round) so now the Thanagarans and Rannians share a world. Bet that works out well.

Date: 2009-09-30 07:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iondan.insanejournal.com
Doesn't Jade die to boost sales in the rann thanagar war? And I vaguely recall seeing a rann/ thanagar holy war comic on the shelf of my backup lcs so I don't believe the shared planet thing is going too well.

Date: 2009-09-30 11:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skjam.insanejournal.com
Yes--it's kind of sideways to the normal version--not the "darker and grittier" retcon they've taken in the mainline books, but a more "planetary fantasy" take.

Date: 2009-09-30 10:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ian_karkull.insanejournal.com
Adam does pop up periodically in whatever cosmic clusterfuck Jim Starlin is writing at the time, though it's probably safer to just ignore those. I think he's also slated to appear in World of New Krypton.

Date: 2009-09-30 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] volksjager.insanejournal.com
Who else but Gardner Fox ? Yeah This book took real nasty trip down the ladder . I feel the same way about alot of older stuff. I have the issues, whatever short sighted crap the industry wants to do is their business.

Date: 2009-09-30 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lanternicity.insanejournal.com
I love this post and this character! I'm unashamed to say it's only because my name's Alanna too :D

Date: 2009-09-30 03:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashtoreth.insanejournal.com
I hadn't connected John Carter with Adam Strange. Carter always had that wierd dream/out of body experience, so you could never be sure how real his trips were. And that's probably why he is also connected with Randolph Carter of Lovecraft's Dreamlands, I guess.

Date: 2009-09-30 09:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ulf_boehnke.insanejournal.com
Even then you should be cautious. Looking at other adaptions of serial stories, there is still a good chance that they will film a random script and give the main character the name "John Carter."

And since this is an old franchise they could even go the "John Carter, wimpy grandson of the original John Carter" route.

Date: 2009-09-30 11:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skjam.insanejournal.com
To Alanna's competence: Because Adam was often off-planet when the menaces first appeared, or even in the middle of the story, Alanna spends quite a bit of time being the one who organizes the Rannians and keeps them hanging on until Adam can get back to Rann and save them.

Date: 2009-09-30 11:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ian_karkull.insanejournal.com
I hhave a big soft spot for Adam Strange. Such a clever sci-fi concept, with just a hint of tragedy.
Alan Moore introduced the idea of the Rannians being sterile, but I don't think it did the original stories too much injustice. He did a great job of showing just how alien the society of Rann was and Alanna really did love him, which is all that matters.

Date: 2009-09-30 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alschroeder.insanejournal.com
Yeah, it was Moore who introduced the idea of many of the Rannians being sterile, and also how much of their ecology was still suffering the effects of the nuclear war a thousand years before (mentioned in the first Gardner Fox Adam Strange story)...and Swamp Thing worked to restore the ecology of Rann.

To this day, when someone asks me how far it is from Earth to the nearest star in MILES, not in light years, I can answer "25 trillion miles" thanks to the Adam Strange stories.

Date: 2009-09-30 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kentsplace.insanejournal.com
I love what you said about the 25 trillion miles. Ages ago when I was in grammar school they started reprinting the Adam Strange stories in Strange Adventures. The first reprint issue had an article about the Centauri system, and as I recall at that time Proxima was actually closer to Earth than Alpha.

During science one day the teacher was going on about Alpha being the closest star to our solar system. I raised my hand and said no Proxima was, and promptly got slammed by the teacher. The next day I brought in the Strange Adventures issue with the text piece about the Centauri system.

At a parent-teacher conference a couple of weeks later the teacher still couldn't let go about being proved wrong by a comic book.

Date: 2009-09-30 05:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pyrotwilight.insanejournal.com
Thank you comic books!


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