[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 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


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