Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Screamin' Science Fiction ... go, Flash, go!

Along time ago in a galaxy far --

No, hang on, That's Star Wars. Start again.

There are those who believe that life here began --

No, wait a trick, that's Battlestar Galactica. One more time...

A looong time ago, around the date when Noah was hammering the last nails into the ark, they used to print these science fiction magazines, full of wonderful, naive stories about characters with names like Flash, and Buck, and Buzz, and villains you could really detest, with names like Ming and ... so on. Everything was black and white in those days (including the printing; not to mention the movies). Good was good and bad was bad, and nary the twain ever met in any gray zone betwixt those poles. Then things got complicated, and heroes developed dark sides that made them do questionable things, and villains were known to have suffered horribly, which punted them onto the path to devastation. Nobody was altogether good, or bad any more and the laws of physics really started taking the fun out of a lot of plots. Little things like gravity and vacuum were known to screw things up completely.

There was something very Alice in Wonderland about SF back in those days -- loooong before I was born, in fact. But before the age of about 10, you can still read the old "golden age SF" fiction and get the same kind of zing out of it that grown adults used to get when Noah was still swinging a hammer. And it's very true that then you grow up, and the magic rushes away, never to return...

Yet there's still a kind of magic in the artwork of that era -- it's not the art itself, mind you. It's the ability of he visual medium to reach right down into the roots of your mind and tickle the part of you that's been dormant since you were 10. It's like smelling something you haven't smelt in 40 years, and memories rush back. With art, the same kind of thing happens, but it's not memories that come back, it's the sensation of delighted wonder, delicious fascination, a desire to go somewhere, do something, be someone ... else.

Of course, these days we know there are no plutonium pirates on Pluto, because for a start there isn't any plutonium, because (contrary to popular misconception) Pluto is not where plutonium comes from. We also know (fact) there are no vampire hunters on Venus, because there are no vampires on Venus. Vampires come from the constellation Vulpecula. Everybody knows that.

But oooooh, it used to be fun when you could believe all this stuff, reading in bed by torchlight...

Anyway --!

Here's a salute with gentle humor to the classic SF genre! And if you're wondering what happens when we grow up, and the art grows up along with us...

I guess this would be a still from the Exotic Adventures of Flash Scroggins, possibly from Episode 42: The Beast with 200 Tentacles, which apparently came slithering up out of the purple lagoon and made of with Flash's pants when he wasn't looking. Of course, what he was doing with his pants off in the first place is another question. Better ask the mad monks about that!

What in the world inspired this? The raygun. Seriously! A while ago one of the model designers did a set of "Classic" rayguns -- real Flash Gordon specials. I just unpacked them today to take a look, and they're great! The rest just ... happened.

You might also enjoy this post...

...which was the original outing of the "Screamin' Science Fiction" idea. I kinda like it..

Jade, 16 March
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