Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Classics - Lost in Space #1

I should admit that I was a big fan of the original Lost in Space TV show, though even as a kid I knew it was often silly and campy.

As a science fiction show, it paled next to the original Star Trek series - but I enjoyed it just the same and watched faithfully.

The concept was basic enough - a space ship is launched to travel to the star Alpha Centauri, but it is sent off course, and the crew (which is mostly made up of a family named Robinson) is lost. They travel to different planets (often crashing) and have all kinds of adventures.

It was a fun show, with adventure (mostly handled by the father, John, and the pilot of the Jupiter 2, Major West), human interest (the family interaction) and comedy (Dr. Smith and the Robot).

My Dad watched it, too, and often remarked that he'd have had Dr. Smith shot right from the start, and the family would have had no problems after that. But I digress.

Gold Key had its own Lost in Space comic book (I reviewed an issue here), but despite the similarities, it was all about a different Robinson family.

It wasn't until this comic from Innovation Corporation in 1991 that the TV show made it into comic book form.

This issue got the series off to a rocky start. The story started in the middle, with the family and their ship being attacked by some destructive alien plants and monsters.

They manage to clear and repair the devastated ship and rebuild the Robot (which was destroyed in the attack) in a few hours (which seems improbable at best, given the amount of destruction).

The shaky script was provided by Matt Thompson and David Campiti, and they also work in some of the backstory of the crew, including some interesting hints about why Dr. Smith was sent to sabotage the mission. (And thankfully Smith here is back to his original nasty made, instead of playing the comic stooge.)

The art by Eddy Newell and Mark Jones is pretty uneven, although there are some flashes of genius on display. But the issue is marred (at least for me) by more than a few cheesecake poses by the girls (who are a bit older than they were in the original show, thank goodness). The cover is a good example of that excess - thankfully one that was soon dropped from the series.

There were better days ahead for this series, as Bill Mumy - who had played Will Robinson on the series - took over most of the writing chores, and turned in some excellent stories.

This first issue was very rough around the edges, but it was a great to see the Robinsons back in action again. It was a good idea whose time had come.

Sadly, it didn't last - the comic folded a couple of years later, at the same time that Innovation did. But it was fun while it lasted!

Grade: C+


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