“For England, home and duty”
John Lawrence’s beautifully presented collections of comicwork by the legendary Ron Turner have rightly become collectors’ items in their own right. Turner, perhaps best known among non-comics fans for his work on TV21’s The Daleks strip, may not have been the most original of writers in the field, but his illustrations are glorious – and that’s added to by the colouring in these editions by John Ridgway.
The stories relate the pulpy adventures of the eponymous Space Ace and his trusty sergeant Bill Craig. Issue 4 contains The Island Universe, pitting Ace and Bill against the Metharon, with artwork that’s noticeably more dynamic than the standard 6 panel layout, with a backup feature, The Raiders from Space. Issue 5 reprints another story from Lone Star Magazine in the 1950s, The Nine-Bomb Menace as well as the later The Magnetic Meteor. Issue 6, just published, contains The Collectors from Space – the fourth and last of the “feature length” tales from Lone Star – as well as another short, The Lens… as well as the four pages of what would have been the fifth tale, presented in black and white.
Lawrence adds plenty of extra material: each issue has an introductory feature putting the stories within in context, and there’s also material from interviews with Turner in numbers 4 and 5, explaining some of the reasoning behind his creative choices.
Verdict: If you’re a Journey into Space fan, you may well find these 1950s tales right up your street. They’re simplistic by today’s terms, but still highly entertaining. 8/10