Article #67!

January 19, 2015


Getting High with Little Green Men!


Space, the Final Frontier... Far Out Man... No, Really!!!


So here it is, the first new entry of 2015, and the first new entry in quite a while. 2014 was a pretty crappy year, both personally and in general - here's hoping 2015 treats us all at least a little bit better.


You know, when things are getting you down, it's great if you can have a hobby or some other distraction to help you get through the day. In this case the hobby is comics, and the distraction, well, read on to find out...


For your pleasure, we turn to an anthology title from the late 1960s, Gasp! #1 by ACG. It being an anthology we'll be looking at one story in particular that focuses on that most harried of time in one's life, the terrible teens!




As you can tell from the first page, this is a community that prides itself of its practical civil responsibility. See, it's not ALL teenagers that are unruly, just those labeled as "terrible teen-agers!". In fact, it doesn't seem to be teenagers in general, but only one specific teenager - Ted Marshall. I'm sure if Ted was there he'd be thrilled that the entire set of town elders turned out to bad mouth him. Just what has the kid done to have the entire town's adult population turn on him anyway?




Okay, so the town wants to lynch the kid because he swung on the bus handles, bumped a guy at a dance, fell asleep in class and threw a fire-cracker at an old guy. Well, gee, that doesn't seem so bad. Annoying yeah, but hardly stuff that should make him the bane of the town's existence. If anyone should be pissed off it should be Dr. Victor Virona, but still, does that warrant a town meeting?





Okay, I take it back, the kid's a psycho and needs to be locked away for a very, very long time...




Okay, I guess the old doctor isn't that bad of a guy. He actually gets Ted, the kid whose stupid stunt nearly killed both of them, out of jail and even invites the kid into his home to work off the debt, showing him the lab and his top secret experiments, like the teleporter. I don't know if I'd be able to do the same, I guess the professor's a decent guy after all... except at the very next page Ted mentions how the doctor's machine could potentially be used to send people into space - and the good doctor proceeded to chew the kid out like he was the spawn of Satan.


You know what, I think the entire town suffers from some form mental impairment. Has anyone checked the water?


So Ted, the bright boy that he is, decides to prove the doctor wrong by going in to use the teleportation machine while the doc's out, using himself as the guinea pig. Let's see how that works out...





Remember, in the future when teleportation is a reality the proper sound effect is CR-RAK, as in you have to be on Crack to pull the stunt Ted is doing. Ted offers the obligatory response when being teleported "UH..." having just realized what a colossal mess he just stepped in. We then get the obligatory shot of space insanity to remind us that yes, this is space, by cramming the entire solar system of planets (and then some) in a single panel. Science!


Ted manages to survive being transported across insane space and (fortunately for him) materializes inside a space ship that has the exact atmosphere he needs to survive. What are the odds? Also, he materializes but is invisible, allowing him to observe the alien, frog faced creatures inside the ship unobstructed. Now, if you've read enough comics, or seen enough movies, or just know science-fiction in general, you already know what Ted learns as he watches the frog faced aliens (which I'll hereby dub the Froggers) contemplate a video screen image of the Earth ...




HOLY HAMBONE! I never realized Ted was a Robin the Boy Wonder reject!  Fun fact, if you have the time, you could decode the alien language and learn what they are speaking! While my life is sad and lonely, I am not THAT sad and lonely, so I will simply presume that "Andephtro" is alien speak for "Shit". So there you go, during the climactic chase scene you can imagine one alien is constantly yelling "Shit!! Shit! Shit! Shit!". You're welcome.


Fun fact number two (see where I went there), the proper sound effect for face-palming a frog alien is BAM!


Okay, now we're getting into the action part of the story. Ted manages to find a futuristic ray gun and...




...he promptly uses it to club them. I'm not terribly bright (obviously) but wouldn't it have worked better if he used the gun by, you know, actually firing it? But what do I know? In one WHAM! Ted manages to decapitate one of the aliens (the handicapped one without any legs) and stuns a second one that, I don't know, was running away? I mean, the alien's back was turned to Ted, it wasn't even facing him. Either that or Ted hit the Frogger so hard it spun its head around. Either way, good job Ted, I guess...


Just as the Froggers are about to overpower Ted he spontaneously transports back to Earth - with no explanation. No, seriously, there's no reasonable explanation, check out the next panel...




And Ted presents his brilliance once more by taking a shot at one of the cops at the National Academy of Science Convention. Wait a minute, one of them says "I've got him... you better go call the cops!"  But if they have to call the cops, who the hell are these guys? They've got badges, police hats with badges, the blue uniform of a policeman, side-arms like the police are issued. Are these guys impersonating cops?


Come to think of it, why do you even need armed guards at a convention of crackpot scientists?


Ted is arrested and taken to the loony bin where the resident quack - I mean psychologist patiently listens to his story...




Poor kid, as in most science-fiction tales of this sort, no one believes his story. Not even Doctor Virona can help the kid this time and... WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, let's read that page again...




LSD? Freaking LSD? The kid comes in with a wild story of an alien invasion and the natural conclusion is he must be on LSD? You know what I said earlier... yeah, this town is seriously F****D up!


Then again, maybe the reason Doctor Virona wasn't keen on helping out Ted was that it would involve revealing his terrible secret to the authorities. That his teleportation machine doesn't actually work, that it just sprays the user with LSD and sends him on a "wild trip". Could you imagine if that's how Doc Brown's time machine worked in Back to the Future?


And so our story ends...





...and I'm wrong, the aliens are real (and are now speaking perfectly fluent English for no particular reason), and the Earth is doomed. Stupid Ted and his LSD.


In all seriousness, it's always somewhat special coming across an old comic issue that features illicit drugs, it's something of a niche collector's market out there, sort of like collecting robot covers. In all my years collecting, I've never come across a story quite like this, where the plot twist is a reference to LSD in a mainstream comic book. There've been plenty of "loco weed" or "dope" stories (including one I've covered earlier where a horse was fed "dope"), and ones that cite generic "drugs", but I can't recall ever coming across a straight up LSD reference.


Speaking of drugs, tune in next time when this selfsame publisher shows us how use of an unknown narcotic can actually improve your life...


Well folks, that’s all for now, until next time!