The first of the four Atlas “Space” Annuals was the most comicy (is that even a word?) of the lot. Plenty of Space Ace stories and even a smattering (is that a word either?) of half page humour strips along with the photos and articles.

Luckily it is only 64 pages short, and a small amount of bribery has resulted in acceptable scans of all pages. Just scroll down and click on the link. Simples.

The Boy’s Book of Space Adventures 1963

Before my thoughts wander back to more sensible subjects (?!?) like crap 1970s pop music or offshore radio there is one more series by the Atlas Publishing and Distributing Company Ltd (to give them their full title) from the 1960s that at least deserves a mention.

In 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966 Atlas published a book presumably for teenagers and presumably on sale in time for Xmas (sorry I’m supposed to say “Christmas”) titled “The Book of Space Adventures” and subtitled “The latest developments in the world space programmes” which was quite a lofty claim !!

The 1963 edition must have been published in late 1962. It contained a number of factual articles and photographs of rockets and jet planes along with “Space Ace” adventure strips. The 1964 and 1965 editions followed a similar format only with “Ace Jordan” strips. Actually, thinking about it, these were probably Space Ace stories too. I don’t own a copy of the final 1966 book but I have found a picture of the striking and quite modern-looking cover.

As was usual for the times half the strips were in duo-colour (an odd yellow/blue in the case of the 1965 No 3 Annual) and the other half were “fully coloured”. Now their idea of colour and mine doesn’t quite correspond. They could well have been coloured by an infant class in school at break time using a combination of spit and blunt crayons such is the strange finished results !! This page is perhaps the best of the bunch. The rest have “scribble” backgrounds.

Space Aces

Jan 20, 2011

Todays post has the chance of pushing my little spot on the web to the pinnacle of “The World’s most boring Blog” listings. I’m even yawning myself, and I’m the one typing this. Surprisingly I managed to locate my copy of “Space Aces” as it was actually on a shelf rather than in a box like most of my stuff.

Mr Gifford’s “Space Aces” from 1991 was a wasted opportunity to provide a detailed history of those odd 1950s British Comics. 40 or so pages are taken up with full page oversized cover reproductions. The facing pages give us a potted history of the character featured in the comic and sometimes sketchy details on the company that produced the comic but always leaving at least half the page blank. It wouldn’t have taken Mr Gifford long to write this book. So I’m afraid I’m still no wiser about the history of Atlas Publishing. If anyone can point me in the right direction please let me know. It’s possible that there is more info in his companion publication entitled “Super Duper Supermen.Comic Book Heroes from the Forties and Fifties” if I can find it…..

Interestingly, although this book is arranged chronologically, half of the comics/characters featured inside are from 1952/1953. That must have been the pivotal time when the popularity of Science Fiction really headed off into space….. ace.