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Jet-Ace Logan and the Missing Spaceships

August 23, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

A few weeks ago I came across some 50-year-old British comic strip art while researching illustrator Sydney Jordan and was surprised by how much more detailed and “clean” it looked compared to American comic strips and comic books from 1961. The absence of color may have something to do with that impression but I suspect the British artists simply took more time penciling and inking than their harried American counterparts. I spent a bit of time online searching out  samples of strips like Jeff Hawke and comic book serials like Captain Condor, but as impressive as the art was in those titles, nothing was more striking than that found in a strip published in the British comic book Tiger.

 Jet-Ace Logan ran from 1956 until 1968 (switching from Comet to Tiger in 1959). The titular hero was a space pilot with the RAF, 100 years in the future. He and his wingman, Plumduff  were entrusted to thwart the plans of nefarious aliens, smugglers, and other space-baddies. Here are two beautiful pages from the fall of 1961, drawn by an artist I know nothing about; Brian Lewis. Click for a larger view.


2 Comments »

  1. [...] Lewis of Jet-Ace Logan fame illustrated the cover that month for the British science fiction magazine, Science Fiction [...]

  2. Garth Groombridge says:

    My memories of the “Jet-Ace Logan” strip and stories was from the early 1960s in the TIGER, but the artist BEFORE Brian Lewis, who you exampled in the large page format. Lewis also drew some of the later “Captain Condor” stories in the LION comic, but somehow, while he was a very competent sci-fi artist, I preferred Keith Watson and Geoff Campion’s verson of “Condor”. Certainly I’m sure that the smaller Jet-Ace Logan picture is NOT by Lewis, but by the artist I preferred – probably John Gillat. I think that story was the one about look-alike exploding robots (a ‘suicide bomber’!) – a Logan robot doppleganger killed many of the RAF Space Command chiefs and Logan of course is being hunted as the murderer! Unlike Condor (with the one exception of “The Indestructable Men”) Logan was always getting into trouble, partly because I vaguely remember of his delight in practical jokes. One of the best Logan stories (whose name excapes me, perhaps something rather unimaginative like “The Giants from Space”?) feature a 2-mile long space-ship landing on Mars. It seems empty, just mist floating around, but then suddenly human-like aliens appear, seemingly friendly, but early on Logan realises they are not what they seem, they are shape-shifters, and once on earth (still pretending to be friendly at first) they start to get bigger. Eventually they reach a ‘comfortable size’ about 25ft tall I think, but then they establish themselves on Salisbury Plain, taking over and demolishing Salisbury, which I remember being depicted as a multi-level really futuristic city – if the artist WAS Gillat, he was excellent at drawing realistic architecture, vehicles and space-ships – Logan was flying jet-fighters not unlike what we have now, which operated both in space and at low-level altitudes. The giants prove indestructable to conventional weapons – again the images of the mid-21st century military vehicles were excellent, but by accident Logan realises that a sort of knock-out gas used to (harmlessly) disperse protesting humans has actually killed one of the aliens (who had literally dissolved from his human shape, and afterwards his fellows became more aggressive). Even then they have to penetrate the huge transparent dome over the former Salisbury, now rebuilt to the aliens design, the bridgehead for their approaching invasion fleet (more 2-mile long ships!) It was a brilliant story – equal, if not better to any of the more recent “Doctor Who” stories, and the artwork was excellent also.
    Another story featured alternative earths, while another had a master criminal who used a interplantary teleporter (much like later featured in “Star Trek”), Logan accidentally teleporting from Venus (which was jungle-like) to Manchester! Being hunted as having gone AWOL, he flees to the Moon, and here there was some brilliant artwork on the lunar domed cities and various tranport hubs…
    At the time I wondered if the artist was Sidney Jordan of “Jeff Hawke” fame, because the style was rather similar, and both heroes were in the RAF. Jordan of course is another brilliant comic strip artist from that period, still totally underrated, especially in the UK. The great Frank Hampson’s “Dan Dare” artwork was of course the benchmark to which others might aspire to – but I think, while his artwork was fantastic (Frank Bellamy was a bit of a disaster – good artist that he was, his style was too different!), but I always thought both the Condor and Logan story lines were better, tighter, more credible, re-reading “Dare” now there are lots of scientific inaccuracies that would have been obvious even then.

    The American comics came nowhere nearer as good, artistically.

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