Day 81: Serifan’s Cosmic Cartridges!

Okay, let’s see: Beautiful Dreamer has the power to create illusions, Big Bear can concentrate his high-density atoms to the point of being invulnerable, Vykin has Magna-Power, and Mark Moonrider boasts the “Megaton Touch.” Now, what exactly does Serifan have up his sleeve…? Oh right, the copy-cat cowboy’s secret weapon is actually in his hat… Serifan’s hat-band, that is, which has loops to hold his myriad “Cosmic Cartridges,” each one having a specific — and often fantastic — power!

We first learn about the Cosmic Cartridges while The Forever People are setting up house at Uncle Willie and Donnie’s place, #309, as Serifan is apparently shirking work as the others haul about furniture. The youngest Forever Person is fiddling with a teevee set. Mark Moonrider says, “Why, that broken, old television set — it’s a pure representation of early, post Atomic, middle class home visuals!” Adds Serifan, staring at the idiot box, “And it shows Westerns! They’re just too much!” But Donnie is puzzled. “But how can you receive a picture on that set, Serafin? [sic] It’s a mess inside!”

“Oh, I know that!” replies the blond Super-Kid. “The service parts are beyond repair! I’m using one of these things on my hat!!” (Apparently the repair job turns a black-&-white set into a color one, because, kids, no person of lesser means could afford a color teevee back in the day… I know!) Donnie observes, “They look like shiny, silver bullets! Where did you get them?” Taking what looks like a bullet from the loops in his hat band, Serifan replies, “Our point of origin — Supertown — a part of New Genesis — These are sensitizers, probes, — receivers and such — We call them Cosmic Cartridges! They’re sensitive to the universe — to its largest and smallest limits — Here — hold one!” (First one’s always free, kid… heh-heh…)

Donnie admits, “I’d rather hear more about Supertown and New Genesis! — But I’ll try this –!!” Taking a capsule in his hand, the object glows. “I-it feels warm — like it was alive! — Like it was me! — And I-I’m everywhere at once –” Suddenly the boy is having a mind-blowing experience, perceiving the infinite expanse of the universe. “I-I see — everything — and everything moves — and makes a kind of beautiful noise –” Serifan offers, “Harmony is the word, Donnie! — You’re listening to — All there is!

Now, that’s just about as close as mainstream comics ever got to depicting an LSD trip in 1971! (And a tripping pre-teen, no less!) Talk about far-out! So we got a cartridge that will make us one with all existence; how about the other Cosmic Cartridges? Let’s take a sprint through the books and see the different varieties (and note, of course, I’ve made up the names of said items):

    Stun Power Cartridge (which Serifan vainly attempts to use against Desaad’s guards in Happyland)

    Integration Substitution Cartridge (used to start the damaged Justifier Aero-Van during Serifan’s escape from Happyland — “One of my Cosmic Cartridges can do the job!!! It will attune itself to the principle that powers this vehicle! It will integrate with the damaged mechanism and substitute for its function!!”)

    Pattern Signal Cartridge (utilized to have Super-Cycle, which is in self-defense mode, recognize Serifan as a “friendly” — “I’ll have to count on my Cosmic Cartridges to spell out my individual pattern –!! Its signals will register on the cycle’s computer!!”)

    Atom-Shield Cartridge (serves to repel zealots during attack — “Even as the Justifier’s weapon fires, the Cosmic Cartridge generates a shield of atoms — strong enough to repel the shot and cause it to rebound on the attacker!”)

    Mod Couturier Cartridge (creates a hip new ensemble for Beautiful Dreamer, leather fringe and all, by “atomically” re-shifting her original pagan dress get-up!)

    Life-Force Cartridge (reanimates life of the “Monster in the Morgue,” after Doc Gideon steals it and tapes the cartridge to his dead creation’s forehead, makes Miss Trixie’s dolls dance and given to Deadman, the super-poltergeist, for “it will be the heart and motion of your new form!” — “Of course, the cartridges are mostly functional! But this little-used blue has a strange link with the infinite! It transmits something I can only term as a ‘life-force!’ See how it animates those dolls! I’ve trapped this force! But I haven’t satisfactorily traced its origin!”)

    Solid State Energy Cartridge (able to cap a leaking gas-line — “This night is a busy one for my Cosmic Cartridges!”)

    Atom-Compactor Cartridge (makes Deadman, a ghost, fully visible — “This cartridge will compact the few atoms that still cling to you! For a fleeting moment — you will feel reality! We shall see you as you are!

    Glass Cutter Cartridge (able to cut through inches-thick steel-hard glass)

    Heat Induction Cartridge (thaws out a frozen Deadman)

    Heavy Gravity Cartridge (engaged to incapacitate Devilance the Pursuer — “A surge of heavy gravity energy leaps from the cartridge and envelopes Devilance! His weight increases tenfold and he topples forward!”)

    Shock Repelli-Field Cartridge (protects Serifan from exploding Thermo-Bolt Machine (and could be the same as the aforementioned Atom-Shield Cartridge) — “Don’t be alarmed, Big Bear! I’m encased in a shock-repelli-field!! The Shield has dissolved into free atoms!! It’s returned to the object in my hand! A Cosmic Cartridge, you big humbug!”)

It’s telling, I think, that Jack depicts Serifan handling his Cosmic Cartridges as if they were pistols on the cover of FP #7, seemingly ready to fire on the Justifiers attacking him! The kid would have loved to have seen such a heroic old Western pose as Jack drew… And adding up the number of cartridges here, that makes 12, enough for two six-shooters! So, Serifan is a rootin’-tootin’ six-Cosmic Cartridge shootin’ real cowboy, hombre! Cool beans!

One thought on “Day 81: Serifan’s Cosmic Cartridges!

  1. Rip Jagger

    Great info on Serifan. He was my least favorite of the Forever People at the time, but I’ve grown great appreciation for him over the years. The “Cosmic Cowboy” was one of Kirby’s cleverest creations, for sure.

    Rip Off

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