Blast Off #1 [1965]


Published by Harvey Comics, this book has two five page Jack Kirby stories, both inked by Al Williamson. They were originally done circa 1958 for the short lived RACE FOR THE MOON title, and feature the “3 Rocketeers” characters who had appeared in RACE FOR THE MOON #3. This is around the same time that Kirby was doing the Sky Masters comic strip, so clearly space was on his mind in this era. Whereas the comic strip was more of a near-future space race as seen from 1958, the Rocketeers stuff is more fanciful sci-fi, with moonbases, space stations, aliens and journeys to Jupiter.

The first story is “Lunar Goliaths”, which features the Rocketeers of Moon Base 4 pitting their giant boxing robot against a similar robot from a space station, aboard a floating space platform. Those astronauts have too much time on their hands.

Blast Off #1 [1965]I guess this is like Battlebots 40 years early.

The second story, “The Great Moon Mystery”, is kind of interesting for its connections with 2001 – A Space Odyssey. It features the Rocketeers going off on a rescue mission on the moon, coming across a giant rock spire and being taken on an inter-galactic out-of-body trip, and conclude it was left by an ancient alien race. I know that Clarke’s original short story was published prior to when this would have been written, but I don’t know how many of the elements that this story shares with 2001 were in the original short. And was Clarke’s story common enough that Kirby or whoever else might have written this would be familiar with it?

Williamson in one of those inkers who has a bit of an overpowering style, so while the end result is pleasing, I’m glad that he didn’t ink that much more of Kirby’s work.

The cover of this issue is a rather odd mix of several interior panels.

Published October 1965

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