Classic Comic Cover Corner – Space Western #40

Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Space Western #40 – September, 1952

Cover art by John Belfi

Space Western #40 – September, 1952
Space Western #40 – September, 1952

Where were you on March 13, 1997, when our peaceful little city, that never did nothing to nobody, was invaded by visitors from another planet? That’s right, this past week marked the 17th anniversary of the “Phoenix Lights” incident, one of the most famous UFO mysteries on record, and it happen right here in the Valley of the Sun. But this is far from the first time that we’ve been associated with a close encounter.

Space Western #40 – September, 1952As early as September of 1952, in the pages of Space Western #40, Spurs Jackson and his Space Vigilantes faced off against scummy alien evil-doers from Mars, who captured the cowboy/rancher/electronics engineer and took him back to their planet as evidence of their visit to our world. What’s worse, they only gave poor Spurs one “Zuba” to pack (that’s just 17.5 minutes to you and me.)

Fortunately, Spurs brings along his “plutonium guns” and his Indian friend, Strong Bow, and before you can say, “buckaroo”, the Space Vigilantes whup up on the Martian Prime Minister and (as any good cowboy would) start making moves on the Martian Queen. Take that you alien varmints.

Space Western #40 is actually the first issue of the short-lived series by Charlton Comics (up to issue #39 the books were simply called, Cowboy Western Comics), but one could say the “space-western” mix of genres is still alive today (see Star Wars, Firefly, etc.) And I would be remiss in my reminiscing if I failed to mention that this genre began clear back in 1912 with the Edgar Rice Burroughs story, A Princess of Mars (AKA John Carter , AKA John Carter of Mars), which also has roots in the Arizona desert.  Maybe this is why the aliens are so interested in us?

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About the author

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Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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